Digital literacy is set to be among a range of innovative projects across Scotland’s school libraries supported by a new £100,000 fund.

The School Library Improvement Fund, administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council on behalf of the Scottish Government, will support activities within school libraries that contribute to the delivery of key education priorities.

This year, the fund ensured priority was given to projects aimed at supporting school library service provision to pupils in response to COVID-19 lockdown measures. The grants were awarded to 13 projects from 11 authorities across Scotland including Shetland, the Western Isles, the North East and across the central belt. Projects encouraging young people’s development in digital literacy, as well as improving access to mental health and wellbeing resources, feature in the successful bids.

SLIF funding will support creative projects such as the development of a fully equipped news studio for students in Aberdeen, allowing them to plan, edit and share news across the school and wider community. This will allow engagement at a time when many people across the community will feel the stress of isolation.

In East Renfrewshire, the successful project aims to explore issues surrounding young people’s development of digital literacy and resilience. It will develop a set of resources, activities and lesson plans that school librarians and teachers can use to support young people.

The school library at Sighthill Community Campus in Glasgow will use funding to give every child access to wellbeing resources as a means of support, an important response to the COVID-19 lockdown.

School libraries in the Western Isles have received funding to support the provision of increased library engagement opportunities using digital technology for all pupils. The aim is to give online access during lockdown to improve health, mental wellbeing, and to support literacy development and attainment through the library service.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said: “This announcement is a reminder of the central role that school libraries can play in schools, and never more so than in current circumstances.

“The last year has brought to the fore the need for innovative approaches to supporting pupil engagement, digital literacy and health and wellbeing.

“I’m pleased to see that the School Library Improvement Fund is enabling projects to develop good practice in these areas which will support learning across the curriculum.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive at SLIC, said:  “During the COVID-19 lockdown, school libraries have continued to support pupils and schools with the delivery of the curriculum. There are fantastic examples of school librarians and library staff developing new ways to engage pupils during periods of home-based learning. We know it has added immense pressure in the last year, so it is great to be able to support them in delivering creative solutions to help re-engage pupils, whilst also developing their collaborative working, literacy and digital skills. “In the last four years we have funded numerous projects across Scotland which have had a significant positive impact for library services and young people across Scotland and we’ve been really impressed by the creativity displayed in this year’s applications. The importance of school library services cannot be underestimated and inspiring projects like those we’ve just funded are needed now more than ever.”