CAMPAIGNERS have made a last-ditch bid to save their library, handing over petition with more than 2,300 signatures to North Yorkshire County Council .

Bedale library is one of 20 across the county that could be axed as the authority carries out the biggest review in the service’s history.

The county council is proposing that staff are withdrawn from 20 libraries leaving them to be run by volunteers or close.

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

The Friends of Bedale library collected the petition in response to growing concern about the loss.

It will be added to protests by thousands of people in other towns who have also responded to a consultation exercise being carried out by the county council.

Susan Perkins, a member of Friends of Bedale Library, said they had been overwhelmed by the numbers of people wanting to sign the petition.

She said: “Bedale library is an essential community resource that many members of the public depend on. Bedale area would be seriously diminished if it is deprived o this public service.

“We were surprised by how many holidaymakers told us they sometimes use Bedale library. Some people who were not local asked to be allowed to sign the petition because they believe so strongly in a public library service.

“ Last year, the Independent Library Report for England, commissioned by the Government, was published. Its author said that not enough decision-makers at national or local level appear sufficiently aware of the remarkable and vital value that a good library service can offer modern communities.”

She added: “ We need to make sure that people standing for election know that the library is a vital lifeline.

“Across England 35 per cent of people use a library regularly, and among the poorest it’s closer to 50 per cent. That is why we believe Bedale Library must be retained. Since 2011, some 324 libraries have closed and that is a huge shame.”

The county council said it had no choice but to make cuts in the service. They are planning to save £1.9 m on libraries because of massive cuts by the Government which has reduced budgets by £90 m up to this year with a further £76m in savings due in the next four years.

A report on the consultation is due to be considered in June.