A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Love your Libraries? #MakeItCount

The City of Literature Trust is running a library campaign calling library lovers and users all over Edinburgh to get a card, sign up a friend, make the most of what’s on offer, and get vocal about how great libraries are.

On Monday 26 June 2017, the City of Literature Trust’s ‘Make It Count’ Library campaign will kick-off – spanning a four week period that will delve deep into the heart of Edinburgh’s libraries by featuring stories, images and conversations between librarians and writers – ending with the Trust’s pledge to take the words and support received to Edinburgh’s Councillors at the City Chambers.

Inspired by the support and enthusiasm generated by the Libraries Matter campaign run by CILIP in Scotland, the Trust was keen to carry this sentiment forward; to harness the overwhelming support and passion for Edinburgh’s local libraries and channel this into creating a tangible and noticeable drive in numbers across library services.

Edinburgh-based author Ron Butlin told the Trust:

“I find libraries even more important than ever. Being able to browse real shelves rather than merely relying on Google is a much more fruitful way of doing research, and library staff are just about the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. Libraries are the enlightened custodians of our culture…we are so very lucky to have public libraries to keep us in touch with the closest we can come to reasonable truth. Long live libraries!”

So, what are we asking library lovers to do? Just three simple things:

Get a Card – sign-up to their local library and tag #MakeItCount

Get a Book – borrow a book, ebook, CD, or DVD and share it

Get a Friend – tell friends, family and colleagues about the fantastic offers on in local libraries

As this campaign is all about the collective effort of Edinburgh’s library lovers and users, the Trust is also reaching out to organisations in the city – literary or otherwise – to get them involved by asking them to spread the message around colleagues and friends, share images online featuring library cards and library books using #MakeItCount and #LibrariesMatter, as well as starting conversations in day-to-day life about visiting and using libraries.

The campaign will run over a period of four weeks, from the 26 Jun until the 24 July, with the first three weeks being specifically targeted towards generating online engagement and conversation via social media and the campaign page on the Trust’s website: cityofliterature.com/makeitcount, when it goes live. The Trust will work with librarians, library advisors, and writers to promote the importance of Edinburgh’s libraries as not only reading spaces, but places to work, learn, and socialise.

Ali Bowden, Director of the City of Literature Trust, says: “Libraries are the beating heart of our City of Literature. They are a haven for words that inspire and entertain; places of possibility and discovery that foster a love of literature, strengthening the very foundations of our society. We know that in order to keep them open, funded, and operating as the fantastic spaces that they already are, we need to be seen to be using them.”



City of Literature Trust
The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is the development agency for Edinburgh as a UNESCO City of Literature. It works to bring literature to the streets of Edinburgh, involving people in the city’s literary life, bringing organisations to work together collaboratively for greater impact, and sharing Edinburgh’s literary story with the world.


UNESCO City of Literature Designation
In 2004 Edinburgh was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, a permanent title celebrating Edinburgh’s status as a literary capital and pioneer in the UNESCO creative cities network, which now has 116 member cities in seven creative artforms. The concept of a City of Literature was devised in Edinburgh by the Trust’s founding members.

CILIP in Scotland
CILIPS is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. Founded in 1908 (formerly Scottish Library Association), the organisation funds its own office in Glasgow, is registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation and  is responsible for all policy, financial and operational matters relating to its internal affairs and for those professional matters solely affecting the operation, development and promotion of library and information services in Scotland.

Libraries Matter
Run by CILIPS in the lead up to the local government elections, the Libraries Matter campaign sought to influence candidates standing in local government elections by calling on those working in libraries to get involved in advocating the benefits they deliver. They asked candidates to pledge that, if elected, they would:

  1. Support public libraries and the vital contribution they make to community cohesion, social and economic wellbeing, digital skills and literacy.
  2. Support professionally staffed school libraries and recognise their value to education and the raising attainment agenda.

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust

rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 07966 847580







June 26, 2017

LAS letter to seek detail of National School Library Strategy

Following the inaugural meeting of the Scottish School Library Alliance in May 2017, it was agreed that each member would write a letter of support to the Public Petitions’ Committee seeking clarity from Deputy First Minister John Swinney on the detail of the proposed National Strategy for Scotland’s School Libraries. Our letter is posted below.



We have previously written on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland to the Public Petitions Committee in support of petition PE01581 (Save Scotland’s School Libraries), and would like to submit our latest response below.

We welcome the positive comments from Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, at the meeting of 20th April 2017, on his intention to formulate a National Strategy for Scotland’s School Libraries.

As Mr Swinney highlighted at this meeting, a professionally staffed school library plays a vital role in the lives of our nation’s young people, making a positive impact on education by improving literacy in all subjects and raising attainment across the curriculum.

Now that the Scottish Government has made this commitment to deliver a National School Library Strategy, we write to seek further clarification from the Deputy First Minister on the timescale for action, including detail on the Strategy’s development and delivery and the organisations to be involved in consultation. Literature Alliance Scotland also fully supports the petitioner’s proposal for National Standards to be established as part of a National Strategy.

Further, we endorse the offer from CILIPS, the Institute representing Scotland’s Library and Information Professionals and one of our members, to be involved with the development of a National Strategy and associated Standards and urge the Deputy First Minister to move forward in creating the Strategy at the earliest possible opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Peggy Hughes, Chair & Donald Smith, Vice-Chair

June 9, 2017

Peggy Hughes appointed as new LAS Chair

The Board of Trustees of Literature Alliance Scotland is delighted to announce Peggy Hughes as its new Chair.

Peggy Hughes. Photo: Chris Scott

The appointment was unanimously approved at our Members’ and Trustees’ meeting on 17 May at University of Stirling where Ms Hughes, who directs Literary Dundee, was welcomed with a round of applause by the membership.

Peggy Hughes, said: ‘I’m truly delighted to be joining Literature Alliance Scotland as chairperson, and really looking forward to building on the work of the inimitable Ann Matheson, and working in concert with wonderful colleagues across our literary community – it’s like getting the chance to conduct a world class orchestra!

“Literature Alliance Scotland plays such a vital and exciting role in uniting writers, publishers, educators, librarians and literature organisations and presenting a strong collective voice for Scotland’s literature.

“It’s a challenging global picture, but literature and stories have a huge part to play in understanding ourselves and in bridging understanding with others, and LAS is central to making those stories and voices travel. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Ms Hughes has a wealth of experience within Scotland’s literature community, working in various roles over the years at StAnza, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City of Literature Trust before joining Literary Dundee, at the University of Dundee, as Director in July 2013 where she produces and delivers the annual Dundee Literary Festival, coordinates the Dundee International Book Prize and a variety of events, publications and projects throughout the year.

She also founded Edinburgh’s Electric Bookshop and co-founded the West Port Book Festival. In addition to her new role leading the LAS Board of Trustees, Ms Hughes is a board member of Craigmillar Literacy Trust and regularly chairs events at literary festivals and panels.

Donald Smith, LAS Vice-Chair, who led the recruitment process for the position, said: “Peggy’s experience, vigour and demonstrable track record makes her the best person with the will, capacity and opportunity to lead LAS for the next two years.”


May 23, 2017

Emergents joins LAS

We’re delighted to announce that Emergents CIC Ltd, which supports the development of writing and publishing in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, has become a Network Associate of LAS.

Emergents works to develop writing and writers with real commercial potential in the contemporary publishing, self-publishing and digital industries, and aims to assist the growth and sustainability of the publishing sector in the region.

Funded by Creative Scotland, HIE and ERDF, Emergents is a key part of HIE’s support strategy for the creative industries in the Highlands and Islands.

Peter Urpeth, Director (Writing & Publishing), will be the company’s representative for LAS and we look forward to welcoming him to the AGM in November 2017.

Follow them on Twitter @emergentwriters and on Facebook


April 19, 2017

Indie Authors’ World joins LAS

We’re delighted to welcome Indie Authors’ World, a provider of self-publishing services, training and support, as a new Network Associate member of LAS.

Founders Kim and Sinclair Macleod first created Indie Authors Scotland, which grew and developed into Indie Authors World through the desire to create practical and economical ways for writers to get their books on sale in a supportive and friendly environment.

Over the past four years, the business has helped indie authors from Scotland, UK, Australia, Canada, USA and Germany publish more than 60 books across fiction, non-fiction, biography and poetry.


Follow them on Twitter @IndiAuthorWorld or on Facebook.


March 17, 2017

2022: Year of Scotland’s Stories

As part of Scottish Tourism Week, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, announced today that 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories.

Scotland’s Stories will be a showcase of the country’s rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.

It will be the first themed year on literature, which our members have been asking for for a long time and we’re delighted that today’s announcement comes with good time to plan for a stand-out year.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

The full announcement from the Cabinet Secretary is here. VisitScotland’s press release is here.

March 15, 2017

LAS launches Membership Skills’ Survey

LAS is delighted to launch our Members’ Skills Survey, which aims to build a clear picture of our combined expertise and resource.

