Library shake-up, power at the council and Kirky Miners – this week’s Letters to the Editor

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READERS have their say on the issues which matter...

Calls for a U-turn on library plans

THERE is only one week left before workers move into one of the most beautiful, built-for-purpose buildings in our town to pull it apart, in order to build a community hub that no-one has expressed the slightest desire to have - except a few people on our ill-advised council.

Who has been consulted? Alex Salmond, whether you agree with his views or not, has just declared that the people of Scotland should decide the future of their country. Likewise the people of Kirkintilloch, the residents who live and work here, should have the right to decide what is to happen to THEIR Library.

The idea of blithely closing it for three months, without so much as a by-your-leave, shows complete disregard for the feelings and circumstances of the population of our town.

And then what? A tiny little section in what was a well-proportioned ideal lending library is allocated for borrowers and a huge stock of books.

It’s sacrilege and an insult to all thinking people in the town. What is wrong with using one of the many empty shops for your community hub?

You have £500,000 at your disposal to shatter a well-run facility.

Why don’t you consult Mary Portas about regenerating our town?

Can you imagine the headlines on the national news with pictures of the crumbling town hall, the derelict former Co-op or the old post office?

“Council destroys beautiful building when empty buildings are available”.

We’d be the laughing stock of the country.

Get your act together and listen to the wishes of the people who use the library.

Look out for a petition, and meanwhile STOP THE ROT.

Margot Aked

(Via e-mail)

Accused of ignoring voters’ views

IN the article Council deal is a ‘disgrace’ in last week’s Herald (May 23), Labour council leader Rhondda Geekie claims, “that while many people voted for them (SNP) many also voted to keep them out”.

Presumably on that basis just as many voted to exclude Labour and what is even more obvious - the vast majority voted to keep the UK Government parties, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, out of our local politics to the same degree that they are out of our national politics.

Labour has chosen to ignore the views of the people of East Dunbartonshire and empower these pariah parties, giving them the deputy leadership of the council and the chair of two powerful committees.

Ms Geekie claims that Labour has “very different national politics” from the Con-Dem UK Government, but despite these differences she was able to implement the Labour manifesto “in full”.

I just wonder how big these differences are when Labour cannot work locally with a left of centre social democratic party like the SNP, which has as much electoral validity as themselves.

I am sure that Cameron and Clegg are smugly content that, as Ms Geekie says, “…these types of agreements are happening right across Scotland”.

Thank you Labour for providing the Con-Dems with an oasis of power in their electoral desert, and thank you also for illustrating, with the voters of East Dunbartonshire, your keynote policy of “Inclusion”.

(Name and address withheld – sent by e-mail)

Praise for Kirky Miners’ club

I WAS shocked to read in the Herald recently that an unnamed councillor said that the Kirkintilloch Miners was a ‘bit of a dump’.

I think it’s terrible that this councillor can say such a thing when the Miners has been so good to the community.

As a pensioner, I have experienced the good will of the Miners.

They have taken us on many bus runs, provided us with Christmas meals and other meals throughout the year, as well as putting on a panto for us.

I can honestly say that I have not received such care from our local authority.

Perhaps the unnamed councillor should consider this before making such comments.

Margaret Strang

Kirkintilloch

Council accused of spin over libary revamp

CONGRATULATIONS to the Herald for finally obtaining a copy of the plans for the William Patrick Library conversion.

Why did the council take so long to release the plans? Why are our councillors silent?

Given that the library is due to close at the end of the week, is this a ‘fait accompli’ and the council have no intention of taking account of the views of library users?

Over the last four weeks, a number of issues have arisen:

Consultation

The Herald (May 2) stated: “The council says it’s one of the most detailed consultation processes to be carried out by a local authority in Scotland……”

When were readers and users directly consulted? When were the plans presented to the Trust board?

Gerry Cornes, chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “William Patrick Library employees have been involved…” How much involvement and at what level? Are there any professional librarians on the front line in any of our libraries?

Space

Mr Cornes stated: “There will be a slight decrease in the footprint – around 10 per cent- but it will look and feel larger...”

However, it is also stated that “the facility would provide access to many of the services currently delivered from the council offices at Tom Johnston House”.

These statements are not compatible. This is purely and simply ‘spin’.

On investigation, it is also clear that one or more of the empty premises are capable of hosting a ‘hub’ and would increase footfall to our town centre.

‘New library’

According to a council statement, the new library will provide; new shelving and display - this means less shelving and book stock.

New childrens’ area - this means smaller childrens’ area. This is further ‘spin’ and it is clear from the plans that there will be between 60 and 80 fewer shelves with correspondingly fewer books.

The community is entitled to honesty. The library has already been targeted for severe cuts. Libraries are an easy target and the public are suffering cuts to the service.

The effects on such things as literacy are not immediately obvious and may be felt several years later.

Please do not ‘spin’ and tell us that the level of service is being maintained.

We have lost the mobile library, we have lost a large number of staff at all levels and we are now losing a significant part of a facility and its stock.

Tom Breslin

(Via e-mail)

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