CHILDREN’S author John Dougherty is supporting a protest against proposed cuts to library services in Gloucestershire, which include the closure of 12 libraries including Minchinhampton and Painswick.

He is backing the Stroud Against Cuts Campaign and plans to attend a demonstration outside Stroud library in Lansdown on Monday, December 20 at 1.45pm.

GCC is hoping that volunteers will take over the running of libraries in Minchinhampton and Painswick.

Meanwhile, staff will be cut from libraries in Stonehouse and Nailsworth, which will switch to self-service machines with a smaller stock and relocate to alternative buildings.

Mr Dougherty, who lives in Rodborough, collected nearly 200 signatures at Stroud farmers' market on Saturday, where several local authors were running a book stall.

He will be sending the petition to the Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.

"I understand there have to be cuts across the board but these are not just cuts, it is the devastation of our public services," he said.

"We are seeing literacy levels slipping year on year. Libraries are places where children learn to develop a pleasure for reading. If we get rid of libraries then children do not learn to read for fun. We will have a nation where our cultural and intellectual life is impoverished."

Founder of the campaign group Chris Moore said: "We do not agree with what the county council is proposing which is the threat of closure of 12 libraries and reduced opening hours for libraries and self service facilities."

GCC Mark Hawthorne said: "Councils across the UK are significantly rethinking library services and we feel the strategy we are proposing is the right way forward for Gloucestershire. It is affordable and focuses on working much more closely with communities and with other people who deliver services locally."

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council is offering the public the chance to have their say on the library cuts.

Drop-in sessions will be held at Stroud library on Monday, December 20, from 2pm to 5pm and at Minchinhampton library on Thursday, January 20 from 2pm to 5pm.

An online consultation can be found at