A community has been ‘‘left reeling” after a council decided to slash support for its local library.

Residents in Gargrave say they were shocked to learn of North Yorkshire County Council’s plans for the future of library provision, as reported last week.

After criticism, the authority announced changes to its original cost-cutting proposals, claiming it is now spreading the cutbacks “more fairly” across the county.

Under the new plans “an element of professional staffing” will be retained at the facilities in Ingleton and Bentham. These libraries will also be supported with accommodation, books, IT facilities and broadband.

However, the libraries in Gargrave and Embsay have been relegated to a lower category – to survive they will need to be run by volunteers and funded locally.

Bernadette Atkinson, a member of Gargrave Library Supporters Group, said: “As you can imagine our community is reeling from the latest proposals, particularly as we had a very positive meeting with library officers only two weeks ago. We are down but not out and have sent a letter to this week’s Scrutiny Committee meeting.”

In the plea to councillors, penned by Mike Palin, the group called on the council to upgrade Gargrave library to the same category as Ingleton and Bentham.

Mr Palin said the library serves Malhamdale as well as Gargrave, and Malham is 12 miles away from Skipton.

“It, and the intervening villages, are likely to be inaccessible to the super-mobile library, planned to be retained at the expense of the rest of the mobile service which is to be scrapped if the proposal is approved,” he wrote.

“This would qualify Gargrave’s catchment area as ‘rural and deprived’ in terms of both the library service and the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, which was intended to protect the public from such rapacious actions by local authorities and, interestingly, the Secretary of State.’’ Mark Wilson, chairman of Embsay with Eastby Parish Council said he had “mixed feelings” about the council’s latest proposals for Embsay’s library, adding they were “a little better than we had been expecting”. He said: “I’m pleased they’re going to retain the book stock and the training, because up until now we didn’t know what we were going to get. Now we can move forward and discuss what happens next with the volunteers. The council has also given us more time to prepare for the changes.

“However, I’m disappointed they won’t be retaining the broadband connection to the library – that’s a bit churlish and the parish council will make representations about that.”

He said that around 32 people had expressed interest in volunteering to run the library and the parish council would support them to try and keep the facility open.