LEADING Scottish novelists James Robertson, Christopher Brookmyre and Alan Bissett have backed a petition to save school libraries from cuts.

The petition to the Scottish Parliament has called on the Scottish Government to establish a new national strategy for school libraries which recognises the vital role they play.

The move comes after a number of councils proposed cuts to school libraries including East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk.

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The campaign group Save Scotland’s School Libraries said the petition highlighted their concern that young people in Scotland will subjected to a postcode lottery regarding the level of school library service they receive.

The petition states: "We firmly believe school libraries are unique in their ability to support teaching and learning and should be the central resource of every school, open every day and staffed by a professionally trained librarian.

"We believe that all learners should have equal access to a qualified school librarian, but as a result of recent cuts young people in Scotland are now subject to a postcode lottery in the service they receive.

"As a consequence pupils in Scotland’s schools are suffering educational inequality and the continuation of these cuts is very likely to lead to a drop in literacy rates and a widening of the attainment gap, which runs counter to Scottish Government policy."

Campaigners said research from Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, highlighted international evidence showing that school libraries impact on better test and exam scores and better attitudes towards learning.