Campaign group formed to save Moray’s libraries

Communities affected by Moray Council’s decision to close seven libraries and one mobile library have formed a single campaign group.

Picture: Toby Williams

‘Save our Libraries Moray’ met for the first time on Thursday and formally adopted a constitution aimed at protecting all library services in Moray.

The group elected Dufftown Library campaigner Alistair Jeffs as their first chairman, while Dr Joan Megson, who has led the Burghead Library campaign, will act as vice-chairman.

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A 14-strong committee was formed that includes representatives from all seven libraries that Moray Council’s administration voted to close - despite warnings from their own legal advisers and the recommendations of an Equalities Impact Assessment.

Council leaders later admitted that they “fully expected” a legal challenge against their action, which they say is required in the face of £30 million budget cuts over the next three years.

One of the first acts of the new group is to take advice with a view to launching a legal challenge to the Council’s decision.

Alistair Jeffs said: “The anger over Moray Council’s decision goes far beyond the seven communities that will be directly affected by the closure of their local library.

“This is an issue that affects everyone in Moray - in fact we are convinced that it will affect every community in Scotland as other local authorities seek to break away from their responsibilities in providing library services.

“Already we are learning that East Ayrshire may be facing the closure of eight libraries.

“For Save our Libraries Moray the first task is to obtain legal advice on launching a challenge to Moray Council’s decision. We do not take such action lightly, all of us realise just how serious this is and we would much rather it was not necessary.”

Dr Megson added: “The messages of support we have been receiving from throughout Scotland gives strength to our belief that the action taken by Moray Council should be challenged.

“We are prepared to explore every available action and that includes the legal route.”