Libraries in York are to benefit from £7.7million worth of improvements - including the launch of two new centres.

City of York Council is set to commit to the programme of investment in partnership with Explore York Libraries and Archives.

This will include a new £5m library learning centre for Clifton, a new permanent library for Haxby and Wigginton, and significant capital investment for Acomb Library Learning Centre.

York Press:

From left, York council Leader Keith Aspden, Haxby & Wigginton Youth & Community Association trustees Jim Harrison and Pat Wilford, Explore Learning chief operating officer Sarah Garbacz and Cllr Darryl Smalley.

The new, relocated development in Clifton will be on the former Clifton Without Junior School site on Rawcliffe Drive, creating a larger learning centre and community hub.

A public consultation in the Clifton area found 90 per cent of residents were in favour of the move from the current site on Rawcliffe Lane to the former junior school site.

Clifton’s new Library Learning Centre will increase the total facility size from 270 square metres to more than 1400, with a multi-use space with 15,000 books, available for evening events, a Reading Cafe, a children’s library, and a community area.

Community partners of the Clifton Library development include local charity The Snappy Trust, which supports the personal development of children and young people with disabilities, offering opportunities to explore new activities and gain life skills.

Another partner is the Home Tuition Service, which aims to minimise disruption to schooling for children, along with York Learning, a council service providing part-time and evening adult learning, as well as career advice and apprenticeships.

Accessible Arts and Media, a York-based charity running arts and creative media learning projects, will also be on site.

The development will include a new, safe and secure access to Vale of York Academy with a proposal to make 2,500 square metres of the space available for low carbon, 100 per cent affordable homes.

A further consultation on those proposals is set to take place early in 2022.

Other key developments under the £7.7m commitment include:

● a new library, co-located with Haxby and Wigginton Oaken Grove Community Centre.

● capital investment in Acomb's Library Learning Centre, improving the ground floor entrance and café, an additional community garden, an extended library area, improved access to other service providers and a full programme of events and activities.

York Press:

From left, Cllr Darryl Smalley, York Explore manager Fiona Reilly and York council Leader Keith Aspden at Acomb Library.

Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said: "This £7.7m total investment is the latest evidence that we intend to meet that commitment a secure the long-term future of these community facilities.

“Our library vision consultation identified residents’ key aspirations, ambitions and principles. They want community hubs, with partners present that link to community needs; they want to be able to access services on their doorstep, and they support a move away from standalone buildings to thriving, lively spaces with multiple activities and events and café facilities wherever possible."

Cllr Keith Aspden, council leader, added: “This once-in-a-generation investment builds on our belief that libraries are key in supporting strong local communities and resident wellbeing. Delivering services closer to people helps tackle isolation, loneliness and ensure that those who are struggling get help locally.

“These progressive developments offer more space for study, learning, meeting, and cultural activity. Our plans recognise the need for services to be co-located and ensure they meet residents’ priorities - reading and studying space, local information, events, Wi-Fi, local history and even more."

Explore York’s deputy chief executive, Sarah Garbacz said: “This huge investment not only meets the needs of our current customers, but also enables us to deliver more and better, so we also attract new audiences. Our conversations with residents throughout the consultations have shown a desire to use our spaces to take part in creative activity, to meet new friends, to use free Wi-Fi and PCs and to access information and advice.

“While the role of each Explore Centre will vary depending on local needs, residents recognise the key role that the local library can play in social inclusion, providing a safe, welcoming, accessible place where people can meet and engage in activities.”

Anne Stamp, of the Snappy Trust, said the new development would open up many opportunities for the Snappy children and young people to grow.

Pat Wilford, trustee of Haxby and Wigginton Youth and Community Association, said: “We are excited about the proposals for Explore’s new library for Haxby & Wigginton at Oaken Grove Community Centre as the library service shares similar values and ambitions to our own in serving the local community. Thanks to the investment by City of York Council, we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the new library.”