ANGRY villagers on Nuneaton's doorstep have been told their library will close unless they come forward with a `robust' business plan to save it.
Half the population of Bulkington have signed a petition urging Warwickshire County Council to take the library off a closure `hit list'.
More than 3,000 people have added their signatures to the petition which is to be handed over to councillor Alan Farnell, the Nuneaton-based leader of the county, before a meeting of the cabinet at Shire Hall tomorrow.
The cabinet will then discuss proposals to review the library services in Warwickshire at the start of a consultation process.
But John Beaumont, chairman of Bulkington Children's Centre and one of the protest leaders, said: "We have been told that unless we come up with a robust business plan the council will `vacate' the building.
"That is not really a consultation process. It is dreadful - they are flying in the face of public opinion and our petition represents half the population of the village."
He is at the forefront of the campaign, along with his wife Mary, a former Bulkington councillor and Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Darrell Buckley, chair of the Old People's Forum.
"We currently have 3,095 signatures and it will climb because we have more to collect, but this consultation is really weird. They are setting the agenda," he said.
As well as signing the petition, hundreds of people attended a stormy public meeting at the War Memorial Club in the village to make their voices heard.
As a result of the meeting, a steering committee has been set up: "After the petition has been handed over we will meet to decide what further path to take," said John Beaumont.
He added: "If Bulkington Library is not removed from the list for closure at tomorrow's cabinet meeting, despite the clear message given to our MP Mark Pawsey and our county councillor John Ross by local residents at the public meeting, we will move forward in order to protect our library services."
Sixteen libraries across the county are living on borrowed time, but Mary Beaumont said: "People are annoyed because this is not a branch library.
"Bulkington is the largest village in Warwickshire. You are talking about a population of 6,000 and it also serves the villages of Barnacle, Ansty and Shilton as well."
She added: "It is not just a library, it is a community centre for all of the village and it is busy. Figures show that 40,000 books were issued in 2009/10."
Campaigners from the village will joined Mark Pawsey MP and county councillor John Ross to hand over the petition on the steps of Shire Hall tomorrow.
A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said the consultation will begin after Warwickshire County Council's cabinet has met tomorrow at which point details will be available on the council website.
As part of the decision-making process, discussions with communities will look at a range of options for the provision of a library service for the community.
They will include the local community delivering library services, working in partnership to deliver library services from another building or using the existing building to deliver extra services to provide income to maintain a library service.
The Library and Information Service already works with many volunteers on a regular basis and, through consultation, communities may express an interest in providing a volunteer-run service.
But a linked document from the county council website says: "Communities would need to come forward with a robust business case for operating their own service, which we will explore with them.
"The business case will need to cover all the associated costs e.g. buildings, and would need to take account of the on-costs and resource implications which would also need careful consideration.
"If no sustainable option is identified, Warwickshire County Council will vacate the building at that location."