Alan Bissett leads Scottish writers in call to halt school library cuts


Councils have announced cuts to school libraries across Scotland including in East Renferewshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk

LEADING SCOTTISH writers including poet and playwright Alan Bissett, James Robertson and Christopher Brookmyre, have signed a petition calling on the Scottish Government to establish a new national strategy to preserve Scotland’s school libraries.

The petition, launched by the Save Scotland’s School Libraries campaign, calls for recognition of the importance of school libraries and warns of a potential postcode lottery, with children enjoying radically different library facilities depending upon their catchment area.

The petition reads : “We firmly believe school libraries are unique in their ability to support teaching and learning and should be the central resource of every school, open every day and staffed by a professionally trained librarian.

“We believe that all learners should have equal access to a qualified school librarian, but as a result of recent cuts young people in Scotland are now subject to a postcode lottery in the service they receive.

“As a consequence pupils in Scotland’s schools are suffering educational inequality and the continuation of these cuts is very likely to lead to a drop in literacy rates and a widening of the attainment gap, which runs counter to Scottish Government policy.”

The news of cuts to school library services in council areas including Falkirk, East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk comes after Cosla, the Scottish council authorities body, spoke out against an expected half a billion pounds worth of cuts to Scottish council budgets.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement is expected to contain unprecedented cuts to public services. The Institutive for Fiscal Studies has calculated that Osborne’s cuts since 2010 when he became chancellor are the deepest in UK history.

At time of publication the petition had gained 2,651 signatures.

Picture courtesy of Christopher John SSF