A DISPLAY of people power has saved a library in a Selby village under a shake-up aimed at saving £1.7 million.

In the wake of big cuts in the library service budget, North Yorkshire County Council asked communities to produce plans to operate their local branches.

The final details of plans for the future of six libraries have now been approved. It means the library in Barlby will be run by the local parish council. It will be staffed by volunteers and will incorporate a meeting place, information and exhibition space and a parish office.

The centre will be renamed Barlby Library and Community Hub and will stay in Howden Road. An official handover is set to take place on May 1 Last year, the authority looked at closing some libraries before being met with fierce opposition.

It decided to keep libraries in “key” towns, including Selby, Pickering, Malton and Norton open but with fewer staff and reduced opening times.

Those in smaller towns, including Easingwold, Helmsley and Tadcaster, are now to be run in collaboration with community groups and receive council support towards accommodation, stock and IT facilities. The decision still left some smaller libraries under threat, but three – in Hawes, Grassington and Masham –are now being run as community initiatives and six more, including Barlby, will follow suit from May.

Coun Chris Metcalfe, the county council’s executive member for library and community services: “This is a tremendous achievement by people across North Yorkshire who rightly said their libraries were a hugely valuable and much-loved resource.”

“The way in which they responded to the challenge of producing robust business plans, mobilising support and organising volunteers is a remarkable feat. Although they received support at every step of the way from the professionals in the council’s library service and other community groups, ultimately it was their hard work and determination which brought about this result, and they deserve the heartfelt thanks of everybody.”

The business plans submitted by community groups were assessed for financial viability, sustainability and the capability of volunteers to provide day-to-day services. The council said the groups had all shown “a wide range of skills and experience”, including areas such as education, business and managing projects.

As well as Barlby, Ayton Library will be renamed Derwent Valley BRIDGE and Great Ayton Library will become the Great Ayton Discovery Centre. Bilton, Embsay and Gargrave libraries will all be run by community library groups or committees.

The council’s library service will offer support and supply books.