School library improvement fund opens for bids

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Scottish schools are being encouraged to take advantage of a national funding programme aimed at improving school library services.

The School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF), which is administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) on behalf of the Scottish Government, is open to all state-run schools in Scotland and is designed to support creative and innovative projects within the school library sector.

SLIF aims to support activities which meet key priority areas, including information and digital learning, health and wellbeing, and the curriculum.

Education authorities have until Monday September 30 to place their bids for a share of the £450,000 fund.

Launched in September 2017, the Scottish Government pledged a total of £1 million to the fund. Since then, £550,000 has been invested in a range of innovative projects. This is the fourth round of funding.

During the first round, 15 projects throughout Scotland were awarded a combined total of £100,000. These included a programme in the Highlands which established sensory reading groups, allowing pupils to engage in all types of reading materials.

Last year’s successful applications included Edinburgh City Council’s Escape, Connect, Relate project, which secured £18,100 to help tackle the issue of mental health misdiagnosis through bibliotherapy, a therapeutic approach that uses literature to support positive mental health.

SLIC also accepts collaborative bids made by two or more schools. Recent joint projects include Reading Rockets, which aims to boost literacy and library use in the Western Isles. Activities such as synchronised reading events and storytelling will help to engage children, ultimately raising the profile of school libraries in the islands.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: ‘School libraries have a vital part to play in supporting literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and improving attainment across the curriculum.

‘Over the past two years we have seen schools receive funding for a wide range of exciting and innovative initiatives. These projects are helping make school libraries inspirational and engaging places for our children and young people.

‘I would encourage all schools to consider applying this year and to use the investment to help realise the full potential of our school libraries.’