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Ask Alex: How do I encourage departments to use the school library?

Category: Blog, Branches and Groups

Dear Alex,

How can I encourage different departments in the school to use the library and resources? Even the English department only visits occasionally.

You’ve asked a very important question! A well-stocked and expertly catalogued library is pointless without users. Here are a few suggestions to help increase your usage.

Get to know school staff

The best way to encourage staff to utilize the library is to develop relationships with them. Don’t hide behind your reference desk in the library! Be brave and venture into the staff room and talk with staff about their current topics and what they’re planning. Ask to have five minutes at a school in-service day to talk about what services you offer in the library – many staff will be pleasantly surprised by how you can help them. Likewise, be sure to introduce yourself to new members of staff and give them a wee tour of the library. Show them how the school library can help them.

Advertise your stock

Inform staff about stock that would appeal specifically to them. A monthly email highlighting new purchases is helpful. If nothing else, provide heads of department a yearly inventory of new books that you’ve purchased with their department in mind and ask for additional suggestions. Compile topic boxes and carry them to classrooms to show to teachers – make it as easy as possible for teachers to use your service.

Encourage groups to use the library space

Is the school computer lab always booked? Remind teachers that you have PCs available in the library. Is Maths Week looming? Offer to host a maths treasure hunt in the library. Does Biology need somewhere sunny to place Petri dishes? Let them use a sunny windowsill in the library! Or not…ew. Is S2 learning about graphic design in art? Encourage them to reimagine classic book covers, and then host an art gallery in the library.

Make it happen

Create a reputation for yourself of being a magician. Teachers will appreciate knowing they can reliably turn to you for suggestions and help with projects. Quite often they will have a seed of an idea, and you can water it with information resources to make it blossom!





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