An area of Glasgow which has suffered ‘digital exclusion’ through a lack of internet access can now get online thanks to the library.

Councillor Margaret Morgan, SNP, pointed out some residents in Castlemilk who couldn’t afford wifi at home can use the internet at Castlemilk Library, which underwent a refurbishment in 2018.  It came as councillors discussed a draft vision for the future of the city’s libraries.

Councillor Morgan said a certain part of her ward has had to suffer digital exclusion.  She told the council’s well-being, equalities, communities, culture and engagement city policy committee on Thursday: “Thanks to the reopening of the Castlemilk Library and the £484,000 refit it means a lot of people in my ward, in particular, and I’m sure this is the case across a lot of wards in Glasgow are able to access the internet which is becoming crucial for people with their everyday lives.

“We have a lovely new computer suite in Castlemilk.”

The Linn politician said a “big bugbear” was people due to socio economic reasons didn’t have the internet at home.”

She added: “I want to thank the city council for making that investment and it has been a tremendous thing in my ward and I’m sure that is the case over a lot of wards in Glasgow.”

During the committee meeting, councillors were given an update on the draft vision for the city’s libraries going forward.  A number of libraries have been refurbished including Castlemilk, Cardonald, Partick and Woodside. Refurbishment of Elder Park Library is underway and funding has been put forward for Bridgeton Library.

The committee considered a draft ‘vision’ for Glasgow libraries, which will be submitted to the City Administration Committee for approval.

The draft library refreshed vision laid out five themes. As well as offering books, they would continue to develop services that help to improve health and well-being and provide a safe space where local communities can come together as well among other services.  The vision was released for public consultation.

A council paper submitted to the committee said: “Overall, the strongest themes to emerge from the consultation were the need for continuity but with an improvement in quality; the importance of free services in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis; and the need for space for social connection and to be around other people.

“These themes were present in the pre-consultation draft Vision but as a result of the consultation, the draft increased in emphasis on libraries’ impacts on cost-of-living and on mental health.”

It also emerged during the consultation that “access to free Wi-Fi and PCs remains crucial for a significant number of people” according to the paper.