Calls for doomed library to be moved

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LOCAL representatives from both sides of the political divide have condemned the decision to close a community library in Cumbernauld.

As reported in last week’s News and Chronicle, CultureNL plans to close Eastfield Library now that a nominal leasing arrangement has come to an end. The library will close on November 22, to be replaced by a mobile service. The closure was approved in 2009.

But now local political figures are calling for the library to be relocated to the Forge Community Centre.

Jamie Hepburn MSP said: “The closure of Eastfield Library would be a real blow for local residents, and would leave the entire north of Cumbernauld without any such facility. Given that we already know there is a lack of amenities in that part of the town, the last thing that should be happening is a reduction in such facilities.

“And whilst a mobile library service can be a very good thing for those places that don’t have any library, they are no substitute for one housed in bricks and mortar. Eastfield currently has such a library, and a replacement part-time library service that only operates for just over a couple of hours a week instead is frankly not good enough.“

Councillor Alan Masterton added: “To say that this large part of Cumbernauld will be well served by a mobile library service for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes a week, stopping in various streets around Balloch, is farcical. Instead the council should look creatively at using a small section of the already existing community space in the Forge Community Centre to host the library.”

And Labour councillor Bob Chadha added: “I visit the library every day and voted against this closure in 2009 and would have opposed it again if I had known it was back on the agenda. The library should be moved to the Forge rather than closed, as suggested by Councillor Barry McCulloch last week.”

CultureNL chairwoman Heather McVey said the Forge move had been rejected. She explained: “All options were considered. It was important to maintain a level community facility and library service and a move of library service to the Forge would have effectively closed the community facility. This position maintains an accessible community facility but with increased ICT. Mobile library services continue to reach out to the community.”