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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.

Animal Agents: the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge is on its way!

SRC 2017   Animal Agents Logo Col   LANDSCAPELibraries across the UK are getting ready to introduce children to new worlds of facts and fiction through Animal Agents, the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge™, run by independent charity The Reading Agency.

Across the school summer holidays, Animal Agents will introduce young readers to a variety of clever creatures, specially trained to use their skills and natural instincts to unravel mysteries. Animal Agents is illustrated by Tony Ross, illustrator of the hugely popular Horrid Henry series. He is published all over the world; his awards and nominations include the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Kate Greenaway Medal, and the Smarties Prize.

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge to children is simple. They’re encouraged to read six
or more books of their choice – fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books just as long as they are borrowed from the library – during the holidays. There are collectable incentives and rewards, plus a certificate for every child who completes the Challenge. Children can sign up at their local library from the end of June onwards and all materials are absolutely free. (NB: exact start dates for the Summer Reading Challenge can vary around the UK, as do schools‘ breaking up dates for the summer holidays: please check with your local library.)

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to all primary school children and is designed for all reading abilities. Schools work with local libraries and give out information to encourage children to take part, and most libraries run Summer Reading Challenge linked early years activity for pre-schoolers.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Head to your local library during the summer holidays and enrol. It's completely free and any child can take part.
  • Children can chat, get reading recommendations and enter competitions all year round on our Summer Reading Challenge website.
  • If you're a teacher, our online resources to help you support children's reading for pleasure will be available shortly (please email if you would like to be sent the link.)   
  • Teachers, parents and children can also gain Animal Agents-related reading inspiration from the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 book collection. It comprises 70 must-have reads for children aged 4-11, with something to suit every young reader. Many of the books in the collection are new titles which will be published this summer, and will be displayed in libraries during the Challenge. There are two lists - one for younger children and one for older children - representing the best in contemporary children's fiction, fact and puzzle books, poetry, picture books and graphic novels.

Once again this year, children’s publishers are supporting the Summer Reading Challenge, and there are also large print Summer Reading Challenge materials available for visually impaired children, or visually impaired parents/carers, thanks to the support of the RNIB National Library Service.  In Scotland the Challenge runs as Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland.

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

Our course Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive, run by Angie Curran, will be held at Kidderminster Public Library, Market Street, Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY10 1AB on 13 June 2017. The closing date is 26 May 2017. Bookings received by 16 May 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount. 

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.  During the day 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.

Key Audience: secondary school library staff

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Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure: Winsford, Cheshire, 15 June 2017

Our course Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure, run by Alec Williams , will be held at Education Library Service, Browning Way, Woodford Park Industrial Estate, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2JN on 15 June 2017. 

This lively course will make sure that your stories both motivate pupils to read, and show them the pleasure they can get from it.  It will build confidence and give fresh inspiration for every teacher, covering picture books for all ages, plus easy-to-learn stories from memory, across the whole primary range.  There’ll be down-to-earth advice from an internationally-experienced storyteller (choosing stories that work; making stories interactive; holding children’s interest; dealing with interruptions), along with sure-fire book recommendations for hard-pressed teachers.  You’ll get chance to practice in a non-threatening environment (no video cameras!), see displays of brilliant new stories to read, hear great recommendations from both trainer and delegates, and receive handouts packed with more ideas and information.  An entertaining day that will give everyone’s storytelling a lift!

The closing date is 1 June 2017. Bookings received by 18 May 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience: primary school teachers and support staff

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Help, I'm in Charge of the School Library!: Sutton, Surrey, 23 May 2017


Have you recently taken over responsibility for looking after your school library but are not sure where to start? If so, our Help, I'm in Charge of the Secondary School Library course at Heath Educational Books, Sutton, Surrey on Tuesday 23rd May is for you! 

An essential course for anyone new to running or managing a school library, delegates will consider the role of the library in the school, gain an overview about all aspects of managing the school library and learn about the processes and practical aspects of running it.  They will also have the opportunity to look at a range of resources for the Library. 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 9 May 2017. Bookings received by 2 May 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount.  Special discount price available for customers of Heath Educational Books.

Key Audience: A course for secondary school library staff

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National Get Into Teaching campaign video resource

Real pupils and teachers have come together in a new video to offer a fresh perspective on what is means to be a teacher in today’s society. Teaching is a career choice that provides a rewarding challenge and fulfilment, and there's still time to apply to start a teacher training course from this September. Visit the Get into Teaching website for more information on how to apply.

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Canadian School Libraries

CCropped CSLwebsitebanner2anadian School Libraries (CSL) organization goal is to provide school libraries with "one-stop" shopping for resources, news, professional development, research, etc. locally, nationally and internationally.

Following the closure of the Canadian Library Association, CSL became the new home for Canada's school library standards, Leading Learning, in English & French, the journal SLiC, the school library research retreat Treasure Mountain Canada, and many other resources pertaining to school library learning commons development. As you will see on our web site, school library and multi-library associations that support schools in Canada have shared their logos/links and sometimes news on CSL.

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Job Vacancies: Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School - Head of Libraries and Archives Vacancy

We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and suitably qualified person to lead and manage the major learning and study environments used by the Main, Preparatory and Pre-Preparatory Schools.

This role will have responsibility for the acquisition and organisation of resources appropriate to the learning needs of the full age range of pupils within our community, as well as overseeing the School Archive.

The post is a full time role.The hours will be 40 hours per week, between the hours of 8.00am and

5.30pm, Monday to Friday.  Salary commensurate with skills and experience.

Further details and an application form can be obtained from our website or by email from the Human Resources Manager:staffvacancies[at] 

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 16th May 2017.  Interviews will be held on Wednesday 7th June 2017.



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There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower: Bristol, 18 May 2017


Our course There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower, run by Lin Smith, will be held at Gordano School, Portishead, Bristol on 18 May 2017.

Arm yourself with sufficient knowledge to become more involved in, or to spearhead, an Information Literacy Programme in your school.  During the day delegates will explore the definition of Information Literacy and how it applies to 21st century learners. The course will cover the best kind of questioning and will identify core skills with citation, copyright, plagiarism and website evaluation being discussed.  Ideas for possible lessons will be explored and delegates will be encouraged to discuss and invent hypothetical lessons, including the use of games. It will include a brief look at free web-based software which can be used to enrich skills lessons keeping students engaged and interested. 

The closing date is 4 May 2017. A £15 early booking discount will be applied to all applications received by 20 April 2017.

Key Audience: Secondary school librarians / library staff / teachers with a responsibility for learning skills

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