CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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#LibrariesAreEssential Policy Responses – Scottish Labour

As part of our #LibrariesAreEssential campaign in the run-up to the May 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, 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. Below are the responses we received from Scottish Labour.

What commitments can your party give to support libraries and librarians over the next parliament?

We know that Scottish Libraries are vital public services. While we agree that the safety of library staff must remain paramount during the pandemic, we understand that library closures have hurt us all, and in particular some of the most vulnerable people in society. Libraries are not just places to borrow books, although 20 million were borrowed in 2019 alone. They are community hubs, combatting digital exclusion, giving people help and support to access public services, and are safe, warm, nurturing free spaces for anyone who needs them. One of our first priorities has to be getting our libraries fully reopened; we commit to supporting librarians to continue to help the public and to protecting Scotland’s vital public library system over the long-term.

What steps does your party intend to take to combat misinformation and disinformation and do you see information professionals and libraries playing a role in these efforts?

The information revolution of the last 20 years has shown that our information sources are under attack, and that the onslaught of misinformation and disinformation has real consequences. There is growing evidence of the manipulation of information influencing the political sphere, and more urgently, vital public health advice. It is not an understatement to say that trust in accurate public information during a pandemic is a matter of life and death.

We have committed to building digital skills in Scotland, which would include promoting digital literacy, and will renew our national approach to the digital skills pipeline to inspire, educate, and train. We would be happy to work with CILIPS to develop a national information resilience strategy to be implemented throughout Scotland.

What steps would your party take to ensure that local government has the resources to deliver library services that meet the community needs?

We will reform funding for public services by implementing a complete review of taxes levied by local government. Central government revenue and capital funding will be reviewed and amended to ensure funding is on a long term and stable basis. Scottish Labour want to see the unfair council tax abolished and replaced with a progressive alternative based on up to date property values, and an ability to pay. We also need to identify a replacement for non-domestic rates and a portfolio of additional levies to increase revenue generation to reflect local needs and requirements.

Does your party believe all school pupils should have access to both a school library and a trained professional school librarian?

In a word, yes. We believe our schools should have access to all the resources they need to provide a world class education, and to repair the damage to our children’s education the last year has done. School libraries and librarians are an essential part of that picture.

To return to the main campaign page and read the other policy responses we’ve received so far, please click here.

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