Schools and nurseries in Glasgow will have to find hundreds of pounds in funding if they wish to purchase materials from a recently axed library service.

Resources from the School Library Outreach (SLO) service could previously be accessed free of charge but have now been put up for sale. Teaching union the EIS condemned the latest developments, warning that schools would have to “dig into already stretched budgets to buy these previously free resources.”

The SLO service supported Glasgow’s primary schools, additional support needs schools, and early years establishments, which were able to borrow from an extensive collection of reading and teaching materials.

However, provision was ended earlier this year due to budget pressures at Glasgow Life, which operated the service, and Glasgow City Council, which is responsible for education across the city.

Parents, teachers, librarians and the Scottish Book Trust all spoke out against the decision, which is expected to save £130,000.

Read more: Glasgow City Council scraps 'essential' children's library service

In a previous statement to The Herald, a spokesperson for Glasgow Life insisted that the resources “will remain available to any schools or nurseries in Glasgow that want to use them” and that there would be “options for schools to borrow across the school network.” They also argued that “the resources are not being removed from schools, and are instead being moved into schools for a nominal fee.”

Information now released by Glasgow Life makes clear the costs facing schools which wish to maintain access to some of the SLO resources.

Some items, such as dual language books and Read Write Count boxes, are available free of charge, while others can be purchased at prices described as “20% of the original cost”.

The quantity of each type of resource available to any one school has been limited, with the total cost of a maximum-possible allocation amounting to more than £700 per school. Schools have been advised that resources are “subject to availability” and offered on a “first come first served basis.

The Herald: Teachers in a classroom

Glasgow City Council state that “arrangements could be put in place to share (resources) with other schools and that will be a decision for the headteachers."

The Herald understands that no additional funding will be made available to facilitate this process.

The new arrangements will also see schools take ownership of whatever materials they purchase. Although subsequent sharing of materials could still take place, schools will not be compelled to do so. Transportation of resources would also be a matter for schools and there are no plans to provide council-level support in this area.

A spokesperson for the EIS Glasgow Local Association told The Herald that ending the “vital” SLO service “has been a cut too far.”

“The EIS strongly condemns the decision to implement a budget cut which sees our Glasgow Primary, ASN and Early Years schools deprived of a huge wealth of resources.

“The service provided a rich variety of resources far and beyond what schools could access to enrich their teaching and learning. This will bite particularly deeply where there are groups of pupils with varying multiple deprivation and there seems to be no assessment before this decision was taken as to the impact of this cut on these young people.

“With this pressing point to the forefront, we further condemn the current proposal that schools dig into already stretched budgets to buy these previously free resources because, as we understand it, there will be no additional monies to support this.

Read more: Kerry Hudson: Libraries were a lifesaver for me

“Additionally, the Council sticking plaster comment around lending across establishments comes down to schools providing the transport and is nothing short of a further budget hit. This will leave many schools in the untenable position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Sean McNamara, Head of the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (CILIPS)  warned that the removal of specialist support would also have a detrimental impact on schools and their pupils:

“The reduction in the traditional access to vital services like these will have a significant impact on the young people and teachers who rely on it. However, it is not just about the resources. The services have been delivered by skilled, experienced library staff who have a deep understanding of their collection and users and the changes made may damage their ability to do this.

“The staff in the SLO and Books to Go services have built up a lot of knowledge in supporting schools and nurseries over the years including understanding of children's books, providing library advice and helping engagement in reading with pupils and we are concerned this may be lost or heavily reduced.”

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A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We understand that any change to a service takes time to adapt to and we have developed a process for schools to have access to the resources in a fair and equitable way.

“Schools who decide to purchase the library outreach boxes will take ownership of the materials to complement learning and teaching in their school community.

“Local arrangements could be put in place to share with other schools and that will be a decision for the headteachers.

“A catalogue of the locations of the resource boxes will be published centrally and arrangements to transport them between schools will be made at school level.”