A postcode ‘library lottery’ is proving a disservice to the people of Selkirk
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Selkirk Library in Etttrick Terrace is now only open one morning and one afternoon a week for a combined total of six hours.
But even though Eyemouth in Berwickshire has a smaller population its library in Manse Road is open 15 hours a week.
It’s an anomaly which was raised by SNP Selkirkshire councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s External Services/Providers Group.
She explained: “Selkirk has 5,500 residents, there or thereabouts.
"Eyemouth has 4,129. So Selkirk Library is open six hours a week and gets 3,149 users.
“Eyemouth is open 15 hours a week and only gets 4,785.
"So I’m curious why a bigger town gets less hours and pulls in just over three thousand when a town with 1500 less residents gets nine hours additional opening but only pulls in 1,600 extra visits.
“That’s really hard in my head to justify because all I get are complaints about Selkirk Library not being open.
"I think we are doing Selkirk a disservice.”
Committee chair Councillor Mark Rowley, agreed, adding: “It does look like we are not being anywhere near equitable to Selkirk here.”
The Live Borders charity operates libraries across the Borders on behalf of SBC.
Ian Jackson, Live Borders chief executive officer, responded, saying: “I will take this away and speak to the head of the Library Service again about Selkirk and ask for clarification around the numbers and the critical comments around opening.
“It’s trying to get to the optimal number of opening hours across the whole of the region so people can access the service as and when.”
Library membership continues to grow across the region post-pandemic, members were informed, and there are plans to open both Galashiels and Hawick libraries on Saturday mornings.