There were several hundred people at tonight's public meeting about the future of Shirley Library - many of them standing for two hours so that they could have their say.
Pretty much everyone recognised that the Council has to take some tough financial decisions through no fault of its own. But their key message to the Council was that Shirley Library is more than just a place you go to take out books or access the internet - it is the heart of the community. Many people explained why it would be much harder for them to get to Ashburton Library or the Central Library, particularly the elderly and parents of young children - one mum movingly described how speaking to library staff was pretty much the only adult contact she had during the day.
People wanted the library to stay as it is. Several people made constructive suggestions as to other ways in which the Council could save money. But if the Council has to reduce what it spends on Shirley Library, they pleaded for it to reduce opening hours rather than closing it altogether - once it closes, it will never re-open.
I used Shirley Library when I was growing up and my boys use it occasionally with their grandma. I hope the Council listens to what people had to say tonight.