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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.

CE Blog 2: Membership Survey

This is the second of the Chief Executive’s blogs – my way of keeping you in the loop with what’s happening at SLA headquarters. This post is going to focus on the recent membership survey we conducted. It opened in April, and we were pleased to have nearly 760 responses.  This blog will be some of the highlights, and hopefully give you some insight into the things we are working on.


Of the respondents, 90% were members, and 10% weren’t. 45% of respondents were members of CILIP, 23% were not a member of any support group, and 32% were a member of informal networking groups. Other groups most mentioned in addition to the National Literacy trust, CILIP groups and SLS’s were: UK Literacy Association, LIPSEE, Federation of Children’s Book Groups, Independent School Librarians Group, BookTrust and the Reading Agency.

This gives us a clear indication of the groups we need to be working with, and making sure we are maximising any opportunities for additional gain for our members. We are also mindful of those people who are not a member of any groups and the importance of ensuring they have support and opportunities to engage as well.

SLA Services

  • Most used: articles in The School Librarian
  • People were most aware of: the Weekend Course
  • Aware of but don’t use: Phone and email support
  • Least aware of: Board nomination resources

The bottom two are of particular interest, so just to clarify. You can use the phone and email support for anything – from policy queries to when you’re having a bad day and you just need to vent. Someone commented “I am tired, dispirited and need some support – this is a lonely and demanding job at times” and I think most of us can empathise with those comments, but if this is how you are feeling, pick up the phone and call us; you are not alone.

The lack of awareness of the board nomination resources is partly because a smaller percentage of membership will be interested in applying to become a Board member, but we need to ensure that members get the choice from as wide a pool as possible. Maximising awareness of these resources and of board members is something we need to bear in mind when we next come to advertise board vacancies. We will try and advertise them much more widely and make the expectations and support much clearer.

We also received a lot of feedback about the website, and the lack of branches in some areas. Both of these are things we are currently working on – the new website will (hopefully) be launched by the end of 2018, and we are currently having discussions in the office and trying to come up with plans for how we can best support those in areas without a branch. We are hopeful the new website may be able to help with this as well. Some suggestions of things respondents wanted from the new website included: a member directory, more online courses and making the resources easier to navigate – all of which are things we are discussing in-house.

 Lots of people mentioned also wanting mentoring/coaching, advocacy, more regional training and more working in partnership was a trend as well. Being new in post I have had a lot of people to meet, and this has been quite beneficial for me, as I begin to understand organisations from a different perspective. I am keen on working with different organisations for the benefit of our members – and I will let you know about any developments as soon as I can. More regional training is something we are also conscious of and will be working on developing once we have a full complement of staff in place. The mentoring service is fab, and can work really well, and we will be doing a review of this next year to see whether we can iron out making sure it’s working well for everyone involved. In terms of advocacy we are working away, both on the Great School Libraries campaign and on advocating on our own behalf. Recently we have sent letters to various All Party Parliamentary Groups highlighting the impact that school libraries can have on outcomes, and we are negotiating hard to get as much exposure directly to schools as possible.

57% of respondents either aren’t or didn’t know if they were signed up to the e-newsletter. If you don’t know, it’s an email that draws your attention to recent posts on the website, bringing the latest SLA news to you directly. If you want to sign up you can do that here: https://www.sla.org.uk/e-mail-newsletter.php though you do need to be a member, and signed in.

62% of respondents said they weren’t aware of the extra benefits of SLA membership, or didn’t know if they knew about them. This is the information on this page of the website: https://www.sla.org.uk/what-is-in-it-for-me.php and there will be a round up in the next info@ of the partnership offers so you can make sure you are using your membership to its full potential. These are things I will continue to work on, and we will announce them on the website and in info@ when they can be released.

Book and Digital reviews:

51% of respondents wanted more reviews, while 49% said they didn’t, but this combines with only 25% being aware of the additional reviews on the website, and 75% saying they’re not aware of them (they are available here: https://www.sla.org.uk/tsl-reviews.php listed in with the reviews which were in the journal).


Branches were predominantly wanted for networking, training and general support – and I would like to thank all our Branch committees who put so much time and effort into ensuring that things run in their locality. 91% of respondents said their school would let them out for training, but judging by the comments section, rarely is this as simple as it sounds with lots of additional cover, bargaining etc happening.

