THE futures of Tadcaster and Sherburn in Elmet libraries look to have been secured.
A report by North Yorkshire County Council recommends maintaining both libraries, albeit with reduced staffing levels and opening hours.
MP Nigel Adams, who backed the Wetherby News campaign to save Tadcaster library this week welcomed the news that the facility’s future looks to be assured.
“I welcome the news that the local libraries in Sherburn and Tadcaster are going to be retained,” Mr Adams said.
“They are a vital community service and its good to see that North Yorkshire County Council are listening to the views of local people.”
Tadcaster resident and long-term library campaigner Julia Hemmings, who attended a recent public meeting into the planned closures, said she was pleased the facility was set to be saved.
“This is really good news for everybody in Tadcaster, young and old,” she told the Wetherby News.
“It was vital that we kept this crucial community facility open. Older people rely on it, the younger generation use it for the internet, families need it for their books - it’s important for education, not everybody can afford textbooks and other points of research.
“The library was voted best in North Yorkshire not long ago, for goodness sake. It would’ve been disastrous to close it. There was simply no need. It is well used and much loved.
“Okay, the current proposals mean we won’t have access to the library as much as we had before, or as much as we’d have liked. And I understand people’s concerns about that. In an ideal world the library would be saved and it’d be open as much as it is at present.
“But ultimately we’re not a special case and if these plans mean a majority of rural locations and small towns get to keep their libraries then, believe me, that’s better than the alternative.
“Towns are already losing their identities and character. Shops seem to be closing ten-a-penny and pubs aren’t exactly doing much better. But libraries are such an important part of the community - they’re the heart of a community - so to have ours retained is a really positive step.”
According to North Yorkshire County Council, Tadcaster Library is among those in “areas of significant population” which will, in future, “be supported with accommodation, bookstock, IT facilities and broadband connectivity.”
They will, it says, also be provided with an element of professional staffing based in the library, albeit at a reduced rate than currently provided.
The county council adds that it is already working in partnership with community groups in such areas.
In the case of Sherburn in Elmet library, North Yorkshire County Council says it will fall into the category of facilities which “offer the full range of services but with fewer library staff and opening hours reduced from their current level with no Sunday opening.
The council continues: “Existing opening hours could be maintained by increasing the use of volunteers in all libraries as well as increasing the number of groups and partners using libraries as their base or outlet.”