What’s the story at the library?

Cllr John O'Brien, front left, with residents at East Wemyss Library (picture by Steven Brown)
Cllr John O'Brien, front left, with residents at East Wemyss Library (picture by Steven Brown)
  • Local campaign
  • Aim to save library
  • Support sought

A Levenmouth councillor is appealing for support from local people as he mounts a campaign to save the library in East Wemyss - just days before Fife Council holds a vital scrutiny meeting to discuss closure plans.

Councillor John O’Brien hopes to launch a petition and possibly organise a public meeting, involving the local MP and MSP, to deflect what he described as “a direct hit for the people of East Wemyss”.

I want clear, definite answers now.

John O’Brien

The village’s library is earmarked for closure next year, along with around 15 others in Fife, as Fife Cultural Trust – which manages the library network on behalf of Fife Council – looks to make savings of around £813,000.

This is on top of cuts exceeding £900,000 which have already been delivered over the last two years.

The Trust aims to create a more cost-effective ‘hub and spoke’ model, amending the opening hours of other libraries and delivering services which are fit-for-purpose and sustainable for years to come.

The education, health and social care scrutiny committee first called for a report on this model of operation in April last year.

And it will finally get the chance to debate the matter when the long-awaited report is presented to its members on Tuesday.

Cllr O’Brien said the loss of East Wemyss would mean a trip to Leven, Methil, Buckhaven or elsewhere for people to access their local library, and those who searched on the computers to seek jobs would be disadvantaged.

“Most of the residents in East Wemyss are unaware their library is on the list to close next year,” he claimed.

Cllr O’Brien said he asked for a non-closure assurance at the last full council meeting and was told the decision would be taken at local level by the Levenmouth area committee .

“If that is the last stop for this issue, with four Labour councillors, oneIndependent and only three SNP, that vote could spell the end,” he said.

“This is attacking people in East Wemyss and their amenities, and I want clear, definite answers now.”

Cllr O’Brien added: “I am looking to do something in East Wemyss to save these amenities but I need people to come forward and support me now.”

Councillor O’Brien said he also believes the Senior Citizens’ Centre in East Wemyss could be at risk too of eventual closure, under a wide-ranging look at potential budget savings across Fife.

If it did go, he said, it would pose a problem for groups such as East Wemyss Community Council in terms of where it held its monthly meetings.

A spokesman for Fife Council’s property services section said: “It will be reviewed, together with all other community halls and centres, libraries and local offices in Fife, as part of the council’s property asset management plan.

“This review will contribute towards the Levenmouth Local Area Asset plan, which will be considered by the council.”