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SLA Blog » April 2013RSS 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.

Stan Lee Excelsior Award Research

Stan LeeDr. Mel Gibson of Northumbria University is undertaking research on the impact of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award in schools. What she needs is feedback from school librarians.  They would both appreciate it if you could take 5-10 minutes to fill in this online survey -  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GMKRPZ5.   All feedback is anonymous and will only be seen by Paul Register and Mel's team. General themes and issues will be made public in due course, including at this year's SLA Weekend Course in Belfast.

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Additions to Belfast Programme

Weekend CourseSeveral additions and changes have been added to the online programme for our Weekend Course - Reaching Out: New Ways to Engage.  We now have Saturday early morning sessions available - sign up for these will be at the course registration desk in Belfast.  A couple of additions and alterations to the main programme are also noted - including pre dinner cocktails and a change to the afternoon author slots on Saturday.  If you haven't booked already there are only a few days left before booking closes - deadline May 9th.

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GiggleIt 2013

Giggleit 2013New 2013 GiggleIt Competition has been launched and you are invited to send in a registration form so that you students can see their work published on an international website.


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Blyton Exhibition

Seven Stories BlytonMystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts, the first ever major exhibition celebrating the life and work of Enid Blyton will be unveiled at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books, from 3rd May 2013. Many exhibits will be on public display for the first time, revealing Blyton's creative imagination and the events that shaped her life and storytelling.


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Information Literacy Challenge

Don't forget Phil Bradley and his challenge - the deadline for the CILIP Presidential Information Literacy Challenge is the 1st May.  Show Phil Bradley and colleagues your information literacy work in action by sending them a two minute film or interactive poster for the chance to win a free place at Umbrella 2013.


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Ofsted - Improving Literacy in secondary schools

St MI was delighted to read the new Ofsted report – Improving Literacy in secondary schools: a shared responsibility.  Not only does it recognise the good librarians and libraries within all the schools used as case studies but it goes on to emphasise in the recommendations –

Making full use of the library and librarian

In every school in the survey there were successful measures to involve the library and ensure that the librarian had an important role in developing reading. This is common sense, building on the specialist knowledge that librarians possess. Where librarians are fully integrated into the management structure of the school, they have an opportunity to influence debate and to enhance the library’s contribution to pupils’ progress. Many of the imaginative programmes to encourage reading that inspectors see are inspired by a good librarian.

I would recommend reading the report – as it is full of activity that may chime with something you have wanted to develop in your own school, and I am always in favour of adapting existing practise rather than reinventing the wheel!  Many of the recommendations underline advice we have been giving to school librarians for many years – especially around the active support of the head and SLT, the cross curricular nature of literacy and libraries, and using specialist knowledge to support teachers and departments, as well as systematic evaluation and monitoring.  I urge you all to take this report and use it to strengthen your position within your schools.

We have been aware, from anecdotal evidence, for some time that inspectors are looking at libraries and talking to librarians more than had been the case.  We had been delighted to receive this news from Jenny Bache at St Matthew Academy, Blackheath who quotes Ofsted to begin with -

The school’s efforts to raise levels in reading are beginning to have an effect. The teaching of phonics (letters and the sounds they represent) in the lower school is helping also with writing skills. The regular Friday morning ‘DEAR’ sessions, where the whole school ‘drops everything and reads’ is promoting a positive culture of reading for enjoyment. The library is used extensively and pupils have many opportunities to read. Special events such as those marking World Book Day bring in authors, and the whole school engages in activities which support reading.

St Matthew Academy’s inspection took place on the Wednesday before World Book Day (WBD) and on WBD itself.   Jenny managed to grab the lead inspector who popped in the library during KS4 lunch on Wednesday and gave him a sheet she had prepared of what they do, plus a badge to wear on WBD - "An Inspector Calls"!!  (We had organised a scavenger hunt for WBD where staff and pupils had to find as many staff wearing book title badges – all relevant to their job within school.) Our Principal thought this was great and commented afterwards that the inspector enjoyed wearing it and being part of the school community!   On WBD the inspectors visited one of the sessions with the brilliant storyteller Carol Russell who was with us and rated her session "outstanding" - she was thrilled!  We had organized a Book Fortnight to coincide with WBD and they asked to see the programme for this.  Everyone is chuffed that the Academy has gone from 'satisfactory' to 'good'!  A huge thank you for sharing this with us Jenny.

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This year’s IBBY UK AGM will take place at The Story Museum, Rochester House, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP on Saturday April 27 at 2.00 p.m.  There is no charge for members or non-members.  The Story Museum is an exciting new centre for story and storytelling in Oxford with big plans for the future, which you will hear about from co-director and IBBY member, Kim Pickin, following the AGM.  If you wish to attend contact the secretary: John Dunne Tel: 023 8069 3000/ m: 0780 3010 365; e-mail: j.f.dunne@btinternet.com

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New Book - From Audiobooks to E-Books

From Audiobooks to EbooksThe SLA's newest publication is a very useful guide to alternative formats which can be new and exciting way to engage a generation of digital natives – tools librarians can use to create new readers. This guideline is intended to introduce the librarian in both primary and secondary schools to some of those alternative formats, where they can be sourced and how to use them effectively. It also includes three case studies which show how librarians have used alternative formats in innovative ways in their own schools.

