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SLA Blog » November 2011RSS 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.

Right Words Writing Competition

Secondary-school students are invited to pick up their pens – or reach for their keyboards – and enter the third Right Words writing competition, launched by the Human Rights Watch London Network and English PEN.

The competition is run to highlight the importance of human rights, this year focusing on the issue of freedom of expression. Entrants are encouraged to submit a poem,a story, factual article, dialogue / monologue or a rap, on this topic.The competition is open to Years 10 and 11 in England and Wales, and Secondary 3 and 4 students in Scotland, and is intended to form part of the Citizenship, English and Religious Education curriculum.

Please see the press release for more details and there is a downloadable poster to advertise the competition.

Right Words Press Release 24th November 2011

Word document, 19 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later



Right Words (Leaflet Poster)

PDF file, 494 kB

Requires Adobe Reader


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SLARI conference - 'Promoting literacy with e-readers and technology'

The recent SLARI Conference 'Promoting literacy with e-readers and technology' held at St. Michael's College on Saturday 19 November 2011 was a great success, by all accounts. Read a report about it by Tom Donegan on the INIS website.

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Guidance on Kindle use for SLA members

The SLA contacted Amazon .co.uk for official guidance on the use of Kindles in school libraries and have received some useful information in response to our email. SLA members can read the Amazon response in our Support for Secondary Schools section -  just look at the section on E-Resources.

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SLS Map launched

Promo Box SLS NEW CopyThe School Library Association (SLA) works in partnership with many schools library services (SLS) across the country and has been concerned for some time now about the ongoing erosion of SLS services, so much so that many areas of the country no longer have SLS available locally.  To help schools see where their nearest SLSs are available the SLA has produced an interactive map.  The map gives a clear picture of the distribution of SLS across the country – and highlights those areas without any service available to them.  The concern is that an estimated 600,000 children around the country no longer have access to the work of a schools library service[1].  The map is available to use at http://www.sla.org.uk/sls-map.php .

Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association said “Schools library services can provide much needed support in the way of training and resources to schools but their gradual decline is a worrying trend when considering support for students; by producing this interactive map we are hoping to help schools find the practical help and support they need”

The SLA gratefully acknowledges the valuable input from the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL).  Gillian Harris, chair of ASCEL says “Where schools do not have a schools library service in their area, they should look to neighbouring authorities for support as all schools library services can offer services outside their immediate area.  ASCEL is working with its members on ways of ensuring all schools have access to a schools library service for support, advice and resources.”

CILIP Chief Executive Annie Mauger says, “School librarians and Schools Library Services expertise are essential in helping children navigate the digital world and improve information literacy skills. All children and young people should have access to the benefits they bring. Currently this is not the case.”

[1] Times Educational Supplement (TES) Survey of SLS provision 2011.

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Don't Forget - Survey

Do take this opportunity to add your comments to the survey about what we do and what you value .  Closing Date: 28th November 2011. 
Follow the links here to start the survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9TJTHPK

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Autumnal Ruminations

I like autumn as a season – the colours changing, the wintry tang in the air, the birds flocking to the bird table and the glorious winter sunsets we get in my part of the world. 

The downside is the fact we appear to get busier than at almost any other time of year!  There is so much to do – and especially at the moment with all the consultations from government around curricula, reading and school buildings, as well as trying to plan a hard-hitting campaign around school libraries and schools library services.  Then there are all the planning cycles to start again for the next round of our awards, and the annual strategic cycle to start evaluating and developing for the next round.  And that doesn’t include the day-to-day contact with members, asking for advice or wanting a chat about their individual situation.  Rather than turning the clocks back and seeming to make the days shorter – or certainly darker – I do wonder if we should try and add an extra hour into the day!

So here are some of the reminders and heads up that you may like to be aware of:

Do keep in touch!

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FIFTY! News from the Stan Lee Excelsior Award

The Stan Lee Excelsior Award is pleased to announce that it has today signed up its 50th school for 2012!

