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SLA Blog » January 2019RSS 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.

Branford Boase Longlist announced

It’s the 20th year of the Branford Boase Award and the longlist has been announced. Some wonderful  novels to escape into.  

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Wanted - school libraries to visit

Joyce, a researcher in the US will be visiting the UK soon would like to make contact with School Librarians in the UK. If you could offer her a visit to your school, do pass on your email address to us and we will forward. This is what she says:

I am middle school librarian in the US and am anticipating a research fellowship in the UK this summer.  I am going to an edTech conference in London and then looking at creative engagement and innovative technologies in museums, libraries, and heritage sites.

Most of my itinerary will be around the conference as well as museum and heritage but I also am in search of a great school library and / or interview about the state of school libraries in the UK. I will be spending most of my time in London and England, but will be finishing up my fellowship in Scotland, and then to Ireland.  It would be great to have a clear snapshot of the state of school libraries in the UK before I finish up my time there. 


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500 words competition launched

The [at]ZoeTheBall Breakfast Show, this morning launched #500Words 2019 - the annual story-writing competition for children aged 5-13.  Entries to be submitted by 8th March, and more details to submit your story or become a judge here.

500 Words

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UKLA National Conference 2019


Celebrating the work of the UKLA Literacy Schools of the Year.

Some great ideas to use in your schools.

Saturday 16th March, Bristol.

UKLA National Conference 16 March 2019 (PDF file, 973 kB)




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The Boy in the dress RSC musical


David Walliams’ The Boy in the dress comes to the RSC stage for the first time in a musical adapted by Mark Ravenhill, new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.

Booking shortly

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Fulbright Award still open

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme brings British education professionals to the United States for a semester to pursue individual or group projects, audit courses for professional development at a host US university, and observe and share their expertise with teachers and students at the university as well as local primary and/or secondary schools.

The award includes:

  • Travel costs (international and some domestic)

  • Accommodation, maintenance allowance, and meal stipend

  • Contribution of up to £15,000 to the awardee's employee to help cover the cost of covering the vacant position for 5 months

  • Opportunity to participate an End of Program workshop in Washington DC

  • Sickness and accident coverage

  • Visa guidance

  • Pre-departure support

  • Support in the USA

  • Access to a global alumninetwork of collaborative engagement and cultural diplomacy, with over 300,000 academically and professionally accomplished members.

The award is open with a deadline for applications of 25th February 2019.

Explore the website for details.

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Costa Book Award overall winner to be announced


Tuesday 29th January sees the overall winner announcement of the Costa Book Awards. Will this be another year when the children's winner becomes overall winner? If you have not yet read

Hilary McKay's The Skylarks' War, put it on your tbr list as it's a book for everyone.

Hilary talks about the book here.

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WBD share-a-story author and illustrator masterclasses

WBD have produced a series of inspiring and interactive films for schools to screen at a time to suit you. These 12 films are in an exciting new format which will inspire all students aged 5-12, whether reluctant readers or aspiring authors and illustrators. Featuring incredible authors and illustrators including Lauren Child, Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Sibéal Pounder, Jeff Kinney and Chris Riddell, every film comes with FREE classroom resources too. Register now and the films will be available to watch in class from 6 February  leading up to World Book Day.


Online Masterclasses Header

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Do your pupils write as well as read?

Coram Voice is a charity that provides a range of services for children and young people in and around the care system. They have just opened their annual writing competition for children. The competition is open for entries until 10 February 2019.

The theme of this year’s competition, ‘Growing Up’, was chosen by young people who took part in the competition last year.  Entries can be in any written form including poems, short stories, raps or newspaper articles, with a 500 word limit.

There are four age categories from primary to age 25.

Entries will be judged by a panel of high-profile authors, poets and presenters:

Submit your entry here   

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

In remembrance of Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th, independent publisher Scribe will be donating 1000 copies of the new title Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust to UK schools and libraries. This book is suitable for readers  9 years +. A campaigning 94 year-old Holocaust survivor answers the questions you never dared to ask.

Author Hédi Fried and publisher Henry Rosenbloom are available for interview. 

Teaching notes and lesson plans for the book are also available, suitable for readers from Key Stage 3 upwards. 

To request free copies of Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust for your library or school, please contact sarah@scribepub.co.uk  

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Job Vacancies, St George's the British International School: Librarian, Duisburg-Düsseldorf, Germany


St George's the British International School, Duisburg-Düsseldorf, Germany.

Librarian, Duisburg-Düsseldorf, Germany
Closing date:11 Feb 2019
Start date: August 2019
Contract type: Full Time
Salary: €35,000 to €54,000 gross per annum
Contract term: Fixed Term

St George's School seeks a well-qualified librarian to join our library team, to begin August, 2019.

The School

Serving the international community in Duisburg-Düsseldorf for over 10 years, St George's School combines an enriching curriculum with family orientated care. The school has grown from small beginnings into a thriving community of over 700 pupils, aged from 2-18 and representing a broad range of nationalities. 

The National Curriculum is taught throughout the school, and we offer the IB Diploma in our Sixth Form. 

One of a group of three schools located across Germany, St George's offers the successful applicant an exciting range of opportunities for professional development and growth across the school group. 

The Location

Located on a new, purpose built campus in the heart of Germany's Rhine-Ruhr region, St George's School enjoys direct transport links to the cities of Düsseldorf and Duisburg, as well as to the greater Rhine-Ruhr area. 

Germany's sixth largest city, Düsseldorf is a dynamic and vibrant cultural centre, with a large and diverse international community. Situated in the heart of Europe, Düsseldorf offers a high standard of living, as well as numerous opportunities for travel and cultural discovery. 

Düsseldorf airport is located only 15km from the school, with many daily flights to the UK, and high speed rail services connect Düsseldorf to a wide range of European destinations. 

The Role

We are seeking to appoint a qualified and experienced profession to manage the activities of our learning resource centre. 

The successful applicant will be a dynamic individual with experience of promoting a passion for inquiry and effective research skills. Well-developed organisational and communication skills are a prerequisite. We are looking for the right balance between experience, enthusiasm and a passion for learning and inquiry, which will inspire our pupils. 

This is an exciting and challenging opportunity to direct the development of this important area of the school. 

It is our vision that the library space not only be a repository for books, but a dynamic centre of learning activity. We intend to develop it into a place for both individual reading, research and reflection, as well as a space for collaboration and group discovery. We are looking for the right individual who can support us in achieving this vision and bringing this space to life. 

Please download our application pack for detailed information.

SGSD Application Pack 2019 Librarian

PDF file, 3 MB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Only applications made through the TES online portal will be considered.

We require additional information for your application, please upload the following documents via the supporting documents link:

1.  Your passport information page or ID card

2.  A copy of your degree certificate 

Applications should be submitted by the closing date of 11th February 2019. The school reserves the right to contact outstanding applicants in advance of this deadline.

St George's is committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of children and expects all staff to share this commitment. The successful applicant will therefore be subject to enhanced background checks. 

For any inquires relating to this role, please do not hesitate to contact us directly:

Mr. Christopher Lewis
Head of Recruitment
E-mail: recruitment[at]stgeorgesschool.com
Tel: 0049 2233 808870

More Details...

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National Storytelling Week

This weekend sees the start of National Storytelling Week 

NSW flyer
NSW flyer

You can read aloud in school, encourage your pupils to read aloud, prompt your parents to read to their children and generally enjoy the power of stories. The article here stresses the importance  listening to stories has on the optimal patterns of brain development.

We have a storytelling course in February in Cheltenham and Alec’s quick pointers to successful reading aloud can be found here on our blog along side this article in a back copy of The School Librarian

Storytelling and Reading aloud Alec Williams

PDF file, 714 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


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Story Museum activities

Half term may be a few weeks away yet, but primary schools will find pointing your parents towards the Story Museum half term events may entice a few families looking for a day out to Oxford.

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RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Have you got those bird identification

1019535 Bigschoolsbirdwatch

 books on display in the school library?

Encourage your children to take part this weekend.





Photo © RSPB website

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Help, I'm in Charge of the Secondary School Library!: Manchester, 28 February 2019

Our course Help, I'm in Charge of the Secondary School Library!, run by Susan Staniforth, will be held at Dean Trust Ardwick, 345 Stockport Road, Manchester M13 0LF on 28 February 2019. The closing date is 13 February 2019. Bookings received by 31 January 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

A course for secondary school library staff

More Details...

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Copy and Paste Generation: Warwick, Warwickshire, 28 February 2019

Our course Copy and Paste Generation, run by Sarah Pavey MSc FCLIP, will be held at Warwickshire Schools Library Service,Unit 11 a/b Montague Road, Warwick CV34 5LT on 28 February 2019. The closing date is 14 February 2019. Bookings received by 4 February 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

Secondary school library staff and teachers

More Details...

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Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting: Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, 28 February 2019

Our course Mental Health and Wellbeing in a School Library Setting, run by Marie (Maz) Udall, will be held at Chesterton Community Sports College, Castle Street, Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 7LP on 28 February 2019. The closing date is 13 February 2019. Bookings received by 31 January 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school staff

More Details...

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Preparing the School Library for Inspection: Ilford, Essex, 13 February 2019

Our course Preparing the School Library for Inspection, run by Anne Harding, will be held at Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 1EA on 13 February 2019. The closing date is 29 January 2019. Bookings received by 16 January 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience:

A course for primary and secondary school librarians and others with responsibility for the school library.

More Details...

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How to Win a Nobel Prize

Rock the Boat publish books from around the world, aiming to find stories outside the mainstream and talking about difficult subjects. The books entertain, create empathy and, importantly, help young readers to question their beliefs and the way they live in the world.

There are free resources linked to the books and Rock the Boat have just added another resource - a scientific experiment which involves extracting DNA from strawberries. It is taken from the book How to Win a Nobel Prize, written for ages 9-12 by a real-life Nobel Prize winner.



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Discussion and Development 2019 2: Cognitive Science

We're doing a blog a week in January, and this week's is all about cognitive science - it focuses on revision and learning, and as well as the implications for delivery of information literacy, there may also be implications for reading for pleasure and word acquisition.


The Most Important Thing For Teachers To Know: Cognitive Load Theory

Cognitive Load Theory is said to be "the most important thing for teachers to know". It is important because our Working Memory is limited and can only process so much at one time. Thus, we need to manage its load.

In 2013, Prof John Dunlosky reviewed dozens of academic papers and rated commonly used learning strategies from the least to the most evidence-based. We have summarised them here.

10. Imagery for text

This technique consists of developing internal images that elaborate on the material being studied. Dunlonsky’s research showed that the benefits of mental imagery are short-lived. The strategy also does not seem to be widely applicable.

9. Keyword mnemonic
This strategy is particularly used when learning new words or a foreign language. It involves using a keyword to represent the new term. Research does not support the effectiveness of this technique.

8. Summarisation
Paraphrasing the most important ideas in a text can help to learn. However, this technique only works after students are properly trained in how to write summaries. Dunlosky suggests that this need for extensive training - which usually does not happen - reduces the applicability of the technique and that other less-demanding strategies should be chosen instead.

7. Highlighting
Despite its popularity, Dunlosky reports performance after reading and highlighting is not better than performance after reading only.

6. Rereading
Also a very popular technique, rereading seems to only help with knowing, but not with understanding. That is, it improves students’ ability to recall something as old, but does not enhance their learning for that topic.

5. Self-explanation
This strategy is used when students’ explain how new information relates to things they already know. Relating novel content to prior knowledge creates new connections and facilitates the development of schemes.

4. Elaborative interrogation
This strategy involves asking and answering Why and How questions. That is, thinking about a subject in more depth and detail, which strengthens connections in the brain.

3. Interleaved practice
Interleaving is the strategy of mixing up the order of questions across different topics. Research reveals this technique to be particularly effective in when teaching Maths and parts of the Science content. Commonly, students learn strategy A and solve a series of problems that demand strategy A, and then do the same with strategy B. Interleaving would be to learn strategy A and strategy B, and solve problems that can demand one or the other in a pseudo-random order. This way, students need to figure out the right strategy from the problem itself, which leads to a deeper understanding of the topic and better preparation for exams.

2. Distributed practice
Distributed practice is basically the opposite of cramming. Research consistently shows that studying small chunks of content spread out over time is more effective than studying long blocks of the same topic only once. To use it successfully, students should start preparing way ahead of their exam dates and organise their time with a calendar. In the classroom, teachers should review not only the previous lesson but also lessons from much earlier.

1. Practice testing
The most effective strategy according to Dunlosky’s research is practice testing. It consists of studying and reviewing by answering questions and actively bringing information back to mind. When this is done, information is reconsolidated, new connections are created, and memory and understanding are strengthened. When reviewing topics in class, teachers should always include low-stake quizzes. These can be of various types, as long as they demand active retrieval. Immediate feedback should be provided.


Seneca’s free homework and revision platform uses these techniques to maximise students learning. Students memorise two times more efficiently on their platform due to a variety of neuroscience principles. All their algorithms are based on these principles to repeat content in different formats at the right time. As a result, Seneca can maximise the student’s performance. This has also been proven during an academic study that has been published in the academic journal of the Chartered College of Teaching.

If you want to learn more about cognitive science then you can complete Seneca’s Cognitive Science for Teachers course (https://app.senecalearning.com/classroom/course/9f6bf15c-23fe-401c-810a-3bc66d761885) and become a Seneca Certified Educator.

For more information on what Seneca does and how it works, visit their website and sign up at senecalearning.com. It’s free!

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Part –time School Librarian required as soon as possible

Salary Scale: Dependant on experience

Hours: 1 day per week term time only

Closing date: Midday Thursday 31st January 2019

We are looking for a librarian to work in our school one day week during term time. The role requires someone who can:

  • To plan and oversee the organisation and management of the School Library
  • To develop and support information skills within the curriculum, in consultation with the appropriate teaching staff
  • To select, acquire, maintain the stock in good order
  • To organise, catalogue and classify resources to ensure effective retrieval
  • To make the Library attractive and accessible to pupils and staff
  • To promote the effective and efficient use of the Library and its resources
  • To proactively encourage reading and the enjoyment of literature
  • To support the school in the delivery and administration of literacy programmes

Belmont Junior School serves a community rich in cultural, ethnic, religious, social and linguistic diversity. We also offer a unique opportunity to work with children with physical disabilities and their team of support teachers and assistants as part of our partnership with The Vale Special School.

