New chapter for library services

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Whitby Library may end up being manned by volunteers under new plans to cut more council costs.

North Yorkshire County Council has seen its library budget cut by more than £3 million over a ten year period and this week started a three month consultation programme on changing how it operates its libraries.

Under the proposals there will be core, hybrid and community libraries wih varying degrees of finance and resources being put in by the council.

Whitby is set to become a’hybrid’ library meaning that it will have one paid worker while the rest of the staff will be volunteers.

The county council is now appealing for people interested in becoming a volunteer at Whitby Library to get in touch.

It says that Whitby remains a large and busy library catering for a significant population.

County Cllr Chris Metcalfe, member for library and information services said: “Libraries are community assets an d with the enormous financial pressures the County Council is under, we need to appeal to the communties themselves to help keep as many libraries as possible open and available to all those who use them.”

By 2020 the county council will have seen its library budget fall from around £7.8 million in 2010 to a suggested £4.2 million for 2019-2020.

The reduction is part of a cut of some £167 million in council spending.

Throughout this month and December there will be a series of public consultations held in local libraries.

The last major cutback to library services was brought in three years ago and saw branch libraries being taken on by volunteers just to stay open.