A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl has made a passionate plea to council chiefs to save her beloved library.

Rose Hickman called for Cobbett Road Library in Bitterne Park to stay open as she spoke at a full meeting of Southampton City Council yesterday.

Speaking afterwards Rose said: “I would like them to not reduce hours or take away librarians and to keep it open.

Please keep it open – it’s very important to me.

“It’s important to me because I really like the books and I like the staff because they help me to find the books I like.”

Her mum, Rachel, 41, a member of the Friends of Cobbett Road Library group, said: “She’s been going since she was tiny, alongside her sister Alyssa. She’s very passionate about it and she loves going.

“She welled up with tears when I said they were thinking of closing it.”

As reported the library, alongside facilities in Burgess Road, Thornhill, Bitterne and Weston, could close as part of a review by Labour leaders.

They say they do not want to close libraries, rather wanting community groups to take them on to save £268,000 a year but have admitted they could close if that does not happen.

Campaigners, including Rose from Bitterne Park, have launched bids to protect the libraries and spoke in front of a packed public gallery at the Civic Centre council chamber.

Council finance boss Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews said: “It will be a long conversation about the future of the libraries.

“There are no plans to take any cuts next year and we look forward to having many meetings with the interested groups as it goes forward.”

The threat to the future of the libraries was revealed in the Daily Echo last week alongside fresh plans to cut scores of jobs at the cash-strapped council.

With Labour bosses battling to plug a £31m gap in the city’s finances for 2015/16 they have proposed cutting 137 jobs, mainly in adult social care, as well as putting council tax up by 1.99 per cent and closing public toilets in Portswood and Woolston.

They have found £9.9m in oneoff funding, while they announced proposals to cut £8.1m of services and 85 other jobs earlier in the year.

They still need to find another £4.3m in savings before setting the budget in February.

Separate plans, announced in the summer, to axe the Woodside Residential Care Home, Kentish Road respite centre, services for adults with learning disabilities and another 80 jobs, will be considered next month and could be included in next year’s budget.