Category Archives: CILIP in Scotland

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Gruffalo author calls to protect school libraries from ‘short-sighted’ cuts

The acclaimed author of The Gruffalo has added her voice to a national campaign, which champions Scotland’s library services to protect them from further cuts.

Julia Donaldson MBE is supporting the Libraries Matter campaign from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), which asks candidates standing in the local government elections on 4th May 2017 to protect the library budget and support professionally staffed school libraries.

The former Children’s Laureate is highlighting the importance of school libraries and librarians in supporting the curriculum, which research shows improve reading, attainment and literacy levels  – core aims of the Scottish Government.

Despite this, school libraries are undervalued. Pupil numbers have increased by more than 6700 since 2010, but cuts have left only 11 out of 32 local authorities with a full-time qualified librarian in every secondary school.

During her visits to schools across the UK and overseas, Mrs Donaldson sees first-hand the value that school libraries and librarians add to learners’ education. She said:

“Reading broadens the mind, stimulates the imagination and increases literacy. And librarians and libraries are the most important people and places for fostering a love of reading.

“In particular, school librarians, who develop close relationships with the pupils, often can suggest just the right book to a child from a home where there are few or no books, instilling what can become a lifelong love of reading.”

Mrs Donaldson also penned an open letter to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last year, despairing about the closure of Argyll & Bute’s school libraries. She added:

“When I was in Australia recently I met a group of primary-school librarians, who told me that their post was a prestigious one: to attain it, one has to be a teacher with an additional librarian’s qualification entitling one to an increase in salary.

“They could hardly believe it when I told them that in the UK there were hardly any primary-school librarians and that many of those in secondary schools were losing their jobs. 

“How can we be so short-sighted?”

The Libraries Matter campaign also calls on those who use or work in libraries to get involved in advocating the benefits that Scotland’s school libraries deliver, such as Elgin Academy’s Paired Reading scheme, which actively improves reading ages (case study below).

Catherine Kearney, Director of CILIP in Scotland, said: “School libraries are a safe andsupportive learning environment where all pupils have equal and equitable access to curriculum-related learning resources, both physical and digital, practical support, and information for educational purposes.”

“Schools with school libraries and librarians achieve higher exam scores, leading to higher academic attainment and increased motivation and self-esteem among pupils.”

“Our campaign targets those standing for election in Scotland’s local authorities to pledge support for our school and public libraries and stand up against cuts and reductions in service. In addition, we have held discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills John Swinney, highlighting the need for National Standards for school libraries.”

Added Eileen Prior, Executive Director at Scottish Parent Teacher Council: “Children, parents and teachers appreciate school libraries and the advice of dedicated librarians. They contribute to the learning of children and foster a love of books, which is a life-long gift. At a time when literacy is a key priority in our schools, the role of libraries and librarians is even more critical than ever.”

 

Case Study: Paired Reading scheme at Elgin Academy, Moray.

 Bruce and Kayleigh  Sep 16

Elgin Academy’s librarian, Shelagh Toonen, introduced the Paired Reading scheme in 2012 and its benefits are acknowledged within the school community. S6 students are paired with younger S1 pupils to encourage reading fluency and comprehension with the sharing of books and reading held in the library.

Kayleigh Young, an S6 student, said: “The Paired Reading scheme is extremely beneficial for all who take part. I have seen the confidence of my paired reader Bruce grow incredibly. He has communication difficulties, so this experience has been all the more rewarding. It has been amazing to see his confidence and motivation grow in reading. I have also helped him with creating and presenting his book talks and helped him to focus his interests.

“I highly recommend participating in a paired reading scheme, as everyone gains. It also creates a closer bond between year groups and so benefits the whole school community.”

At the end of the academic session, the librarian interviews the outgoing S6 students on film about their experience, which is used at the induction day for new S6 students while the readers’ interviews are used to develop the scheme.

