CULTURE minister Ed Vaizey popped into Salisbury Library on Saturday.

Mr Vaizey was in the area and wanted to visit a local library as it was National Libraries Day.

He was given a tour by Wiltshire Council’s head of libraries Joan Davies, cabinet member Stuart Wheeler and libraries service development manager Chris Harling.

He said: “When you come to a library like this you see it’s a very important part of the community. People love coming in with their kids and people of all ages like to browse, borrow books and use the internet.

“It feels a very friendly and inviting place. Sometimes public buildings can be intimidating but it feels warm and welcoming here.”

A number of events were going on at libraries around the country on Saturday to celebrate the value of the public library service. In Wiltshire there were craft activities and author readings at libraries in Mere, Warminster, Westbury, Pewsey, Wootton Bassett and Marlborough.

In Downton members of Downton & Redlynch WI organised an event to rally support for the local library as part of Love Your Libraries Week. At 1.15pm there were stories and songs for young children, followed by readings from well-known novels and poems for older children and adults.

The WI were also looking for signatures for an online petition to save the UK’s library service, which is facing mounting pressure from the government to cut costs. They need 10,000 signatures to get the government to hold a House of Commons debate on the issue.

Mr Vaizey believes libraries are still important in our internet-dominated society. “I do think there’s something special about coming into a library and I think people who think they don’t need their library would be surprised at what they can get there with the reference books and subscriptions that libraries have.”