Campaigners determined to save Pitteuchar library from closure have been heartened by Fife Council’s desire to enter into talks over a possible rescue proposal.
The facility is one of 16 libraries across Fife that will close following the Council’s decision to go ahead with Fife Cultural Trust’s proposal as part of drastic cost cutting measures.
But following an impassioned plea by Glenrothes councillor Ross Vettraino in favour of retaining the Pitteuchar service made to members of the executive committee ahead of their decision, council officers have since acknowledged a desire from within the community to find a suitable alternative.
In his address, Cllr Vettraino illustrated the increasing use of the Exit Community Centre.
And he suggested that the opportunity existed to relocate the library service in Pitteuchar to the Centre thereby making the service available to much greater numbers of people of all ages.
“The value of the centre to the community would be significantly enhanced, if the council was in a position to relocate Pitteuchar Library Service to the Exit Centre,” Cllr Vettraino told the Gazette.
“The centre’s significant footfall across every age group would present the library service to a vastly increased number of people, including, not least of all, those with disabilities, who currently cannot access the service, because it is located on the second floor of a building, which has no lift.
“The overall service to the community could be further enhanced by the provision of a dedicated telephone line, which could be used by the community to contact the council and by establishing a direct portal to Fife Direct.”
The local authority has now written to Exit Community Centre inviting an expression of interest for developing a community led approach for delivering library services with a view to meeting early in 2016 to discuss the proposal.
Sue Claydon, community centre chairman welcomed the move.
She said: “The management committee welcomes the approach by the council and has confirmed its interest and is looking forward to meeting with council.
“This is an opportunity, not only to preserve the library service in Pitteuchar, but to improve access to all of the council’s services.”
Peter Scobie, chairman of Pitteuchar, Stenton and Finglassie Community Council also gave a cautious welcome to the discussions.
“There is a real desire within this community to retain what many believe is a vital service and I sincerely hope a solution can be found,” he said.
“However, Fife Council can not simply expect the public to shoulder the responsibility and cost alone should this come to fruition.
‘‘It must give its full and unequivocal long-term support to meet the cost of books and such like if this is to be a success.”