Campaigners fighting to save a library earmarked for closure will hold a “read-in” this week.
Ferryhill Library is one of six due to close on March 31 as a result of Aberdeen City Council’s swingeing budget cuts.
Councillors agreed to close Ferryhill, Cornhill, Woodside, Northfield, Kaimhill and Cults libraries to save £280,000.
But campaigners in Ferryhill have argued the library – which was only refurbished three years ago – is a valuable community resource, and plan to demonstrate this by holding a “read in” on Wednesday.
Organisers hope the event will highlight the importance of the library to the local community as a place for learning for children and adults, for accessing information, as well as being a warm space for vulnerable residents in the winter.
‘Has served generations of children and adults’
Local campaigner Karen Barrett-Ayres said: “This is a much loved local library, which has served generations of children and adults and was only just refurbished in 2020. It opens up the magical world of books to children and encourages a love of reading.
“Libraries are so important in tackling poverty. Reading for pleasure has been shown to be vital to escaping poverty and the library is also a warm space in the winter. Its IT facilities help tackle the digital divide.
“The money saved by closing the library is relatively small, but it will have a huge impact. We are calling on Aberdeen City Council to think again and for supporters to join us at the library at 3pm on Wednesday.”
‘Impoverishing’ the city
Online petitions have been set up to save most of the libraries, with hundreds getting behind the effort.
Cornhill Library was described as a “vital” resource while Woodside campaigners have urged people to sign their petition, highlighting that if the library shuts it will be a 45-minute walk to the nearest one, which they say is “unfeasible” for the elderly, disabled or those with small children.
After the closures were announced, north-east crime writer Stuart MacBride warned the move would “impoverish six big chunks of Aberdeen”.
He told The P&J: “The idea that it’s OK to shut libraries, because ‘people can borrow books online’ presupposes everyone has access to laptops and tablets and eReaders, when we know that’s not the case.
“Sacrificing libraries on the bonfire of cost-cutting might save money, but it impoverishes us all.”