New appeal over cuts in library opening times

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COUNCIL chiefs are urging North Yorkshire communities to stop library opening hours being slashed as a public consultation comes to an end this month.

As part of North Yorkshire County Council’s proposals to transfer the running of many of its 42 libraries to volunteers in a bid to counter £69m in Government cuts, opening hours are also planned to be dramatically reduced.

The county council has written to town and parish councils and other partners asking for comments, and proposed revised opening hours have been distributed via libraries throughout the county.

With the consultation coming to a close at the end of this month, the county council says it is now “challenging” volunteers to help libraries keep open for longer.

Coun Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for library services, said: “We have been working very hard over the last year to extend our partnership working with our partners, including parish, town and district councils.

“As a result of excellent partnership working, this means that in some cases we will actually be able to deliver an increase in library opening hours for local communities.”

Under its new library proposals, considered by the county council’s executive last month, all North Yorkshire’s branch libraries would be retained, with the exception of Malton and Norton libraries which would be merged into one.

However, it is understood Hunmanby library – one of eight branches earmarked for closure next year unless volunteers take over the running of it – still currently does not have a viable scheme.

Under the new plans, opening hours are expected to increase at Malton library, where the town’s tourist information centre is being relocated, and Leyburn library, where the community office is moving into the building at Thornborough Hall.