Poetic justice

As a former chair of the board of the Scottish Poetry Library, I have been following its development closely and have been excited by the building plans.

Peter Wilson’s remarks (Letters, 17 February) about library aspirations and the ability to carry them out are ill-informed.

The mobile library van was discontinued when the van needed replacing because it was not the books but the poets (who drove the van) who were in demand in schools and libraries, and their work continues.

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Twenty people sitting on steps in Edinburgh does not equal “national outreach”.

But thousands of people listening to Scottish poets reading their work, and podcasts by and about poetry, do fulfil the library’s remit – so providing space for events and recording makes a great deal of sense.

Rather than “reneging” on its ambition, the library is more ambitious and far-reaching than it has ever been, from work with the elderly in care homes to poets in botanic gardens, and all the resources and pleasures its website and audio content provide.

The building plans allow the library to respond to the needs of both local readers and audiences, and those in Shetland, Ayrshire, Dumfries, and far beyond Scotland’s borders. As present chairman of the Poetry Association of Scotland, which locates its events at the library, we are very excited at the new possibilities this reconfiguration affords.

(Lady) Joyce Caplan

Old Mill Lane

Edinburgh