East Dunbartonshire libraries may be saved from axe

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Threatened library closures in East Dunbartonshire may be averted when the council meets to set its budget on Thursday.

This week the authority 
will set its full budget after having already announced a council tax increase of 3.95 per cent.

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration has proposed extra funds for East Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, which operates the library service.

Bishopbriggs North and Campsie Councillor Gary Pews and Councillor Billy Hendry, whose ward includes Milton of Campsie, have welcomed the news.

Councillor Gary Pews (Liberal Democrat), whose Bishopbriggs North and Campsie ward includes Milton of Campsie,  said: “I received a substantial number of emails from  Milton of Campsie residents with heartfelt pleas to save their village library from closure.

“I also consulted with the head teacher and parents of children at the adjacent Craighead Primary, who all told me they valued having the library as an educational resource.

“So I am obviously delighted that my colleagues on the council administration have agreed the extra funding to keep it, and the other two libraries, open.’’

Billy Hendry (Conservative), who represents the same ward as Cllr Pews, said: “I was against the closure plans from the moment I heard about them, and made it clear that no services should be lost in the villages.

“In these financially challenging times for the council, some difficult decisions will have to be made.

“But a local library is a vital part of the fabric of village life, and there was no way I would allow an important 
facility like the library to close.”

However, SNP member, Councillor Paul Ferretti said: “It’s a strange statement to say the libraries are saved as although the trust will receive the means to prevent the closures it is ultimately a decision for the trust to make.

“The administration is claiming this move as a great result for them but ultimately it was the campaigning by the local people such as Milton of Campsie Community Council whose campaigning has been excellent and 
has been supported fully by the SNP.”

Katy Tabatabaeyan, 
a member of the Save Westerton Library Facebook group, said: “As a resident of Westerton I’m glad to hear of the proposal for extra funding for leisure and culture in East Dunbartonshire.

“I hope this means the closure of our library can be averted.

“Libraries are one of the last truly public institutions in society.

“Anyone is welcome, and in our increasingly insular society I think that’s very important.

“I have fond memories of going to my local library as a child and I hope my son will be able to enjoy the same memories.”

The  budget will be  set at a meeting of the full East Dunbartonshire Council on Thursday evening.