Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts

Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts

Cutting Dundee’s library budget could have long-term consequences on literacy, social isolation and mental health.

The warning comes after Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD), the arms-length organisation that runs the service, announced plans to decimate libraries’ budgets this week.

The organisation has to find £860,000 to balance its budget this year and aims to do this through a combination of cuts and price increases.

The cuts include reducing the resource budget of libraries – the money available for new books and periodicals – and cutting staff numbers through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.


The organisation, which also runs the McManus, Camperdown and Caird Park golf courses and the Olympia Swimming Pool, said it may not replace all departing staff in order to keep costs down.

Sean McNamara, head of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland, said cuts to library services can have serious long-term consequences.

He said: “We realise that council services are under severe financial pressure and difficult decisions need to be made.

“However, cuts to resources and staffing can impact on vital services that libraries provide for communities.

“Libraries and their skilled staff help improve literacy levels as well as tackling social isolation and supporting mental health and they also play a key role in the current digital strategy for Scotland by providing free access for people unable to get online at home.

“Any local authority considering cutting budgets must ensure they have fully assessed the long-term impact any cuts may have.

”Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said “slashing the culture budget” was the wrong thing to do when Dundee is trying to promote itself as one of Scotland’s leading cultural destinations.

He said: “Obviously, I am deeply disappointed to hear there is a potential load of job losses.

“When we are trying to attract people and tourists here with things like the V&A, slashing the culture budget does not seem like the thing to do.”

A report to Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee this year revealed that Dundee has the highest percentage of citizens who are library users out of all of the Scottish authorities.

Nine of the 13 libraries showed an increase in visits in 2016-2017.

The Central Library is Scotland’s busiest.

Last year there were concerns cuts could lead to restricted opening times in some city libraries.

A spokesman for Leisure and Culture Dundee said there were currently no plans to reduce opening times.

He said: “There are no changes to opening hours at this time.”

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link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Addiction help to be offered at Dundee GP surgeries and city chemists

Dave Barrie

Dave Barrie, service manager with Addaction, said the new strategy is being put in place following changes in the way people with an addiction to powerful opiates such as heroin are helped.

Previously, all those with heroin addictions would be referred to the NHS for treatment via Addaction.

But now users can go directly to the Tayside Substance Misuse Service, based in Constitution House.

Mr Barrie said the charity is now focusing more on people with problems with other drugs and those whose addiction to opiates isn’t at the stage of a long-term addiction.

He said: “Previously, everyone in Dundee who had an alcohol or drug problem would come through Addaction. That’s changed, and now people can go directly for NHS treatment.

“We are now looking at having a more preventative approach to substance misuse.

“We will be looking at helping people who are starting to have problems with drugs, or are recognising some concerns about their drug or alcohol intake.

“We are really looking to support people much earlier on in their alcohol or drug use.

“With the Dundee Drugs Commission being set up, the spotlight is on services in Dundee, so we really want to help people whose drug problems are less entrenched than the ones we previously helped, some of whom have been drug addicts for decades.

“It may be people with problems with other drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Often we find issues with these drugs can lead to problem with other drugs such as diazepam or heroin, as folk start to use these drugs to bring them down following a binge.

“We are starting to go into some hostels, chemists and GP surgeries in Dundee for drop-in sessions. If we can get into those venues, then we think we can access people sooner. What we’ve found is we can help people and point them in the direction of the support they need for other things.

“We previously had a presence in the Carseview Centre and it was received well. We realise people with mental health problems, housing problems and other health problems often have substance misuse problems and can be accessed at these places.”

Dave said another key focus would be supporting the family members of those who have drug or alcohol problems, as well as people who have lost a loved one to overdose.

He said: “We recognise that there is a huge isolation and stigma attached to drug addiction and being the parent or family member of someone who is an addict.

“If you have people around you to support you then it makes it so much easier to deal with.

“When you think of the year we have had for drugs deaths – every one of those people leaves behind extended families who are all left grieving.”

Addaction can be contacted on 01382 206888.



Link to Courier article here 

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‘Shocking’ plan to cut overnight carers for Dundee mental health patients

Dundee City Council HQ


Link to Tele article here 

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