CAMPAIGNERS have launched a petition to save libraries facing the axe under plans to save £2 million.

Essex County Council’s 74 libraries are being reviewed, with 25 facing closure.

Maldon Library, in White Horse Lane, would be rebranded as one of the new hubs, run by the community if plans went ahead.

Among the 25 libraries facing closing are Southminster Library in Queenborough Road and Wickham Bishops Library in School Road.

Southminster Parish Council has already made arrangements following news of the consultation, with the library’s “new home” in the Parish Room in Queensborough Road.

Burnham Library is still expected to stay open, however its opening hours would be reduced.

Concerned campaigners have launched a petition urging County Hall to ditch the plans.

Bryan Mogridge has had 8,140 people sign the petition so far.

He said: “I started the petition because I value my local library and would hate to see it disappear. If it closes the nearest one will be a 40-minute bus ride plus a long walk and lots of people might not be able to make the journey at all.

“Closing the libraries will only save Essex County Council £2million per year in a budget of over £300million.

“I am hoping they will see the error of their ways and put a halt to this disastrous idea.”

David Innes, of website 38 Degrees, where the petition was launched, has also given his backing to the campaign.

He added: “Libraries are the beating heart of any community. They teach children to love reading, allow people to write their CVs and provides internet access and other services to people who need them.

“The 8,140 people who have signed this petition are sending a clear message to Essex County Council – they seriously need to rethink their plans and keep Essex libraries open.

“When decisions like these are announced it might feel like there’s nothing we can do.”

Essex County Council said Maldon library is not proposed to be closed.

A spokesman said: “We know people are passionate about their local library and would encourage anyone with views on the proposals to take part in the consultation.

“All comments made as part of the consultation will be taken into account.”