VOLUNTEERS are being sought to keep a South Craven library open.

The Cross Hills site is among 20 in North Yorkshire due to become community-managed next April.

But county council bosses warn that if no-one comes forward, the facility could close.

Now a major campaign has been launched to recruit volunteers to help with a range of tasks, from assisting customers to running children's story times.

Libraries bosses say the changes are necessary due to cuts in Government funding to the service, from £7.8 million in 2010 to £4.3m next year.

Ten libraries in the county are already community-run.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for library and information services, said the initial response to the recruitment campaign had been "superb" and he hoped no library would have to shut. But he also issued a note of caution.

"I feel confident that the new community libraries will be in safe hands," he said. "However, we must not be complacent.

"This campaign is an important reminder of the need for more volunteers in all our libraries and I would encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch.

"Regardless of your age, background or experience, everyone has something to contribute and a great deal to gain from volunteering."

He said the role was extremely rewarding, providing an opportunity to help the community while learning new skills.

His comments are echoed by young volunteer Alex England, who said: "In year ten at school I did my work experience at the library for a week and returned for the summer reading challenge. Then during term time, I started running events like games nights and a junior book group.

"I've definitely learned to deal with people a lot better. You learn about systems, how things work behind the scenes, customer service and problem solving. They're all things I can put on my CV.

"I went to the library all the time when I was little. I grew up reading books there and I remember my parents taking me.

"It would be such a shame to see any library close when people could keep them open by lending a hand."

Some libraries have already held recruitment sessions and more events are planned.

A volunteer training programme will also be staged.

Anyone interested in volunteering should call at the library or visit northyorks.gov.uk/libraryvolunteers.