Please contact Sue Vickers or Nicola Strycharczyk for job description, person specification and an application form on office[at]belmontjnr.haringey.sch.uk or download them from our website www.belmontjunior.org

Closing date: Midday Thursday 31st January 2019

Interviews to be held on: Week commencing 4th February 2019

More Details...

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CEO of TRA to retire

Sue Wilkinson MBE, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, has announced that she will be retiring in July 2019.

Amongst many other successes, Sue Wilkinson has prioritised evaluation of the impact of reading programmes and commissioned significant evidence to show that reading can tackle some of the UK's biggest societal challenges.

Everyone who loves books has a lot to thank Sue for.

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Great School Libraries: Building Lifelong Readers

Date: Tuesday 29th January 2019

Venue: Peters, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham, B5 6RJ
Time: 3.00pm – 5.30pm

Free twilight session with Alison Tarrant, CEO of the School Library Association and children’s writer and inspirational trainer, Neil Griffiths. Everyone will explore the many ways to help develop children into lifelong readers.

?All delegates will receive a free goodie bag and two free Neil Griffiths books (a picture book and a novel) when completing a questionnaire at the event. Refreshments are provided.

Sign up here 


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Winnie The Pooh Day

On this day in 1882 A.A.Milne was born. He became an author and created a much loved bear of very little brain. But with observations such as “You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Pooh Bear was not so silly. All school librarians know they have to approach teachers rather than waiting for them to come into the school library. Then


 perhaps you should all go into the school grounds and play Poo Sticks.



                     © E.H.Shephard

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Empathy Book Collections

Empathy Lab, in conjunction with Peters Books, has released this year’s lists of suitable books for children in primaries and secondaries to help them deal with the pressures of modern-day life.

Scientific research shows that books are a powerful empathy-building tool. Reading gives young people insight into other people’s feelings, ways of life, and the experience of facing challenges like becoming homeless, or a refugee.

Both guides can be downloaded here

Peters is offering a 26% discount on collections to arrive in school in good time for Empathy Day, 11th June 2019.

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What Reading does for the mind

Research document on the effect of reading on the mind makes us think about what we are doing whilst reading.

What reading does for the mind Jan 19

PDF file, 207 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


You need to sit down in a peaceful lull to read and concentrate on this.

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Ofsted Inspection Framework

Ofsted has launched a consultation on the proposed inspection framework for September 2019.

Everyone is welcome to feed in comments until 5th April 2019.

This is a chance to show how the school library can contribute towards:

  • learners ‘cultural capital they need to succeed in life’
  • teaching learners how to study effectively
  • learners’ broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents

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EUROLIS -a group of librarians working for the cultural centres of France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain in London - in partnership with CILIP, is promoting the study of European languages and culture across the UK. EUROTOOLBOX is a multilingual collection of the very best books for children recently published in the respective countries.

Librarians and teachers can borrow the EUROTOOLBOX collection free of charge, only having to cover the postage to send the collection onto the next school/library wishing to borrowing it.

Eurotoolbox consists of about 90 books, for children from primary age to teenagers.

Should you be interested in booking the collection or wish to have more detailed information about it, please email Maria Riccobono at library.icilondon@esteri.it 

tel: 0207-3964425

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SLA - Victoria - Resources

We had a productive discussion with the Executive Officer of the School Library Association - Victoria, Susan La Marca, this morning, and it reminded me how brilliant their resources are. These two are particularly worth a look: 

This infographic is brilliant - scroll to the bottom of the store to download. 

They also do a great podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-672487052

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Bring Stories Alive! …in National Storytelling Week

26th January to 2nd February 2019 will see the 19th National Storytelling Week(NSW), promoted by the UK’s Society for Storytelling.  It’s a great time to enjoy the power of the spoken word (whether told from memory or read aloud), so why not create some opportunities for this to happen – in your library and throughout the school?  Here are some ideas to try, from storyteller and SLA trainer Alec Williams:

Plus there are still places left on the storytelling course on 12th Feb in Cheltenham

What Story Will You Be Telling

NSW Blog Entry (SLA) (PDF file, 294 kB)


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Information Literacy Training

Information Literacy Group (ILG) of CILIP training at the Frenchay campus of UWE, 4th March. 

This is particularly suited to new professionals or those new to teaching Information Literacy, although everyone welcome.

