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Announcing the GIG Award Winners 2019 

Government Information Group (GIG)

The Awards keep coming in for Fiona Laing who is the winner of the GIG Life-time Achievement Award for 2019. Fiona was also recently named the Scottish Library & Information Professional of the Year for 2019. Many congratulations Fiona on both of your very well-deserved awards. 

Fiona’s nomination for the GIG Life-time Achievement Award outlined her many achievements during a long career working with government information in the form of Official Publications, and specifically highlighted her outreach and training work. Fiona has worked tirelessly to promote Official Publications and ensure that they are as widely available and accessible as possible. In addition, she was commended for her work with SWOP (Scottish Working Forum on Official Publications) and CILIP, demonstrating the significant and highly-valued contribution Fiona has made to the wider profession in a number of different areas.

Also, another Information Literacy CoP member has received a GIG award. Margaret Gair (MOD Library) has been an integral part of this group achievement!

This year the Annual Award has been awarded to the GKIM Knowledge Management Task & Finish Group for their collaborative work on developing a Maturity Model to support implementation of the HMG Knowledge Principles.

The GIG Judging Panel were struck by how well a team, comprising 19 volunteers from a range of government depts and Agencies, had come together to work creatively and collaboratively to develop a robust and usable tool which will raise the profile and understanding of knowledge management in government departments and beyond. It was noted that all of the T&F Group had selflessly taken on this role in addition to their busy day jobs.

 Congratulations team on a great contribution to the GKIM profession and on winning the GIG 2019 Annual Award!



Twitter: @gig_cilip








Erasmus+ study visit to Bergen: public libraries and their roles and work in inclusion and learning

In May this year, I was really pleased to join an Erasmus+ study visit to Bergen, Norway. It was organised by the Norwegian government agency, Diku, with the aim of exploring “the roles and work of public libraries relating to inclusion and learning”. It drew together participants from 16 European countries, and I was one of two from Scotland representing the UK.



As an information literacy librarian from a Scottish further education college (not a public library), being able to take part in this was something of a surprise. I’m a big fan of all things Nordic, so you can imagine my delight at going! My interest in the visit stemmed from work I’ve been doing in my college for the last couple of years. I have been mentoring ESOL and supported learning students taking part in library-based work experience. Through this student contact I’ve been both learning and thinking a lot about inclusivity in its various forms, which is why this study visit really caught my attention.

In Norway, the 2014 Libraries Act directed libraries to become arenas for conversation and debate. It is a country well known for its generous social funding, and through the Libraries Act, money was made available to help with upgrading technology, adapting and furnishing meeting spaces in libraries and upskilling staff.

The conversation element of what the Libraries Act stipulated (largely interpreted as community conversations within libraries) was evident in both the Bergen and Voss libraries we visited, and in the presentations from other Norwegian municipal libraries. For example, the libraries in Voss and Bergen both have training and meeting rooms open to public booking, spaces for lectures, talks and music events, and other smaller areas which can be adapted for different uses (such as storytelling, literature and poetry readings).

Most of the Norwegian participants admitted that the debate element of the Act posed more difficulty and risk. Are there some voices and views that shouldn’t be given a forum, especially in the field of politics (recalling the 2011 Oslo and Utøya attacks)? What role do librarians have in deciding whether a controversial debate should take place, or in policing what is discussed when they are hosting or facilitating a debate? This area is still a work in progress.

I was very struck by the role that help in person played. Libraries aren’t simply hubs for books or tech, but places where people come together, talk, learn, and make connections and friendships.

Norway has welcomed a large number of new citizens and takes their integration into Norwegian society seriously. The Red Cross is very present in libraries when delivering language support, and many libraries offer activities focussed on bringing different groups together for reciprocal learning. There are many examples of language clubs where native and new citizens meet and exchange cultural information on cooking, crafts, folk songs etc.

Tackling the risk of isolation was another theme, with some libraries liaising with high school students to provide tech and digital help aimed at older adults who may lack family support, or feel adrift when technology has moved on too fast. 

In between library visits and presentations, we discussed in small groups the range of practical help and workshops that public libraries in our home nations offer library users: assisting access to government information (sometimes also completing forms and applications); teaching digital skills; homework clubs (open to all, but used most often by refugee families); and training adults with low literacy and numeracy skills levels, to help them in to employment. There were a few explicit mentions of information literacy, and as you can tell from the above, information literacy was an undercurrent in discussions and our library visits.

