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SLA Blog » September 2018RSS 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.

Discussion and Development 3 - How well do you know your teachers as readers?

How well do you know your teachers as readers? Teresa Cremin, The Open University

While policymakers are guided by PISA and PIRLS data, librarians recognise that these large scale international surveys frame reading more as a measurable result than a lived experience and a social as well as a solitary process. Librarians and teachers understand that motivation and engagement matter. Their views are more in line with the OECD’s ‘expanded definition of reading literacy which recognises motivational and behavioural characteristics alongside cognitive characteristics’ (OECD, 2016). 

School librarians often know young people well as readers – they know far more about them than their current reading level or assigned targets, and are aware of individual readers’  interests and inclinations, the frequency with which they read and their sense of self as readers.  Through countless conversations in extracurricular reading groups, in lessons, in corridors and while book borrowing, librarians find out about their readers which enables them to make tailored text recommendations and reader to reader connections. Research indicates that close relationships between students and school librarians are common, as Joan Swann and I also found in our study of the Carnegie Kate Greenaway Award Shadowing Scheme [T1] . In the multiple case studies in schools across the country, the young people (KS2-4) we met were clear: they felt connected to their librarians, liked them, respected them and saw this as reciprocal. 

But, I wonder, how well do librarians know the teaching staff as readers? Their teachers as readers?

In order to build vibrant communities of readers within and beyond their library, I’d like to suggest librarians get to know their teachers better - their preferences and practices as readers, both as pedagogues and as adults. Such knowledge is invaluable for making personalised recommendations for subject disciplines (offering a new text on geology or the refugee crisis for instance), and for encouraging staff to request new orders of books they’ve come across.  This kind of dialogue is surely the hallmark of a healthy library, where interaction and reciprocity is in evidence between all involved. It’s important too for building relationships with the staff as adults, since they, like librarians, are readers in the world outside school.

But what are the teachers reading I wonder? How might you find out?  Well, you could:

  • Do a 24 Hour Read and create a display of all the texts you engaged in over 24 hours. Then invite one or two staff members to do one too, displaying this prominently in the library or preferably a corridor. This will highlight text diversity and outface the unique interest and practices of particular teachers (see this one by Lizzie Williams head teacher [T2] at Palm Bay, Margate).

  • Invite staff to share a book they’re reading- briefly in a conversation perhaps- in order to create a display Our Staff are Readers! With photos of staff and their current reading books.

  • Lead an assembly on Our Reading Histories, in partnership with two staff perhaps, sharing PowerPoints of texts recalled from your childhoods and anecdotes about why you remember these.

  • Try Reading Rivers and [T3] develop a visual collage to share what you’ve read over the half term or Christmas holidays, with the new NQT’s collage alongside that of the  longest serving member of staff.

  • Interview Stafffrom across the school offering short vignettes about different readers on the library website and linking this to their subject specialisms.

  • Invite targeted folk to contribute Mr/s X Recommends for the termly library newsletter- so parents and children get to read teachers’ top texts too.

It is never easy to involve everyone, but you could start with those you think are most interested (not just the English department!) and seize every opportunity for informal book chat. You’ll want them to develop their knowledge of texts too no doubt, so they can support students’ reading journeys and make recommendations during tutor time.  To help widen teachers’ repertoires you might set up a staffroom Book Box or a Mini Library of texts for young people or invite reviews of award winning texts, ensuring that these get into teachers’ hands. Do check out the OU reading for pleasure website[T4] for more ideas. One school I know offered all staff three books (tailored to each member by the librarian) to read over the summer holidays. This simple step appeared to transform interest which was built upon in a whole school staff meeting that involved sharing views and swapping texts. Creating that invitational supportive culture so staff are tempted to read and share is vital.

By getting to know and nurturing your teachers as readers, you’ll unquestionably be developing a stronger reading culture and widening the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with which staff talk about texts to students. In the process, your reading for pleasure practices will become more porous, stretching into other spaces in the school.

As the Great School Libraries campaign [T5] gains in the momentum it will surely be important for libraries to be showcased as a resource for the whole community- for staff as well as students. As you travel if you wish to share your practice with others, do consider placing it on the OU RfP website, that way thousands of others can hear about your work and borrow ideas to develop their teachers as readers. Or join one of our 80 OU/UKLA Reading Groups[T6] -all are welcome and your expertise would be invaluable.

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charity calendar

Charity Calendar for 2019

Friends Calendar 2019 Front Cover

For the past few years Peter Sheldon, now retired from active bookselling service, has been working with illustrator friends, at their request, to produce a calendar for charity. Each year they generously provide him with original artwork, and Peter, wearing his art director hat, puts the months together, arranges printing, encourages sales, and finds help with the distribution.

The charity in question for the past three years has been Clare and Michael Morpurgo's Farms for City Children, and a front cover image of next year's calendar is shown, with each illustrator's artwork featured, apart from the full Tony Ross 'cleric' illustration, which aims to surprise and reveal more in the month of January! If you would like to support the venture and buy in to the project - and our fingers remain crossed - please do contact our wonderful distributor, Anne Marley anne.marley[at]tiscali.co.uk quoting the code SLA and Anne will be pleased to collect monies and arrange for copies to be supplied. 

The Friends Calendar costs £7.95 each, which includes post and packaging, and could be perfect for that elusive Christmas present.

The 2019 talented team features Quentin Blake, Tony Ross, Jane Ray, David McKee, Ruth Brown, Michael Foreman, Catherine Anholt, Arthur Robins, Colin McNaughton, Mary McQuillan, Colin Hawkins, Hanne Bartholin and Shoo Rayner. There's plenty of room to write up your daily appointments, and it even boasts a generous helping of wit and humour!

All profits go to the FFCC charity to support the running of their three farms in Devon, Gloucestershire and Pembrokeshire. The farms give children from inner city schools the unique opportunity to live and work together for a week at a time on a real farm in the heart of the countryside.

We do hope you have been tempted, and look forward to hearing from you.

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BookTrust's School Library Pack

Limited offer – Get FREE books for your secondary school!

Registration is now open for BookTrust’s free School Library Pack and Special School Library Pack. Funded by Arts Council England, the packs are available to all secondary schools in England with a Year 7 (or equivalent) intake.

Many librarians have told us budgets are tighter than ever. BookTrust’s free packs are a great way to save money and stock your bookshelves. The books have been expertly selected to appeal to a wide range of readers – there’s something for everyone!

As well as the books, the packs also include free resources designed to support social reading experiences, and to help you promote the reading and the school library. 

Limited packs are available – so sign up now to make sure you don’t miss out.

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Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Award - nominations close soon

Nominations for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards close in a week - so if you haven't already, now's the time to nominate! http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/awards-process.php

Nominations can only be made by CILIP members, but if you're not don't give up - ask the CILIP members in your area or on Twitter if they've voted. The judges can't look at books not nominated so it's important! 

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Fourth School Librarian Profile: Honour Librarian Profile: Emma Suffield

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018: Honour Librarian Profile

Emma Suffield
Saint Wilfrid's C of E Academy, Blackburn


Although her official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1400 students at Saint Wilfrid's C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school. Innovative and imaginative practice has led to a whopping 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014. 

Emma's Learning Resource Centre is to be found at the heart of Saint Wilfrid's. It can seat 162 students and is well organised with excellent displays, signage and stock. There is a separate sixth form library (which Emma resources but does not manage) but it is a testament to the excellent atmosphere and environment created by Emma that many sixth formers choose to study in the main LRC rather then their dedicated area.

Emma works closely with all subject departments to provide resources for lessons, and whilst information literacy is embedded in the curriculum and delivered by subject staff, Emma provides additional support with displays in the library on relevant topics such as plagiarism and fake news as well as 1-1 help for individual students. Reading is underpinned by the Accelerated Reader scheme, though this is far from the sole focus of reading promotion in the school, with lots of playful approaches to encouraging wider reading being in place, for example, "Chocolate Reading Time" after school on Fridays helps support those students who have not met the school's requirement for engaged reading time whilst QR codes and augmented reality (using the Aurasma/HP reveal app) invite students to not only discuss books (by being involved in the creation of the augmented reality or content brought up when QR codes are scanned) but also to entice other students to try something new (the library loans out iPads to those who don't have their own ensuring everyone can access this additional library experience).


Enriching activities regularly take place in the library. 2018 saw the LRC transformed into the Great Hall of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry at one point and a new programme of music concerts has recently begun, enabling students to showcase their talents as well as helping to create a relaxing and soothing working environment.

A major innovation introduced by Emma since she started at St. Wilfrid's has been the reorganisation and labelling of non-fiction books. Low usage and poor stock led Emma to entirely revamp this area of the library, in consultation with subject staff, to focus on supporting revision. The students find this 'Revision' section not only more usable and presentable but also comment that it contains the resources that they really need and more importantly want to use. This is born out by soaring usage by years 9-11 over the past 18 months.  

Multiple book clubs, book award shadowing and creative writing clubs run out of Emma's library. She has also twice hosted the Lancashire Pupil Librarian Conference (an initiative started by the SLA Lancashire Branch 11 years ago where Pupil Librarians from Lancashire schools who are members of the SLA are invited to take part in numerous fun activities and games throughout the day, with the chance to network and make new friends). Emma herself has an excellent team of student library helpers and believes the conference is a "great way to reward our Pupil Librarians for the amazing work they do in our School Libraries." 

As a child Emma once argued with a librarian in her local public library about having to leave the library when she didn't want to (it was closing time and there was a storm outside). Now she is in her "perfect job"; as a librarian she can stay as long as she likes in the place that matters most to her.

You can find out more about Emma's work here: emmasuffield.wordpress.com

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Monmouth School for Boys seeks to appoint a well-qualified graduate Librarian for January 2019.

Hours: 37 1/2 hours per week, Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5pm for 36 weeks each year.

