2:30pm Tuesday 28th December 2010
By Gemma Casey
A BEST-SELLING Cotswold author has backed a campaign to fight library closures across the district.
Joanna Trollope (pictured), who used to live in Coln St Aldwyns, has pledged her support to the Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries, a campaign group set up to fight controversial plans to cut several of the county libraries.
Last month, Gloucestershire County Council announced that they planned to cut library services by 43 per cent as part of its massive bid to save £108million over the next four years.
FGL was set up to battle the plans.
In a letter to the FGL, Joanna heralded the work of the group to fight the proposals.
She said: "In only hope that the council has the intelligence and the grace to listen to objections and to change their minds before Gloucestershire becomes a byword for depriving the very people, who need and value it most, of a vital and hardly expensive service."
Under the proposals libraries at Fairford, Tetbury and Chipping Campden will become Library Express branches. Opening hours would be reduced to three and a half days a week and a smaller range of stock.
Moreton-in-Marsh and Bourton-on-the-Water will become Library Links, where a small book selection will be available on a self-service.
Lechlade library will become community-run, relying on volunteers to run it and the community to pay for it.
Children's Laureate, author and illustrator Anthony Browne also voiced his support.
He said he backed the campaign "against such horrendously damaging cuts to the library service."
"Welcoming, well-stocked and staffed libraries are absolutely essential to any civilised community."
Earlier messages of support also came from Stroud-based children's author John Dougherty and Cheltenham-born author Anna Bowles.
Demelza Jones, of FGL, said it was fantastic to have the support of acclaimed authors.
"It is a real boost to our campaigners, who are working incredibly hard collecting petition signatures, raising their concerns with councillors and MPs, and informing people across the county about the damage these cuts risk to our library service," she said.
To join the petition to save Gloucestershire's libraries go to foclibrary.wordpress.com The group needs 5,000 signatures by December 31 to force GCC councillors to vote on whether to hold an independent review of its library plans.
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