Vow on village library services

COUNTY Council bosses have vowed Hunmanby will still have a library service next year.

Council chiefs have assured residents library provisions will stay in the village even if the Stonegate building shut next March.

The Mercury last week reported the library building would close next year after a volunteer group formed to run it disbanded due to lack of numbers.

However, Julie Blaisdale, the council’s assistant director for libraries, said the authority was working hard to keep facilities in Hunmanby and had held discussions about transferring library services into the Community Centre.

She said: “We have talked with a group about getting an outlet library in the community centre, that way there will still be the provision in one of the rooms at least.

“They said they were prepared to look at this but added people needed to come forward and help as volunteers because they were busy people and could not do it on their own.

“Neither of us can do it on our own and we need people to come forward and give it a go.

“At the very least Hunmanby will get a super mobile library.”

The council said it was “disappointing” an appeal for volunteers for a community-based service in the existing failed to materialise, with the role of volunteer co-ordinator remaining vacant.

However, cllr John Blackburn said he remained hopeful a solution could be found and had started looking at options to house library facilities in other locations across the village.

He told The Mercury: “The deadline for a Volunteer Co-ordinator is the end of December, so there is still time for discussions to get under way if someone comes forward.

“Time is tight, but we want very much to be able to help people in Hunmanby retain their highly-valued local library and we will do everything we can to assist.

“However, if it is to work the existing library does need a fully-committed co-ordinator. At the very least, we will have a fortnightly visit by the super mobile library, with its extensive range of books, audio and video items, and internet access.

“Another option would be the community outlet model, in which stock is supplied to alternative premises.

“That is something I am actively exploring with officers.”

Hunmanby MP Anne McIntosh raised the issue with Edward Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, in Commons.

She said: “Hunmanby Library will stay open if volunteers man it. But will the Minister intervene to assist with at least a part-time library presence from North Yorkshire county council to enable it to put a business plan in place in the interim?”

Mr Vaizey responded: “I would always encourage any local authority to work with the community on the provision of community libraries and to provide support of a professional librarian behind the library service.”