PLANS to turn part of an historic library into council offices have been scrapped following a public outcry, the Courier can reveal.
East Lothian Council disclosed plans to move services from their offices in Aldhammer House, Prestonpans, into the town’s library in June.
The proposal was criticised by Prestonpans Community Council, which said merging the services would take away people’s views of the library as a safe and neutral area.
And seven-year-old Manja Porteus, whose dad Tim is a professional storyteller and Courier columnist, appealed to the council to rethink its proposals and leave the library alone.
Now a report, due to be published this month, has concluded that moving council staff into Prestonpans Library should not go ahead. And it has been revealed the library is increasing opening hours on Wednesday mornings.
A council spokesperson confirmed the decision, saying: “The proposal to move services from Aldhammer House to Prestonpans Library will not be going ahead. Other options will continue to be explored.”
Prestonpans Library was built in 1905 through funds from Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
People in Prestonpans raised the money to buy 3,000 books to fill their library.
In 2007, it was given a makeover by East Lothian Council, with a £780,000 facelift.
The council was considering spending £98,000 to create three interview rooms for council staff, moving the computer area into a new space and taking away the teenage lending space, merging it into the adult section.
The community council was told by council officials that, while the number of visits to Prestonpans Library had remained between just under 42,000 to 46,500 over the last six years, it had dropped dramatically last year to 34,439 – a 19 per cent fall in visits.
However, this sudden drop raised eyebrows, with one councillor describing the figures as “mince”.
Mr Porteus said: “My daughter begged me to speak on her behalf. She said ‘please, I am scared the library will be gone when I am older’. If we allow this to happen, are we in a few years time going to find we have lost the library service altogether?”