CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Discussion from our October ‘Vent Event’

Category: Branches and Groups

During the break-out session of our recent ‘Vent Event’, we posed the following questions to our members.  We were inspired by the responses, and as always, impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness of our fellow school librarians.

What has been positive this term? 

  • Getting through the cataloguing backlog! 
  • Working with other librarians on a digital transition project for the new S1s: School Librarians’ Guide to Oz  
  • Having to put books in quarantine means paying more attention to what pupils touch if they browse, and the findings have been surprising: pupils look at more non-fiction than I realised.
  • Getting to know pupils a bit better because you have more time to spend with the ones who are coming in. 
  • Actually getting to take proper breaks during the working day and spend time with other adults.
  • I’ve had more communication from my line manager, who’s made a point of saying he’s appreciative of what I did during lockdown.

Different challenges? 

  • Teachers had a very clear-cut job to do when lockdown began: school librarians didn’t have the same remit, and there was little to no direction from school  
  • Missing the pupils – the numbers of pupils school librarians deal with every day has gone down.
  • Having to police mask-wearing  
  • Lack of communication from some senior management teams meant that plans for the library after schools resumed in Autumn weren’t discussed with librarians 

 New opportunities?  

  • I was able to expand a role I already had, as a Glow administrator.
  • There’s more excitement about getting access to the library from some pupils as its novel/a rarer treat now.  

What has changed? 

  • Not being able to provide the library as a safe space to the pupils who need it – it’s heart-breaking to turn pupils away and it feels like undoing the work it’s taken years to build up.
  • Some school libraries haven’t been allowed to reopen to pupils at all, or have become a study space for senior pupils.
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