Deidre Brock: City’s library service needs public views on its future

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On Thursday, I had the honour of formally reopening the refurbished Morningside Library, in the company of one of the world’s most popular authors, Alexander McCall Smith.

Speaking to the audience of libraries staff, readers, children and media, he gave an impassioned speech in praise of libraries.

“Libraries are sacred and the work they do really can save lives,” he said. “If three young people go into a library, the chances are that for at least one of them, what they discover there will change the course of the rest of their life.”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why this administration has made our much-loved libraries service a key priority.

Far from shutting libraries, we are building and refurbishing more and more, with the next, in Drum Brae, due to open early in 2012.

It’s never been easier to access the library services: our award-winning virtual library and libraries app are flourishing.

Though it’s still at an early stage, we’re also drawing up some very exciting plans to regenerate the jewel in our crown, the Central Library.

Obviously, these are tough times and the libraries service is not immune from budget pressures. To ensure we continue to provide the breadth and standard of services people expect, we’re carrying out a public consultation to decide the best way forward.

We want to hear from as many people as possible so fill in the survey online from next week, or at your nearest library from January 4, and help write the next chapter in the positive story of Edinburgh libraries.

* Deidre Brock is culture and leisure convener at Edinburgh City Council