Radical changes at Kirkintilloch library mean “exciting times” insists council chief

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PEOPLE should not be concerned over massive changes at the William Patrick Library, in Kirkintilloch, says East Dunbartonshire’s top council official.

Council chief executive Gerry Cornes spoke out after last week’s article in the Herald, when we highlighted concerns raised by residents, council staff and former council employees about plans to convert part of the library building into a community hub.

However, chief executive Gerry Cornes said: “This is a very exciting time for the William Patrick Library, the local community and East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture Trust.

“The £½million project will see a new state-of-the-art William Patrick Library and a new community hub, or ‘first-stop-shop’, open on the ground floor of the existing library on Monday, August 27.”

He continued: “There were several claims made in the article (Herald, April 25) which were inaccurate. In response I’d like to set the record straight.

“The size of the library will not be ‘slashed’. There will be no ‘cuts in the services it provides’. The proposals will not ‘destroy’ the library, and it will not be ‘decimated at the whim of those in power’.

“We will continue to engage with service users and stakeholders. The local community will benefit from a brand new, state-of-the-art library fit for purpose and future proof for many years ahead. Let’s not lose sight of these important facts.”

Mr Cornes went on: “The council and the trust have worked closely on the new facilities and although there will be a slight decrease in the footprint of the new library - around 10 per cent - it will look and feel larger due to the more effective and efficient use of space.

“William Patrick Library employees have been involved in developing the new plans, have influenced the design of the new library and are looking forward to working in the new purpose-built facility.”

Consultation on community hubs and future library facilities in East Dunbartonshire began in 2010 as part of the council’s ‘budget stakeholder engagement programme’. The council says it’s one of the most detailed consultation processes to be carried out by a local authority in Scotland, and focused on identifying options for delivering services and how they could be made more accessible and delivered more effectively for local people.

Mr Cornes said: “This stakeholder engagement endorsed our plans to protect front line services, including libraries. The development of community hubs is one of those plans.”

Further engagement continues next month with a range of interested community groups and library users. And detailed floor plans of the hub and the library will be publicised in the coming weeks.

To make way for construction of the new facilities part of the library will be closed from Sunday, June 3 for 12 weeks.

Mark Grant, general manager of East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture Trust, said: “I’m delighted with these plans for the new library and hub.

“With any major development there will always be a period of disruption - we can’t escape that fact.

“However, we will not simply close the doors of the library when work begins. Comprehensive transitional arrangements are in place to minimise disruption to our customers.”

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