Snapshot of a School Library During COVID-19 #8

School libraries during covid

A Teacher Librarian at a school in WA shared the story about how their school library has responded to COVID-19.

Due to personal circumstances I was able to volunteer to supervise/teach the students of essential services parents that remained at the school. The number was small about 10-14 and the library is large enough to allow for students to spread out. This allowed other staff to focus on getting their online learning up and running.

The major benefits:
Most important: The students were happy, content, extremely well behaved, patient and showed resilience. They were all in a very familiar space that they know as a comforting, relaxing space. And they were thankful. I got to know students on a much deeper level and I was thanked everyday.

Staff were appreciative: It was appreciated. It was valued. And gave staff a break.

Parents: very appreciative, though we didn’t succeed on finishing every task the students went home happy having worked, played, read, and interacted kindly with each other. No arguments between siblings at all!

Our Library assistant was used within classrooms at this time due to the need elsewhere and the need to reduce contact between students and too many others.

The major tasks achieved during this time:

Copyright: keeping staff up to date with copyright issues.

Online learning: creating videos and tasks for students at home and for teachers: navigating library home screen, encyclopaedias, ClickView, Sora/Overdrive

Creating read aloud videos of books that follow our library curriculum i.e., the ones I would use if we were at school to improve students' engagement with literature.

Quarantining books when returned and shelving

Finding resources for teachers/parents: any resources that have been shared I have passed on to staff, though I try not to overwhelm them with too many emails, I try to wait till someone has collated a list and then pass it on.

The Response from students and staff:

School staff have been appreciative. I believe they realise the work load and the need to keep things running smoothly. They have been considerate of what can be achieved by one person.

Students both at home and in school have enjoyed the library lessons being created and the support that could be offered to all.

Final thoughts

It has been a tiring and yet very rewarding time. My focus has been only on the students and their well being. This has then followed through to the staff and parents' wellbeing.

Please note, not everyone would be in the personal situation that I have found myself in being able to supervise students and work long hours to make sure that library lessons are still running smoothly. I firmly believe that this should be voluntary at this time as everybody’s personal situation is so different.

Every other library task has been put on the back burner. No cataloguing, no displays designed for when library reopens, no enhancement of library programmes, no spur of the moment ideas to engage students, no stocktaking. I have gone back to the bare basics of “what do I need the students to know by the time they get back”, what books do I need to expose them to to continue with sharing the love of reading. How can I continue to share this love of reading?

Biggest learning curve/learning curve (failure) : hyperlinks don’t copy and paste! If you are trying to be super organised then this is not the best method!!!

If you would like to let us know what your school library is doing during COVID-19, you can let us know here.



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