Salary: Band 6/7 points 23 - 26 £25,350 - £27,300 FTE.

Closing date for applications: Monday 1st October 2018

Interviews: Monday 8th October 2018

View and download the full job description and application form from the website www.habsmonmouth.org/jobs, telephone 01600 711229 or email recruitment[at]habsmonmouth.org

Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Applicants will be required to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

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Remembrance 2018 : Armistice centenary Resources

Tom Palmer has developed a set of free resources and ideas alongside Armistice Runner to develop literacy skills and help children understand the significance of this November’s centenary of the end of the First World War. This is to support his new book Armistice Runner which has been written for 9+ and published by Barrington Stoke.

All available from here

  • Videos of Tom talking about the Armistice in significant First World War settings in France.

  • The Armistice Runner Challenge, a free memory and PE game.  Imagine what it was like to be a trench runner …

  • Preview of the book – featuring chapters 1-3.

  • SPAG worksheets and powerpoints based around the Armistice centenary through themes of history, memory, dementia and sport.

  • Public events where your pupils can meet Tom and hear about Armistice Runner this autumn.

  • Colouring sheets draw a landscape to colour in for the Armistice Runner characters Lily (running today) and Ernest (a trench runner in the First World War)

  • Ten national and local opportunities that schools in the UK can take to mark the Armistice centenary this November.

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Exciting Times!

So today is an exciting day on multiple fronts. 

Firstly, it saw the publication of the latest profile for the School Librarian of the Year 2018 Award. The ceremony is being held in London on 9th October, and there we will announce the winner, but the Honour List is incredible. 

Secondly, due to adjusting the timeline for next year's award we are opening the nominations early - now in fact! The nomination forms and guidelines are here: https://www.sla.org.uk/slya-2019.php  

Thirdly, today saw the official launch of the Great School Libraries campaign

It's a three year campaign spearheaded by SLA, CILIP SLG and CILIP. The campaign has three aims: to secure school library funding; to produce a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within the Ofsted framework.

The Campaign working group will be aiming to engage all potential stakeholders – whether that’s school library staff, parents, and school leadership or decision makers in government. All children deserve a great school library because adequately funded, staffed school libraries deliver enhanced and independent learning as well as reading and curriculum support. School libraries contribute to building lifelong readers and support whole school initiatives promoting reading for pleasure.

Read the rest of the press release here: 

Launch_Press release

Word document, 16 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later

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Third School Librarian Profile : Honour Librarian Profile: Alison Kennedy

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018: Honour Librarian Profile

 Alison Kennedy
 St George's Ascot


Alison Kennedy is Head Librarian at St George's Ascot, an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11-18 in Berkshire. As Head of House, form tutor and living on site, Alison is truly embedded in her school, and is particularly passionate about the pastoral side of her work, which reaches far beyond the bookshelves of her library.

Following a degree in Marketing and Italian Alison completed an MSc in Information and Library Studies at the University of Strathclyde. She has worked at St George's Ascot since 2015 and within just a year of arriving she had demonstrated the impact of her work with a 30% increase in book borrowing across the school. Her library is a recent build and following an early focus on creating the best possible physical space, Alison is now working enthusiastically to promote the wide range of support the library offers across the entire school.

Alison's work is both creative and collaborative; she liaises closely with other departments, for example by providing regular subject specific updates to staff explaining what the Library can do to support teaching in all areas of the curriculum. As the school's EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) co-ordinator she manages a team of supervisory teaching staff, leading on EPQ moderation, and facilitates the acquisition of relevant and timely information skills by pupils through sessions on issues such as fake news and plagiarism. These sessions are delivered with flair and and a sense of fun, such as her development of a Murder Mystery based in the library that could only be solved by developing research skills. Her skill and interest in technology mean Alison is a key member of the small team driving forward the school's new VLE. Another area where Alison has done transformational work is with students for whom English is an additional language.

Promoting Reading for Pleasure has taken many forms in Alison's library, from opening the library to boarders for an out-of-hours Harry Potter celebration, to developing a Book Fairies Treasure Hunt to encourage excitement as pupils solve clues to find new books. Poetry reading events, golden snitch hunts, theatre productions, and even a Human Books event have all taken place in the library, ensuring it is seen as a hive of energy and imagination.


Alison makes extensive and engaging use of social media (in particular Twitter and Instagram) which she uses to promote new resources, events and share items of interest, for example, the displays created by her Library Assistants. Alison's championing of social media has been particularly praised by her Headmistress, and her work has been described as "energetic, outstanding and creative. She [Alison] picks up on ideas and goes with them."

As Treasurer of the Berkshire Book Award and a committee member of the Central & East Berkshire branch of the SLA Alison's librarian skills take her beyond the walls of her school. A passionate believer that every school should have its own library and librarian, Alison is keen to support and promote those working in school librarianship; she is aware that at times being a school librarian can be an isolated position and believes making contacts with librarians in other schools is vital.

