CAMPAIGNERS say they will battle to keep a market town library going after holding a public meeting to rally support.

Bedale Library is one of 20 across North Yorkshire where staff could be axed as part of moves by the county council to save £1.9m. The hope is that volunteers will take over the running.

More than 4,000 people have already lodged objections as part of the council’s consultation with communities.

Campaigner Susan Perkins said after the Bedale meeting they had been told it would probably be “cost neutral” if volunteers can be found to run the library in Bedale, so money would not have to be found to pay for rent and other bills.

She said: “We are hoping the county council will reconsider the whole thing and we’re calling on the people of Bedale to continue using the library to show how much we value the work the staff do.

“Because the library is linked in with Bedale Hall, I think it will continue, but not necessarily as it is now. There is scope for new ideas and new approaches and we need to look at all avenues.”

Local councillor John Weighell, the leader of the county council said: “I think people understand the problem we have of having to make savings and cutbacks.

“I have always been of the view that we are not in the business of closing libraries, we are in the business of working to attract volunteers to run them.”

He added: “In Bedale, I would hope there could be some link up with the other organisations that are operating in the hall - so bringing together Tourist Information, museums and having a real community hub.

“Under the Stronger Communities Programme, we would hope to fund the premises, and run it with volunteer time.”

The county council first revealed its massive restructuring plan for libraries last year.

Across North Yorkshire it would mean that as well as withdrawing staff from 20 libraries leaving them to be run by volunteers or close, five libraries in major towns would have just one member of staff and even seven core libraries including Northallerton, would need volunteers to keep services going.

The consultation is due to come to an end on February 8 with the final recommendations going before the full county council in June. For more information, visit