What does a school librarian do anyway? part 1

With school library services being cut, school librarian hours being trimmed back and possibly even removed entirely there is a growing concern with explaining to a wider audience what we do and the value of it. So my local fellow school librarians have decided to start with us all writing a description of what we do. Mine is a bit epic so I’m going to spread it over a four posts.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

The school library is more than just books – it is at the heart of the school. As the librarian I support the whole school, try to inspire a love of reading, and help pupils learn key information literacy and study skills that will help them throughout their lives.

“The role of school librarians in the secondary sector cannot be underestimated. Their understanding of different learning styles and collaboration with teaching colleagues enables them to act as a bridge between young people, teachers, information and the curriculum. Their potential contribution towards meeting the National Priorities for Education is therefore considerable.”
– HMIe in ‘Libraries Supporting Learners’

Supporting the Curriculum

In the 2009-2010 session 806 classes used the library from 15 different departments. This number has been growing steadily since I started in 2005 and I am expecting the 2010 -2011 session to be the busiest yet.

As a librarian I teach a combination of reader development and information and study skills lessons which can be divided into:

• 3 lessons for every S5 pupil as part of Study Skills covering bibliographies, plagiarism, note taking (for study, research and lectures) and website quality.

• 4 with every S5 pupil through English to encourage them to read and improve their literacy and discursive essay research.

• A weekly hour long lesson with the S1 autistic class where we look at using the library, book ideas and basic information literacy.

• Fortnightly lesson with S1 English classes on how to use the library, book ideas and basic study skills.

• S2 English classes come once every three weeks to develop their reading and library and research skills.

• 3 lessons with every S2 French class this year so they could develop their awareness of Paris and using books to find information.

• 1 lesson with every S2 PSE class to explain the careers library and help support subject choice.

I have strong cross-curricular links not only working with multiple departments on work but also many of the themes, ideas and examples link with the work done elsewhere in school. For example my key S1 project – “Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” – covers mores more than 18 outcomes in A Curriculum for Excellence (ACfE). As might be expected most of these are in Literacy but it also includes technology and English outcomes and has links to the RMPS curriculum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *