‘Great concerns’ raised over Ripon library’s future

Rip    Interior of the new Ripon Library. 1010019b.
Rip Interior of the new Ripon Library. 1010019b.

Ripon’s City Development Manager has raised ‘great concerns’ about proposals for changes to the city’s library service, in a report to councillors.

North Yorkshire County Council announced in November they would be looking to turn Ripon Library into a Hybrid library in the latest round of budget cuts.

This would mean that only one member of staff would be employed with volunteers working alongside this employee, operating with support from the core library in their district.

However, Alan Weston has raised concerns that, from the information provided, it is ‘not clear the extent of volunteering expected/needed with core or hybrid libraries’.

He said: “The primary concern for Ripon library is that a single member of staff, coupled with some volunteering is not going to be sufficient to maintain the current levels of opening hours and reductions in the level of service will have a detrimental impact.”

The report also indicates the library receives more than 112,000 user visits each year and outperforms ‘core’ libraries Northallerton, Richmond and Selby for total visits.

Mr Weston argued Ripon would only have one member of staff, whilst these libraries ‘where there is less need and demand on the service’ benefit from comparatively better staffing levels.

He said: “This demonstrates that the need and usage at the libraries is far more complex and needs better consideration than the simplistic approach being proposed at the moment.

“Rather than the simplistic approach being proposed it is suggested a more sophisticated approach to staffing should be adopted which recognises the needs and demands of the service in each area and allocates staffing resources accordingly.”