CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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#SP16 Be an advocate for libraries

Category: Inspiration for the Nation 2016

Blog by CILIP in Scotland as part of the ‘Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation’ Campaign.

CILIP in Scotland is urging all members, stakeholders and supporters to become involved with our election campaign as the Scottish Parliamentary elections approach on May 5th. The reason is increasing concern regarding the loss and reduction of library services across the country despite strong evidence showing the contribution our libraries make to Scotland’s economy, wellbeing and culture.

Recently, we have seen a decision taken to remove all school librarian posts in Argyll and Bute, an attempt to close seven public libraries in Fife, the erosion of professional posts in further education college libraries and reductions in service hours in libraries of all types.

That is why we want to encourage everyone to be an advocate for libraries this coming election. Our key messages are simple and clear:

  • 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
  • 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.

Engaging with candidates is as easy as explaining to them why libraries matter to you. For example you could

  • Follow candidates on social media – it’s easy and informal and can generate comment, discussion and retweets;
  • Write to candidates (we have a sample letter format)
  • Engage with candidates in person on the hustings

Check our guide to engaging with candidates for more ideas. Use theevidence on our website to back up your discussion and views.  The more we do this, the more likely that libraries will continue to be supported and funded. Share your activities with CILIPS as we built our HolyroodAye election watch pages.

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