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    02 April 2021- Library Blog


    Strange as it may seem our lives have been altered by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdowns, the mental toughness we all need to get through it, the vaccine and indeed our own motivation in order to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as a familiar saying goes have impacted greatly on both work and home.


    Our inner strength, though, is greater than we think. At Levenmouth Academy I am lucky that I have one extra additional tool to help guide me: Columba 1400. Columba 1400 is a leadership academy for both pupils and staff and is co-ordinated by our very own supportive Depute, Mr Forbes Maginnis. We, as a school, are of course grateful to Donaldsons, a local timber company for helping us to go to Staffin, Isle of Skye, to participate in this programme. Their sponsorship is invaluable. One of the school’s values is respect. As a librarian it is easy to be overlooked sometimes but at Levenmouth Academy I was delighted to be approached about being part of the team that went with Mr Jason Hynes (PT English), Miss Lorna Wilson (History) and Mrs Rebecca Simpson (Business). Of course the pupils, of which there were sixteen, made the visit to Skye. Their energy and enthusiasm, their ability to get stuck in and embrace the programme, allowed the free-flowing of ideas- of what is possible whilst addressing their own core values and abilities and life goals. It is the old adage that comes to mind: you are never too old to learn. I did. We all did. Columba’s activities all centred around their core values: perseverance, integrity, focus, creativity, awareness and service. The end of day journaling was especially important because in difficult times post- Columba 1400 it gives you a chance to reflect and find that inner strength and core to keep carrying on. We all want to make a difference to others in our lives and lockdown compounded the feeling of isolation for me.


    Turning to Columba was my way of saying: stop for a moment and reflect and do. Through MS Teams I was able to put up book suggestions, weekly quizzes, quirky book links, and took the initiative in organising a Fife Secondary High School Librarians’ ‘Winter’ themed writing competition to be judged by Dr Whelan of Waterstones Edinburgh (West End Branch)- a former pupil of Kirkland and is a published author in his own right too. Along with Mrs Webber in Art I have worked alongside the yearbook committee to make sure they have a yearbook for the class of 2021 and I have attended virtual Parent Council meetings. Also with Ms Nash in English I have kept our book group going via Teams too. Also I was successful in bidding for money from the school for our ‘Fresh Start’ project to buy resources for the library for them, Mr Ross (Headteacher) often talks about his ‘Columba Hat’ – when things are decidedly difficult, tough and draining always look for the positives and solutions. I have learned from others that it is the people around you that matter.


    I am lucky. I have two ‘Columba Hats’- the visit of January 2011 at Kirkland and the visit of November 2018 at Levenmouth. Both visits were invaluable and I am glad that the people who came on both visits were the ones who were there with me.


    Service is all about making a difference.



    Mr Russell


    02 April 2021






    Library Blog


    Mr Russell's musings..



    There is a time when we all need to reflect: reflect on the times we live in, reflect on our own position in our lives, reflect on the way forward or we just need to say ‘stop’ or hit the ‘pause’ button in our heads. It is easier said than done for most people. Certainly for me it is at least. Living on my own and working in department of one really highlighted my singularity. I have though tried to provide a librarian service to my school community during lockdown. Reading suggestions for pupils, literature and VE Day quizzes, and CPD ideas for staff and latterly, with Ms Nash in English, reconvened the Reading Group. I am also a mentor within librarianship profession for charter candidates. Also Mrs Webber (Art) and I helped guide our outgoing S6 in completing their 2020 yearbook. But the highlight this week was meeting some of our new S1 pupils who are coming up in August this week too (wk of 22nd June) and thanks goes to Mr Maginnis (Depute) for thinking of me to attend.


    Summer Bookmark competition:

    There is a summer bookmark competition for all new S1. There will be three top prizes of a book for the three best. All you have to is design a bookmark with a slogan (I used Reading Rocks! But please choose your own.) It can have any character from literature, Disney, folk characters, landscapes etc) Mrs Paterson (PT Art) and Mr Hynes (PT English) will judge with me. Please hand to any of us in August.



    As summer approaches, I wish you all well. Hopefully, I’ll be back on the terracing in early August at the Almondvale watching Livingston defeat Celtic and Rangers again- I wish!


    Stay safe, stay well and pick up that book you always said that you’d read!


    Mr Russell