School Library Petition – Scottish Dimension

School librarians might be interested in enquiries on CILIPS involvement in the current campaign in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. CILIP in Scotland Council discussed this item and also with SLIC.

As many of you know the situation in Scotland is somewhat different.  All secondary schools have a requirement to provide a school library and the COSLA School Library standards which are still active make clear recommendations for the employment of a professionally qualified librarian. Self evaluation tools for schools and supporting documents for  HMIE all reflect the positive input from the appointment of professional librarians. This is certainly not the case in other parts of the UK. Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Lifelong Learning recognised the role of the school librarian at Scottish Learning Festival in September, in particular their role in information literacy. The forthcoming National Youth Information Framework being developed by Young Scot and SLIC will further strengthen this role. The recently published Building the Curriculum for Excellence 4, also recognises the valuable contribution school librarians make in the development of literacy skills.

Over 90% of schools commit to this requirement and the two authorities which don’t are committed to working towards this as posts become vacant. There is however still a threat that posts will become term time. We are trying to deal with these on an issue by issue basis, not always with success it has to be said. Unhappily the public sector across the UK is facing huge challenges and even those services with statutory requirements are facing potential reductions in services, which could have a devastating effect.

In 1999 we had an unsuccessful Scottish Parliament hearing of the case for statutory posts. The current landscape and feedback indicates that this would not be any more successful now than it was then.

Therefore CILIPS and SLIC are happy to encourage support for English colleagues and will keep a watching brief on progress and evaluate the impact of self evaluation and ACE on school services, with a view to considering future political lobbying in the future.

The new self evaluation framework is being launched on 1st December and a letter will go to all Head Teachers, HMIE and Quality Officers in Education Departments highlighting the requirements and positives of professional posts.

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One Response

  1. Hi, Doing research on Staturory status of school libraries in Scotland… you say “All secondary schools have a requirement to provide a school library and the COSLA School Library standards which are still active make clear recommendations for the employment of a professionally qualified librarian”. WHere do I find a copy of the original source material for this statement which I have heard many times. The sections on ‘Library Service’s in the 1962 and 1980 Education Scotland Acts are a bit vague.

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