The results will be used to aid our long-term strategic planning with a view to identifying opportunities for professional development, collaboration and networking within the membership.

To maximise the value of this process we are keen that all Member and Network Associate organisations contribute.

The survey can be found here: http://bit.ly/LASskillsSurvey

The closing date is Friday 3 March 2017 with the analysis ready by the end of March 2017 to share with our membership thereafter.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and, although it does depend on the level of detail you provide, this survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Thank you!

Please contact Jenny Kumar on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with any questions.

February 20, 2017

Libraries Matter – help spread the word

CILIP in Scotland is running a new campaign – Libraries Matter – in the lead up to the local government election in May – and needs your help! 
The campaign focuses on school and public libraries and involves two main activities – contacting those standing for election and asking them to support libraries if elected and also raising the profile of the campaign’s key messages via the press and social media.
To join in with the campaign and spread the word that Libraries Matter you can:
1. Share the campaign details and link with any wider networks you have: http://www.cilips.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns/campaigns/libraries-matter/
2. Provide a quote for CILIPS’ campaign support page (these can be provided by organisations or by individuals): http://www.cilips.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns/campaigns/libraries-matter/libraries-matter-campaign-support/
3. Post a picture of yourself, your staff and/or members of the public you may work with holding a ‘#LibrariesMatter’ sign (download from CILIPS’ website here) and post them on Twitter or Instagram with the #LibrariesMatter hashtag.

Graeme MacRae Burnet at The Mitchell Library. Photo: Kirsty Anderson

 For further information please email Sean McNamara or call 0141 353 5637. Follow the campaign on Twitter @CILIPScotland or via the hashtag #LibrariesMatter
February 17, 2017

Notes on International Development Meeting

We hosted a Development Meeting for the International Promotion of Literature & Books on Wednesday 25 January from 12-2pm at Saltire Society, which was a very well attended, lively discussion.  

This follow-up meeting to November’s Literature Summit aimed to discuss the next steps in setting up the international promotion of literature and books. An attendee list is below followed by the notes.

ChairsLAS Vice-Chair, Donald Smith of Tracs
LAS Lead of International & Partnerships Group, Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland
AttendeesAngela Blacklock-Brown, Poet
Ian Brown, Playwright, Poet
Heather Clyne, Moniack Mhor
Avril Gray, Edinburgh Napier University
Graeme Hawley, National Library of Scotland
Peggy Hughes, Literary Dundee
Fiona Hutchison, Interface
Duncan Jones, ASLS
Andrea Joyce, Canongate Books
Asif Khan, Scottish Poetry Library
Carolyn McGill, Scottish Writers' Centre
Judy Moir, The Judy Moir Agency
Jenny Niven, EIBF
Tom Pow, Writer
Mario Relich, Scottish PEN, Poetry Association of Scotland
Alistair Rutherford, WGGB
Jenni Steele, VisitScotland
Gill Swales, Live Borders
Jim Tough, Saltire Society
Kathryn Ross, Fraser Ross, ASLA
Joy Hendry, SLAM
ApologiesDonal McLaughlin, Writer, Translator
Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Associations, ASLA
Julie Ann Thomason

Brief – purpose of meeting and role of LAS

Donald Smith, LAS Vice-Chair opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and reviewing the consensus of the International Literature Summit, held in November 2016.

The final session of the Literature Summit looked at the Festivals Edinburgh model – remaining independent but with an additional aspect of collaborative development and international engagement. SDI and cultural tourism were very interested and SDI is already actively engaged.

There was consensus to promote the work of Scottish-based writers and publishers on the international stage by coordinating a range of activities to a worldwide audience through a dedicated join venture / partnership front office.

It was put forward that LAS is not the ultimate vehicle to achieve this, its role is to help facilitate the set up – as a midwife or parent.

This collaborative vehicle structure needs to support and assist the advancement of the literature sector as a whole. What are practical next steps to advance this?

It was also agreed that the meeting should focus on where we could go on this issue, not discussing what organisations currently do on the international stage.

Summary of Literature Summit findings

Full notes on the Literature Summit are here and meeting attendees confirmed they were happy that they were an accurate depiction of the day.

Priority activities and how and by whom will they be delivered? (finance and resources)

Discussion was opened to the floor.

Donald Smith: Is there one place that holds what’s happening in literature in Scotland? No, there is a wealth of information and an abundance of confusion. This highlights a basic information function or a gap in provision – no centralized place capturing the breadth of what’s happening in Scotland.

Tom Pow: Don’t we need a name that everyone else can hang on, as there are so many disparate organisations. Organisation is one thing but centralisation is another.

Donald Smith highlighted that the Literature Review suggested a new brand such as Scottish Literature International but there wasn’t much support from the industry and, in the economic climate, funding is an issue for a separate vehicle.

Duncan Jones made the point that Scottish Literature International is already an imprint of ASLS.

Marion Sinclair: Just come from a meeting on what Brexit is going to mean for culture and tourism. Key thing that emerged was Scottish cultural differentiation and how important it will be not just in the short term but also in the next 20 years.

Judy Moir: Have we looked at other countries? We could come up with a model similar to those that exist already.

Marion Sinclair: Wales and Ireland have models. We need a partnership approach of writers, publishers, organisations and public sector agencies, using tourism as leverage, plus the combined intelligence of the organisations. We need to be doing something new, a wider model that gets the public sector and tourism sector involved. Irish Literature Exchange is a reasonable model but doesn’t leverage public and tourism sector.

Jim Tough: It’s important to factor in the feedback from the writers at the support. We need a means through which writers can see opportunities more easily. We need the bits that are outward looking and the other bits that maximise writers’ opportunities to work internationally – a mutual support mechanism.

Donald Smith: Writers exchanges don’t speak to each other – so there are gaps.

Ian Brown: The Literature Summit highlighted that Kathleen Jamie wasn’t aware of the ASLS using her work so the issue precedes promotion abroad, we need to open up better channels of communication within the sector. But people don’t want another bureaucracy. It would be easiest to appoint someone but no one wants that. We need to create a coordinating organisation to capitalise on variety. Should we use something that already exists and take it down a new path?

Jim Tough: Could it be an extension of existing organisations such as Publishing Scotland or Edinburgh Book Festival or an extension of LAS? Extra resource would be needed given that everyone is already working at full capacity.

Tom Pow: What about the Saltire Society?

Jim Tough: Resource is an issue. If the option is to associate with existing organisations we need to look at how best to do it.

Jenni Steele: The heritage model is a good example. We applied to universities to get funding for a research student to help coordinate collaborative opportunities, raise the game and exposure.

Donald Smith: Strategic initiatives like Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 have little coordinated effort from the literature community for YHHA. 2018 is the Year of Young People. There is funding available but we don’t seem to have a way of getting together to take advantage of collaborative working.

Kathryn Ross: Should Scottish Book Trust have that collaborative function?

Graeme Hawley: Thought LAS was the umbrella group that knits everything together. All members should have LAS logo on their website.

Jenni Steele: The Festivals Edinburgh model – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – is a good one. It’s not an exact match as it’s an external marketing tool – but it’s something to look at.

Joy Hendry: What about an amalgam of Scottish Book Trust, Publishing Scotland and Scottish Writers’ Centre – working together could form the focus.

Duncan Jones: There is a danger of being too focused on arts and cultural funding and bodies. Publishing is a major industry. Books are exports – Scottish Enterprise or Department of Trade & Industry could get involved. The availability of books is issue such as the problem with Alasdair Gray’s Lanark distribution, The House With the Green Shutters being out of print, and Sunset Song  has no US publisher. It needs a lot of money to help export Scottish products – millions of pounds, not thousands.

Marion Sinclair: The real question is the vehicle. LAS would need dedicated staff, maybe 3-4 years in future. At this point do we have the appetite? As no one wants to see a new organisation formed and has buy in. Could we develop LAS as that mechanism?

Jenny Niven: No funds for a new body. The options are LAS or a joint venture with a more powerful body to bring in the partnerships.

Duncan Jones: Could we possibly have secondments to LAS to take it forward – a joint venture under LAS?

Jenny Niven: Experimental approach would need clear values and goals.

Marion Sinclair: We need continuity. Do we think it’s a serious activity – to start building capacity for the future. Is it an important thing for writers, publishers and the economics of it?

Mario Relich: Is it something the LAS steering group could do?

Donald Smith: LAS is an instrument that allows us to take the first steps. It gives a collaborative structure with purpose and status. With the potential and challenge of the task, LAS isn’t the right vehicle or the longer-term home for this. It needs a serious vehicle – not just for information, but promotion – that can bring together key and large organisations to bang heads on joint initiatives and action and engagement with public sector. We want a body that can shift things in a new world.

Jenny Niven: It needs to be able to talk in the metrics that other organisations use.

