Communities across Craven are battling against the proposed closure of libraries.

Gargrave, Embsay, Bentham and Ingleton libraries could all close as part of £2.3 million cuts in North Yorkshire County Council’s libraries budget over the next four years.

The council, which has to make cuts of £1.1 million in library spending in the next year, is consulting on the closures until February 28.

Meanwhile, following well-attended meetings in all four areas, communities are looking for support to maintain some sort of library service.

In Embsay, chairman of Embsay with Eastby Parish Council, Coun Mark Wilson, said they had a responsibility to gauge public feeling and see if there would be backing for a community-led library.

As a result, a meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 15, at 6.30pm in Embsay Village Hall. “There is still a considerable amount of research and thinking required to evaluate the need for a local library service, and, if so, what form and structure an alternative, volunteer-led service should take to successfully meet local needs,” he said.

Anyone wanting to comment, but unable to attend, can write to Coun Trevor Kent, Pasture House, Pasture Road, Embsay, BD23 6RQ, or e-mail Trevor_kent

In Bentham, library supporters are planning to take part in a national event on Saturday, February 5, when people will be asked to read favourite passages at their libraries between 10am and 1pm. Supporters will be joined by writer Leah Fleming, who will also read one of her favourite passages from a book.

Supporter Irena Pritchard said the library was a vital resource.

“It has the only public internet access point in town and serves many other purposes,” she said.

In Ingleton, supporters of the library, housed in the community centre, are also taking part in the national read-in next Saturday.

Parish councillor Paul Weaire said 70 people attended a meeting to discuss how to retain a library.

He said a volunteer-led library would be difficult because the village pool of volunteers was already taken up on other jobs. But, if the library was to close, the nearest one would be at Settle, which for many older people would be too far to travel.

A meeting to discuss the way forward in Ingleton willtake place on Thursday, February 10, in the community centre from 3.30pm.

In Gargrave, where villagers are fighting the possible closure of their library for the second time, a committee has been formed to look at ways of maintaining a library in the village hall.

Committee chairman Alan Simpson said a meeting had been planned for this week with a council officer, when it was hoped they would be given the costs of running a library.

Last month, more than 100 people attended a meeting in the village hall and 25 people put themselves forward as volunteers.

“Our committee is hell bent on retaining a library,” he said.