Community urged to lead library fight

Save East Wemyss Library meeting
Save East Wemyss Library meeting

Politicians involved in the campaign to save East Wemyss library from closure have called on the community to lead the fight.

A meeting to encourage people to get involved was organised by Councillor John O’Brien last Wednesday, with speakers David Torrance MSP and Peter Grant MP.

Addressing around 30 people - including community council members - who ventured out to the the Senior Citizens Hall on a rainy August night, Mr Torrance said: “The town has already lost its bank, and even this hall could be under threat too, so this campaign needs to be driven by the people.

“The consultation period has been extended - although it was flawed to begin with in my opinion - so it is up to everybody in East Wemyss to rally round and take part in the consultation and make their views known.

“This is something dear to me; libraries are there to be used by everyone.”

Echoing his call to the community to get involved, Peter Grant MP, newly elected in May, said: “Although I have only been the MP for this area for a few months, I get a strong sense of community here and the fact that so many people came out says to me that this is a community that cares. The library isn’t just a building that lends books, it does so much more than that and provides a vitally important service.”

Mr Grant explained to those at the meeting that it was up to the community to convince Fife Council to change its mind on the budget, as Fife Cultural Trust - which runs libraries on behalf of the council - was simply working in the parameters set by the budget.

He also suggested getting people in nearby towns, such as Methil and Buckhaven, who use the library in their own community, involved in the fight.

Also in attendance at the meeting were Councillors Andrew Rodger and Tom Adams. Cllr Rodger urged cross-party support on the issue, while Cllr Adams called on the community to come up with ways of using the library building - currently only open eight hours per week - more often to show Fife Cultural Trust and Fife Council that it is a valuable asset to the town. One resident suggested calling on big businesses in the area to sponsor the library for the £6-7000 needed to keep it open, an option that Mr Grant MP said could be explored.