NORTH Yorkshire County Council is saying a big thank you to volunteers who came to the rescue to ensure the future of many library services across the region.

In the past two years 20 libraries have been turned into community ventures run by volunteers.

Now, as part of National Volunteer Week from June 1 to 7, the authority is promoting the service and encouraging visitors to find out more about the work being done and how they can join in.

Faced with huge budget cuts the council saved around £1.5m by handing over responsibility for many of the county’s smaller libraries to community groups.

County Councillor Greg White, executive member for libraries, said: “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers who manage and support community libraries across the county and those who support the county council in its libraries. We know there is great affection for libraries in North Yorkshire, so this is also an opportunity for people to find out how they can become involved.”

At Bedale, the community library reopened this week after a major revamp organised by volunteers to improve the computer section and the children’s area. Trust member Elizabeth Bostock said they had been overwhelmed by the numbers of volunteers coming forward and the dedication shown.

She added: “They are the lifeblood of the library, and we keep getting more people coming forward who are prepared to give up their time to help. At Bedale we wanted to make the best use of the space we have, so the library was closed for two weeks while the work was carried out and a lot of that has been done by volunteers.”

Events to promote and celebrate the part played by volunteers are being held at Harrogate Library on Wednesday, June 6 from 2pm; Malton library on Thursday, June 7 from 10am to noon; Colburn Library on Thursday, June 7 from 10am to 1pm and at Northallerton on Thursday, June 7 between 2pm to 3pm.

On Tuesday, June 12 there will be a Volunteers Week and Festival of Learning at Northallerton library during the afternoon, which is being held in partnership with Hambleton community learning partnership.

The county council is also encouraging people to applaud the work done by volunteers by nominating individuals through its community awards scheme.


Nominations close on June 4.