Learning Lending Liberty: Can school libraries be engines for youth citizenship? Exploring how school libraries in Scotland support political literacy

  • Smith, Lauren (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


This report presents the findings of research which explored the role of school libraries in helping young people to participate in politics. The project sought to identify the role libraries played in supporting young people’s political participation in two major political events – the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 and the UK General Election 2015. The project also explored the information and information literacy needs of young people relating to political participation. The findings of the survey responses, interviews and case study highlight the ways in which information literacy provision can play a key role in helping young people to meaningfully participate in politics.

Key findings

Survey results from approximately a third of Scotland’s secondary school library staff indicate that there are different levels of political information and information literacy provision across schools, and there is a definite lack of clarity about what they can and cannot do in terms of information provision and involvement in discussion about political issues with young people. There is also variation in the degree to which information literacy is embedded in the curriculum and the role that libraries and library staff play in the education of pupils. A common theme emerging is that library staff are keen to support pupils’ educational and social development, including their political and information literacy, and some pockets of good practice have been identified.
Short titleLearning Lending Liberty: Can school libraries be engines for youth citizenship?
Effective start/end date1/01/1531/07/15


  • political information
  • young people
  • school libraries
  • political education
  • access to information