Maryhill Library Should Reopen, Says Patrick Grady
Photo by Richard Townshend
In response to what I previously wrote about Glasgow Life’s plans to close Maryhill Library permanently, Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North, emailed me on June 1:
I’m writing to provide you with a quick update, now that we’ve received a response from Dr Bridget McConnell, the Chief Executive of Glasgow Life.
Dr McConnell has said that the decision not to reopen the site is largely financial and due to the COVID pandemic. She informs that before the pandemic Glasgow Life operated as a £115m charitable organisation, and overnight their income dropped by £38m. This year Glasgow City Council has stepped in to support them by providing the security of a £100 million funding safety net, including £72.4 million as service fee. Despite this, they’ve seen a drop of nearly 15% on their previous level of funding, and their ability to earn income will be severely restricted by the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Both a lack of public confidence and current social distancing measures means they can’t welcome as many people into venues, and generate as much income.
Dr McConnell has said that Glasgow Life currently has no timetable for reopening Maryhill Library, however they are exploring alternative options through their ‘People Make Glasgow’ Communities scheme. The scheme is aimed at giving the users of local services and venues a greater role in shaping their future and empowering their community. They have said they will actively work with anyone who expresses an interest through this scheme, and more information can be found here – www.glasgow.gov.uk/communities
As you know, I’ve been working closely with Bob Doris, the MSP for Maryhill and Springburn, and with local councillors, to do all we can to urge Glasgow Life to reopen the Carnegie building. We strongly believe it’s a crucial life line for many people in Maryhill with important architectural and historical significance, and that it should reopen.
You may have seen some reports that repairs to the building have prevented reopening. We have asked for details of the repairs needed and whether there are any short term repairs that could be carried out to allow a safe reopening, with a longer term renovation plan to be considered at a later date.
We welcome reports that, whatever happens, the Carnegie building will be repaired and kept for public use. However, we believe that, if it’s safe to do so, then Maryhill Library should be able to reopen. Any discussions about relocation can then come after that, and must involve meaningful and comprehensive community engagement. I can assure you that we will continue to press for this, and seek a meeting with Dr McConnell as soon as possible.
In protest of its closure, there is a weekly read-in at Maryhill Library every Saturday from 12-2pm. I had not heard about it before, because, unfortunately, like so much activism, information about it online seems confined to F***b**k.