Concerns over library provision

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Residents in Edzell will be left without access to the mobile library van until January 9, leaving some local residents feeling unfairly treated (writes Shona Beaton).

Members of the Edzell Library Action Group (ELAG) also claim that over the past several weeks vans have been off the road intermittently - a point that has been raised at the September meeting of the Inveresk community council.

The library, held within Inglis Memorial Hall, was closed in March 2010 together with three other rural libraries.

At the time of its closure a petition circulated around the village, attracting more than 400 signatures - nearly half the population of the village.

In replacement, the authority scheduled weekly trips from one of its two library vans - a move which was not popular with locals.

In June 2010 it was reported that the council would replace the outdated vans and in February 2011, after holding a consultation with the public, Angus Council announced they were to purchase two new vehicles to replace the two existing mobile library vans.

The new vans were estimated to be delivered by summer to a cost of £180,000. This delivery date has now been delayed until January of next year.

A spokesperson for ELAG commented: “As far as Edzell is concerned, ELAG feel strongly that the village has hardly been treated equitably.

“Staff hours in Brechin Library amount to 157.75 hours per week, while we have had only two hours per week in a decrepit library van (when it has been able to come) parked outside the A-listed Inglis Memorial Hall and now we are to have nothing for a couple of months.

“Between the beginning of November and January 9 Edzell will have received in total four hours library service.

“We look forward to our next meeting with a council representative on December 8 when we shall continue to press for the lending library to be reinstated in Inglis Memorial Hall.”

Angus Council have apologised for the delay in delivering the new service to the rural community after the current van was found to require essential repairs.

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “We confirm our continuing commitment to rural library services across Angus, with a revised and enhanced mobile service to be launched in the New Year.

“We do, however, apologise for the recent inconvenience to users of the mobile library service in some areas, given that the library van serving Edzell required essential repairs, and that this vehicle, along with the other library van, is now being prepared for return to the leasing company

“The mobile library service is usually suspended from the week before Christmas until after the new year holiday period, but in this instance to facilitate the change over, prepare the new vehicles and train staff, normal service will be disrupted during December.

“Every effort has been made to inform regular users of the mobile library services of the disruption and that the new vehicles will be brought into service in early January.

“Users have been encouraged to take out a larger number of books than usual to cover this period.

“They have also been invited to contact the library service if they require more books and we will make arrangements to assist with these requests wherever possible.

“There will be an extra delivery of book requests to Edzell before Christmas. In addition, library users can borrow books from any branch libraries in Angus.

“There have been some delays in the delivery of the new library vehicles but we are now on target for a launch early in the New Year.”