Supported by


St John Fisher Catholic College Newcastle-under-Lyme


uring the first lockdown in spring 2020, the library was used as a base for key workers’ children and vulnerable pupils to come into school so its librarian Rose Edwards right was

redeployed on to other services. Whilst at home, she “scoured the internet” for important

opportunities to engage the children with. “With the lockdown there were a lot of authors and publishers keen to get their books and websites with extra links for free to pupils who were having to spend most of their time indoors, so there were opportunities for free e-readers, free audiobooks, author pages and chats as well as competitions,” she says. “You name it, I found it.” When all children returned to school in September 2020, she introduced new starters to the

library and familiarised all pupils with the online Library Management System (LMS) in case of further lockdowns. She also got pupils set up on an online system through which they could publish book reviews and now more than 800 have been written in the last academic year, for which they were rewarded with handcrafted certificates and chocolate. When the lockdown started again in January, Edwards stayed full time in the library. Pupils

who were in school could reserve books at home on the LMS, and come and collect from her, similar to the click and collect services running in many of the public libraries. Edwards made bookmarks for pupils to choose from each time they collected books to further incentivise borrowing. She also launched a library newsletter featuring input from authors and showcasing new library stock, which is now a regular fortnightly fixture. Many parents came to collect books their child had reserved but Edwards also delivered some on

her way home to self-isolating students, driven by her husband (as she is unable to drive). “Perhaps I should have sent my husband out on the minibus as a mobile library delivery service—that’s a thought for the future,” she says.


Midlothian Scottish Lowlands


idlothian is one of Scotland’s fastest growing authorities and one of the smallest on the mainland. There are nine

libraries in Midlothian, all are council-run with four local branches and five community hubs. The Danderhall branch opened in April 2021 and is a £17m shared facility and community hub with primary school, leisure facilities, library and café. Over lockdown, the service focused on online

services as well as offering a reserve and collect service and a mobile library but there were also several examples of innovative collaborations. Annabel Cavaroli, acting customer services

manager for libraries and registration services at Midlothian Council, says: “We worked in partnership with the British Red Cross to deliver books and resources to people who were shielding and vulnerable. We also worked with the Midlothian Community Fire Team to get resources to children who were home schooling. There were roughly three members of Fire Team staff involved and nearly 100 children and families were reached and

provided with books.” Midlothian is one of many councils which has

put an end to library fines. “We were delighted that the council approved the removal of fines and hire charges as it’s such a barrier to access,” Cavaroli says. “It’s a really progressive step in terms of providing the best service to our communities.” Midlothian is gradually reintroducing its services

with Bookbug sessions running since May while its Braw Blether bibliotherapy sessions resumed a face-to-face service last month. Cavaroli believes the service has emerged well

post-pandemic. “I think generally our service will be changed in a very positive way. We have worked collaboratively with a number of services which has been good and we hope to foster and maintain these relationships going forward.”

A rhyming picture book that will inspire a love of words and stories in even the most reluctant readers

Gabby Dawnay,

bestselling author of If I had a Dinosaur

Ian Morris, one of the

Association of Illustrators’ Top Upcoming Image Makers

‘Glorious!’ Chris Riddell



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