CALLS are being made for more volunteers to come forward to help run libraries in the area.

Both Pickering and Norton libraries are hosting special volunteer sessions this week in a bid to encourage people to get involved with managing the facilities.

Under proposals put forward by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), from April, Pickering’s library will become a hybrid library run by paid staff and volunteers, while Norton will become a community library, which will receive regular professional support from core libraries.

The Norton Community Library group, which plans to transform the facility into a vibrant hub, currently has about 20 members on its steering group.

Pickering library has also set up a steering committee with about 30 members, including a chairman, secretary and treasurer.

Kevin Butt, from the Pickering group, said it was important that the town kept its library fully open.

"We have a hardcore of people who are already volunteering in the library to gain hands-on experience," he said. "Our aim is to also get the local schools involved, including sixth formers who could help with displays and teach older people how to use computers."

Mr Butt said the library was a vital facility for both residents and those visiting the town.

"For many people the library is their first point of call when they visit Pickering and with local people running it they can provide more information about where to go and what to do," he said.

County Councillor Elizabeth Shields, local member for Norton, who chairs the town's library group, said they were in close negotiations with NYCC for a 10-year lease.

"It has yet to be confirmed but there is a real possibility which would enable us to apply for more funding," she said.

"We are also applying for charitable status which will give us further options for funds."

A coffee morning for anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering will be held at Norton library on Friday, from 10am to noon. Follow progress on the Norton Community Library Facebook page.

Pickering Library is also hosting a volunteer morning on Monday, from 10am to noon. For more information go to Pickering Library Volunteer Support Group's Facebook page.