Snapshot of a School Library During COVID-19 #1
In a South Australian public primary school of 400 students, the school library team have been busy ensuring that their students have everything they need during the COVID-19 crisis.
The focus of the school library staff during this time has been:
- Buying more books and getting them processed and covered quickly.
- Encouraging students to borrow as many books as they wanted, especially trying to get them out of their comfort zone and choosing non-fiction books and fiction books that they might not be familiar with.
- Finding class sets of books for teachers so that students can participate in whole class book clubs.
- Organising at home access for kids to our online encyclopaedia subscription.
- Sourcing and distributing guidelines to teachers regarding reading books aloud, whether they are streamed or videoed.
- Establishing protocols for returning and borrowing books for after the school holidays (we had stopped returns and only had borrowing). That includes returning and borrowing by students who remain at school and those who are learning from home.
We kept the library open right up to the school holidays. We were open for classes to come and borrow books as well as organising packages of books for students who were already learning at home before the school holidays to come and pick up from school. We did close the library for students at lunchtimes due to the number of students in a small space and we weren’t open for ‘Fridays with families’ on Friday mornings, because parents were no longer allowed in the buildings.
What has been the result for staff and/or students? Students would have had a lot of books to read at home, especially with the extended holidays when you add the week 11 student free days. I think this would have provided students with a sense of security and comfort because we are a school with a great reading culture. The library and the library prep area is also a hub for SSOs. In a time where there was an uncertainty about what their role would be when school returns after the holidays, it provided a space for venting concerns as well as sharing ideas about best practice.
A lot of thought and consultation occurred to be able to establish a returns/borrows protocol for after the school holidays. It will be challenging dealing with the numbers of books that are going to be returned and the hygiene aspects as well.
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