Borders schoolchildren being asked to take over axed library staff’s jobs

Kelso High School.
Kelso High School.

Schoolchildren in the Borders are being asked to fill in for trained library staff as part of a cost-cutting drive by council bosses.

Several librarians lost their jobs last year, with less senior staff taking over from them, but now staff at Galashiels Academy, Peebles High School and Kelso High School have been told to expect to see pupils and volunteers working alongside them.

Galashiels Academy.

Galashiels Academy.

Scottish Borders Council is also planning to introduce that money-saving measure at the region’s other six secondary schools.

However, a council spokesperson insisted that those plans are not paving the way for further redundancies among library staff.

The spokesperson said: “A pilot scheme is being implemented in three school libraries with a different model of operation.

“There will be no redundancies as a result of this, and the pilot will be reviewed before the end of 2018.

“As part of the budget-setting process, it was agreed to maintain school libraries.

“However, within that, there is a requirement to recognise the changing way in which pupils study and access information, including digital solutions.

“There are also opportunities for senior pupils to gain qualifications and training in leadership and other areas through taking on roles in school libraries and supporting their peers.

“This is operating successfully elsewhere and is also being explored as part of the pilot scheme.”

The current plans are understood to be a climbdown from proposals put forward earlier this year to replace all school library staff with volunteers.