AN 11-year-old hailed as the saviour of Essex’s libraries has spoken out about her experience leading the campaign – and why she is still concerned.

If the plans had gone ahead, 25 libraries would have closed and 19 of the remaining 49 would be staffed and run by community groups.

There have been protests, petitions and book raids. As thousands fought for the future of our libraries, one group of people stood out from the crowd.

Among them was 11-year-old Josefine Backman Juliff.

The Hamilton Primary School pupil made it her mission to spread the word about the importance of the service.

And Josefine has been instrumental in giving young people a voice in the discussions.

Josefine, who starts secondary school at Paxman Academy in September, also went out of her comfort zone to give an impassioned speech to more than 600 people.

Josefine didn’t stop there decorating a window at her home with information on how to save the libraries and giving out leaflets.

Last week campaigners celebrated as County Hall announced it would not be closing any libraries.

Josefine, who was born in Sweden, has welcomed the news but has called for more investment.

With a wisdom beyond her years she said: “ I am happy but I won’t believe it until I see it.

“I’m hoping that they will start investing in them instead.

“Libraries are so important, schools have libraries and if they are not important then schools wouldn’t have them.

“Libraries are for everyone, young, old, poor, rich. Sometimes things cost, but it is an investment and they should invest in us, the young people as we will one day run this country. For us to be well educated we need our libraries.”

Under the council’s plans some libraries may end up being run by volunteer groups. But Josefine said: “For a library to be successful, there needs to be well trained staff.

“I heard the county council wants some libraries to be run my volunteers. That will never work as people are too busy with their lives and when I grow up I will be busy working to pay bills. For me it’s so important to hold a book, not read a book on the computer or phone.

“I have been campaigning for the libraries because I feel they are so important. My mother told me that I have a voice and I have to use it myself if I want to change something.”