A LIBRARY service has received fresh hope of survival in the face of drastic spending cuts, after it receiving permission to team up with a tourist information centre.

Libraries across North Yorkshire face being run by volunteers – or closure – as part of a county council plan to save £1.6m.

The plans have named smaller libraries – including Bedale, Stokesley, Thirsk, Colburn and Leyburn – as ones to be community-run and only offered professional support from the authority by February 2017.

The plan states one town in each of the county’s seven districts, including Northallerton and Richmond, would keep a library staffed by professionals and volunteers.

Richmond Town Council has been working with the town’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) manager Hilda Ellis to find a solution that could help both services to flourish.

Richmond councillor Stuart Parsons said it was hoped the TIC would move into the library in the coming months – but that the council is holding a meeting with North Yorkshire County Council library service to discuss its future further.

He said: “I would urge members of the public to come along to hear what the county council has to say and to ask questions.

“So far there hasn’t been a lot of noise made about Richmond library but that is because there hasn’t been a direct threat made to it.”

He said it is hoped volunteers from both the TIC and library will be trained in each other’s fields – and that Richmond library could work with Catterick Garrison and Colburn libraries to keep all three centres open.

He added: “North Yorkshire County Council needs to make cuts – I hope the three centres can work together to make cuts but build a support network.

“If we are clever we should be able to keep the three libraries open.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s leaders say achieving the savings is vital as it must cut its expenditure by £167 million, following cuts in funding from the government.

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.

Richmond Town Council will host representatives from the county council to discuss the library, and the ongoing library consultation, on Monday, January 26, at the town hall from 6.30pm.

For information on the consultation visit northyorks.gov.uk/libraryconsultation