Save our school libraries

Cutting library services at East Ren
Cutting library services at East Ren

Plans to cut library services in East Renfrewshire schools continue to come under fire as a petition is lodged with the Scottish Government.

The petition, open until October 16, cites East Renfrewshire , South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk councils for proposed cuts to school libraries.

Lodged by Save Scotland’s School Libraries, it reads: “Young people in Scotland are now subject to a postcode lottery in regards to the level of school library service they receive. As a consequence, pupils are suffering educational inequality.”

It’s a concern echoed by Jonas Black, a pupil at Woodfarm High, who wrote a letter to The Extra commenting: “I have spoken to the director of education, Mhairi Shaw, who advised me that she cannot guarantee that this will not have an effect on current services. This is in complete constrast to the council’s initial stance.

“During the public consultation, people were most concerned about school libraries and the council ignored it. With this one cut, the authority will lose its place as best in Scotland for education.”

The letter complains that suggestions including self-service machines and pupils stepping in to volunteer are causing further worry in the school community.

A council spokeswoman responded: “We want to find a way to retain our school librarians wherever possible because we know how valuable the resource is. All schools will continue to have a librarian service, but no school will have a dedicated full-time resource.”

She added: “There was never a proposal to get pupils to replace trained librarians. One idea, of many put forward, was that senior pupils may want to volunteer in their library outwith the times a librarian was present. This is not being taken further. Other proposals such as self serve are being looked at and staff are being consulted fully.”