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‘Superhero’ librarians are saved after public outcry

The threat of libraries losing full-time services has been lifted. Picture: TSPL

The threat of libraries losing full-time services has been lifted. Picture: TSPL

SCHOOL library services will be saved from the axe after a public pressure forced a council rethink.

City council bosses were considering slashing 12 librarian posts at the city’s 23 high schools as part of a cuts package aimed at saving around £400,000.

But the Evening News can exclusively reveal school libraries are no longer under threat as education chiefs promise to keep a full-time service at 
secondaries.

However, it is still unclear how staff numbers at school libraries will be made up, with council chiefs hinting at a possible pooling of public and school library staff.

The U-turn follows widespread criticism, with Edinburgh authors Ian Rankin and Neil Gaiman speaking out against plans to share one librarian between two schools.

Lin Anderson, chairwoman of The Society of Authors in Scotland, wrote to council chief executive Sue Bruce calling for it to protect the services librarians offer to pupils.

The Merchiston-based crime novelist, and joint founder of the Bloody Scotland literature festival, said she was “delighted” by the change of heart.

She said: “I’m overjoyed that the council have come on board with this. The society feels very strongly about the importance of children having a guide in the school to help them with their reading and how it impacts on other aspects of learning, which has been backed by research. I’m thrilled that people have come out fighting on this.”

The decision to save the service came as Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature bosses described librarians as the “superheroes of the book world”. Director Ali Bowden, said: “You can have books in libraries but you’re not going to get kids reading if you don’t have someone who’s passionate and who can convey that passion.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, education convener, said the decision was based on consultation findings. He said: “We’ve been listening very carefully to all the arguments on this issue.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com

 

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