This week on the SLIC blog CEO Pamela Tulloch talks about lockdown, libraries and the digital offers available.
Since the end of May Scotland has started to see lockdown slowly ease. These are tentative steps into a brave new world. However, for some time to come our pandemic digital library service will continue to be our safe space. Over the last number of weeks libraries across Scotland have been ramping up their digital offer to provide users with access to information, reading material, audiobooks, music, virtual book groups, digital storytelling and so very much more. The creativity which the library staff have employed has seen online cookery tutorials, techy tea breaks and Lego competitions all appear in library social media channels, many publish daily activity calendars while others have librarians online to support users with enquiries.
The desire to provide accurate, relevant, timely online content from library services has been complemented by the enthusiastic response from library users to make full use of the augmented online offer with many services seeing a new digital audience being attracted to the library.
It is against this backdrop that Team SLIC developed a new Digital Resources for Libraries section – a handy tool for library staff to access online content to support their users through lockdown.
It provides quick and easy access to impartial and unbiased resources which can support library users who are based at home. Whether its parents trying to home school, people looking for something more creative to do with their time or help with getting back into the world of work – there’s something there for everyone. The digital resources pages have been very well received and in April alone 48% of the traffic on the SLIC website accessed these pages. This demonstrates not only the quality of the subject matter but also that the need for this type of independent curated content has been invaluable to the library sector and SLIC members.
Libraries, regardless of the organisation they are based in, have made their digital offer as flexible as possible during lockdown to ensure the needs of users are met. This has only been possible with the dedication and commitment of library staff. Library staff, for the most part, have been based at home during lockdown however this has not prevented them continuing to provide excellent customer service.
Library staff are the biggest asset which library services have. To support staff through the lockdown, Team SLIC created a resource bank for library staff who may want to use the lockdown to brush up on their Continuing Personal Development. The lockdown has given people a bit more time on their hands, time to reflect on careers (amongst other things) and the opportunity to learn new skills.
Library services are very much open just now – its only the buildings which are closed. There is always opportunity in adversity and libraries in Scotland have certainly found how to remain relevant not only during lockdown. They will be there to continue to engage and support users as we leave lockdown and beyond. SLIC will be there to support libraries every step of the way.