In October 2001, the Minister for Education and Science announced the JCSP Demonstration Library Project as part of the Early Literacy Initiative. Commencing in the summer of 2002, the Project set up high-quality school libraries in 11 schools participating in the JCSP Programme nationally. From the outset, each library was staffed by a full-time professionally qualified librarian. Each of the librarians receive intensive training by the JCSP Support Service in literacy and language development specifically aimed at underachieving disadvantaged teenagers.
Under the DEIS Action Plan, the JCSP Demonstration Library Project expanded, with 20 new schools having joined the Project since 2007, bringing the total number of participating schools to 30.
The JCSP School Librarian
The school librarian works as part of a network of librarians in the JCSP Demonstration Library Project. He/she is responsible, together with key school staff, for drawing up and implementing library strategies to tackle the literacy difficulties experienced by many JCSP students. All of the current libraries have established programmes of library-based classes, events and activities. Reading and writing skills are developed, reading habits nurtured and the information skills needed to navigate and participate in society are practised. Librarians are not timetabled to take classes. Rather they work in professional partnership with teachers and run intensive and focused programmes aimed at improving JCSP students’ literacy levels. A cross-curricular approach is taken to planning and designing all activities.