South Scotland

Libraries no longer 'places of silence'

Library books Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Management rules are being updated for libraries in the Scottish Borders

A council is making changes to its management rules in libraries to reflect the fact that they are no longer "places of silence".

It is one of the reasons behind a number of policy amendments being proposed in the Scottish Borders.

A report said there had been a "change in culture" in libraries which needed to be recognised.

The current rules expire in April and consultation is planned before bringing in new ones for a 10-year period.

Scottish Borders Council no longer provides the library service but has a provision agreement with the Live Borders charitable trust.

However, the local authority still has the statutory powers to set management rules.

Mobile phones

The main changes being proposed are to reflect the impact of new technology and how the service has developed over the last 10 years.

The rules cover matters including library membership, periods of borrowing and inappropriate and offensive behaviour.

Despite the move away from the requirement for silence, mobile phone conversations would still be prohibited.

The proposed regulations do permit the use of audio equipment as long as headphones are used to ensure it can only be heard by the user.

If agreed, the new rules would come into place from the middle of April.

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