BENTHAM library is to be taken under the wing of a community charity from April backed by a team of volunteers.

Twenty six have already been recruited by Friends of Bentham Library and others are being encouraged to get involved.

Its home will be in King Street and the new regime follows an agreement between North Yorkshire County Council and Pioneer Projects, a charity which delivers creative writing, crafts, health and wellbeing and community events.

It will open in the late spring/early summer and occupy the first floor after Bentham is designated a community-run library from Saturday April 1.

At that date the county council will require all libraries to be supported or run by volunteers to maintain and develop the service.

It will operate under the same management board and is designed to reduce costs for both community organisations and to enhance the opportunity for volunteering as well as make more efficient use of the building.

It has full access for people with disability and is also expected to lead to longer library opening hours-potentially 35 against the current 15 hours a week.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for library and information services, said: “Sharing the King Street premises with Pioneer Projects brings the library closer to the town centre and means that resources and costs and expertise can also be shared and new initiatives developed. It also means that the library can stay open for longer.

“The County Council will continue to offer staff training and to maintain the library stock and we are delighted that this excellent solution to the library’s future has been secured.”

Sue Vasey, Pioneer’s Interim Director, said: “The first floor of the building is currently being re-arranged to provide the best possible configuration for the library and we are excited to see the space and welcome our community into it when this work is completed.”

If anyone would like to be part of the project, please contact Pioneer Projects on 01524 262672 or John Frankland, County council service development officer, on 01609 534547.