Following some pointed discussion at the Culture and Communities committee earlier this week, it has been announced that six of the city’s libraries will open more quickly than first thought.

Plans have now been made to reopen Central, Kirkliston, McDonald Road, Fountainbridge, Stockbridge and Newington libraries from 6 October 2020.

The initial focus is on the Central Library with the objective of opening to the public on 6 October 2020, and the council will then focus on opening the other five as soon as possible thereafter.

The services available will be limited due to ongoing restrictions but the council hopes that residents will appreciate the need for a cautious approach.

Libraries will offer a range of services including the borrowing and returning of items, free access to computers/internet/wifi and Hey Girls free sanitary products. As you will by now expect, numbers will have to be limited, social distancing measures will be in place and some services will only be available by booking in advance.

Culture and Communities Convener Cllr Donald Wilson said: “I’m delighted we’re accelerating the reopening of six of our libraries next month. Our primary focus is on getting the Central Library ready to open its doors on 6 October with the other five buildings on the same day. We all realise how invaluable this service is to our local communities and it’s an important step in our plans for a phased reopening of these community assets across the city. The services available will be limited initially due to current restrictions but they will offer the borrowing and returning of items.

“Libraries are a vital requirement in any democratic society, giving access to knowledge and literature, helping to bridge the digital divide and also centres for strengthening local communities. We all want to see our libraries up and running again and I hope our residents understand that we have to make sure our buildings are safe to do so. Our top priority is always the health of our citizens and our library teams.”

Culture and Communities Vice Convener Amy McNeese-Mechan said: “We really appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we gradually reopen our libraries, and look forward to welcoming people back into their local spaces. Support for this was agreed unanimously at the recently reconvened Culture & Communities Committee, enjoying cross-Party support for the recognition of the importance of public libraries in this, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.” 

Wester Hailes Library