notes from the northern colony


Vintage photograph of Maryhill Library

Glasgow Live reports that the city’s five closed libraries are to reopen.

This is a relief, after an email I received yesterday from Glasgow Libraries, announcing new opening times for various libraries, but making no mention of Maryhill, Whiteinch, or any of the other closed libraries. Previously, it had been announced that Maryhill Library would not reopen, and then Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken, a crypto-Thatcherite who has stated that she prefers that services be provided by community volunteers rather than government, claimed the library would not be closing, but its services moved to a nearby building. Since she made that statement in April, the library has not reopened, and its services have not been relocated.

The campaign to save Maryhill library, led by Keiran O’Neill, former Scottish Labour and Co-op candidate for Maryhill and Springburn, has been holding a read-in outside the libary from 11am-noon every Saturday. Mr O’Neill welcomed today’s news, but told me, “This money is welcome, but it’s not enough to guarantee a full future service, and that’s not good enough. So the campaign to save the library is not over. There will be the 30th read-in on Saturday which will celebrate what is a community victory but also discuss next steps.”

So this may only be a stay of execution rather than a reprieve. And it is unclear whether Maryhill Library will reopen in the building that has been its home for more than a century, or if Ms Aitken’s half-baked plan to move its services to the other side of Maryhill Road is still being considered. I asked Bob Doris, MSP for Maryhill and Springburn, who told me he had just written to Bridget McConnell, aka Baroness McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life, seeking additional information.

As I have said before, Maryhill Library is a life-saver for some people in this community, one of the city’s most deprived. Children benefitted from story time and homework club. There was a writing group. The library is not a luxury, it is a necessity for so many of us: unemployed people, pensioners, young people, those who cannot afford to buy books and newspapers, people who do not own computers, people who just need a quiet, warm place where they can go to read, write or think. The staff are compassionate and supportive. It must be reopened, permanently.

#MaryhillLibrary #GlasgowLibraries #LibraryClosures #GlasgowLife #SusanAitken #BaronessBridgetMcConnell #BobDorisMSP #KeiranONeill #ScottishBlogs




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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 have yet to hear from any of the gentlemen addressed in this post, so today I dared to make some of what Andrew Baddon, election assistant to Bob Doris MSP, called “political social media posts.”


Dear Mr Grady, Mr. Doris and Mr Letford,

I am addressing this letter to you because I live in Maryhill, Glasgow, so you are my MP, my MSP and my councillor respectively. Like you, I am also a member of the SNP, and so I was disturbed by an email I received today from Andrew Baddon, election agent for Mr Doris, part of which said:


“God grant that Marshal Wade May by thy mighty aid Victory bring. May he sedition hush, And like a torrent rush Rebellious Scots to crush — God save the King.” —British National Anthem

I am a member of the Maryhill and Springburn branch of the SNP. Today I received this email:


This afternoon, members and allies of Wyndford Tenants' Union picked up broken glass and other litter in the housing scheme, a duty that is supposed to be performed by Cube Housing, and which tenants pay for in their rent.

Then we delivered the litter to Cube's office.


In this post, I said it was disappointing that no SNP leaders attended the Vigil for the Valley in protest of Glasgow City Council's selling off a former social housing site to private bidders.

Today, Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North, responded: