Half of the libraries in North Yorkshire could face closure unless volunteers come forward to keep them open, the county council has warned.
The push towards community-run libraries follows an original decision by the council in 2010, which saw nine of the council's 42 libraries run by volunteers, with 33 left under council control, alongside staff and opening hour cuts across the service. The move saved the council £2m, but the body is now looking to find a further £1.6m, as part of an overall £167m budget cut.
Under new proposals, all libraries in the county would need volunteer support, including those the council designates as "core libraries" in Harrogate, Malton, Northallerton, Richmond/Catterick, Scarborough, Selby and Skipton. While retaining paid staff, "they would need volunteers to work alongside the paid library staff to be able to open for the current opening hours".
The council has also identified "hybrid libraries", which would retain one paid member of staff alongside volunteers, in Filey, Knaresborough, Pickering, Ripon and Whitby.
The remaining libraries in the county would become "community managed" if volunteers came forwards to operate them.
A consultation on the proposals will now run until 8th February 2015, with final recommendations made next June.