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

#LibrariesAreEssential Scotland's Stories logo, with white text on a blue library background

As part of our #LibrariesAreEssential – Scotland’s Stories campaign in the run-up to the May 2022 local government 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 the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

  • Would your successful councillors provide consistent funding to all libraries to ensure they can continue to support education, digital and information literacy, health and wellbeing, economic wellbeing and access to information?
  • How would you empower libraries to deliver the new National Strategy for Public Libraries and to ensure that quality library services are a key part of future community planning?
  • Would you ensure that school libraries are properly resourced so they can be key components of curriculum delivery and that all learners have access to a trained librarian?
  • Would you value and support libraries and information professionals in their vital role in combating misinformation, which is damaging society and eroding democracy?

Willie Rennie MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, the Economy & Communities, said:

Libraries are an important part of, and often the centre of many communities. From helping apply for bus passes, providing free Hey Girls sanitary products, access to books and computers, libraries can offer lifeline services to those who really need it. Scottish Liberal Democrats will always champion community hubs like libraries and will always do what we can to protect them, despite the cuts in local government funding constantly being handed down by the SNP and Greens.

We will support libraries to innovate and increase footfall. Orkney Library is a brilliant example of how services embed themselves in their communities. It has 79,000 followers on Twitter alone and everyone in the islands values it and knows how much it offers. It is a local hub and the model can undoubtedly be used across the country.

At a time when the spread of misinformation is at an all-time high, libraries provide crucial information that can help tackle these fake news stories. It is clear that we must do all we can to invest in and retain libraries so that we can ensure they remain a key part of this fight.

Libraries can also be the source of inspiration and education for everyone but none more so than school children. Scottish Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for better funding of education at all levels. Children have missed out on so much. The attainment gap is now bigger than ever. Yet parents, teachers and pupils can’t see any difference in what the government is offering. We want to see unprecedented new entitlements for pupils and staff, with extra resources in every school. Libraries will be an important part of that as community hubs, multi-use facilities, places of safety and learning.

Our councillors and candidates are local champions. We won’t lose sight of the value that libraries can offer our communities and use them to our advantage.’

To return to the main campaign page and discover why #LibrariesAreEssential to Scotland’s stories now more than ever, please click here.

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