CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study – Ardrossan Academy

The following case study was provided by Linda Vaughan, Learning Community Librarian, Ardrossan Academy

Raising attainment

Attainment is not only about academic achievement.  For some pupils, the distance travelled and personal development are more important.  The Library has a role in this at Ardrossan Academy through providing opportunities for personal development in Library groups and activities.

One example is the Library Development Group (LDG).  The LDG is a forum for pupils to suggest improvements, stock etc. but also encourages pupils to develop their skills in verbal communication, creativity, negotiation, and feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.

Pupils with varied levels of academic achievement are encouraged to volunteer and contribute to the development of the Library, thus providing a balanced view on service development.

Members of the LDG have also helped with World Book Day events e.g. posters to publicise events; leader board for 5 minutes speed read challenge.  This reinforces that they have a positive contribution to make to the LDG.  They thrive on being involved and taking responsibly for parts of events.

One member of the LDG said “I feel like you [librarian] actually listen to us and take our ideas seriously”.  A teacher praised the initiative “The LDG is a great way to involve pupils in the Library and develop their skills outside the classroom”.

Digital skills

Digital literacy is one of the key skills which must be developed through Curriculum for Excellence.  The Library is in a great position to work with departments to achieve this and embed the learning across the curriculum.

At Ardrossan Academy, internet searching sessions were provided for every S1 pupil during computing class time as part of their syllabus.  The session was a period long using an activity, questions and answers, and class discussion to aid learning.  The topics covered were negotiated with the department to tailor the session to their needs – what is the internet, using a search engine effectively and evaluating information found on the internet.

The idea was to equip pupils with skills in using the internet for computing classes but also emphasising that the skills transferred to other curriculum areas. This was very successful with positive feedback from teachers and pupils.

One pupil said “I learned how to use Google better.  I will get better hits now”.  One of the computing teachers commented “The pupils were fully engaged and responded so well to you [librarian]. The lesson flowed really well and I learned something too!”

Information Literacy

The IL programme covers the key skills:

  • Using the Library Catalogue
  • Using the Reference Collection
  • Research skills
  • Using the Internet
  • Using search engines
  • Bibliography writing
  • Writing Skills
  • Note-taking skills

Sessions often are mix and match to meet the needs of the individual classes and subjects.  For example, a senior class only needed a reminder of research tips and using the internet/search engines, so the 3 sessions were condensed into one to meet the demand.  Materials are also amended to suit the ability of classes, and also customised to provide subject relevance.

Materials for all the sessions – lesson plans, exercises and handouts – are made available to staff to include with their own class materials to cover topics within their subject curriculum.  This has proved popular as teachers can dip in and out of materials when needed and incorporate skills development in subject specific learning.

The IL programme has raised the profile of the Librarian and created a high demand for bookings (last year up almost 50%). A pupil commented on a bibliography session “It’s easy when you see how. The handout is really useful”.  A teacher commented “It’s good for the pupils to learn these skills from an information professional”.