9 November 2015
A petition to the Scottish Parliament regarding the threat to Scottish school libraries was officially lodged on 16 October with a final total of 2,651 signatures and 170 comments. Librarian Duncan Wright, who put forward the petition, has been called on to appear in front of the Scottish Parliament on 24 November to speak further on the petition.
The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to set out a new national strategy for school libraries which recognises the vital role of high quality school libraries in supporting pupils’ literacy and research skills.
The authorities of East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk Council have proposed cuts to school library services. Other proposals already approved include sharing librarians between schools in Glasgow and replacing librarians in North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and Fife with library assistants.
SoA member Nicola Morgan, Chair of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group, says,
School libraries – properly funded, generously stocked and expertly staffed – are absolutely crucial to growing each reading generation. School librarians nurture every child’s reading, not just those lucky enough to have been surrounded by books since birth. We now have so much evidence of the vast benefits of reading for pleasure to individuals and society and we need all children to access those benefits.
Duncan Wright says,
I’m delighted to be able to raise the issue of a national strategy for school libraries in Scotland with the Public Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament. With over 2,600 signatories behind the petition it is clear there is a groundswell of public support for this initiative. The meeting will allow us to explain in more detail to the committee the importance of school libraries and school librarians in Scottish education.