We had a public meeting about the future of our library, where a presentation by the Assistant Director of Libraries for North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) was given. We were told that NYCC could afford to run only 18 libraries in key towns and the rural libraries would either have to be run by volunteers, or close. The meeting of about 100 people unanimously decided that we did not want to proceed along the volunteer/community model. We were told that if we did not sign up by the end of the consultation period (28th February) our chances of retaining a library would be marred.
We live in Bentham, market town of about 3,6000 residents. We are at the border of NYCC and get very few services from Council. We already have the Big Society here, we already run lots and lots of services (Age Concern, First Responders, Looking Well, children’s playgrounds, Sue Ryder shop, Blooming Bentham, BEST, Footpath group, Theatre group, Tourist Information, Youth Football and Cricket clubs and others).
An example of “good practice” voluntary library in North Yorkshire needs to raise £10,000 per year. We are a working town, the second biggest sheep Auction Mart in the Country, Kiddie Products factory and we are not in the Yorkshire Dales. We could not be expected to raise this kind of money on an annual basis. We need our library, but NYCC have other ideas. The library in Harrogate is open seven days a week and we are to lose our four half days. We wish the Government would step in and save our libraries. Civilised society should not allow this library carnage to happen.