Donald Smith: Some questions – is the focus on writers, publishers and translation, international promotion? Higher education – there is a huge international engagement with investment from literature. Is the cultural tourism aspect separate? Every area of Scotland has an important literary heritage. Is that the same business?

Jenni Steele: It’s not the same purpose, but is definitely connected, for example the link with ASLS on the literature guide to Scotland. There are lots of opportunities in Scotland and the UK before international.

Donald Smith: It’s a strategic information and promotion hub that could feed into VisitScotland and tourism programmes. It’s not a question of creating something that’s a mass marketing vehicle. If we set up a joint venture, we need to decide on the audience – world of tourists or festivals, libraries, literary umbrellas? Is this one instrument?

Ian Brown: It starts from LAS. ASLS works in the US who are asking for books but can’t get them. How do we make individual work coordinate – information, steering, co-ordination role? There’s a gap in knowledge so people can’t take advantage of opportunities. E.g. University degrees in Scottish Literature in India.

Jenny Niven: LAS need to sort the mechanism of coordinating communication – people don’t know about it.

Joy Hendry: LAS could produce a monthly newsletter for organisations to feed in and share knowledge.

Marion Sinclair: Do we want to do it at LAS?

Graeme Hawley: From this discussion, there seem to be four possible models

  1. LAS performs a cradle to grave function for international promotion of Scottish literature, including export strategy, coordinating literary tourism and so on.
  2. LAS is the literary partner liaising with other bodies such as Scottish Enterprise, HIE, VisitScotland and so on
  3. A new body is established to perform the function of promoting Scottish literature internationally
  4. Status quo, with no obvious umbrella lead, but with some LAS members individually addressing the topic

Jenny Niven / Marion Sinclair suggested a fifth option along the lines of a new body formed with people being seconded from LAS bodies.

Marion Sinclair: The Publishing Scotland part is key as books have to move, translation is important and we mustn’t lose sight of commerce and publishing matters.

Donald Smith: It needs a specific vehicle of which LAS is the parent with a defined role, strategy and funding activities.

Jim Tough: What does it do first? Internal audience, cultural, British Council, external international – 2/3 key things? Two-year project funded then take stock and review success & mechanism? Leadership is important – LAS as catalyst but for commerce and negotiations, leaning to Publishing Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, and Edinburgh Book Fest for right positioning as LAS is not in the correct strategic location to have that impact.

Donald Smith: There seem to be four key areas for the new vehicle

  • Strategy
  • Information
  • Promotion
  • Intervention

Tom Pow: Domestic and international are two separate issues. Will it displace what LAS does?

Donald Smith: It’s too early for LAS and this new vehicle doesn’t have the same purpose.

Marion Sinclair: LAS is not the vehicle but will have oversight. LAS is a democratic body.

Donald Smith: If we know what we want to achieve, what are the steps to get there? We need a clear sense of areas that need strengthening. Agree LAS to be vehicle to get this started and, if agreed, the first stage is to decide on a steering group to hammer out the four key areas.

Ian Brown: Agree that LAS is the parent to oversee and see it through.

Ali Rutherford: We need to go out and find the expertise to deliver the brief hammered out from steering group to solve this first. Identify first.

Judy Moir: It’s really frustrating. Ireland and Wales have done international from the start. Can’t understand why we can’t just get it going.

Donald Smith: The Literature Review recommended a new organisation and it was noted at end of the Literature Summit that we shouldn’t give up on it.

Jenny Niven: To provide a window on Creative Scotland’s international strategy, there are distinct advantages of Scottish cultural, but it’s also sitting in a difficult financial climate. Example of a collaborative mechanism – Muriel Spark centenary – more meaningful if collective approach of organisations who are doing things to celebrate the centenary work together to change perception, such as University of Glasgow, National Library, BBC. Creative Scotland and National Library of Scotland are jointly funding a co-ordinator post that will support the work of a number of organisations. It’s an experiment as a model, which might be a possibility for the international promotion. We need to be willing to take a leap. It might be an interim option?

Donald Smith: The outcome of that progress needs to demonstrate value to get more funding longer term.

Tom Pow: Who is the go-to person with expertise of coordination, for example Festivals Edinburgh?

Donald Smith: Festivals Edinburgh has staff of nine but it took time. Started with relevant people sinking collective funds to make collaborative impact. We need to create something for the medium to long term. We’re going through very long term adjustments. So now is the time to make a real shift, which comes back to the seriousness of the task.

Marion Sinclair: We’ve agreed that we want to have a service with a working group coming up with the nuts and bolts and the priorities of the service – writers, publishers, literary organisations, public sector, tourism and industry.

Jenny Niven: Also exchange and festivals, programming.

Fiona Hutchison: There are parallels with the Scottish food and drink sector. Find out how they do it and see if that model would work for us. Scottish Enterprise and HIE works slightly differently so have them involved only once we know what we’re doing.

Donald Smith: Scottish Enterprise’s structure is undergoing change.

Gill Swales: Wanted to highlight all the promotional work from libraries & live literature sessions. There is lots of work going on through the Literature strategy in the Borders.

Donald Smith: Libraries are really important.

Setting up a Working group

Donald Smith suggested the essential sectors to be represented on the group are

  • Writers
  • Publishing / industry
  • Festivals & programming
  • Higher education
  • Cultural tourism
  • Public sector – Creative Scotland, SDI, VisitScotland, British Council, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government on policy

Funding is available – check with Creative Scotland and strategic partners.

Donald Smith: Literature is not successful getting maximum benefit from support of enterprise network. Literature is being under exploited.

Judy Moir: BOSLIT is a useful online resource from National Library to check who is published in which languages, but it’s hard to get access – be good to look at doing it again.

Mario Relich: Tom Hubbard was the main instigator of BOSLIT – worth getting in touch with him about it.

Asif Khan: Jackie Kay recently commissioned by VisitScotland. We need to focus on metrics – how to measure success of the work?

Jenni Steele: Look at how different organisations can promote literature and give other organisations content e.g. Outlander

Donald Smith: The level of cooperation between Government agencies is definitely increasing.

Jenny Niven: It’s important to find the right channel, language, metric and value (intrinsic cultural value). If we don’t have the expertise already, let’s find it.

Donald Smith: Higher education research is dependent on demonstrating an impact – to quantify how wonderful the literature sector is!

Marion Sinclair: It’s great that we have a huge amount of consensus. We need to keep that level of ambition, not just literature talking to ourselves, start leveraging intelligence from the industry etc.

Next steps

  • A five person group should draw up strategy, information, promotion and intervention key actions
  • It is the remit of LAS’ international working group to invite the right five people in key organisations to sit on the group
  • LAS will parent the group, which can invite others to offer their expertise
  • The group needs to advance quickly and should be established by February 2017.
January 31, 2017

LAS seeks new Chair

LAS seeks to appoint a new Chair in early 2017 and welcomes expressions of interest from potential candidates. A description of the position and the candidate qualities sought is attached below. The person appointed will have a sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level, familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management and knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.

The Chair serves for a term of three years, which is renewable for a further term of three years.

As Literature Alliance Scotland is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), the position is unremunerated but expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the duties of Chair will be met.

How to Apply
If you are interested in putting your name forward for this position, please send a CV and covering letter by email to Dr Donald Smith, Vice-Chair on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk by 31 January 2017.

Key Responsibilities

  • Advance the interests of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level.
  • Fulfil a strong ambassadorial role for Scottish literature and languages in consultation with members of Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members of Literature Alliance Scotland and ensure that Trustees and Members fulfil their duties and responsibilities as a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

Main Duties

  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members in setting the future strategy for Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Ensure that the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland are regularly reviewed.
  • Chair Board and Member meetings and oversee an effective administration.
  • Represent Literature Alliance Scotland and promote the organisation to government, local authorities, external partners, stakeholders and funders.

Candidate Qualities


  • A sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management
  • Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance


  • Active involvement with Scottish literature and languages in one or more fields
  • Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector
  • Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership


  • Strategic thinking and problem solving
  • Strong ambassadorial skills
  • Sound independent thinker and ability to think creatively
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Managing finance and accounts
  • Excellent spoken and written communications skills

Personal Qualities

  • Strong commitment to the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland

Other Factors

  • Convenient access to Edinburgh is desirable since most (but not all) meetings are held there.
January 10, 2017

Development meeting for overseas literature promotion set for January 2017


LAS is set to hold a development meeting in January 2017 as part of the next steps agreed with delegates at their International Literature Summit in November 2016.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 January 2017 from 12-2pm at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh and welcomes individuals and organisations with a remit in the international promotion of Scotland’s literature, languages & books.

Following consensus at the International Literature Summit for a joint service between organisations for overseas promotion, the meeting aims to work out the detail with a practical, pragmatic and focused universal approach.

Please register here

Summary notes on the Literature Summit can be read here.

