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SLA Blog » July 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.

Going Digital - Just Published

Going Digital coverThe SLA's newest publication is now available. Going Digital: Developing ICT in the Primary School Library by Sarah Pavey is a comprehensive guideline and a must-read for anyone who is to keen to develop a meaningful digital presence in their library.

Get a taster of Going Digital with these sample sections from the book:

Why is ICT important? 

When you have little time, little expertise in libraries and may only be in charge of a small collection of aging books in a corner of a hall or school corridor, it is easy to assume that there is no urgent need for your school library to have a digital presence. This is a mistaken assumption. The ubiquitous computer is everywhere so learning to make ICT ‘work for you’ is an essential life skill for every one of our pupils. Trained librarians in all walks of life have had access to electronic resources for far longer than those in many other work sectors and even Bill Gates himself honed his skills as a helper in his school library. The primary library co-ordinator or member of the senior staff with a library management overview, by virtue of their position, their expertise and enthusiasm is in a prime position to put library use centre stage thereby making a significant impact on the school community and helping to raising aspiration attainment.

ICT can play an important part in raising the library’s profile for reading and information handling with pupils, adults across the school and parents/carers thereby helping with its development.           

ICT is important not only in primary school libraries for its essential life skills impact and its role in raising the library’s profile and helping in efficient delivery of library services but also of course because it is a statutory National Curriculum subject that all children are required to be taught.

Using ICT effectively in the library can therefore not only support independent learning, and help to deliver efficient library services across the school but its use can also tick many of the ICT ‘curriculum boxes’ too.

Digital beginnings

The ICT element of your library job needs to be manageable, flexible and easy to use, certainly not daunting and confusing! The technology must work for you and support pupil learning, helping to make them more independent.

Before investing in any major new library technology and getting yourself a serious digital presence you may well have some important advocacy work to do. Your vision and enthusiasm for bringing your library into the 21st century may well be important. Taking your senior leadership team and school colleagues with you will be important. They may all be sympathetic but have little understanding of the potential of library ICT – arguments of cost and time may be used. Setting up a small and enthusiastic working group in school, perhaps using a sympathetic Governor, some parents and some older pupils will help.

Your agenda could usefully include some or all of the following:
• Will it raise the profile of the library and raise attainment?
• Does it support teaching and learning?
• Will it support your role as PLC?
• Can it be used to help find information more effectively than other methods?
• Does it promote reader development?
• Can it be used by all age groups?
• Timescale.
• Will there be sufficient technical support?
• Will there be funding for training?
• Will it be compatible with your existing hardware?
• Will there be on going costs such as an annual maintenance fee or license to pay?
You may be one of those primary library co-ordinators who want to develop their ICT expertise seriously so that you can provide informed advice on ICT products not only on library resources but for others in the school too. If you are one of these you are like gold dust!
If you lack confidence and knowledge with ICT, organise some general digital training, perhaps from your school technical support team or from your Schools Library Service.


Order Going Digital online or via the SLA Publications Catalogue or telephone 01793 792052.

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Student Guide to Copyright

Copyright GuideThe Copyright Licensing Agency has produced a brief but very useful new Student Guide to Copyright, intended as a quick (and jargon-free) guide for students.

It is a two-page A4 pdf download available here.

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New plans for education funding announced

On 19th July Michael Gove announced plans to reform education funding with the aim of making the system fairer and less bureaucratic. The announcement covers both capital investment and school revenue funding.

For more details see:

There will be additional new funding for school building projects aimed at improving thoses schools most in need of upgarding.

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Support the work of the SLA

In these economically difficult times we are always exploring new ways to make it easy for you to support the SLA in its work supporting school libraries.  To that end we are trying the very recently launched JustTextGiving - you may have seen the ads on the TV!  If you want to support the SLA just text SLAS11 £10 to 70070 - the amount will show up on your next phone bill as 'SLA'.

Thank you for your support!

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New guidance for teachers to help improve discipline in schools

On 13th July the Department for Education published the final, clearer guidance for teachers on how they should deal with bad behaviour. This guidance will be used by schools from the start of the new academic year this coming September.  More than 600 pages of guidance have been  slashed to just 52 pages

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Grampian Children's Book Award

The Grampian Children's Book Award recently held its 7th award ceremony in the Arts Lecture Theatre at Aberdeen University. Cathy MacPhail (for Grass) and Charlie Higson (for The Enemy) were announced as joint winners by the pupils who had taken part.  Over 500 pupils from schools in the area attended the award ceremony, hosted by local author Caroline Clough.  Three of the short listed authors, Cathy MacPhail, Cathy Cassidy and Nicola Morgan were also present.  Pupils taking part chose a short list from a list of nominations, then read and reviewed this short list before voting for their favourite.  The votes from all schools were collated and the result announced at the award ceremony. 

