THE possible closure of seven libraries has caused uproar among residents who say they are vital to the community.

East Sussex County Council will discuss the closures next week after reviewing the impact on the public.

The libraries at risk are in Langney, Mayfield, Ore, Pevensey Bay, Polegate, Ringmer and Willingdon.

Latest figures show the number of people using libraries has dropped by 40 per cent in the past ten years, with more people opting to use online libraries instead.

Polegate resident Ann Wells, who has lived in the town since 1967, uses the library every week.

She said: “I use it for a variety of things and it is always busy in there.

“I cannot understand why they want to close it.

“Since I’ve been here it has always been used regularly. It’s a crucial part of the community – it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

The proposals, which will be discussed by county council cabinet members next Tuesday will, it’s claimed, leave 92 per cent of library users unaffected, with 100 per cent of the members of the seven libraries living within a 20-minute drive of the remaining 17.

More than 96 per cent could make the journey via public transport within half an hour, according to the council.

Wendy Alexander, a Polegate town councillor, strongly opposes the potential closure of the library.

She said: “It is an utter disgrace.

“I will do everything I can to stop the library being closed.

“What about people who don’t have internet access? I think this is an outrage.

“Our library is part of the community and it is still used regularly.”

The move would save the council £653,000 if it is to be approved, and members of the public are invited to comment on the consultation, which runs for 12 weeks from September through to December.

Nick Skelton, the county council’s assistant director for communities, said: “The need for significant savings, due to cuts in funding from central government, has left us with no option but to review how our library service is delivered.

“It is vital we focus our resources where they will make the biggest difference, through services which help children to learn to read and write and adults to find jobs and learn digital skills.

“While the county’s libraries remain popular there are far fewer visits today than there were a decade ago, while at the same time the use of the e-library has increased.

“These proposals would allow us to expand the services and materials available online.”