WHAT does a library mean to you ("Cost-cutting row as number of librarians falls by almost a third in seven years", The Herald, December 29)? Access to physical books, use of computers and wifi, and a warm environment with newspapers and magazines for entertainment? Or a chance to meet other people, particularly when isolated with a new baby or living on your own? A library should be a community hub, providing Bookbug sessions for young families, computer games for those who haven’t got a console at home, and help to discover and access other services, including benefits. In addition, it provides toilets for the needy, bus passes and hearing aid batteries.

Libraries used to be a refuge for students to work in when their badly-lit digs were freezing. Librarians used to suggest lovely books to mums desperate for their children to enjoy reading. Library school trips used to introduce kids to a feast of books when they were in short supply at home. The service was free. What better example of equality and fairness marks a city? If library use has declined, don’t close the library, publicise it.

There are too many who rely on their local library as a sanctuary from the daily grind of living, and access to books will have an effect on the attainment gap. In the coming council elections, I hope we choose councillors with the humanity to save these endangered spaces from cuts and closures.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.


HAVING read David Crawford's strong critical words about the monarchy and those who support that institution (Letters, December 29), I feel that he should consider acknowledging that there is unlikely to be any great change soon. Like Mr Crawford, I am not a fan of the system of hereditary monarchy, with all that comes with it, and I share many of his opinions on that topic – although I have in the past expressed my respect both for the Queen and Prince Philip. However, one needs to recognise that in this country, one can dispose of that institution by one of two methods – either by revolution or parliamentary means. Neither of these, I believe, is likely for some time to come. Unfortunately for those of a republican persuasion, we have not succeeded in securing the support of the majority of the British people, who seem to accept having the royal family around.

Charles will take over from his mother, William from his father and so it will go on, unless something dramatic and currently unexpected arises. There are many who would seem to share the view reported to have been once expressed by the Reverend Charles Robertson of the Church of Scotland – "Trying to imagine our society without the monarchy is like trying to imagine the world without Mount Everest".

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

* THE season of peace and goodwill to all men (and women) obviously does not extend to the royals, in the world of David J Crawford.

Sycophantic drivel, courtesy of Andrew Dunlop (“Dutiful, loyal and selfless, the Queen is the best of Britain”, The Herald, December 28), says Mr Crawford; well, I am afraid I must add to it.

One purpose, he says, of the Queen and the royal family, is to maintain the social order in the UK; he highlights their status and wealth and hopes for the collapse of the "whole rotten system".

Be careful what you hope for, Mr Crawford; would we rather have America’s system? No division of state and government? An imperfect system, we certainly have, but rotten?

Brian D Henderson, Glasgow.


I LOOK forward to reading the book The Best of Health by Dr John Duncan ("Retired doctor becomes one of Britain's oldest first-time authors at the age of 88", The Herald, December 28).

Dr Duncan remembers how he was impressed by an address given to medical students by the late Professor Sir Derrick Dunlop.

As a former pharmacist, of a comparable vintage to Dr Duncan, I recall the observation by Sir Derrick who, following the tragedy of thalidomide, was appointed to the Chair of the Committee on the Safety of Drugs, and which became known more informally as The Dunlop Committee. He defined therapeutics as the practice of administering drugs about which we understand little, to patients about whom we understand less.

Plus la meme chose?

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.


RE the oldest fairy discussion (Letters, December 28 & 29), I can beat A Miller's 68-year-old fairy. Mine has been on a Christmas tree since I was a child, so must be about 80 years old (like me). Slightly the worse for wear but still in remarkably good condition.

Wendy Anton, Fortrose.

* FAIRY nuff. I am happy to cede Christmas fairy seniority to A Miller’s little veteran, and will break the news gently to Her Nibs still atop the festive tree.

Born in the 1930s and uncatchable by David Miller (Letters, December 29) with his mere 68 years my aim now is to be the oldest man in Largs with a Christmas fairy, and also the oldest to travel on Bill Brown’s Cumbrae ferry (Letters, December 29 ) – both of which have my full confidence.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


FURTHER To A Miller's letter (28th. December) regarding his mother's response to the question "What's for tea, Mum?", I can reveal that my (Liverpudlian) mother's retort was "two pence of tut and torn meat tut in small pieces", whilst my Dundee-born wife would utter "stewed balloons and bananas".

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.