In the spring of 2017 John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, announced the Scottish Government’s intention to develop the first ever national strategy for school libraries. This announcement followed a period of close consultation with SLIC, who were subsequently commissioned by Mr Swinney to lead the development of the strategy. The school library strategy is due to be published in summer 2018, ahead of the start of the new school year.
The school library survey focuses on gathering quantitative data, allowing SLIC to develop a comprehensive understanding of school library service provision across Scotland. The SLIC team considered international and UK examples, combined with field visit experiences, to develop sets of survey questions that will provide a strong understanding of the school library landscape in Scotland.
The surveys were tested by school library and local authority staff in January and February 2018, prior to being sent out to all primary and secondary schools nationwide in February 2018 via our School Key Contacts list (one chosen representative for each of 32 local authorities).
There is a considerable body of international evidence showing that school libraries impact on: higher test scores equating to academic attainment; successful curriculum or learning outcomes, including digital and information literacy; and positive attitudes towards learning. However, there is no national data source regarding the provision of school library services.
In order to inform the strategy and address the information gap that exists with respect to Scottish school libraries, SLIC has developed a survey for all schools to complete. The SLIC team considered international and UK examples, combined with field visit experiences and testing with local authority and school library staff to develop a set of survey questions that will provide a strong understanding of the school library landscape in Scotland.
The survey identifies five key areas for school libraries, in line with the Curriculum for Excellence:
- Digital and Information Literacy
- Literacy and Reader Development
- Health and Wellbeing
- Digital Creativity
- Curriculum-based Learning
In addition, the survey gives respondents the opportunity to outline what data collection and impact measurement they are undertaking at their school library, and whether they are in the process of implementing the ‘How Good is Our School Library’ framework.
The focus of this survey is on quantitative data - the facts and figures that will provide a baseline for SLIC’s ongoing work in school libraries. By answering the survey questions as accurately as possible, you will enable SLIC to best identify challenges, opportunities and successes within school libraries at a national level, positioning us strongly for further work in the future.
We understand that your time is valuable and have endeavoured to ask the most necessary questions to create a comprehensive data baseline. It is our hope that this survey will reach the right hands in every Scottish school or local authority to ensure this baseline is as accurate as possible.
The School Library will be open for submissions until Saturday the 31st of March. Responses can be edited during this timeframe. Completed surveys can be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted via SurveyMonkey.