Published Wednesday, 16th October 2019

A £4m investment programme in York’s libraries could move a step closer later this month, if plans are agreed at a meeting of the Executive (24 October).

Under the proposals, the council would work with Explore York Libraries and Archives Mutual (Explore) - the organisation which runs the city’s libraries and explore centres on behalf of the authority - to move away from stand-alone library buildings, co-locating them with other community amenities instead. Extra facilities such as cafes, would also be added under the new plans to encourage non-users to visit the centres.

As set out in the new 15 year, £34.25 million library service contract agreed in April, City of York Council will take the lead on developing Explore Library Learning Centres in Acomb and Clifton  – and Explore will lead on the future development of the nine Gateway Libraries*.

If agreed by the council’s Executive, construction work will start on Acomb and Clifton as early as 2021.

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, City of York Council, 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.”

Fiona Williams, Chief Executive of Explore said: “We look forward to working with our customers and our communities as we move to totally transform the library and archive service over the next few years.

“Explore are committed to providing the residents across York with a library and archive service that suits their needs – modern, flexible, welcoming spaces for all, with a vibrant programme of events and activities and providing access to other services direct to local people within local communities – real hubs of the community, places that inspire people to experience the joy of reading, to learn, to create and to connect with one another.”

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