December 15, 2016

Headline notes on the International #LiteratureSummit 2016

We were delighted to welcome an impressive turnout of literary delegates and speakers – writers, publishers, literature organisations, literary agents, literary editors, translators and academics – to the Summit on the International Promotion of Literature & Books 2016 on 23 November for what many have described from the feedback as a stimulating discussion. We’re grateful to all the speakers, including Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development & Europe who delivered the opening address, and delegates for their contribution. Photos of the day are here.


Dr Alasdair Allan MSP.

Below are the headline notes, including, at the end, the consensus reached and the agreed key action, on which we will move forward quickly, so watch this space!

Headline Notes


Keynote – Dr James Robertson

  • Joined up thinking and acting to be done
  • Are Scottish Literature and Languages part of soft diplomacy’s toolkit and if so to build what, with whom and for what purpose?
  • With less money available, need to spend wisely and efficiently
  • Economically and ecologically best to send writers overseas? – use resources differently e.g. podcasts, more translations
  • How to judge success? Number of book sales or literary prize wins?
  • ASLS good example of how patience in building international contacts can yield rich outcomes over a long period
  • What do mean, whom do we mean by Scottish writers?
  • What does Scottish Literature look like from elsewhere?
  • If literature represents the kind of society from which it grows, historically, Scottish Literature tells the world a very different story to English Literature
  • Need to balance literary identities and aspirations with practicalities and the realities of the political world.

Session One – Literature Organisations’ Perspective: what needs to be done?


Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Associates for Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)

  • Focus on best use of resources
  • Fund authors to travel with dedicated promotion
  • Point of contact in international / foreign offices, offering / driving coherent promotional support for authors
  • Promotion and book appearances tied together e.g. Saltire offices in NYC
  • Join up disparate organisations


Duncan Jones, Director, Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)

  • University network as natural ambassadors for Scottish Literature, engaging with students internationally
  • Readers regularly not realising strong Scottish writers are actually Scottish
  • Scottish universities to recognise Scottish Literature alongside other courses
  • Availability of texts is vital, online and at home, classic texts to be brought back in to publication


Eleanor Pender, Communications Executive, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust

  • Balance of home and abroad working together to create a strong basis for international collaboration


Nick Barley, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival

  • Authors needs to travel to develop relationships
  • Global relationships and exchange are vital in promoting Scottish Literature – it’s an ongoing conversation


Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive, Publishing Scotland

  • Coming from a position of strength in collaborative working
  • Build on existing assets to work better internationally
  • Recommends new joint venture / service from a number of organisations rather than new body in charge – with dedicated staff to handle work


Asif Khan, Director, Scottish Poetry Library

  • Sustainability – share authors and writers abroad, visiting poets and residencies, translation workshops and media collaborations
  • Joined up thinking
  • Historically Scottish poetry is more outward looking
  • Synchronise Scottish Poetry to where it’s looking out to the world


Session 2: Public Agencies & Tourism Panel

Chair: Magnus Linklater; Panellists: Jenny Niven, Creative Scotland (JN), Cortina Butler, British Council – Literature (CB), Jeni Oliver, SDI (JO), James McVeigh, Festivals Edinburgh & Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (JMcV).

JN: important to consider what success looks like. Four key themes of CS’ framework for international approach: import, export, cultural exchange, and cultural diplomacy.

JMcV: Arts and tourism separated by semantics – visitors = readers, audience. Literary tourism generally packaged as heritage as easier to engage with place marketing. Challenge is how tourism sector works with contemporary writers. Engage with organisations to find the ‘hook’.

Soft power
JN: Cultural diplomacy and relationships are fluid. Difficult to match countries and agency objectives with artists’ creative suggestions and where they want to go.

JMcV: Readers are the audience. Engage with the cultural tourism offering of all kinds of countries.

CB: We need to understand and recognise the differing priorities for organisations, agencies, writers, publishers etc. to find where they overlap – the sweet spot.

Branding a culture
JO: Need to understand what starts the conversation with a country, which varies from country to country. Need to start thinking about its audiences, tourists, readers – where do we want to engage? Don’t rely on what is already out there and the known writers. Need to do more about content that resonates here – different across Scotland. Businesses here are identifying new ideas, taking on the risk and offering support with that risk.

CB: English and Scottish book activity looks for a range of writers from across the country, depending on what the project is looking for.

JO: What is your audience, where are they and what is the hook? How to bring it all together?

JN: An atmosphere where organisations are championing each other’s efforts. Need for a collective mechanism to bring these efforts together. New agency not feasible, but tangible efforts can be made. Persuade Scottish media to focus on the arts more. Work in development visibility on increasing Scottish arts in the media.


Session 3: Writers’ Panel – what additional support do writers need?

Chair: David Robinson; Panellists: Ronald Frame (RF); Gavin Francis (GF), Vivian French (VF) and Kathleen Jamie (KJ).

VF: When do you decide that an author is Scottish and that their work is Scottish?
Children’s picture books are a massive export. 80% of books in a Copenhagen bookstore originated from the UK. Live aspect is very important for children’s books.

GF: Attending events or travelling has been under different provisos, different organisations and mechanisms. It’s very precarious, often fortuitous. It would be useful for authors if they knew that British Council would help fly them if there was a bursary or more information available.

RF: Scottish fiction doesn’t seem to sell well. It sells well in the US but less so here.

KJ: Scotland is a country of landscape, not of crime.

VF: With the children’s book world, it’s our books going out but not many books coming in.

GF: There are hopeful signs with basic minimums to pay writers travelling to events. Most writers have a couple of jobs to support themselves too.

Jenny Niven mentioned Open Project Funding less than £5k – smaller pots of money available with quicker turnaround.

Key issues: writers and bureaucracy for applications and rights issues, points raised about the issue of selection of writers, perception that the same writers get chosen for agency projects, writers not being aware of how their work is used or what organisations offer.

Also highlighted was International Literature Showcase in Norwich, which CS is partner funding.


Session 4: Publishers’ Panel – what more could be done internationally?

Chair: Jenny Brown; Panellists: Hugh Andrew, Birlinn (HA); Andrea Joyce, Canongate Books (AJ); Katy Lockwood-Holmes, Floris Books (KL-H); Adrian Searle, Freight Books (AS); Rosemary Ward, Gaelic Books Council (RW), Robert Davidson, Sandstone Press (RD).

AS: Sell more books to International publishers, more resource to Publishing Scotland to expand on success. Foundation of success based on books that have done well in their own country – over 10,000 copies. Build the market in Scotland. Pressure the media for support.

KL-H: Children’s part of Scottish Literature is building readers of the future. Authors & illustrators’ success overseas translates in sales and rights sales.

RD: Action on sales – we have a team in North America selling Scottish books. Face to face contact is key.

AJ: AJ: Key for Scottish publishers to get out and build relationships with international publishers to persuade them to take risk on a new voice and new writer. Need Go See follow up fund, Reverse Fellowship internship.

RW: Co-ordinated initiative to promote writers and authors.

HW: Home market is dysfunctional. If we don’t make any money at home, can’t expand and invest in foreign markets. Need self-sustaining home market.

Cortina Butler, British Council – on looking at other countries – recommended Polish Book Institute as a good example of online resource providing support and information available to writers. Translation needs with marketing component.

AS: Good examples is NORLA, great engagement, success in home market but doing it for 25 years – long term investment.


Q&A highlights

  • New Books in German – Publishing Scotland produces similar title for Scotland
  • Invite translators to conferences
  • Irish Literature Exchange (name clearly says what it does)
  • Why does Irish diaspora support their books more?
  • Discover books via link with television and film adaptations / improve link with development directors
  • AS: need more independent bookshops – call to remove business rates


Session 5: Resolutions & Next Steps

Magnus Linklater (ML); Donald Smith (DS); Marion Sinclair (MS)


Headline discussion points

  • Need for coherence, communication and some co-ordination
  • No desire for uniformity or imposition of one single strategic line
  • Agreement for a shared strategy that encompasses the different aspects and is understood by all
  • How might this be expressed and developed?
  • Joined up thinking – can different bodies and organisations release boundaries in guarding own patch to work in coordination?
  • New agency model may be applicable in the longer term
  • At present, agreed that the model had to be structured co-operation amongst the existing lead organisations working closely with the public bodies and agencies
  • Consensus around the idea of a joint service – jointly between organisations. Detail tba – see key action below
  • Festivals Edinburgh suggested as a possible comparator.

Jeni Oliver, SDI, made a commitment for

  • Further support for Go See Fund for follow-up visits to new markets, showcasing a new product to a new market or looking to build new relationships.
  • More support for Translation Fund for marketing element


Headline audience discussion
Donald Smith: Mission critical that Creative Scotland support those who already exist so it’s difficult to find new resources for a new organisation.

Jenny Niven: Some seed money is available from Creative Scotland to move things forward.

Joy Hendry: Literary editors and magazines not discussed. No recognition for literary editors’ unique links and relationships on international stage with writer networks. Need formal recognition and input from literary magazines.

Ian Brown: Problem of not overlapping – clear need for more coordinating and communicating within the sector.

