#80 Innovation


Innovation is a state of mind. Many librarians are innovative, and many are not. So what does ‘innovative’ mean?

For me, an innovative professional is one who is constantly looking at the services they provide, with a view to improving them. This might be with the use of new technologies, new ways of looking at services, the introduction of entirely new services, or occasionally re-introducing older methods of service delivery.

What would I class as innovation in the library sphere? Anything that encourages pupil participation: blogs for book reviews, blogs for library service updates that encourage comment, surveys, conversation, communication of any sort. Anything that broadens the librarian’s mind: creation of curricular link collections, communication with teaching staff, cpd research, networking activity, thinking time. There are technologies that could be used creatively, almost too many to list: blogs, wikis, SMS (text your reminders), websites, library 2.0 technology, web 2.0 tools, photos, video, audio, podcasting.
Sometimes, simple little tricks can encourage pupils to read (or anything else you want them to do). I used to take the opening lines from a book and enlarge them greatly to about A2 size. I would stick this on the wall without label or comment. It was amazing how many pupils would ask what it was and demand to see the book.

Innovation is all about looking for the angle that will improve the service, never about the use of gimmicks or technology for its own sake.

And it can make a difference!


#9 National & Regional Initiatives

National Initiatives

It’s always good to know what the current ‘big picture’ is within your profession. In school librarianship, this means looking beyond the library sphere, and includes the national curriculum.

It is useful to do a regular trawl of websites and leaflets that may be in your ‘non-urgent’ tray to see what’s actually happening out there. It’s also useful to record this activity, and one simple way to do that is with a blog.

This format has many advantages. It is easy to setup (see guide here). You can share your knowledge with your fellow professionals; let your regional contacts know where your blog is. It keeps a permanent CPD record of your research activity.

It may come to the attention of librarians in other countries via your blog host’s search or tagging facility. It may even be of interest to teaching staff in your institution; make sure it’s linked from the school website.



Short List of Websites: National Initiatives UK


School Library Association Weblog & News


Learning & Teaching Scotland


Scottish Government: Education & Training


BBC News: Education


Times Educational Supplement


National Curriculum for England


Welsh Assembly: Education & Skills


Department of Education: Northern Ireland


Scottish Library & Information Council


Curriculum Online


BUBL Education Links


Strongest Links for UK School Librarians


International Association Of School Librarianship