Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Support your local library on National Libraries Day

Saturday 8 February is National Libraries Day. It rounds off a week of celebrations that recognise the key role libraries play in our communities, schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.

As a consequence of spending cuts our libraries have never been under more pressure. While closures in Moray grabbed the headlines, there has been a salami slicing of cuts to opening hours and staff in other local authorities. In a UNISON survey more than 40% members reported cuts in service and two-thirds felt staffing levels were inadequate. Nearly 90% indicated public support for the service, but nearly two-thirds felt that the service was not valued.

As local authority budgets are set next week, further cuts are likely as councils bear the brunt of cuts in the Scottish budget.

Scottish Labour MSP Jayne Baxter has tabled the following motion in the Scottish Parliament:

S4M-08949 Jayne Baxter: Celebrating National Libraries Day—That the Parliament considers that public library services are an essential part of communities across Scotland; welcomes what it sees as the role that they play in providing access to learning for people and in serving as community hubs; believes that the professional expertise and skills of library staff are important in delivering a quality service; considers that libraries best benefit society when they are well funded and supported through strong national leadership, and joins in celebrating the importance of the work of public libraries across the UK as part of National Libraries Day, which will be marked on 8 February 2014.

Branches should encourage members to write to their MSPs urging them to support the motion. Details on how to organise or support a local event are on the National Libraries Day website. You can also tweet your support using the hashtag #NLD14

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