A local community showed how much they appreciate their library as York Explore celebrates its 10th birthday.

Events are taking place in libraries across the city this weekend to mark 10 years since the independent mutual society took over running the city’s public libraries and archives from City of York Council. The society is owned by its local community and staff.

At Acomb Library, firefighters, families, local businesses and craft and other organisations came together to celebrate in style and to raise funds.

Librarian Fiona Reilly said: “We have an amazing community here. It’s a vibrant community, everyone knows each other and the library is more than books, it's really a hub for the community.”

Membership is increasing, with 10 people joining on one day alone. She attributed the rise to people appreciating the value of being able to borrow books and eBooks for free.

People young and old spoke of how much they and their children love coming to the library on Front Street for books, its café, its many clubs and events and being part of its social and community life.

They thronged to the crafts stalls in the front side room, had their faces painted with glitter or paints, enjoyed Smudge’s Fudge Strawberry Lego and other fudge, soaked up the sun in the library’s garden and on the forecourt, filled the tables at the library café to eat birthday cup cakes, made constructions with Lego and visited a fire engine from Acomb Fire Station which arrived later than expected because it had to attend a call-out first.

Visitors also took out books or had a quiet read.

York St John University student Jake Leeman, who combines his degree studies with running Lego and Pokemon every week at Acomb, said: “I think it’s really good for the children to get together and meet other children. It gives them a great experience.”

Among local businesses offering prizes for the raffle were Castle Howard, Flamingoland, Carlton Tavern on Acomb Road and Theatre Royal.

Westfield ward councillor Andrew Waller said of the library: “It’s vital, it’s a very important part of the local community.”

He said people had become more engaged with the library since York Explore was founded because of the activities and events that took place in its building, as well as access to books and computers so they could get online.

Among the stalls was one for Betty the Acomb library cat, selling cat related craftwork. The library was so busy Betty herself spent the day getting away from the crowds under some bushes in the library garden.

Betty, who has adopted the library, is usually a constant presence in the building.

Vicki Hill said: “She is an essential member of the Knits and Tots group which has now been meeting for 12 years worth of Monday mornings at Acomb Explore.

"Betty checks in each person as they arrive at the group, sits outside on a chair by the entrance to our room until we are all safely accounted for, then comes into see us, walks around the room exactly four times to check all is well then leaves to resume security duty elsewhere in the library. We love her.”