A GANG of drug takers plagued York's central library with intimidation, violence and antisocial behaviour for months when it reopened after a seven month long refit.

The group caused such trouble that police had to be involved when the gang ignored a ban and continued to abuse the site and intimidate staff.

The problems have come to light in Explore York's report to the city council after its first year of operation as an independent mutual organisation.

In it, chief executive Fiona Williams wrote of a small drop in the numbers of books lent and visits to the libraries after York Explore - the central library - reopened in January.

York Press:

Fiona Williams said banning people was a last resort

She added: "Since York reopened, we have experienced a long spate of antisocial behaviour from a group of young people.

"This has included threatening behaviour, drug taking, and violence and led to us having to ban a number of them from the building. However, this did no stop them and we have spent a large amount of staff time dealing with the problems.

"For a while, it seemed that there was nothing we could do, so we have pulled together a group to discuss how we can improve this. the group includes Police, Youth Offending team, Lifeline, and the York Museums Trust and we are hopeful that the situation will begin to improve.

"We welcome everyone and banning people is a very last resort position, but we also have to consider the safety of everyone else who uses out services."

The report, which will be debated by a learning and culture committee next week, includes praise for the hundreds of people who have got involved in the libraries since the mutual organisation was launched.

More than 500 people have joined as Community Members, while 150 are active volunteers.

In addition, the popular toy library has been relaunched, the libraries are to start loaning out music scores for York Music Hub, and are even considering a similar scheme for garden tools.

Ms Williams wrote: "We are very good at cataloguing things and lending them out. It's not just books anymore!"

In Huntington the library is in talks with a neighbouring GP surgery to develop a health and wellbeing hub on the site.