Scotland’s libraries need our support - Catherine Salmond

I would love to write that I am “delighted” to be launching our Support our Libraries campaign today.I am eager to do it, there is no doubt, as I believe Scotland on Sunday can help to make a difference.But I wish I did not have to.Wouldn’t it be great if Scotland’s libraries were already viewed as important enough to be at the heart of our Covid recovery?

If the words ‘library’ and ‘threat of closure’ were not frequently heard together? If the thousands of Scots who rely on them in their everyday lives knew their futures – and funding – were so important in Scottish society that nobody would ever come knocking to make cuts at their doors?

It seems we are far from that right now and that is why we have chosen to champion Scotland’s libraries, to highlight their work, tell their stories and push for their futures.

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Each week, we will shout loudly about all our libraries bring and why they must always be protected. We will raise awareness and be critical of any potential decisions which may threaten their futures.

Scotland on Sunday editor Catherine Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPIMedia

We ask you, our readers, to help: tell us why your library matters to you, tell us about the people who work in them, tell us about their events and community classes, and tell us of any talk of cuts.

This week, a strategy for Scotland’s public libraries was published by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), an advisory body to the Scottish Government.

Its vision is indeed to place our libraries “at the heart of society’s post-Covid-19 recovery”, demonstrating that “public libraries are the cornerstone of communities”.

Our campaign is launched on the back of this and we are delighted SLIC has welcomed our fight today.

Like countless Scots, public libraries have been a huge part of my life. I was lucky enough to be taken to them by my parents from a young age, fuelling a long-standing love of reading and learning.

Writing today for us, and sharing this passion, is author Damian Barr who expresses so beautifully the importance of public libraries, reflecting on his Lanarkshire childhood where he felt “safe among the stacks – and I didn’t often feel safe growing up”.

Libraries are about more than books and we need to fight for them.

We agree with Barr who argues that libraries are “not a luxury” but instead a “frontline service”.

"It’s not a fight anybody should be having”, he writes. Do you agree?

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