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Redbridge Children's Book Award

Budding young readers and writers celebrated the eighth annual Redbridge Children’s Book Awards on Thursday 7 July 2011.

Students from 16 secondary schools across the Borough, 2 primary schools and Ilford reading group voted for their favourite Children's and Teenage book published in 2010.

Cathy Cassidy’s book Cherry Crush won the Children's category and Malorie Blackman’s book Boys Don’t Cry won the Teenage category.

A number of the shortlisted authors – Cathy Cassidy, Keren David, Tim Collins, Eleanor Updale and Joe Layburn read extracts from their books, answered questions from eager students and signed autographs,  .

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes by the Mayor, Cllr Chris Cummings.

Aashik Chhibber won the poetry competition, which was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in English at Brunel University.  Scarlett Milner-Stopps won the short story competition, which was judged by author, Joe Layburn.  Winners were presented with a book token and a fiction book.  Both winners read their pieces to the audience. All shortlisted students were given an anthology containing their work.

The book award is organised and sponsored by Redbridge Schools Library Service.

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New Primary Toolkit Certificate

A new certificate has been added to the range of Pupil Librarian Achievement Certificates as part of the SLA's Pupil Librarian Toolkit.

The "Pupil Librarian of the Year" Certificate is an additional pre-prepared template for you to use as you implement your pupil librarian programme. The Toolkit and templates are available exclusively to logged-in SLA Members.

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All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education calls for action on barriers to literacy

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education has today raised concerns that the coalition Government’s focus on phonics will contribute to a decline in literacy standards.

Supported by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the APPG for Education has published its report on ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy’

The report is based on evidence from 584 teachers and educational stakeholders including teachers’ unions, literacy associations, publishers and outreach organisations.

The report emphasises that literacy policy should focus on instilling a love of reading in order to increase children’s motivation, wellbeing and attainment.  The APPG also found that literacy policy should not be the responsibility of the Department for Education alone.  Social factors – such as parental involvement – and health issues – such as eye care – are significant contributors to children’s reading success.

The APPG recommends that to raise literacy standards, a well-rounded reading culture needs to be encouraged.  To achieve this, matched phonics funding should be re-directed so that schools are free to adopt the resources and programmes their pupils need (including the highly effective and valued one-to-one reading tuition).  In addition, there needs to be: more in-depth teacher training; improved support for the transition between primary and secondary school; greater support for literacy difficulties at secondary schools; acknowledging the growing value of digital literacy, especially in motivating boys to read; and a community approach to literacy (including promoting libraries and parental involvement).

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33rd IBBY Congress - London 2012 - "Can you offer a homestay?"

A message from Kathy Lemaire.

As co-director, with Ann Lazim, of the IBBY 2012 World Congress in London, I know that London, especially in Olympic summer, is going to be very expensive for many delegates.  We really want to encourage people from developing countries to attend, and know that the cost even of University accommodation will be high.

Ann and I would like to encourage you to consider offering a homestay option to one or two people, depending on your capacity, and if you live in London.  All you’d need to do is to provide bed and breakfast, and friendship, to your guest.  In return they will probably bring you a gift from their country, take you out for a meal, or maybe cook for you.  And of course, you then have the option to go and stay with them in their home country, at some time in the future.  It is such a rewarding thing to do, and will also help us to get an exciting mix of delegates to the Congress.

The first international conference I ever attended was in Israel.  I was very excited about attending, and very broke.  Fortunately the conference organising committee were able to offer the Homestay option, and I was very grateful to be able to take advantage of this.  I turned up, tired and dusty, at the flat door of another librarian in Tel Aviv, who welcomed me warmly.  I felt I had found a sister!  I stayed with her for the course of the conference and one or two days afterwards so she could show me a few places in her exciting country, slept in her spare bed, ate breakfast with her and gained confidence in my ability to travel round Tel Aviv on public transport.  A year or two later I did the same thing in Alabama for a different conference. This time I was staying in a modern log cabin with an elderly lady who had been president of the Alabama Library Association, fed raccoons off her back porch and still swam 30 laps each day.  She had 2 librarians to stay, the other from Nepal.

A couple of years later I was delighted to play host to Irith from Israel, and later to Jane from Alabama, when they came to stay with me for holidays.  I enjoyed this almost as much as I’d enjoyed staying with them!  We did lots of tourist things, and they both said how much they appreciated staying with someone who lived here, instead of in a hotel.

If you feel you might enjoy this kind of experience and can offer a homestay in London during the Congress, or would like to ask more about it, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be delighted to help.

A reminder, too, that we are looking for help with fund raising. Could you organise a fund raising event, say a coffee morning, a reading group or, maybe, a concert? Do you know of any companies that might be interested in our conference commercially as a marketing opportunity; or companies and charities that might be interested in supporting it, for instance by paying the fee for a delegate from a developing country?  Could you let us have the name of the appropriate person to approach in that company? 

