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SLA Blog » March 2012RSS 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.

New Look for Designing Libraries' Website

At an uncertain and challenging time for libraries, the new-look Designing Libraries website is a showcase for new investment and innovation.
With its many examples of inspiring and functional library buildings,
Designing Libraries has long been an important and well-used source of
information for anyone planning a new library or a library refurbishment.
Its database forms a current and permanent record of design
development and innovation for both public and academic libraries.
The new website aims to build on the site’s achievements and reputation
as a collaborative resource by providing even more online resources, a
regular newsletter and a greater international perspective. During 2012 it
will expand its coverage to include design developments in school
Designing Libraries Executive Director, David Lindley, says: “Even though
I have been close to the library sector for many years, in the process of
developing the website content I have been astonished by both the
current level of investment in library building infrastructure and the
innovation we are seeing in libraries of all types. It is heartening to know
we are able to combine vision, leadership and originality in ways that
promise a great – if very different – future for our libraries.”

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Requests for Foreign Language Assistants 2012-2013

The British Council is delighted to be offering this excellent opportunity for schools to host Foreign Language Assistants from 18 countries worldwide who support whole school cross-curricular activity and international learning.

Did you know that schools with no Local Authority advisor, independent schools and academies can apply online directly?

Did you know that the cost of a Foreign Language Assistant can be shared by up to three schools?

Did you know that the final application deadline is April 13th and the application process is a simple online form?

If you want to know why your school needs a Foreign Language Assistant, watch this short video

Information and guidelines on our website

If you would like to get in touch with us to find out more we would be delighted to hear from you!

Here’s the team:

For FLAs from France, Belgium and Canada, you can speak to Jessica Tan (Jessica.tan@britishcouncil.org / 020 7389 4456)

For FLAs from Spain and Latin America, contact Susannah Wallace (Susannah.wallace@britishcouncil.org / 0161 957 7370)

For FLAs from Germany, Austria and Switzerland call or email Harriet Brown (Harriet.brown@britishcouncil.org / 020 7389 4228)

And FLAs from China, Japan, Russia and Oman get in touch with Emily Low (Emily.low@britishcouncil.org / 020 7389 4215)

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National Reading Competition

Booktrust and the Pearson Foundation have together been named as the preferred bidder to lead the development, launch and operation of the national reading competition. 

The competition will aim to increase volume, range and quality of children’s reading; cultivate long-lasting positive attitudes towards reading; and encourage children to talk about and recommend books. 

The competition will lead children to a wide range of quality fiction and non-fiction, while allowing them to select books individually according to their interests, tastes and ability. It will culminate in individual, school and class prizes at regional and national level. 

The competition design aims to capture the imagination of participants, schools and parents and will be piloted and tested over the summer. It will launch in the academic year 2012/13 for pupils in year five and year six and will expand to include more pupils in future years.

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Board Elections - don't forget to vote

Before the Easter Break - remember to login and cast your vote for the SLA Board.  Voting this year is on line here.  Check out all the candidates here and make your choices!  There are five candidates - and three vacancies on the board, so use your votes.

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Worcestershire Teen Book Award winner announced

In a closely fought vote Forgotten by Cat Patrick was announced as this year's winner of the WTBA to a full council chamber of young people on 22nd March

Titles on the shortlist were:

  • Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson

  • Diary of a lottery winner's daughter by Penelope Bush

  • An act of love by Alan Gibbons

  • Wish me dead by Helen Grant

  • Forgotten by Cat Patrick

  • There is no dog by Meg Rosoff

Jon Mayhew entertained everyone  along with the Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate who had composed a special poem in honour of the occasion

More details can be found on


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Carnegie and Greenaway shortlist announced

Sla 75 LogoEight books are on the 2012 shortlist for the Cilip Carnegie medal - four are debut novels. Both the Carnegie Medal and its sister award, the Kate Greenaway Medal are awarded annually by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. The 2012 winners will be announced at a ceremony at London's Barbican Centre on Thursday 14 June 2012.

Ink and photoshop, watercolours and wax crayons, papercuts, and even beetles and breadboards: an enormous variety of techniques and art styles are celebrated on the eight-strong shortlist for this year's CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal; the UK's most prestigious prize for children's book illustration, and the only one to consider illustration exclusively.

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Emotional literacy and the school library

Emotional literacy cover

We have now made available an offprint from an article co-written by Carol Webb, SLA School Librarian of the Year 2011.

"Emotional literacy through the library" from Behaviour and Pastoral Update looks at how to help boys get in touch with their feelings in a boys' school and explains how the library helped pupils become readers and then emotionally literate too.

This fascinating article is available as an offprint to SLA members only.

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A Dundee school is excelling when it comes to teaching literacy across the curriculum

TESLiteracy across learning is working well in its first year at Menzieshill High, Dundee, for three reasons. It is timetabled, so the first-years are gaining literacy skills, systematically, in one period a week; the selling job to teachers beyond English is being done mostly by teachers, not management; and the children are loving it.  SLA Board member Elspeth Scott is the school librarian – read the full article from TES.

