UNI­SON in­quiry into Scot­land’s li­braries lends sup­port to staff

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

‘FINE words and ideals are no sub­sti­tute for in­vest­ment' is the mes­sage from the UNI­SON in­quiry into Scot­land’s li­braries

UNI­SON, the trade union for Scot­land’s li­brary staff, has pub­lished a re­port, ‘Read It and Weep’, which out­lines the ex­pe­ri­ence of those work­ing in Scot­land’s li­braries.

It raises the con­cerns and dif­fi­cul­ties of staff who are si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­ing ex­pected to ex­pand ser­vices while be­ing in the front­line of cuts.

The re­port is based on qual­i­ta­tive re­search from UNI­SON mem­bers work­ing across Scot­land’s li­braries.

The frus­tra­tion on the part of staff is clear. They are well aware that the ser­vices they pro­vide are not as good as they could be and they high­light the im­pacts that cuts are mak­ing.

Li­brary ser­vices have been un­der­go­ing mas­sive changes in re­cent years, yet staff num­bers have been go­ing down, build­ings are clos­ing and open­ing hours re­duced

Gray Allan, UNI­SON spokesper­son, said ‘There are no short­age of peo­ple will­ing to say li­braries are a good thing. But what our li­braries need isn’t just fine words and ideals but proper fi­nanc­ing and in­vest­ment.

‘The Scot­tish gov­ern­ment has en­dorsed a na­tional strat­egy for public li­braries that talks of li­braries be­ing part of a shared civic am­bi­tion.

‘There isn’t much point in giv­ing ev­ery child in Scot­land a li­brary card if their lo­cal li­brary is be­ing closed or its hours have re­duced so much it isn’t ac­ces­si­ble.

‘Staff are keen to see their ser­vice move for­ward, but that isn’t hap­pen­ing.’

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