This day will introduce some key Information Literacy frameworks and give an overview of key ideas associated with teaching information skills.

Lunch and refreshments included for all attendees.

Booking via the CILIP events page

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The British School (BSJ) was established in 1973 under the auspices of the British embassy. 


It has developed into a truly international school with over 44 nationalities in attendance, from Foundation Stage to Year 13 (3 - 18 year olds). Primary school students follow the EYFS curriculum in Foundation Stage FS1/FS2 and then the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and National Curriculum for English and Maths in Key Stage 1 and 2 (years 1 to 6).  As of August, 2019, secondary school students will embark on the IB MYP for Years 7 – 9 and from the age of 14 to 16 (years 9 to 11 – Key Stage 4) that includes the IGCSE exams at the end of year 11.  From the age of 16 to 18 (Years 12 & 13), students follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. 

The school is set in an eighteen hectare campus in the south of the city and is recognised as having teaching and sporting facilities of the highest quality (which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool and contemporary theatre complex) and the warmth of our community makes BSJ a enjoyable place to work.

BSJ recruits well-qualified, experienced career professionals with relevant EYFS, International Primary Curriculum (IPC), National Curriculum, IGCSE, GCSE and IB (MYP & DP) experience. Contributions to co-curricular programmes are essential. Outstanding teachers from other backgrounds will be considered if the applicant is willing to learn and work within the BSJ system and ethos. Professional development is an integral aspect of school life at BSJ with a number of staff actively involved in courses on leadership and personal development.

The remuneration package is excellent and reflects the status and quality of this internationally renowned school and includes:

  • Annual flights for employee and dependants

  • Comprehensive medical cover

  • Substantial housing and household costs allowance

  • Tuition fee remission for two dependents up to and including Y13

  • Relocation allowance for shipping

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people, and expect all staff to share this commitment. This post will be subject to an enhanced DBS disclosure and police clearance. BSJ is an equal opportunities employer.

To apply, please complete the online application form by visiting: https://bsj.hbcareers.com/hboss-sb-api/job/33866

Application closing date: 21 January 2019.

Applications are reviewed as soon as received and we reserve the right to appoint outstanding candidates before the closing date.

2019 Head of Libraries

PDF file, 282 kB

Requires Adobe Reader



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Discussion and Development 2019 1: The Trouble with School Libraries

To celebrate the new year this month there will be a Discussion and Development post every Monday. These are posts that deliver an element of CPD and that promote discussion. This first one has been written by Liz Brown from Incube - our thanks go to her. 

The Trouble with School Libraries...

When I was at school, the library wasn’t the most inspiring place around. It was the 1980s, so everything was basically brown. Brown shelves, brown furniture, brown curtains... The most exciting thing about my secondary school library was the fact that it had a new synthetic carpet (brown, unsurprisingly), which meant that we could shuffle our feet on the floor as we walked through and give one another electric shocks.

However, the drab surroundings didn’t really matter because we enjoyed reading. It was a part of our lives and something we all just expected to do. We all grew up with Enid Blyton and then Adrian Mole before moving onto the classics. Books were our escape and our pleasure. Until, that is, Duran Duran came along and John Taylor became my mullet-haired, pixie-boot clad Mr Darcy!

However, trying to engage today’s teens with the simple pleasure of reading is far more of an uphill struggle because books have to compete with the instant gratification that technology provides so engaging young readers is no longer just a matter of selling the magic to be found in books. The reading environment also has to be right. To be frank, a brown library is never going to be somewhere that kids want to hang out, even if it does have an electrified carpet!

But it can be done with a bit of creative thinking. I firmly believe that a space which youngsters truly feel is theirs and has been designed with them in mind will make them much more likely to want to spend time there. And if you get them through the door of their own volition, it is more likely that they will want to read.

So here are my top tips for creating a fantastic library space that will lure in teens and kids, whatever your budget:

  1. Bye Bye bland

“Safe”, “neutral”, “won’t date”, “goes with anything”... this is grown-up thinking. You are not furnishing your own front room, so put aside your personal taste, think like a kid and make it fun. Ditch school colours like navy, maroon, bottle green and (of course!) brown and instead pick bright, popping colours that will breathe life into your scheme. Be brave with clashing and contrasting shades that are fresh and modern. Think zesty lime green, turquoise, hot pink, rich purple, orange. Blocks of colour against a neutral backdrop make a bold statement and bring a room right up to date.

  1. No more shushing!

Let’s face it, the days of silence in the library are long gone. The best libraries are abuzz with kids working collaboratively and discussing projects together, their laptops pinging as they access information to help them complete their homework. The layout of a library has to address this more social need as well as providing quieter, contemplative areas. Use furniture to screen off zones that can be used for different purposes. Units on castors will help to keep things flexible and enable you to reconfigure the space to suit. Zoned schemes can pose more of a challenge from a supervisory perspective, but again (controversially?) think about who the library is actually for. Don’t fixate too much on sightlines but be prepared to move around whilst keeping an eye on what’s going on.

