YORK’S libraries boss Fiona Williams gives a couple of very important assurances in her interview today.

There will be no library closures on her watch, she says. And there will continue to be professional staff in every York library.

Both of those pledges may come as a relief to library users and library staff.

The city’s library service is going through an uncertain period. From April 1, it will cease to be under city council control. Instead, the 16 libraries and the city archive will be run by a new, independent charity: a “community benefit society”.

The immediate reason for the city council to be hiving the service off is to save money.

A quarter of a million pounds has already been cut from the libraries’ annual budget, at a cost of ten full-time jobs (though no-one was made compulsorily redundant).

With the council continuing to provide the new library mutual’s core funding of about £1.9 million a year from April 1, there will be further cuts ahead: £100,000 this year, and another £50,000 next year.

The good news is that Ms Williams, who from April 1 will be the new library organisation’s chief executive, is confident she will be more than able to make up that shortfall.

The new charity will qualify for rates relief, she said; it will be able to tap into funding sources not available to the council; and it will also be able to accept donations.

Her aim, therefore, is to provide a library service that is better than the one we have now.

It will be a tough challenge, but we look forward to her delivering on that. Libraries are simply too important to be allowed to wither through lack of adequate funding.