Cuts in public and school libraries for East Renfrewshire

Cuts in public and school libraries for East Renfrewshire

East Renfrewshire Council is proposing cuts across its library service, including plans to make school pupils do more to run their own school libraries.

The Scottish authority has outlined its budget for 2015-2018 and is looking to make up an overall budget shortfall of £20m in the next three years.

One of the council's money saving proposals would see full time school librarians cut from the authority's schools, to be replaced by part time staff, supported by a "self-service" option, and involving "senior year pupils on a voluntary basis". The council said the move could save £131,000.

The public library service will similarly be cut, facing a £325,000 budget drop as the service restructures. The council has said it will continue to run four main library centres, while looking for a "a new way to deliver the service" in at least six other libraries. This could involve both co-location of the library with other services, or handing them over to community groups to run.

The council said: "We believe we can deliver a library service that is tailored to each local community based on customer use and local need, and can maintain the service in all current locales."

The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS) told the Herald newspaper: "We do not support the proposal by East Renfrewshire Council that some libraries could use community volunteers to operate their services. We hold that a good public library service is essential to the well being of communities, providing a positive experience for local people and demonstrating the value a local authority places on its community."