In terms of the best time of day 61% of respondents said during the school days was best for training, while 23% said a Saturday, and a fairly even split across morning, afternoon and twilight sessions (10%, 11% and 18% respectively). When it came to whether a full day or half day was best this was split as well, with 51% preferring a full day, and 49% preferring half days.


62% of respondents found SLA publications extremely or very useful, with 34% finding them somewhat useful. We will continue to produce high quality publications, and we will consider your requests seriously – some of which were: impact, boys’ reading, copyright, Fake News, displays and KS4/Sixth form. If we can’t do a publication on a topic, or it will take a significant amount of time I will try and make sure that need is met in a different way – through a blog post or resource for example.

In terms of the topics of interest we suggested, 88% of respondents said they would find educational research either useful or maybe useful, 79% said that about library design, and 69% said that about international school librarianship, so we will look to find ways of feeding those needs. There were also a significant number of comments about e-resources and evaluation, so I will feed that into training/publication discussions also.


I was pleased that all the awards got a good reception from respondents with someone commenting: “Morale boosters and awareness creators. Good!” which sums up why the awards are important very succinctly. I think it’s worth highlighting that the awards are run using only sponsorship, so no membership money is used for them. They are vital for advocacy as we need to be showing the powers that be what libraries and library staff could be achieving if certain barriers were removed.

Other comments included requests for more technology, more advanced courses and publications and for Board and award winners to be available to go to branches. And again, we will feed this in to discussions. One trend that I have noticed is that respondents weren’t aware of things we are already doing, or services we already provide, so I think there is a need for us to review our internal publicity (ie how we increase member awareness) and make sure people know what their membership offers, while balancing that with the need to not overwhelm members with emails and notices.

Finally, a massive 97% said they would recommend the SLA to someone else, which is a hugely positive thing, and something that inspires the office to keep working as hard as we do. Thank you to everyone who took part and for all the comments, whether it’s saying how much you value your membership or a point for us to improve on. They all help energise us and we will do our best to respond to you over the next few years. Don't forget you can continue the discussion using the #CEBlog and @uksla. 


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Job Vacancies:

St George’s School seeks an experienced librarian to lead our library team and further develop the library space.

The School
Serving the international community in Cologne for almost 30 years, St George’s School combines an enriching curriculum with family orientated care. The school has grown from small beginnings into a thriving community of over 750 pupils, aged from 2-18 and representing more than 40 nationalities. The National Curriculum is taught throughout the school, and we offer the IB Diploma in our Sixth form. One of a group of four schools located across Germany, St George’s offers the successful applicant an exciting range of opportunities for professional development and growth across the school group
The Location

Located on a new, purpose built campus on the outskirts of Cologne, St George’s School enjoys direct transport links to the city centre, as well as to the greater area of Cologne-Bonn. Germany’s fourth largest city, Cologne is a dynamic and vibrant cultural centre, with a large and diverse international community. Situated in the heart of Europe, Cologne offers a high standard of living, as well as numerous opportunities for travel and cultural discovery. Cologne-Bonn airport is located only 20km from the school, with many daily flights to the UK, and a high speed rail service connects Cologne to London, via Brussels.

Please download our application pack below for detailed information about the role.

For further details, and to make an application, please visit our website
Only applications made through our on-line system will be considered.
Applications should be submitted by the 
closing date of 9th March 2018. The school reserves the right to contact outstanding applicants in advance of this deadline.
St George’s is committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and expects all staff to share this commitment. The successful applicant will therefore be subject to enhanced background checks.



For any enquires relating to this role, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Mr. P. Dickinson
Academic and Recruiting Director.
Tel: 0049 2233 808870








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International Dot Day!

 Celebrate 10 years of International Dot Day on 15th-ish September!

It all started TEN years ago, when a teacher and his students in Iowa celebrated the themes of creativity and courage in Peter H. Reynolds’s The Dot. Now, every 15-ish September, more than 10 million teachers, librarians, and children in 170 countries participate in International Dot Day, making their mark by getting busy with writing, drawing, painting, or other creative outlets and sharing their Dot Day inspiration with others.

Join in the global celebrations on 15-ish September by hosting a reading of The Dot, throwing a creative dot-making event, or planning a weeklong series of activities — the possibilities are endless! To get started, download the free International Dot Day pack from Walker Books packed with simple ideas to help you celebrate creativity in your classroom or library, and you can also download a free International Dot Day event poster.

