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Maryhill Library to close after 116 years serving community

The B-listed building on Maryhill Road has been a local lending library for 116 years.

Maryhill Library - one of Glasgow’s 12 Carnegie libraries - will not reopen and other uses will be sought for the building, Glasgow Life has confirmed.

However, Glasgow Life says it is ‘exploring’ whether a community library service can be provided at another site.

The B-listed building on Maryhill Road has been a local lending library for 116 years.

The city body that manages the city’s leisure venues and libraries has seen income severely hit by the pandemic.

It published a list earlier this month of more than 90 venues that it will be able to reopen from the end of April after securing emergency funding.

But it made no mention at all of other libraries and venues, leaving residents guessing and fearing the worst.

A webpage for Maryhill Library on glasgowlife.org.uk only takes people to the published list and makes no mention of Maryhill.

Last week, Glasgow Life only confirmed Whiteinch Library was closing after a local petition was launched.

Efforts will be made to relocate that service and make alternative use of the B-listed building on Victoria Park Drive South.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow Life is a charity that delivers programmes, experiences and events through arts and music, museums, libraries and learning, gyms and outdoor sporting facilities. 

“Glasgow Life’s operating budget this year is nearly 15% lower than pre-pandemic budgets for the charity and the £100 million safety net announced by Glasgow City Council will be fully utilised reopening more than 90 facilities across the city we confirmed last week. 

A petition has been launched to save Whiteinch Library.
A petition has been launched to save Whiteinch Library.

“Whiteinch and Maryhill libraries are not one of the more than 90 facilities planned to reopen, however Glasgow Life is exploring how the community library provision can be supported in another venue as part of the city’s approach to community hubs. 

“Anyone wishing to indicate their interest in using Whiteinch or Maryhill Library buildings can do so through Glasgow City Council’s People Make Glasgow Communities programme.”

Glasgow Life defended the way it had informed the public about the closures.

The spokeswoman said: "For nearly a year Glasgow Life has been describing that the ongoing impact of Covid-19 is likely to mean not all our venues would reopen and that our finances would dictate what we would be able to do in the future.

“Glasgow Life is a charity working for the benefit of the people of Glasgow, and within a reduced budget we will be reopening more than 90 venues. 

“We will also continue to deliver our cultural and sporting programmes and events to promote inclusion, happiness and health, as well as supporting the visitor economy, which together enhance the city’s mental, physical and economic wellbeing.

“Every time we have been able to confirm more venues will reopen, we have informed people which venues would open and indicated likely dates. 

Whiteinch and Maryhill libraries are not one of the more than 90 facilities planned to reopen, however Glasgow Life is exploring how the community library provision can be supported in another venue as part of the city’s approach to community hubs

Glasgow Life

“As of last month, we expect we can reopen a third more venues than we predicted in July 2020 due to further budget certainty. 

“Once the future of any venue is decided in discussion with Glasgow City Council, we will make users aware.”

Subsequent checks reveal the libraries at the Gallery of Modern Art, the Couper Institute and Barmulloch are also not on the list.

Glasgow Life has been asked to confirm the fate of these buildings.

Refurbished

A free public library has been in existence in Maryhill since 1823, according to the website theglasgowstory.com.

The library in Wyndford Street (now Maryhill Road) was opened in 1905 and is one of the twelve libraries constructed with Andrew Carnegie's gift of £100,000 to the city of Glasgow in 1901. 

It is also one of the seven of these buildings designed by the architect James R Rhind, according to the website.

The present building was extensively refurbished in 2016.

Scotland is currently in election mode as political parties fight for votes in the Scottish parliament election.

Bob Doris, the SNP Candidate for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn constituency, said: “I urge Glasgow Life to rethink this decision and move quickly to bring forward re-opening plans for Maryhill Library at its current location on Maryhill Road. 

'Shocking'

“The local community want access to its library as soon as possible. 

“The people of Maryhill should not have to wait whilst Glasgow Life consider any potential community hub plans."

Labour candidate for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn Keiran O’Neill said: “This is a shocking and devastating decision for Maryhill and surrounding communities. Local services are important assets, but it is clear that those in power have given up on caring for people here.

“The city of Glasgow has faced severe cuts over the past 10 years and this is the clear impact. 

“Austerity is a political choice that is clearly endorsed not just by the Tories, but by the SNP too who are in power at the Scottish Parliament and in Glasgow City Council.”

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