Karen Grant, Depute Head Teacher at Elgin Academy, said: “The Paired Reading programme makes a significant difference to the students, with their reading ages clearly improving.  It unlocks literacy across all their learning, in all their subjects.  It gives them the confidence to move forward in their reading and to work on a one-to-one basis with a positive role model.”

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Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of CILIP in Scotland. For further information, please contact Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 or jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

Photo captions:

  • Donaldson_166_1mb – Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo

Photo available of S6 student Kayleigh Young with paired reader Bruce at Elgin Academy.

About CILIP in Scotland

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland works in partnership with CILIP to advocate the value of library and information professionals’ skills to society and to support members of CILIP in Scotland in attaining and retaining professional qualifications.

CILIP in Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registration No: SCO38532

Credit: Kirsty Anderson

Campaign highlights ‘crucial role’ of libraries under threat in Scotland

A national campaign to champion Scotland’s library services in the face of cuts is launching today with the help of 2016 Man Booker Prize Shortlisted author, Graeme Macrae Burnet.

The Scot who used his local library to write and research his lauded second book, His Bloody Project, is backing the ‘Libraries Matter’ campaign from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), which runs in the lead up to the local government elections on 4th May 2017.

The nationwide campaign responds to the threat of closure and reduction in public and school library services by championing libraries as the driving forces in our communities, delivering more than just access to books.

Graeme Macrae Burnet said: “As a regular user of libraries, I know what a fantastic range of services they provide to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“At a time when we are concerned about literacy, education and inclusiveness, we should be championing the crucial role libraries play in our communities.”

Public libraries welcome 28 million visits a year, making them more popular than Scotland’s professional football matches, with 20 million books borrowed each year. They are also excellent value, delivering up to £8 return for every £1 invested. Libraries are essential, providing digital skills and access, vital for the 20% of Scots without access to the internet.

Meanwhile school libraries, which have already seen a number of Scotland-wide cutbacks, make a vital contribution to supporting literacy and raising attainment. Indeed, research shows that professionally staffed librarians help pupils achieve higher exam scores.

The Libraries Matter campaign – which has already gained support from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh – will target candidates standing in the approaching local elections. It will ask that, if elected, they support public libraries and the vital contribution they make to community cohesion, social and economic wellbeing, digital skills and literacy as well as supporting professionally staffed school libraries and recognising their value to education and raising the attainment agenda.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “While many people are increasingly accessing information digitally, many others are left behind. Libraries are not just about books but also provide an essential community resource for people to get free advice, information and awareness of what’s available in their communities in a safe and friendly atmosphere.”

An open letter from CILIPS has been sent to all elected members in Scotland and the professional body will be writing again to those candidates standing for election to set out just why Libraries Matter so much.

Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of Educational Institute of Scotland, said: “Scottish education is focused on closing the attainment gap and raising standards.  School libraries are a key element in delivering these ambitions. Many children don’t have ready access to books at home, for example, or indeed the wider resources, which school libraries provide such as computers and even just a space to study. And over and above the resources, school librarians are highly skilled professionals who know how to assist and support students. If we are serious about our ambitions for Scottish Education, school libraries deserve our support.”

Library supporters are also being encouraged to get involved on Twitter and Instagram by sharing why libraries matter to them, along with a photograph holding a sign of the campaign’s hashtag, #LibrariesMatter. Sample signs can be downloaded from the CILIPS’ website.

Catherine Kearney, Director of CILIP in Scotland said: “​Today we are launching the Libraries Matter campaign and encouraging library supporters Scotland-wide to join in by sharing online and with your elected officials why Libraries Matter so much to you – and to our nation. People may be surprised what’s on offer at the library, with services addressing Scotland’s key outcomes and their value reaching beyond access to books to digital inclusion, community cohesion, health and wellbeing and more.”

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Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of CILIP in Scotland. For further information, please contact Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 or jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

Photo caption: Graeme Macrae Burnet at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Credit: Kirsty Anderson

About CILIP in Scotland

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland works in partnership with CILIP to advocate the value of library and information professionals’ skills to society and to support members of CILIP in Scotland in attaining and retaining professional qualifications.

CILIP in Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registration No: SCO38532