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Author Mike Pannett joins battle to save Easingwold Library
BEST-SELLING author Mike Pannett joined dozens of campaigners as they braved sub-zero conditions to protest against the proposed closure of Easingwold Library.
The town’s library is one of 24 that have been earmarked for closure, as North Yorkshire County Council strives to save £2 million from its library budget over four years in response to the savage public sector cuts.
Under the plans, only 18 branch libraries and two mobile libraries, both equipped with internet technology, would survive the axe.
Residents of Easingwold say the library is a focal point of community life, attracting 49,000 visitors every year, and its loss would have a huge impact on the town.
Mr Pannett, who lives in nearby Huby, said: “It would be an absolute crying shame if Easingwold was to lose its library. It would be quite disgraceful.
“I’m a realist and I know we are in hard times, but the county council needs to look really hard at what it is doing to these rural communities, otherwise we will be left with nothing.
“People in Easingwold really feel strongly about this. It was minus ten degrees, but we had about 80 people outside the library, many with banners.”
Mum-of-two Beverley Knights, who is leading the campaign to save the library, urged people to write to the council to register their opposition to the proposals.
She said: “It would be terrible for Easingwold to lose its library. It’s a real focal point for the community and everybody is really upset about this.
“I’ve been going to the library every week with my children since they were tiny tots. The pair of them love reading and I don’t think we would have been able to keep up with them if it wasn’t for being able to hire free books at the library.
“It’s such a shame that people might not have that resource in the future.”
Coun Chris Metcalfe, executive member for adult and community services, said: “It’s not just about saving money. It’s also about providing the best service we can to the largest number of people, about adapting the libraries to meet changing demands from library users and about ensuring that all our taxpayers get the best value for their money.”
Members of the public have until the end of February to make their views known. People can take part in the consultation online at northyorks.gov.uk/libraryconsultation or pick up a form from the library.