CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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60 seconds with… Karen Fraser, Shetland Library

Category: 60 seconds with..., Blog

In 60 seconds with… PMLG Scotland ask senior figures in Scottish libraries for a short, sweet introduction to what the future looks like for their services post-pandemic. Enjoy!

Logo for the Public Libraries and Mobiles Group Scotland

How have your library staff contributed to the local authority’s pandemic response?

Continuing to deliver library services in new and flexible ways through every stage of lockdown. Using social media to engage with users. Working with community services to deliver digital devices and support. Supporting parents, pupils and teachers with online resources and support for remote learning. Contributing to mental health and wellbeing by ensuring access to reading including by home delivery. Ensuring access to news through online newspaper services. Continuing to support access to free computers and Internet. Continuing to support local authors with book launches and events.

What role will your libraries play in their communities’ economic recovery?

Provide consistently excellent and accessible services, and ensure full service recovery as soon as safety guidance allows. Provide free internet access and support in a flexible and adaptable way that is geared to individual circumstance. Work with partners to support employment and adult learning. Continue to use social media to project a positive view of Shetland to the wider world. Continue to work with schools, NHS and early years settings to support early literacy and family learning.

What about social recovery: will your libraries make a difference to the social wellbeing of their communities, post-pandemic?

As soon as guidance allows, ensure that libraries are once again social centres for individuals, groups and cultural events. Continue outreach services and book delivery to be inclusive of the whole community. Work with partners to ensure we reach people with additional needs. Resume Bookbug and other activities. Ensure users feel safe in our premises, and ensure there are outdoor, outreach or online alternatives for people who cannot visit. Continue to use social media for positive communication and engagement.

As a result of the past year, will you change anything about the way things used to run in your service?

We have made many processes more efficient and got them online, which of course will continue. We are likely to maintain expanded eBook provision. Digital agility of staff has been improved and we want to maintain and improve this. As we bring back services, we have a valuable opportunity to review and change – these are likely to be relatively small changes as most services, events and stock are still needed and in demand.

If money was no object, what would be your top priority?

Purpose designed community hubs in rural locations so we can run micro-branches effectively.

In the future, how will you promote what your libraries do?

Social media will continue to be important, plus a range of local media and partner contacts. Also producing performance reports, ensuring Elected Members are aware of libraries. Engaging with public figures and mounting local and national promotional campaigns. Ongoing contact with all pupils through schools outreach.

Do you have plans to renovate or alter any of your libraries?

Yes, we are currently halfway through a major renovation and move of premises.

What do libraries mean to you?

An essential support and learning service, safe space and cultural hub.

Bonus Question: you’re stranded on a desert island and can only have one book with you. Which one do you choose?

My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson

Optional: Add a photo of yourself or one that sums up your library service!

a crowd of adults and children with a lifesized Gruffalo character in the library

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