Library campaigners in Levenmouth and East Neuk react to closure plans

The Pittenweem Readers held a 'read in' protest at Pittenweem Library to protest over the library closures. Picture by George McLuskie.
The Pittenweem Readers held a 'read in' protest at Pittenweem Library to protest over the library closures. Picture by George McLuskie.

Libraries in East Wemyss, Crail, Pittenweem, Lundin Links and Colinsburgh are all included in the closure plans which will now be put into action next year.

For those in the local communities affected by the closures, it’s a disappointing end to weeks of campaigning.

Seven-year-old Laura Sneddon took part in a protest to save Lundin Links library.

Seven-year-old Laura Sneddon took part in a protest to save Lundin Links library.

Heather Paterson, a representative for the group campaigning to keep Lundin Links library open, said: “This is an extremely short sighted decision by Fife Council.

“It is hugely disappointing that following the six month consultation they have spectacularly failed to act on what communities across Fife told them and have simply implemented the original plan.

“It begs the question, what was the point in the consultation? This decision highlights the lack of understanding about how important rural libraries are to the communities they serve and the variety of benefits they bring whether you’re eight months or 80.”

In Pittenweem, campaigners – who staged a ‘Read In’ protest outside their beloved library in the run up to last week’s decision – met on Saturday to discuss options for the village.

Ginny Mackie explained that campaigners have decided to put a note of interest into Fife Council from residents who are interested in organising their own library service.

In Crail the community council said it was “very disappointing” for all involved, and said discussions were ongoing to explore the possibility of mounting a legal challenge to the decision.

A spokesman for the council said: “As far as we can tell, the current library provision will continue for at least a year. This, therefore, is the time we have available to explore, decide on and implement alternative ways of delivering library services.

“This is a very short time period to develop such a potentially big initiative, and we will need to draw on the support of everyone to make this work. One positive outcome of the decision is that it included a commitment to work with local communities to explore proposals for alternative delivery models and to provide appropriate support to develop these.

“The community council will vigorously follow up on the contacts and discussions we have already had, and we are determined to hold Fife Council to its commitment to provide appropriate support for the development of our services.”

In Colinsburgh, Peter Marshall, part of the Library Users Group, said members will be meeting tonight (Wednesday) to discuss options for the village, including the running of their own library.

“It’s a possibility, but we’d need people who are committed and willing to give their time to help make it work.”

Mr Marshall, who presented the argument for keeping the libraries open to councillors back in November, said the closures would have a huge effect on pre-school literacy, and would hit those who need help the most the hardest, including those who are unemployed.