Volunteers extend library’s opening hours

Mayor Helen Mallory cuts a ribbon to mark the start of new Saturday and Wednesday afternoon opening times at the volunteer run Scalby and Newby Library, on Scalby Road. Joining her are Carol Brett, left, Sheila Johnson (vice chairman of the library volunteers), and Louise Northrop-Clay, of NYCC library service, with other volunteers and library users looking on. Photo by Andrew Higgins 130120a 05/01/2013
Mayor Helen Mallory cuts a ribbon to mark the start of new Saturday and Wednesday afternoon opening times at the volunteer run Scalby and Newby Library, on Scalby Road. Joining her are Carol Brett, left, Sheila Johnson (vice chairman of the library volunteers), and Louise Northrop-Clay, of NYCC library service, with other volunteers and library users looking on. Photo by Andrew Higgins 130120a 05/01/2013
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A team of enthusiastic volunteers has started work at Scalby Library to help extend opening hours.

The group, known as Scalby and Newby Library Volunteers, were on duty for the first time on Saturday.

The move has come about following budget cuts by North Yorkshire County Council, which reduced libraries’ operational hours.

An official opening ceremony was held, with Scarborough’s mayor Helen Mallory invited to cut the ribbon.

Cllr Mallory said: “What the volunteers are doing is great. They want to keep the library open and there’s a real social element to it.

“I have great admiration for them. When people want to make a difference and get up and do something about it, it’s brilliant.”

Richard Leak, chairman of the volunteer group, said: “This is an exciting time in the life of the library whereby for the first time in its history it will be run by the community for the community. We hope that as many people as possible support us by using the library in the extended hours that we have agreed to open.”

Scalby Library’s opening hours were reduced from 41.5 to 31 hours in the budget savings announced by the county council last year.

Since that time, Newby’s county councillor, Andrew Backhouse, has arranged public meetings, secured the support of volunteers, and helped the management team achieve the newly agreed hours.

He said: “The event on Saturday went really well. There were lots of people coming through the door with smiles on their faces, saying it was nice to see the library open.

“The project has also been welcomed with open arms by local businesses, as people tend to use the local shops when they visit the library.

“We will monitor everything closely, but it’s so far so good. We’ve had some really good feedback from the public, with people coming up to thank the volunteers for giving up their time.”

Cllr Backhouse said that one of the plans is to put a suggestion box out so people can give feedback about the library and its opening hours.

He is also hoping that more people will use the library for taking out items other than books, such as DVDs and CDs, which can be borrowed for an annual fee.

The opening hours staffed by volunteers are currently Saturdays 1pm to 4pm and Wednesdays 1pm to 7pm.