GLASGOW’S libraries face an uncertain future. Glasgow Life, the charity which runs them, could lose more than £30million this year.

Without knowing how it will balance its books, it has decided to keep two-thirds of its libraries and other community spaces closed for the time being.

Communities across the city are worried – with good reason.

Many have grown used to their local facilities being offered up for budget cuts. It’s only because of the Scottish Greens securing millions for Glasgow in recent budgets that many venues hadn’t already closed their doors for good long before the virus struck.

An online petition to reopen libraries in the South Side has attracted more than 5000 signatures and all week people have been sharing stories about what libraries mean to them.

For some, they’ve nourished their love of reading or sparked lifelong interests.

For others, they’ve helped create connections, or provided a place for quiet contemplation.

For me, they’ve helped my family all the way through school, from primary upwards, when I’d stop in with my son on the way home from school to choose his bedtime stories.

He’s now starting S5 and I thought that might be me done with the library, only for me to agree to help teach my hairdresser, who has never had the chance to learn, how to use a computer.

We’d planned to meet twice a week in the local library. That’s had to be put on hold during lockdown and we’re both eager to restart.

I don’t believe anyone wants libraries to close permanently. The SNP council has promised that won’t happen. We must hope they are true to their word. But it’s a fact that without emergency funding most of our libraries will stay closed indefinitely at a time when they are needed most.

We are already in an economic crisis. That’s only going to get worse when the furlough scheme ends and we are hit with a wave of unemployment. Libraries are a lifeline at any time, but they will be even more so when hardship really starts to bite. When people need help to look for work, access training, get online, or just get a wee break.

The idea of heading into a devastating recession without these vital sources of support is not something we can accept.

That’s why the Scottish Greens are urging the Scottish Government to agree a bailout for Glasgow Life so libraries and local spaces can reopen.

When pressed on this at this week’s First Minister’s Questions by Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, Nicola Sturgeon said that while she sympathised with the case being made, there are limits to what the Scottish Government can do with its current spending powers.

Scottish Greens agree we need more powers, both locally and nationally, to properly fund public services. But while the First Minister also talks about moving to a wellbeing economy, that’s not something her Government has yet been able to properly define, let alone deliver. Standing up for libraries when people need them most would be a good place to start.