Jean Burton and Greta Knight
Jean Burton and Greta Knight

Harrogate libraries highly commended in Library of the Year award 

21 October 2020

Two libraries in the Harrogate district have been recognised in North Yorkshire’s Library of the Year award.

Bilton and Woodfield community library and Boroughbridge community library and resource centre are among those to be highly commended for improved performance.

  • In 2011, Government cuts led to the proposed closure of the library. However, Bilton and Woodfield Community Library Group was formed with the aim of running local library services.
  • In 2012, they opened for business in The Old Vicarage, working in partnership with the County Council which supplied the books, IT services and some professional support. It moved to the current site on Woodfield Road in 2014.
  • Charitable trust Boroughbridge Area Community Library Association (BACLA) has run the library since December 2016 in close partnership with the County Council.

North Yorkshire County Council’s library service crowned Norton HIVE library and community hub as the overall winner earlier this year.

Bilton library Chair Greta Knight said:

This award was a recognition of all the hard work done by everyone connected with the library and I was extremely proud to accept it on their behalf.

As well as providing all the services expected of the library, we are able to provide many events to benefit the whole community. These include our ever-popular community day, providing a venue for community support projects such as HELP, a pop-up museum and hosting a Sunday afternoon tea for the housebound.

Although services have been limited during the pandemic, Boroughbridge library normally runs weekly activities such as story time, jigsaw and scrabble and one-to-one help with IT issues. They host popular events such as murder-mystery, play reading and poetry evenings.

Boroughbridge library Secretary Diana Holmes said:

It is great to have the hard work of our team of lovely volunteers recognised by this award. The library is at the heart of the local community and we know from customer comments that it is greatly valued.

The award gives us a very satisfying pat on the back from our colleagues at the County Council and is especially appreciated in these current challenging times.

The other libraries to be highly commended for improved performance against the library service’s key indicators are:

  • Filey community library;
  • Sherburn and Villages community library; and
  • South Craven community library.

County Council Chairman, Councillor Jim Clark, said:

I was delighted to be able to go along to the winning libraries and present the awards to dedicated staff and volunteers. Their hard work has made such a difference to library users during these difficult times and it has showcased the importance of the service to so many residents. Here’s to another successful year ahead!


County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said:

The success of these community-run libraries is a testament to the local communities who will go to great lengths to keep the service running.

Despite lockdown resulting in the closure of our buildings we have increased our digital offer and seen 3,000 new customers join and a huge increase in digital borrowing. The last year has seen unprecedented challenges for the library service but with county-wide support we are looking to bounce back stronger than ever.



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