UNISON Scottish Borders Public Services Branch has been overwhelmed by the support of hundreds of members of the Scottish Borders communities who have refused to be quiet and have instead backed the campaign to Save Scottish Borders School Libraries.
Last week, UNISON visited every high school across the Borders to find out what people really thought about the Council plan to remove paid library staff. Scottish Borders Council are currently running a pilot scheme at Galashiels Academy, Peebles High and Kelso High which has seen qualified staff replaced by pupils, volunteers and self-service scanners.
Kaymarie Hughes of UNISON Scottish Borders Public Services branch said: “Scottish Borders Council claim that they have carried out a survey of school pupils and are running the pilots based on those findings. Neither UNISON or members of the public have seen these findings, so we went out to the high schools to find out for ourselves.”
“It is abundantly clear to us that not one single person supports the Councils pilot. More than 400 pupils, parents and concerned members of the community have written messages on our campaign postcards about the importance of Librarians and almost 1000 people have signed our online petition demanding that the pilot should be dropped. The supportive comments we have received, particularly from the pupils, have been tremendous.”
Emma a S1 Pupil wrote: “Our librarian helps us to read and learn. If you take them away, who is going to help us learn?”
UNISON Scotland Local Organiser, Greig Kelbie said: “From the hundreds of people we spoke to over last week, there are three reoccurring clear issues that were continually brought up: concerns over support for children with additional support needs, the inability for children to receive support and guidance during independent study, and several testimonials which claim the pilot libraries have become disruptive and chaotic without a member of staff there to staff the library.
“We will be delivering our postcards to Council Leader, Shona Haslam at the full Council meeting this week and we hope that the council will come to their senses and invest in our children, not cut vital services and dress them up as innovative ideas led by pupils views. We will continue to fight until this pilot is scrapped.”
– UNISON has launched an online petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-scottish-borders-school-libraries?fbclid=IwAR3Yyxis8V3IHetP-SdQE2SueIvknZHP3vAuwYY3jTABYHb-tw-HzgKPopM
– Individuals can download and edit / send a letter to their local Councillor here: http://unisonsb.www68-66-243-31.a2hosted.com/2018/11/16/school-library-campaign-letter-to-your-local-councillor/?fbclid=IwAR3tD1ZV9s9oPMOywv-DxGxKtmgJF1PXV2l_yiHqTbRxtssG_xhXJ40Nsrs&fbclid=IwAR0Gs5isdAX9JcRPWBb1a-k_sA8fN9CkBD7gRsC51SLkiyAB3pmDWW84uc0