An enthusiastic, knowledgeable and proactive professional who takes pride in her work, Alison's role is very much more than 'just' that of the librarian; her residential and pastoral roles add great value to the sense of the library and librarian as a friendly, welcoming space to everyone. Of herself she says, "I'm not changing the world but if just one student starts reading for pleasure, finds that bit of information they really need or feels emotionally supported because of me then I will be delighted."

You can get a further flavour of Alison's work on Twitter and Instagram:

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Opening Doors: the School Library in a culturally diverse society: Bridgwater, Somerset, 8 November 2018

Our course Opening Doors: the School Library in a culturally diverse society, run by Alec Williams, will be held at Resourses for Learning, Parkway, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RL on 8 November 2018.

This course looks briefly at the recent history of population change, and examines some of the terms used. It examines a range of resources: to help with language learning; to provide self-identity; and to challenge perceptions.  It advocates creating a reading culture that attracts all student. Participants will explore ways to develop a library which welcomes all students, and at the case for specific activities to attract those from ethnic minorities.  Finally, delegates will look briefly at information literacy: at successful practice in diverse schools, and at considerations for new language learners.  This will be a great opportunity for everyone to share knowledge, and for schools in very diverse communities to pass on best practice to those who may be more directly affected in future. 

The closing date is 24 October 2018. Bookings received by 11 October 2018 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school library staff

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Members Update - make sure you are keeping an eye on your email inbox as we're in the process of sending out emails with a few different news items, including:

  • New training courses
  • A reminder about the Library Display competition
  • Temporary discount off Facet Publishing


The SLA and National Literacy Trust are working together to celebrate Libraries Week 8th-13th October. This year’s theme is Wellbeing. We want to hear how you will celebrating in your library and will be compiling a top ten of suggestions from our members to share.  Email info@sla.org.uk with 'Libraries Week' in the subject line with no more than 50-100 words telling us what you are doing to celebrate, with your name and the name of your school.  All ideas selected will be listed in the top ten creating a fantastic ideas bank for all our members. So get involved in supporting libraries and our young people and help us celebrate Libraries Week! 

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NewsWise launches

NewsWise - a free programme for primary schools - launches this week to create a generation of news savvy children

NewsWise, created by the Guardian Foundation, National Literacy Trust, the PSHE Association and funded by Google, aims to empower every 9 to 11-year-old in the UK to gain the literacy skills and knowledge they need to navigate the world of news and misinformation.

The programme launches following a parliamentary commission which revealed that only 3.1% of primary school children have the requisite critical literacy skills to tell if a news story is real or fake, and that fake news is driving a culture of fear and anxiety amongst young people.The NewsWise programme was piloted in 12 schools across some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK and has helped almost 550 children to become ‘fake news detectives’.  

This week, NewsWise resources will be available for free to every primary school in the UK from www.theguardian.com/newswise. Created by specialist journalists, teachers and other education experts, they contain engaging lesson plans, videos and supporting resources, using real examples of news and fake news. Together, they take children on a journey from understanding what news is for, to identifying fake news, bias, opinion and rumour, to ultimately producing their own news reports on issues that matter to them.

As well as free resources, NewsWise will take exciting, interactive newsroom workshops directly into selected schools (chosen for their high proportion of children who are disadvantaged), giving pupils an authentic flavour of a newsroom.

The first NewsWise workshop for the 2018/19 academic year will take place on 20 September with Year 5 pupils at St Mark’s C of E (A) Primary School in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is one of nine National Literacy Trust Hubs, which bring together local partners to improve literacy levels, and is known locally as Stoke Reads. Children at St Mark’s will spend the day with the NewsWise team learning how to spot fake news, separate bias and opinion from fact, and create their own news reports. The NewsWise team will then tour the UK from late September, visiting schools in similarly underrepresented areas.

To continue reading the press release: https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-press-office/2018/sep/18/newswise-a-free-programme-for-primary-schools-to-create-a-generation-of-news-savvy-children  

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Learning Resource Centre Manager.

Required: November 2018

Salary: Scale 7 £22,401 - £25,463 - pro rata.

Belmont Community School is seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and energetic individual to the term time post of School Librarian. The hours of work will be 8am - 4pm Monday - Thursday, 8am - 3:30pm Friday.

The post will entail the efficient and effective running of the Learning Resource Centre which is a hub for reading, research and learning activities. The Learning Resource Centre is a dynamic and purposeful place where learning and managing information, both through independent study and facilitated by staff, can take place effectively and with a sense of passion and enjoyment. The school runs a successful Accelerated Reading programme, and prior knowledge of this would be an advantage.

We are looking for someone who is proactive and takes an active interest in engaging young people through learning. The successful candidate will be required to further develop the vision for a 21st century library; ensuring a balance of creativity and day-to-day practicality. They will provide a high quality library service for the students and staff ensuring that the Library is at the centre of learning throughout the school.

