Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Share this free course

An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2 Legislation to be aware of

Legislation is an important area for librarians to be aware of because people working in the educational sector have a duty of care to their students and are obliged to comply with safeguarding legislation. This is especially important for librarians, who are often lone workers and, as such, are responsible for the welfare of students at that time. However, the importance of abiding by legislation is not limited to safeguarding. Depending on the country in which you work, there may be a wide range of legislation which you should familiarise yourself with, including, for example, data protection, equality, health and safety, or copyright.

As a librarian, you have a responsibility to engage with and understand the policies and legislation surrounding your role. For example, in the case of safeguarding, if a pupil were to tell you something in confidence, you would have a duty of care to inform appropriate members of staff; not only is this important for safeguarding reasons, but to keep the secret would also represent an inappropriate blurring of the boundary between teacher and student.

As far as data protection is concerned, GDPR legislation in the UK dictates that it is illegal to store a pupil’s data and images indefinitely. Similarly, you must give pupils and parents the right to opt out if you wish to share their name, photo, or other information which can identify them in your promotional materials.

In the case of copyright, UK schools are granted licenses by the copyright Licensing Authority and Printed Music Licensing Ltd which permit them to make copies of books and printed music. However, these licenses may set limits on the amount of a work that can be copied. With books you are only allowed to copy one chapter or 5% of the total work, whichever is greater. Conversely, with music you can make full copies and upload them to your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) but you can’t make more copies than the number of students in the class. You also can’t reproduce more than 10% of items in an anthology or large vocal score.

Having a knowledge of different legislation and policies, especially when they have a direct impact on your library or your role, and demonstrating an awareness of these in your library development plan will enhance the potential of your library provision and shape your role in the school. However, if you are unaware of them, you may inadvertently find yourself breaking the law or contravening internal school policies.

To think further about this, in the next activity, you will reflect on how legislation, such as data protection (e.g. the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) and equality, diversity and inclusion (e.g. the Equality Act) may apply to you.

Activity 2

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Part 1

Complete Table 1 by filling in the right-hand column with an example of how you make your library compliant in the areas of legislation given.

Table 1 Legislation compliance
Legislation How you make your library compliant in this area
GDPR
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Safeguarding & child protection
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Equality Act
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Occupational Safety and Health Act
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

Below is an example of how you may have filled out Table 1. However, there are many ways you might make your library compliant and the way you approach the matter in your own library may differ from this suggestion.

Table 2 An example of how you may have completed Table 1
Legislation How you make your library compliant in this area
GDPR Don’t store images and data beyond the period of retention as set out in your school policy
Safeguarding & child protection Use appropriate signposting to make students aware of points of contact if they wish to raise concerns
Equality Act Ensure aisles are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs
Occupational Safety and Health Act Provide kick stools to reach top shelves

Part 2

Now you have identified ways in which you currently make your library compliant in different areas of legislation, in this next part of this activity you should identify which policies and documents you might refer to, to help shape your library development plan. You should include information on where the policies and documents are located, and the key personnel who can assist you with each. Each school and library will be different so there are no right and wrong answers to this activity. You may choose to focus on areas of legislation you are already compliant with, areas you are yet to apporach, or, if you prefer, both.

In Table 3 below, identify which policies and documents you might refer to, to help shape your library development plan. You should include information on where the policies and documents are located, and the key personnel who can assist you with each. Each school and library will be different so there are no right and wrong answers to this activity.

Table 3 Documents or policies you might refer to
Document/policy Accessed/located Key personnel to help
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

What you have added into Table 3 will be personal to you and your library development plan. There are no right or wrong answers to this task, but below are some suggestions which you might have considered.

Table 4 An example of how you may have completed Table 3
Document/policy Accessed/located Key personnel to help
School improvement plan Principal/Headteacher’s office or staff area of VLE Principal/Headteacher’s PA
Literacy development plan Staff area of VLE Literacy co-ordinator
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Staff area of VLE Head of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

In this section, you have begun to think about the importance of legislation to your role. As part of this, you have considered how to make your library compliant with such legislation as well as some of the policies you may need to refer to when creating your library development plan. In the next section, you will explore how working collaboratively with colleagues can help you tailor your collection management and support the curriculum.