The library is an integral part of every school but unfortunately, there’s still a common belief that a school librarian’s only job is to check out books and provide a quiet place to read. Many are unaware of the librarian’s expert skill set and the range of resources available to staff and students.
In this digital world and with so many schools investing in online resources a vital part of the role of the library and librarian is to provide:
- support for the curriculum through collaboration with teachers
- teaching of digital and information literacy skills
- support with independent research and critical thinking skills
- access to trusted online resources
This provision is essential in transforming students into successful digital citizens prepared for higher education and the working world.
This week the UK School Library Association launched the #proudlibraryprovision campaign asking schools to make sure their library is mentioned on their website.
This campaign provides an important opportunity for librarians to revisit the library page on their school website, or indeed create one – and refocus it to become a tool to advocate for the library and the critical role of the librarian.
Librarians need to shout loudly about the importance of the library everywhere they can. By showcasing the range of resources available, the important literacy skills taught by the librarian and how they support the curriculum on the school website, librarians can reach students, teachers, senior management, parents and the wider community – and Ofsted inspectors!
In this blog we have selected some examples from our customers who are using their webpage to promote their library and everything it does to support students…
Headington School Library (Oxford, UK)
The Headington School Library webpage is a great example of expanding visitors’ views of their library. They start with the strong statement “Headington School Library is not just a room that houses books” which sets the tone for the rest of the page!
They then explain how the library is integrated into the curriculum and gives opening hours.
It mentions the number of books, and the range of online databases “required by a serious academic institution” before listing the latest technology found in the library.
They also proudly show their School Library Inspiration Award received in 2017. Highlighting any awards or specific achievements of the library and/or the librarian is a great way to further emphasise the quality teaching and resources students receive through the library.
Brisbane Grammar School Library (Australia)
Brisbane Grammar School Library is an excellent example of how to highlight the skills that the library instils in students.
They start the page by sharing the aim of the library “to empower and transform learners by providing opportunities for critical thinking, meaningful creation of knowledge and a deeper understanding of complex world issues” and how they achieve this “by connecting learners to high quality resources, and engaging them in rich and meaningful tasks in a collaborative environment.”
Then they explain why critical thinking skills are essential and the importance of creating a positive digital presence.
Cardinal Gibbons High School (North Carolina, USA)
Cardinal Gibbons High School Library page provides links to five different pages: social, resources, news, gallery, and about us.
Under resources they list the databases, online tools and miscellaneous resources they provide. This is a great way to promote your resources and ensure staff and students (and parents) know what is available.
When a library has invested in online resources it is so important to promote them to ensure they are used to their full potential – your website is an important place to do this.
When you click on the resource you see further information about it and the content it offers. It also links to the about page on the resource website for more detail. Actual access to the resources is obviously protected for student and staff use only.
North London Collegiate School Library (London, UK)
North London Collegiate School Library page is a great example of showcasing the specialist knowledge that librarians have and the work they do to support essential skills research skills for students. “Librarians offer classes on conducting research avoiding plagiarism, searching the Internet effectively and creating bibliographies and writing abstracts”.
They also highlight the practical applications of these skills “in classwork, homework, coursework, the EPQ or the International Baccalaureate extended essay…”
The page then links to a dedicated library website with further information specifically for staff and students at the school.
Other points you could include on your website:
- If you’ve recently attended or spoken at a conference, or completed a training course that furthers your expertise and will help you better support your students.
- Specific projects the library supports – for example if you regularly collaborate with the EPQ Co-ordinator or a specific department. This might also encourage other departments to start working more closely with the library. See our recent blog on collaboration between the EPQ Coordinator and the librarian at St Benedict’s School.
- Any stats or student results that provide evidence as to the success of the library.
- What do your students think of the library? Use quotes from students on why the library is important to them.
- A link to your school library Twitter account.
The JCS 2019 Conference Digital Literacy in Schools: building capabilities provides another opportunity for librarians to raise their voice about the important work they do in preparing students for an ever-changing digital environment. The programme combines specialists in the field of information and digital literacy as well as teachers and librarians showcasing practical initiatives and interventions that are making a real difference in their school.