Residents in Kinghorn have issued a resounding “no” to proposals to close the town’s library following a busy public meeting last week.
Kinghorn Community Council hosted the meeting in the church halls last Thursday to discuss the threatened facility, and it soon became clear that the unanimous message was that everyone was totally opposed to any closure or erosion of the current services provided through Fife Cultural Trust.
Around 60 people attended, which organisers said was good as it fell in the middle of the holiday period and the meeting was called at short notice.
Laurie Piper from the Cultural Trust and Linda Temple from Fife Council outlined the background to the proposals and then took questions from the audience and community councillors.
They explained that because of budget cuts imposed on them they need to make savings and, having saved hundreds of thousands of £s elsewhere, they were now looking at library services, including Kinghorn.
Alan McIlravie, chairman of Kinghorn Community Council, said: “Taking the library away would leave Kinghorn as a cultural desert. If the library was to be withdrawn what cultural provision will Fife Council have in our village? None.”
The meeting highlighted plans for a new housing estate near Kinghorn loch which would result in a substantial rise in people living in Kinghorn.
“This is a time when councillors should be approving an increase in the opening hours of the library, not a withdrawal of this vital service,” said the chairman.
“Job seekers need this service to demonstrate that they are looking for work and the way they do that is through the internet. Because Kinghorn is out on a limb they use the internet to trawl for job opportunities and because of their position many don’t own computers so they turn to this vital support service. The Trust talks about hubs and spokes in its proposals but when you are in a village the library is the hub for many people.
“Once again it is the elderly, the young and the disadvantaged who are being targeted. It is heartless.”
A petition against the closure has been drawn up and over the next few weeks the Community Council will speak further with residents before bringing the information together in a paper to be presented to the Executive Committee of Fife Council which meets at the end of September.
Another meeting on the subject of the library’s future, organised by Councillor George Kay, will take place tonight (Thursday) at 7.30pm in the church halls.
The proposal to make savings
The closure of Kinghorn library is one of 16 being proposed by Fife Cultural Trust.
The Trust, which manages and operates libraries on behalf of Fife Council, wants to move to a ‘hub and spoke’ model for the network. It’s a move that would reduce the number of libraries across Fife – with Bowhill, Kinghorn, Thornton and East Wemyss among those earmarked, with the loss of 25 jobs.