CARNEGIE libraries are a significant part of the network of neighbourhood public libraries which have been at the heart of Glasgow’s communities for over a hundred years.

They are founded on a powerful sense of equity and justice. As established local institutions, libraries are free and shared spaces, close to those with support needs, and familiar with the concerns of our communities. 

Thirteen council libraries were built in Glasgow with grant support from Andrew Carnegie who is quoted as saying: “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.” 

So far, six of these historic buildings at Parkhead, Govanhill, Woodside, Dennistoun, and Langside are listed to re-open by Glasgow Life as restrictions are eased. 

The future of the seventh library building in Maryhill is uncertain. 

There has been a free public library in Maryhill since 1823 and the local people who use this building are understandably devastated by its closure. 

There is concern that it could be left neglected and face demolition like the three Carnegie libraries at Anderston, Townhead and Kinning Park. It could, as other former library buildings at Kingston, Springburn and Hutchesontown have done, find a new use. 
In the digital age, we need to think critically about what gaps are left by the continued closure of shared spaces such as Maryhill Library, along with Whiteinch Library and the Couper Institute. 

Local library buildings are valued as places for people of all ages to gather for hours on end, as well as giving easy access to resources and technology to learn. The recent pandemic has highlighted their importance by providing access to reliable internet. 

They create spaces for reading, and make sure that children are encouraged to read, with families supported to read together. 

As sources of inspiration and catalysts for regeneration, they can support economic development within our local high streets. 

Libraries are on the front line of expanding digital access and, in so doing, create a more equitable learning experience. 

This cannot be achieved without additional local government funding to support existing services while also identifying new and relevant ways to meet the needs of local communities. 

Providing support to libraries during this crisis and beyond will be vital if we hope to help all communities receive the resources they need to succeed. 

Green councillors will continue to champion public libraries, in line with the legacy of Carnegie, so they can retain their core purpose by supporting digital literacy and acting as gateways to information. 

Green councillors support the Save our Venues campaign. 

We’ve been raising concerns on this issue since the end of the first lockdown, when it became clear that dozens of venues faced an uncertain future, and we helped to secure emergency funding – but more must be done. 

We urge action for our city to provide well-funded and resourced neighbourhood libraries, along with ensuring support for the health and well-being of library staff. 

The re-opening of all of Glasgow’s libraries will be vital as we look to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.