WE are all aware of the financial constraints and difficult choices before local councils at the moment, but please, Glasgow City Council, reconsider the decision to close some of our city libraries.

Fifty-five years ago, as our first married home, we moved to tenemental property in Whiteinch, Glasgow. I was delighted to find Victoria Park and Whiteinch Library within walking distance and used both regularly. As our children came along, visits to both increased. At primary school the children changed books fortnightly and used library resources for school projects, directed by helpful, efficient staff. As our family grew we moved to a larger home in Scotstoun, but continued to use the library, walking through the park to get there. At secondary school our teenage children used the excellent reading room as an oasis of calm (and again as a source of information) to study for exams. When grandchildren came along, they were also introduced to "Destination Library". They enjoyed being read to and being allowed to choose their own books in the children's room. Often there would be a "Bounce and Rhyme" pre-school event taking place or a librarian-led storytelling session with local nursery/school children.

I firmly believe books fire children's' imagination and open their eyes to worlds and possibilities beyond their present experiences.

The above is the story of just one family's involvement in the local library; it can be replicated many times throughout this city

Long before the pandemic the reading room had an IT suite which was well used by students, "silver surfers" and newcomers to our country. It also had a local history section, community and NHS leaflets – and a photocopier!

I cannot see any suitable accommodation within Scotstoun Leisure Centre (the proposed relocated site, I understand) which could replace the three excellent rooms presently housed in the stunning Victorian building that is Whiteinch Library.

Surely, councillors, libraries should be seen as an integral part of the pandemic recovery plan for education, community and mental health?

Ann Millar, Glasgow.

BOTH GYMS AND PUBS NEED SUPPORT

DOUG Marr ("Let’s forget Eat Out to Help Out… it should be Get Out to Work Out", The Herald, May 10) makes valid and pertinent points about the impact the Covid pandemic is having and will continue to have on public health in Scotland, citing last year's pause in screening for bowel, breast and cervical cancers as one obvious concern.

The 15 per cent rise in patients awaiting diagnostic testing during 2020 coupled with "around 4,000 fewer pathologically confirmed cases than would have been expected" are worrying statistics and it is to be hoped the Scottish Government's National Cancer Recovery Plan is sufficiently funded to tackle these areas. Where, however, I must take issue with Mr Marr is where he does what I can only describe as a "hatchet job" on the beleaguered hospitality industry, making mention of "the causal link between alcohol, smoking, obesity and cancer", and then talking of a "national obsession with reopening pubs" saying "it seems more important to get the pubs open before gyms".

Perhaps if Mr Marr were a gym member he would have known that gyms and sport centres reopened on April 26, the same day pubs were allowed to begin serving alcohol outdoors within strict guidelines. I can only assume that Mr Marr believes that in the almost full year that pubs and restaurants were closed the people of Scotland sat at home drinking water and eating lettuce? Figures showing big increases sales of takeaway meals and alcohol would seem to suggest otherwise.

The hospitality industry is heavily regulated and promotes safe and responsible drinking in a safe and controlled environment and as for the comment about "down the pub to freeze under a brolly and consume a burger and chips and six pints of overpriced lager", I consider that deeply insulting to the pubs of Scotland (most of which won't reopen until May 17), many of which provide healthy, locally sourced food of the highest standard and a selection of drinks, including non-alcoholic ones, at reasonable prices.

Going to the pub and going to the gym are not mutually exclusive, though they both operate in sectors hit hard by the pandemic and thus both need all the support, and positive messaging, they can get.

Billy Gold, Hielan Jessie bar, Glasgow.

GAELIC DRIVE IS MISPLACED

I COULD not disagree more profoundly with Andrew Turnbull (Letters, May 10) when he talks about the ever-more widespread use of Gaelic. I suggest that this is a politically correct gesture by the Government to emphasis its Scottish credentials. It is woefully misplaced.

Your photograph to accompany the letter amply illustrates what I mean as it shows the Gaelicisation of the name Auchinleck, a town in the west of Scotland where Gaelic was not spoken and is as foreign a tongue to the locals as Romanian or Chinese. What was spoken here and can still be found in the south and west was Lallans. If Gaelic were native to this part of Scotland then our national bard Robert Burns would have written his poems using it.

Celia Judge, Ayr.

HATS OFF TO BALLOONIST

TO add to your article about Lunardi’s 1785 balloon flight ("Site to honour flight trailblazers takes off", The Herald, May 10), his achievement inspired a style of ladies hat, the Lunardi bonnet, some two feet high, and Lunardi skirts decorated with balloon shapes. Robert Burns refer to the balloon-like hats in his poem To a Louse – on seeing one on “Miss’s fine Lunardi” in church.

Graham Lang, Cupar.