Row over North Lanarkshire Council's decision to get rid of school librarians has only intensifed

The bitter row sparked by the fact that secondary schools across North Lanarkshire will no longer have librarians continues to grow after we reported last week that the staff would be dismissed in a cost-cutting exercise.

Widespread criticism of the move, including a petition against it, has gained momentum after we broke the story last week.

Among those lambasting the controversial decision were members of the Scottish Socialist Party in Cumbernauld.

And they say this “makes a mockery” of the claim that the attainment of young people is a priority at the council.

Their spokesperson John Miller said: “Literacy is at the heart of education and reading is at the heart of improving it, so how can removing librarians from school help develop children’s literacy?

"Reading is also critical in firing children’s imagination and school libraries can be one of the spaces where they can explore books and discover what they like. It’s an act of educational vandalism.’

“The party believes the Council’s new leadership should re- think the decision. This is a chance for the new Council administration to show that it is going to defend, and not cut, services.

" However, if they do not have a re-think it may look like it is business as usual. People should be demanding that councillors rescind this decision and prioritise the interests of young people.”

Scotland’s professional body for librarians has also lambasted the decision.

The head of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Sean McNamara said: "We believe this will severely damage the quality of education they offer pupils as well as undermine efforts nationally to improve literacy rates.

“We accept that this cut was taken by the previous administration but for the new councillors to continue to push it through is an extremely short sighted and counter-productive step, and we urge them to review. Parents should be extremely concerned."

Award winning author Damian Barr is amongst those who signed the petition saying: "My school library was a sanctuary. Our librarian was inspiring and I read my way through the shelves. I wouldn't be a writer now if it wasn't for the library and the librarian."