CAMPAIGNERS say nearly 1,000 people have backed their petition against proposed changes to York’s libraries.

Ruling Labour councillors want to hand over the running of the city’s libraries and archives to a social enterprise organisation.

City of York Council is drawing up a business and financial blueprint for how its library service, whose budget needs to be cut by £250,000, can be run.

The plan has been supported by a £100,000 government money and the council said setting up a mutual organisation to run the service would make it the first of its kind in the UK.

But members of York TUC, Unison, York Student Socialists and York Stop the Cuts activists staged a protest against the proposals outside York Explore on Saturday as part of a national day of action, handing out leaflets and collecting signatures for their petition.

Afterwards they hailed their action as a “success” and said they hoped to top 1,000 signatures by the end of this week.

Local Lib Dems also marked National Libraries Day by vowing to fight the proposals and launched a consultation about the plan.

Coun Nigel Ayre, Lib Dem leisure and culture spokesman, said under the Lib Dem administration that ended in 2011, visitor numbers at the city’s libraries rose by 25 per cent and claimed the Labour plans could lead to library closures, job cuts and reduced service levels.

His party is also collecting signatures to a petition against the plans and will unveil its budget plans for the service later this month.