The campaign to save a library in North Lanarkshire from the threat of closure has been backed by one of America's iconic modern writers.

The Scottish writer, columnist and playwright Damian Barr, who wrote the book Maggie & Me about growing up in Newarthill in the 1980s, launched a petition to save the library, which is threatened with closure.

It has attracted the support of a number of writers, as well as members of the community, including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Sathnam Sanghera, M G Leonard and Amanda Craig, among others.

However the petition took a trans-Atlantic twist when Armistead Maupin, best known for his Tales of the City series of novels set in San Francisco, pledged his support to the campaign.

Barr has met and written about Maupin and the writer joined the campaign and signed the petition, which now has more garnered more than 600 names.

Barr said he had been heartened by not only the support from fellow writers but the reaction of the local community.

"I have an emotional connection to the library but the argument to keep it open is very practical - people use it, it is part of the community," he said.

Maupin added on the Twitter social media site of Mr Barr, "Any library that produced you is a friend of mine."

The library is one of several in North Lanarkshire which could close to help the authority save £400,000.

The arms length body Culture NL, which runs museums and libraries in the area, has seen its budget cut by more than £1m and £450,000 in additional cost pressures.

The other libraries which could be affected are those in Petersburn, Old Monkland and Craigneuk.

Barr writes on the petition: "The Library is where I hid when things were tough at home. I sat on the floor between the shelves where nobody else could see me and did my homework or devoured the latest Stephen King because I couldn't take it out with my green children's card. "Here is where bullies wouldn't follow me, the book dust in the air was fatal to them, or maybe it was the librarian staring them down from over her specs.

"Here is where I found the words to start to make a different life for myself. "I am a writer now because of the books I read there and then."

He adds: "When we close libraries we shut doors to the future, we slam them closed and chain them and put men with dogs in front of them.

"I know my own story would have ended very differently without Newarthill Library. It inspired and protected me."

Culture NL has pointed out that Newarthill library is "not well used" and is two miles from New Stevenston library, which will remain open.

The number of mobile libraries in the area will also be reduced from five to three.

North Lanarkshire Council, which is the landlord of the buildings concerned, will make recommendations on their future use, including community asset transfer.

A four week public consultation on future priorities for both libraries and community facilities, beginning 16 May.

Service users can take part in an online questionnaire and there will be a series of information sessions in a number of libraries and community facilities across North Lanarkshire.