I miss my library. Don’t we all? I’m a school librarian at Preston Lodge (PL) High School in Prestonpans, East Lothian, so my days are usually hectic (in a good way). Don’t get me wrong, they can still be hectic: my partner and I are working from home while homeschooling our children, age 4 and 10. I work full-time and my partner works part-time. She’s an Art Psychotherapist, which is tricky to do online with Zoom and assorted digital platforms. I left school a week earlier than the other staff and students; a high temperature meant a week of self-isolation and it was during this time the schools were closed
So, what does a School Librarian do while working from home? Well, much of the same. Maintaining and developing relationships with students is paramount, so my first thought was ‘How will I do this from home?’ We have full access to Google’s G- Suite so I decided to keep The Book Group (PL Page Turners) and the Creative Writing Group (The Society of Fictitious Writing) going. Since we’re unable to read the same book, we talk about the books each of us are reading, recommend books, eat biscuits, and generally catch up with one another. The Creative Writing Group receives weekly challenges and I currently have a student writing a comedy script set in a monastery! We’re looking forward to having a read-through (with auditions!) when it’s finished. It’s good to see everyone.
It’s a strange feeling, welcoming new pupils to the library when we’re not actually in the library. It must be even stranger for the new S1s, unable to experience the full transition experience. However, the transition team are doing a great job creating an online programme. To help, I created a Virtual Library Escape Room. If you like, you can play here. Good luck! I’m also designing a virtual PL Library on Minecraft to share with the new S1s as part of their transition. If they can’t get to the library, I’ll bring the library to them.
Much of the same work continues, only online: collating digital resources for the curriculum, promoting reading for pleasure, sourcing eBooks and eAudiobooks from our own collection and from the many free subscriptions currently on offer, supporting staff and students with subject-specific resources, providing guidance on how to access our online newspapers, writing competitions, mental health tips, author events, and information literacy. The next step is planning for the return to school in August and supporting the blended learning approach.
My son had his 10th birthday during lockdown. No party, but plenty of games, cake and socially distanced visits from family and friends. He’s been learning to play the guitar and feedback from neighbours suggests he’s doing very well. Last week, I introduced him to The Fall. He loves them. Parenting win! We live next to the Water of Leith so we’re fortunate to have plenty of woodland and secret nooks to explore. Sometimes we even take the kids.
Featured image by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash.