Scotland’s first School Library Strategy is going from strength-to-strength, with the announcement of a Chair to lead developments.
Martina McChrystal, Director of Library Services at the University of Glasgow, has been appointed as Chair of the National School Library Strategy Advisory Group. She will be responsible for leading the development of the strategy over the coming months working closely with a wide range of stakeholders.
The aim of the School Library Strategy is to improve the role of school libraries and librarians in literary skills and educational attainment. It will include national guidance for service provision to help deliver consistency across the country. The Strategy will be agreed and published later this year, ahead of the new academic year.
Martina brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in library and information services for over 30 years. She is currently responsible for supporting learning and research through library services and extensive collections at the University of Glasgow. She was previously Libraries and Information Services Manager at The City of Edinburgh Council and led on the early stages of service transformation to integrate community and secondary school libraries. Martina has also provided expert advice for Scotland’s national public library strategy, Ambition and Opportunity: A National Strategy for Scotland’s Public Libraries 2015-2020.
Martina said: “The school library strategy is a clear indication of the value of libraries in supporting literacy and learning. I am looking forward to working with SLIC and a wide range of stakeholders to help ensure we deliver a robust, relevant and game-changing strategy for school libraries in Scotland.”
The Scottish Library and Information Council is providing secretariat support for development of the new strategy. The Advisory Group will facilitate cross-sector contributions to its content, including those from pupils, parents, teachers and librarians. A range of organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), COSLA and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) will also contribute to the formation of the strategy.
The first awards from the Scottish Government’s School Library Improvement Fund, administered by SLIC, have also been allocated, with 15 services throughout Scotland receiving money from the new funding stream. The awards will fund innovative projects countrywide including a mental health and wellbeing initiative in Clackmannanshire, a literacy festival in East Lothian and a teenage sensory reading programme in the Highlands. You can read more about the SLIF Awards 2017 and how to apply in our funding pages.
SLIF was launched in September 2017 by the Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney and is designed to enhance library provision at schools. The Scottish Government has pledged a total of £1million to the fund over the next three years.
John Swinney said: "I am delighted to appoint Martina McChrystal as Chair of the National School Library Strategy advisory group. She brings a wealth of experience to the role which will help to empower school libraries and librarians to play their part in improving literacy skills and educational attainment throughout Scotland.
“Research shows that school libraries which are well-resourced and well-run make a huge contribution to education and learning which is why we have developed the new national strategy for school libraries supported by £1 million of investment over the next three years.”
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC added: “School libraries have a vital role to play in the educational attainment of children and young people. The new national strategy, along with the SLIF, will help school libraries to formalise and cement their role in learning and education. We welcome Martina’s appointment to provide leadership for the cross-sector advisory group, which will ensure we have valuable input from organisations and individuals involved in libraries, schools and education.”