  1. Multi-tasking spaces

With space at a premium, most school libraries nowadays don’t just have to provide book storage and relaxed seating. They often also need to cater for IT provision, intervention and teaching space, a location for meetings, somewhere for exams to take place, you name it. The furniture will have to work hard so items that can double up as something else are ideal. Stool seats that can be pulled up to work tables are always useful, as are bench seats that have storage incorporated within them. Tables that can be put together or split to accommodate smaller groups will make your space much more versatile. However, one caveat. Be realistic about what can be achieved in the space you have (unless it’s a Tardis!) If you try to make your room all things to everyone, you risk ending up with something that is nothing to anyone.

  1. Be age appropriate

Aim your library at the age group that will be using it. Older primary school children and teens need sociable grouped seating for informal discussions, study tables or carrels plus plenty of spine-on book storage. KS1 children on the other hand need cosy, inviting, safe spaces with soft furnishings and rugs for carpet time. Younger children also like to see the pictures on the covers of books so be sure to include face-out display units and kinderboxes. Features such as archways and dens will add an element of fun, making the library a place to explore, as well as somewhere to sit down and read or listen to stories.

  1. Accessorise and decorate

Use the walls. Stick-on graphics, pictures and wall displayers add a nice finishing touch and are also a cost-effective way to give your scheme a quick face-lift. If you are on a tight budget and fancy a project (and if your wooden shelving is tired but otherwise sound), paint walls and furniture in brilliant white then use match pots in vibrant colours to pick out architectural features such as window recesses and columns. Adding in colourful seating and a rug will give your room a bright and contemporary feel for a fraction of the cost of a fully fitted, brand new library.

So with a little imagination, daring and – yes – investment, your school library can become a facility that youngsters will love. Time and again, research backs up the fact that a good school library will enhance learning and nurture a love of reading, even in these fast-paced, tech-laden times. Perhaps 2019 is the year to wave goodbye to brown and say hello to a fresh new look!


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2019 Information Literacy Awards

Newlogo 2018

The IL Award honours an individual or team whose work has made a significant contribution to IL over the past 3 years. The award is open to all practitioners, researchers and academics working in the IL field within the United Kingdom. Nominations are welcome for individuals as well as for groups/teams. So get those school names entered.

These prestigious awards will be presented at the LILAC conference in Nottingham on April 25th 2019. 

The deadline is Friday March 1st 2019.

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BBC Radio programme on Roald Dahl's love for the countryside

@BBCRadio4 Open Country is all about Roald Dahl.

Discover how the countryside around the Dahl’s home in Great Missendenhad such an impact on the author and his stories:


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Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 12 February 2019

Early Booking Discount Extended

Our course Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure, run by Alec Williams , will be held at Library Services for Education, Clyde Crescent, Whaddon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 5QH on 12 February 2019. The closing date is 28 January 2019. Bookings received by 18 January 2019 are eligible for a discount.

Key Audience: primary school teachers and support staff

The course will cover:

- Why storytelling is important

- Choosing stories that tell/read well

- Practice in using picture books for all ages

- Gaining some easy-to-learn stories from memory

- Adding poetry and rhymes, plus ‘tasters’ of older stories


Delegates will learn:

- How to prepare stories, and make best use of the voice

- How to make stories interactive

- Practical tips from an internationally-experienced storyteller

- Sure-fire story ideas that will work in every classroom

- How to hold children’s interest, and deal with interruptions!


Delegates will leave with:

- New stories to tell straight away

- Recommendations from both trainer and other delegates

- Several handouts packed with more ideas

- Post-course support from trainer and SLS, as applicable

- Fresh confidence and re-charged batteries!

More Details...

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Falling out of love with reading - how to rekindle the passion

Eastern YLG is running a training day addressing some of the reasons children and teens turn away from books. Author Bali Rai and 2016 School Librarian of the Year Amy McKay offer activities that work for them to turn this attitude around. Bookings close on the 6th Feb. Bookings should go directly to YLG, not SLA.

YLG Eastern flyer 2019

PDF file, 2 MB (Requires Adobe Reader)

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CKG judges needed!

CILIP are looking to recruit CKG judges. You need to be a CILIP member, and be able to make time to read a lot of books! 

It is a great process to experience, and although it is time consuming it is a lot of fun. You will boost your knowledge of modern children's fiction significantly, not to mention you get copies of all the nominated books to keep. If you're interested it might be worth having a chat with school to see if they would give you some time in return for the school getting the nominated titles... 

