Scotland's Falkirk council is consulting on cuts to its school library service (SLS) which managers say would wipe out the service.
The council said it was looking to make savings of £325,000, or the salaries of 10 full-time employees. “By reorganizing our current provision and resources we could provide a decentralised service within each of our secondary schools which would also serve all cluster schools,” it said.
But Yvonne Manning, manager of the Falkirk SLS, said the proposed cuts would wipe out the whole service. “I do understand that cuts need to be made, I expected a reduction of some kid, but it was a shock to find that they wanted to stop the service," she told The Bookseller.
“Our core business is the provision of resources – we have about 120,000 resources that we manage for nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools but also other services that work with children, like the NHS – so a centralised service makes a lot of sense,” she said. “A lot of these resources would be too expansive for individual schools to purchase.”
The Falkirk SLS also works with nursery and primary schools on literacy, and that’s the next area where the loss of the service would be most keenly felt, she added.
Author Nicola Morgan is the patron of reading at Larbert High School in Falkirk and said the school library service in the region is “second to none”.
“The wonderful experts at the school library services are incredible assets for Scotland and the area and services like theirs should be funded to the hilt in order to boost our children’s reading even further,” she said. “I’m completely sick of hearing of the constant threats to school library provision. It’s part of education and lifelong wellbeing and should not be threatened.”
Stopping the service is part of the council’s plans to make budget cuts across its education services. It is also looking to save money in areas such as non-teaching school staff, free school transport and music teaching.
The consultation period for the proposed cuts will end this Saturday (10th January). Anyone wishing to comment can click on the “submit your views” on the budget consultation page of the council’s website.