Support our libraries as protesters gather to ‘read’ outside Edinburgh Library amid closure

Library users gathered outside the building on Saturday morning.

The facility was closed and used as a Covid testing center throughout the pandemic, but is now scheduled to reopen around April. It is one of five Edinburgh public libraries that have been repurposed during the pandemic.

The event was organized by Labor Party candidate for Leith Walk, Katrina Fachsenda, after hearing that the continued closure of the Leith Library was a major concern for voters. Speaking about why she decided to organize the event and why public libraries mean so much to her, she said: library services in the city’s north have suffered cutbacks over the years.

Photo courtesy of Oliver Goulden

“I still remember the library van I visited as a child and the excitement of choosing new books to read.

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“I started planning ‘reading’ before the reopening was announced and was inspired by community activists in Glasgow who have reopened their libraries, some of which were in danger of closing.

“But the more I read about public libraries and how many of them have been closed here in Scotland in recent years, the more convinced I am that this event needs to continue to bring the community together to celebrate libraries and remind those who controls them. funding that we will fight for our libraries. And let’s not forget that under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, local authorities are required to provide “comprehensive and efficient library services”.

Photo courtesy of Oliver Goulden

Planning for this event began when it was unclear how long the Leith Library would be closed.

In January, the latest anti-book reading protests took place in front of many Glasgow libraries, seven of which remained closed for about 22 months.

Every week about 40 supporters regularly attended the readings, and on the coldest days a hardy team of 15–20 people still came.

“This is the only resource we have left. It’s a place where you can walk, where you can get out of the house,” said Mhairi Taylor, who organized the Save the Cooper Institute and Library campaign.

“If you lose your job, there are computers, there are printers. Macmillan holds meetings there, there’s A.A. there. All this is so important for the well-being of society. It goes far beyond the library and books.”

Yesterday the protesters read their favorite passage about Leith and Edinburgh.

Katrina continued, “After reading so much about the history of public libraries, I ended up blogging for my website.

“Modern libraries offer many important services beyond lending books, but let’s not forget that access to books is access to knowledge: libraries can change people’s lives. 1800s.

“I will be monitoring the situation throughout March to ensure that if it is still needed the testing center will be relocated and look forward to supporting the Leith community in their public service improvement campaigns.”

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