AN internationally-renowned poet has thrown his support behind a campaign to save public libraries in Kirklees from closure.

Simon Armitage is backing the Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield branch of Unite Community's campaign of petitions, demonstrations and lobbies.

The group's next protest will be outside Huddersfield town hall tomorrow at 9am. Kirklees Council is closing two of its 26 libraries and proposing to have eight fully-staffed by professional librarians - including libraries in Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Birstall. The authority is proposing the remaining libraries are run by the community.

Mr Armitage, who is from Huddersfield, said: "I wholeheartedly support all efforts to save the libraries in Kirklees, especially those in outlying communities.

"If the Council goes ahead, 18 libraries will shut unless volunteers come forward to run them. One hundred jobs will be lost."

June Holmes, of Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield Unite Community, said: "More than one person has told us that the library is their lifeline. The council has £100 million in reserves and balances and for less than £2 million the libraries can be kept open and fully staffed."