Protesters assembled for a rally in Bolton town centre today as part of the national Save Our Libraries Day campaign.

More than 70 people made up of trade unions, users and staff gathered on the steps of Bolton Central Library to show the strength of feeling against plans to close some of the borough’s libraries.

They started singing “Read all about it, they are going to shut out libraries down”.

All ages attended with many representing their local libraries, many shoppers stopped to sign the petition.

Town hall bosses are to carry out a review of libraries, with a view to closing those, which they say are under-used or no-longer fit for purpose.

It is thought the libraries in the townships — Bolton, Farnworth, Westhoughton, Horwich, Blackrod and Little Lever — will be safe.

But it means libraries in Breightmet, Astley Bridge, Bromley Cross, Heaton, High Street in Daubhill, Castle Hill, Tonge Moor, Oxford Grove in Halliwell, The Orchards in Farnworth and Harwood could all face the axe.

And on Saturday, the local protest was one of many taking part across the country against the controversial plans.

Martin Challender, of the Bolton Metro branch of Unison, said: “There has been an excellent turnout, with 75 people attending.

“Users and staff are very concerned about these proposals. Some people cannot afford to blue books. These proposals will affect all groups, children, students, people who need the internet, the unemployed.”

He added: “But protests like these work, libraries have been saved by people who have campaigned against the closure of libraries. In Bury a library was saved because people protested.”

Many users spoke of their upset at the possible loss of the local libraries, Mary Carter, aged 59, from Astley Bridge said: “Five generations of my family have used the library.

“I use it and when I was younger I used it do my homework. To take away that pleasure and happiness from families is criminal.”

She added: “Libraries are a lifeline for the community.”

Others including Alwynne Cartmell of the Bolton branch of the National Union of Teachers said the action would set a dangerous precedent for the country’s heritage and warned museums could be next as well as impacting on education standards in Bolton.

Seven-years-old Georjia Tighe from Heaton said: “I am here to help save the libraries. Libraries are very important they have books and information. I will be very upset if they close.”

Val Chadwick, library assistant at Little Lever said: “I feel stunned at the news to close libraries. They are essential.”

And she and her colleagues Lorraine Highfield at Horwich and Ruth Philpott at Farnworth warned that once libraries are closed they will have gone forever.

A public meeting will take place on Monday, March 14 at 6pm at Bolton Central Library as part of the campaign to “Save Bolton Libraries”.