When the 18th school signed up, that made the Award officially 'more popular' than it had been in 2011. When the 34th school signed up, that made it officially 'twice as popular' as 2011. Now we've broken that magical '50 Schools barrier', the Stan Lee Excelsior Award is shooting into the stratosphere! This now promises to be a fantastic nationwide event in 2012 and sees graphic novels and manga given a platform in UK school libraries (and public ones) and a level of exposure that they have never had before!

When the 2012 shortlist is announced in the week commencing 5th December, I'm hoping this will attract even more schools! Keep checking back on the website - www.excelsioraward.co.uk - to find out the 8 amazing titles that will create a reading frenzy amongst students in 2012!

And many thanks to all the schools that have already gotten onboard and supported the Award. It's fantastic and has surpassed my highest expectations.

Paul Register
Ecclesfield School

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British Library call for help from primary schools

PLAYGROUND GAMES - CALLING ALL PRIMARY TEACHERS! The British Library want to hear about the activities in your playground: from Mummies and Daddies to war games, from football cards to skipping songs. Send in your students' stories and they will include them in a new archive documenting children's play around the UK.

Find out more or email learning[at]bl.uk

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IBBY 2012

Registration is now open for this exciting International conference on children’s literature to be held at Imperial College from 23 – 26th August 2012. See www.ibbycongress2012.org

In order to make it easier for delegates from the UK and around the world to attend this rare event (it’s the first time it has been held in the UK for 30 years) IBBY have begun registration early to allow delegates to spread the cost by paying in three instalments. Of course it’s also possible to pay all in one go as well.

As well as the great line-up of speakers there will be seminars and discussions, round tables, professional meetings and exciting additional events such as the presentation of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the IBBY Asahi Award.  The full programme will be announced in January.   We would also like to thank The School Library Association and CILIP’s School Libraries and Youth Libraries Groups for holding a joint conference next year in order to reduce the number of conferences on offer to librarians and teachers.  We really appreciate the help of all the organisations who are so positive about the IBBY 2012 World Congress and the support you are giving us.

For more information contact Kathy Lemaire OBE, Co-Director Crossing Boundaries: Translations and Migrations IBBY World Congress London 2012.
www.ibbycongress2012.org or  kathy[at]ibbycongress2012.org

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Results of SLA Information Book Award 2011 Announced

SLA Information Book Award LogoThe School Library Association celebrated the award of the first Information Book Award on Wednesday 2nd November with an event at the Free Word Centre in London. The SLA Information Book Award is an annual event celebrating information books, and is designed to support school libraries and to reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available. Between August and mid October, schools were able to cast their vote for their favourite Information Book in the SLA's Information Book Award. The SLA and the sponsors of the Information Book Award were keen that schools and their students should have a say in the final decision. Each school could vote online for their favourite book in each category (Under 7s, 7-12 and 12-16) and for their overall favourite.

Marlene Johnson, Managing Director of Hachette Children’s Books, congratulated the authors and illustrators, saying, ‘we are very proud to be sponsoring the inaugural SLA Information Book Award, and to support school libraries and students. The SLA Award is a great way to highlight the variety and excellence of the books and information out there, and, through the feedback of students and librarians, to celebrate the very best exponents of the art of creating great non-fiction.’

Chris Brown, Chair of the judges, said, “This Award is the only children's books award to focus solely on Information Books. It is a celebration of the fantastic skills being applied in the creation of the very best of such books for our young readers. It is intended also to highlight and emphasise the immense value, in this 'Information Age', of the organisation and breadth of coverage being achieved and brilliantly conveyed in the very best books.”