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Lighting the Future Workshop Choices

Lighting The FutureIf you sent in your delegate place application early please don't forget to check back and choose your workshop options.  Follow this link to choose your sessions.  People just booking places now are able to opt for workshops at the time of booking. 

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Booked Up Demise, Bookbuzz born

BookbuzzLike many of you we were shocked to receive an email late yesterday announcing the replacement of Booked Up with the new Bookbuzz and free School Library Pack.  I feel confident that colleagues at Booktrust must be as bitterly disappointed as we are to see the inclusive and successful Booked Up programme morph into programme that has to be funded from schools already stretched budgets.  The cost, even for this subsidised programme, will be more (allegedly) than some school library budgets for the year.  Having said that – the scheme does look interesting – but has some very short deadlines – so do read this, follow up on the links and register in good time.

Introducing Bookbuzz! (Text received from the Booktrust)

From the team that brought you Booked Up, Bookbuzz offers the same great variety of books for your school. Every student will have the chance to choose their own book, from a list of 17 titles suitable for 11 year olds and selected by a panel of experts. This fantastic new programme includes:

·         a book and bookmark for every participating student to keep

·         a set of the Bookbuzz books for your school library

·         access to a website packed with a wealth of information and resources.

Participating schools will also receive a kit to support reading for pleasure across the school. This indispensible resource will provide you with all you need to embed reading for pleasure at your school, including:

·         an extra staff set of the Bookbuzz books to support teachers as readers

·         a comprehensive guide to whole school reading

·         tried and tested case studies and tips from other schools.

The new Ofsted Framework highlights the importance of a whole school reading culture and together with the recently published Ofsted report 'Moving English Forward' calls for all schools to develop policies to promote reading for enjoyment. A whole school approach to reading for pleasure will be at the core of raising standards in English and our new programme is specifically designed to help schools develop and maintain a whole school approach to reading.

With the support of children's book publishers we are able to offer Bookbuzz at a greatly subsidised cost of only £2.50 per child. A school with 50 participating pupils would cost only £125 and would provide resources worth over £450.

We understand that finding a budget may be a challenge. To help you, we have guidance available online about approaching PTAs and making the case to your Senior Leadership Team. We have also produced a fundraising guide with inspirational ideas of how to raise money for your school.

As Booked Up coordinator at your school, you will already know the tangible and long-lasting impacts a programme like this can bring.

'Bookbuzz picks up right where Booked Up left off and will continue to act as a fantastic way to introduce new students to their school library. Deciding which books to choose generates lively discussions about the books between the students and helps to establish reading for pleasure not only as something for the individual to enjoy but also as a social activity inside and outside of the school. The arrival of the books creates a real buzz, not only with Year 7s, but throughout the whole school. The impact is long-lasting too - Year 9 and 10 students still talk about receiving their book and have a more positive relationship with the library and reading because of it.'  Carol Webb, School Librarian of the Year. 

We have put together a summary of the supporting evidence so that you can easily communicate these benefits to others.

Schools will be able to register and pay from Friday 23 March. The deadline for registration will be Friday 20 July. Participating schools will receive their order in the Autumn term as usual.

Early bird offer - Register by Friday 1 June to receive an additional set of six popular titles for your school library.

For more information please visit the Booktrust website or contact us by emailing bookbuzz[at]booktrust.org.uk or calling 020 8516 2986

I know colleagues at Booktrust are very keen to hear from schools and happy to answer any queries and questions you may have – please use the Bookbuzz email address.

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A week in March

Digi DisruptionWhen I tell people I’m a librarian they do regularly assume I sit in a room full of books reading all day!  I wish! But actually this last week gives the lie to that – I have been in many rooms, but none of them a library, and yet I have spent the week enthusing and talking about libraries in some form or another all week. 

The lobby of Parliament on behalf of libraries on Tuesday (13th) was fascinating – and with such passion supporting libraries there really should be no chance of them closing.  Though we know to our cost that passion is not enough – and the Secretary of State’s fairly lack lustre performance that day at the DCMS Library Closure Select Committee was a very direct contrast – in my eyes at least.  For a full report of the day have a look at Bev Humphrey’s blog complete with video clips and pictures.

Wednesday I spent in London talking with a group of other librarians about the problems and challenges of embedding Information and digital literacy skills into the curriculum, making students safe for today’s information heavy world.  The meeting was largely spent looking at the Digital Disruption website – this has grown out a project in Tower Hamlets and is morphing into an online resource for schools nationally in response to the DEMOS report Truth, Lies and the internet – to help students gain an understanding of digital literacy and how to evaluate what they find on the web.  The group behind the website are keen to receive feedback from school librarians about what they can use, how they use it and what might be good to add to the site – contact them on educators[at]digitaldisruption.co.uk .

The final part of the week was spent on our SLA stand at the Education Show.  This is always a packed show with so much going on that the days are quite exhausting!  We spoke to many teachers and librarians, offering advice, encouraging membership and generally promoting what we do.  The number of international visitors was quite amazing – we spoke to people from New Zealand, Venezuela, Tibet, Thailand, Iceland amongst others.  As well as talking to many many people working in school libraries now, in the UK – hearteningly there were several reports of new libraries and new funding in schools (mainly primary). 

