An independent Fife councillor has voiced his disappointment following a 12-week consultation on the future of Fife’s threatened library service.
As Fife’s scrutiny committee meets to debate the contentious issue, Bill Brown said 3,901 people completed surveys and 96.4% believe that communities should have greater involvement in discussions about the future of library services.
“I don’t think they were given that opportunity since the consultation took place with a list of closures.
“We should have talked to communities two years ago, without the threat of closures,” he added.
“The initial proposal to close 16 libraries is still the proposal, following three months of consultation. Some people might be thinking ‘what was the point in consulting us?’
“I thought that the point in consulting people was to listen to their views, consider them and make changes.
“Similar exercises have taken place in the last few years where lots of people felt that the consultation process was a complete waste of time.
“By not changing anything from the original proposals it seems like many factors have been ignored, like socio-economic factors.”
He also questioned Fife Cultural Trust’s move from the town centre to a local business park and wondered if the site, on a prime spot, would be sold and, if so, whether any proceeds would go to the trust.
He said: “But if it did, then they probably wouldn’t have to close any libraries in Fife,” he said, adding that modest changes and taking account of suggestions could yield a better model.”