CLIFTON library could be on the move to better premises under long term plans being drawn up for library services in York.

The current contract for mutual organisation Explore to run the libraries comes to an end next year, and council bosses are currently looking at the specifications for a new contract.

Surveys have been carried out targeted at people who already use libraries and those who do not, and on Wednesday last week city councillors heard about the findings of that research.

According to the results, people in the city think having well-trained staff running the libraries is by far the most important thing when it comes to planning the service’s future.

The results also show that reading cafes could play a big part in bringing people into libraries, but that among people who already use them the traditional function of lending books is by far the most important function of the service - more so than computer access, study space or events for children and families.

Councillors on a children, education and communities scrutiny committee heard from council director Charlie Croft and libraries chief executive Fiona Williams about ambitions for the new contract.

Mr Croft said under a new vision for the service, York Explore would stay as the flagship facility, followed by the Explore Library Learning Centres in Acomb, the new centre at Burnholme and Clifton which could be replaced or upgraded.

He also said the new vision would include libraries classed as “Explore Gateways” - which would preferably have a cafe and have the potential to host other “co-located” services,

That was something councillors questioned, with Dringhouses and Woodthorpe councillor Stephen Fenton pointing out that all village and suburban libraries are different, and suggesting they need to acknowledge there are difference challenges and options for the different centres.

Cllr Chris Steward, who represents Rural West York, said that co-locating services in village libraries could in fact harm other community facilities like small cafes and community centres.

Council staff now have to draw up a draft “assessment of need” for libraries in York, and will report back to councillors in the next couple of months.