Main duties will comprise of:

  •  Overseeing and running of the Accelerated Reading programme
  •  To build and maintain the books and other resources on offer
  •  To oversee the daily Homework club
  •  Liaising with Head of Departments and senior staff in order to keep developing the Library
  •  To collaborate with the Literacy Co-ordinator towards developing literacy opportunities
  •  To network with other Librarians in the County
  •  To market and promote reading and literacy throughout the school
  •  To have a commitment to raising standards and achievement for students at the school

As our name implies, the school lies at the heart of its community. Belmont is a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Durham City. As a result of high expectations, enthusiastic teaching and very positive relationships, our students enjoy school and strive to achieve.

Details are also available via the school website www.belmontschool.org.uk if you have any queries please contact Elaine Morgan on 0191 3865715. 

Closing date for receipt of completed applications is: 1st October 2018 (applications should be emailed to e.morgan[at]belmontschool.org.uk or posted to the school address).

Interviews will take place week commencing: 1st October 2018.

Belmont Community School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff to share this commitment. An enhanced DBS check is required for all successful applicants. The County Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We want to develop a more diverse workforce and we positively welcome applicants from all sections of the community.

?? Applicants with disabilities will be invited for interview if the essential job criteria are met.

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Happy 80th birthday Beano!

Guest post from DC Thomson, Beano publishers with a great resource on the history of the comic:

 How did you spend your summer? Did you participate in The Summer Reading Challenge? Now that school is back in session, it's time to reflect on our great summer reads and literary highlights.

One of the best summer highlights, at least we think so, was Beano’s 80th birthday. On July 30th, the local comic, published by DC Thomson, turned 80 years old! From the creation of Britain's best boy Dennis the Menace to breaking the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest running weekly published comic, Beano has certainly had some noteworthy moments over the years.

Did you know that Dennis the Menace’s name came from an old music hall song which went “I’m Dennis the Menace from Venice?“ Or that editor George Moonie was on Hitler’s hit list should Germany invade the UK? How about that Big Eggo, a goofy looking ostrich, was the original cover star? There’s loads to learn about Britain's best-loved comic!

DC Thomson   Beano 80th   Header Image

To help ring in eight successful decades, DC Thomson has created a visual, interactive timeline of the comic strip’s key milestones. Join us in the celebration and explore historic milestones or stop by your local library to check out one of the many Beano editions.

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BookSeller Children's Conference - Funded Places for BAME Librarians

The Bookseller is excited to offer 2 funded places to The Bookseller Children's Conference 2018 on Monday 24th September, courtesy of  the children’s publisher Knights Of, whose mission is to create books for every kid. These places are exclusively for black, asian or ethnic minority librarians. If you would like a place please email Hilary Bell (Events Executive) at hilary.bell[at]thebookseller.com before Wednesday morning. Places will be given on a first come first served basis, and delegates would need to be able to pay for their travel to the event. 

 More information about the conference can be found here: https://www.thebookseller.com/childrens-conference

For any questions please contact Hilary directly.

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Attending the Kids Lit Quiz finals in New Zealand

Our warmest congratulations go to Frances Stott librarian at Oxford High School who accompanied her UK winning team to New Zealand in July. Frances has written an excellent account of their trip so that we can all share a little bit of the excitement:

"Our journey began when the OHS team of four Year 8 girls won the National UK Final back on 5th December 2017. These girls have embraced stories and reading the whole of their lives, which inevitably won them the honour of first place in the UK. In preparation for the World Final the team were introduced to best-selling young adult authors from all the participating KLQ countries. With Serco rucksacks packed as in-flight bags and our Kids Lit Quiz hoodies worn for warmth during the night flights and an extra layer for New Zealand mid-winter, we arrived at YHA Auckland on Sunday afternoon 1 st July and first met the other eight teams from around the world over pizza that evening. After travelling 11,000 miles we did struggle to keep our eyes open and made an early exit for a good night’s sleep in preparation for an early fresh start for our first events on Monday morning." .......To read the rest of Frances' account and to see the wonderful photos she included please download the full article below.

Kids Lit Quiz - Report

Word document, 5 MB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later

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Nicki Cleveland: Honour Librarian Profile

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018: Honour Librarian Profile

Nicki Cleveland
Cannon Park Primary School, Coventry


Nicki Cleveland is School Librarian (and Higher Level Teaching Assistant) at Cannon Park Primary School, a single form entry state primary school on the outskirts of Coventry, serving pupils both from one of the most disadvantaged areas of the city as well as from families studying and working at Coventry University.

Originally, with a background in Human Resources, events and marketing, Nicki's journey towards becoming a passionate advocate for her school library and Reading for Pleasure all started when she began volunteering at a local primary school following the birth of her son. A qualification in child development followed and soon she was working as a teaching assistant. Now she has special responsibility for the school library and is currently working towards gaining CILIP certification.

Despite having only 3.5 dedicated hours in the library and a limited budget, Nicki has supported and revolutionised the way the teaching staff at Cannon Park Primary think about Reading for Pleasure; the school has become a genuine reading school with her at its heart. By thinking outside the box and enthusiastically engaging with the children's book world via Skype and Twitter, Nicki has been able to enrich her pupils' engagement with books in an extremely powerful way.

