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Meet the Shortlist – Christine Stewart

Scotland's library and Information Professional of the Year Shortlist. Christine Stewart, 2023. CILIPS blue and grey logo. White paper background with mixed blue confetti around the outside.

Christine Stewart, Principle Librarian at Glasgow Libraries (Reader Development & Literacy – Families and Adults).

Christine has worked closely with Education Services across all areas: Early Years, Primary and Secondary, collaborating on and driving forward initiatives that support reading and literacy development. In the last 18 months, Christine has had a key focus on working with Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge team, overseeing the development and delivery of programmes that support early intervention and family support/family learning. These developments are anchored around enabling access to information and services that support closing the attainment gap and reducing the cost of living for families. These projects include Supporting Families Project and Sharing Stories.

Supporting Families is a project that is delivered across six target early years and primary establishments in the city, and seeks to support the wellbeing and resilience of families across all areas: financial, emotional and physical. It supports skills development with a view to enhancing employability and future life chances aiming to increase social connections and reduce isolation. Using a range of methods which include the delivery of early intervention programmes, as well as direct one-to-one case load work, they link families to a range of established partners and services across the public, academic and third sector that can support their needs and overcome any barriers. Following a successful pilot in the East End of the city in 2021/22 this project has now expanded across another two areas of the city for 2022/23 and pending a successful evaluation of this phase plans are in place to roll this out citywide.

The Sharing Stories project that Christine leads on is a key programme delivered both within the Supporting Families project and across libraries. Through her recent collaboration with Education service over the last 12 months, Sharing Stories will now be a key programme offered to families in transition across a wide range of the city’s early years settings. Sharing Stories enables parents/carers of children aged 3-5 years to engage with and critically assess the research around early brain and literacy development, supporting their knowledge and understanding of the subject to better support their child’s early learning and attainment. To enable wider reach of the programme to those families who stand to benefit most, Christine has been working with Education Services, leading the development of a Train the Trainer model. This will allow key staff within Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge team to become trainers of the programme, building capacity for programme delivery with families attending Early Years settings.

Also leading on the recovery of Glasgow’s Home Library Service, an important part of that work for Christine was not only to recover the service, but to develop a framework for a more sustainable service model that would improve customer and volunteer experience and reach. This included the development of new business processes and workflow that are embedded into their core library offer and frontline delivery as well as a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that informs the continued development of the service and expansion beyond the core reading offer.

Furthermore, as the lead for ECALM, Christine is also leading a new initiative entitled Connect Engage and Retain which will allow Glasgow to test out strategy and methodology using our baseline ECALM data. This data will track how a range of interventions enable us to better connect and engage Glasgow’s families both citywide and on a targeted basis in our Literacy Hotspot areas. In order to connect ECALM families with a wide range of library services that support closing the attainment gap and mitigate the cost of living.

Within the CILIPS community, Christine maintains an interest in and follows the Public and Mobile Libraries special interest group, keeping her knowledge and awareness of the wider profession up to date via professional reading, webinars, courses and conferences. Christine continues to actively contribute to both the Libraries Early Years Strategy Group and Adult Strategy Group sharing and updating colleagues on Glasgow’s work across key areas. Christine recently attended the SLIC Public Library Strategy Implementation Group to share information on the work she is leading on around ECALM and the Connect, Engage Retain project.

Christine has enjoyed 33 years of service in Glasgow Libraries and during that time has been fortunate to have worked across a number of roles that include reference, community and school libraries. She is deeply passionate about the role of public libraries and has always strived to keep abreast of and get involved with developments in the profession that can improve her knowledge, understanding and practice. Christine firmly believes public libraries play a crucial role in supporting our children, schools, families and communities and in the current economic climate have never been more crucial to supporting the most vulnerable members of our society. After 33 years, our nominee’s resolve to keep fighting the good fight for our service and those who need librarians most has never waned and she hopes to continue doing so for a few years to come!

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