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The SLA blog contains news about the SLA and topical information of general interest to our members. The blog has been running since 2004. An RSS 2.0 feed and information about how to subscribe to the blog are available.

Older blog posts are still available, though archived, on the website, but please check the date at the top of the post to make sure the offer or information is likely to be valid.

Job Vacancies: Harrogate Ladies’ College - LIBRARIAN for College (11-18 years)

Required for September 2017

Part-time, term-time hours

Harrogate Ladies’ College seeks to appoint an innovative, creative and well qualified School Librarian to lead the development of the School’s library service in College with energy and enthusiasm whilst responding to the needs of a community of boarding and day children from 11-18 years old. 

School Librarian - Job description for September 2017

Word document, 122 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


The part-time hours for this role are 16 hours per week, for 35 weeks of the year during term-time.

This is an exciting time to join Harrogate Ladies’ College as we embark on a new journey through the challenges of independent girls’ day/boarding education in the 21st century. 

Closing date:       12.00 noon on Monday, 5 June 2017

Interviews will take place week beginning:     12 June 2017

To obtain an application form, please visit our website at:

Contact information:                                     Mrs Lucy Condon

                                                                         HR Manager

                                                                         Harrogate Ladies’ College

                                                                         Clarence Drive, Harrogate,

                                                                        North Yorkshire, HG1 2QG

                                                                         Tel: (01423) 504543

                                                                         Email: lucy.condon[at]

Harrogate Ladies’ College is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful applicant will not be allowed to start in school until all pre-employment checks have been completed satisfactorily.  The successful applicant must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post. The School is an educational charity and equal opportunities employer.

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Job Vacancies: Withington Girls School - Librarian (Maternity Cover for the 2017/18 academic year)

  • Term time only
  • Part-Time, mornings, 15 -20 hours a week, Monday - Friday
  • Required from September 2017 – July 2018 • Location: South Manchester

Withington is a leading Independent day school for girls in which some of the best academic results in the country are attained within a lively, happy and caring environment.

We are seeking an experienced Librarian to cover a period of maternity leave. 

The Library at Withington houses almost 15,000 print resources including books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, periodicals and journals, as well as providing access to thousands of digital resources via the School’s VLE. We are looking for a person to continue with the management and operation of this shared learning environment.

If you are a qualified Librarian, who has experience of working with young people and working in a digital environment; are enthusiastic; organised and proactive; with highly developed interpersonal skills; and a real passion for books and reading, we would be delighted to receive an application from you. 

Job description- Librarian Maternity Cover

PDF file, 112 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Further details of the role and application process can be obtained from the School’s website,

Closing date:  12 noon, 11th June 2017

Interviews to be held: w/c 19th June 2017

Withington Girls’ School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks

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Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive: Kidderminster, Worcestershire, 13 June 2017


Don't miss the opportunity to attend our Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive course which is taking place at Kidderminster Public Library, Worcestershire on 13 June 2017.

This is an opportunity to review and share existing Reading for Pleasure programmes and find out about some successful new ones. It is a day when you can work with supportive, like-minded, committed professionals to modify your programmes to make them reach out and become a compulsive part of pupils’ lives, psychologically motivating students to want to read.  Delegates will explore ways to successfully prioritise and effectively manage Reading for Pleasure activities, and consider how they can maximise support for their chosen activities so that they, and those who work alongside them, will not only survive, but will celebrate and enjoy the impact that Reading for Pleasure is having in their school and on the life chances of its pupils.

The closing date is 6th June. 

Key Audience: secondary school library staff

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Latest update on Lightbulb Moments!

Lightbulb Moments Logo WebThe great programme has attracted a record turnout and we have a 'full' conference for the event in June. If you were planning to come and haven't yet booked do ring the SLA office and ask for Dawn - there may have been a cancellation or we may be able to offer something.

Meanwhile, we have a few changes to the programme that you might be pleased to know about in advance -
Friday night we have Laura Dockrill (author of Lorali and Aurabel amongst many others) the well known performance poet and novelist giving a short talk called 'Writes, Draws, Talks' after dinner.

On Saturday Holly Bourne has had to drop out - due to a personal commitment, but she is replaced by Tamsin Winter (author of Being Miss Nobody). Harrogate based poet Sue Hardy-Dawson has had a time change and will be a part of the welcome to the day which is retimed to begin at 13.50 in the main conference room - the Ballroom.

Really looking forward to seeing everybody in Harrogate!

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Help I'm in Charge of the School Library!: Sutton, Surrey, 20 June 2017


Our course Help I'm in Charge of the Primary School Library!, run by Susan Staniforth, will be held at Heath Educational Books, Willow House, Willow Walk, off Whittaker Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9QQ on 20 June 2017.

Delegates on this courses will gain an overview about all aspects of managing a school library, consider the role of the library in the school, learn about the processes and practicalities of running a library and have the opportunity to look at a range of resources for use in their Library and classroom collections.

Topics covered will include creating an inspiring library environment, library organisation and maintenance (including an introduction to Dewey and the benefits of a range of Library Management systems), selecting and buying books, library promotion, budgeting and writing a library policy/development plan. Delegates will leave with the confidence to move the library forward and ensure it is used to maximum effect within their schools.

The closing date is 12 June 2017. Bookings received by 31 May 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount making the cost of the full days training just £90.00 (SLA members), £120.00 (for non-members of the SLA who are customers of Heath Educational Books), £150.00 (all others). Additional discounts available for a second place delegate attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual) - see SLA website for details.

Key Audience:  Primary school staff, governors and volunteers with responsibility for the school library

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British Library Harry Potter events

BL Harry PptterSign up to the schools' mailing list right here to keep up to date with information about school visits to Harry Potter: A History of Magic.

Journey to where magic and myth began.  Have you ever wanted to delve into Divination, ponder the peculiarities of Potions and discover enchanting creatures? Now you can.

BL will unveil rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library's collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Marvel at original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, both on display for the first time.

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Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

Does this smell like a good poem?!

Joanne Bowles is the Senior Librarian at Tor Bridge High School, Plymouth and she is a 2017 teacher trailblazer, acting as a mentor and sharing lesson ideas for school librarians and teachers wishing to enter their students for the  Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. 

Here Joanne tells us about the poetry week she runs in school.

"I run the annual poetry week at my school, a celebration of all types of poetry which we try to involve all year groups in and run across the curriculum.

Running the poetry week doesn't make me a poetry expert. I find a lot of poetry difficult to understand, and I'm honest about this to my students.I make poetry a learning experience for all of us – the result is that the students can, and often do come up with another meaning for a poem I thought I understood!

One of the most important parts of the week isn't sharing the library's collection of poems but instead getting the students writing and editing their own poems.  It’s an exercise in writing with their fingers and their ears, as they begin to listen to the words they write, which helps them when they do read poetry as they gain a different interpretation and a deeper appreciation of the words on the page.

Another important part of the week is running a competition. This is less daunting than you think. Having an annual theme is very helpful in focussing the mind and I use this to create the competition, a lesson plan, and quizzes for the whole school.

We are a large academy compromising 4 schools so we try to create a sense of competition between them – who submits the most/best entries.  Tutors and school heads become very competitive, which gives an excitement and buzz to poetry week. 

Having the support and resources available through The Poetry Society has helped me immensely with planning - bizarrely, this year I found myself creating my own lesson plan for The Poetry Society, 'Does This Smell Like a Good Poem?', which involves exploring some of the ideas in Cyrus Larcombe- Moore's poem 'my ghost', which was one of the winning poems in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. The lesson plan uses our sense of smell rather than our sight and hearing as a way to understand the poem and to help us with our own poetry writing. Smell invokes a strong human reaction that contributes to imagery, metaphor and structure. 

If you’re thinking about running your own competition, do not underestimate the power of chocolate as a prize! Remember though prizes are not everything, I have found that simple recognition as a winner or getting on to the shortlist really does enthuse even the most reticent students. If you’re entering external competitions aim high, an international competition like Foyle offers 100 top winners – reaching that top 100 is a great and realistic aspiration to give a class. 

Students can have the wrong idea as to who writes poetry, the themes and where poetry exists to be read, seen and heard.I’ve played a variety of YouTube videos/clips of poetry readings in the library during lunchtime.  Students don’t need to sit and listen formally to this – they can flit in and out or just catch bits of it whilst they are looking for books.  It captures those students who might normally avoid a formal poetry reading experience, but also offers a non-judgemental space for those students who might not want to admit they like poetry to their friends.

Promote the writing and sheer appreciation of poetry by getting students and staff to read aloud their favourite poems at assembly, during lunch and in the library.

Once you have opened their eyes to what poetry actually is, students will recognise this in rap and grime. The same applies to song lyrics. Give them the current number one with the title missing and read it aloud as a poem. Once you have got students listening to this and beginning to break it down and analyse it, then you have them hooked and more willing to tackle ‘heavier’ works.

Poet mentors and poets-in-residence are a great help. We have had a visiting poet for the last two years coming in to perform and run workshops – this has ranged from whole year group performances to small group work. Competition winning poems, need to be celebrated, but don’t just publish them in the library or classroom. Create unusual and eye-catching displays around the school so that all students and staff can see the results.  That means toilet doors, the changing rooms and outside spaces – and use props to draw their attention. If you’re going to have a permanent display then make sure you refresh the poems and the look of the display to keep everyone’s attention. I have even made bookmarks with the poems. When students come to borrow a book from our library, I put one in each book. 

Above all poetry should not be reserved just for poetry week but promoted as a fun and engaging pursuit throughout the entire school year. " 

Joanne’s lesson plan ‘Does This Smell Like a Good Poem? is available free at Resources for Teachers

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is the most prestigious award for writers aged 11-17.It is an annual competition that welcomes poems on any theme and entry is completely free.Since it began in 1998, the Award has kick-started the career of some of today’s most exciting new voices. Past winners include Sarah Howe, HelenMort, Jay Bernard and Caroline Bird.

Winners receive a fantastic range of prizes, including mentoring, a residential Arvon writing course, Poetry Society membership and books.The Poetry Society also continues to support winners’ development with performance,publication and internship opportunities.

Find out more and enter your students’ work before the closing date of 31st July at  


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More great FREE resources for school libraries!!

Strange the Dreamer1Strange the Dreamer2STRANGE THE DREAMER posters - this epic, magical, mesmerising novel is the latest offering from the author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor. It went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller chart at number 2 and has received astonishing reviews across the board.

Hodder & Stoughton have two posters on offer: one specifically for libraries featuring a quote from the book, and one more general for summer reading. People should email Naomi Berwin at naomi.berwin[at] to claim them, specifying which of the two they’d like (you can have both!) and how many.

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