Rural libraries in “acute danger” - MLA

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Local MLA Robin Swann says he’s “gravely concerned” about future of rural libraries claiming that some face “an acute danger of closing”.

He issued his warning last week after it emerged that LibrariesNI is no longer employing temporary staff due to cutbacks

Mr Swann said: “The people of Kells and Connor fought a great fight to keep Kells Library open 18 months ago, but now due to cutbacks LibrariesNI is no longer employing temporary staff.

“The issue was brought to my attention when Kells Library was closed when it was scheduled to be open. I contacted the management of LibrariesNI who told me that the Kells librarian was being used to cover holiday leave in Broughshane.

“I was concerned that the library in Kells was being put at a disadvantage but I have received reassurance that a reciprocal approach will be in place to cover holiday leave in Kells.”

“This practice will ensure that neither library has to close for the duration of the leave,” he said.

The MLA stressed that the value of libraries to village and rural communities should not be underestimated.

“Libraries are no longer just a building from which books can be borrowed. Indeed, they are an educational and social hub for many communities,” he said.