A BOOK was taken out every four seconds at Wiveliscombe Library on Friday in an organised protest.

Locals turned out in force to take out as many tomes as they could in 90 minutes as part of attempts to fend off closure threats.

And as soon as they had finished clearing several shelves, they returned to hand the books back in.

Young and old readers took part in the 'hands off our library' initiative.

Pauline Homeshaw, who was among the protesters, said: "Around 1,500 books were taken out in a period of an hour and a half.

"It was a great response from all sorts of people and great work by the librarians, who had the massive task of checking all the books out and then checking them back in.

"Another great team of volunteers helped take them all back into the library in order and type, to get them back on the shelves ready for business next day."

Somerset County Council is currently consulting on proposals to close 15 of its 34 libraries if "community involvement" to keep them open is not forthcoming.

The authority has suggested that Wiveliscombe Library could be run by volunteers or even replaced by a mobile service.

But members of Friends of Wiveliscombe Library say there is a need to keep the service as it is because it is well used, attracing 23,000 visits a year.

The Friends group is compiling its formal response to the county, arguing to maintain the status quo.