Would you step up as a library volunteer ..?

editorial image

THE future of Scarborough’s threatened libraries could be struck another blow after bosses revealed plans to appeal for volunteers to run the service.

County council chiefs unveiled the proposals as they strive to ease a crippling £1.7 million cash chasm.

The move comes after libraries in Scalby, Ayton, Eastfield and Hunmanby received vital reprieves in February following shock proposals to close 24 branches across the county.

Under the new plans, due to be discussed later this month, Scarborough Library, in Vernon Road, would continue to offer its full range of services.

However, this retention would be tempered by Sunday closures and a cutback of staff with existing hours maintained by extra volunteers.

Libraries in Eastfield and Scalby would also keep their existing book stock and IT provision, though professional staffing would be reduced with a focus on voluntary assistance.

Ayton Library and Hunmanby Library would be served by volunteers and partners with regular book updates.

The initial plans on potential closures last year brought heated meetings between council bosses and residents and attracted more than 300 responses to an Evening News campaign to keep the libraries open.

However, Cllr Derek Bastiman, who worked alongside Cllr Andrew Backhouse to fight for Scalby Library’s future, said he was disappointed by the latest proposals.

He said: “The use of volunteers just won’t work and I will be fighting tooth and nail to keep the library going.

“I accept that in rural community areas volunteering does well where libraries are limited in their opening and people can give up a few hours in a day.

“However, Scalby has a thriving community that is constantly growing and its library served by excellent and pleasant staff who go that extra mile for people.

“I would accept a percentage cut across the board but not this and expecting people to go to Scarborough Library is just marginalising them.”

County Cllr Chris Metcalfe, the council’s executive member for the Library and Information Service, added: “We have listened hard during the extensive consultation and we believe the solution we have now put together will help to sustain a vital service while making the necessary savings.”