CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save libraries from the axe have welcomed news none will close, but say they won’t be cracking open the bubbly yet.

Groups and residents across the county held protests, started petitions and carried out book raids in a bid to prevent the closures.

And the campaign also secured the backing of a host of familiar faces including David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Billy Bragg, Michael Rosen and David Baddiel.

A spokesman for Save Our Libraries Essex (Sole) said: “It is the people of Essex who deserve the credit for forcing this climbdown.

“However, we have also always insisted that opposing any move to volunteer or so-called “community-run” services is just as important as opposing all closures.

“Unfortunately, we are yet to receive any guarantees that our libraries will continue to be run by professional library staff.

“Until we have assurances we cannot count this as a victory. What this announcement does show, however, is that our campaigning has had a real effect.”

The Coggeshall Community Library Group, which staged several protests in the village over plans to make their service community-led, says it will also reserve judgment on Tuesday’s announcement until further details are revealed.

A spokesman said: “We welcome the announcement. Despite being told that protests, petitions and marches were pointless, we now know how important speaking up is.

“Coggeshall residents have shown how much they value libraries and how ill-judged the original proposals were.

“That said, we remain cautious as the announcement was devoid of any detail. It just says libraries won’t close.

“A library with one book, open for 30 minutes a month, staffed by volunteers is still ‘open’. And They haven’t addressed the real concerns with community-run options at all.

“They promised to publish a detailed strategy on Monday and we need to review that before we celebrate.

“We are hopeful that open means open, staffed, stocked and accessible – and until then, the fight continues.”

Witham North county councillor James Abbott added: “This is very good news as far as it goes but we have not seen the detail which will be published next week. All we know at the moment is that no libraries will close and there is still concern as to on what basis that will be.

“However, for now this is very welcome and a just reward for all the effort put in by campaigners and residents – including the best part of 1,000 in the Silver End area who sent in consultation responses and supported the petition to save their library.”