As one popular rural library celebrated its 40th anniversary, Stirling Council has launched an ambitious five-year initiative to develop and grow its entire libraries and archives service.

Since opening its doors in 1979, Drymen Library has been a crucial facility for the local community, helped by its dedicated members of staff.

Now, the Council’s Libraries and Archives Implementation Plan will ensure libraries like Drymen can continue to play an important role for local people in the future by meeting six key aims: 

  • Reading, literacy and learning
  • digital inclusion
  • economic wellbeing
  • social wellbeing
  • culture and creativity
  • excellent public services.

To help meet these goals, it also contains proposals to improve the conditions of the local authority’s libraries and Archives estate, raise its profile and extend its reach as far as possible. 

The plan was given the green light at a recent meeting of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee.

Important, high-quality and inclusive service

Convener of the committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “This comprehensive plan of action will enable the Council’s Libraries and Archives to continue their important, high-quality and inclusive service to residents.

“It was fitting that we launched this ambitious plan at such a well-loved community facility in Drymen Library, which has been a welcoming space for residents young and old for the last 40 years.

“By continuing to invest in the service and by raising awareness, we will ensure Drymen and other libraries across Stirling will be equipped for the 21st century and will continue to perform an essential role for future generations.”

Popular, trusted space

Sir Hugh Fraser cut the ribbon at Drymen Library on 5 June, 1979, with Alison Brown the first librarian in charge. She took to the role with great enthusiasm accompanied by her assistant Marie Elder.

Following her retirement in 1998, she handed the reins to Marie, who continued the community-led approach at the hub for another 15 years, with assistants Wendi Bates, Fiona Dewar and Christina Hamilton.  

After that, Christina became the Community Library Officer. Along with Beth and Pamela, Christina has maintained the welcoming atmosphere at the facility, ensuring it remains at the heart of life in Drymen.

While the services offered by the library have changed to meet the needs of the digital age, the facility continues to be a crucial hub for the local community, providing the likes of ‘I.T. & Me’ support sessions for adults and fun and friendly Bookbug sessions for tots.

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “Congratulations to everyone at Drymen Library on their 40th birthday. Through the commitment of staff and a supportive community, it has developed into a popular, trusted space which meets the diverse needs of local people.

“The positive impact of Drymen Library over the years demonstrates why these assets are so crucial to communities across Stirling. This implementation plan will allow us to maintain and grow these services and will allow us to fully recognise the libraries and archives’ contribution to Council priorities such as tackling poverty, addressing inequalities and improving health and wellbeing.”

To read the Libraries and Archives Strategy, head to the Stirling Council website

Picture and background info

Photos shows (from left), Matt Ferguson, Digital Services Librarian; Cllr Chris Kane, Lindsay McKrell, Team Leader for Libraries & Archives; Christina Hamilton, Community Library Officer.

Stirling Council’s Libraries and Archives Service delivers an ever growing service across 16 static libraries, two mobile libraries and outreach service meeting the diverse needs of urban and rural communities – schools, sheltered housing complexes, nurseries, Cornton Vale Prison and community organisations.

The local authority has recently invested £340,000 in the two new state-of-the-art mobile library vehicles, with the first one already on the road and the second one due for delivery in July.

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