ALL eight libraries which were set to be shelved in North Yorkshire following Government cutbacks are likely to be kept open by volunteers.

North Yorkshire County Council said it has received proposals and business plans from community groups, including a number of promising ideas from residents in Great Ayton and Masham.

Proposals to fund the community ventures have ranged from sharing library buildings with other public service providers, such as the police, to opening a cafe in the premises.

The council will continue to supply a regularly updated book stock to the eight libraries and training from its library team, but not staff or running costs.

Councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for the library service, said he was quietly confident there would be no library closures.

He said: “I am absolutely amazed at the flair and commitment of communities, they really have stepped up to the plate.”

The council originally proposed axing 22 of its 42 libraries, but after protests from numerous campaign groups including Great Ayton’s Keep It Public, it cut the number of libraries which would no longer be staffed to eight.

All 42 libraries, will see a reduction in staffing, with some of the hardest hit ones being in small towns, including Bedale, Boroughbridge, Colburn, Easingwold, Hawes and Leyburn.

Every library will also see reduced opening hours, some by as much as 30 per cent, unless volunteers take on the work of its librarians.

Blueprints for the future running of all the libraries are due to be considered by councillors on November 16.