Library launch is bittersweet
BRIDGE of Allan residents are calling for the council to find a solution in housing historic local artefacts following the unveiling of the new-look library - where the pieces had previously been stored.
On Wednesday July 4, invited guests and local residents were invited to Bridge of Allan library for the unveiling of its new look interior at the official opening.
The £80,000 refurbishment was intended to modernise the library with changes including self-service machines, new shelving and display equipment, as well as well as the creation of a flexible multipurpose area for customers. There has also been improvements to the IT Suite incorporating wifi for customers and a family-friendly space for children and a teenage area.
Councillor Neil Benny, portfolio holder for Finance, Economy & Culture said: "The library is so important to the Bridge of Allan community and we are thrilled it is now up-to-date and able to cater for currents needs and demands. We hope the new space will encourage new users to come along as well as make the library experience better for existing users. We are very proud of the library staff for the great work that they have done in producing an exciting new library for the local community"
However the opening has been a sour reminder of an on-going saga to have the local Dr Welsh Trust artefacts formally stored in the library.
The Bridge of Allan Community Council are now urging Stirling Council take action in order for the artefacts to be brought to their rightful home in the community.
Chairman of the Bridge of Allan Community Council Gavin Drummond said: "The refurbishment of the library has resulted in the Welsh Trust artefacts, which have been stored in the Library since it was established, being unceremoniously removed on the instructions of the Library Service.
"The cupboards in which they were stored were removed in the refurbishment and have not been replaced despite repeated requests from the community council, representatives from the Heritage Group and the Welsh Trust.
"It is very concerning that no consultation was undertaken with the community council before this refurbishment was undertaken despite Stirling Council having a statutory duty to consult with the community council on such matters.
"Stirling Council have been asked repeatedly why no consultation was undertaken and why the artefacts required to be removed but have refused to provide an answer. Everyone involved accepts that there are a small number of articles that should be kept in controlled environment conditions at the Stirling Council Archives, but the vast majority of articles should be and can be retained in Bridge of Allan Library.
"There is also the question of the Provost's Chain which has lain in a bank vault for the last forty years. It has been suggested that a display case in the Library would be a more appropriate home for the chain but this suggestion has so far fallen on deaf ears at Stirling Council.
"A meeting is due to take place this Friday to discuss these issues.
"We are ever hopeful that Stirling Council will respect the wishes of the residents of Bridge of Allan by reinstating the cupboards and allowing the arrangements that have been in place for forty years to continue."
The situation has also been very disheartening for the newly formed Bridge of Allan Heritage Group, who have been tirelessly awaiting on word as to where the sentimental artefacts are to be stored.
Secretary of the group Ian McLaren said: "I am so disappointed, here is a new group of enthusiastic volunteers willing to revitalise the Dr Welsh Trust and to catalogue the collection of historic artefacts and papers.
"I would have though that a development such as this would have been welcomed, but clearly it is not."
Already the group have had three offers from residents asking for them to house family archives, however they have had to refuse due to the uncertainty of the storage situation.
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