Future bright for library

THE future of Boroughbridge library looks secure after volunteers began talks with the county council.

Residents have set up Boroughbridge Area Community Library Association (BACLA).

It is in response to the council slashing budgets to cope with government funding cuts and the group will run the town’s library alongside North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) staff.

BACLA has been in talks with the council over recent weeks and are hopeful about the library’s future.

“There is a view that, in years to come, libraries in the county will be owned by local communities to a much greater extent than they are now.

“We should, I suggest, view this as a challenging and exciting possibility,” said BACLA secretary John Helliwell.

BACLA’s committee has submitted a proposal to NYCC that will see volunteers run the library on a day-to-day basis alongside council employees. If agreed, the scheme will come into operation from April 1 next year.

If enough local people come forward to help out the town could see its library open more, rather than fewer, hours, said Mr Helliwell.

BACLA is also keen to improve the IT services the library offers and has asked NYCC to agree not to reduce the number of PCs at Boroughbridge library.

Volunteers are also hoping to take over the room above the current library opening it up for local clubs and associations using income from bookings to help fund the library.

Under the plans the council will still be responsible for leasing and maintaining the building and local volunteers’ annual contribution towards the library’s running costs is set to be lower than previously thought, Mr Helliwell confirmed.