CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the news that Norton Library has been saved from closure.

The library was given community status by North Yorkshire County Council at a meeting to debate the future of libraries across the county last week.

A steering group was set up earlier this year to help transform the library in Commercial Street into a community hub ahead of financial cuts from the county council.

Councillor Elizabeth Shields, the county member for Norton, who chairs the group, said: "I am really delighted for everyone.

"It was excellent news and reflects the hard work and determination that local people have shown to preserve this valued facility."

Coun Shields said that the steering group could now go-ahead and acquire a more formal status, to apply for grants and particularly to apply to become a charity.

They would also be providing a temporary pop-up café in the library throughout August on the days and hours that the library is normally open.

"I would like to praise the enormous interest, enthusiasm and determination of residents to ensure the continuity of service provided by all who work at the library," said Coun Shields.

"We hope people will now call in, have a cup of tea or coffee and give us their views on the venture. In the meantime, let us celebrate."

As part of the library proposals Malton is to retain a core library, with Pickering becoming a hybrid library.

Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside will be community run, like Norton, with additional support, including some financial costs.

However, the mayor of Kirkbymoorside Councillor Chris Dowie said she was very disappointed with the decision to turn the town's library into one funded and run by the community.

"I don’t think that the decision makers realise the importance of the library to people of all ages, nor do they grasp the enormity of the task they are thrusting onto our community," she said.

"The latest figures show that Kirkbymoorside residents will be expected to raise £3,500 per year to pay for the running costs of the library and we will need at least 60 volunteers if we want to maintain the current opening hours.

"I feel that the situation is very unfair to the people of our town. People ask, where will our council tax money be going? The answer seems to be to pay for a library at Malton and Pickering and that is not much use to people in Kirkbymoorside."

John Dean, from Save North Yorkshire Libraries, said he was also disappointed with the decisions.

"The small financial concessions that have been offered to create all volunteer libraries will be inadequate to sustain them," he said.

"The risk of insufficient volunteers emerging to take on charitable status to manage the 20 libraries recklessly avoids recognising the immeasurable educational, social and cultural benefits that our current library service provides. An unfair situation has been created in library provision."