A LIBRARY that a council wants to shut to save money is holding Cleckheaton's first-ever literature festival next month.

Author of Chocolat, Joanne Harris will be among known literary names at the three-day event starting on Thursday, May 7 encouraging people to pick up a book and enjoy a good read.

The festival will be a mix of workshops, talks and children’s activities and most of the events will be at the library.

Campaigners bidding to save it from closing have gathered 3,700 signatures on a petition. The Grade II-listed building in Whitcliffe Road is under threat as Kirklees Council needs to reduce its £5.75 million library services budget by £3.2m by 2018.

Cleckheaton councillor John Lawson (Lib Dem), who started off the petition with his fellow town councillors, said the festival was proof the library needed saving.

"What we are saying is that libraries are important to local groups and act as a springboard for lots of different initiatives, such as starting up festivals like this one - having a library is not just about borrowing books.

"We are not expecting any news on the next round of cuts until after the election. As well as the library facing closure, so is the council-run sports centre at Whitcliffe School less than half-a-mile away. To lose a library and a sports centre would be devastating to this community."

For anyone interested in creative writing at the festival there will be screenwriting workshops with Steve Moore, fantasy writing with Justina Roberts, sci-fi writing with Ian C Douglas, writing for young adults with Martyn Bedford and life writing with Alison Lock.

There will also be a chance to meet and listen to readings by authors Jason Hewitt, Mark Wright, Horatio Clare, Lauren Owen, Helen Cadbury, Alison Taft, Leigh Russell and Joanne Harris among others.

Gillian Rogerson who wrote Happy Birthday Santa, The Smallest Hero, and Teddy Bear Scare and You Can’t Eat a Princess, will be running a Saturday morning children’s activity.

There will be two free family activities on Saturday, May 9 at West End Park with Chol Theatre’s Spin A Silly Story session in a giant orange inflatable dome at 11am and then Johnny Woodhams Story Trail at 3.30pm using detective work and exploration to tell a tale.

And for Saturday night entertainment there is The Adventures of Andy Kershaw, from 7.30pm to late at Whitcliffe Mount School. The one man show has already been a successful highlight at literature festivals, drawing crowds at theatres and arts centres across the UK - tickets are available from £8

Cleckheaton Literature Festival was founded in January 2015 and is a community-wide collaboration to spread the love of literature to a wider audience, especially children.

Festival partners include Cleckheaton Writers Group, The Friends of West End Park, Kirklees Council, Creative Scene, Reading Matters, Spenborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce and others.

Tickets for the activities are available at cleckheatonliteraturefestival.ticketsource.co.uk