Fife Council leader David Ross has welcomed the public’s considerable input during the consultation on the future of libraries.
And he expects it to be the first of many “conversations” on changes to public services.
The 12-week consultation on Fife Cultural Trust’s proposals for the future of the library network – which include the closure of 16 libraries and the loss of 25 jobs – ended at the beginning of this week.
Councillor Ross said: “There has obviously been a lot of engagement with the issue.
“I’m very pleased that this is the case, although not surprised because we all believe library services are important.
“People’s views will help councillors decide what the future of these services should look like in Fife.”
Cllr Ross continued: “We must remember that this isn’t an isolated issue. The way people use libraries and other local services is changing; people want and need different things.
“The world has changed greatly since most public services were designed and community facilities built.
“Funding for public services is also changing – and not for the better – and it’s the same pot of money that has to pay for all our local services from libraries and leisure centres to street lights, schools and social care.
“So change is a theme that’s here to stay. Conversations about change will be happening more and more often as we, along with other public services and partners, look for ways to provide affordable, quality services that will serve Fife well for the future.
“More than ever before we will need individuals, families and communities to get involved and talk to us about their basic needs and their aspirations for the place they live in.”
The responses received during library consultation will be considered by the council’s education, health and social care scrutiny committee on December 1 and recommendations will be made to the executive committee on December 8.
Cultural trust library proposals
The proposals for the future of Fife’s library network include the closure of 16 libraries.
Glenwood, Thornton, Markinch, Pitteuchar in the Glenrothes area, and Kinghorn were initially earmarked for closure in the current financial year, but Fife Council provided funding from its reserves to support these libraries until the consultation process had been completed and a final decision had been made on the future model.
It’s proposed Crail, Lundin Links, Pittenweem, Colinsburgh, Falkland, Freuchie, East Wemyss, Bowhill and Crossgates libraries will close in 2016/17, and Townhill and Abbeyview (Dunfermline) in 2017/18.
Sinclairtown Library in Kirkcaldy is due to close in March 2016, with the service relocating to the new Kirkcaldy East Campus in August 2016, and Anstruther library is scheduled to close in June 2017, with services moving to the new Waid Academy Campus in August 2017.
The mobile library service will provide cover in areas where static libraries are removed, and there is also a ‘housebound service’ available.
PCs will be relocated from libraries which are closed to either suitable facilities in the locality, or the nearest available library.
Under the proposed ‘hub and spoke’ model, hub libraries – generally situated in the bigger towns such as Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Dunfermline, Leven, Methil, St Andrews and Cupar – will be open for 40 hours or more each week.
Spoke libraries – including Burntisland, Anstruther, Cadham (Glenrothes) and Templehall (Kirkcaldy) – will open between 20 and 40 hours each week.
And satellite libraries – such as Kennoway, Buckhaven, Tayport, Newport, Newburgh, Elie, Ladybank and Leslie – will open up to 20 hours each week.