AN avalanche of objections have been submitted by residents in North Yorkshire battling to save their libraries, with more than 3,000 people making their views known in the face of the biggest shake up in the services history.

Thousands have responded in the first month of the consultation as the county moves to withdraw staff from 20 libraries leaving them to be run by volunteers or close.

Five libraries in major towns will have just one member of staff and even seven major core libraries, including Northallerton, will need volunteers to keep services going.

North Yorkshire County Council says it has no choice in the face of budget cuts by the Government and maintain it has to find £1.6m in savings in the library service.

Smaller libraries facing the axe include Bedale, Colburn, Catterick or Richmond, Easingwold, Leyburn, Stokesley and Thirsk.

Residents are drawing up the battle lines - in Bedale campaigners have formed the Friends of Bedale Library and this week called on the town council for help to save it.

Protestor Susan Perkins said they had already got more than 70 Friends, a petition was being launched and a public meeting was planned for January.

She said they desperately needed proper figures on how much the staff costs are so they could look at the options. The library is currently run by two part-time staff and was completely refurbished earlier in the year.

“The main aim would be to keep the staff,” she said.

“There are houses going up all over the place. If we don’t keep our amenities, we are going to become little more than a dormitory town. What does it say when we can’t afford to keep a library open?"

She added: “Almost ten per cent of our population are over 75. This library is desperately needed, for children and young people too. We are being offered the choice between a rock and a hard place.”

Stokesley residents are opposing the cuts and an online petition has been launched to save North Yorkshire’s libraries.

In 2011 the authority planned extensive cuts but backed off when 2,000 people attended meetings and 6,000 responded to the consultation, although nine community libraries were set up, including Great Ayton which is backed by funds from the parish council precept.

The county council’s deputy leader, Carl Les, said keeping the status quo on the libraries was not an option when the authority was facing such massive budget cuts.

“We are making savings of over £90mby next year and after that there’s going to be another £76m that has to be found. That takes away a third of our spending power, we can’t continue to do what we have always done,” he said.

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