COUNCIL leaders have agreed to explore new ways of running York’s libraries.

City of York Council’s cabinet discussed using the community or a social enterprise to operate the libraries to help meet a £250,000 savings target, following a six-week consultation last year.

City leaders will decide this summer, following consultation with library staff and the public, on whether to transfer the running of the services to a council-funded charity, which would be eligible for tax breaks and grants.

Last night the cabinet agreed the idea should be explored further, and a business plan for the scheme, which will be the first of its kind in the UK if it goes ahead, should be set up.

Andrea Dudding, from UNISON, spoke to the cabinet ahead of the meeting, telling members staff felt “fearful and powerless” in the process, and that the public “must be asked the direct quesion of who they want to run their library service”.

Council leader James Alexander said: “I think it’s the best outcome. Residents showed us they want us to explore different delivery methods to keep costs down and services running despite Government cuts.”