Volunteers booked up to run axed library

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A NORTH Yorkshire library re-opens to the public today after a group of volunteers rescued it from council cutbacks and took control themselves.

Ayton Library was one of eight closed on March 31, as part of North Yorkshire County Council’s plans to transfer the running of many of its 42 libraries to volunteers to counter £69m spending cuts.

The decision was made despite North Yorkshire, which is England’s largest rural county, bucking the national trend for several years, with visitor numbers and membership increasing.

But today following six months of work by volunteers, the library is being re-opened as the Derwent Valley BRIDGE, with a catchment area that includes East and West Ayton, Hutton Buscel, Wykeham, Brompton, Sawdon and Snainton, East and West Heslerton, Sherburn, Ganton, Staxton, Seamer and Irton.

Suzanne Carr, a member of the steering group that has been working with the County Council to put together the plan to transfer the responsibility of running the library to the local community, said: “We will be using the same building on Pickering Road in West Ayton and we will be providing all the same services that were provided by the county council.

“The big difference is that the library will be staffed entirely by volunteers and the steering group will be responsible for the organisation of the library and all the running costs.”

More than 30 local volunteers have already been trained up to help with the running of the library although more are being urged to come forward.

Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for the library and information service, has hailed the response by local communities to take over the axed libraries as “a tremendous achievement”.