An author is urging people to join a picnic protest about cuts to library services across Bradford.

Martyn Bedford will lead the ‘eat-in’ at Ilkley library on Easter Saturday as part of the campaign against the planned closure of five libraries – Addingham, Denholme, Heaton, Wilsden and Wrose – at the end of June as part of Bradford Council’s cost cutting measures.

Mr Bedford says although Ilkley library is not facing the axe, it is important for everyone in the district to support the cause. He wants people to bring their lunch to the library and borrow as many books as they are allowed, and hopes the protest will put pressure on council leaders to think again about the closures.

“Free and easy access to books affects us all because it is at the heart of any civilised culture and smaller branch libraries in particular play such a key role in their local communities,” Mr Bedford said.

“Libraries are a soft target for local authorities because they aren’t seen to be as vital as some other services. But for many people, especially young families, the unemployed and the elderly, who often can’t afford to buy books or travel easily to main libraries, the loss of a branch library would impoverish their quality of life.”

Mr Bedford, who lectures in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University College in Horsforth, has just written his sixth book, Flip, which is aimed at teenagers and has received positive reviews in the UK and America.

The author, who lives in Ilkley, is married to a librarian and says his love of reading and writing was fuelled by trips to the library at a young age.

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