RESIDENTS are being urged to take to the streets to persuade Darlington Borough Council to save the town's libraries.

As part of a national day of action tomorrow (Saturday, February 5), a protest has been organised at Crown Street Library in Darlington town centre, where participants will be encouraged to withdraw a book from the library to show support.

Open, a collective of artists in Darlington, is backing the protest.

Poet Jo Clement, a member of the group, said the town's libraries had played a pivotal role in her upbringing and continued to influence her as an adult.

Growing up in the Lascelles area, in a household that could not afford a wide range of books, Miss Clement, 24, said she had sought refuge in the library, and it has paid dividends.

"As soon as I was allowed out I would go into town and spend every Saturday in the library," she said.

"It told me to follow my own nose and learn independently, which is much more valuable than anything I learned in school."

Miss Clement went on to study English at Leeds University, where she came out with the best degree in her year.

She is now on a post-graduate course and is a self-published poet. She said she was proof that libraries change lives.

"We need to make cuts, but we are not going to reduce the deficit in the long run if we do not nurture learning," she added.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes, cabinet member for young people's services, said no decision had been made on the library, but added that every service was under review.

A survey has been completed to get people's views on what services are available at the libraries and what they could offer in the future.

Coun Hughes said the information given would help the council in any decisions on potential changes to the library service.

She said: "Many people, myself included, value the important contribution our libraries have traditionally made to improving literacy and recognise that this important work continues even today. "Any proposals for change will recognise the important role our libraries play in the Darlington."

The protest will take place in Crown Street from noon on Saturday. All are welcome.