A COMMUNITY group has launched a fresh appeal for volunteers in an ambitious attempt to save three local libraries from permanent closure.

Trustees of new group Catterick, Richmond and Colburn Community Libraries (CRACCL) already have around 45 willing volunteers to help keep all centres open – but need around 100 to ensure their future.

The group will take responsibility for the libraries from North Yorkshire County Council in April, and are inviting anyone interested in supporting the scheme to drop in to one of three events they are holding.

Philip Wicks, chairman of the trustees, said: “Pop in for a chat and a coffee with us. There is no obligation to volunteer. We’ll tell you what it involves and also how volunteering can fit around your busy life style.”

“This came about after North Yorkshire County Council had to make £1.4m savings from the library budget. We want to keep existing services but also have plans to expand activities in the future. Volunteers strengthen the links between libraries and the communities around them, and we need more to join us in this exciting new venture.”

He added: “Each library has its own focus – Colburn is especially popular with children.

“Catterick Garrison library is big on adult learning, not just because of the military personnel but their families too and the Richmond library has the Tourist Information Centre, which we believe is vitally important to the town.”

Mr Wicks said CRACCL is also currently advertising for a paid position to oversee the training and organising of the new volunteers for six months.

More than 45 volunteers have already come forward but the group needs to find more in order to make it a success. Volunteers give as much time as they choose in one or more of the three libraries in the scheme. Experienced staff will train volunteers so they have all the skills they need.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the libraries should drop in to any of the events: Thursday, February 2, at 3pm to 6pm at Catterick Garrison Library; Saturday, February 4 at 10am to 1pm at Richmond Library; and Monday, February 13, at 2pm to 5pm at Colburn Library. Visit www.craccl.org or email info@craccl.org.