Anger as books rot in axed Mull library van

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An Argyll and Bute spokesperson said: ‘When Mull mobile library was withdrawn from service in June last year, the majority of stock was relocated to the new library in Tobermory.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