LIBRARY campaigners held a mass demonstration in an attempt to save the town’s under-threat facilities.

More than 50 protesters from the Save Bolton Libraries Campaign lobbied councillors outside the Town Hall last night, before a meeting of Bolton Council.

Nine libraries are under threat in a reorganisation of the council's library services. The shake-up, which could see several of the libraries close, is set to save £400,000 to £500,000.

Ian McHugh, secretary of the campaign group, said: “The main thing is to let our councillors know the strength of feeling about these proposals.

“The issue needs to come up at local area forums and there needs to be a proper meeting about it at the Town Hall.

“If this is to be a proper consultation then when it is complete, the proposals must be put to the people of Bolton.”

Under the proposals, the central library and township libraries in Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton are safe, but opening hours and services could be changed.

Libraries being considered for closure are at Harwood; High Street, Daubhill; Astley Bridge; The Orchards, Farnworth; Bromley Cross; Heaton; Oxford Grove, Halliwell; Castle Hill, Tonge Moor; and Breightmet.

The libraries are being assessed on criteria ranging from closeness to other libraries, to the condition of the building.

A protest outside Harwood Library collected 600 signatures in just two hours.

And more than 200 people attended a mass read-in at Astley Bridge Library last week.

Petitions have also been started at other libraries across the borough.

Ahead of the full council meeting, Bolton Council deputy leader Cllr Linda Thomas said: “Clearly people are very concerned because we all value our libraries, but nothing will be decided until the end of the consultation.”

The council is urging everyone from library users and members of the public to staff and partner organisations to have their say at libraries