Lib Dems secure £7.7 million investment in York’s Libraries

York Liberal Democrat Councillors have secured a £7.7 million investment in the city’s libraries in a programme of city wide improvement.


In partnership with Explore York Libraries and Archives, the investment programme includes:

  • a new £5 million library learning centre for Clifton
  • a new permanent library for Haxby and Wigginton
  • capital investment in the Acomb Library learning centre

The significant capital investment at Clifton will see library provision move to a new development on the former Clifton Without Junior School site on Rawcliffe Drive. The relocated Clifton facility will create a larger centre with co-located partners enhancing the offer to the local communities and delivering the vision of a community hub and learning centre.

A recent public consultation with the community in the Clifton area found 90% of residents were in favour of the move from the current site on Rawcliffe Lane to the former Junior School site.

Clifton’s new Library Learning Centre will increase the total facility size from 270 square metres to over 1400, incorporating a multi-purpose space holding 15,000 books, evening events, a Reading Cafe, a Children’s Library, and a community partner area.

Community Partners of the Clifton Library development will include;

  • much-loved local charity The Snappy Trust, dedicated to the personal development of children and young people with wide-ranging disabilities
  • the Home Tuition service, which aims to minimise disruption to schooling for children
  • York Learning, a council service providing part time and evening adult learning, as well as career advice and apprenticeships
  • Accessible Arts and Media, a local charity running arts and creative media learning projects

Development of the site will include new safe and secure school access to Vale of York Academy. As the library does not require the whole site, there is a proposal to make 2,500 square metres of the site available for low carbon, 100% affordable homes with a further consultation on those proposals set to take place early in 2022.

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, commented:

This administration has been absolutely clear about our commitment to libraries in York. This £7.7 million total investment is the latest evidence that we intend to meet that commitment to secure the long-term future of these community facilities.

“Our library vision consultation identified residents’ key aspirations, ambitions and principles. They want Community Hubs, with partners present that link to community needs; they want to be able to access services on their doorstep, and they support a move away from standalone buildings to thriving, lively spaces with multiple activities and events and café facilities wherever possible.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, added:

This once-in-a-generation investment builds on our belief that libraries are key in supporting strong local communities and resident wellbeing. Delivering services closer to people helps tackle isolation, loneliness and ensure that those who are struggling get help locally.

“These progressive developments offer more space for study, learning, meeting, and cultural activity. Our plans recognise the need for services to be co-located and ensure they meet residents’ priorities - reading and studying space, local information, events, Wi-Fi, local history and even more.

“I’d like to thank all of the community partners of the Clifton, Acomb and Haxby & Wigginton projects for their hard work and support in bringing this vision to life, and I look forward to further progress on these exciting proposals in the coming months.”

Sarah Garbacz, Chief Operating Officer of Explore York, said:

We are delighted to be taking this great step forward in our partnership with the council. This huge investment not only meets the needs of our current customers, but also enables us to deliver more and better, so we also attract new audiences.

"Our conversations with residents throughout the consultations have shown a desire to use our spaces to take part in creative activity, to meet new friends, to use free Wi-Fi and PCs and to access information and advice.

“While the role of each Explore Centre will vary depending on local needs, residents recognise the key role that the local library can play in social inclusion, providing a safe, welcoming, accessible place where people can meet and engage in activities.”

Anne Stamp, Chief Executive Officer of the Snappy Trust, said:

Snappy are delighted to be a part of this exciting new development.

"It will open up many opportunities for the Snappy children and young people to grow and mirrors our intentions to deepen our connections with the York community, further developing local partnerships and learning programmes.”

Pat Wilford, Trustee of Haxby & Wigginton Youth & Community Association, commented:

We are excited about the proposals for Explore’s new library for Haxby & Wigginton at Oaken Grove Community Centre as the library service shares similar values and ambitions to our own in serving the local community.

Thanks to the investment by the council, we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the new library.

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