We can’t wait to hear about your International Dot Day event in your classroom or library. Keep us updated by sharing any news, photos and art with us via Twitter @uksla @WalkerBooksUK #DotDay, #Makeyourmark.

International Dot Day Classroom Guide          

Make Your Mark Event Poster

PDF file, 573 kB

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PDF file, 2 MB

Requires Adobe Reader


To find out more and to discover other great ideas for making your mark on International Dot Day, visithttp://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/

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Congratulations YeEun!

We would like to congratulate YeEun Lee on successfully completing our online Learning About Libraries course. YeEun commented that she was very excited about her success and that the course has helped her a lot - we're very glad to hear it!!

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An exciting vacancy has arisen within the SLA. 

The Member Development Librarian will have oversight of Member Services, and be the first port of call for profession based (opposed to membership based) enquiries. This person will enjoy a great degree of autonomy and will take responsibility for managing her/his day-to-day workload.  Main areas of responsibility will be in maintaining and developing services to Association members and looking after the website content. Project management may be required at times.

The Member Development Librarian has to have a flexible approach in assisting with urgent demands and new projects. They will work with the team in the Office to ensure SLA members receive a first class service and a strong and proactive Association.

Base:            SLA office, Swindon

Hours:             37 per week although a part time role of 25 hours or more would be considered (Flexible Working Arrangements available after the probation period)

Salary:        NJC scale 28-29: £25463 - £26470 (FTE)

Holiday:      22 days plus bank holidays

Closing date: Wednesday 29th August. For more information, see the documents below (the person specification is 'Why work at the SLA') or email info[at]sla.org.uk

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Development and Discussion: Reading for Pleasure

This is the first of the Development and Discussion posts, that will come at monthly intervals in between the Chief Executive's blog. Written by external people to the SLA the idea of these blogs is to provide something for SLA members that will enable them to think about things, develop their practice or consider different issues that impact the environment they work in. To discuss the post use the #SLADevChat1 and don't forget to include [at]uksla in your tweet! 

The first blog post is written by Alison David, Consumer Insight Director at Egmont Publishing, and it looks at issues around children's reading for pleasure, and the importance of reading culture at home. There are many interesting issues that the blog touches on but for me a key issue is how important reading together, and aloud is, and I'm sure this is equally important at school as it is at home. So if you're thinking about next year's activities, it might be worth asking - where can you encourage school staff to read to children? Can you work with parents at all, or work with schools around you?

In the meantime, and while you have a rest, the SLA has released some 'Alternative reads' for books which are worth trying if a child has been enjoying one of the best-selling books. More information can be found here: https://www.sla.org.uk/blg-if-they-liked-that-what-now.php

A huge thanks to Alison David for writing the post! 


PDF file, 663 kB

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SLA Members Only

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SALARY: Scale 5 (22-25) £ 23,895-£25,875 per annum salary pro rata, 42.5 hours per week,  term time only. (8.00am-5.00pm with 30 minutes unpaid break).

Are you passionate about reading and literacy? Do you possess excellent communication, administrative and organisational skills? If so, The Academy is seeking to appoint a highly motivated, innovative and enthusiastic Learning Resource Centre Manager. We are looking for a LRC Manager to be responsible for the efficient and effective operation and development of our newly built library. The LRC Manager will be  responsible for providing a library and learning resource centre for the whole Academy community, recognising the needs of all students and staff, directly supporting the delivery of teaching and learning.                Previous experience of working in a library or bookshop would be an advantage but is not essential.
In particular candidates should have:

  • A passion for learning.
  • Outstanding behaviour management skills.
  • Outstanding communication skills.
  • A flexible approach.
  • The capacity to contribute to the development of the Academy’s Christian ethos.
  • High expectations of students in terms of learning, achievement and behaviour.      

CLOSING DATE: Tuesday 31st July 2018, midday.


LRC Manager Advert

PDF file, 129 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


LRC Manager Application Pack (1)

PDF file, 802 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)

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Real Life Mysteries resources

b -small publishing have created some activity guides to go with their 'Real Life Mysteries' book. This book is shortlisted for the SLA Information Book Award so do have a look at these activities: https://www.bsmall.co.uk/activity-hub

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