Daily deliveries of national newspapers returned to the shelves of Kelso’s library this month, just weeks after the service was axed.
Two of the town’s supermarkets are to thank for the reinstatement of free access to both the Scotsman, a sister paper of the Southern, and also the Daily Mail each day after the service was cut by Live Borders at the end of March.
Kelso’s branches of Sainsbury’s and Co-op stepped in to fund the service indefinitely from this month.
Jamie O’Brien, manager of Sainbury’s Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate store, said: “I think it is an important service that has been available for a long time. It would have been a shame to see it disappear from the community.
“We have an annual budget that we endeavour to use for the good of the town through our local area grant scheme, so we are only too happy to help with this. It may seem small to people, but it is very important to others.”
Niki Hill, manager at the Co-op’s Roxburghe Street store, added: “We are delighted that this joint funding project is bringing daily newspapers back to the library for the people of Kelso.”
Live Borders, the trust responsible for running all Scottish Borders Council’s public libraries, took the decision to stop stocking the two papers in a bid to cut cost,s as of April 1.
Weekend papers are provided by the Friends of Kelso Library group, and local papers such as the Southern continued to be funded by Live Borders.
However, the removal of daily newspapers had left users of the Bowmont Street library relying on donated papers often days out of date.
Kelso community councillor Colin McGrath said: “We were very disappointed when we heard it had happened as we saw it as a social service which lots of the community used. They get about 10 people a day on average going in to read the papers.
“The library service and the regular readers have found the facility of daily newspapers very important in giving an opportunity to readers to get together with others in a quiet and pleasant environment.
“I am aware that the library service is keen to promote the maximum use of Kelso Library for more social reasons, so we would like to convey our thanks to the Co-op and Sainsbury’s for providing the newspapers at their expense.
“It’s nice to have the two working together on this.”
Both supermarkets confirmed they are committed to the sponsorship long term.
Live Borders assumed control of the council’s libraries, museums, community centres and public halls in April last year.