From her Bed Time Book Club, designed to give extra support and encouragement to pupils who are not read to at home, to her Listen in the Library initiative which supports low attaining readers with age appropriate texts, Nicki is full of creative ideas to find new ways to support pupils at different stages of falling in love with books. In addition to the stock in the main school library, children are invited to borrow books from "Miss Cleveland's bookcase", which is made up of Nicki's own copies of books she has personally read, many of which are signed by the book's author or illustrator. Access to the bookcase is highly valued by the children and this is just one example of how she makes books and reading feel extra special. Another is a new initiative; Nicki has recently introduced a well-received Child Of Books Award for the Year 6 pupil who has "discovered Reading for Pleasure and developed a lifelong love of books".


One of the challenges Nicki faces at work is that there is no school budget allocation for library stock. Despite this, Nicki is cleverly able to keep her library fresh and up-to-date. This is partly due to making the most of Coventry's still existing School Library Service which not only ensures excellent non-fiction selections for her pupils but also saves her administrative time so she can spend more with her readers rather than behind a computer. Additionally, Nicki's passionate engagement with authors online, particularly via Twitter, her dedication to ongoing CPD and commitment to attending as many author events in her own time, alongside fundraising through book fairs and developing relationships with local businesses all enables her to ensure her library is well stocked with new and exciting books for all ages and abilities.

Nicki aims "to make reading rock for all of the children at Cannon Park Primary School" and all the evidence shows that despite her limited time and budget, she has already made great strides towards this goal. Staff confirm Nicki's approach has not only improved academic results for the school, but she has also changed the way the teaching staff think about reading.

There aren't many people who have had brushes with Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood but still feel their best and favourite claim to fame is being immortalised in a children's book, but Nicki is one of them, showing how her love of reading and connecting children with books is truly ingrained in all she does. 

You can get a further flavour of Nicki's work on her book blog http://www.missclevelandsreading.com/ and on Twitter [at]MissNCleveland.

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Applications are invited for the following post on a Permanent Basis, commencing as soon as possible.

Post:  Librarian

Salary: Scale 4 (£20,145 - £21,679)

Contract: Full Time, Permanent, Term time + 2 weeks

Reference: MAS002

We are seeking to an experienced and talented Librarian to contribute to the Academy’s success.

Our staff and students have already identified what they expect you to be like:

  • You have an unshakeable belief that all children deserve an excellent education and you want to be part of making Mulberry Academy Shoreditch outstanding

  • You have recent successful experience as a school librarian

  • You are passionate about reading and are well-read and up-to-date both in digital and print publishing.

  • You meticulous and precise in your work – ordering, recording and caring for books.

Full details of this post are available at http://www.mulberryacademyshoreditch.org/vacancies/

Your completed application form should reach the HR Team by email on hradmin[at]mulberryacademyshoreditch.org by 12 noon on 1st October 2018.  You are advised to ensure your completed application form addresses the person specification criteria.  We regret that CVs or expressions of interest will not be accepted. Interviews will be on a date to be confirmed.


Mulberry Academy Shoreditch is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. All appointments will be subject to a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service check.

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Solo Librarian Survey

We have been asked to assist in disseminating this survey for solo school librarians. Any questions regarding the survey should be sent directly to: Afolake Akinfe (aoakinfe@outlook.com). 


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IBBY UK Event Celebrating the 2018 UK Honour Books

IBBY UK Event Celebrating the 2018 UK Honour Books

Thursday 27 September 2018, Waterstones, 203 Piccadilly, W1J 9HD

Please join us for a panel discussion with: 

  • Sita Brahmachari, author of Tender Earth (Macmillan)
  • Viviane Schwartz, illustrator of I Am Henry Finch (Walker Books)
  • Charlotte Barslund, translator of Wildwitch Fire (Pushkin)

6.00pm Doors open

6.30pm Discussion and audience questions 7.45pm Drinks and book signings

All three will be awarded their diplomas for this international nomination during the event.

This event is free to IBBY members but booking is essential. Tickets £4.

Tickets from: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ibby-uk-honour-list-celebration-tickets-48529994520

Enquiries: events@ibby.org.uk

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Promoting Reading in the Digital Age: Blandford, Dorset, 6 November 2018

Our course Promoting Reading in the Digital Age, run by Bev Humphrey, will be held at Bryanston School, Blandford, Dorset DT11 0PX on 6 November 2018.

Run many times in the past with excellent feedback on each occasion, this course focusses on ways to encourage reluctant readers, build reading stamina and make reading 'cool' by using exciting online resources and apps to create a buzz around books in your school. All resources shown are provided in a handout to keep, with great video content, fantastic display suggestions and motivating electronic ideas you can use to really get pupils switched on to reading for pleasure.  Advice on how to use ebooks, QR codes and take part in live author events included.

