Parliamentary debate on ‘deeply concerning’ library closures

Stewart Stevenson MSP (right) to lead libraries debate.

The Scottish Parliament is to go ahead with debating a motion from Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson condemning Moray Council’s decision to close four libraries.

Mr Stevenson, whose constituency includes the libraries at Findochty and Portknockie where libraries have closed along with Rothes and Hopeman, placed his motion before the parliament ahead of the meeting last month that condemned them to closure.

The November meeting of the Full Council in Moray made a dramatic U-turn in the face of a legal challenge from campaign group Save our Libraries Moray, retaining three libraries in Burghead, Dufftown and Cullen. However, the Independent and Tory administration refused to back down on retaining all seven libraries.

Now the matter will be debated at Holyrood on Tuesday, December 17, with Mr Stevenson saying: “Whilst I welcome the Council’s decision to keep three of the closure threatened libraries open, the move to close four libraries is still deeply concerning.

“I am not convinced that the impact of these closures has been sufficiently mitigated.

“I look forward to speaking in the debate and listening to the views of other MSPs on this decision. The debate will also present a chance to praise the tireless work of those who have campaigned to oppose these closures.”

In his motion Mr Stewart says that the libraries “play a valuable role in communities”, adding that the closures come at a time when the UK Government are increasingly making access to many services online only – with users of those services having limited access to the internet in particular where communities no longer have a local library.

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