The Press and Journal reports that a hit list of rural libraries has emerged after a Freedom of Information request from a member of the public. The paper reports:
'Responding to the FoI request, head of community learning and leisure Ian Murray confirmed yesterday that council officers had identified libraries at Plockton, Caol, Invergordon, Helmsdale, Ardersier and Beauly for possible closures that would save around £94,000.
The closure of 11 others – Bettyhill, Knoydart, Achiltibuie, Lochcarron, Cromarty, Golspie, Lairg, Broadford, Mallaig, Bonar Bridge and Muir of Ord – would save almost £100,000.
And in search of a total £666,000 saving within the libraries budget, a “large library” is being considered for closure leaving libraries in Inverness, Culloden and Wick in the frame.
The woman who submitted the FoI request did not wish to be identified. She said she sought the information because she felt communities should be aware of which libraries are threatened in order to have a proper opportunity to respond to the consultation. Councillors were, until now, unaware of the names on the list.'
One imagines that Councillors representing those areas on the list will be receiving a few phone calls, letters and e-mails from their constituents. The full Press and Journal article here.
The Scotsman reported recently that library closures in Scotland have increased over recent years even before the credit crunch kicked into local government funding. An interesting article highlighting the difficulties that libraries face here: Is your local library on borrowed time?