The chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust has backed efforts to stop half of Moray’s secondary school libraries being closed.
The plans were launched in May last year as part of the local authority’s attempts to make £7.6million of savings.
But the move means that half of the region’s school librarians could also lose their jobs.
Local MSP Richard Lochhead has objected to the plans along with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the leading professional body for librarians in Scotland.
Now Marc Lambert, the chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, a national charity set up to inspire people to read and write, has backed efforts to stop the proposed cuts.
He said: “While we appreciate that local authorities are operating in a very difficult financial environment with budgets coming under a lot of strain, the role of school librarian is not one that should be allowed to disappear.
“Literacy is a gateway to accessing the rest of the curriculum. Many school librarians are the centre of school life, organising and creating ways for children to develop a love of books and inspiring them to build on their own creativity throughout their time in education.
“Investing in this area can have a very positive impact across all areas of a pupil’s school life, in turn impacting their future and life opportunities.
“As a charity that works closely with schools to encourage all aspects of reading and writing, we know the incredible work school librarians do and are supportive of the Scottish School Library Strategy currently being developed.
“We support the need for, and importance of, school librarians whose worth and impact far exceeds the investment made in them.”
Moray MSP Mr Lochhead backed his intervention, calling it “significant”.
He stressed that plans to reduce support staff such as librarians and technicians was completely counterproductive at a time when the council was struggling to recruit teachers.
He added: “Not only will these proposals have a detrimental impact on kids’ education and attainment but also on teacher workload.”