Stromness Academy Library

Books, reading and life in a school library

We’re Back!


Welcome back to Stromness Academy, and to the school library. I would love to say it will be business as usual, but it isn’t, however I hope I can make your use of the library as a space for personal reading, study, and as a ‘break-out’ social area as comfortable and easy as possible (minus the soft seating, sadly) under the circumstances – even if you just want to have a chat about anything, be it video games, Dungeons & Dragons, books, films, your new kitten, or just a general natter.

It has been a long few months with plenty of ups and downs for us all, adult and student alike. I hope many of you have managed to get plenty of reading done, but don’t stress if you haven’t. I have seen commented in social media, that reading, for whatever reason had been a struggle for some, myself included.

Since we went into lockdown and beyond, I have still been working, albeit predominantly at home. What, you may ask, can a school librarian do at home? Aren’t libraries all about the books? Well, just to give you a peedie snippet of what a school librarian can do at home:

  • Online CPD (training) – there were lots of free webinars.
  • Keeping the school website up-to-date as well as general maintenance of the site.
  • Running an online D&D game through Teams for some of the activities group.
  • Labelling new books and giving them their AR levels (yes, I took a box of books home with me).
  • Up-dating library guidelines and routines.
  • Collating statistics
  • Running D&D and Reading Group Teams on Glow.
  • Staff meetings via Teams.
  • Collaborative work with other staff.
  • Creating the digital pupil handbook – a very big project – Pupil Handbook.

Since I have been back in school most of the work has been changing the physical layout of the library to enable social distancing as well as getting all the shelves tidied after they were abandoned in a mess in March. By early next week I hope to have completed the annual maintenance on the library management system, so that you will be able to borrow books by the end of next week. At the bottom of this post are links to the current guidelines on library use. Please familiarise yourself with them.

What are the Changes?

  • Reduced seating (by at least a third).
  • Reference section used as storage area for furniture, and a separate work table for the librarian if needed.
  • Sanitising stations at each door – remember, you are encouraged to bring your own sanitiser.
  • Pupils encouraged to clean chairs and desks where they have sat.
  • Reduced number of computers – 8 now available instead of 11.
  • Upper library used as SfL base at break and lunchtimes.
  • Library open at interval and before registration for S1-3 pupils.
  • Lunchtime – open for S4-6 pupils Period 4, and usual time for S1-3. Note – time will be given cleaning will take place between lunch sittings.
  • No activities (incl. board games, D&D, miniature painting, etc.).
  • No access to stationery (coloured pens, pencils, etc).
  • No handling of books – look at the shelves, but don’t touch – reserve a title with Mrs Sinclair. However – Books can still be borrowed with appropriate hygiene routines in place. All returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours and cleaned.
  • Library Team – all pupils and staff – here you will find info about the library and book request forms. Access code available from the library
  • No access to upper library via spiral stair.
  • Ventilation – Windows always open (Brrrrr! bring warm clothing).
  • Tissues available in various parts of the library – use them if you need to cough or sneeze, then bin the tissue immediately then sanitise or wash your hands.







I know this may be hard for you, as it is for me, but we need to protect ourselves and each other. I will be keeping at least two metres from you in line with social distancing – usually remaining behind the issue desk, however where this is not possible (helping a student, fetching a book off the shelf, etc), I will wear a face covering when I am out and about in the main area of the library, particularly when it is busy, as well as in the corridors. Please feel free to wear a face covering if you wish to do so.

Remember talk to each other, talk to me about anything to do with library related issues – I am here to listen and help. Support and help each other too. This is not normal, but we have to adapt and become used to it. Let’s make the best of a bad position.


Frances Sinclair, School Librarian


Links to Library Use Guidelines

Library Use

Book browsing


Face covering

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