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SLA Blog » November 2008RSS Feed RSS

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.

Libraries and the National Year of Reading

I was delighted to be invited to the celebration of the Year of Reading at the House of Commons on Monday.  Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families took time out from a packed Parliamentary programme to make a speech to the gathering in the Strangers Dining Room.  This was a super celebration of the successes of the Year of Reading, with speeches from Jonathan Douglas of the National Literacy Trust,  Miranda McKearney of the Reading Agency, and the Director of  Bookaid International - which also launched their reverse book token, launched in time for Christmas gifts - see their website - http://www.bookaid.org/ .  The one disappointment was Ed Balls' comment that school libraries did not need to be statutory, but that they were very important and would be supported.  Although I would tend to disagree with him I was very pleased by the obvious and high level support for libraries and reading generally, and school libraries in particular!

Tricia Adams

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Enjoying Reading - help needed!

Enjoying Reading is a coordinated approach to supporting young readers through a partnership between schools, school libraries, school library services and public libraries.

Funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Enjoying Reading website and resources define how the teaching community, public libraries, school libraries and schools library services can work together to motivate children to read for pleasure and purpose.

This piece of work recognises the crucial contribution that libraries play in supporting children‘s reading through a national online resource for schools. This shows how schools can make the best of what each part of the library system has to offer. Case studies show how this can work in practice. There is a bank of ideas for getting teachers and library staff working together to achieve common aims, and a discussion space for teachers and library staff to meet virtually and share ideas.

The Reading Agency (TRA) are now evaluating Enjoying Reading - please take a few minutes to help and fill in the survey.  The Reading Agency ask -

Please send your feedback about www.enjoyingreading.org.uk

If you work in a school or a library, we'd like to know how useful you find this website. 

Which sections have been of the most interest?

Have you been inspired to develop new partnerships to encourage children's reading?

TRA need your feedback, so please answer the short survey at:


Leave your contact details at the end of the survey form for a chance to win £50 worth of book tokens for your school or library.

Tricia Adams

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Patrick Ness novel wins Teenage Prize

Knife of Never Letting GoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness has won the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize. The award is geared to celebrate contemporary fiction written for teenagers, and is judged by a mixed panel of adults and teenagers. Patrick received a cheque for £2,500 and a trophy at a ceremony in London on 18 November.

Amanda Craig, chair of the judging panel commented that "it made the judges laugh, cry and debate its contents with passion; a striking mixture of thriller, science fiction and literary tour de force, it's influenced by writers as diverse as Laurence Sterne and Ursula le Guin, and should appeal to a wide readership."

The book had previously won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is from Walker Books. Pbk ISBN: 9781406320756.

The other works shortlisted for the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize were: The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz, Apache by Tanya Landman, The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan and Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson.

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Last chance to nominate a star librarian

SLYA nom picNominations for the School Librarian of the Year Award 2009 close on 30 November 2008.

Please take this chance to recommend a librarian in a primary or secondary school who demonstrates outstanding professional qualities and deserves to be recognised for the work that they do.

Nomination forms can be downloaded as a pdf here.

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Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is something I do every day - often taking precedence over more ‘important' things like cooking, cleaning etc!  I can not imagine life without several books ‘on the go' at once, so the chance to share with you the information about this conference seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Celebrating reading at Reading is a day conference to celebrate reading for pleasure in schools, libraries and homes for anyone interested in young people and their books. The day will include:

  • Honor Wilson-Fletcher, Director of the National Year of Reading 2008
  • Popular children's authors, Helen Cooper and Mini Grey
  • Marilyn Brocklehurst, with her amazing Norfolk Children's Book Centre 
  • A choice of sessions on reading and books suitable for all age ranges from Foundation Stage to Upper Key Stage 2.

This will take place on Friday 5 December 2008, 9.30-3.45 at the University of Reading Institute of Education, Bulmershe Court.  Fee £65 (includes refreshments and a light buffet lunch.) The application form - available from Tracey Pinchbeck, Email: t.l.pinchbeck[at]reading.ac.uk or FAX: 0118 378 8834 - needs returning by by Monday 24 November 2008.

It's also time to nominate the Children's Laureate for 2009-11.  The main purpose of this honour is to celebrate children's literature and its contribution to culture and, through this, to bring to the attention of a wider audience of both adults and children. All individuals are recommended to look at the laureate website where there is an online nomination form - www.childrenslaureate.org.uk  .   This is such an opportunity to keep building on the excellent work done by the laureates so far. 

As a reader I take a journal called Slightly Foxed - www.foxedquarterly.com   - it is a rather unusual kind of book review, informal and independent-minded.  Each issue contains personal recommendations for books of lasting interest, old and new, both fiction and non-fiction, adult (mostly) and children's books that have inspired, amused, and sometimes even changed the lives of the people who write about them.  In the current issue (19) is an article by a school librarian in New York City - Recognizing an Imagination Need (pp 90-92) by Constance Vidor - and I was touched by this article which shows just how important reading and stories are to our total well being -

Librarians still know that stories are important. What we don't seem to know any longer and certainly don't dare to say is that stories are more important than something else. Stories are more important than information literacy. They are more important than knowing how to analyse an URL, select a search engine, create subject tags, build a website, search a database, or manipulate a spreadsheet. All these skills are useful, perhaps even essential, but they won't heal a bitter conflict, inspire heroism, or give comfort to grief......there are still prisons ....all over the world. Some have visible walls. Others have invisible walls of poverty, injustice and ignorance. Most of our students will encounter one of these prisons at some point in their lives, and when they do I doubt very much whether database search skills will be of much help to them. But stories might. In the frozen fields of Siberia, the prisoners who survived were not recognizing an information need or implementing task criteria. They were listening to fairy tales. Constance Vidor, 2008.

Some last minute reminders -

Tricia Adams

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Taking Liberties

This has been a hectic week but one of the highlights was attending the opening of the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library.  The BL is a wonderful venue for exhibitions, and this is a striking example of the wealth of resource available from them.  This exhibition is an exploration of some of the documents and artefacts that tell the story of the 900 year struggle for the rights and freedoms that we in Britain tend to take for granted - the right to free speech, a free press, the rule of law and the power to vote.  The idea of the exhibition is to make you think about the nature of rights and responsibilities in society and to place you in the best place to start making critical decisions about what sort of society you would want to live in.  The BL has tied the exhibition into the secondary curriculum, and has digitised many of the resources in the exhibition on an interactive web site - well worth investigating at www.bl.uk/takingliberties

The exhibition runs from 31st October to 1st March 2009 - do go if you get chance, and take a group from school - I'm sure they will gain a great deal from it.  There are workshops and other events available throughout the exhibition.

Tricia Adams

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