Petition to protest against closure of Jedburgh library

Gina Braydon, Jane Neagle and Georgiana Craster with a petition to keep the Jedburgh library where it is.
Gina Braydon, Jane Neagle and Georgiana Craster with a petition to keep the Jedburgh library where it is.

Plans to close Jedburgh’s current library have run into opposition amid fears the service is being moved too far away from the town centre.

Scottish Borders Council says it will close the Canongate facility, also a contact centre, once the town’s £32m community campus opens in March.

That news is proving unpopular, however, and a protest petition drawn up last week has already gained around 40 signatures in a single day.

Community councillor Georgiana Craster is backing that petition, and she said: “My personal view is that it’s a shame that a building like that which was designed as a library should become something else.

“We are an ageing population, and you can’t expect everybody to go up that hill.

“People still need to come down to the town centre to access shops. The library should remain in the centre of Jedburgh.

“By closing these places they are making the town empty and are forgetting about the importance of social interaction.

“All of the town’s care homes and sheltered housing are down this end of town. How are people there going to get to the library? It’s part of their life and I think it’s just very sad that they could think about closing it.

“It’s a library, why should it be anything else?”

The local authority says the building will not be required once the public library and contact centre open at the Hartrigge Park campus, though.

Discussing the plans at last week’s community council meeting, George Hayward said: “Obviously the fact that we have got the Jedburgh Grammar Campus is fantastic, but I was not aware that when we were told we were getting a new school, we would potentially be losing some buildings in the town.”

Fellow councillor Harvey Oliver added: “If the new one at the school is also going to be the contact centre, then it’s the worst possible place for it.”

The category-B listed building was gifted to the town by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1900. It replaced a smaller one previously gifted to the town in High Street.

Scottish Borders Council says the closure is part of its ongoing facilities review.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “An engagement event in Jedburgh took place at the end of June to start the conversation with the community about potential future uses of this property, with interest from a number of groups already expressed.

“As part of a review of the council’s estate, we are also exploring the future of the town hall and Jedburgh Grammar School properties, considering how they are used and where these uses could be accommodated within other facilities.

“This too formed part of the recent engagement event, and further community engagement will be sought when feasibility studies are being undertaken looking at these specific sites.”

Signatures for the petition against the closure are being collected in shops around the town including McColls on Exchange Street and the Antiques Vault on High Street.

Views can also be emailed to Scottish Borders Council via the consultation email: communityengagement@scotborders.gov.uk