Anger as books are left to rot

The Oban Times - - NEWS - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

AR­GYLL and Bute Coun­cil is fac­ing anger for dump­ing books left to rot in Mull mo­bile li­brary af­ter ax­ing the ser­vice more than a year ago.

Many books were in such a bad state, due to mould and wa­ter dam­age, that they had to be thrown into land­fill rather than be­ing given to char­ity. A Tober­mory res­i­dent who reg­u­larly used the is­land’s mo­bile li­brary, Mull Mu­seum sec­re­tary Olive Brown, said: ‘They took the li­brary van off the road and they took away the li­brar­ian about 18 months ago. The moment the van went off the road, the books were all in a per­fect con­di­tion. No­body could see the books were there.

‘The contents sat in the van for a year and a half. They just let them moul­der away. Some were in such a bad con­di­tion they could not even be given to char­ity. Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil let things de­te­ri­o­rate un­til they were not worth any­thing.

‘It is a sheer waste of the as­sets. There were re­ally in­ter­est­ing Gaelic books. They could have taken the van back to the coun­cil head­quar­ters. It is a wasted op­por­tu­nity, in a world where we are told to re­cy­cle and read and learn. The coun­cil was not set­ting a good ex­am­ple.’

The loss of the is­land’s mo­bile li­brary ser­vice was ‘a big miss to peo­ple who live in re­mote parts of Mull’, she said.

An Ar­gyll and Bute spokesper­son said: ‘When Mull mo­bile li­brary was with­drawn from ser­vice in June last year, the ma­jor­ity of stock was re­lo­cated to the new li­brary in Tober­mory.

‘How­ever, a small num­ber of books had be­come dam­aged from mould and wa­ter due to be­ing stored in the mo­bile li­brary. Un­for­tu­nately, these books had to be dis­posed of.

‘The coun­cil usu­ally gives all its un­wanted stock to a na­tional char­ity but these par­tic­u­lar books were in such a poor con­di­tion that the char­ity would not have been able to ac­cept them.’

Ar­gyll and Bute MSP Michael Rus­sell said: ‘In­evitably, some books would have been un­saleable or too dam­aged to pass on, but given that the com­mu­nity on Mull was and is very op­posed to li­brary cuts, any sug­ges­tion that us­able books were be­ing dumped sim­ply adds in­sult to in­jury.’

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