Why engage at Primary 1 Enrolment?
Tackling inequity is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s agenda, to ensure that every child can succeed in school. By offering library membership at Primary 1 enrolment all children have equal access to quality reading materials and learning opportunities that will support them throughout their time at school and beyond. As well as supporting reading for pleasure, libraries provide access to a range of free extra-curricular activities such as Code Clubs, Lego Clubs, Chatterbooks and Arts & Crafts groups.
Attendance at P1 transition events is a very useful way of engaging with parents directly to explain the benefits of library membership. Those library services involved in the gifting of P1 bags could use the opportunity to include the gifting of a library card to non-members along with the bag at a gifting ceremony held in the library during Book Week Scotland.
Reading Schools is an accreditation programme, run by Scottish Book Trust, to help schools build and sustain a reading culture.
All levels of accreditation require schools to connect with their local public libraries. For Gold level accreditation there is a mandatory action to provide all learners with the opportunity to join the public library to widen access to books, eBooks, and audiobooks.
As with the process for nursery enrolment it is recommended that senior management within libraries reach an agreement with the education department to have a tick box for library membership on the school enrolment form. To comply with GDPR, parents and carers must be given the option to opt into library membership rather than opt out. Data sharing protocols with education departments can be difficult to negotiate therefore planning and relationship building in the early stages is key to success. Rolling out P1 membership in increments is also advisable in order to streamline processes and manage capacity. Working with one or two schools that are enthusiastic partners will allow library services and schools to identify the benefits of the programme. Being able to demonstrate impact will bring other schools on board. Following the Delivery Pathway will ensure that most children will already be a library member by the time they reach Primary School.