Public opposition halts library decision

A DECISION on the future of local libraries and the mobile library has been postponed because of the level of public feeling.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) consulted with the public on plans to change the library services across Whitby and the local villages as part of a bid to deal with the government cuts.

Plans meant that local libraries and the mobile library - which is particularly popular with the elderly who find it difficult to access branch libraries - were at risk of being affected and some may even close - including the van.

It had been suggested that for libraries to continue serving the community they may have to diversify into centres or pubs for example.

But NYCC was inundated with thousands of signatures, emails and letters from people in support of the libraries.

The authority’s final proposals on the libraries were supposed to be outlined this week but a decision has had to be put back to next month.

A spokeswoman for NYCC added: “We had a massive response to the library consultation and it has taken longer than expected to put together the final proposals.”

Coun Tim Lawn, who represents the Esk Valley, welcomed the delay in a final decision and hoped NYCC would listen to public opinion.

He told the Gazette: “With public transport as it is in the really rural areas it can be difficult to access services in towns, not everybody has access to the internet and not everybody is computer literate.

“They are crucial to all people but certainly the rural communities that I represent. There is strong feeling throughout the Esk Valley about maintaining the mobile library service.

“We used to have a library in Sleights but that was closed because it was uneconomical and now the bus comes.

“There is potential for it to be more than just a mobile library - it just needs a bit of forward thinking because once we lose it we will never get it back.

“It could be a one stop shop with national park, borough council, credit union and even police information on there. It makes it a lot more sustainable and increases partnership working”