“Our libraries have never been under more pressure,” says UNISON Scotland.
And with tomorrow, 8 February, being National Libraries Day, the union is warning of the threat to libraries because of the spending cuts.
National Libraries Day rounds off a week of celebrations that recognise the key role that libraries play in our communities, schools, colleges and universities – and in the workplace.
UNISON says that cuts to college, university and local authority budgets has meant that libraries across Scotland are being forced to make cuts to opening hours and staff – and in some cases, libraries are closing.
In a UNISON Scotland survey, more than 40% members reported cuts in service, while two-thirds felt that 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.
Librarian and UNISON Falkirk Council branch secretary Gray Allan 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.”
UNISON Scotland head of campaigns Dave Watson added: “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.”