Fiona Brownlee: Very positive day. Publishing Scotland and EIBF bring a great deal and should be involved.

James Robertson: Opportunity to promote literature in collaboration with other cultural forms – overlap with music and other art forms, especially film.

Ron Butlin: Need to help Scottish Government understand that the arts are cost-effective PR for Scotland.

Kaite Welsh: Soon to be four literature officers at Creative Scotland – please contact us to ask questions.

Linda Strachan: Authors don’t know what’s going on and how their work is being used. How to communicate information to the grassroots level? It needs to reach the writers and the creative people.

Robyn Marsack: Poets needs to try and subscribe to literature organisations such as SPL. Writers need to make an effort too – it’s a two-way system.

Graeme Hawley: Scottish Literature on Wikipedia needs updating. Far less info, photos, links available than Irish Literature – missed opportunity, can be updated by anyone!

Cathy Agnew: Highlighted DG Unlimited – new online membership organisation for those who care about Dumfries & Galloway’s creative sector and cultural life. Shared press & publicity.

In addition, Jenny Niven presented an update on work achieved or underway since publication of Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Review in 2015, based on news release issued the morning of the Summit – Growing Scotland’s Literature & Publishing Sector

Key Action

A meeting will be convened, under the auspices of LAS, via an open call, that both members and interested non-members can attend to discuss and work out the detail of the Summit’s consensus for a joint service between organisations with a practical, pragmatic and focused universal approach.

Timescale: by end February 2017.


November 30, 2016

Saltire Society Literary Awards 2016

LAS warmly congratulates all the winners of the Saltire Society Literary Awards announced last night (Thursday 24 November 2016) in a ceremony at Central Hall, Edinburgh.

Now recognised as Scotland’s foremost literary awards, the #SaltireLiterary Awards celebrate and support literary and academic excellence across six distinct categories with the winner of each of the individual book categories going forward to be considered for the Saltire Book of the Year Award.

The Book Award winners are:

Credit: saltiresociety.org.uk

Credit: saltiresociety.org.uk

The Publishing Award winners are:

2016 Saltire Society Publisher of the Year:
Floris Books

2016 Emerging Publisher of the Year Award:
Leah McDowell, Design and Production Manager at Floris Books

Congratulations to the shortlisted nominees too, listed here.

November 25, 2016

Creative Scotland news: Growing Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector


Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland today, Wednesday 23 November 2016, provides an update on Creative Scotland’s work to support Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector, since the publication of its Literature and Publishing Review.

The update coincides with Niven’s appearance at Literature Alliance Scotland’s International Summit, taking place at Edinburgh’s Storytelling Centre, during Book Week Scotland.

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, commented:
“Convened in direct response to recommendations within the Literature and Publishing Sector Review published in June 2015, the Summit is bringing together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and public bodies to plan how Scotland can better support the international promotion and presentation of Scotland’s writers and literature.

“A range of other projects, including new support for translation as well as investment in the recently established International Literature Showcase are part of our increased focus on international working, in response to feedback from the Literature sector in 2015’s sector review.

“That consultation has helped shape our Arts and Creative Industries Strategies and we thank everyone who has contributed to this work so far.  We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

Published 18 months ago, the Literature Sector Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland, sustaining the sector as a vibrant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. The review covered a range of areas including individual writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.

In addition to the £4m awarded to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations, over the last year, to support their work in Scotland and internationally, a number of measures have been undertaken in the past 18 months to help grow the Sector, including:

International Promotion
Developing a strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writers and Literature

  • Today’s International Summit has been co-ordinated by LAS, in direct response to a specific recommendation from Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review, to explore a more strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writing and literature.  Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event. The aim of the day is to lay the groundwork for a stronger international presence for Scottish literature.

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.”

  • Creative Scotland is partner funding a major new initiative with Writers Centre Norwichand the British Council to promote UK writers and literature organisations overseas.  Launched in September 2016, the online International Literature Showcase is supporting talented upcoming writers with promotional opportunities, new commissions and the development of their international profile.

Developing Talent and Skills

  • In the last financial year, 2015-16, Creative Scotland awarded more than £4million to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations to support their work in Scotland and internationally. For further information on Creative Scotland’s support for Literature, languages and publishing please visit, here.
  • Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fundoffers support for individual writers at all stages of their careers.  Awards made this year include Janice Galloway, Kirsty Logan, Amy Liptrot, Ewan Morrison, Merryn Glover, Malachy Tallack and Gordon Meade.
  • The Gavin Wallace Fellowship enables writers to take time out of their usual environment to develop their practice over the course of a year.  Writer Kirsty Logan, who undertook her Fellowship in 2015, commented: “The past year has been absolute bliss. Having the freedom to read, think and explore is truly priceless for a writer. The fellowship came at exactly the right time in my writing life, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
  • Creative Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Review of Books to run the Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme, which was launched with a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2016. Between November 2016 and February, 2017, 20 writers looking to break into literary criticism are being mentored in small groups by critics Alan Taylor, Rosemary Goring, David Robinson, Kaite Welsh and Dave Coates. Mentees are receiving guidance on writing literary criticism for print and online platforms and are receiving individual feedback with a view to showcasing their work on a special Emerging Critics section of the Scottish Review of Books website.

Mentee Ian Abbott, commented: “The emerging critics programme is bringing together different voices and practices from inside and outside the field of literature to learn from, share with and challenge each other. It offers the opportunity to reset, refocus and deepen our thinking on what criticism is, could be and how relevant it is; I’m interested in who isn’t represented, the gaps that exist and why some voices are invisible. There is already a generosity and exchange amongst our group and I believe it’s going to produce a series of stimulating debates, new sets of knowledge and a hearty barrel of the unknown.”


  • Launched in August 2015, the new Translation Fund, delivered by Publishing Scotland, is designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers. The £25,000 fund has already supported the translation of work from authors such as Amy Liptrot, Gavin Francis, Jenni Fagan and Jackie Kay translated into a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian and German amongst others.

Aly Barr, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said “The Publishing Scotland translation fund is now attracting applications from leading publishers around the world. The fund forms part of a pathway for international publishers-working in parallel with the annual international publishing fellowship. The fund is the amongst the largest awards schemes for translating books in Britain and positions Scottish publishing as an outwardly facing industry keen to share its stories with the world.”

  • The Fellowship Programme launched in August 2015 with the aim of forging stronger and more strategic links between international and Scottish publishers and agents to discover and acquire the rights to Scottish books.  Developed in partnership between Creative Scotland, Emergents and Publishing Scotland, the programme has engagedeighteen international publishing fellows.
  • The newly established Translation Residency Programme is offering writers the opportunity to take the time to work on the translation of Scottish works.  Delivered by Cove Park in partnership withPublishing Scotland and the British Centre for Literary Translation.  Anne Brauner (Germany) and Clara Pezzuto (Italy) undertook residencies in September 2016 and translated works byScotland based authors – The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie and And The Land Lay Still by James Robertson, respectively.
  • In 2017, the Translation Programme will expand to include partnerships with Writers Centre Norwich and University of Glasgow, in addition to a continuing relationship with Publishing Scotland, creating a UK-wide and outward looking programme. Highlights include residential mentoring for translators and poet-poet translation, as well as an increase in the number of translation residencies available.

Advocating for literature

  • Literature Alliance Scotland was awarded £50,000 in April 2016 to undertake a two-year programme of advocacy and networking involving its 26 member organisations (e.g. EIBF, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Book Trust, Saltire Society). The programme of activity will be rolled out over the next 18 months and the first output is today’s international summit.

Writer’s Pay

  • Creative Scotland’s recently published Arts Strategy underlines its ambition to improve the financial context in which artists and other creative professionals develop and make their work.  The Strategy has been informed by findings reported in the Literature Sector Review which found that that 81% of Scottish writers who responded to the survey earn below the National Minimum Wage. Together with the Society of Authors in Scotland, and other partners, Creative Scotland is exploring ways to address this issue and encourage organisations representing writers to continue to work closely with the sector in setting  standards  and  terms  of  engagements  for  activities  such as travel,  speaking  engagements, residencies, and publishing  contracts.

Access to literature and support for Scotland’s languages

  • In August 2015, Creative Scotland and the National Libraries of Scotland announced the first Scots Scriever – poet, novelist and playwright, Hamish MacDonald.  Responsible for working with the cultural sector, communities, and in particular, schools across Scotland, the Scriever will work to enhance awareness, understanding and use of Scots.  The Scriever post is also directly complementing Education Scotland’s work through their Scots language co-ordinators to broaden engagement of the Scots language policy.

Notes to Editors

About Creative Scotland 

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

Media Contact

Sophie Bambrough
Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland

D +44 131 523 0015 +44 7916 137 632

E: Sophie.bambrough@CreativeScotland.com

November 23, 2016

Summit to Debate Promotion of Scotland’s Literature & Books Overseas

A Summit to debate how Scotland’s literature sector should promote its writing and writers overseas is set to take place on Wednesday 23 November 2016 at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

Taking place during Book Week Scotland, the Summit is hosted by Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), Scotland’s largest network of literature and languages organisations.

Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event that brings together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and the main public agencies in Scotland with a responsibility for the international promotion of Scotland’s literature and languages.

Author and publisher James Robertson will deliver a keynote speech. Speakers also include non-fiction award-winning writer Dr. Gavin Francis, poet Kathleen Jamie and children’s author Vivian French, publishers Canongate and Birlinn, literature organisations Publishing Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Association of Scottish Literary Studies, and public bodies and agencies Creative Scotland, British Council and Scottish Development International. The full programme is here.

The ‘by invitation’ Summit responds to recommendation 31 of Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Review, published in June 2015, to ‘lay the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence.’

Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Allan said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scotland’s literature internationally. This event will bring together for the first time public agencies, writers and literary organisations to discuss ways to strengthen the presence of Scotland’s literature and publishing on the international stage.

“I look forward to opening this event and being part of the discussions on how we can work together to promote our literary culture at every possible opportunity.”

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: “The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.

“We’re honoured to welcome Dr Allan MSP to open the day and look forward to hearing from a range of different voices across the sector – both speakers and delegates. We don’t expect to find an answer in only one day, but we’re ambitious to reach a consensus of how we move forward practically, which is a step in the right direction.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “Writing from Scotland, both historic and contemporary, is recognised worldwide for its excellence. However, a stronger, more visible and better coordinated international presence would bring benefit for Scottish writers, publisher and organisations alike, which in turn is of benefit to Scottish culture and society as a whole. This view was voiced across the sector during the consultation commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2015, so it’s terrific to see that work is being made tangible via the upcoming summit. There is a range of partners with a vested interest in working towards this goal and having everyone brought together is of enormous value. I look forward to a vibrant discussion, which foregrounds the strengths on which we can build, and lays the foundations for a practical approach in the future.”


Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

  • Published in July 2015, Creative Scotland’s Literature Sector Review provides an overview of contemporary literature provision, reflecting the successes and the distinct qualities of Literature and Publishing in Scotland whilst at the same time identifying development needs, future challenges and opportunities, which will help inform the future work to best support literature and publishing in Scotland.
  • The Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland and sustaining the sector as a vibrant and resonant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. It covers a range of areas including writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, the sector ecology and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.
  • This event responds to a recommendation with the review that leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence. More info here:
  • http://www.creativescotland.com/resources/our-publications/sector-reviews/literature-and-publishing-sector-review

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland.

For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us @LitScotland

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.

Working with a range of partners, it is delivered by Scottish Book Trust, a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure. For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit www.bookweekscotland.com. Follow @Bookweekscot on Twitter, check out #bookweekscot or like the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland, please visit www.creativescotland.com Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

November 15, 2016

End of LAS Chair’s term marked at first AGM

LAS held their first AGM yesterday (9 November 2016) at Saltire Society under their new constitution as a SCIO, which marked the end of Dr Ann Matheson’s term as LAS Chair.

The meeting was well attended by members and the board who made a special presentation to Ann for her dedication to Scotland’s literature and languages and her incredibly hard work and inimitable leadership in overseeing the transition of the organisation into Literature Alliance Scotland.

In addition, yesterday marked LAS Administrator Catherine Allan’s last board and members’ meeting as she is due to leave the organisation in December 2016. Catherine, who has worked tirelessly to keep the organisation running smoothly from its inception, also received a presentation to thank her for her important contribution.


Dr Ann Matheson (left) and Catherine Allan

LAS is in the process of seeking a new Chair and more information will follow in due course.

Meanwhile, the role of administration will be handed over to Communications Officer Jenny Kumar from January 2017.

November 10, 2016

LAS letter to John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary, 13 October 2016

LAS sent the following letter to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in response to his letter of 6 October 2016.

Letter of 13 October 2016 to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Dear Cabinet Secretary


Thank you very much for your further letter of 6 October 2016 and for the very useful additional information contained therein.

We note the Scottish Government’s intention to allocate funding from Council Tax reform in 2017-2018 to schools, enabling Head Teachers to decide how best to use the additional funding to meet local school needs. We very much welcome the statement that this will include supporting library provision, which we consider to be such an important part of modern school education.

We shall be writing to COSLA and to the Association of Head Teachers and Deputes (AHDS) to stress the importance of sustaining school libraries with trained school librarians in our schools in order to provide our young people with the highest quality of educational training.

We also welcome the Scottish Government’s current Governance Review on early years and schools education. We shall ensure that the Review is widely circulated among our networks and that our members are encouraged to respond. We shall, of course, also respond on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland (literaturealliancescotland.co.uk).

Yours sincerely

Ann Matheson, Chair
Donald Smith, Vice-Chair


October 13, 2016

Letter from John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary, seeking views on Governance Review

LAS received the following letter from John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, in which he highlights the recent launch of Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve equity and excellence: A Governance Review.

LAS will respond to the online consultation, which ends on 6 January 2017, and we would also urge our readers to submit their views via the above link.


Letter of 6 October 2016 from John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to Literature Alliance Scotland.

Thank you for your further letter of 13 September concerning the proposal to remove librarian posts from schools in Argyll and Bute. As I previously indicated in my response of 18 August the delivery of education including the management of a library service is the responsibility of the local authority and it would not be appropriate for Scottish Ministers to comment or intervene in local decisions.

However, I note your concerns and I would like to assure you that Scottish Ministers are committed to doing everything we can to ensure children and young people get the best start in life. This means we want them to get high quality early learning and childcare before they go to school and the best educations when they are at school.

You may be interested to know that from financials year 2017-2018 the additional £100 million per annum that will be raised each year from our Council Tax reforms will be allocated directly to schools. The allocation will be based on the numbers of children in primary schools and S1-3 in secondary schools who meet the eligibility criteria for free school meals. It is likely that applying this approach will mean that 95% of publicly funded schools will receive funding and Head Teachers will be able to determine how best to use additional funds to meet their local needs, such as library provision.

As you may be aware, the Scottish Government launched a Governance Review of early years and school education on 13 September. This governance review seeks your views on how education in Scotland is run, including who should take decisions in relation to the education of children and young people, and how funding can be made fairer. It also asks about the support teachers and practitioners need to do their jobs well and how this can be improved.

We want to hear views from every part of Scotland – from children and young people, from parents, teachers and practitioners and the wider community. We want to hear from those with a formal role in our education system and those who share a stake in its success. Further information on the Governance Review and events can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/thegovernancereview

There is also the opportunity to respond to the review directly through our online survey at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/empowering-schools/a-governance-review

Yours sincerely,

John Swinney


October 6, 2016

The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust joins LAS

We are delighted to announce that The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, which runs the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, has joined LAS as a member.
Moat Brae in Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway in South-West Scotland was acknowledged by author JM Barrie as the inspiration for Neverland.
Photo credit: Graeme Roberston, peterpanmoatbrae.org

Photo credit: Graeme Robertson, peterpanmoatbrae.org

The Trust aims to raise £5.8m to create an enchanted land of children’s stories at the birthplace of Peter Pan. The Centre will include a Neverland Discovery Garden when it opens for new adventures in 2018.
September 22, 2016

LAS Letter to the Public Petitions Committee in Support of School Libraries

LAS sent the following letter to the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament, which convened at the end of September with a new panel, in support of Duncan Wright’s petition on the need for a national approach to save Scotland’s school libraries and ensure access to a school library with a trained school librarian for every child in Scotland.

Letter of 21 September 2016 to Johann Lamont MSP, Chair of Public Petitions Committee

Dear Ms Lamont

On 19 December 2015, we wrote on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland, to the then Chair of the Public Petitions Committee, Mr Michael McMahon, in support of the petition ‘Save Scotland’s School Libraries’, lodged by Mr Duncan Wright. We attach a copy of our letter of 19 December 2015, along with a list of the principal literature organisations in Scotland represented by Literature Alliance Scotland. We wish to submit the following additional comments.

Since we wrote in December 2015, we are gravely concerned that Argyll & Bute Council decided to dispense with all its school librarians in February 2016 and that, despite entreaties from all sides, most prominently from the children and young people of Argyll and Bute, the Council has not yet rescinded its decision and reinstated its school librarians.

Depriving the children and young people of Argyll and Bute, or any other part of the country, of their trained school librarians directly acts against giving them equal opportunities and equal rights. Trained school librarians are an essential part of a modern school. They transform the school library into a place of learning, where pupils can be helped in directing their own reading, learning and research.

Other countries understand the essential part that school librarians and school libraries play in young people’s education. Under the Swedish 2011 Education Act, pupils in Sweden are entitled to a school library staffed by trained school librarians: it is viewed as a child’s right. In Denmark, where its Education Act requires every school to have a school library, school libraries are becoming learning centres where the school librarian, the learning instructor, advises, trains and guides learners in an understanding and knowledge of books and digital information. If we are also ambitious for our children and young people, why would we not follow suit?

