A SOUTH Craven library will become community-managed next month.

The Cross Hills site is among 21 across North Yorkshire being taken over by volunteers, with support from the county council.

Nine libraries are already community-run.

The move comes amid massive funding cuts to the county's libraries budget, which has been slashed from £7.8 million in 2010 to £4.3 million in 2017-18.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for library and information services, said 1,200 new volunteers had come forward following a recruitment campaign.

And he added that the initiative was being hailed nationally as a model of good practice.

"Libraries in many parts of the country are closing but our co-operative approach and the massive support of new volunteers means that the current reconfiguration of the service will be implemented without losing any branches," he said.

"North Yorkshire is the only authority that has gone into this process saying this is a partnership. We have worked with communities to help find the best way forward for them.

"This has led to great diversity, with libraries creating models to best serve their areas.

"Our libraries are cherished by their local communities and because of that have survived – and they will flourish.

"Existing community libraries have gone from strength to strength, expanding way beyond book-lending to become key service deliverers.

"And our model has been highlighted by the Arts Council and Local Government Association."

New volunteers have undergone training ahead of the changes, which take effect on April 1.

The county council says the libraries will continue to benefit from professional staff support, receive new book stock and have access to the library management system and broadband.

Overheads, such as rent and utility costs, will be subsidised.

There is also a community library fund of £120,000 – equating to £4,000 per site – and bids can be made for cash to pay for work such as minor repairs and to buy new furniture and equipment.

County Cllr Metcalfe added: "This investment is important to ensure that libraries remain vibrant, attractive places which are inviting and a pleasure to visit for people in the communities they serve.

"Libraries are often the first point of contact for people wanting face-to-face advice about using council services, particularly online.

"At present, the interiors of many libraries are not sufficiently suited to modern needs."