If you think you can help with this, please contact either myself or Ann (annlazim@googlemail.com)

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The Children's Bookshow 2011

The Children’s Bookshow exists to promote a lifelong love of literature in children by giving them access to some of the best and most talented writers and illustrators of children’s literature from the UK and abroad. It began with a small publicity tour in 2003 and has now grown to a national programme which, last year, reached more than 6,000 children across the country. The tour takes place in the autumn to coincide with Children’s Book Week, reaching a wide variety of school audiences and a broad social demographic. Alongside the performance in each area, there are a limited number of free workshops in schools by the authors and illustrators and each child who takes part gets a free book.

The theme for 2011 is 'Simply the Best' and there is a line up of critically acclaimed artists to inspire children with their enthusiasm and passion for stories.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet two of the world’s most revered authors and hear their stories.  Judith Kerr and Tomi Ungerer, two giants of the children’s book world, will be discussing how their own life experiences have shaped and informed their books for children.

The Children’s Bookshow will be in 13 different theatres around the country and they are offering 52 FREE workshops alongside they performances.  Plus new this year – there are seminars for teachers, librarians and anyone interested in Children’s Literature. See the website for more details.
For further information contact: Nicky Potter 020 8 889 9735

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Awfully Big Blog Adventure Online Literary Festival 9-10 July 2011

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure is celebrating its 3rd Birthday with the FIRST EVER ONLINE LITERARY FESTIVAL run entirely by children’s authors, and we want everyone to get involved in supporting it!  On 9th and 10th July 2011 40 (yes forty) children’s authors from the Scattered Authors’ Society, including Adele Geras, Mary Hoffman, Liz Kessler and Celia Rees will be bringing you something new and special on the relaunched ‘new look’ blog every half hour from 9.30am to 7.30pm.  There will be:

  • Amazing Blogs
  • Stunning Videos
  • Exciting Giveaways
  • Fascinating Interviews
  • Mind-boggling Competitions

Join the guests at the dedicated ABBA Online Litfest Facebook Event or on twitter [at]AwfullyBigBlog using #ABBAlitfest.

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School Library Design Award 2011 Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the SLA School Library Design Award 2011, sponsored by Demco Interiors, has been announced. The five finalists (in no particular order) are:

  • The Rosendale Library Bus, London
  • Simon Balle School, Hertford
  • St John's School, Marlborough
  • St Mary's School, Stockport
  • The Elms School, Long Eaton, Notts

The shortlist was selected by a panel who judged all the entries across a set of criteria:  inviting/improved library image; space planning; educational objectives; technology and engagement; consultation.  The panel was impressed by the quality of the entries and admitted that it was a difficult task shortlisting six from the high level and quality of entrants.  

Representatives of the panel are now visiting each school and the winner will be announced at an exciting Awards evening in London and will share the stage with the 2011 School Librarian of the Year Award Winner. The winning schools will win products for their libraries and there will be additional prizes for the runners up, all donated by Demco Interiors.

The Award is a new initiative, supported by the School Library Association and sponsored by Demco Interiors, to highlight the innovation, commitment, flair and foresight found in school libraries across the UK and to set future standards for the recognition of excellence in school library design.Slalda Logo Medium

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Training Grants - TACCLE

The 4th edition of the TACCLE in-service training course will run from 15 until 22 April 2012 in Ancona, Italy (reference number: BE-2012-168-001 Comenius or BE-2012-167-001 Grundtvig) with the aim is to help teachers to develop state of the art content for e-learning in general and for learning environments in particular.

This is achieved by training teachers to create e-learning materials and raising their awareness of e-learning in general. TACCLE will help to establish a culture of innovation in the schools in which they work. The training is geared to the needs of the classroom teachers but teacher trainers, ICT support staff and resource centre staff may find it useful too!

You can attend this full week course in Italy with all costs paid by a Comenius or Grundtvig grant (application deadline September 16th) Learn more or download the flyer. You can pre-register by clicking on the following link or contact jens.vermeersch@g-o.be

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Find a Library

Collections Trust is pleased to inform you of a new online service, funded by MLA and endorsed by CILIP and DCMS.  Simply called Find a Library and available from www.findalibrary.org.uk, this new service offers an easy and engaging way for people to find public libraries and become more aware of the range of the services and collections they offer.

The new Find a Library service is specifically aimed at the growing number of people who use Smartphone and tablet devices, offering options to find libraries by location and to give feedback.

The new Find a Library service has been developed as part of Collections Trust's continuing commitment to open up arts and culture for all and is powered by its Culture Grid service to ensure efficiency and sustainability.  Find a Library was launched at the Open Culture conference on 7th June 2011.

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SchoolsWorld offers everyone in education the chance to learn from the best in the business – starting with the full 3,500 videos from Teachers TV.

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