York & North Yorkshire

Revised cuts plan for North Yorkshire libraries

Protest at Bilton library
Image caption Campaigners said the county council was not listening to them

Protests over planned cuts to library services have prompted a rethink by North Yorkshire County Council.

The original plan, which could have seen 20 libraries facing closure, resulted in a number of protests.

The authority planned to cut £2m from the library services budget but now says it will cut just £1.7m.

Under the new proposals, all libraries in the county face a reduction in hours and staffing but eight libraries still face closure.

North Yorkshire currently has 42 branch libraries, 10 mobiles and one mobile service equipped with internet technology.

The new plans will see reduced opening hours and fewer staff for libraries in bigger towns and the mobile service will end.

Libraries in smaller towns and villages have also won a reprieve but many of these are already run in partnership with community groups.

However, the authority said that eight libraries will still have to be run by volunteers or close.

'Let down'

The library at Bilton near Harrogate is one that remains under threat.

Greta Knight, who represents the Woodfield Ward on Harrogate Borough Council, said she felt "very let down."

"I am disappointed and angry because I do think they should have given this more consideration and listened to the people of North Yorkshire."

County councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for the library and information service, said members had listened hard during the consultation exercise.

"We believe the solution we have now put together will help to sustain a vital service into the future, shared across the county while making the necessary savings," he said.

The new plans will be considered by the council's executive in late June.

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