Villagers crammed into the Memorial Hall in Aldbourne on Thursday to make it clear to councillors and senior council officers that they want their library to stay open.

They also called for it to be run by librarian Trish Rushen rather than by volunteers.

One mother, Claire Ashley, went as far as to say she would have to stop her two children going to the library on their own if it was run by volunteers because she would be unsure who would be dealing with them.

Parish councillor Alison Edmonds produced a bundle of letters from year 2 pupils at St Michael’s School pleading for the library to remain open for ten hours a week as at present and not see its hours cut to five, and run by volunteers.

After a long and at times vociferous meeting villagers came up with a solution that Wiltshire Council libraries portfolio holder John Thomson said would be acceptable; Aldbourne Parish Council raising its precept to find the £5,000 needed to keep the library open as at present.

There was standing room only in the Memorial Hall as about 100 villagers pressed home the fact that they would not hear of their library closing, of reduced hours or of volunteers taking over from Mrs Rushen.

As part of ongoing cuts Wiltshire Council is proposing reduced services at all 31 libraries and has suggested that smaller libraries like Aldbourne and Ramsbury should be taken over by the communities and run by volunteers with support from professional librarians.

The meeting was chaired by parish council chairman and Wiltshire councillor Chris Humphries. He said: “We all realise the importance of local facilities. Nothing would give me greater satisfaction as a result of this meeting and pressure being put on my colleagues than to see the status quo prevail.”

The meeting was told that neighbouring Ramsbury had decided to run its library with volunteers but the Aldbourne villagers were adamant they wanted to keep Mrs Rushen.

Resident Di Lott was applauded when she said the children in particular depended on the help and knowledge of the librarian. “We need Trish and we need our library,” she said.

The meeting was told £5,000 would be saved by introducing volunteers to help run Aldbourne library which led one villager to comment: “£5,000 or £6,000 to keep our library open is peanuts.” Resident Alan Watson said: “If the parish council put up its precept to raise this money would you accept that?”

Coun Humphries said: “If that figure is one that would keep the library open then I am sure we (the parish council) would contribute towards it.”