A PARISH is considering paying for its own librarian and taking on cleaning duties in a bid to keep its library running.

Stokesley Library was one of 21 in North Yorkshire to become community-run initiatives, after North Yorkshire County Council announced it could no longer afford to run them as they were.

They will cease to be run by the council from March 2017 and work is underway on handing them over to volunteers.

Stokesley Parish Council is hoping the chance of making the town’s library sustainable has improved dramatically, after negotiating a reduction in the landlord’s £9,000 service charge for the premises.

It is in a building shared with an extra care housing facility, owned by Broadacres Housing Association, who has agreed to let the trustees take on responsibility for cleaning, to significantly reduce its running costs.

The parish council is also going to consult with residents about the prospect of funding a full-time librarian by increasing the parish council precept by an amount that is likely to be equivalent to about 15p per household per week.

Parish and county councillor Bryn Griffiths said: “The parish council is going to go out in the community to do a consultation about putting the precept in the town towards paying towards a fulltime librarian, and coming to an agreement with North Yorkshire County Council to pay the other half.

“If the community says no to this, the whole scheme will be dropped and the library will probably close, which would be a crying shame. We’re doing our best to keep it open, but it’s imperative that there’s a full-time person supported by local community volunteers.”

But one issue that has concerned Stokesley Parish Council is that it hasn’t been told by Hambleton District Council that its £4,000 business rates would be waived.

While the library would get an 80 per cent reduction in business rates awarded to charities, Hambleton District Council had so far refused to use its powers to waive the remaining 20 per cent.

Cllr Griffith said: “We will have these business rates hanging over us. Hambleton council are the only district left that have not waived it and so far they’ve refused to budge on that.

“We’re worried it’s a significant amount for us to find from day one.”

Hambleton District Council said every application for waiving business rates had to be decided on its own merits and when it received a formal application it would look at it.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “When the council receives the application it will be looked at on its own merits to see if it can risk awarding extra.”