Author Irvine Welsh is backing a new campaign against library cuts in Scotland.
The ‘Libraries Matter’ campaign, which will launch next month, will fight to keep libraries open in the run up to Scotland’s local government elections on 4th May.
Welsh, whose novel Porno (Vintage) was the basis of the new Trainspotting 2 film, said: "I grew up in a scheme where every house and street pretty much looked the same. As a kid it was essential to have your imagination fueled by a psychic portal into different worlds. That was my library in Muirhouse. That was why I became a writer and why camera crews from all over the world and Hollywood film stars and executives descended on my home town for the premiere of the film of my book.”
As part of the campaign, libraries body CILIP will ask government candidates if they will invest in public libraries, as well as ensure school libraries are staffed by a trained, on-site and full-time librarian.
Catherine Kearney, director of CILIP in Scotland, welcomed Welsh’s support.
She said.: “Now is the time to speak out and tell local councillors and government why libraries matter to each and every one of us. Libraries are vital to promoting social cohesion in Scotland’s communities, providing informal learning opportunities, promoting reading for pleasure, helping to improve literacy, developing digital skills, supporting access to benefits and contributing to raising attainment in our education sector.”
The new campaign follows on from CILIP Scotland’s work in schools. Last year the body launched an advocacy strategy for school libraries and promised to campaign for libraries at national level.
CILIP is also campaigning against library closures in the rest of the UK and last year called for a national library strategy to be set out for England.
Several English councils are proposing to cut large numbers of libraries, including recently Plymouth, which wants to shut 10 of its 17 libraries, and Bury, which could lose 10 out its 14.