It's great for your CPD, you meet great people and some of the best authors and illustrators in the world. More information can be found here: https://informationprofessionaljobs.com/jobs/regional-judges-for-the-cilip-carnegie-and-kate-greenaway-awards-east-midlands-northern-ireland-scot/35-1/

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Infographic 100 things kids will miss if they have no school librarian

The American Library Association has posted a wonderfully coloured and informative poster detailing (some of) the benefits having a school librarian in post brings to a school. Thank you ALA. Download directly from the ALA site.


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Costa category winners

The Costa Book Awards were announced last night and the children's category winner is a book for readers of 10 years to 110 years. Hilary McKay's Skylarks' War is a book with everything for everyone. A well deserved winner. The overall winner will be announced on 29th January.


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John Burningham, children's author and illustrator

John Burningham, children's author and illustrator, dies aged 82. The illustrator of many loved classics such as Mr Gumpy's Outing, Avocado baby, and of course, Granpa died on Friday 4th January. Married to fellow illustrator Helen Oxenbury, Burningham delighted many children and their parents with his books which could be read by their pictures alone with the writing the icing on the cake. Librarians owe a lot to John Burningham who will be very much missed.

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Could you be an SLA Board member?

The SLA is seeking two board members to help create its strategic vision and direction for the next few years. Board members serve for 3 years, and can be re-elected. Meetings are on Saturdays, and all board members must be SLA members. 

We are particularly looking for people who may be interested in serving as Treasurer in time. 

All nominations must be received at the SLA office by 1 February 2019.

More information can be found here: https://www.sla.org.uk/board-details.php  

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CE Blog 2019_1: New Year, new opportunities

Blog 2019_1: New Year, new opportunities

This new year I’m looking forward to what’s ahead of us – last year was an exciting year on many fronts, and I’m keen to keep that momentum going. My message for the year is going to be along the same lines – encouraging participation and involvement, and my aim is the same – to reduce the gap between school libraries and ‘education’. Each time I go to an ‘education’ event school libraries are not represented, and rarely in school libraries events is the rest of education represented. We need to close this gap – to show how school libraries contribute to education, and to be seen as part of the solution to educational issues. If we can’t show this, achieving adequate funding will remain difficult, as funding school libraries will be seen as reducing funding towards core educational outcomes, rather than being a positive funding decision.

One of the aims of the SLA currently is to try and bridge this gap by exhibiting at a wide range of events; this can be tricky as some of these are incredibly expensive (upwards of £2000 for a table!) but by working with partners we are maximising the opportunities we have. In other circumstances exhibiting isn’t possible, but being present, either through having a handout, or presenting. For example, I am speaking at the NATE Primary Matters Conference in February and SLA members can benefit from an exclusive 15% discount when you register online and use the exclusive code (call or email the office to find out what the code is). 

When speaking, either at events or to journalists, it’s useful to have up to date and real examples of how school libraries are contributing, so please don’t be shy about getting in touch and letting us know what you’re doing – it’s incredibly important I have examples of all the ways that school library staff can help.

An idea for a new year’s resolution is to contribute a case study for the Great School Libraries campaign – these will add the all-important nuance and detail to the results of the survey. The survey will show us how many school libraries there are – the case studies will show why this is important.  More information about the case studies can be found on the campaign website: https://greatschoollibraries.edublogs.org/resources/ or by contacting Barbara Band.

Of course, the new year is often a time for ‘self-improvement’ so if you’re looking for CPD opportunities we have courses in February on preparing for Ofsted, storytelling, supporting positive mental health and helping reduce the ‘copy and paste’ habits of your pupils. Have a look at the training courses list on the website: https://www.sla.org.uk/training-calendar.php We will also shortly be announcing all the details of the 2019 weekend course, which this year is joint with YLG, and is entitled: “Building identities, building readers: well-being and the library”, and it promises to be a very exciting and informative weekend.

The new year also heralds developments in-house: a new website is under construction which should allow you to do more online. One of the developments, and in order to comply with GDPR, is that you will have control over setting and resetting your password. This is enabled by using your email address as part of your log in, so please take some time to double check we have an accurate email address for you.

Personally, I am full of positivity for the year ahead. I have no doubt it will have its challenges, but with a positive and active outlook, determination, and working in collaboration with partners and our members I think 2019 has plenty of opportunities. All the best for the forthcoming year.

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Reading for Pleasure Awards

Egmont Publishing in partnership with The Open University and UK Literacy Association, aim to recognise teachers and schools whose practices make a real difference to children’s RfP.

After a highly successful launch last year, there will again be three award categories: Early Career teacher, Experienced teacher, and a Whole School award. The winner of each category will receive Egmont books to the value of £250 for their school, and there are 20 copies of Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David to be won.  

The deadline for entries is Monday 21st January, and the winners will be announced on 16th March at the OU/UKLA Reading for Pleasure Conference in London.

