Plans to reopen some Glasgow Southside libraries early next year

Visitors will be able to return to 12 libraries across the city in early 2021 under Glasgow Life’s phased approach to reopening venues.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 7:10 am
Councillor David McDonald has welcomed plans to reopen some of Glasgow's libraries.

The charity, which runs culture and sports facilities for the council, will reopen the libraries between January and the end of March.

Those selected include Govanhill, Langside, Pollok and Pollokshields.

Others opening are in Anniesland, Cardonald, Castlemilk, Dennistoun, Hillhead, Knightswood, Riddrie and Springburn.

The plans will be dependent on localised infection rates and Glasgow’s level on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 protection scale.

All 12 libraries will open by the end of March if Glasgow is in level three or below.

Council leader Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the city’s libraries are “cherished and valued by our citizens and the services they provide offer a lifeline to many”.

“As we recover from the pandemic, our libraries will be more vital than ever,” she added.

“Glaswegians thrive on access to the power of reading, information and discovery as much today as they have done for the past 150 years.”

Campaigners, worried about the future of these libraries, have been calling for them to be reopened for months, with read-ins outside the Govanhill, Langside and Pollokshields venues.

Scottish Greens councillor Jon Molyneux said: “This is very welcome news and a big boost for local campaigners.

“But it’s such a shame that it has taken so long and that communities will have been without these vital services for a whole year by the time they reopen.

“Anything that can be done to bring proposed reopening dates forward should be considered.”

He added: “I’m also aware of concerns over the maintenance of historic library buildings over the winter months and Glasgow Life should reassure communities that those are being attended to.

“It’s important that Glasgow Life engages with communities, including where local facilities remain closed, about the future of all their services, and we’ll be asking councillors to back that call when the council meets tomorrow.”

Elder Park and Woodside libraries will remain closed due to planned building works while the Couper Library, Barmulloch and the library in the Gallery of Modern Art cannot comply with physical distancing guidance, Glasgow Life says.

Baillieston, Maryhill, Milton, Parkhead and Whiteinch libraries – all part of the city’s community hubs programme, which is under development – aren’t scheduled to reopen in the next phase.

Councillor David McDonald, depute leader of the council and chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “Taking a phased approach to reopening has allowed Glasgow Life to understand how best to operate our venues in a Covid-19 environment; keeping staff and visitors safe while we are adjusting to the new measures that we’ve had to put in place.

“These have been valuable lessons to ensure that people can feel confident about reengaging with our services. While visits may look a little different as we work to ensure the venues are safe for our staff and visitors in the weeks and months ahead, all are welcome to come and use our libraries and benefit from their services.”

More than 8400 people joined Glasgow libraries since the beginning of spring.

Appointments won’t be needed to borrow books at the reopened venues but there may be queues due to restricted numbers. All overdue library fines will be waived until the end of March.

Access to computers and printing will be available as will in-person employability support and financial inclusion advice.

Libraries which have already reopened are Bridgeton, Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Gorbals, Ibrox, Partick, Pollokshaws, Possilpark, Royston, Shettleston and the Mitchell, although they were closed again under level four restrictions.