POPULAR children's author Sandra Horn is backing a campaign to save one of five closure-threatened libraries in Southampton.

Sandra was one of several people who helped a group called Friends of Cobbett Road Library stage a day of free activities at the facility on Saturday.

Members marked National Libraries Day by highlighting the importance of the building, which has been at the heart of the community since 1939.

Sandra, who took part in storytelling sessions for children, said she was "devastated" when she first heard that the city council was planning to axe the service to save money.

"It's such a good library - very strongly supported and very well used," she said. "There would be no justification for closing it.

"Books should be freely available to everyone. They're our cultural heritage and feed children's imaginations - I can't stress too strongly how important that is."

Plans to close libraries across the city were put forward 18 months ago in a move aimed at saving the city council £268,000 a year.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the Cobbett Road facility looks set to be taken over by Social Care in Action (SCA), a not-for-profit group with experience in running community buildings that were previously managed by statutory agencies.

The organisation wants to turn the much-loved library into a community hub where different groups can stage a range of activities.

Kevin Lancashire, chairman of the Friends group, said: "Before Christmas we thought that's it - closure. It was very difficult to be positive but the air of negativity that existed at the time has changed to one of positivity.

"We're very hopeful that the library will stay open, but we need the council to work with us during a period of transition."

Rachel Hickman, secretary of the group, added: "The library is at the heart of the community. It's the only place where you can mix with people of all ages and backgrounds."

The four other libraries set to lose their city council funding on March 31 are Millbrook, Thornhill, Weston and Burgess Road.

However, a total of seven groups have come forward with proposals to take on each of the facilities.

Three libraries not under threat of closure are the ones in Bitterne, Portswood and the city centre. They marked National Libraries Day by staging a variety of activities including Zany Zebra workshops.