Hundreds of school children came out in protest of plans to close their local library.

Pockets of pupils sporadically broke out into chants of "save our library" as children as young as five waved self-made banners at St John's Church of England School in Buckhurst Hill on Tuesday.

The mass gathering of mini-protestors had been called following news that Essex County Council was considering closing four of Epping Forest's eight libraries, including Buckhurst Hill's.

For Mandy Smith, a mum of four including two St John's pupils, the library is a vital resource.

She said: "It is important for children to enjoy books from a young age.

"For kids that can't afford to buy books the library is the best way to enjoy literature.

"I have four children and they each have their library cards.

"We go every week. They get the enjoyment of choosing their own books."

As the county council looks to reduce its library budget by closing 25 and asking the community to run a further 19, it claims "traditional library use in Essex has collapsed".

There are 31 per cent fewer people using Essex libraries now than there were in 2008 and loans of books and other items are down by 52 per cent.

Chris Jarmain, headteacher of St John's, hopes this trend can be reversed now people realise their public assets are at risk.

He said: "It is no secret that kids read less than they used to.

"If we lost the library accessing books would become harder for our kids. It would be a real tragedy.

"A lot of kids do use the library now, but this will hopefully encourage more to. Use it or lose it."

Mr Jarmain also mentioned how the school's ethos for this term was 'caring', which the pupils - especially year 3 who were the driving force behind the protest - were exhibiting by fighting for the library.

Cllr Susan Barker, cabinet member for customer services, has sold the new library proposals as offering more choice, being more reliant on the internet and being available 24-7.

She said: “Society has changed; libraries are not used by the majority of our residents.

"And of those residents who are library users, only one in five is an active library user.

“Technology has transformed how people read books and access information and entertainment, which is why we must look critically at our current library locations and respond to these changes."

To sign a petition urging the council to save the library go to

To give feedback on the proposals before February 20 go to