CUTS to North Ayrshire Council's school library service have been put on ice - for the time being.

The authority's SNP minority administration said it wanted more time to "allow wider engagement with campaigners, schools, parents and carers".

That engagement exercise will come at a cost of £100,000 - with 

We reported in March that furious pupils had launched a petition in a bid to stave off cuts to the school library service.

North Ayrshire's councillors backed a 'redesign' of the library service as one of the cost-saving measures in the SNP administration's budget plans, which were approved at the end of February.

But the detail of what that 'redesign' might actually mean only became clear in the days following the council's budget meeting.

The decision made by councillors earlier this year to "carry out a review of staffing levels in school libraries" was to have seen a new structure for the service come into place for the start of the new school year in August as part of the council's 2024-25 budget.

Currently there are five librarians across secondary schools in the region. One of the proposals in the budget was that only two term-time jobs would remain within the school library service.


A motion was agreed at a full council meeting on May 15 which will see the "re-deisgn" delayed until at least the new year.

The motion stated: “Implementation will be delayed until January 2025 at a total cost of £100,000, which will come from the renewable energy contribution agreed by council.

“A paper setting out the new operating model will be brought back to council at the earliest opportunity.”

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, cabinet member for education said: “The proposals in the budget meeting at the end of February included a school library re-modelling, which included a re-design of the libraries and to have engagement with schools and pupils and parent councils.

“It came to my attention recently because I got a lot of correspondence through from the campaign to save our school libraries, and from parent councils, and from parents, to say they weren’t happy with the current situation.

“We reflected on that, we looked at it and wanted to make sure that people felt included in the decision-making process.

“We have passed a motion to change the implementation date from August to January because we want to make sure we engage and we communicate effectively with schools and pupils and  parent councils.

“A lot of stuff on social media said we wanted to close school libraries. It has never been our intention to do that.

"Other local authorities in Ayrshire have closed school libraries. We really value them and want to keep them open.

"But we need to be realistic, with the funding envelope being reduced. There are difficult choices to take.

He added: “We have absolutely prioritised engaging with pupils and parent councils to come up with a model so they feel included in part of that decision.

“This didn’t come lightly. This was £100,000 we have invested in order to do this, so we have listened to the campaign, parent councils and schools in communication work over coming months.

“We want a sustainable model for school library provision in North Ayrshire.”