As a way of replacing the library at Oxgangs which continues to be used as a Covid-19 test centre, the council will use the mobile library service.

The temporary service will visit Oxgangs today Monday from 5pm to 7.30pm (and every Monday from now on) and on Thursdays from 10am to 4.30pm. The services provided include borrowing, returning and reserving library stock, bus pass applications, Hey Girls sanitary provision, hearing aid batteries, food recycling bags and lateral flow test kits.

The local library staff will also be at Pentlands Community Centre, Oxgangs Brae every Monday morning. Phone 0131 445 2871 to book a visit.

The council says it is still looking for suitable sites for library services for Oxgangs and Newington Libraries. Last week Leith Library services moved to Fort Community Centre.

Cllr Scott Arthur has highlighted the problem at the library in recent weeks. He says that he has had a steady flow of complaints over the last few months about the continued closure. Last week he met with Sarah Boyack MSP and with Cllr Cammy Day the Depute leader of the council to flag up the concerns. Cllr Day then wrote to the Chief Executive to ask that the library should be returned to the community.

Today Cllr Arthur said to The Edinburgh Reporter: “Oxgangs & Firrhill are acknowledged as areas of social deprivation where there is little for children and young families to do. Within that context, the continued closure of Oxgangs Library is having a significant negative impact on the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable young people in my Ward. We need to do all we can to find an alternative location for the testing facility, and reopen the Oxgangs Library to the community as soon as possible. The mobile library is welcome, but it does not really address the gap left in the local community by the library’s closure.”

Cllr Arthur said last week: “All this is welcome progress, but we still don’t have the library back. People in my Ward deserve better than a limited range of books and services in a mobile library.

“Oxgangs Library sits at the heart of the community, and is a friendly place where people come to meet, learn and relax. Lending books is only a small part of the benefits it delivers, it’s the support for children and  young families that is missed most. With the exam season fast approaching, the study space it provides for young people living in overcrowded accommodation in Oxgangs and Firrhill is invaluable.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “This is more good news for our communities with a temporary service being provided for Oxgangs after our announcement last week about moving Leith Library services to the Fort Community Centre.

“We all know how much libraries bring local communities together and I’m pleased we are making progress restoring services across the city.”

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener, said: “I’m sure the local Oxgangs community will be pleased to hear that there is a mobile service which they can use.  

“We’re actively looking at how we can provide more services for our communities where libraries are being used as test centres and we’ll do everything we can to get these up and running as soon as possible.”