Literature Alliance Scotland strongly supports the current emphasis on closing the gap in opportunity between children and young people in different parts of the country, and the aim of giving every child equal life chances on which they can build. There can be no higher aim in seeking to build a fairer and more equal country. The results will help to determine the success that individual young people can make of their lives and will also influence the future success of Scotland. However, to succeed, we will need to work constructively together to avoid a situation where children’s chances continue to depend on where they happen to find themselves in the country, something over which they have absolutely no control.

We implore the Public Petitions Committee to take up the cause of school libraries in Scotland vigorously, and to urge the Scottish Government and the local authorities in Scotland to work constructively together to think about our young people’s futures and save Scotland’s network of school libraries.

Yours sincerely

Dr Ann Matheson, Chair,
Dr Donald Smith, Vice-Chair

Enc. Literature Alliance Scotland Membership

LAS Membership at September 2016

  • Association for Scottish Literary Studies
  • Association of Scottish Literary Agents
  • CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • The Gaelic Books Council
  • Moniack Mhor
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
  • Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
  • Publishing Scotland
  • The Saltire Society
  • Scots Language Centre
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Language Dictionaries
  • SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
  • Scottish Society of Playwrights
  • Scottish PEN
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Forum
  • Scottish Writers Centre
  • Society of Authors in Scotland
  • Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
  • Wigtown Festival Company
  • Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)
September 21, 2016

LAS Letter to John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary to support school libraries in Argyll & Bute

LAS sent the following letter to John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary, to support school librarians in Argyll & Bute.

Letter of 13 September 2016 to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary of Education and Skills.

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

Thank you very much for your letter of 18 August 2016, in response to our letter about the decision of Argyll and Bute Council to remove school librarians from schools in Argyll and Bute. We very much appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending such a detailed reply.

Literature Alliance Scotland strongly supports the Scottish Government in its decision to make it a national priority to reduce the attainment gap between children and young people in different parts of the country, and to give every child equal life chances on which they can build. There can be no higher aim in seeking to build a fairer and more equal country. The results will help to determine the success that individual young people can make of their lives and will also influence the future success of Scotland.

Our concern is that decisions such as depriving the children and young people of Argyll and Bute of their trained school librarians act against the national priority of seeking to reduce the country’s attainment gap. Trained school librarians are an essential part of a modern school. They transform the school library into a place of learning, where pupils can be helped in directing their own reading, learning and research. Under the Swedish 2011 Education Act, for example, pupils in Sweden are entitled to a school library staffed by trained school librarians: it is viewed as a child’s right.

To succeed in Scotland, we will need to work constructively together to avoid a situation where children’s chances continue to depend on where they happen to find themselves in the country, something over which they have no control.

With others, we shall continue to make the case for the reinstatement of school librarians in Argyll and Bute to Leader and Councillors of Argyll & Bute Council and press them to rescind their decision.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Matheson (Chair)
Donald Smith (Vice-Chair

September 13, 2016

Scottish Book Trust Raises Live Literature Fee

Scottish Book Trust has announced that the Live Literature fee will increase from £150 to £175 with effect from 1 January 2017.

A 2014 study by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society reported that the median earnings of an author are now just £11,000, which is down 29% since 2005 and well below the living wage.

In Scotland, the recent Creative Scotland Literature Review in 2015 found the figure in Scotland to be substantially below this at just £6,000 per annum.

Scottish Book Trust believes that writers, storytellers and illustrators should be paid fairly for the important work that they do and want to support them.

Literature Alliance Scotland fully endorses Scottish Book Trust’s view.

More information about the Scottish Book Trust fee increase can be found on the Scottish Book Trust website here.


August 12, 2016

Appointment of LAS Communications Officer

Literature Alliance Scotland is very pleased to announce that Jenny Kumar of JK Consultancy in Glasgow has been appointed to the post of LAS Communications Officer. Jenny is a graduate of the University of Glasgow with thirteen years’ experience in communications. She has worked with organisations across the arts, third sector, health, economic development and tourism, and will take up her post with Literature Alliance Scotland in the week commencing 25 July 2016. We welcome Jenny to her new role with Literature Alliance Scotland.

July 21, 2016
Appointment of LAS Communications Officer

Response from Argyll & Bute Council to LAS

The following response has been received from Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll & Bute Council, to the letter from Literature Alliance Scotland in support of the plea from pupils in Argyll & Bute to retain their school librarians.


Dear Literature Alliance Scotland

I refer to your letter of 13th July which follows your communication of 21st April.

I do understand the concerns that you express and it is a matter of deep regret to everyone at Argyll and Bute Council that, like all Scottish councils, due to significant reductions in our funding we are simply no longer able to do all that our communities want us to. The context in which councils have been forced to make very difficult choices has been well publicised and is a matter of fact.

It is important to point out that before making any decisions the council carried out an extensive consultation on Service Choices, which attracted a very high level of response. Although the views expressed during this consultation were, of course, listened to and taken on board where they could be, it was simply not possible to reject all of the savings options.

However, the budget ultimately agreed by council managed to mitigate a large number of the savings options consulted on. It reflected a significant priority given to young people’s services and managed to save over 100FTE jobs. The options which were rejected minimised the impact on teachers, classroom assistants, pupil support assistants, janitors, technicians and others. Unfortunately, changes to library services were areas that had to be looked at. At this stage, any option rejected means that another one must be taken in its place.

That said, libraries will remain in Argyll and Bute schools. Working with Head Teachers and other education staff, we are looking at finding different solutions for the schools in our communities, looking at all aspects including timetabling, handling book stock, and how the library facilities and resources in our schools can be used in the best ways to continue to support pupils’ learning.  This will include closer working with our public library service to assist with resourcing and particular initiatives.  We are taking these steps so that our pupils will be able to continue to use the library facilities in our schools. As part of the budget setting process, the council has also been able to avoid any community library closures and have invested in new community library services on Mull and on Tiree which will operate from the respective schools.

I would repeat our regret at the position in which this council, like so many others, finds itself as a result of significantly reduced funding. However, that regret is matched by our commitment to mitigating as much as possible the impact of the reduced funding,  to look for new ways of working and to continue to do as much as we are able to do for our communities.


Councillor Dick Walsh (Council Leader)

Argyll & Bute Council

July 21, 2016
Response from Argyll & Bute Council to LAS

LAS Open Letter to Argyll & Bute Council

This open letter has been sent by LAS members to the Leader and Councillors of Argyll & Bute Council in support of the plea by pupils in Argyll & Bute to their Council to save their school librarians and their school libraries (http://www.cilips.org.uk/news/2016/6/30/heartfelt-plea-from-argyll-and-bute-pupils-to-keep-their-sch.html).

Letter of 11 July 2016 to Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll & Bute Council

Dear Councillor Walsh


We wrote on 21 April 2016 on behalf of the members of Literature Alliance Scotland earnestly to ask you to restore the school librarian posts from schools in Argyll and Bute, which had been recommended for withdrawal by a decision of Council earlier in the year.

Now that pupils in Argyll and Bute have recently written to Theresa Breslin, author and current President of the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPs), and to other children’s authors, seeking their support in keeping their school librarians and their school libraries, we are writing again as an alliance of Scotland’s literature organisations to plead with you to rescind this decision.

We will not restate here the case for the importance of school libraries staffed by trained school librarians, as set out in our letter of 21 April 2016, but we firmly stand by all the points made in our letter. We would only point out again that our neighbours in the Nordic countries and in The Netherlands have already recognised and acted upon the essential role that their school libraries and professional school librarians play in encouraging and training pupils to read, investigate, research and, by these means, to attain in the digital age in which we now live.

Scotland has long been admired elsewhere for the strong network of school libraries that was built up across the country over successive decades in the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s by dedicated effort, enthusiasm and support from all sides. As you will know, COSLA produced its very important Standards for School Library Services in Scotland in 1998. We are certain that all of us wish to ensure that such an essential service is sustained and maintained for the young people of today and tomorrow and that its fragmentation, which denies opportunity to those affected, is avoided.

The plea from pupils in Argyll and Bute is more eloquent than any words that we can write (http://www.cilips.org.uk/news/2016/6/30/heartfelt-plea-from-argyll-and-bute-pupils-to-keep-their-sch.html).  We implore you to listen to them and to protect the school library service they consider so important to them. The future success of our young people will determine the future success of our country.

We request that our letter is laid before all Councillors in Argyll & Bute Council.


Dr Ann Matheson (Chair)                  Dr Donald Smith (Vice-Chair)

July 15, 2016
LAS Open Letter to Argyll & Bute Council

Literature Alliance Scotland seeks new Communications Officer

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) wishes to contract a Communications professional to assist in driving forward its goals and future development. This work offers an opportunity to work with Scotland’s literature organisations, contribute to developments and have an active involvement in managing and delivering LAS’s activities for literature. The contract will also include some events management and administration. The successful applicant will work largely independently on a day-to-day-basis, and will report to the Lead on Advocacy and Communications and ultimately to the LAS Board of Trustees.

