Education Fears as Scots Schools Scrap Librarians

Article excerpt

Byline: Alan Roden Scottish Political Reporter

THOUSANDS of pupils are missing out on the chance to develop a love of books because schools have axed their librarians, experts have warned.

A 'postcode lottery' across the country means that only a handful of local authorities still employ a dedicated librarian in every secondary school.

Education experts said the loss of library staff could be 'hugely detrimental' to children's education.

The Scottish Daily Mail has found that only 86 per cent of secondary schools currently have a dedicated librarian. Pupils in rural areas are hardest hit, but there is also a chronic shortage in some urban areas.

Local authorities in Stirling, Midlothian and even East Renfrewshire - seen as Scotland's top catchment area- do not employ a librarian in some secondary schools.

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, last night said councils were scrapping the posts to save cash. Describing the move as 'very sad', she said: 'Local authorities are saving money and probably feel that losing a librarian won't damage education.

But it's hugely detrimental.' The Scottish Executive figures were released by Education Minister Mike Russell. They show that pupils in more than 50 secondary schools across the country do not have access to a dedicated librarian.

Last year, a high-profile group of British children's authors and publishers said school libraries should be made a statutory requirement and studies have found that library provision can directly contribute to academic achievement. …