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A Planning Tool based on the National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland

Category: Blog

Blog by Pamela Mclean, school librarian at St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch

School librarians in Scotland were given a great opportunity in late 2018 with the publication of the National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland 2018 – 2023. This document outlined 5 strategic aims for decision-makers and school library services to work towards in the 5 years that followed its publication.

But even though school librarians recognised what a brilliant opportunity this document gave us – along with backing at a national level – it was still hard to know where to start. This is why SLG Scotland has developed a planning tool based on the strategy. We know the situations school librarians across Scotland face vary wildly. Lots of us don’t have time for extensive planning and service development, with term-time working and split-school working becoming the norm in many places.

This tool is meant to save you time. It’s been designed to be self-contained: when you open the spreadsheet, it opens on a welcome page which explains how to use it. There are five tabs covering each strategic aim, with each tab containing activities taken from the National Strategy. These are paired with the relevant quality indicators from How Good is Our School Library? There is also a final tab giving you an example of a completed table.

The first time you complete the tool, there will be lots of gaps. There’s meant to be! These gaps will point out areas you could look at developing in future. But what it will also hopefully show you is just how much you’re already doing. This information can be used to inform funding bids, improvement plans, or your own performance reviews.

The tool can be adapted. For example, you can insert a column for school or council objectives. You can also insert a row if you feel you are doing work in an area the strategy doesn’t cover (eg Scots languages). Let us know if there are areas you feel the tool doesn’t cover, and we can feed this back to the implementation group.

We really hope you’ll find this planning tool useful. It’s been revised several times, most recently following a discussion at the SLG Scotland Networking event at the Mitchell Library in June 2019. We’d love to know what you think, and to get your feedback on how you’ve used the tool – you can comment below, or email

Happy planning!

VLTS planning tool

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