INFORMATION sessions are due to explain how people can help at their local libraries, as much of the running of services in North Yorkshire is handed to volunteers.

The controversial move to change the way libraries are run in the county sparked protests and petitions from many communities. But after months of consultation and at times emotional debate, North Yorkshire County Council approved a decision in July to make most of its libraries managed in part – or wholly – by volunteers, as it grappled with making £1.6 million worth of savings.

Now those changes are to be explained in a series of information sessions, where residents can speak to library managers and find out more about helping deliver library services.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “Sessions are being held across the county and anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities or who would consider being part of a management group are invited to attend.

“Residents who have ideas about the sort of services they want to see being delivered from their library, or have thoughts about the best ways to make libraries sustainable, are very welcome to come along and contribute their views.”

All libraries in North Yorkshire will need volunteers to maintain current opening hours.

Each district of the county will have a core library which is run by 60 per cent of current staff, along with volunteers. The core libraries will be in Northallerton, Richmond, Harrogate, Malton, Scarborough, Skipton and Selby.

Five libraries will be classed as “hybrid” with a combination of 40 per cent paid staff and 60 per cent volunteers. They will be in Filey, Knaresborough, Pickering, Ripon and Whitby.

The remaining 21 “community-managed” libraries, which include Bedale, Thirsk, Leyburn, Easingwold and Stokesley, will need a volunteer group to take on the management and running of the library, with some hours of professional staffing every week to support volunteers.

The sessions will take place at libraries throughout the next few months, at locations including: Bedale, October 15, 2pm - 5pm, Catterick, October 7, 4pm - 7pm, Colburn, October 13, 4pm - 7pm, Thirsk, November 11, 10am - 1pm, Harrogate, October 20, 3pm - 6pm, Helmsley, October 2, 3pm - 6pm, Kirkbymoorside, October 5, 3pm - 6pm, Knaresborough, October 13, 3pm- 6pm, Leyburn, October 20, 4pm – 7pm, Malton, October 20, 3pm – 6pm, Northallerton, October 6, 10am – 1pm, Pickering, October 1, 3pm – 6pm, Richmond, October 22, 4pm – 7pm, Ripon, October 5, 4pm – 7pm, Stokesley, September 24, 2pm – 5pm, Whitby, September 22, 3pm – 6pm.