PARENTS in Largs have added their voice to growing concern at cuts to school library staff in North Ayrshire.

A petition protesting at the cuts has been signed by 1,000 people across the area protesting at the impact on school pupils.

The cost saving, described at the time as a "re-design of the council's school library service", was passed by North Ayrshire councillors at their annual budget meeting at the end of February.

No further detail was provided at the time, but within days pupils, parents and some councillors began voicing concern at the move.

It later emerged that the "re-design" is set to see only two jobs retained in the school library service for the whole of North Ayrshire, with the current staff having to re-apply for the remaining roles.

There are currently five librarians working in North Ayrshire's secondary schools, two of them full-time and three part-time.

And the Largs Parent Council has now warned the move will have a huge impact on pupils.

A spokesperson said: "North Ayrshire Council are planning massive cuts to school library staff - from five to two librarians.

"I understand cuts need to happen, but with the focus today on literacy and overall attainment in schools, this seems like absolutely the wrong budget area to cut.

"This would be devastating to the young people at Largs Academy, as well as St Mary’s and Largs Primary.

"Our campus librarian is an invaluable part of the school community.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

"He is incredibly well liked by the pupils and has formed great relationships across all the year groups.

""A librarian is the most important part of any library, and every child should have the chance to be a library member.

"Not every child can visit their local library but they can all use the school library.

"Within Largs Academy the library is also a safe place for pupils to go during lunch etc, and is always a hive of activity."

Meanwhile, North Coast Conservative councillor Tom Marshall has raised his concerns with NAC's head of education and finance chief.

Cllr Marshall said: "It went through on the council budget, with five posts going down to two, and at the same time there was a proposal in the budget to cut the number of teaching staff.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Cllr Tom Marshall has hit out at the move and has written to Chief of Education and finance officers regarding retaining the Largs Campus librarianCllr Tom Marshall has hit out at the move and has written to Chief of Education and finance officers regarding retaining the Largs Campus librarian (Image: North Ayrshire Conservatives)

"The SNP moved that we didn't cut the number of teaching staff. The problem is that the school roll is falling.

"I have written to the chief finance officer and the director of education to see if there can be some funding from savings which have been made that could be put to fund the retention of the school librarian post at Largs Campus.

"It is a well used and much needed resource, and I think it is essential to have a librarian there on a permanent basis."

The petition, which was set up by a group of local young people, had been signed by 1,056 signatures as this article was published. It can be viewed, and signed, at

In March the local authority said it expected a new structure for the service would be in place by the start of the new school year in August.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We will be carrying out a review of staffing levels in school libraries over the coming months and we anticipate that a new structure will be in place by August.

“Once the redesign of the service is complete, the process of implementation and how individual staff may be affected will be considered in partnership with the relevant unions.

“We have had positive discussions surrounding the options and possibilities of shaping a different offer for our children and young people. This will be built on now that the decision has been made.

“We appreciate how important libraries and literacy are for the development of our young people. The views of young people will be very important and will play a key part in the engagement process to help us create a new model that doesn’t compromise this.

“We will provide further updates when more details can be confirmed."