Alternative Teaching Methods · Google Hangout · Information Literacy · School Libraries · Training Courses

Inset training – How librarians can support teaching and learning.

St Anne’s school library in Alderney has undergone some big changes in the last few months. Schools’ Library Service (SLS) supports this school from a distance as we are in Guernsey which is a short flight away. This means that we only visit twice a term. On one of our visits, last year, we discussed how we could support the school library and help create a space that was well used by both students and teachers. We agreed to weed and renew the resources and gave them some ideas to move the library around to suit the needs of the school. It was lovely to go back a few months later and see how they had been empowered to change it again.

Creating opportunities

This led to conversations about the importance of information literacy and how it can support and encourage students to use the school library to become independent learners. Exciting discussions have been had about embedding information literacy into the curriculum, meaning that the school library, its staff, SLS and teachers will become a hub of teaching and learning for the students of St Anne’s.

Will you run our inset day?

Early last month Martin Winward, headteacher at St Anne’s, and I were chatting about how we could ensure the changes in their school library could continue to have an impact on students and teachers. We both agreed that after the initial excitement and interest in the changes, it was important that we found a way to continue engagement. Martin asked me if I was willing to run an inset training day about information literacy and the school library because it was apparent that unless we had teachers on board, who understood what we were trying to do, nothing was going to change. We needed to share out vision.  I jumped at the chance, how often does the librarian get the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the school library and librarians to teaching and learning. This was especially important as the new Guernsey curriculum is due to be implemented in September.  It is very much skills based curriculum and this is what information literacy is all about. it was perfect opportunity to talk to teachers about how we can support them and have an impact on student learning.

Martin sent me an outline of the areas he wanted us to cover. Improvements in the school library, Information literacy and the framework, resources and tools to support learning and examples of best practice. We also wanted to demonstrate how this all fitted in with Educations ‘big picture’. After a couple of conference calls I started to create my presentation and shared it with Martin and Wendy, deputy head.  Luckily for me, Wales is currently creating a new curriculum and have decided to incorporate information literacy into it so I was able to incorporate their slides into my presentation. It was important for me to make sure that the day was full of information but hands on too so I made sure it  included :-

  • Innovative games/ideas that they could use in their own lessons

  • Google Hangouts

  • How social media can have an impact

Inset training day

I felt It was important to start the day by demonstrate that this training and message was not just coming from me. That schools all across the world are using their school libraries successfully alongside the internet and that the two can and should work together, it is not about one or the other, it is both. It was also important for me to show that there are many school librarians out there doing inspiring things and working with teachers so I started with a demonstration of how social media was important to me and my own personal learning. I explained that I had sent a message out to my followers on twitter asking the following:-

I had some wonderful responses which I shared with the teachers but the one that I finished with was this one. A brilliant message!


I then moved onto information literacy and how the framework SLS are currently using links and supports the new Guernsey curriculum. We were able to show how the framework and SLS staff can support students to becoming independent learners through using the school library. We demonstrated how we could support and train teachers to use the school library in an innovative way, opening their eyes to the countless possibilities of using resources that were already in their school and just waiting to be used. All at no extra cost to the school and with full support and training included.



We played Kahoot an online quiz that you can create yourself. We wanted to demonstrate how easy it was to create a quiz but also use it for our own purposes. Our quiz made sure teachers knew about the support available from SLS and how to use the school library. It caused some great discussions especially around the thorny issue of using pictures without credit. We will be following up with some guidelines on this for teachers.


We had planned to play breakoutEdu after break but we began to realised that we needed to help the teachers understand what was available from the school library and how to access it otherwise they would not be able to play the game so we spent some time showing them :-

  • How to use SLSguernsey website
  • How to access and use their school library catalogue and demonstrated how websites could be added
  • How to access Britannica-online, e-books and our online journals.
  • A case study showing how to use information literacy within a lesson

 We explained that they needed this information to play the next game.



Julia created our breakout game for this inset day. Breakout is based on a gameshow in America where contestants had to break out of a locked room. As it is not appropriate to lock students into a room this game has been adapted by school libraries, especially in America, to challenge students to unlock a box, using clues.   Ours was set up to ensure that teachers used the school library in order to work out the clues but teachers can use this game for their own subjects too.  They had to work as a team in order to get into the box in under 30 mins. It was great to see how fully engaged all the teachers were.

The box is in the middle of the teachers!

They managed to breakout in 23 mins…

Photo’s by Martin Winward

Google Hangouts

We are very lucky to had made some very strong connections with librarians from twitter, so we decided to invite a couple to our inset day through Google hangouts. It was important to demonstrate how easy it was to connect with others around the world but also to help them understand how other school librarians support teachers in their schools. We invited
Stony Evans a library Media Specialist at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Caroline Roche , a school librarian at Eltham College, South East London to give a 15 min presentation about how they collaborated with their teachers. Both gave really interesting presentations and shared lots of idea with us. We were very grateful for their time and enthusiasm in sharing their best practice with us.

Stony, talking to us at 7am in the morning!  

Photo by Stony Evans




The day ended by giving teachers the opportunity to feedback on what we had covered during our inset day and to decide how they would include any of this in next term’s lessons. Several teachers commented on trying to use the Kahoot and Hangout within a lesson. There was also a lot of feedback on using the SLS website more and asking for support.

“I feel more confident to take a more immersive approach to topic work. I will utilise the SLS website and will liaise more closely with them.”

“Loved the cross curricular approach / opportunities…. MORE / MORE / MORE PLEASE”

We look forward to supporting St Anne’s and any other Bailiwick school in the future. We are very grateful for this opportunity and for your enthusiasm throughout the day.

Original article can be found at 

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