The estimated time commitment equates to 2.5 days per week for an initial contract period of one year based on a daily rate of £150.00.

LAS plans to appoint to allow the work to begin from July 2016. Contract details are shown below.

How to Apply

Please send a CV and covering letter by email explaining why you think you are right for the project and highlighting relevant experience. We welcome applications from organisations as well as individuals.

Applications should reach us by noon on 17 June 2016, with interviews soon afterwards.

Email LAS Administrator: catherineallan.las@gmail.com

May 2016

Communication Officer: Job Details

Main Purpose of Role

Working largely independently on a day-to-day basis, the Communications Officer will work closely with LAS’s Board and four steering groups (Advocacy and Communications; International and Partnerships; Events; and Professional Development), providing editorial, strategic, creative and operational support across LAS’s activities for literature. He/she will play a key role in ensuring that LAS’s communications are both influential and informative for the literature community in and beyond Scotland.

Main Duties

Communications (75%)

  • Researching and writing a range of content for a variety of audiences, to be published across a range of channels, e.g. press releases, newsletters, internal bulletins, magazines, website and social media
  • Drafting, editing and distributing material relating to LAS’s activities to the literature community and others as required
  • Working with LAS’s Advocacy and Communications group on preparing annual literature campaigns; and in reacting to current issues that may arise
  • Pitching information to a range of media outlets to achieve quality coverage, and reporting results in a meaningful and timely way
  • Managing the LAS website, ensuring the main site (http://literaturealliancescotland.co.uk/) is regularly updated; and developing the main website and microsites as required, ensuring they remain up-to-date and responsive to the needs of their different audiences of writers, literature professionals, publishers, translators, etc.
  • Building and maintaining LAS’s social media presence through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks as appropriate
  • Fielding inquiries from the literature community in and beyond Scotland; and arranging member surveys as and when required
  • Helping to promote and communicate LAS’s events
  • Designing and distributing quarterly literature updates and annual state of literature reports.

Events Management and Administration (25%)

  • Arranging LAS meetings (e.g. annual Literature Day, literature summits, regional meetings), including booking venues, sending approved invitations, other non-media publicity and ensuring the smooth running of the event on the day.
  • Arranging LAS member meetings, and Board meetings, and preparing agendas and minutes of meetings
  • General admin duties as required

Person Specification


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent
  • Qualification or experience in working in communications

Essential Skills

  • A knowledge of Scotland’s literatures and languages and a commitment to the aims of Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • A sufficient understanding and a proven ability of working collaboratively with key stakeholders and relevant external bodies;  and developing and maintaining effective working relationships with a range of people
  • A good knowledge of website management and experience of working on a regularly updated website, including direct experience of WordPress and a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Basic Adobe skills and the ability to use Photoshop, InDesign creatively
  • Experience of using social media successfully
  • The ability to prioritise and to work accurately to tight deadlines
  • Is a self-starter and can work on his/her own initiative

Key Contacts

The Communications Officer will report directly to the LAS Lead on Advocacy and Communications, and, when required, the Chair and Vice-Chair, and is ultimately responsible to the LAS Board of Trustees.

The Communications Officer will also work closely with LAS’s Advocacy and Communications, International and Partnership, Events and Professional Development Groups.

The Communications Officer will also be required to maintain strong links with LAS members and to identify and be responsive to their needs and wishes.

The Communications Officer will be expected to forge effective working relationships with the press and broadcast media at national and local level.

Remuneration and Conditions

The estimated time commitment equates to 2.5 days per week for an initial contract period of one year based on a daily rate of £150.00.

It is anticipated that the Communications Officer will work either from home or from within an existing literature organisation.

About Literature Alliance Scotland

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is the collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies. Formed in spring 2015 as successor to its forerunner, the Literature Forum for Scotland, LAS is now looking to expand its membership in order to ensure that in seeking to speak for literature’s interests the organisation is fully representative of the wide scope of literature in Scotland.  LAS’s aim is to take a greater role in campaigning and advocacy for the needs of literature and languages in Scotland; and it will hold annual summits and discussion events on topics of national and international relevance for the literature constituency. LAS will also hold one of its four members’ meetings in a different area of Scotland on a regular annual basis in order to meet and discuss with those working in literature.

Recently granted SCIO status, LAS has become a membership organisation. Its income is based on membership subscriptions and it also receives funds from Creative Scotland.

Further information about LAS can be found on the website: www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

May 2016


May 31, 2016
Literature Alliance Scotland seeks new Communications Officer

LAS Letter to Argyll & Bute Council about School Librarians

This letter has been sent by Literature Alliance Scotland members to the Leader of Argyll & Bute Council in connection with the decision to withdraw ten school librarians from Argyll and Bute.

Letter of 26 April 2016 to Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll & Bute Council

Dear Councillor Walsh


We are writing on behalf of the members of Literature Alliance Scotland earnestly to ask you to restore the ten school librarian posts from schools in Argyll and Bute, which were recommended for withdrawal by a decision of Council earlier this year. Literature Alliance Scotland, which brings together Scotland’s literature organisations, strongly argues for the vital role of school librarians in encouraging young people to read, introducing them to learning, improving literacy, and assisting pupils’ academic attainment and chances in life.

One of the key priorities for Scotland at present is to reduce the attainment gap between children in different areas of our society. The school library is an essential part of this foundation since it is open and equal to all pupils. The trained school librarian, in turn, transforms the library into a place of learning, or a ‘learning environment’, where pupils can be assisted in directing their own reading, learning and research. It is also a quiet and thoughtful place for study which pupils sometimes are not able to find at home, thus placing them at a disadvantage with their more fortunate peers, and the school librarian is there as a guiding and supporting presence.

Research data internationally supports the view that school libraries have a definite positive impact on academic achievement.  In response to the digital age, school library systems internationally are now adapting to meet the likely needs of future generations of young people. The consensus is that school libraries, staffed by professionally qualified librarians, are vital in equipping new generations of pupils, today’s  ‘digital natives’, with the skills they will need in a fast-moving and changing digital world. Some countries have already gone further than Scotland. Denmark, for example, where the Education Act requires every school to have a school library, decided in 2013 to make its school libraries into learning centres where the school librarian, ‘the learning instructor’, advises, trains and guides pupils in the learning skills they require for modern life.

Scotland has long been admired elsewhere for the strong network of school libraries that was built up across the country over successive decades in the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s by dedicated effort, enthusiasm and support from all sides. As you will know, COSLA produced its very important Standards for School Library Services in Scotland in 1998. We are certain that all of us wish to ensure that such an essential service is sustained and maintained for the young people of today and tomorrow and that its fragmentation, which denies opportunity to those affected, is avoided.

We understand and sympathise with current financial pressures, but we do urge you to reconsider this decision in the interests of the young people of Argyll and Bute.


Dr Ann Matheson (Chairman)                        Dr Robyn Marsack (Vice-Chairman)




Membership at April 2016 

  • Association for Scottish Literary Studies
  • Association of Scottish Literary Agents
  • Book Nation/Borders Book Festival
  • CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • The Gaelic Books Council
  • Moniack Mhor
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland
  • Publishing Scotland
  • The Saltire Society
  • Scots Language Centre
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Language Dictionaries
  • SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
  • Scottish Society of Playwrights
  • Scottish PEN
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Forum
  • Scottish Writers Centre
  • Society of Authors in Scotland
  • Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
  • Wigtown Festival Company
  • Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)
April 27, 2016
LAS Letter to Argyll & Bute Council about School Librarians

A Manifesto for Libraries

cilips logo

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) strongly supports the ‘Manifesto for Libraries’ produced by the Chartered Institute of Library Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), setting out what it believes the next Scottish Government should do to support libraries.

The Manifesto has been produced as part of the ‘Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation’ campaign supported by a number of national organisations and high profile authors.

The Manifesto asks candidates, if they are elected, to –

  1.  Support and call for the full implementation of the National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland, agreed last year with the Scottish Government and COSLA including:

– Taking forward a national reading strategy with libraries at its heart

– Rolling out and sustaining the every child a library member project

– Providing high-speed wifi in all community libraries

– Rolling out a national digital skills programme with shared resources

– Developing local, regional and national partnerships to support employability

2.   Work to ensure that all learners in school and further education have on site access to full-time professional library staff.

3.   Support development of a new national strategy for school libraries which recognises their vital role in supporting pupils’ literacy and research skills.

4.   Work closely with Local Government to ensure that all libraries are fully supported.


April 1, 2016
A Manifesto for Libraries

LAS Becomes a SCIO

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) has become incorporated as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with effect from 4 March 2016. This means that it is now is an incorporated body having charitable status under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, and has been entered into the Scottish Charity Register by OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator.

March 4, 2016
LAS Becomes a SCIO