The closing date is 22 October 2018. Bookings received by 9 October 2018 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience: primary and secondary school library staff

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Second School Librarian Finalist Profile: Dr Chhavi Jain

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2018: Honour Librarian Profile

Dr. Chhavi Jain
Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram), New Delhi


Dr. Chhavi Jain is only the second librarian ever from outside the British Isles to have made it onto the Honour List for School Librarian of the Year. For the past 18 months Dr. Jain has worked tirelessly at Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram) outside New Dehli in India, supporting 1,100 children from 6–17 years and over 200 staff. She is responsible not only for a large multilingual library (including both digital and physical stock in English, Hindi, French and Spanish) which features a separate audio-visual suite and a large number of computers, but also for an adjoining makerspace.

Dr. Jain originally studied Librarianship and Information Science at Annamalai University, Chennai, and last year completed a PhD in digital librarianship. She regularly presents and publishes research papers both in India and internationally, tirelessly promoting the value of school libraries in a country where they are generally under-valued. Dr. Jain recently received the Jean Lowrie Leadership Development Award from the International Association of School Librarianship.

Dr. Jain has been instrumental in integrating the library into the curriculum, initiating regular meetings with teachers to support their planning. She delivers library lessons not only around reading for pleasure but also on information literacy skills. Each class in the school has one library period per week and the resources Dr. Jain has created for these lessons will be shared with all seven libraries in the schools which form a consortium with Dr Jain's school, demonstrating her commitment to sharing good practice and creative ideas. 

Dr Jain has been Senior Librarian at Manav Rachna for only a year and a half but she has already introduced a huge range of reading promotion activities, including a "Go Green with Book Swap Scheme" which saw 60% of school community taking part, an international Book Mark exchange, forging links with schools worldwide including in the US and Portugal and has taken her students on multiple visits to external book festivals and libraries including the Parliament library and the British Council library in New Dehli. Members of the library bookclub recently visited a local village school and as well as running storytelling session in English and Hindi for the village children, Dr Jain and her students donated Story Cards and helped establish a village school library, with the donation of 300 books.


Dr. Jain is determined to include everyone in her library, not only through encouraging readers with an extensive array of awards, but also by specially addressing the needs of students with additional needs through a programme called "One Nation Reading Together". Authors, illustrators and storytellers regularly visit the school both in person and via Skype and activities as wide ranging as bringing in a chef to make sushi in the library and supporting the school's participation in the Model United Nation's programme further add to the variety of activities taking place in and with the support of the school library.

The makerspace which Dr. Jain is also responsible for has proved a valuable route into discovering the joy of reading for many students who have not traditionally considered themselves readers; Dr. Jain works with such students (who are keen to build and create but are perhaps less enthusiastic about reading), showing how library books on related topics such as technology can feed their interest and skills.

A passionate school library advocate, Dr. Jain is a proactive, innovative librarian who has created a school library which is seen by her Deputy Head as a "happening place". As well as clearly making a vital difference to the life of her own school, Dr. Jain wants  her work to "connect all the librarians in the city to empower them and to make them think big and do better". 

You can find out more about Dr Jain's work by visiting her library's webpages:

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Job Vacancies: King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy - Librarian

£26,470 - £33,136 pro rata (£23,149 - £28,979 actual salary)

36.5 hours per week, term time only


King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy is a successful, vibrant, popular Academy serving its local community. We have a superb modern building, including an excellent, well-resourced library, an extremely committed and hardworking staff group and highly motivated young people, it is a great place to be.

We seek a colleague to join us and manage our library, associated learning resources and support reading throughout the Academy. You will be educated to degree level and hold an appropriate librarian/information statistics qualification or similar, or equivalent.

Additionally, you will have previous experience of working in a library and managing learning resources and be passionate about reading and enjoy working with young people.

To apply, please download an application form from the Academy’s website:  https://www.keshacademy.com/academy/employment/support-staff/217-librarian.html or email vacancies[at]keshacademy.com. Please note that an Academy Trust application form must be completed, CVs on their own are not accepted.

Closing date: Monday, 24 September 2018.

This post is covered by Part 7 of the Immigration Act (2016) and therefore the ability to speak fluent and spoken English is an essential requirement for this role.

The Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff to share this commitment. An enhanced DBS check is required for this post.

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Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting: Penrith, Cumbria, 6 November 2018

Our course Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting, run by Marie (Maz) Udall, will be held at Newton Rigg Conference Centre, Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria on 6 November 2018. Bookings received by 9 October 2018 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Delegates on this training day will explore how to create a culture that’s conducive to good mental health, as well as looking at the challenges facing young people today and solutions that can be employed to help pupils struggling in these areas. Literature, escapism and safe spaces are all imperative to good mental health so building the skill level and confidence of the staff is a great way to bolster wellbeing throughout the whole school. Issues covered during this course will include anxiety, body image, exam and academic stress, mental health and self-esteem.

The closing date is 22 October. Bookings received by 9 October are eligible for a £15 discount making the cost of the full days training just £90 (SLA members), £120 (for delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subcribe to Library Services for School, Cumbria), £160 (non-members of either group).  Additional discounts are available for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual).  Please see SLA website for details.

