In September 2017 the Scottish Government announced the introduction of the School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF). SLIF aims to support innovative school library projects throughout Scotland and is available to all state run schools. Over the next three years the Scottish Government has pledged a total of £1million to the fund.
In the first round of funding £100,000 was awarded to 15 projects throughout Scotland. These included pioneering schemes such as a teenage sensory reading programme in the Highlands and a mental health and wellbeing initiative in Clackmannanshire.
The successful bids not only reflect the popularity of this new funding stream but the sheer variety of projects happening in the Scottish school library sector.
You can find more details of the individual awards below or learn more about applying for SLIF.
Book Connections: Intergenerational Reading Project
Book Connections established a shared reading programme involving pupils from city secondary schools, primary schools and elderly care home residents. The project enabled older pupils to support younger pupils with their reading as well as undertake shared reading with care home residents.
using collections of picture books and supporting materials, Pupils were encouraged to create book bags and dementia awareness items which were then made available for city-wide loan. In addition, pupils were trained in storytelling techniques and dementia awareness to support the overall aims of the project.
Healthy Libraries: Shelf Help and the School Library
The main aim of Shelf Help and the School Library was to create a toolkit for School Libraries in the area. Continual Personal Development (CDP) training events for library and teaching staff were held on how to improve library space and the best ways to develop and promote a Shelf Help area to support mental health & wellbeing.
Throughout the project schools across the city were encouraged to 'Rave and Wave' on social media - reading and sharing the best fiction and non-fiction Shelf Help books. The project looked at ways of engaging pupils and staff in reading for pleasure to support and improve their own mental health.
Inspiring Improvement in School Libraries
The focus of this project was developing the skills and knowledge of school managers - enabling them to make informed, evidence-based decisions on resourcing their school libraries. It provided a fresh opportunity to update schools on the developing range of services and resources available through library services to support learning and teaching.
Mental Health & Wellbeing Collection Development
Raising awareness of health and wellbeing issues was at the heart of this project which involved both primary and secondary schools in the area. A collection of books and resources on mental health and wellbeing was created for each secondary school library whilst age appropriate resources were created and shared between local primary schools.
Throughout the project libraries provided access to information, support and advice on a large number of mental health and wellbeing issues. This raised awareness of health and wellbeing issues in schools through enhancing personal support and empowering children and young people to understand, manage and improve their health and wellbeing via self-help reading.
Mental Health First Aid Kit and Graphic Novels
The main aim of this project was to equip libraries with a supply of resources to help pupils experiencing issues with their mental health and wellbeing. The First Aid Kits give pupils the opportunity to borrow a range of resources which offer distraction, support, and advice to help them. Resources, which include movies, books, colouring-in and writing materials, have all been well received in schools.
Shelf Help gave pupils in East Dunbartonshire a way to express themselves and see that, through fiction and shared reading/writing, they are not alone.
The project involved three strands. Firstly, pupils were asked to write about a book which helped them through a difficult time. The results were made into a booklet for all pupils.
Librarians and pupils then produced online fiction reading lists featuring characters dealing with mental health and wellbeing issues.
Lastly, schools in the area hosted teen mental health experts who spoke to S3 pupils about mental health awareness.
Not only did the project give pupils a platform to express themselves, it opened up a dialogue on teen mental health that identified the school library as a key resource for health and wellbeing.
East Lothian Literacy Festival
The main aim of hosting a literacy festival throughout the six high schools in East Lothian was to break down barriers which reluctant learners and those who are socially excluded and disengaged face.
The festival used graphic novels and health and wellbeing materials in school libraries to raise self-esteem and wellbeing amongst pupils, contributing to a rise in attainment.
Held in the Year of Young People 2018 the literacy festival was led by young people in conjunction with school librarians. Workshops around graphic novels and health and wellbeing also took place in each secondary school.
The focus of this large scale project was to encourage as many pupils as possible to read topics related to social subjects.
Social subject pop up libraries were developed to promote the personal reading of around 900 pupils throughout East Renfrewshire - strengthening the working relationship between the school library and social subjects departments.
This led to libraries offering resources on specific classroom topics and helped pupils develop critical thinking skills - sharing their experiences with peers, parents and beyond.
School Librarians Raising Achievement of Children and Young People with English as an Additional Language
Improving the literacy skills of children and young people with English as an Additional Language (EAL) lay at the heart of this ambitious project.
Initially, an Advisory Board of EAL young people was created to help to develop reading collections and recruit a Writer in Residence.
The Writer in Residence then worked with every secondary school and two primary schools in the Falkirk area. A book exploring the central theme of identity was then produced by all pupils who took part in the project.
Teenage Sensory Reading Programme
The main focus on this project was on raising attainment in literacy within an Additional Support Needs/ Support for Learning context.
Sensory reading groups were established to explore a sensory reading programme - allowing pupils to engage in all types of reading materials. Multisensory techniques – which can aid learning – were also used to encourage literacy progression.
Makerspace @ PGCC: Equipping young people with the skills needed for their future
A Makerspace in Inverclyde’s Learning Resource Centre was established to equip young people with creative and social skills. Using fun and engaging learning methods, the Makerspace delivered project-based activities, promoted problem-solving skills and contributed positively to the social wellbeing of students.
The Learning Resource Centre is in the Port Glasgow Community Campus and offers a shared library between three schools – Port Glasgow High School, St Stephen’s High School and Craigmarloch School. As such, the new Makerspace promotes the use of the school library as a learning hub for both students and staff.
Magic Torch Masterclass
As part of this innovative project pupils at Inverclyde Academy produced their own graphic novel. Working with Magic Torch comics, pupils researched a real historical event before bringing it life through their own words and art. The project concluded with a comic launch, showcasing the pupils’ achievements.
Our School Library
The Our School Library project empowered young people to contribute to literacy development and shape the future of their own school library.
Based in Largs Academy Library / Campus Library Resource Centre, the project offered each P7 and S1 class a budget to produce a list of books for the school library. This motivated pupils in their own learning and to champion the books they chose.
The new Resource Centre supports the learning of over 1600 young people with three primary schools and one secondary sharing a learning campus.
Breaking Down Barriers - Reading Enjoyment for All
Fostering a life-long love of reading for enjoyment was the main aim of the Scottish Borders project. The initiative increased the range of resources currently available to pupils including non-fiction books and accessible texts.
By targeting primary school pupils, the scheme hoped to associate reading with pleasure at a young age.
The Library Links project developed ties between public libraries and schools, supporting the development of a more formal partnership. This involved several library and school staff training opportunities, including class workshops, awareness sessions and literacy information meetings.
This ultimately resulted in increased reader development activities as well as the promotion of ongoing information literacy sessions.