How can you run a library without librarians?
It’s a question being asked by Starbeck Residents Association.
Anyone who cares about libraries may have felt the book had been closed on the issue after the original round of changes and closures announced by North Yorkshire County Council in 2011.
But a new round of austerity measures means libraries like Starbeck’s now find themselves at risk again after being downgraded by the NYCC from ‘hybrid’ status to ‘community managed’.
Jargon aside, this means that not only will this leave Starbeck Library, amongst others in our district, with no professional staff but volunteers may also have to find up to £65,500 from their own pockets per year to cover running costs, too, a massive mountain to climb for local residents.
Supporters of libraries argue that there is more than stake than books, that these are community assets whose loss would be felt by the whole community.
It’s not as if their library is old and beyond repair. In fact, the library has been in its new home on Starbeck High Street next to Belmont Field for less than five years.
If consultation does mean what it says, it may be wise for our county council to consider putting its latest proposals back on the shelf.