Glasgow campaigners: Library support cash will not be enough

TODAY campaigners will gather outside Whiteinch Library for the 21st weekly read in.
They have been making their voices heard every Saturday morning outside the venue which is one of five in Glasgow which is yet to reopen after being closed in lockdown.
Their protest comes despite the announcement this week that the Scottish Government is to make £1.25 million available to help libraries.

Read more: Tories and Labour support motion backing Glasgow funding campaign
Five libraries, Whiteinch, Maryhill, the Couper Institute, Barmulloch, and GoMA remain closed and Glasgow Life, which is responsible for the sector, has said £1.2m would be required to reopen the facilities.

HeraldScotland: A Scottish Government libraries support fund has been announcedA Scottish Government libraries support fund has been announced
Robert Mellish, from Save Whiteinch Library campaign, said while the money is welcome, they are sceptical that it is enough.  
Mr Mellish said: “The sum on offer could  resolve Glasgow’s immediate issues but what about the rest of Scotland.
“It doesn’t solve the problem with Glasgow Life or even if the five affected libraries were open what about all the other venues and groups affected. 
“There also remains the issue of how Glasgow’s city government has treated some of its most deprived communities.  How is Susan Aitken’s administration going to restore trust.  She may not realise it but in our area of Glasgow, a lot of damage, has been done.”

Read more: Glasgow Life jobs: find extra £17m to protect culture and leisure roles, says union

Glasgow leaders say they will make a “strong” pitch to the Scottish Government for money to get libraries open, but admitted there are concerns over the size of the fund.
Depute council leader David McDonald said the city would make a “compelling” case to “get as much money as possible” from a £1.25m pot.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the money to “help get and keep libraries open” when she revealed her party’s programme for government earlier this week.

HeraldScotland: Still Game actor Gavin Mitchell has been campaigning for Maryhill library to reopen. He is pictured in George Square with fellow actor Tam Dean Burn.Still Game actor Gavin Mitchell has been campaigning for Maryhill library to reopen. He is pictured in George Square with fellow actor Tam Dean Burn.
Cllr McDonald, who is also the chairman of Glasgow Life was responding to a question from Green group councillor Jon Molyneux.
He had asked how much money would be secured for Glasgow, and what that would mean for the libraries which remain closed.
Cllr Molyneux also said the £1.25m fund “seems to be on the small side to say the least, if it’s to be shared across the country”.
“We know it will cost £1.2m to reopen the final five libraries in Glasgow, and  £400,000 for my local library, the Couper Institute.”
Cllr McDonald said it was “probably too early” to give accurate answers, but talks will take place to “understand just how much of that funding we can secure for Glasgow”.
“It is my intention that we make as strong as possible a pitch to get as much of that money as we possibly can. I would certainly welcome the cross party support of all colleagues in doing that.
“We will be looking to make the strongest possible case and I would certainly hope that we would be able to include venues and library campaigns across the city in that approach, in making a clear, strong and compelling case of why Glasgow’s libraries are so important.”
Cllr Molyneux also asked when Cllr McDonald had last met with the Scottish Government to discuss further funding for community venues.
The Glasgow Life chairman said there was “regular and ongoing contact with the government at every level. 
He last met with ministers on June 14, and Glasgow Life officers met with Scottish Government civil servants on September 3 about “these related matters”.
The Herald is leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign, which is calling on both the Scottish and UK governments to agree a new funding deal after culture and leisure services were hit hard by the pandemic.
Glasgow Life lost £38 million last year due to lockdown and its estimated income for 2021/22 is around £6.4m.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992