Nominate yourself or a colleague here


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Chris Riddell awarded OBE

“Everyone associated with The School Library Association would like to congratulate Chris Riddell on being awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours List in recognition of his illustration and charity work.

Chris’ distinctive drawings magically appear on the page in front of you, even whilst he is fully engaged talking and listening to a rapt audience.

As well as having been the 2015-2017 UK Children’s Laureate, Chris is a children’s illustrator, writer and political cartoonist for The Observer. He has won three Kate Greenaway Medals, the British librarian’s annual award for the best-illustrated children’s book.

The SLA are also immensely lucky to have Chris as a very supportive President from 2017 – 2020.

Chris Riddell

Chris said of his honour: “I feel immensely proud to be recognised in this way and rather humbled when I think about the truly important job done by teachers, librarians and my fellow writers and illustrators. We want to put books into the hands of children so they can discover the great gift that is reading for pleasure. In these uncertain times we need great children's books more than ever!”

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Training Course - Young People Reading through Libraries

 Teen Dream – Getting Young People Reading through Libraries

15th February 2019 – Beeston Library – 9.30am – 4pm

Libraries and Information, East Midlands

Teen Dream - booking form

Word document, 63 kB

Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later



An exciting day allowing people to exchange information about how to encourage teenagers in their leisure reading.

Cost - £30 members/£50 non-members

(tip – cheaper to become member for many benefits, and then book –see booking form)


‘The Bookpushers Project’ Cathy Petersen – Derbyshire County

‘The StorySmash Project’ James Hunter – Nottingham City

 ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Amy McKay – Corby Business Academy

‘Raising Attainment in Reading’ Alison Edwards – Firth Park Academy

 ‘Reading Rangers and beyond’ Lynn Goodman – Northampton College

 ‘Funding through the Arts Council’ Peter Stones – Arts Council

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Fulbright Award for study abroad

An exciting opportunity for British primary and secondary school teachers and education professionals.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme brings British teachers and education professionals to the United States for a semester to pursue individual or group projects, audit courses for professional development at a host US university, and observe and share their expertise with teachers and students at the university as well as local primary and/or secondary schools.

The award includes:

·                                Travel costs (international and some domestic)

·                                Accommodation, maintenance allowance, and meal stipend

·                                Opportunity to participate an End of Program workshop in Washington DC

·                                Sickness and accident coverage

·                                Visa guidance

·                                Pre-departure support

·                                Support in the USA

·                                Access to a global alumninetwork of collaborative engagement and cultural diplomacy, with over 300,000 academically and professionally accomplished members.

The competition is now open - deadline for applications is 25th February 2019.



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Job Vacancies, Head of Library Services: Queen Elizabeth's Barnet, Head of Library Services


Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet 
Head of Library Services
Location: North London (High Barnet)

One of the country's leading academic schools, Queen Elizabeth's Barnet blends a distinctive heritage and proud traditions with an innovative, forward-looking approach to providing a state education like no other to 1,250 boys aged 11-18. 

The School is seeking to appoint a Head of Library Services to lead the well-resourced and heavily-used Queen's Library, located in the heart of the campus. The successful candidate will work with senior staff to promote reading and to support teaching and learning. There will also be an opportunity to develop a strategy for the enhancement of the School's archive.

Previous experience of working in a school-setting may be an advantage, but is not an essential requirement.

During term-time the Head of Library Services will work from 8am to 5pm (with appropriate breaks); s/he will not need to be on site during the school's holidays apart from 10 days during the summer. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience within the range of £28-£33K p.a.

Further details and an application form are available on the School's website:  http://www.qebarnet.co.uk/staff_vacancies

Deadline is Monday 28th January 2019.

Application Form for Support Staff Posts

Word document, 559 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


Candidate brief - Head of Library Services January 2019

PDF file, 3 MB (Requires Adobe Reader)


Queen Elizabeth's is 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 & Barring Service. We are an equal opportunities employer.

More Details...

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Job Vacancies, Perse School, Librarian: The Perse School, Cambridge


The Perse School, Cambridge
Librarian (full-time, term time)

The Perse is one of the country's leading co-educational independent day schools, providing a high quality education to pupils aged 3 – 18 in Cambridge. 

We have an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated Librarian with a strong interest in children's literature and experience of managing a library, ideally within an educational setting.

The Librarian will be responsible for the development, management, and promotion of the school library as an essential learning environment for all students and staff. The Librarian plays a key role in providing individualised service, encouraging reading for pleasure, facilitating independent learning and research, promoting intellectual curiosity and scholarship and supporting teaching and learning requirements throughout the school.

Further details, including a full job description and online application form can be obtained from our website:

Closing date: 16 January 2019 at midday.

Job Specification, Librarian 2019

Word document, 320 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)

More Details...

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