A boost to staffing numbers at some of the borough’s libraries have been agreed today by North Yorkshire County Council.
The authority had been planning to slash the number of dedicated staff at the library, instead wanting members of the community to volunteer their time to help keep it open.
However, earlier in the year it announced that £175,000 had been kept aside to provide more staff at a number of centres across the county.
Under the new proposals hybrid libraries, larger, busier libraries including Filey, Pickering and Whitby, will now retain a 40 per cent staffing level alongside volunteers, an increase on the 25 per cent staffing level originally proposed.
The proposals were approved today by the authority’s executive.
More than 17,000 people responded to the council’s consultation on libraries.
The county is making the cuts in order to save around £1.6 million from the service. It is part of an overall budget reduction of £167 million across the authority.
“We hope that today’s decision shows that we have been prepared to listen,” said Cllr Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Library and Information Services. We have acted on what people have had to say by taking on board the fact people think community-led libraries would need some dedicated support to be successful.
“The current group of community libraries have gone from strength to strength, expanding way beyond book-lending to become key deliverers of services”, said Cllr Metcalfe.
“Our community-managed libraries model has been highlighted by both the Arts Council and the Local Government Association as an example of best practice.
“We now want to make sure that many more community libraries can be successfully introduced in order to retain a much-cherished county-wide library service.
“We cannot secure that service without communities stepping forward, but we also acknowledge that communities need some on-going dedicated support.”
Following concerns expressed during the consultation, hybrid libraries –the larger, busier libraries in Filey, Knaresborough, Pickering, Ripon and Whitby – will retain a 40 per cent staffing level alongside volunteers, an increase on the 25 per cent staffing level originally proposed.
Eastfield and Sherburnwill receive 12-15 hours per week of additional paid staff support.
Helmsley, Norton and Scalby will receive between 5-7 hours of additional paid staff support.
In addition, some financial support for premises costs will be provided