Will Starbeck Library have to close?
That will be the question tomorrow (December 2) when the public consultation on the future of the service will be held.
At the library from 1pm to 5pm, a representative from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) will be made available to discuss its direction as the council seeks to cut £1.6m of funding from the libraries budget.
The reduction from £5.8m to £4.2m follows a cut of £2m in 2010 as part of the initial wave of cuts to services to save the council a total of £168m by 2020.
NYCC has launched a three month consultation up to February 2015. A report on the findings will be made to the council in June 2015.
A decision will then be taken on the library service that will be implemented before 2017.
Volunteers will be needed to take the reigns from professionals at least in part at every library in the district.
At Starbeck there would be a total reliance on volunteers, and if they do not step forward it could be forced to close.
The story is similar in Pateley Bridge and Boroughbridge, where it is hoped that ‘community-managed’ libraries would be successful as in Bilton.
Harrogate Starbeck division Coun Margaret-Ann de Courcey-Bayley (Lib Dem) said: “There is a responsibility to run a library so we were gobsmacked when they came up with trimming the library service, but they can minimise as long as there are well-funded, well-managed libraries like Harrogate.
“I am hopeful that Starbeck will not be closed, but we will have to increase community use to guarantee our future.”