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IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Leeds Libraries West Yorkshire


S


taff at Leeds Libraries were keen to continue engaging with its younger users


who were missing out on school and many other extracurricular activities, so they created a coding project linked to literacy. “Leeds Libraries have a well- established programme of Code Clubs for younger people at sites across the cit, so we decided to move this offer online so we could continue with provision while trying to reach out to new participants too,” explains Stu Hennigan, senior librarian of stock and reader development. “Three of our librarians—Claire Duffield, Liam Garnet and Mark Kirkby—looked at how to link Code Club to literacy, reading for pleasure and our wider online #LibrariesFromHome offer, particularly our e-borrowing service and Lego Clubs. We were keen to create a project inspired by a book that was available via our e-borrowing service, so Code Club participants would be encouraged to borrow and explore the book to get ideas for their code. From this came


the theme of using The 13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton [Macmillan] as inspiration to create a multi-level platform game, where each Code Club participant could create their own level (or levels) of the treehouse.”


Hennigan believes the differ- ent levels of the treehouse in the book “offered an ideal structure” for a platform game project and enabled an ethos of team- building. He says: “Creating a multi-level game also meant this could work as a collaborative project, showcasing all our Code Club participants’ coding together in one game. The book was also selected as the theme for our online Lego Club that month, so there was an opportunit for cross-promotion of our online offer for children and young people.”


The project was “a huge success”, Hennigan says, with 212 atendees across the course of lockdown, with an average of 10 atendees per session. It also reached its original goal of boosting reading: “One of the most pleasing outcomes from the events was that The 13 Storey Treehouse became our most popular children’s e-book, with 187 loans, which was a huge posi- tive in terms of our goal of linking coding with literacy.”


IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Dún Laoghaire– Rathdown Libraries County Dublin


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ún Laoghaire–Rathdown Libraries in County Dublin, Ireland, spans eight libraries


in an area that has a population of more than 200,000, and is constantly pivoting to meet demand. Shortly before the pandemic, there had been the roll-out of a national Library Management System and delivery service, which enables borrowers to browse the collection of any library in the country and order books from there. “That, along with the abolition of fees or fines, have been the biggest and most positive developments,” Hayley Reynolds, library assistant, tells The Bookseller.


3,500


Items were ordered for collection in the first week of the library service’s Bag-a-Book collection service


As lockdown hit, the library service


LEEDS LIBRARY’S IMPOSING INTERIOR


TheBookseller.com


revamped its book borrowing offer and established a Community Call Line with the council’s Community Culture department. “We began a Book Drop Service for those cocoon- ing, and from April 2020 to June 2021, 1,919 calls were dealt with by library staff, with over 11,472 books issued,” Reynolds said. “Later, when restrictions loosened, we added a Bag-a-Book Service, where borrowers


could collect books from our doors. In its first week we received over 1,000 requests, with over 3,500 items ordered for collection.” Reynolds explains that staff “acted


as personal shoppers for customers, using their expertise to curate a selection based on preferences” and the council’s arts office teamed up with local artisans and artists to provide care packages along with the deliveries. Additionally, digital issues


increased by 108% over lockdown and there were regular online events (with more than 1,000 participants), as well as a “Need to Read” podcast, which Reynolds runs. She adds: “One constant, I feel, is


that we will always be a much-needed support for the community. Literacy levels drop among children every year over the summer holidays, and now also over lockdowns and home- schooling. In that sense, our reading initiatives such as our Spring Into StoryTime [a partnership between Irish libraries and publishers] and Summer Stars [a free national reading programme for children] will always be needed.” Reynolds also believes staff have been enlivened by the chal- lenge of lockdown: “I think the past year or so has given staff a confidence in their dynamism and their diverse skill-set that they maybe hadn’t fully realised before.”


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I think the past year or so has given staff a confidence in their dynamism and their diverse skill-set that they maybe hadn’t fully realised before Hayley Reynolds, library assistant


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