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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

‘Ridiculous’ and ‘Callous’: Woodside residents protest closure of historic library

Updated: May 2, 2023

Aberdeen City Council criticised after slashing budgets for six libraries across city

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

The rain did not deter community members from gathering at the Woodside Library on Clifton Road Saturday morning, as speakers criticised the impact of Aberdeen City Council’s new budget. The budget, passed at the beginning of March, has cut funding for six branch libraries across the city.

As such, Woodside Library, in addition to Ferryhill, Cults, Cornhill, Kaimhill, and Northfield Libraries, must close by 31 March. The closures will save 280,000 pounds, less than 1% of the 47 million pound deficit faced by the council.

Woodside Library was gifted to the area by Sir John Anderson in 1883, and has served the community ever since. Today, it hosts book clubs, study spaces, warm hubs, social events, and Bookbug sessions. Other than the nearby school, the library is the only public space where Woodside residents can gather.

A number of residents spoke at the rally, commenting on the integral role the library has played in their lives and that of the wider community. Between performances by the Guarana Street Band drumline, speakers told stories about taking their children to the library or using it to find resources when undergoing cancer treatment.

Maggie Chapman, Scottish Green MSP for the North East and a resident of Woodside, was also in attendance.

She told the crowd: ‘For Woodside and the five other libraries across Aberdeen to be closed for a measly 280,000 pounds is just ridiculous. It is clearly a false economy and if these libraries do close, we will pay the price later on. That’s the message we need to make very, very clear to the council and others over the next two weeks… Libraries are the lifeblood of communities and we need to save Woodside Library.’

Labour Councillor for Woodside/Hilton/Stockethill Deena Tissera also addressed the crowd, placing the blame for the closure on the SNP/Lib Dem administration.

She said: ‘Most of these libraries are in the most deprived areas in our city. This callous decision by the SNP [will] affect a lot of people in our community… The cost to run this library is only 32,000 pounds. That is a drop in the massive ocean of the council budget… this was a conscious political decision made by lack of care to the people of this area.’

Tissera continued, telling the crowd that Aberdeen Labour had submitted a motion asking the administration to reconsider their decision. ‘We have found the money in the council budget,’ she said.

For the residents of Woodside, this is about more than a library. It is about a community of people, and the bonds which hold them together.


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