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SLA Blog » March 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.

And what do you do?

That’s often a question directed to me at a social gathering – and how do I answer?  Well, I have a choice – I can answer ‘children’s librarian’, ‘chief executive of a charity’, or ‘I’m involved with school libraries’ – they are all correct!  The first usually elicits a request for reading recommendations for the questioners’ children, grandchildren or nephews and nieces – whether I know the children or not….  The second usually results in a series of further explanations and the last one seems to assume I run a school library i.e. I stamp out books and read all day – again a series of further explanations follow!

But to fulfil the many roles – what do I do?  The weeks vary enormously, but I usually have a couple of days in the office in Swindon – catching up with the others, supporting members, answering enquiries and generally fielding the sorts of things that come into the office.   The rest of the week – well to take some highlights from some of the activity recently -

  • Drafting responses to government consultations – Welsh Libraries just submitted, National Curriculum in 2nd draft - almost ready to go, just starting on the Ofsted consultation.
  • Meetings - with partners, currently involved in discussions with YLG and SLGaround a joint 2012 conference.
  • Meetings with government – Nick Gibb at DfE to discuss reading…
  • Meetings with members – a recent Lancashire branch meeting and a chat with a group of school librarians in Derbyshire, off to Wales next week and an event at Browns Books in Preston.
  • Weekend Course planning and preparation – it’s only 2 months away, don’t forget to book!
  • Attending events – a seminar at DfE on Independent Reading, the Education Show, the NUTReading4Pleasure conference – and looking forward to the SLGconference this weekend.
  • Then in any quiet times (!) there’s the never-ending job of keeping abreast of what’s happening in the wider school and library world.

If you want to keep up with where I am follow me on Twitter ([at]triciaad) - networks and phone reception permitting I try to keep in touch….

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Astrid Lindgren Award Winner 2011 announced!

And the winner is - Shaun Tan! Shaun Tan has illustrated more than 20 books, notable among them The Rabbits (1998), The Lost Thing (2000), The Red Tree (2001), The Arrival (2006) and Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008).  For more information adn Shaun's presentation and biography visit the award website.

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Issue Systems for the Primary School Library

Check It outThe latest publication in the SLA's Guidelines series is now available - Check It Out: Issue Systems for the Primary School Library. The text is fully updated from the best-selling earlier editions and includes more detailed information about increasingly popular computerised issue systems, but also outlines essential details about alternative traditional manual systems too.

Check It Out is essential reading for everyone who runs a primary school library. It can be ordered online or by phone, fax or email from SLA head office.

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Ofsted launches consultation on changes to school inspection in England

Ofsted launched a consultation on the inspection of maintained schools and academies in England on Monday 21st March 2011.

The changes follow proposals announced in the 2011 Education Bill and aim to re-focus school inspection on what matters most: the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom, backed by excellent leadership and management, and good discipline and behaviour in schools. The consultation seeks views on the detail of how Ofsted will implement these changes.

The consultation also seeks views on when Ofsted should inspect.

Outstanding schools will no longer be subject to routine inspections unless concerns about their performance are identified, and the consultation asks for views on the factors inspectors should consider when assessing whether an inspection is needed. In addition, it asks for views on plans to carry out more frequent inspections of weaker schools and on the circumstances in which schools may request an inspection.

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More than 15,000 march for education in S. Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - More than 15,000 are marching in South Africa's western city of Cape Town to demand libraries, computers labs and other resources for township schools, many of which are vastly under-resourced.

Yoliswa Dwane, a spokeswoman for Cape Town-based Equal Education said Monday that the government spent billions of rand on the World Cup, but has not invested the same on basic education.

South Africa, a country with one of the greatest disparities of wealth, still struggles to close the gap apartheid created between white and black schools. Only a third of third-graders in South Africa meet the minimum literacy and numeracy standards, according to national test results. Last year, a third of those taking final-year exams failed.

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Visits at the Education Show

The opportunity to attend the Education Show presents all sorts of options – time to catch up with colleagues whilst we are all in the same place and also to make new connections, as well as seeing lots of wonderful new resources too. 

Yesterday in Birmingham’s NEC was no exception.  I was able to attend the launch of the National Literacy Association’s Guide to Literacy Resources On-Line at a lovely, informal event on the BESA stand. The response to The Guide at the launch was very warm and positive; it was easy to use, informative and looked good too!

It was also a chance to chat to colleagues at the Copyright Licensing Agency and hear about their new licenses for schools – for details check out their website for their interactive guide to help you, as well as the Guide to Copyright Licensing in Schools.

Look out for the new website from TEEM.  TEEM Education is where teachers and professionals can find information they need about digital resources and ICT peripherals. This free service is dedicated to giving professionals vital information about resources to inspire their pupils. A directory of resources gives an overview of what is available, while a combination of TEEM evaluations, reviews from other sources, case studies and demonstrations add teachers feedback and other important details.

Exciting news from the Stories from the Web team – schools can now subscribe to this fun site – check it out at their newly designed website.

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E-Books Course - change of venue!!

The brand new SLA regional training course 'Getting to Grips with Developing and Managing E-Book Collections: an introduction' with Chris Armstrong and Ray Lonsdale on 31st March 2011 is now at Budmouth Technology College, Weymouth. It promises to be a extremely interesting and innovative course!

