AUTHORS, poets and journalists have spoken out in support of the protest against cuts and closure plans for Essex libraries.

Children’s book author Michael Rosen has joined the growing list of prestigious writers who have voiced their concerns against Essex County Council’s proposal to close up to 44 libraries in the county.

Michael shared his views on Twitter after seeing a video of an 11-year-old library user rallying crowds at the Young People’s March for Libraries in Colchester and then responded in a post.

International award-winning writer A L Kennedy has also condemned the council’s plans.

She said: “Libraries are always vital. They offer everyone a source of free education, information, internet access and all the joys of reading at any age.

“More than that they offer a literal shelter from life’s storms and a venue for all kinds of activities. Libraries offer most to our weakest and most isolated citizens.”

Journalist and screenwriter Jojo Moyes added: “Cuts to libraries are among the most short-sighted savings to make. There are few resources left in our society that are free and able to both entertain and educate. Instead of closing libraries, we need to reverse the cycle of cutting budgets so that library users cannot get the books they want when they want them.”

The Save Our Libraries Essex march took place in April and saw children marching through Colchester to oppose plans which could affect libraries in Prettygate, Stanway, Wivenhoe, Mersea and Tiptree.

They also marched through Manningtree against the closure of Manningtree Library.

Bestselling author Kes Gray said: “When libraries close, enquiring minds close with them.

“Libraries are an open invitation for children to freely engage with the world, to read, to explore, to enquire and escape.”

Acclaimed poet and columnist Martin Newell will be speaking at the Save Our Libraries rally in Chelmsford on June 8.

He said: “I look upon the proposed closure of so many of our county’s libraries as a humanitarian matter rather than a political one. How can I stand by and allow those in charge, to take a step so retrograde its net outcome will be an increase in our collective ignorance?”

An Essex County Council spokesman added: “The proposed changes to the library service are driven by the steep decline in use of libraries over the last ten years and the way society has changed. The council needs to respond to this and make a library service that is relevant to how we live now and is fit for the future.

“No decisions about any libraries have been made yet. After the full analysis of the survey results is completed, the final version of the strategy will be presented to Cabinet in the summer.”