School libraries protesters rally outside Scottish Parliament

School libraries protesters rally outside Scottish Parliament

Protesters gathered outside Scottish Parliament on Saturday (17th October) to protest against the Scottish government's policy on school libraries and librarians.

Save Scotland's School Libraries campaigners assembled in Parliament Square in Edinburgh to support a petition that urged 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."

Author and campaigner Alan Gibbons gave a speech at the rally, saying that the government's decision to "despatch" libraries is "damaging" and argued that access to libraries for children is essential for socio-economic success.

He told The Bookseller: "It is vital that the Scottish Parliament and everyone in national and local government recognises the vital role played by school librarians and libraries. Professional, well trained library staff have great relationships with students and help promote the foundation of learning, the ability to read well for pleasure and information."

The petition said: "We firmly believe that 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.

"Currently in Scotland this is not the case and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. We firmly believe that this needs to be addressed."

Earlier this year, The Bookseller reported CILIP Scotland's pledge to campaign for school libraries following plans to cut services in areas including Falkirk and East Renfrewshire.