Winners in each category are:

Jonathan and Marilyn Baille, Adrian Dingle, Ros Asquith and Mary Hoffman
Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie, Adrian Dingle, Ros Asquith and Mary Hoffman


Under 7s - The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illus Ros Asquith. Frances Lincoln ISBN 9781845079994

7-12 - Animals at the Edge by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie. Franklin Watts ISBN 9780749694814

12-16 - How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle. Scholastic ISBN 9781407117911

Overall Winner - How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle. Scholastic ISBN 9781407117911

Children’s Choice winners are:

Under 7s - My Very First Art Book by Rosie Dickins and Sarah Courtauld, illus Gus Gordon. Usborne ISBN 9781409522850

7-12 - The Murderous Maths of Everything by Kjartan Poskitt, illus Rob Davis. Scholastic ISBN 9781407103679

12-16 - The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott and Ari Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583

Overall Winner - The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott and Ari Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583

The complete shortlist for 2011 is:

Under 7s

  • Let’s Ride a Bike by Ruth Walton. Franklin Watts ISBN 9780749688578
  • My Very First Art Book by Rosie Dickins and Sarah Courtauld, illus Gus Gordon. Usborne ISBN 9781409522850
  • The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illus Ros Asquith. Frances Lincoln ISBN 9781845079994


  • Animals at the Edge by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie. Franklin Watts ISBN 9780749694814
  • How the World Works by Christiane Dorion, illus Beverley Young. Templar ISBN 9781848771895
  • The Murderous Maths of Everything by Kjartan Poskitt, illus Rob Davis. Scholastic ISBN 9781407103679


  • How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle. Scholastic ISBN 9781407117911
  • Stories about Surviving Gangs and Bullying by Michaela Miller. Franklin Watts ISBN 9781445100722
  • The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott and Ari Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all. Website: www.sla.org.uk

About the Award sponsors

The School Library Association is grateful for sponsorship from Hachette Children’s Books and Peters Bookselling Services to make this award possible. The SLA Information Book Award is run entirely on sponsorship kindly donated by friends and supporters of the Award. No money is taken from the SLA budget so all staff time, the cost of the judging, prizes for the winners and the final award ceremony must be covered by the sponsors' donations.

Hachette Children's Books is one of the most successful children's publishers in the UK, with an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award winning books for children of all ages and interests. Their four imprints, Franklin Watts, Hodder Children's Books, Orchard Books and Wayland together form a dynamic list of top quality picture books, fiction and non-fiction. Website: www.hachettechildrens.co.uk

Peters Bookselling Services offers a variety of services to support libraries, schools, nurseries and schemes. Website: www.peters-books.co.uk

Award website - www.sla.org.uk/information-book-award.php

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Information Books

Excitement is mounting here at SLA as we approach the first announcement of the winners of the SLA Information Book Award.  The celebration will take place at the Free Word Centre in London tonight – watch out for announcements on the website and in the press. 

Also – let us know what you are doing in your schools for National Non Fiction Day tomorrow – you could send us a quick comment on the blog here!

The aim of National Non-Fiction Day is to dispel the myth that non-fiction belongs solely to the confines of the classroom. Non-fiction can inspire as well as educate, deliver humour along with hard facts, and some of the tales it can tell rivals the best fiction for excitement and intrigue. National Non-Fiction Day is an opportunity to inspire teachers and librarians, children and parents, to have fun whilst learning about the world we live in. The theme this year is all about sharing information. FCBG research in 2010 found over 80% of those asked stated they got their non-fiction from their school library with a large majority of librarians stating how important non- fiction was at break and lunchtimes where students would flock to areas to pour over facts, sharing the enjoyment in small groups.

The day itself will be covered by a number of YA (Young Adult) bloggers who will be filling their pages with information all about Non-Fiction. In the lead up to the day FCBG have also been involved in a number of research projects into young people’s attitudes towards non-fiction and how non-fiction is used and viewed by school librarians. The results of these will be published shortly. A number of e-services have also been set up utilising social networks including Twitter (@nnfd11, #nnfd11 and #twitfact ) and Facebook  (National Non-Fiction Day) which will promote the day and keep you up-to-date.  For further information about National Non-Fiction Day, please contact Adam Lancaster, National Non-Fiction Day Founder.  Email: aln@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk

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