Three libraries are being threatened with closure in East Dunbartonshire – and jobs placed at risk.
The board of the cultural arm of East Dunbartonshire Council voted by 5-2 last night to shut Lenzie, Milton of Campsie and Westerton libraries as part of cost-cutting plans.
There are five councillors within the 11-strong board of ED Leisure and Culture Trust.
Councillor Susan Murray (LibDem) supported the closures, Councillors Gillian Renwick (SNP) and Jim Gibbons (SNP) opposed the closures, Councillor Sheila Mechan (Conservative) abstained and Councillor Stewart MacDonald (Labour) was not at the meeting.
Trade union UNISON and Lenzie councillor Gillian Renwick have reacted angrily to the decision.
Craig Bell, its Convenor (acting) said: “UNISON East Dunbartonshire is extremely concerned and disappointed that the Board of the East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust (EDLC) consider that the closure of THREE community libraries is an acceptable or
responsible course of action, further eroding the existence of vital public amenities and services in the area.
“UNISON, as the PUBLIC SERVICES Trade Union, condemns such a proposal and will challenge it in its entirety.
“Libraries support and underpin the delivery of a wide range of local agendas making a huge contribution, through the Universal Offers, to the
education, lifelong learning, community cohesion, well-being and health of children, young people and adults as well as supporting local businesses and SMEs.
“And on top of all this, they make reading fun: something people will do with family and friends; something they enjoy and something which
can help all of us to become more creative, more interested in the world around us, more tolerant of other ideas and more open to change.
“UNISON is dismayed that the EDLC Trust has failed in its obligation to consult with the recognised Trade Unions in relation to this proposal and the implications it may have for our respective members employed in these roles.
“UNISON, along with our fellow Trade Unions, will stand up for our members who are employed in these libraries and for the residents of East
Dunbartonshire who value and treasure their local library.
“I would request the EDLC Board reconsider this destructive proposal and safeguard the future of these vital Public resources.”
Councillor Renwick, who opposed the closures is urging people to contact their local councillors by phone or email to campaign to keep the libraries open.
She told the Herald: “I am seething about this. It’s so frustrating. All the council will save from this is £85,000. It’s so short-sighted and it’s not just the libraries, employees jobs will be put at risk and I cannot and will not support this.”
She wants other options to be looked at, including moving the library into Lenzie hall or partnering the facility with Lenzie Academy.
Councillor Renwick added: “Councillor Gibbons and I were the lone voices opposed to this.
“Two options were put to the board - to close all three libraries or reduce their opening days. I was prepared to look at a reduction in opening days but this was not accepted.”
The decision of the board will now go forward to the full council, possibly later this month.