Tuesday, 10 May 2011

North Yorkshire libraries saved

At the end of last year, North Yorkshire County Council announced massive cuts to the county’s library service and the prospect of closures on a scale which was among the worst of any council in the country. On Friday, it was announced that these plans for North Yorkshire’s libraries have been scrapped.

After Save Our Libraries Day on February 5th, the plans were amended to include only libraries outside market towns and to look at creating volunteer-run libraries. Now, in a move which will be fairer and will save well-used libraries, the cuts to the service are being spread across the county’s 42 libraries and will hopefully mean no closures at all. This result is down to the efforts of campaigners across the county who, particularly at the start of this year, made massive efforts to persuade the council to listen to the public.

Easingwold Library. A wonderful library saved from closure.

It’s a great victory and personally I’m very pleased that, unlike other councils, the North Yorkshire councillors have listened to what the people wanted. But this is only one victory in the ongoing national effort to save threatened public libraries across the country: please look at this Guardian blog post for a great summary of the national situation. Have a look at Voices for the Library’s ‘what you can do’ page and email or write to your (possibly newly elected) councillors if your area's libraries are affected by proposed closures.


Anonymous said...

I would really wait and see on this. There still has been no reduction in the amount required to save, and no mention if the mobile library vans are still to be cut.

Simon Barron said...

You're right to be cautious. It's good news if no library buildings are to be closed and it's encouraging that North Yorkshire Council is willing to be flexible to public demand (more so than other councils such as Doncaster and Gloucestershire).

But we do need to wait and see what will happen to the library service and whether massive cuts mean redundancies or much-reduced hours.

Anonymous said...

It's been front page news about North Yorkshire libraries being saved, but the council has actually made no formal announcements of it's plans. I hope the newspapers know something we don't. As far as I know NYCC is only planning on giving a report on the consultation and recommendations for action at the end of this month.