LIBRARIES in Glasgow will thrive once again when they reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic, according to campaigners.

All museums, public libraries, sports centres and community facilities owned by

Glasgow Life closed last month as part of ramped-up measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

It comes shortly after it was revealed footfall across Glasgow’s libraries has declined by 10 per cent in the last five years.

Pamela Tulloch, the chief executive at the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), which supports libraries across the country, said: “In many ways the figures don’t surprise me. Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council have invested significantly in their library services in recent years.

READ MORE: Glasgow Life shuts libraries, gyms and pools

“There was a very ambitious capital programme which saw a number of libraries close for refurbishment, so that will have had an impact on visitor numbers.

“Quite often with these figures, they don’t tell the full story and it doesn’t help to look at them in isolation.

“Libraries are the most popular service that local government provides by a long shot. They have a really strong engagement with the public.

“Obviously all public libraries are closed in Scotland at the moment and that is something I never thought I would say. But, I have been speaking to librarians across the country and some have told me their online book-borrowing has gone up by 600 per cent.

“The public are still finding the need for their own local library and that just shows how valued they are.

“I expect them to really thrive once they are open to the public again.”

A spokesperson for the Carnegie UK Trust, a campaign group which works with Glasgow libraries, added: “During this difficult time across the country, public libraries have demonstrated their expertise, creativity and commitment to serve their communities.

READ MORE: Library visits across Glasgow drop dramatically in just five years

“They are trusted, safe spaces at the heart of their communities; encouraging reading, access to knowledge, the development of digital skills and a whole host of activities which contribute to individual and community wellbeing.

“Public libraries also remain the most popular civic resource in Scotland.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “Glasgow has long believed libraries are a key part of the fabric of the city.

“Regular investment in libraries, such as in Partick Library in 2019, means at times some are not open to the public when work is being carried out. These figures reflect those fluctuations and changes to how online activity is recorded but still show how important libraries are to Glasgow.”