Relief at library closure reprieve

A HUNMANBY councillor has praised a two year reprieve for the village’s library – and said it was imperative the facility was saved from a permanent last chapter.

Cllr Godfrey Allanson was speaking after North Yorkshire County Council bosses guaranteed the facility would stay open until at least March 2013.

He worked with the late Miss Lucy Owston to establish a library in Hunmanby, and said he hoped the time extension would pave the way for rational thinking and decision-making.

He added it was vital the facility, which has 1,060 active users, was retained, as it formed a pivotal role in Hunmanby’s community network.

The authority had earmarked the library, in Stonegate, for potential closure long with 23 other branch libraries as it seeks to save £2.3 million in the next four years.

Filey Library would be retained and invested in within any changes.

However, after huge public pressure, including the formation of a community action group and two heated meetings with library bosses, council chiefs have temporarily removed the sceptre of closure.

Cllr Allanson said: “I welcome the news because it means they can come up with solutions and ways of running it.

“In this time it gives everyone time to think about what to do and takes away the fear of losing their library overnight.

“There is a strong national movement against the closures and I hope that the government see this and find the support to keep them open.

“I know there are cuts that have to be made but the social aspect of the library is so important in Hunmanby.

“People are using the internet but the library is still extremely integral as a reference point.”

The council had introduced the notion of community-based volunteers to assist in running libraries instead of full-time professional staff.

However, this mooted change was hit with strong criticism from local residents and Cllr Allanson added he believed the delay would allow residents greater scope to think about that aspect with greater clarity.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently undertaking a 90 day consultation process on the overall situation with libraries that ends this month.