I learned a lot from this short visit, and as I summed it up in my post:

“The message from Norwegian librarians – and others - is clear. To bring people into libraries, be flexible, facilitate and adapt. Provide an adaptable physical space if you want people to connect and talk and reduce isolation. Skilling librarians for this new environment means providing support and training in being a presenter, organiser, communicator and a good listener – and learning about the technologies to enhance these roles.”

You can take a look at the blog post I wrote for EPALE here. (“EPALE is a European, multilingual, open membership community of adult learning professionals, including adult educators and trainers, guidance and support staff, researchers and academics, and policymakers”).

Claire Roberts, Information Literacy Librarian, City of Glasgow College



Health Literacy information 

We're delighted to recommend the following freely available ebook.

International Handbook of Health Literacy was published yesterday open access:

You may be particularly interested to look at Dr Evelyn McElhinney’s contribution at chapter 39 ‘Health literacy practices of adults in an avatar-based immersive social virtual world: a sociocultural perspective of new media health literacies’

Also chapter 28 by Graham Kramer, Blythe Robertson, Phyllis Easton and Andrew Pearson ‘Developing health literacy policy in Scotland: a case study’.

The Health Literacy Short term Working Group is meeting at Glasgow Caledonian University on 12th August 2019 at 1.30 pm. The minutes for the last group meeting in October 2018 are available.

This group is a sub-group from the Information Literacy Community of Practice. If you'd like further details about either group, please contact Jenny Foreman, Scottish Government Library on 0131 244 4556.




A really interesting and positive blog post from Amanda Joykin about her project, developing an IL Toolkit. Read more about it below:

It’s been four months since I started work on developing the Information Literacy Toolkit and a good time to provide an update on what’s taken place so far. Putting my Info Lit hat on (which is almost never off, so it was more of an adjustment of said hat) I identified my information need for the project.

I needed to find out how the toolkit could support teaching IL skills to children and young people in schools. I wanted to meet school librarians that were already delivering IL sessions and it was important to find out about the barriers faced with regards to IL delivery in their schools. Meeting and gathering insights from experienced educators and those new to the profession would be very valuable in informing the direction of the toolkit.

Information Gathering

The first step was to send out a survey to schools in Scotland - Primary, Secondary and Additional Support Needs. The aim of the survey was to get a better idea about the state of IL provision. Follow-up visits and phone calls were arranged to find out more about how schools delivered sessions, what challenges they faced, examples of good practice and how the toolkit could support them.

It was a real pleasure visiting school librarians, finding out about the various settings in which they worked and how they promoted reading for pleasure and information literacy skills. There is great work being done and yet there are significant challenges faced by library staff in schools. 

I would like to thank everyone for their insights and for helping the toolkit take shape. The toolkit just wouldn’t be possible without your input – it is being made for you, with you.

Findings & Challenges

Key findings from the survey and visits were focused around themes of resources and communication. School library settings are very varied, and this has had an impact on the way school libraries are run. However, factors like time, budget and training were all mentioned as areas which are having an impact on IL provision.

The relationship with the School Management Team is also key. Could we forge stronger relationships with them if we thought more about the terminology we use? Should we be promoting information literacy skills but with more emphasis on links with the Experiences and Outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence?

For IL skills to really take root relevance is crucial. It needs to be made clear that it is a lifelong learning skill and not just for research. Research from the 5Rights Foundation has shown that the age of children using mobile devices to access information is getting younger. Should we be looking at starting formal IL instruction at a younger age?

Identified Gaps

IL delivery at the start of young people’s formal learning journey appears to be inconsistent, so it has been difficult to gauge its true extent. Respondents from primary schools indicated that there was either no IL delivery, that they were unaware of whether it was being delivered or that they thought that some teachers were delivering IL. Some responses also indicated that there was a lack of understanding of the term “information literacy” or that it was already taught in schools but not under that specific term. Experiences and Outcomes from the Curriculum of Excellence do align with IL principles which would imply that IL instruction is taking place in an embedded way. All respondents to the survey stated that they thought it was important for there to be IL provision in schools.

Best practice and support are always improved when there is good communication and SLIC has already set-up a School Libraries group on Basecamp to start conversations going. It’s hoped this will lead to further sharing of ideas.

IL as Lifelong Learning Skill

Based on the information gathered about IL sessions in schools, a lot of programmes are focused on library skills and research skills. Sessions are being taught on online safety and privacy, fake news, disinformation, copyright and it would be good practice to use CILIP’s (2018) IL contexts and ensure that a holistic approach is taken when delivering this to young people. For example, including critical thinking, health literacy and digital citizenship, to ensure that students understand the relevance and significance of these lessons to their personal lives.

