THE decision by Moray Council to press ahead with the closure of seven rural libraries, despite overwhelming public opposition, and in the face of its own specially commissioned equalities impact assessment, is a disgrace ("Vote to see half of all libraries shut is branded 'staggering'", The Herald, September 11).

It will have devastating consequences on those who rely on the range of services these libraries provide. Once again the penny-pinching council administration bloc has badly let down the citizens of Moray with this act of cultural and societal vandalism.

These rural libraries provide lifeline services to many of their users, and are a vital tool in advancing an educated, socially active, engaged and online community - all vital traits for the successful and vibrant society we all want - and a key foundation on which to build any meaningful economic development.

Instead we see a move in the opposite direction towards disenfranchisement and isolation affecting all vulnerable groups; from the elderly who want to learn the computer skills to keep in touch with their grandchildren; to young children just learning to read and beginning their adventures in the boundless world of books. This is a move that will be far more costly in the long term.

Councillors have a duty to protect the welfare of their citizens, and while the numbers using these libraries is allegedly small, these are the people who are often the most vulnerable, and to see so many councillors vote to axe the libraries on their own doorsteps, in the face of their own equalities impact assessment, is not only a failure in that duty but also paints a shameful picture of Moray.

I have no doubt that the campaign to save our libraries will continue.

James MacKessack-Leitch


Moray Green Party,