Save Pumpherston Public Library from closure by West Lothian Council in 2020

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Mission

Pumpherston has had public library facilities for over 130 years. West Lothian Council have agreed a Budget Reduction Proposal which will see Pumpherston Library close as well as amalgamation of Craigshill and Dedridge Libraries to a central location in the financial year 2020-21. This is forecast to save only £50,000 over a five year period, under 20 pence per year for every adult in the Livingston Westminster constituency. The cost of losing the library to individuals in Pumpherston community would be much higher.

Pumpherston Library is loved by many. Our librarians know each child in the school, reading to classes every week at a time we want to support child literacy and love of books. Adults and especially older folk use the library for books and to meet and be social in a time when isolation and loneliness are widely reported.

Please sign this petition to demonstrate the value you place on Pumpherston Public Library as one of our last community spaces. Please share with people who know the library and encourage them to “use it rather than lose it”. Other local communities are campaigning to save their libraries and would welcome your support.

I hope to present a strong case to West Lothian Council to save Pumpherston Library backed by strong public support. All comments are welcome.

#LoveYourLibrary


Background

Pumpherston has had a library since 1886 when a public reading room was allocated in the newly built school. From this time to the present it has been a key facility at the heart of the community in Pumpherston closely supporting the school and adult population of the village. As the shale industry declined the community retained a strong group identity, not least because of shared public venues such as the library.

Currently the library is within the school building with its own entrance to the public and open for nine hours a week supported by two dedicated librarians. Proposals for budget reductions agreed by West Lothian Council for the next five years include closing Pumpherston Library to the Public in the financial year 2020-21.

This will include removal of the specialist role that librarians play in developing confidence in literacy for children and a love of books in their early years. Currently Pumpherston Library is a busy place to be with increasing numbers of families joining 'Families Reading Together' sessions encouraging enjoyment of literature in a range of activities in the library and hopefully transferring this into the home environment. Given that a key priority for the council over the next five years in their Corporate Plan (“Transforming Your Council”) is to “improve the reading levels of primary school pupils” it seems perverse to remove the library which might be some childrens' only contact with literature outside school time. Teachers at the school, however enthusiastic, will not be able to continue the important job that librarians perform in bringing the wide world of literature into the classroom.

For both children and adults, a library provides a safe, calm, free space for learning, contemplation and connecting with other people. This is one of the last communal facilities in Pumpherston since the the Institute Hall has been removed. The library is used by many older people in the village and is a vital means of connecting to other people in an age where loneliness is widely reported. The benefits of the library for mental well-being for residents of Pumpherston are tangible especially given support to engage with more people (eg better signage from the main street).

Library services are free to the public. Beyond access to books, libraries allow free access to IT facilities, information about our political representatives and how to engage with them and a knowledge of local history, groups and events. This is especially important for those on low incomes for whom access to the internet and emails could be vital in supporting employment or rights. For some people the added cost and time required to travel to a centralised library facility will preclude them from accessing these important services.



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