Aims of the Toolkit

Based on the information gathered a draft Toolkit structure has been created and resources are currently being compiled. These resources will include guidance/tips for staff, examples of good practice, activities, lesson plans, research articles, IL frameworks, videos and ideas for taking different approaches to IL delivery in schools. However, there is still work and research to be done; IL teaching in ASN school settings, IL skills that employers value and bridging the gap between ‘what students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications; learning experiences should mirror the complexities and ambiguities of real life.’ (ACEL, 2016).

Posted by Jenny Foreman, Scottish Information Library


The Launch of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation; and Discovery of the Parallel Parliament Website

This article first appeared in K&IM Refer 35(2), Spring 2019 and is written by Ruth Hayes, SCOOP, (Standing Committee on Official Publications)

On 9 April 2019, Steven Hartshorne, Secretary of SCOOP sent members an email with the subject, “New information-related subcommittee launched”, in which he said ‘This may be of interest to you (it seemed to sneak under the radar of press coverage last week): Report: The launch of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation ‘. This is the title of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s tenth report of session 2017-19, published on 2 April 2019 (HC 2090):

Among the Sub-Committee’s aims is that it “will become Parliament’s ‘institutional home’ for matters concerning disinformation and data privacy; a focal point that will bring together those seeking to scrutinise and examine this threat to democracy.” The plan is also to “make use of the new Standing Order [137A(e), Select committees: power to work with other committees] enabling us to invite members of any other select committee to attend any meeting of the Sub-Committee to ask questions of witnesses.” A week or so later, (16 April), I replied to Steven, thanking him for the link, and telling him that I too had found “very little press coverage other than in the likes of Press Gazette”. Maybe, though, he would already be aware of the website, Parallel Parliament; and this is the link I found during my searching which includes mention of the report, among other things: My initial thought was that that the “current” page relating to each department changes with time, but that you can specify that you want to look at less recent information as well. And the links given take you very nicely either to the relevant bit of the Parliament website, or else Parallel Parliament brings information together, as in the case of recent Written Answers.

Another result of my search for press coverage of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report was this page on the BBC News website by Mark D’Arcy, The Week ahead in Parliament, 29 March, which includes mention of the debate in Westminster Hall on 4 April announcing launch of the report.

After the seeming initial lack of interest and/or coverage, more results were found in early May. For thorough coverage, this contribution by Michela Palese of the Electoral Reform Society to UCL’s Constitution Unit has an air of authority:

She outlines the main findings from the major inquiry and report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on fake news, and discusses what the Sub-Committee’s priorities should be. James Warrington of the free newspaper CityA.M. reported the report’s publication on 2 April; his coverage was linked to news about Facebook. See: The Committee’s Twitter has received some reaction. See:

The They Work For You website has coverage of the debate in Westminster Hall on 4 April, which followed publication of the Committee’s report: Although this debate is in Hansard, the contributions in this version include links to Wikipedia or elsewhere on They Work for You, to inform the layperson.

The BBC News website, 2 April at adopts a similar approach to that of CityA.M., though the explanation seems clearer, even if mention of the Sub-Committee is confined only to the last two sentences.

Finding information about the Parallel Parliament website was initially elusive. A Google search found on page 3 on 24 April 2019; by 5 May, it had climbed to number 4. High on the list are two reports from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons: Second report, session 1998/99, in which paragraphs 4-13 come under the heading, “The arguments for a parallel Chamber”; and a section from that Committee’s first report, with 4 mentions of the word “parallel”; See:

Initially at number 3 doing this search (but now further down the first page) is a House of Commons Library Research briefing, ‘Social care forthcoming Green Paper (England)’ published on 10 April 2019, in which the word “parallel” appears 13 times!

Thereafter, the parallel parliament search threw up references to Venezuela, Moldova, Afghanistan, Libya, European Parliament, Egypt, India, until at the top of page 3 (on 1 May 2019), we came to ‘I wanted a better way of finding information than Parliament’s clunky website, so I built my own to share: ‘ The weblink for this is: On 5 May 2019, it had reached page 2 (last but one item); in my first search for something about this website on 24 April 2019, it was on page 4, or page 5 if in quotes. The link given opens a new window and will take you to

So now for a look at what you can expect to find on this page, based mainly on results on 9 and 11 May 2019. “Parallel Parliament is constantly updated to keep you informed of the latest legislative and departmental news, providing a single source for the latest developments on Government and legislative issues.” A link to House of Commons Twitter feed gives latest news according to that site, which included on 9 May: “The best Prime Minister this country has never had.” 25 years on from the sad death of then-@UKLabour leader John Smith, we asked @IanMurrayMP to explain why he applied for a @CommonsBBCom debate on this anniversary.

