REVISED plans for the future of Essex’s libraries has been given the green light.

Under the proposals, the council has promised no libraries will close in the next five years.

The original proposals could have seen 25 libraries closed and of the 49 staying open, 19 could have been run by community groups.

However, it will look to set up community-run libraries, which will be given a grant of £18,000 split across three years to help them run.

Dozens of campaigners and councillors spoke at the cabinet meeting yesterday.

After an hour and half of questions from the public to libraries boss Susan Barker and council leader David Finch, the five recommendations were given the nod.

Earlier in the morning campaigners had marched on County Hall as they condemned the libraries strategy as a “closure plan by stealth”.

Ahead of the meeting Save Our Libraries Essex said: “Their plan A has been scuppered, and their plan B is simply the same plan dressed up with meaningless sound bites about ‘community libraries’.”

At the meeting 11-year-old Colchester campaigner Josefine Backman-Juliff quizzed Mrs Barker on whether there would still be librarian jobs when she was an adult.

Mrs Barker said: “There will be libraries in the future.”

Campaigners also questioned the council on a lack of investment in the past ten years and the pressure volunteer services would put on members of the public.

Mrs Barker said: “There will be no closures of any libraries in the next five years. If a community wants to come forward with ideas we will talk to them.

“We will not force any libraries to become community libraries in the next five years.”