This blog originally appeared on the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland's website:
Find the original post here.
As a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I strongly believe in the role libraries play in recognising and realising children and young people’s rights. The Scottish Youth Parliament’s values are underpinned by the principles of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. This includes Article 29 which states that education should work towards ‘the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential’. Therefore, we at SYP believe that libraries are fundamental to a young person’s development of literacy and overall well-being and that they uphold and promote the principles of Article 29.
The Scottish Youth Parliament recently published its manifesto to 2021, Lead the Way, which has been formed by the responses of 72,744 young people during SYP’s manifesto consultation process. Of those responses, 89% believe that there should be plenty of youth-friendly services and activities for young people in their local communities. From my personal experience as a volunteer at a local library, many clubs and activities are run in libraries. I have seen the positive impact this has had on vulnerable young people who have suffered from bullying, have a disability or medical illness they need support with, or just to get to socialise with young people from similar backgrounds and experiences.
In order to analyse the impact of cuts to library services on young people, we need to ensure detailed research is carried out. This would also help to identify how young people can get the best services possible despite a challenging financial backdrop. Lead the Way also shows that 69% of young people who responded agree that the attainment gap needs to be narrowed. One way in which to ensure that young people have an equal chance of succeeding in their learning is homework and literacy clubs many libraries run. These sessions are often delivered by librarians and support workers. We need to ensure these initiatives run in libraries are safeguarded from cuts, as they have a huge impact on reducing the attainment gap
The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Education and Lifelong Learning Committee firmly believes that for many young people, libraries are an important part of their daily lives and that they benefit from the services offered by trained, experienced and knowledgeable librarians and support workers.