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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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4 Identifying stakeholders and their needs

A stakeholder is someone who has an interest in an organisation and who can either affect or be affected by the activities of that organisation. As such, a library’s stakeholders can range from students and teaching colleagues to governors and parents. Developing an appreciation of these different groups and their needs will enable you to tailor your library provision accordingly. It is, therefore, crucial that you acknowledge your stakeholders in your library development plan and ascertain whether you are meeting their requirements. If not, you should consider how to implement any necessary changes in the future.

Activity 4

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Create a list of your library’s stakeholders and consider the wide range of expectations they will have of your library provision and how you can fulfil their requirements. When doing this, it is of particular relevance to consider how students with differing abilities, skills and expectations, experience and access your library’s resources.

Table 8 Library stakeholders and their expectations
Stakeholders Their expectations
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When considering your stakeholders, it is important to be specific. For example, for students with dyslexia, you can support them by being aware of specialist publishers that use dyslexia friendly fonts, layouts and paper so you can provide them with alternative formats such as audiobooks or large print versions. Alternatively, a tinted film to overlay on each page may work for some dyslexic students. Similarly, your library can support those with English as a Second Language (EASL) by providing resources in their primary language. However, many stakeholders will have needs which cannot be so easily categorised. For this reason, it is important to be observant and draw on the expertise of specialists within your school wherever necessary. This is where building up relationships with colleagues, as discussed in Section 3, can be hugely beneficial.

Although it’s not possible for you or your team to address all of your stakeholder’s needs or solve all of their problems, you can nevertheless be prepared and learn how to handle situations with sensitivity.

Now watch Video 3 before moving on to Activity 5. In this video, Sarah talks about the various key personal to liaise with to help identify various stakeholders and provides examples of some of the library resources they may need.

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Video 3
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Activity 5

Part 1

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Part 2

Using the examples of different students given in Part 1 as a starting point, list some of the learning needs you have encountered whilst working as a librarian in your school. Beside each, note down the resources that your library currently provides for them. If there are any learning needs that you don’t think you quite cater for at the moment, list these too along with the resources you would need. You can then return to these notes to help you build on your library’s provision. The first row has been done for you as an example.

Table 9 Resources for learners’ different needs
Learners’ needs Appropriate resources
Dyslexia Dyslexia friendly books from specialist publishers
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In these activities, you have spent some time considering the ways you can address the needs of stakeholders and make the library an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. This is a theme you will return to at greater length in Session 2.