Villagers’ plea to save local library

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MORE than 100 people packed Ayton Village Hall and unanimously agreed that the village’s library should be saved.

The library is under threat of closure alongside facilities in Scalby, Eastfield and Hunmanby as it seeks to find savings of £2.3 million over the next four years.

Within minutes of the meeting ending, organiser County Cllr David Jeffels had received more than 20 names from residents in the Seamer and Derwent Valley division who said they were prepared to help work towards retaining the library should it be closed as a county council facility.

Among the supporters was 10-year-old Hannah Stephenson, a pupil at East Ayton community primary school, who presented Cllr Jeffels with a petition signed by 170 pupils, urging that the library remain open - and she then signed up to be one of the helpers.

Some 35 per cent of the users of Ayton Library are aged under 16.

The petition is now to be delivered to County Hall as part of the case for retaining the library.

Cllr Jeffels said: “It was an excellent meeting, with some good points being made which I shall be taking on board at County Hall. The enthusiasm to not only see the library continue, but to become a community partnership, if necessary, was very encouraging.

“The library is held in high regard and well used by people of all ages - from children to the older generation, not only as a library, but as a much valued IT centre and by local schools who take part in the splendid reading sessions run by the staff. But it is more than just a library - it is a community hub where people meet and chat. There is now a real determination that it should be retained.”

Cllr Jeffels said that he had personally volunteered to help run the library if it becomes a community partnership operation.

North Yorkshire County Council is looking at a proposal to close 24 of its 42 libraries as part of a big budget cut.

The plans would also include the withdrawal of the authorities fleet of 10 mobile libraries designated for rural areas, replacing them with an extra “super-mobile” library.

Cllr Chris Metcalfe, the council’s executive member with responsibility for libraries, outlined the reasons behind the proposed cuts in the library services, adding that budget cuts were being made across all the authority’s services.

The public have until February 28 to complete questionnaires on the future of the county library service. They can be obtained from the libraries at Ayton, Scarborough, Eastfield, Filey, Hunmanby and Scalby.