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From the general to the specific: advocating for school libraries. Some of this information had been shared at SLF13, but as already stated, with advocacy, you’ve got to share and keep on sharing.

Much of this session focused on what’s been happening of late:

  • contact with Education Scotland promoting the impact of LRC Managers on the curriculum
  • space on the CILIPS website to promote impact of learning and teaching, and raise expectations of what a school librarian can do for a school
  • the RGU literature search on impact of school libraries
  • a snapshot audit of LRCMs in Scotland via a Freedom of Information request

This last point was especially interesting, providing the information that there are still nine central School Library Services in Scotland (including one established in 2012!); that the majority of school librarians are professionally qualified; that it is difficult to analyse remuneration because every authority is different; that budgets are generally holding up; and that two authorities did not reply at all and will be followed up. Very useful to have stark data from which to build your arguments.

Cleo Jones explained how Edinburgh librarians had advocated with impact statements, DVDs, support from colleagues, and lobbied to parent councils, school management and councillors. Despite a policy of retaining full-time qualified librarians in every school, their posts were again under threat, underlining the earlier point made by Barbara Band – YOU CAN’T STOP ADVOCATING – YOU’VE GOT TO KEEP TALKING.

In this instance, school librarians now have an additional tool in the RGU report on the impact of school librarians, complete with its funky graphic.

Impact of School Libraries (SLIC, 2013)

Impact of School Libraries (SLIC, 2013) Used with permission.

 The challenges: could your school management explain to a third party what the librarian does? ; do parents know the role school librarians play in school? ; do we let people know what we do?

Presentations from the Autumn Gathering are available here.

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