SCHOOLCHILDREN have presented a petition to stop their library closing to the councillor making the decision.

Youngsters Nina and Robert handed over their campaign on behalf of pupils at Buryfields Infant School and Mayhill Junior School.

The pair were joined by North Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, who too is appealing to Cllr Seán Woodward to keep Odiham Library open.

The library is at risk along with two others on the Gazette's patch. This newspaper launched its Save Our Libraries appeal in January after Hampshire County Council disclosed plans to shut down ten establishments across the county.

Public consultation is closing on Wednesday, March 13, with a decision about the library's future likely to be made later this year.

More than 100 people signed Mr Jayawardena’s petition in the one month it was running, created after the Gazette launched its Save Our Libraries appeal.

Mr Jayawardena handed over a hard copy of his formal response to HCC’s consultation also. This argued against either the closure of Odiham Library or the cutting of opening hours, but rather suggested other possible ways that HCC could secure the future of local libraries.

Mr Jayawardena MP said: “The support for my petition locally has demonstrated just how valued Odiham Library is in our community – as well as the strength of local opinion against any closure.

“I’ve been particularly impressed by the young, avid readers who’ve proactively gathered petition signatures from their schoolmates and I was delighted to help them present it to the council too.

“I know many residents were disappointed to learn that Hampshire County Council had identified Odiham Library as a potential site for closure under their library services review though, as I’ve previously highlighted, while I’m not here to defend Hampshire County Council, in fairness to them, it is important to make clear that their consultation does not necessarily herald the closure of Odiham Library.

"Nonetheless, I believed it was important to show the strength of local feeling. “I do believe that there are some solutions available to us to keep Odiham open. My formal response to Hampshire County Council's consultation highlighted other ways that they can secure the future of our libraries, such as expanding their commercial property portfolio – like Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has. However, even if HCC did decide that they don’t wish to run our local library any longer, I am sure a community-led solution can be found, like in Kingsclere."

If you haven't already, you can complete the consultation here:”