Save our libraries!

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THE campaign to retain Scarborough’s threatened libraries has ignited wide public support with residents vowing to back the fight.

Eastfield, Ayton, Scalby and Hunmanby libraries face the axe under £2 million North Yorkshire County Council budget cuts.

The contentious plans would force the last chapter on the four premises with services moved to Scarborough Library and facilities in Malton and Pickering.

The council is deliberating on their final decision with an announcement expected in early February.

So far 125 residents have completed the Evening News library forms which we will pass on to the county council.

More than a quarter of those stated they would be willing to forge a partnership with fellow residents to run their local library.

Scalby Library, which serves more than 16,000 residents in the Newby and Scalby area attracted the most support, with more than half the replies calling for its retention.

Jack Jowsey, of Northfield Way, uses Scalby Library on a regular basis, but said he has been left appalled by the plans.

He said: “To close the library would be an act of cultural vandalism.

“It is well stocked with efficient and helpful staff and provides a first rate service for the area which has a large elderly population unable to get into Scarborough.”

Connie Hemsworth, of Greylands Park Drive, also reads at Scalby Library and is vehemently against the proposals.

She said: “The library is an integral part of local life for schoolchildren and adults.

“The staff are always extremely helpful and if you want a certain book they will do all they can to get it.”

Constance Naylor, of Flowergarth, said it was imperative the library remained open as it is a hugely valuable and cherished facility for local people.

She said: “My library is essential for the north of the town and outlining villages.

“The staff are happy and caring and nothing is too much trouble.”

John Priestley, of Burniston, is another Scalby Library user and said its closure would be detrimental to the lives of thousands of people.

He said: “Closing the library would detract from the well-being of retired ratepayers who find local libraries a Godsend, especially at a time when they get little benefit from many other county council services.”

Celia Johnson, of Carr Lane, said: “I, and four members of my family use the library regularly.

“The staff give great encouragement to my grandchildren and an extra trip to Scarborough after school for books is a disincentive for parents.”

Jenny Winn, of Beech Close, added: “The library meets the needs of a large local population of varying ages, particularly the elderly and fulfils a huge social need.”

Eastfield Library has also drawn major support from local residents.

The library, which last year loaned more than 55,000 books, DVDs and audio tapes, is renowned for being vital for people living in nearby villages such as Crossgates, Osgodby and Cayton to access books, but also community and local council services.

Tom Barker, of Crossgates, said: “Shame on the council for even thinking about closing Eastfield Library.

“It is used by young and old for all sorts of reasons in a huge catchment area, is everything about money?”

Fred Landray, of Cayton, said libraries were integral in the education of young and old people.

He said: “Reading stimulates the imagination, provides mental exercise and prevents the culture of square-eyed couch potatoes.”

Rev Joy Carr, of Sea View Gardens, said the library had helped her gain valuable computer literacy skills.

She added: “I use the library regularly, to exchange books and to use the computers.

“These are used by people of all ages and I learned to one there too.

“It is an area with a large population and many could not go into Scarborough.”

Tina Morgan, of Bankside, in Eastfield, said: “Eastfield has little enough for recreation facilities.

“It will have even less if the library closes.”

Jane Thurston, of Filey, was adamant the library should remain open.

She said: “Libraries are the life-blood for young children learning to read, teenagers to use computers, adults as a means of reading and the elderly for social life.”

Antony Dixon, 74, of Middlefield Close, said the library provides everything he needs right on his doorstep.

He said: “I find the staff and information very helpful and the library is very convenient for me as I do not like going into the centre of Scarborough to that library.”

Sylvia Jerden-Cooke, of Westway, added: “I use it regularly and do not want to have to go into Scarborough for books.

“The staff are all very pleasant and extremely helpful and I would miss them.”

Ayton Library has also been earmarked with closure, but the facility, which had around 1,550 users last year, has received great backing from concerned local residents.

Jean Oxley, of Byefield Grove, said she would support running the library with fellow users if the council chose to axe their funding.

She said: “Libraries promote learning and that should be reason enough to keep them open.

“Ayton Library is an invaluable local resource and a great boon to all in this rural area.”

Patricia Flint, of Betton Rise, said the library was an important platform for education.

She said: “Libraries are an educational institution catering from young to old.

“It is the start of learning and an information centre bringing education into the countryside but their closure would restrict the right to learn.

“In the war we had to make do but we still had our facilities, look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

Kath Staves, of Bell Close, in Seamer, said: “I’ve used Ayton Library for about 20 years and I would be very upset if it closed.

“The staff are all very pleasant and as I’m now 80, going into Scarborough is unthinkable because books are very heavy.”

Julie Lee, of West Ayton, said the library was a massive part of the community.

She added: “Ayton Library is a valuable asset to the village and brings pleasure to many.

“It is somewhere where there is always a friendly face.”

Hunmanby Library issued more than 21,000 books and DVDs in the last year and also garnered great support from worried residents.

Alistair Brompton, of Bridlington Street, said: “The library is a vary important asset.

“It is a vital part of the village for all concerned.”