Three popular Edinburgh libraries are set to be returned to their local communities ending their time as symptomatic testing centres.
Following a request from the UK Government in late 2020, Oxgangs, Leith, Newington and Sighthill libraries have been used as testing centres under the Council’s statutory duties to protect public health.
The buildings in Oxgangs, Leith and Newington will be handed back gradually from 31 March. Significant work will be required to allow services to resume safely and securely but it’s hoped the libraries can begin to reopen from the end of April.
Other testing centres in Council sites will remain for the time being including Sighthill Library, due to the close alternative of Wester Hailes Library.
Previously announced plans to temporarily relocate the Leith Library service to Fort Community Centre will continue, with a view to opening in the middle of March.
The temporary mobile vehicle library service for Oxgangs will continue two days a week at Oxgangs Bank – every Monday evening from 5pm to 7.30pm and every Thursday from 10am to 4.30pm – until the library reopens fully.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said:
“It’s been a priority for us to have our libraries back up and running again as they are invaluable resources for local communities. There’s so much more to libraries than just borrowing books – they are trusted and much-loved hub buildings which strengthen local communities and are essential for the wellbeing of our citizens. I’m delighted we now have a plan going forward to return them to their communities where they belong.”
Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener, said:
“No one should underestimate the value of these facilities to local communities, and the understandable demand that there has been to bring them back into use. We’ll do everything we can to bring forward these timescales as far as possible. I really hope reopening these libraries will bring some relief to those who’ve missed them during the pandemic or are still struggling with its effects.”