Welcome to the Public Works blog.

Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Library Troubles

The BBC has published details of its investigation into the impact of budget cuts on our libraries. The report contains data from FOI requests to local authorities. It contains details from responses from 207 councils across the UK.It's not a positive picture.

• 343 libraries have closed
• A further 111 are planned this year
• The number of paid staff working in libraries has dropped by 25%. That’s 7933 less people than in 2010

Many libraries are only providing a service because community groups and volunteers have stepped in to keep them open. There are now 31,403 unpaid volunteers (a change from 15,861 in 2010). Having volunteers, is though, no replacement for the kind of services a professionally qualified librarian provides.

Library closures have been fewer in Scotland but the number of paid staff working in libraries has still fallen. With the upcoming cuts to local government budgets we believe that the worst is yet to come unless we can run effective campaigns against the cuts.

Glasgow hasn’t yet closed any libraries staffing levels have dropped from 360.1 to 287. Volunteer numbers have increased from 64 to 91
Edinburgh has again maintained building and mobile service numbers but staff numbers have dropped from 315 to 295. Volunteer numbers have increased from 239 to 258
Dundee again no actual closures but staff numbers have fallen from 117 to 102
West Dunbartonshire has closed two libraries/mobile libraries and staff numbers have fallen from 85 to 60
East Renfrewshire has closed no libraries but staff numbers have fallen from 67 to 52
North Lanarkshire no closures staff numbers have dropped from 344 to 305
The article allows you to find the results for your own local authority by clicking here

You can read UNISON's report on the impact of cuts on libraries
and our submission on why libraries matter here

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