No plans to close East Renfrewshire libraries insists councillor

There are “no plans” to close any East Renfrewshire libraries, the vice-chairman of the trust in charge of the venues has insisted.

A petition has been launched to "save" Giffnock Library

A petition to ‘Save Giffnock Library’ has been signed by more than 900 people. It states there have been “suggestions that it will be closed and the service be moved into a new facility to be built in Eastwood Park”.

The petition adds concerns were raised at a Giffnock Community Council meeting in June.

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Councillor Colm Merrick, who sits on the East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust board, criticised “misleading” reports on social media.

Speaking at a full council meeting, he told councillors there are reopening plans for all the area’s libraries.

Facilities were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but seven libraries have reopened and, Councillor Merrick said, are increasing their opening hours.

He added the trust is targeting this month for the reopening of the libraries in Busby and Netherlee.

Addressing the council meeting, Councillor Merrick said: “It has been said that libraries are some of our last, safe, free, truly public places, so it’s disappointing that many residents and service users have recently been subjected to misleading reports and wrong-footed campaigns on social media.

“There are no plans to close any of our libraries. On the contrary, you have just heard our plans for full reopening of our libraries in East Renfrewshire and that is a cause for celebration.”

Libraries in Neilston, Thornliebank, Newton Mearns, Eaglesham, Giffnock and Clarkston and at Barrhead Foundry have reopened since Covid restrictions were lifted.

Busby Library has been undergoing maintenance work and the trust is awaiting a handover date from the contractors, but Cllr Merrick said it is aiming to reopen both Busby and Netherlee libraries this month.

He added a recent survey on libraries had received hundreds of “overwhelmingly positive” responses which would be used to inform recovery plans post-pandemic.

East Renfrewshire libraries recently announced fines will no longer be handed out to readers who return books late. It is hoped the move will encourage residents to “use our resources, enjoy reading and discover new books”.