Volunteers sought to help save library

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CAMPAIGNERS battling to save an under-threat library are stepping up their fight in a bid to recruit community volunteers to take on running the service.

Hunmanby Library is one of eight locations which are at risk of closure as North Yorkshire County Council enforces cuts to counter a multi-million pound cash crisis.

The first meeting of the Friends of Hunmanby Library will be held on Thursday to draw up an action plan to prevent the service being axed.

A 10-strong committee was formed in April, and it is hoped the meeting will recruit more supporters. Matthew Joseph, a neighbourhood support officer with Scarborough Borough Council, has helped form the friends group.

He said: “No one in the local area wants the library to close, but we need to show that there is enough support to keep it open. The friends group is looking to explore all options, and the meeting will be an opportunity to hear people’s ideas about what should be done.”

The county council is faced with having to make £69m in savings across all its services to counter a dramatic fall in Government funding.

It was initially feared £2.3m would have to cut by 2013-14 from the annual library budget of £7.5m, although the figure has reduced to £1.7m after additional funding was found.

As many as 23 of the council’s 42 libraries were at risk, although the number has now been reduced to eight. As well as Hunmanby, other libraries which could be axed are at Barlby, Bilton and East Ayton as well as Embsay, Gargrave, Great Ayton and Masham.

Council officials are holding talks with the public to recruit volunteers to take on the under-threat locations, which could close at the end of March next year.

The Friends of Hunmanby Library’s meeting will start at 7pm on Thursday in Hunmanby Community Centre’s Parish Council Chamber.