Ministers urged to ensure libraries re-open after pandemic

Concerns have been raised that some libraries may not re-open after the impact of Covid-19.

Ministers urged to ensure libraries re-open after pandemic @SaveGlasgowLibs

Ministers have been pressed to ensure that all libraries in Scotland that were forced to close due to the pandemic will be re-opened.

Raising the issue at Holyrood on Wednesday, Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said there are concerns over the future of 13 libraries currently closed across the Central Scotland region which he represents.

Despite libraries being given the green light to re-open on April 26, within the protection level of their local authorities, there are fears that some may not be able to open their doors again.

Campaigners have also held ‘read-ins’ outside of closed libraries, including at Langside and Pollokshields libraries, as part of efforts to protect them against permanent closures.

Simpson told local government minister Ben Macpherson that councils have a statutory duty to provide services such as libraries.

“He’ll be aware that there’s been some concern raised by the (Scottish Library and Information Council) that many libraries closed during the pandemic will not re-open,” said Simpson.

“In my own region, Central Scotland, 13 are closed at the moment, there are concerns for their future.

“Councils have a statutory duty to provide services such as these. So what is the Scottish Government doing to ensure that all libraries closed by the pandemic will re-open?”

Macpherson responded: “The way that we have our different spheres of governance here in Scotland means that local councillors have to make decisions affecting local communities.

“But, I appreciate both the significance of and the tone in which Mr Simpson has raised this important point.

“We all know as citizens and representatives the value of libraries in communities and if Mr Simpson would like to write to me with more details of the circumstances in his region, I’d be very glad to receive that correspondence.”