LIBRARY users in the region will today take part in a national day of action aimed at halting council cuts to the services.

Councils across the country plan to cut library services to make substantial savings in the wake of targets imposed by the Government.

North Yorkshire County Council may close as many as 23 of its 44 libraries, with smaller services such as those in Bedale, Hawes and Great Ayton at risk.

Libraries in Darlington are also taking part in Save Our Libraries Day.

The council said the library budget would be cut, but it is not known by how much.

People are being encouraged to withdraw a book from the library, in Crown Street, today. There will also be a protest in Crown Street from noon, to highlight the importance of libraries to the town.

In North Yorkshire, similar events will be held at libraries in Colburn, Easingwold and Great Ayton.

A recent public meeting to discuss the future of Great Ayton library attracted more than 500 people.

Residents have pledged to march on County Hall, in Northallerton, the headquarters of the county council, if it presses ahead with plans to close the library.

The council has ignored speculation that some underthreat libraries could receive a 12-month reprieve, with any closures pushed back until the start of the 2012-13 financial year because of the weight of the opposition.

Council leader John Weighell said: “It would be wrong to pre-empt any decisions, but we are listening to people’s views.

“We cannot sustain the service in its current form. We need to look towards increasingly ingenious ways of running library services.”

The county council’s Lib Dem group is calling for a longer consultation period.

A motion will be tabled at a meeting on February 16, calling for no closures without an assessment of whether community groups could be formed to take libraries over.

For more information about the action day, visit voices 􀁧 See The Northern Echo on Monday for an interview with author Anne Fine about her views on library cuts.