Key Audience: primary and secondary school staff

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Job Vacancies - Ripon Grammar School: Library/Administration Assistant


Required as soon as possible

37 hpw, term time only + Training Days + 1 week in school holidays throughout the year

Salary:  NYCC Band 4, points 9 – 13 (£14,621 - £15,176 pa actual)

We are seeking a library assistant to support the work of the Learning Resources Manager who oversees the library service in school to support teaching and learning.  He/she will be highly self-motivated and committed to the welfare and education of the students within school. 

The role would also require excellent administrative ability, well-developed ICT skills and a passion for reading and literacy. Administrative support would also be part of the role to assist the school's administration team.

This post is ideal for those working towards a library/information science qualification.

[There may also be the opportunity to undertake an additional, remunerated post within a boarding house in School, with accommodation provided, if required by the successful candidate.]

Ripon Grammar School is situated in the historic city of Ripon. Ripon itself is set amidst the stunning countryside of North Yorkshire, near to the Yorkshire Dales and within easy access to Harrogate, York and Leeds.

Please apply via the School website, www.ripongrammar.co.uk where an application form and details of the post can be found under the vacancies section.

Interviews will be arranged with successful candidates. If you have not heard from the School following the closing date, please assume your application has been unsuccessful.

Closing date for applications: 9am on Monday, 24 September 2018.

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School Librarian of the Year Award Finalists for 2018: Announcing four exciting and innovative school librarians

We are delighted to announce that four exciting and innovative librarians have made it onto the Honour List for the School Librarian of the Year Award 2018.

Nicki Cleveland

Nicki Cleveland is School Librarian (and Higher Level Teaching Assistant) at Cannon Park Primary School on the outskirts of Coventry. Despite having only 3.5 dedicated hours in the library and no real budget, Nicki has revolutionised the way the teaching staff at Cannon Park Primary think about Reading for Pleasure; due to working in close partnership with the staff around her, it is now at the forefront of the school's ethos. Thinking outside the box and passionate engagement with the children's book world via Skype and Twitter have enabled Nicki to enrich her pupils engagement with books in an extremely powerful way. 

Dr. Chhavi Jain


Dr. Jain manages a large, multilingual library and makerspace in Manav Rachna International School (Gurugram) outside New Delhi in India, where she supports 1100 children aged 6-17 years. Dr. Jain is breaking down barriers and raising the profiles of school librarians in India with her innovative and rigorous approach to her work. Exemplary in her promotion of reading with numerous author visits (in person and via Skype), pupil awards and international collaborative projects, her enthusiasm, professionalism and passion for reading is recognised throughout the school.

Alison Kennedy


Alison Kennedy is Head Librarian at St George's Ascot, an independent boarding and day school for girls 11-18 in Berkshire. Alison's role reaches far beyond the bookshelves of her library, and as Head of House, Form Tutor, Extended Project Qualification Coordinator and living on site she is truly embedded in her school. Her enthusiastic and proactive approach to promoting Reading for Pleasure ensures the library is seen as a hive of energy and imagination, and creative use of social media plays a key role in engaging the entire school with the library and its resources.

Emma Suffield


Although her official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1400 students at Saint Wilfrid's C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school. Innovative, imaginative practice, frequently going the extra mile, has led to a whopping 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014.

Full profiles will be published once a week from 6 September (in alphabetical order) on the SLA website.

The complete Press Release can be downloaded here:


The Award Ceremony will take place on Tuesday 9 October 2018 in Covent Garden, London.

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Job Vacancies: Prior Park Schools: Prior Park Schools: Librarian

Prior Park Schools: Librarian

Prior Park Schools is a family of schools comprising Prior Park College (Bath), The Paragon Junior School (Bath) and Prior Park School Gibraltar, each providing a high achieving, co-educational, Catholic/Christian education. Our encouraging ethos nurtures pupils to become confident, capable, compassionate and independently-minded young people.

We currently seek to appoint an experienced and innovative professional who will maintain, develop and promote the Library at Prior Park College.

The post holder will manage and operate this major learning environment by ensuring effective use of information and library resources and by providing a high-quality service to very active community of users. He/she will liaise with the ICT Department to develop the use of electronic information and learning resources.

You will be Chartered Librarian with professional qualification in librarianship, information management or information science. The ability to offer EPQ supervision would be advantageous. A willingness to become involved with the wider life of this busy boarding and day school is essential.

Prior Park College offers a competitive remuneration and an attractive benefits package including free access to on-site sport and dining facilities. The successful applicant will enjoy an exceptional, Grade 1 listed working environment.

This is a full time, fixed term, 12 month contract to cover maternity leave. 

To apply, please complete an application available to download from our website http://www.thepriorfoundation.com/vacancies, and send it to our HR department along with a supporting letter by 17 September 2018.

Prior Park Application Form

Word document, 3 MB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


Prior Park Librarian job specification

Word document, 709 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


Prior Park Schools are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

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