Meanwhile the new Ofsted report Moving English Forward – in a 64 page document - found that too few schools gave enough thought to ways of encouraging the love of reading!  So why not be more explicit about the benefit of a school library and librarian when trying to embed a love of reading – it’s not the whole answer but I bet it’s a huge proportion of the answer!  As an aside, the word librarian appears just once in the report.  It recommends that “All schools should develop policies to promote reading for enjoyment throughout the school” – my recommendation is that all schools should have a library and a trained librarian, think that might well help – a lot!

Tricia Adams

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The ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2012

Children and young people aged four to 18 years are being challenged to make their own picture book in the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, running in UK schools and libraries between now and 14th April 2012.

Author and illustrator Nick Sharratt (‘Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly!, and Jacqueline Wilson’s illustrator) will select the winning entries across three Categories, which include: Young Creators (four to six years); Primary (six years plus) and Secondary (11 years plus). There is an additional award for those who are deemed to have put the most effort into creating their picture book.

Picture books entered for the award can be made by individuals or groups and any media can be used. They can be up to 24 A4 pages; a template is available at www.Readingzone.com (Schools) along with further tips and guidelines about making picture books.

The competition closes on 14th April 2012 and the winners will be announced in May. More details are available here:


Word document, 2 MB

Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later

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New Sporting Reads from SLA

Sporting Reads logo Sporting Reads: 2012 and Beyond is a new title in our Riveting Reads series of annotated booklists.

Produced to coincide with Euro 2012 and the London Olympics, it covers a wide range of fiction and information books about sport, geared towards the needs of the busy school librarian. Most of the Summer Olympic sports are covered and there is a supplement on 'Extreme Sports'. To coin a famous sporting phrase - it may not the best booklist but it is in the Top One!

Look out also for the special offer from Peters Bookselling Services on the back cover.

Sporting Reads is a 40-page free pdf download exclusively for SLA members - a preview of the publication is also available to all.

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The School Librarian Spring 2012

TSL 60-1 COVERThe Spring 2012 edition of the Association's journal The School Librarian 60-1 is now on its way to members.

As usual, the ict[at]sla section of the journal 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 of TSL is available and all reviews can be searched back to Volume 54 (2006).

The accompanying issue of the SLA's newsletter, info[at]sla, includes important information for members about online voting for the SLA Board.

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IASL Conference 2012

IASLThe Qatar International School Librarians will be hosting the 41st Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship incorporating the 16th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship from 11 – 15th November 2012.  The theme is “The Shifting Sands of School Librarianship” and the major strands are: Internationalism, Innovation and Creativity, Collaboration, and Literacies and Fluencies.   (See the website at iasl2012.org)  The call for papers closes on 1st April.

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Celebrating 75 Years

SLA 75 LogoThis year the School Library Association reaches a milestone of 75 years since its foundation in 1937. Celebrations planned for this year include a special birthday cake at our annual weekend course in June, Lighting the Future, and a Celebration Conference in North-East England on 16 November 2012 - more details coming soon. Meanwhile, if you are in Birmingham for The Education Show on 15-17 March you can meet the SLA on stand J83 at the NEC.

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Siobhan Dowd Trust Competition

Www Siobhandowdtrust Com Teachers and Librarians 009From January to July 2012 the Trust are running a special project for schools.  Tell them what you do to spread a joy of reading in your school…and win £1000 worth of books!

Michael Rosen, Poet, Performer ex-Children’s’ Laureate, and Reading enthusiast-extradinaire has agreed to be a judge in our new campaign to build a data-base of good ideas for all teachers to contribute to, use, build upon and be inspired by.

Visit the website for Michael’s 20 tips for building a book loving school, but we’d like to know about any of your initiatives which have encouraged reading and books within your school. All we need is a very brief email (see form below) and you could be one of 10 winning schools. The winning initiatives will be picked by a panel of Education and Childrens’ Books experts.

The winning schools will receive books suitable for your pupil’s age group selected by Julia Eccleshare (Author of 1001 Children’s Books: You Must Read Before You Grow Up) and Daniel Hahn (who has edited the Ultimate Book Guides for Children and Young Adults and is currently compiling the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature). The competition will end on August 1st 2012, and the books will be sent out during the Autumn term.

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Wicked Young Writers 2012

Young people can submit entries until Tuesday 31 July 2012. A shortlist of 100 finalists will be announced in the autumn, followed by a special showcase of the winners’ entries at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical. Get involved at WickedYoungWriters.com

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New Independent Learning Publication

Independent Learning GuidesWe have just published Independent Learning Guides at Hurstpierpoint College - the latest title in our SLA Voices series of shorter works written from a personal perspective.

Created and shared with us by Dominique Collins, librarian at Hurstpierpoint College, it includes two documents she uses to provide really good information handling hints for the 14+ and Sixth Form exam classes, guiding students in skills such as research, note taking, referencing and avoiding plagiarism.

Attractively presented, they will provide superb models for others promoting the concept of independent learning for their students.

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