A TOWN library saved by volunteers has been so successful it now plans to expand.

Volunteers have been running the Barlby Library and Community Hub in Howden Road, for about four years, following national and local funding cuts.

Last month, Barlby and Osgodby Town Council bought the building from North Yorkshire County Council for a nominal sum of £1, and now plans to bring even more activities to the centre.

Dianne Dumbell, council manager, said residents began their takeover of the library with a petition at the local post office.

She said: "We were aware of the proposed cuts and library closures, and 11 out of 12 meetings in the following 12 months involved discussions about the library.

"It was very carefully considered decision because it's a big ask. We put in an expression of interest, then an expression of intent, and the library service were satisfied with our business plan and proposal to go ahead."

The library has been open three days a week for the last four years, with a team of 25 volunteers and no paid members of staff. As well as a book borrowing service, the library offers meeting places for the council and other groups, and has even been used as a performance area for local theatre groups.

With future cuts expected and more libraries potentially at risk, Dianne and the other volunteers have been asked to share their advice with community groups in other areas.

Improvements at the library have included more energy-efficient heating, which has helped reduce costs, and the council's purchase of the building marks the start of the next phase of improvements.

Dianne said: "What we want to do is put a modest extension on the back with a slightly bigger kitchen and bigger disabled facilities.

"We want to attract clubs and groups into the building, so it's not just a library, but a community hub as well. We've already had neighbourhood watch, University of the Third Age, childminders and adult education classes. We always wanted it to be a success, but it's far better than I even expected."