CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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“A short term financial decision such as this will have a hugely negative impact on the future of our community in the long term.”

Category: Inspiration for the Nation 2016

Guest blog by Fiona MacKenzie on behalf of Newarthill Community Council. Newarthill Library in North Lanarkshire is currently under threat of closure.

My home village of Newarthill in North Lanarkshire is in a strange position, both geographically and socially. It is part of the ever expanding commuter belt to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, which attracts shiny new build housing estates, and expanding families.  There are also the ‘old school’ Newarthill, of which I am a proud member – people whose families lived and worked here, and made the council houses of Newarthill their home for generations.

Community facilities are sadly lacking in the village. Following the closure of the Ravenscraig Steel works, the economy has recovered somewhat, but investment in the area’s facilities have not quite met the mark. The Library is one of the only free facilities remaining that is used frequently by young and old, by single parent households, by students and jobseekers, by growing families and OAPs.

Closure of these important local community facilities is based on financial information. We all understand the financial environment these days. But a short term financial decision such as this will have a hugely negative impact on the future of our community in the long term.

Loss of local doorstep Library facilities is not just about access to books. The reach of the Library is far deeper and more profound than that. Yes, it is about lifelong learning, development, and literacy. Yes, it is about teaching young people skills that they will carry through their lives and careers. But it is also about community inclusion, integration and opportunity. Where else can jobseekers go to find work as mandated by the job centre, under threat of benefit sanction? Where else can mums and toddlers hear stories and interact with each other? Where else can schoolkids work on homework? Where else can students research their most recent essay assignment? Where else can older or vulnerable people walk to and interact with maybe the only people they will speak to all week? And where would you find all of these groups at the same time?

Nowhere but your local community library, that’s where.

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