CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation

‘Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation’ is the name of the campaign run by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections on May 5th.

The campaign, supported by top Scottish authors, aimed to highlight the key role Scotland’s libraries play in helping to achieve policy goals from improving health and wellbeing to raising attainment and promoting and preserving the culture of our nation and called for government action to maintain investment.

The campaign covered issues relating to all types of libraries across Scotland that our members work in.

The Campaign asked candidates standing for election to the Scottish Parliament on May 5th:

  1. To support and call for the full implementation of the National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland, agreed last year with the Scottish Government and COSLA.
  2. To work to ensure that all learners in school and further education have on site access to full time professional library staff.
  3. To support development of a new national strategy for school libraries which recognises their vital role in supporting pupils’ literacy and research skills.
  4. To work closely with Local Government to ensure that all libraries are fully supported.

Key Messages included:

  • Scotland’s Libraries are a diverse network across all sectors and play a key role as economic enablers and learning and social hubs; they help to realise policy goals from reducing the attainment gap and improving literacy levels to promoting culture and creativity;
  • Scotland’s Public Libraries offer excellent value with a £166 annual return on investment per user, at a cost of £21 per head of population;
  • Scotland’s Public Libraries are popular and valued by users – their dedicated staff have seen visitor numbers increase by 28.6% over the past 5 years;
  • All learners in school and further education should have access to full time professional librarian expertise as this contributes to improved academic attainment, successful delivery of curriculum outcomes and promotion of literacy and reading;
  • All 19 of Scotland’s university libraries, through a collaborative agreement by SCURL, procure over 40 thousand ebooks and 4 thousand journals to an annual investment exceeding £8m providing equitable access to the content to support their learners and users;
  • Scotland’s Libraries are a valuable resource in the drive to full digital inclusion.

Key Activities included:

  • A series of guest blogs featuring contributions from prominent campaigners, national organisations and more;
  • Changes to services – as local authorities (and charitable trusts) announce their budgets and plans we monitored these and responding where possible;
  • We produced guide to engaging candidates  our members can use in their local area;
  • Links to how the Scottish media are covering libraries;
  • We produced our own Manifesto with political parties being invited to outline how their policies, if they were elected, would recognise the contribution of libraries in terms of investment and support; and
  • HolyroodAye! – our election watch strand of the campaign where we contacted parties and asking them to respond to our Manifesto;

The campaign was supported by Scottish authors including CILIPS President Theresa Breslin, Christopher Brookmyre, Val McDermid and our Conference keynote speaker James Robertson.



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