TODAY is National Libraries Day, and people are joining forces to demonstrate their love of libraries in the face of closures.
In Edinburgh, however, we’re proud to be bucking this trend. Four days ago, we saw 1300 people visit the UK’s newest public library, Drumbrae Library Hub.
Last year, we opened Captain’s Road Library within the South Neighbourhood Office; early next year we will welcome a new building for Craigmillar Library.
We’re preparing to decide on the best direction for our libraries service against a difficult financial backdrop. We’ve just finished a very thorough public consultation in which nearly 10,000 people offered their views.
Currently, there are complicated shift patterns and opening hours at our libraries, so the service has suggested a tiered model, with standardised opening hours for different categories of library. The proposals take account of staff and customer feedback and customer usage patterns – they not only ensure we can keep all of our libraries open but mean we can extend Saturday afternoons to 5pm in many more than was the case, something we know is popular with users.
Of course, I should remind everyone you don’t have to physically go into a library in order to access our services. The growing success of both our virtual library and our libraries app is proof of this. Our libraries are far more than just places to borrow book – they are genuine community hubs.
• Councillor Deidre Brock is convener of Edinburgh city council’s culture and leisure committee