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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Musician urges people not to keep their mental health rapped up

Musician urges people not to keep their mental health rapped up

A Tayside musician is helping beat the stigma of mental illness by rapping about his time in a Dundee psychiatric hospital.

Kieran Smart, who studied music production in Perth before being admitted to Carseview, posted a video to social media which detailed his battle against self-harm and hallucinations.

The 23-year-old mentions his feelings of isolation while struggling with his mental health, which led him to spend a total of four months in the unit over the past two years.

He said he hoped the video would encourage more people to seek help sooner, after revealing it took him five years to get treatment.

He said: “It’s an overview of what I was feeling at the time. Now I feel not much different but better – music definitely helps with that. It gives me an outlet – a way to put things down as I’m not really big on speaking to people and this is easier.

“I’ve been writing for ten years and when I came out of Carseview the second time that’s when I recorded my first song.

“I put this video online to help break down the stigma of mental illness. I want to bring awareness to that – I want people to know it’s all right to not be all right.

“It’s a constant reminder for me but I’d rather it helped someone – I hope it would. I’ve been dealing with this since 2012 and I didn’t seek any help until 2017 because I had the idea that being male I had to mask it.”

Mr Smart has also praised staff at the facility at a time when mental health services in Tayside have come under fire, with unit closures in Perthshire and Angus.

He said: “When I first went into Carseview I wanted out as soon as possible because I was in a locked ward but the treatment was really good and the staff were great – they were always willing to talk.”

 

Link to Courier article here 

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Pupils help charity to boost mental health in Dundee

Pupils help charity to boost mental health in Dundee

 

Link to Courier article here 

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Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Lee Welsh

 

link to Evening Tele article here 

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‘Men need to speak out’: Dundee women in early 40s most likely to report mental health condition

‘Men need to speak out’: Dundee women in early 40s most likely to report mental health condition

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Calls for 24/7 drop-in service to help Dundonians tackling mental health issues

Calls for 24/7 drop-in service to help Dundonians tackling mental health issues

 

 

link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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