Crail hopes library won’t reach the end

Locals campaigning to save the library.

Locals campaigning to save the library.

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Some of the youngest – as well as the most regular – users of Crail’s library service are joining a campaign to combat the facility’s closure.

It’s hoped words and pictures from pupils at Crail Primary School will lend some weight to the crusade, which is being led by Crail Community Council.

Fife Cultural Trust, which manages and operates libraries on behalf of Fife Council, is proposing to shut 16 Fife libraries – including Crail, Pittenweem, Colinsburgh, Lundin Links and East Wemyss – and move to what it regards as a more efficient network for the 21st century.

The Trust says it would provide a better-targeted and more accessible service for users, with opening hours standardised and improved digital technology to meet the modern needs of communities across Fife.

A major reason also is to cut costs, with the trust looking to save around £813,000.

The children’s involvement was showcased at a gathering on Friday outside the Town Hall, which houses the library.

It would also mean the loss of around 25 jobs, although assurances have been given on no compulsory redundancies.

Community council representatives attended, along with p7 pupil Attila Newey, school captain and summer 2015’s Crail King.

Local MP Stephen Gethins, and Councillors John Docherty and David MacDiarmid, were also there.

The pupils designed ‘Save The Library’ posters, which are displayed in the library lobby, and wrote nearly 40 letters, copies of which may go to Fife Council and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Community councillor Eileen Wood said: “We hope having the children involved in this campaign helps to highlight the effect the loss of our library would have upon the children and the school, as well as the wider community.

“I have been a parent helper in the past at a few library visits with the school and the children love it.”

“The savings are minimal compared to the detriment to our community and we want to work with Fife Cultural Trust and seek ways to make this viable for the future.”

Ms Wood said Crail was anxious to avoid another closure, having recently lost its Royal Bank of Scotland branch and its post office.

The community council is preparing a report on the issue at www.crailcommunitycouncil.co.uk and hopes to challenge the reasons for closure, in its quest to make the library “a more vibrant community hub” for Crail.

Some of the letters said: “Little kids can’t do the summer reading challenge to win cool stuff.

“This is not fair for book readers and it will break their hearts.”

“If you close Crail Library, then the people who don’t have a car will have to take the bus , which will cost money.”

Letters also focused on the social aspect for the elderly who might not get out much, and those who would find it impossible to travel to Anstruther’s library.