AN AWARD-WINNING author is refusing to accept defeat over Argyll and Bute Council's controversial decision to scrap the jobs of ten school librarians.

Theresa Breslin has written to every one of the area's 36 councillors formally asking them to pass a motion to reinstate the posts.

All ten of the area's secondary school librarians lost their jobs at the end of the 2015-16 academic year as part of a £10 million package of budget cuts agreed by councillors in February, though several have now been redeployed to other roles within the authority.

Ms Breslin, who won the Carnegie Medal, the UK's most prestigious award in children's literature, in 1994 for 'Whispers in the Graveyard', her compelling story of a dyslexic boy, says a number of recent developments constitute a “material and distinct change” to the evidence on which the council based its decision.

Specifically, she has highlighted the First Minister's 'Reading Challenge', which was launched on August 19, and the 'Scotland Reads' programme currently being rolled out by Learning and Teaching Scotland.

The latter programme includes promotion of a 'Book Buddies' scheme in which senior school pupils monitor younger ones to help bring on their reading skills.

Ms Breslin, who is also president of the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), also highlights the council's recent decision to launch a £500,000 'rural resettlement fund' to attract businesses and residents to the area.

In her letter to councillors, Ms Breslin says: “Deleting posts which provide a key component of education undermines this initiative.

“School provision is a high priority when parents consider relocating. Argyll and Bute could become the only authority in Scotland failing to provide a dedicated library service within their secondary schools.

“Perhaps some of this money could be allocated to fund the posts?

“I would like to officially progress this matter and so I am formally requesting that a full council meeting is convened immediately and that this evidence, and all previous correspondence from all sources, be presented to the councillors with a motion to reverse the decision and reinstate the posts of secondary school librarians.”

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: “Pupils will still have access to staffed libraries. Local arrangements will be made within schools to ensure pupils are supported to make use of school libraries or through the council’s public library services.

“The council would like to do everything that communities want us to but, to meet a significant funding gap, we have had to make savings of over £10m in 2016/17 alone.

“The budget decisions taken by the council have prioritised education and children’s services and served to save more than one hundred full time equivalent posts.”