TENS of thousands of pounds are to be spent in a bid to encourage East Renfrewshire residents to return to libraries as the recovery from the Covid pandemic continues.

The Scottish Government is providing £30,000 to fund the employment of an outreach worker in the Barrhead area, who will be tasked with helping communities re-engage with library services.

It is hoped that promoting the use of libraries will help to tackle social isolation.
Green MSP Ross Greer, who represents East Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit, has welcomed the support from the Public Library Covid Relief Fund.

He said: “Local libraries like the one at The Foundry are a lifeline for many people in and around Barrhead but many have been struggling to regain momentum and get people back through the door after such a long period of closures and restrictions.

“Loneliness has been a growing problem during this same period and local libraries have a really important role to play in tackling that, helping people to access the support and social contact they really need.

“This funding announcement is fantastic news for Barrhead.”

A total of 23 projects across the country will share £1.25million from the fund.

Ian Ruthven, chair of the Scottish Library and Information Council, said public libraries are an essential part of the area’s “social fabric” and deserve support now that Covid restrictions have been eased and they have opened their doors again.

He added: “Improving mental wellbeing, tackling social isolation and closing the digital divide are some of the key aims of public libraries.

“The Public Library Covid Relief Fund will allow local libraries to reconnect with their communities and offer these much-valued services.”