A group of bestselling novelists have added their weight to the campaign to save Lichfield Library.
Staffordshire County Council has drawn up plans to transfer the library from The Friary to St Mary’s in the Market Square, with its former home to be converted into private residential accomodation.
But a petition has been drawn up by the Lichfield and Burntwood Green Party – which has now been backeed by authors Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Joanne Harris.
They have been joined by children’s writers Michael Rosen, Oliver Jeffers and Francesca Simon who have shared the petition via social media.
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid wrote to the @SaveLichLibrary campaigners saying there were “few things more important than libraries”.
The support of the authors comes after a weekend when the group collected signatures from members of the public in Lichfield city centre.
“The response on Saturday from the people of Lichfield was staggering,” said campaign spokesperson Simon Partridge. “We had 1,187 sign in just under five-hours. That’s four signatures a minute!
“What we heard from people time and time again during the day was a feeling of total outrage that the county council has taken decisions regarding the library and The Friary building without any kind of public consultation.
“There are a lot of very angry people in Lichfield who feel that councillors have made these plans in secret driven by financial motives rather than the best interests of Lichfield residents.”
Added to those already collected online the 1,187 names amassed on Saturday take the petition’s total number of signatures to over 3,000. Once it reaches 5,000 it will be presented to the county council for debate.
“The people of Lichfield deserve to have their voices heard on this matter and we’re determined to make sure the county council listens,” said Simon.
Staffordshire County Council has denied that the discussions over the library have been taken in private.
Cllr Ian Parry said: “Our review of buildings has been in the public domain for some time and, given our proposals in Lichfield, will not only allow residents to benefit from a more central ground floor library, but will also safeguard the future of The Friary building, which is need of almost £1.4million of repairs.
“It is a little surprising that the Green Party should suddenly object.”