SBC’s school library plans under attack

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A public services union is challenging Scottish Borders plans to replace qualified school library staff with pupils, volunteers and self-service scanners.

The council is currently running a pilot scheme in three of its high schools and UNISON Scottish Borders Public Services branch has been out campaigning against it this week.

Kaymarie Hughes of UNISON Scottish Borders Public Services branch said: “November 19-25 is Book Week Scotland and the theme is Rebel. UNISON will be ‘rebelling’ and campaigning throughout this week across the schools to raise awareness of the detrimental impact this staffing loss could have on our children.

“We would encourage all parents, pupils and school staff to come and speak with us and support our campaign.

“School librarians are a critical part of any school’s staff. Scottish Borders Council is currently downgrading the library service in schools in Peebles, Galashiels and Kelso through a cost cutting measure which will see volunteers and student labour cover duties previously done by paid library staff.”

UNISON Scotland local organiser, Greig Kelbie, added: “We are calling on the council to rethink their proposals as this is nothing more than dressing up cuts as “leadership training”.

“We are all for getting pupils involved in the libraries to learn new skills, but not at the expense of properly qualified staff. We are already hearing reports that without the presence and guidance of staff within the library, they are becoming chaotic common rooms that happen to have books in them.

“Concerned parents and members of the community are clearly opposed to these proposals.

“Please do not be quiet! We urge anyone concerned to write to their local councillor or sign one of our campaign postcards addressed to council leader, Shona Haslam. UNISON will continue to campaign against council cuts.”

UNISON online petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-scottish-borders-school-libraries?fbclid=IwAR3Yyxis8V3IHetP-SdQE2SueIvknZHP3vAuwYY3jTABYHb-tw-HzgKPopM