Starbeck Library campaigners’ 444-signature petition

Chair of the residents association Geoff Foxall with Anne Henry, Janet Law, Margaret Manning, Trix Davies, Jim Bean, Moira Smith, Maureen Walker and Christine Stewart. (150127AM7)

Chair of the residents association Geoff Foxall with Anne Henry, Janet Law, Margaret Manning, Trix Davies, Jim Bean, Moira Smith, Maureen Walker and Christine Stewart. (150127AM7)

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Campaigners fighting to save Starbeck Library from expected closure are now facing the long wait to hear back from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

A petition, with 444 signatures, has been delivered to the council offices in Northallerton in a bid to get NYCC to change its plans for the future of Starbeck Library.

It is hoped that this, along with several letters, sent to residents by the Starbeck Residents’ Association, will go some way to getting the community’s views across.

Chair of Starbeck Residents’ Association Geoff Foxall said: “Though I phoned beforehand I didn’t exactly have a welcoming committee waiting for the petition.

“Still, the hope now is that basically NYCC will change its mind about the libraries.

“Quite a few letters have been handed into the library, and one had ten signatures on it, so the community has responded very well I would say.

“I am sure every other area under threat will have campaigned, because they are just as devoted as Starbeck.”

Starbeck Library is one of 20 in the county earmarked to become ‘community managed’, with no paid staff and reliant on volunteers, as NYCC looks to cut £1.6m from its libraries budget, on top of the £2m stripped out in 2011.

Many people in Starbeck are hoping to convince the council to alter this proposal and make the library a ‘hybrid’ service, where a paid member of staff and all running costs of the building will be provided by NYCC.

Though the consultation on the future of libraries, in which members of the public could have their say, ended on Sunday, February 8, 2015, this extra effort from Starbeck could play an important role.

According to NYCC executive member for library services Coun Chris Metcalfe (Con), the council is offering ‘a genuine consultation’ and all views will be taken into account before any decision is made on future provision.

Over spring, consultation data will be collated and a report will go to councillors in summer, after which a formal announcement is expected.