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The School Librarian, Spring 2011

The School Librarian 59:1The School Librarian 59-1 has now been despatched to members along with the members' newsletter - info[at]sla - and the full Programme and Booking Form for the SLA Weekend Course in June. We also hope you will take the time to return your Voting Paper in the ballot for the three SLA Board vacancies for 2011–2014.

As usual, the full text of the ict[at]sla section can be read online with clickable links, a convenient way to quickly check out some new websites and resources. Our archive of the ict[at]sla section goes back to Volume 56 Number 1.

A complete index of the book reviews in this issue and for all reviews back to Volume 54 (2006) is available.

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Eoin Colfer presents 'Artemis Rocks'

Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Artemis Fowl series with the hysterically funny and utterly brilliant number one bestselling author Eoin Colfer in this interactive live webcast. You may even get to meet Artemis Fowl himself! A must for everyone, especially 8 - 12 year olds. Register classes or if this falls in your Easter Holidays, individual fans can register to watch as well.

The webcast will take place live at: 11.30am - 12.10pm on Wednesday 6th April 2011
Viewers can submit questions live for Eoin Colfer to answer during the webcast.

To register go to: http://www.eoincolfervirtuallylive.co.uk/

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Bookish thoughts

At the end of the week that includes World Book Day it seems appropriate to have a bookish blog to round off the week.  The Red House Children’s Book Awards have announced their shortlists – have a look, they are a lovely selection of books! 

Meanwhile in Oxford tickets go on sale for the Literary Festival.   You can sign up for the mailing list and also get the brochure from their website – again a super programme of events to enjoy if you are within striking distance of Oxford.

John Burningham and Philip Pullman have been nominated by IBBY UK for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards, which are given to “great authors and illustrators who have made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature”.  Regarded as the equivalent of Nobel Prizes, they are the leading international awards in the fields of writing and illustrating for children and young people. In their fifty-year history they have been won by some of the great names in children’s literature, including Britain’s Anthony Browne, Aidan Chambers, Quentin Blake, and most recently, David Almond.  Nominations have now closed from more than 70 IBBY national sections and will be sent to the International Jury when it meets at the Bologna Book Fair next month. A detailed dossier for all the nominated authors and illustrators will then be prepared by each national section with a closing date for the end of June this year. The final announcement of the winners will be made at the Bologna Book Fair in 2012 and the Awards will be presented at the IBBY International Congress, which is being held in London in August of that year.  For further information contact John Dunne: j.f.dunne@btinternet.com

Meanwhile to escape the challenges of the working week I am immersing myself in thrillers and fantasy books at the moment – and there are so many good books around it’s not hard to find them!  Have a peaceful weekend catching up on your favourite reading.

Tricia Adams

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Horowitz on literacy and libraries

The full text of Anthony Horowitz's wonderful keynote speech given at the National Literacy Trust for World Book Day is now available on line in full and is well worth a read - Literacy: State of the Nation.

"I’ve been visiting schools for thirty years and I’ve been to hundreds of them from Scotland to Devon and all over France and America too – and you ask any visiting author this and they will say the same. You can tell a school instantly by its library. Or to put it another way, I can tell you instantly what the library will be like the moment I enter a school. It’s there in the animation of the kids, it’s the colour, the sense of intellectual life in the corridors. It’s in the way they regard one another and in the way they speak. The library is the beating heart of any school and its life and vitality depend on it."

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Happy World Book Day!

There are some parts of this job that are sheer pleasure – and really don’t seem like work at all.  Last night was one of those times – attending the inaugural Sir Simon Hornby Lecture organised by the National Literacy Trust to hear Anthony Horowitz talking about Literacy: State of the Nation.  As ever, Horowitz was provocative and challenged the audience to think about literacy and reading, asking whether anyone was a fully formed human being if they don’t read?  His description of book gifting schemes as like throwing matches at damp wood seemed extreme but he went on to say the important underlying question is ‘why is there damp wood in the first place?’ 

His message (and one that I rejoiced at) was that school libraries were the vital libraries to save and that the library was the beating heart of any school.  The relationship between teachers, school librarians and their local bookshop were the key to the whole issue – and that reading whole books within the curriculum were links in a chain that will help create a shared cultural experience for the community.  Story is the reason Horowitz writes, he is immersed in story.  Quoting from Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, he says it is story that can unite us and make sense of who we are; story creates memory and memory creates identity.  Story is where students will find themselves and so a well stocked school library and school librarian are needed in every school.  Thank you Anthony!  You can read more of the speech in today’s Times.

Tricia Adams.

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World Book Day - 3rd March 2011

World Book Day 2011 is today - the 3rd March. The website is well worth visiting for loads of activities, ideas and resources. There is a  new site for teens and secondary school pupils with details of creative writing, reviewing, photo-captioning and blogging competitions for pupils and students over 11 years. Videos, relevant links, reading recommendations and random trivia are also part of the package.

There is also a new Professionals' Portal which has been filled with content appropriate to classroom and library activities and is easily accessible via a simple registration process.

Films of authors and actors including Bernard Cribbins, Ramona Marquez, Devon Anderson and Kris Marshall reading extracts of the special £1 Books will be available to view on the site.

Do have a wonderful day and enjoy celebrating all the great books that are currently available for children and young adults!

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