THE leader of the council has moved to reassure Glaswegians no city libraries will close – after weeks of speculation much-loved venues were to be axed. 

Susan Aitken says there “are no plans to close any” of the spaces in Glasgow, despite mounting losses and fears cuts would have to be made to balance the books. 

Some libraries remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic with pleas being made to Glasgow Life – the arm’s length body which manages the sites – to save them. 

The Greens have been among those to have suggested some may never reopen, including those in Govanhill, Langside and Pollokshields.

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However, Ms Aitken, writing in today’s Glasgow Times, has insisted her SNP administration is committed to opening every venue in the city when the time is right. 

The Langside councillor writes: “Despite what some Glasgow Times readers may have heard in the past week, there are no plans to close any of Glasgow’s libraries.  

“And no libraries will remain closed for any longer than is absolutely necessary. I say that as leader of the City Council on whose behalf Glasgow Life delivers its services. 

“Public libraries have been at the heart of this city’s communities for the last 150 years, founded on a powerful sense of equity and justice and built on the principle that no-one should be excluded from making a better life because they did not have the means to access the power of reading, information and discovery. 

“That remains as true today as it did for our Victorian ancestors.”

Glasgow Times: Susan Aitken Susan Aitken

It is estimated Glasgow Life has lost somewhere in the region of £12 million as a result of the pandemic. 

As well as closing libraries, the body pulled the shutters down on swimming pools, gyms, and other cultural facilities, leading to a drastic loss of income. 

However, as some venues reopened following an easing of lockdown, many communities have feared being left behind. 

Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie yesterday appealed to the Scottish Government to bailout Glasgow Life to ensure all facilities in the city reopened. 

The MSP said yesterday: “Libraries are a lifeline for communities and will be even more so in the months ahead, when many people will need them to get online to look for jobs, access learning, or just have a place to get away from it all.

Glasgow Times: Patrick Harvie is among those to have raised concerns about the future of some city libraries Patrick Harvie is among those to have raised concerns about the future of some city libraries

“Glasgow Life’s financial losses are so great that they will need urgent government help if they’re to safeguard services for the public and avoid damaging job losses.

“That’s why I’m calling for an urgent bailout so these essential services can reopen as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said: “We have been very clear that the financial challenge facing Glasgow Life because of Covid-19 is unprecedented. 

“We know people love and value the services and venues we deliver but since lockdown began we have lost £14m of income from memberships and ticket sales to-date and expect to lose tens of millions more by the end of the financial year. 

“We’re currently working on the phased reopening of a number of our venues across the city in line with Scottish Government guidance.

"We have already reopened several libraries, including Patrick Library this week and have plans to open three more next week, and others in early October. However, currently there is no planned opening date for every library in the city.  

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“A full list of the current phase of venue reopenings can be found on our website. 

“The fundamental principle that informs which venues and services can restart continues to be the financial landscape in which Glasgow Life will have to operate in for the foreseeable future.”