A NEW mobile library is set to serve residents in Haxby and Wigginton for the next couple of years, following the sudden closure of the branch library in Haxby.

City of York Council is proposing to give library provider York Explore £80,000 towards the cost of the vehicle.

The Press reported last month how the Haxby library, which was built about 1960, had been forced to close because of fears over its structural integrity following an inspection.

Fiona Williams, chief executive of York Explore, said then that her main concern had to be the safety of staff and public, but Haxby was one of Explore’s most used and loved libraries and added: “It is really important to us that we use this opportunity to develop new partnerships as we develop both short and long term solutions.”

Cllr Nigel Ayre, council executive member for culture, leisure and tourism, said that as the council owned the building, it would be working closely with Explore to help ensure minimal disruption for library users in the Haxby area, adding: “Together with the library service and the community we will be looking at all future options to ensure that local residents have continued library services.”

Now Ms Williams has said that the proposed mobile library would potentially go to a number of sites around Haxby and Wigginton. “We are going to ask the local people where they would find it useful,” she said.

“In the short term, Oaken Grove have very kindly let us use their car park. Long term we are looking at what the options may be. The Memorial Hall has the most updated proposal - we have been working with them for a while on relocating the library.

“We plan to do public consultation in the autumn to determine the best way to provide our services to Haxby and Wigginton.

“Our staff and local people have been amazing in emptying the old library and providing a children’s library in Oaken Grove so we can run the summer reading challenge - the Big Friendly Read.”

A report to today’s council executive from the Director of Customer and Business Support Services, Ian Floyd, said a budget of £80,000 had been allocated to the York Explore scheme from capital contingency to fund a proposed grant to contribute towards the purchase of a mobile library vehicle.

“Options are being investigated for a new library building in the area,” he said. “However this is likely to take upwards of two years to deliver; therefore an interim service is needed.

“The most cost effective way to deliver this will be through the acquisition of an additional mobile vehicle, allowing it to be based in the area to cover the current library opening hours.”

He said this proposed option would have the additional benefit of addressing problems for York Explore’s existing mobile library, which was now ‘life-expired.’

He added that once a new library was built, the new mobile vehicle will be retained and the original vehicle disposed of.