LIBRARY workers must be given “urgent reassurance” over the future of their jobs and should not be used as political pawns in the city, an industry leader has said.

In an open letter to Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council, the professional body for librarians has called for “urgent” action and challenged the “hugely disappointing” management of library services in Glasgow.

As we have previously reported, many community centres and library services are closing and relocating – including in Maryhill and Whiteinch – creating uncertainty over scores of jobs. 

“Over a decade of cuts to services have already left Glasgow Life with regular deficits, reduced budgets and a workforce supported by many short-term and insecure contracts,” wrote Sean McNamara, head of CILIP in Scotland.

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“This latest announcement provides additional stress for an already under pressure workforce, even if the reductions will be found through non-compulsory means.”

He added that the services in Glasgow are of “national significance” and urged Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to work together in finding a solution to funding the facilities and staff in Scotland’s largest library service.

Many libraries in the city have not been re-opened due to revenue losses brought about by forced closure during the tighter pandemic restrictions.

Mr McNamara highlighted the importance of the libraries for not only providing access to books, but also computers, resources and “cost-free social connection” which helps in “reducing social isolation and improving health and wellbeing.”

He added that the services require skilled staff who “have built relationships with users over the years – based on trust, listening and mutual respect”, making libraries a “vital and safe space for communities.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Life said: “The process of reducing the total size of our workforce will happen over time and will allow Glasgow Life, in consultation with Glasgow City Council,  to ensure how all our services are delivered while meeting statutory requirements.

Glasgow Times: Sean McNamara Sean McNamara

"Glasgow Life has indicated reopening dates for 28 of 33 public libraries because of the security the £100 million budget provided by Glasgow City Council gives us. Glasgow City Council passed a motion in May to reopen all Glasgow Life venues as soon as funding allows.”

A spokesman for the council said: “The council has increased its support for Glasgow Life substantially over the last year – both in terms of coping with the immediate impact of lost revenue and providing a £100m income guarantee for the years ahead.

"This is intended to provide space for the business to stabilise and implement a new financial model.”

The ongoing closures have already been met with community protests and campaigns, including the Save Our Venues drive launched by the Glasgow Times.