CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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#LibrariesAreEssential Case Study – Shetland School Libraries supporting remote learning

Category: #LibrariesAreEssential, Blog, Case Studies

In this #LibrariesAreEssential series, we’ll be sharing case studies and contributions from key figures that demonstrate the vital value of Scotland’s libraries, now more than ever, as we look to a brighter future post-pandemic. For details of how to submit your own case study, please click here.

Case study kindly submitted by Tanya Odie, School Library Manager

‘School Library staff have continued to provide both academic and nurturing support to pupils and collegiate support to teaching staff. This has been possible by utilising a wide variety of digital initiatives and resources. Library Teams were set up for classes and each school has their own Virtual Library, jam-packed full of resources to help pupils with study and leisure. We heavily promoted online resources and eServices to staff and pupils, and library staff spent time dealing with all the enquiries for borrower numbers and PINs. Other technical creativities included digital Reading Rooms (sometimes including library staff avatars) where pupils could click on the book covers to watch book trailers, and some staff offered online book clubs through Teams, both for staff and pupils. Books and stories were read and shared with pupils via private YouTube channels.

We kept staff, pupils and parents fully informed of all library services through regular information sent home in the Home Learning Packs from schools, emails to parents, information on school websites and the use of social media. We offered a wide variety of World Book Day activities, from a worldwide exclusive launch of a new book set in Shetland, to videos of school staff in the style of ‘The Masked Singer’ and pupils had to guess who was reading. Library staff provided a nurturing voice for pupils, enquiring after wellbeing and offering support with schoolwork and promoting fun websites and activities.

Staff are available for pupils to contact them through Glow and dealt with numerous questions during remote learning: offering help with accessing eServices and online resources, providing research help for Advanced Higher students and general catch-ups with pupils to help with wellbeing. Where possible, School Libraries remained open to support key workers’ children and vulnerable pupils. This has meant small groups have been able to visit the library to read, borrow books, play games, watch films etc. Individual Support for Learning pupils have been able to continue with their timetabled library visits. School Libraries also supported youth workers working in schools. Furthermore, School Library staff have supported the Public Library in the delivery of book bags to island communities. Staff have also used this time to complete the Open University training on Dyslexia, which included 3 modules on dyslexia and inclusive practice.

Through the use of Glow and Teams, school staff across Shetland have felt more of a team and have shared best practice amongst schools. The focus now with the return to school is on reconnection, recovery and resilience, and school libraries will continue to support all aspects of school life.

School Library staff in Shetland have worked throughout the pandemic, in school when they could and also some working from home. They have provided an excellent and appreciated support service to their schools, using existing and (hastily learned) technology to creatively engage learners and support teaching staff. They can be rightly proud.’

Marnie Harpe, Principal Teacher Support for Learning said:

‘As an educator who supports young people with social and emotional support needs, I recently found myself delivering N4 English remotely. I approached the library for support around finding suitable articles to use for the Added Value unit and my school librarian supplied me with an invaluable leaflet that outlined all the necessary information to access a number of online resources. After a conversation by phone she also highlighted ‘Complete Issues’ as being most suitable for my needs. This support allowed me to find what I needed very quickly and also in a form that I could share with the learners who were working from home. The support of the library staff was invaluable!’

Kevin Gillick, Youth Development Worker added:

‘Huge thank you for all your help with DofE, LGBT+ and our wee guy – you have been phenomenal as usual! I really do appreciate all the library does for both me and the young people/groups I support – you are LEGENDS!’

lockdown didn’t stop Shetland School Libraries from supporting learning, literacy and lots of online fun – this case study of their resilient response to the pandemic is another reason why School #LibrariesAreEssential!

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