The fight to save 16 Fife libraries from the axe is gathering momentum after the consultation over the proposed closures came to an end.
Cost-cutting plans put forward by Fife Council and the Fife Cultural Trust could lead to the closure over three years of Abbeyview, Bowhill, Colinsburgh, Crail, Crossgates, East Wemyss, Falkland, Freuchie, Glenwood, Kinghorn, Lundin Links, Markinch, Pittenweem, Pitteuchar, Thornton, and Townhill libraries.
Footfall, access to alternative provision and the sustainability of buildings have all been used as criteria to identify the hit list, and the Trust say a new operating model for library services has to be pursued to save money.
The public consultation officially ended yesterday and Fife Council is expected to decide the libraries’ fate on December 8.
But campaigners across the kingdom yesterday made sure their voices were heard loud and clear before the deadline.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Tricia Marwick and North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins all met young library users in Lundin Links to hear more about the impact any closure will have on the community.
Mr Rennie said: “The clear and powerful support exhibited locally must mean that the Trust and the council should change their plans to close the Lundin Links Library. The library matters to the local community that must count for something.”
Mrs Marwick added: “Lundin Links is a great example of a well-run and well-used library and does not meet the criteria listed by Fife Cultural Trust for closure so I would urge both the Trust and Fife Council to think again.”
Mr Gethins, who has previously met with the campaign group, said: “By campaigning so passionately to save their library, residents of Lundin Links and Largo have shown just how much it means to them.
“Indeed, literary links in the area go back to world-famous son Alexander Selkirk being the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’.”
Supporting the local campaign with its final push were 20 local businesses and community groups who signed an open letter to council leader David Ross urging him to listen to their views.
The signatures included people from pubs, hairdressers, church groups, preschool clubs, and even Tribal Fusion, the local belly dance group.
They say new ideas could be piloted at Lundin Links including a volunteer network to help arrange junior book groups and Saturday morning opening visitor information panels in the under-used foyer telling the Robinson Crusoe connections with Largo, and using Facebook to engage the local community.