Leith Library 'read-in' today to highlight vital role of libraries

A “read-in” is being staged outside Leith Library today note-0 to highlight the importance of libraries and the need to defend them.
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The event, from 11.30am until 1pm, has been organised by Katrina Faccenda, the Labour candidate for Leith ward in May’s council elections.

There will be an open mic for people to read their favourite passage about Edinburgh or Leith and warm drinks and cakes are being laid on.

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Ms Faccenda planned it originally when there was no sign of Leith Library – currently being used as a Covid test centre – being handed back to the council. Now all four city libraries serving as test centres are due to be returned to council control at the end of March, but she decided to go ahead with the read-in anyway.

She said: "When we started campaigning in January one of the issues which kept coming up was not only the continued closure of the library but how much library provision across the north of the city has been hit by cuts over the years.

"I still remember the library van which I visited as a child and the excitement of choosing new books to read.

"I started to plan the ‘read in’ before the reopening was announced and my inspiration was the community activists in Glasgow who got their libraries reopened, some of which were under risk of closure.

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"But the more I read about public libraries and how many have been closed here in Scotland in recent years, the more I was convinced to go ahead with the event as a way of bringing together the community to celebrate libraries and to remind those in control of funding that we will fight for our libraries – and let's not forget that under the under the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973 it is a statutory duty of local authorities to provide a comprehensive, efficient library service.

"Modern libraries offer many essential services beyond book lending but let's not forget that access to books is access to knowledge – libraries can transform people's lives.

"I will be keeping an eye on the situation throughout March to make sure that if still needed the testing centre is being relocated and look forward to supporting the Leith community in their campaigns for better public services".

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