CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Libraries and Information: Essential for a Brighter Future

#LibrariesAreEssential – Our Manifesto

#LibrariesAreEssential – Our Open Letter to all Councils and Trusts who provide library services in Scotland

As our nation approached the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, CILIP Scotland led a campaign called Libraries and Information: Essential for a Brighter Future. We believe that the importance of all libraries is in sharper focus than ever now Scotland is beginning to emerge from the pandemic, and in our campaign we wanted to emphasise the essential role that libraries play in the brighter future we are all hoping for. People across Scotland need safe, trusted spaces, whether that be within the community, a school, a college, a university or a workplace, with skilled and supportive staff available to help people from every walk of life access what they need.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, we have been clear that no library workers should be asked to work on-site unless it is safe to do so. As Scotland began moving towards a point of safe recovery from the pandemic, however, we called on all organisations to have a clear plan for reopening their libraries as vital and essential services. Covid-19 also highlighted more starkly than ever before the very real danger presented by misinformation and the pernicious threat to both physical and mental wellbeing that ‘fake news’ represents. Misinformation erodes trust, weakens communities and can even jeopardise democracy itself, and the skilled professionals who make up the library and information sector are our frontline defence against this growing challenge.

We believe that #LibrariesAreEssential and therefore we called on all candidates standing for election to:

  • ​Support the funding of all libraries to ensure they can continue to support education, digital and information literacy, health and wellbeing, economic wellbeing and ​access to information.
  • Agree that misinformation is damaging society and eroding democracy, that libraries and information professionals are vital in combating this and that they should be valued and supported.
  • Ensure Local Government has the support required to ensure that they can deliver the new National Strategy for Public Libraries.
  • Ensure that school libraries and librarians are key components of curriculum delivery, as outlined in Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools, and that all school pupils have access to a trained librarian.

Our campaign activity included:

  • Asking all the main parties to include the above asks in their manifestos
  • Producing evidence and key facts to support our campaign
  • Creating an evidence bank of case studies, supporting quotes, blogs and videos
  • Producing a manifesto document that will be sent to all candidates

#LibrariesAreEssential in Scotland, now more than ever, and we are so grateful to all who joined us in campaigning for their vital place in a brighter future. Click the links below to browse our continually growing evidence banks demonstrating why #LibrariesAreEssential to Scottish Society, why #LibrariesAreEssential to Tackling Misinformation, why Public #LibrariesAreEssential and why School #LibrariesAreEssential.


As part of our campaign, we asked the main parties standing for election in Scotland to answer a short series of questions about how their policies meet the needs of Scotland’s libraries and librarians. Click for the responses we received from the Scottish Conservatives, the Scottish Green Party, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (we are awaiting responses from Alba and Alliance for Unity).


Click here to share a supportive quote saying why you think #LibrariesAreEssential to Scotland’s brighter future.

And click here to add a case study demonstrating the vital value of libraries.

We’re also keen to add a creative aspect to our advocacy, and would love for Scotland’s writers, poets and artists to get involved! If you have a creative response you’d like to share that connects with the #LibrariesAreEssential theme (up to 40 lines of poetry or 500 words of prose – artwork also very welcome!) please email Membership Officer Kirsten at

Thank you!


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