From Audiobooks to E-books: Alternative Formats to Engage Non-readers by Eileen Armstrong and Sally Duncan is now available to order online.

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21st Century School Libraries Visionary Spaces for Learning

Facet Publishing21st Century School Libraries – Visionary Spaces for Learning is a recently published book chapter by SLA director Tricia Adams. It discusses how in the 21st century "the school library is not a luxury but a necessity;  the bedrock, the head and heart of all learning, offering a place of both relaxation and stimulation in the school, and in the wider community."

This is a downloadable PDF preprint available exclusively to SLA members.

The definitive version of this piece may be found in Carolynn Rankin and Avril Brock, editors, Library Services for Children and Young People: Challenges and opportunities in the digital age (2012) Facet Publishing.

The book is available to purchase at Facet Publishing:

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Early bird booking closes 23rd April

Book BeforeReaching Out - New Ways to Engage in Belfast on June 21st to 23rd 2013, our SLA Weekend Course.  We have a very varied and full programme available - lots of training opportunities and some fantastic speakers. Don't miss out on savings - early bird booking closes next week - take advantage of the excellent reduced rate now!

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2 new reports on school libraries

Two new reports have been recently published the following is an interesting report on the state of U.S. school libraries:


and an Australian report called 'Future Learning and School Libraries':

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BD and Comics Passion Festival and Competition

The BD & Comics Passion Festival is taking place at the Institut Français in London from May 30 to June 2.

Every year, the BD & Comics Passion Festival celebrates graphic novels by gathering the greatest authors and illustrators, all taking part in amazing events: workshops, talks, live drawings, book signings, and concerts. 

Our new impressive line-up includes: Pénélope Bagieu, Glen Baxter, François Boucq, Ian Culbard, Etienne Davodeau, Virginie Despentes, Edika, Hunt Emerson, Pascal Garray (the Smurfs), Régis Loisel, David Mairowitz, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Posy Simmonds, Mark Stafford, Patrick Sobral and Laurent Verron (Billy & Buddy).

The complete programme will be revealed next week so stay tuned via the website (www.bdandcomicspassion.co.uk) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BDandComicsPassion).

 And as it really worked last year, they are running a comic book competition once again. Open to all the 7-17 years old in the UK, all they have to do is make a comic book in which the food they love/hate is the hero. For an amazing contest we obviously had to set up an amazing jury with Paul Gravett (comics expert), Alex Spiro (editor at Nobrow), Patrick Sobral (author of the Légendaires) and well-known French chef Raymond Blanc!


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Invitation to participate in a Delphi study on the use of biometrics in school libraries

As part of a masters course in Information and Library Management Karen Lilliman is conducting dissertation research on the topic of biometrics in school libraries.  This is an issue that has attracted significant public attention and it is hoped that the final report will contribute to the debate by presenting the views of professionals that work with biometrics.

The research aims are:

  • To contribute to existing evidence about the use of biometrics in UK schools
  • To identify any benefits and drawbacks of biometrics in school libraries
  • To record and analyse the opinions of library professionals currently working in UK schools
  • To identify the impact of recent changes to legislation

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following then you are exactly who Karen is looking for.

  • Are you currently working in a UK school or sixth form college library with students under the age of 18?
  • Do you have experience of working with biometric technology in a library setting?
  • Do you have a minimum of six months work experience in a school library?
  • Can you have regular access to email to receive and respond to messages?

The research needs a panel of at least ten members.  It will follow a Delphi format which involves a series of questionnaires interspersed with controlled feedback.  The research will be conducted in line with Northumbria University’s Ethics and Governance regulations (http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/researchandconsultancy/sa/ethgov).

For further information and to express an interest in participating in this project, please contact karen.lilliman@northumbria.ac.uk

Please forward this message to other colleagues that may be interested in taking part.

With thanks,

Karen Lilliman

Postgraduate student

Northumbria University

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9/11 Competition

9 11 CompThe  2013 9/11 competition is now open. Every UK student aged 14-16 gets the chance to win an incredible trip to New York.  The winner will be chosen by our expert judging panel which includes Kevin Spacey CBE, Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre and Oscar winning actor, Simon Schama CBE, historian and broadcaster, and Professor Chris Husbands, Director, the Institute of Education, London University.
To enter the competition students should either produce a short film (3-5 minutes, under 75mb) or a 1200 word essay responding to one of two questions:  How did 9/11 Change the World?  or  Why and How Would You Keep the Memory of 9/11 Alive in the UK?

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Patron of Reading

You may be aware of the Patron of Reading scheme at Ysgol Esgob Morgan in Denbighshire.  This has been widely reported, and has been such a success that author Helena Pielichaty and Head Tim Redgrave have produced a guide so that other schools can benefit from their experience.  Do consider the options for your school - the system is very flexible and can be formed to exactly fit the needs and circumstances in your school. 

Patron of Reading Guideline

PDF file, 255 kB

Requires Adobe Reader

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Last chance to book your place!

The closing date for the following SLA regional training courses has been extended (due to the early Easter break) so contact us now to book your place:

Reading for pleasure with Alec Williams on Wednesday 24th April in Cheshire

Getting to grips with the primary school library with Annike Dase on Friday 26th April in London

Managing e-book collections with Chris Armstrong and Ray Lonsdale on 24th April in Harrogate

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