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Date: Friday 7 February 2014

‘Our libraries have never been under more pressure’ says UNISON 

On National Libraries Day (Saturday 8 February) UNISON warns that our libraries have never been under more pressure because of spending cuts.  National Libraries Day rounds off a week of celebrations that recognise the key role libraries play in our communities, schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.

UNISON warns that cuts to college, university and local authority budgets has meant libraries across Scotland being forced to make cuts to opening hours and staff – and in some cases even closures.

In a UNISON survey more than 40% members reported cuts in service and two-thirds felt staffing levels in libraries were inadequate. Nearly 90% indicated public support for the service, but nearly two-thirds felt that the service was not valued.

Gray Allan, UNISON’s Falkirk Council branch secretary (and a librarian), said:
“National Libraries Day is about highlighting to the public and politicians that libraries are about more than just books. Libraries play a key role in communities, which are particularly important to people on low incomes and the elderly, but they are also key institutions in education and workplaces. Fully-trained library staff provide expert support to students, a great resource in industry, and are crucial in helping the public look for a job.’

Dave Watson, head of UNISON campaigns, said:
“We would also like to thanks MSP Jayne Baxter who has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament reminding parliament that library services are an essential part of communities across Scotland. We would also like to thank the many MSPs who have signed the motion”

ENDS

For further information contact
Gray Allan, Falkirk Council Branch Secretary (and a librarian), on 07710 528 533, or
Trisha Hamilton, communications officer, on 07939 478 461
Danny Phillips, communications officer 07944 664110

Note to editors

Full text of Scottish Labour Jayne Baxter MSP motion:
S4M-08949 Jayne Baxter: Celebrating National Libraries Day
—That the Parliament considers that public library services are an essential part of communities across Scotland; welcomes what it sees as the role that they play in providing access to learning for people and in serving as community hubs; believes that the professional expertise and skills of library staff are important in delivering a quality service; considers that libraries best benefit society when they are well funded and supported through strong national leadership, and joins in celebrating the importance of the work of public libraries across the UK as part of National Libraries Day, which will be marked on 8 February 2014.



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