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#LibrariesAreEssential Case Study – Teamwork at Holyrood Secondary School

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 Fiona Kindness, School Librarian at Holyrood Secondary

‘What a year of challenges this has been! #LibrariesAreEssential has become truer than ever. At Holyrood, we felt it was vital that pupils didn’t miss out on using the library both for socialising and reading, so we had to adapt.

Taking the Library to the Playground

Social distancing is a big challenge at Holyrood, with our school roll of 2100 pupils. During August to October, I joined the staff rota to help supervise the new intake of S1 at lunchtimes. This was perfect for getting to know the pupils and providing a ‘personal shopper’ book service outdoors. The experience has helped me to tailor the service to suit S1 pupils’ needs this year, and I loved my time out in the playground!

Taking our Library Club Online

A survey by our Parental Engagement Group found that parents were very pleased with the School’s remote learning provision, but also that children were missing their friends and would like an online space for leisure activities. Moving our Library Club online, using Microsoft Teams, has helped with this. I began by including polls to find out what the pupils would enjoy. The Library Team ‘met up’ around lunchtime most days. We chose to avoid video calls to keep things informal and to give pupils the chance to pop in and out during the day. We started by doing activities together on Teams like making origami bookmarks, sharing favourite recipes, looking at poems, author videos and recommending favourite books. Pupils were soon coming up with their own competitions and activities, such as ‘Design Your Own Book Character’ for World Book Day.

Another example of a pupil led activity was a Book Quiz, created and hosted by Anna in S1. This was such a lovely event, and we ended up sharing not only book knowledge, but also favourite book memories together too. Both myself, and my colleague, our PT Literacy were so impressed by everyone’s expertise (and we managed to get some questions right too!) Engagement has grown steadily since our Library Team’s launch in February. With so many good ideas coming from the pupils, we’ve made over 200 posts and replies together so far. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a friendly, welcoming group. I am delighted by the pupils’ enthusiasm, creativity, and support for one another.

Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

Our S3 Volunteers have been a fantastic help with the Library Team projects, particularly at the start when we were just setting up and trying out new things. They also helped judge the competition entries.

Onwards and Upwards

Our pupils’ enthusiasm has shown that libraries really are essential, enabling everyone to have access to books and a safe space to socialise, either in person or online. The silver lining from lockdown is that we’ve all learned new skills and enjoyed working together so much. We plan to continue with our Library Team, although we are also happy to be back in school and borrowing books again!


‘I love how the pupils are taking such a leadership role! I am so impressed that many of the competitions are created by our own students.’

Ms Longo, PT Literacy


‘Thanks for the Quiz, Anna – that brought back happy memories . Books are my life!’

Bilal, S1 pupil


‘Delighted to hear how well our Bronze DofE participants have adapted their volunteering. As they can’t attend the library, they have been assisting our librarian in online meetings, learning how to use Teams to reach out to library users.’

Duke of Edinburgh Award Co-ordinator, Holyrood Secondary


a pencil drawing of a teenage girl jumping in the air, accompanied by a short story introduction

Well, does he?! As this and all the incredible examples above can attest, School #LibrariesAreEssential to young people’s literacy, learning and creativity.

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