MP says library plans are ‘unacceptable’

Ripon MP Julian Smith visiting the Generations exhibition at the city's library in 2013 guided by John Backshall and Rebecca Neesam. (130323M1f)

Ripon MP Julian Smith visiting the Generations exhibition at the city's library in 2013 guided by John Backshall and Rebecca Neesam. (130323M1f)

0
Have your say

Ripon MP Julian Smith has written to the Chief Executive of the county council expressing his concerns over proposed cuts to Ripon Library.

In his letter to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) boss Richard Flinton sent last week, Mr Smith describes the local authority’s plans to reduce its commitment down to covering premises costs and the salary of just one member of staff as “wholly disproportionate and unacceptable”.

The politician also says he is “deeply concerned” only one ‘core’ library will be allocated to each district in the county, with Harrogate’s library earmarked as the ‘core’ library for our area under the proposals.

Mr Smith said: “It would appear that the three-tier model being proposed, with Ripon being suggested as a ‘hybrid’ library, takes no account of the varying levels of usage or significance of libraries.

“For example, although Ripon is not the largest centre of population in the Harrogate district, it is a key North Yorkshire city and it currently has a very well-used library open for 40 hours a week with over 110,000 visits per year and 13,500 members.”

NYCC announced its proposals in November, launching a three-month consultation on its plans to cut £3.6m from its libraries budget by 2020 – part of its overall scheme to save £167m.

The local authority has already saved £2m from the libraries budget, with nine libraries across the county now ‘community-managed’ (run by volunteers), but now needs to save an additional £1.6m.

The latest raft of proposals affect 32 of the county’s libraries with the local authority proposing to retain a ‘core’ library in each of North Yorkshire’s seven districts, along with ‘hybrids’ – manned by a mixture of paid and volunteer staff, as is proposed for Ripon – and ‘community managed’ libraries, such as Boroughbridge.

The library consultation ends on February 8. Forms are available to complete at Ripon Library and at the North Yorkshire County Council website www.northyorks.gov.uk (short link http://bit.ly/1xkdtEJ ) where more information is available.