Plans to ‘turbo-charge’ York libraries would make them ‘the best in Britain’

Clifton Library summer fair. The plan is to bring libraries and their communities closer together. Photograph: Clifton Library on Twitter

Plans for the future of York’s libraries could include sharing the centres with different organisations – such as cafés – as part of a “move away from standalone library buildings”.

A senior councillor said the plans could make the city’s libraries “the best in the UK”.

Under the plans City of York Council bosses will look at ways to move other services – which could include scout groups, charities and youth clubs – into these nine city ‘gateway’ libraries:

  • Copmanthorpe
  • Dringhouses
  • Dunnington
  • Huntington
  • Bishopthorpe
  • Fulford
  • Poppleton
  • Strensall
  • Mobile Library

Funding of £4m to invest in Acomb and Clifton libraries was approved in February.

A report for a council meeting next Thursday says: “Identifying potential co-location partners will be critical to the process and development of a future business case for investment.”

‘Investing millions’

Acomb Explore. Photograph: YorkMix
The council would work with Explore – the organisation that runs libraries on the local authority’s behalf – to move away from standalone library buildings and moving in other community services instead.

Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, said:

  • These proposals will turbo-charge our city’s libraries, making them the best in the UK.

    I’m proud that at a time when library services across the country are being cut, we are investing millions into producing world-class facilities that will make a real difference in our communities.

    We are committed to supporting our libraries and this investment is a further demonstration of that commitment.

    Our successful partnership with Explore provides us with an opportunity to bring our existing library facilities even closer to communities by locating them with other local services, while the gateway libraries will be enhanced, to continue to provide a gold standard for library provision in York.

Councillors will also be asked to put £150,000 towards a project manager to be appointed for the first two years of the programme.

The report highlights that the new library due to open at the Community Stadium will not be included in the scheme.

Neither will York Central Library – which the report says has already seen significant investment recently and there are no plans to move the services.

Burnholme and New Earswick libraries are also not included in the programme.

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