Campaign to re-open libraries

In the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton asked the Cabinet Secretary for Communities to make more government funding available to local authorities so they can employ more cleaners to allow for more libraries to reopen.

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented after their exchange in the chamber:

“This is not a choice the council should be faced with. We are now in a situation when so much more is online, whether it is enquiries about council tax, registering a child for school or job hunting, access to a computer and the internet has become more essential because of the pandemic. We are now in a situation where large areas of Edinburgh are digitally excluded if they don’t have a computer at home or a car to travel to a library that is open.

“I asked the Cabinet Secretary to make more funds available to address this situation. Clearly the demand for cleaning is high and rightly so, it means we can keep our public spaces safe. But this demand will not be reducing any time soon and we need equality of access to our libraries now more than ever. We are going to have students returning home from university soon and some of them will also require access to the library for books as well as computers. Whilst the Scottish Government have increased funding available to local authorities to deal with the increased costs due to Covid, clearly it isn’t enough to keep our schools and our libraries open. These are both essential services, and councillors should not be having to choose which communities can benefit and which lose out.”

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