Then, looking at Parallel Parliament home page on Saturday 11 May, clicking on Business today in the box, Future Parliament schedules, takes you to Business for Monday 13 May 2019 Here, you see everything on that day’s House of Commons order paper (including oral and topical questions, in this instance, to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and Select Committees’ subjects and names of witnesses appearing at oral evidence sessions). A final section lists Committee reports being published on that date. I don’t think I’d ever come across a presentation such as this, not even on the Getting the best out of the Parliament website course six years ago (see my articles: Refer, vol. 29, no 3, Autumn 2013, pp 21-27; or, with correction, ISG (L&SE) News, issue 53, October 2013, pp 5-8).

Especially useful is Parallel Parliament’s section on Bills. Whether you select All Bills, Government Bills, Private Member’s Bills, or Royal Assent (i.e. that have become Acts), you are presented with a list in reverse date order of last update, and with a brief explanation of the legislation’s intention. Clicking on the title of an Act or Bill gives you anything and everything you need to trace and go to each of the links to that Bill’s progress through Commons and Lords. For example, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019, which was presented by Yvette Cooper and supported by Sir Oliver Letwin [and 10 other MPs]. Returning to we come to Government Departments. On a smart grey background are buttons for links to each of the departments listed. Next, a section headed Latest Department Information provides Department news (from Departmental twitter feeds). For example: 11 May 2019, 11:06 a.m. DCMS WATCH: 60 seconds with new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage – Link:

The View Recent Tweets, takes you to list of All Tweets made during the week for all Government departments. Examples I’ve found range from the seemingly frivolous to the more serious:

11 May 2019, 11 a.m. Department for International Trade

???? It’s #NationalDoughnutWeek ???? Do you prefer jam or custard? ????????????????????????????’s @Mackays_jams ???? are the top UK jam brand in ????????. And #DidYouKnow in 2018, ???????? jam exports increased by 9% to £145m ????#ExportingisGREAT

10 May 2019, 8 p.m. Home Office

We’re establishing a new statutory duty of care to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of users online. Compliance will be overseen and enforced by an independent regulator. #OnlineSafety Find out more:

Back at the Parallel Parliament website very nicely brings together answers to Written Questions. You can choose one of the headings given, but more useful is to View Recent Written Questions (taking you to Here, you can see either the day’s, week’s, month’s or year’s Written Questions, which can also be filtered by name(s) of Government Department(s). Up to 10 May, there had been 2867 Written Questions made in the past year!

The page focuses on two sorts of Departmental publications: Consultations seeking feedback; and Latest publications, in each case listing (with links), the three most recent, to give you an idea, so that if you opt to View all …, it will generally just give the most recent week. And while there is the option to filter/expand both to include all in the last month or the last year, it does tell you that “This database is maintained primarily to create live updates, and is not a comprehensive record …”, and suggests you use the search features on the Official Government publications site.

The final sections on the page focus on the most recent day in the Commons displayed in two columns. On the left, are the subjects of debates or other business in the Commons (and how many speeches), with a link for each to the entire Hansard debate. On the right, are Written statements, debates in Westminster Hall and Ministerial corrections (linked in likewise fashion). Until today (Saturday 11 May 2019), I had not previously managed to find direct links to Hansard using the What’s on section of the Parliament website; but at last, there is now such a facility.

The overall (more aesthetic) impression of this website is its very nice use of colours which do not jar or detract from the content. If we want to keep up to date with the work of Select Committees in general, this link on the Parliament website is the most useful, authoritative and comprehensive: It gives links to all such Committees, and lists subjects/titles of new inquiries. (Lords and Joint Committees not currently covered on Parallel Parliament.)

In its Eighth Report, Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final Report (HC 1791), the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee stated upon publication on 18 February that “this is the Final Report in our inquiry, but it will not be the final word”. See: You will notice that the Committee had started this inquiry (and took written evidence) in the previous Parliament; and in the box, Scope of the inquiry, that the Government responded to the Committee’s final report on 9 May 2019.

On the same date, Steven Hartshorne circulated information about the Parallel Parliament website to the wider SCOOP membership as a useful and potentially timesaving resource for tracking progress of current legislation, departmental information, and government or Parliament activity. He notes that it seems to be independently produced (using the Open Parliament Licence), and that the domain was only registered in March 2019. If you’ve not already done so, do give this website a try.