Cuts-struck communities across Britain are rallying to mark National Libraries Day tomorrow, even as councils close hundreds of the much-loved institutions.
Celebrations backed by teachers and council workers' unions, writers' groups and dozens of other organisations will take place as the coalition government's austerity budget pressures councils to close many libraries altogether.
In Newcastle, where the Labour-led council plans to close more than half of the city's 18 libraries, councillors this week dismissed a 5,000-strong petition to defy the cuts entirely, saying the demand was illegal.
Mark Tyers of Save Newcastle Libraries said they were disappointed but would keep campaigning.
"I would be surprised if more than 5,000 people have even taken part in their own consultation process so I would suggest our petition is more representative of the feeling of people in the city," he said.
In London volunteers at the Friern Barnet library have been enjoying their first week of officially reopening as a trust - the end of a two-year long battle that saw squatting Occupy "caretakers" and residents personally restock the shelves and fend off a council eviction.
Volunteer librarian David Parker told the Morning Star he now hoped to see similar tactics across the country: "It takes a broad coalition of political campaigners and local people."
And north of the border in towns like Falkirk, libraries continue to face closures and cut hours.
Local librarian and Unison branch secretary Gray Allan said: "We need improved services, not to make it harder for people to access a library."