Closure fears as dozens of Glasgow libraries shut down because of staff shortages

Libraries <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Libraries (Image: Newsquest)

It is feared libraries in Glasgow are at risk of a ‘closure by stealth’ programme.

Green councillors have discovered that there have been dozens of full-day closures due to staff shortages in the last year.

The information shows libraries shut for a whole day on 47 occasions last year and 19 times they closed for part of the day.

The closures across the city were mainly on Saturdays.

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The councillors, however, say that it is libraries in the most deprived areas that appear to be affected most.

The Greens have called for Glasgow Life which runs the libraries to ensure all the city’s public libraries are open when they should be.

They said funding was secured in the budget to keep libraries open.

Glasgow Life said staffing is an issue and there is no deliberate programme to close libraries.

The closures include, Barmulloch Library being closed on six occasions, Springburn on five, Castlemilk, Possilpark and Royston libraries being closed on four full days.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

A number of protests took place across the city to ensure libraries opened again following the pandemic restrictions.

The Glasgow Times ran a Save Our Venues campaign which included calls for libraries and community facilities to be protected and re-opened.

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Anthony Carroll, Greens’ communities spokesperson, said: “It is clear that this is a planned programme of closures by Glasgow Life, denying people access to their local libraries at next-to-no notice.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

“We think that is unacceptable and risks undermining the vital role libraries play in our communities.

“It is also striking how the closures have disproportionately affected some of Glasgow’s more disadvantaged communities, with almost two-thirds (43 out of 66) of closures being in the North and East of the city.

Just under a third of all closures affected Royston, Dennistoun, Barmulloch and Springburn libraries, which are all in relatively close proximity.”

The Greens funding was secured to reopen all libraries after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Councillor Carroll added: “The money is there to ensure everyone can access their library when they expect it to be open, so Glasgow Life needs to act urgently to stop these stealth closures.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “Where staff become unexpectedly unavailable through illness or resignation, Glasgow Life Libraries colleagues are offered extra shifts which are voluntary. “Saturdays are the hardest day to find short-notice cover and where this isn’t available, we aim to limit the length of any closures and ensure it isn’t always the same libraries which are affected.

“A recruitment drive in December filled some vacancies and those colleagues are in post, which is improving resilience on Saturdays.

“Further recruitment, beginning with colleagues being offered more hours, starts this month. We are sorry for the inconvenience any such closure causes.

“Any suggestion this is an orchestrated or deliberate programme, aimed at specific areas, is entirely false.”