WRITER and poet Blake Morrison has thrown his weight behind a campaign fighting proposed cuts to Skipton Library.

Morrison, a former pupil of Ermysted's Grammar School, who was brought up in Thornton-in-Craven, said many owed a debt to the library.

"Libraries are a vital resource to any community and many of us owe a debt to Skipton Library, as a source of learning, pleasure, stimulation and solace," he said.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently reviewing the way its libraries in Skipton, Ingleton, Settle and Bentham are run.

It is proposing running Skipton as a 'core' library, but replacing 40 per cent of its current professional staff with volunteers, and turning the other libraries over to their communities.

It is consulting on the proposed changes until February next year, and will implement the changes if agreed in early 2017.

But Morrison, the writer of And When Did You Last See Your Father and the poem Pendle Witches, said it was vital the library maintained its professional staff.

"However, valuable the contribution made by volunteers, no library can operate successfully, let alone be a centre of excellence, without experienced, and qualified staff at the helm.

"If cuts are made to the number of librarians it employs, Skipton Library and those who use it will be much the poorer - children especially."

A drop-in session at Skipton Library on Thursday last week was attended by several parents and schoolchildren.

Katie Taylor, co-founder of the website MooBaaKids, which is encouraging people to take part in the council consultation, said many were unhappy about the proposed loss of qualified staff and a lack of clarity as to what it actually meant in numbers.

"Our point has always been that the proposals lack clarity. There isn’t sufficient detail for people to properly consider what is being proposed – the question we have asked and failed to get a response to time and again - how many professional library staff will remain in public-facing roles," she said.

"There were views after the consultation that it felt like the council going through the motions – with some complaining the exercise seemed very focussed on actually recruiting volunteers."

A drop-in session will take place at Bentham Library on Wednesday, December 3, from 2pm to 6pm, and at Cross Hills Library on Friday, December 12, from 3pm to 7pm.

For more information about the consultation go to the council website northyorks.gov.uk/libraryconsultation.