MOTHERS and residents have jumped to the defence of Southcote Library in the wake of budget proposals that could see public buildings closed down.

Emma Reeves set up an online petition to save the community hub following the announcement of a £7.24m package of potential spending cuts which is currently out to public consultation.

More than 200 people have already pledged their support for the Southcote Lane site saying that the library "has evolved in its community for its community".

Praising staff and the numerous children's activities which have helped bring families together and provide regular entertainment those signing the petition have called on the council to safeguard the site.

Mrs Reeves said on the page both her children had grown up with the various singing, reading and toy sessions on offer

She added: "Southcote Library has worked hard to build links with local primary schools, celebrating the children's work in library displays and setting up an ongoing reading challenge to encourage youngsters to read.

"This library offers friendship and conversation to anyone who walks through its door. For many it is a vital lifeline."

Reading Borough Council has insisted no decisions have been made yet as the authority seeks to balance its books and encouraged resident participation in the three-month long consultation.

To share views on the council's proposals see or in various public buildings.

Michelle Rogers, from Reading, who also signed, said: "It's an important resource to the community of all ages as well as being a fundamental part of assisting children to start a passion of reading and having access to books that they may not have at home or school.

"This library means a lot to me it's where I brought my children to rhyme times and made some true friends here."

Councillor Jo Lovelock, leader of the council, said there were no plans to close any libraries at this time but she welcomed resident interaction in support of services.

She said: "We obviously want people to get engaged in the consultation but we also need them to understand what is underpinning it which is to save all this money as a result of reductions in government grants.

"If people have ideas of things that they think could work better together that is what we are after. We are looking for what people value as well as gathering ideas for making better use of what we have."