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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.

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Digital Direction Bringing Careers Guidance into the 21st Century

Three Minute Hero campaign offers students the chance to record their futures

Careers guidance company U-Explore is building a library of user-generated short films to help the nation's schools and businesses inspire young people with relevant and accessible information.

The Three Minute Hero initiative is a refreshingly new approach to providing careers advice. Video capture technology allows anyone in any profession to record their own short film using their computer, tablet or phone. Answering questions about their job, experience at school and what advice they would give their teenage self, the aim is to help young people get a better idea about what a particular role involves and the many routes that can be taken to get there.

With the provision of careers guidance in schools subject to funding cuts, often the quality of delivery ranges dramatically by postcode. What’s more, whilst there is a wealth of information available online, for young people there is often too much advice, or as the Careers Enterprise Company suggested recently, a ‘choice overload.’

All the Three Minute Hero videos will be hosted within U-Explore’s free careers product Start, a programme which matches users to jobs based on their qualities, skills and work preferences. Start is a free, online careers software created by U-Explore, delivering comprehensive, accessible and easy to understand careers guidance to all students. The role suggestions are brought to life through video content of people in that job, which can be filtered so students can be inspired by people from their school or area.

The Three Minute Hero technology also offers schools the opportunity to engage young people in directing their own career paths, by identifying their career heroes and recording the videos with them, to really get an insight into their work and career journey.

The programme is supported by a wealth of business leaders including entrepreneur Matthew Riley, one of Sir Alan Sugar’s advisers on The Apprentice.

Andy Pickles, CEO of U-Explore said: “Most teenagers, including my own, steer towards user-generated video to get the information they need, so it seemed a natural step to offer careers advice in this format.

“Watching a three-minute film of someone who went to your school or comes from your town talking about their job, what they do, how they got there and what they’ve learnt, provides a real source of inspiration to young people. We’re offering guidance from someone they can relate to and an insight into the world of work. There’s a huge opportunity for social mobility, empowering young people to work towards their goals, based on the achievements of real people with real experience.”

The campaign is part of an exciting growth plan for the Leeds-based U-Explore, which is looking to double in size within a year after receiving a £100,000 working capital package from Lloyds Bank.

To watch some of the Three Minute Hero videos and record your own film, please visit

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London Branch: Branch Events

The online librarian – reader promotion
Wednesday 9 November at 2.30pm
at Highgate School
Highgate Senior School, North Road, N6 4AY

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Concluding profile of our School Librarian of the Year finalists: Lauren Thow

School Librarian of the Year Award 2016: Honour List Profile

Lauren Thow

Portobello High School, Edinburgh

   "Her role within school is pivotal." 

Praise doesn't come much higher than this, and it is a marvellous testament to Lauren Thow, Library Resource Centre Co-ordinator at Portobello High School, Edinburgh and the way she runs the library and supports her school's community.

At the more formal end of supporting the school's learning and teaching, Lauren is responsible for "benefits of reading" lessons and training in a wide variety of literacy and information skills including skimming and scanning, question types, reliability of sources, research and referencing. These lesson plans are shared through the Scottish Qualifications Authority website, evidencing Lauren's commitment to sharing her skills with peers. She teaches research lessons across all school departments bringing variety and excitement; recently Lauren transformed into Alan Sugar for a cross-curricular day with Business Studies. By effectively disseminating information and research skills Lauren has enabled the library truly to be seen as a learning centre, valued now throughout the school.

Lauren has worked hard to create a library which is "dynamic, welcoming, supportive and (hopefully!) enlightening". Having rediscovered the joy of book illustration as an adult, visual texts are now one of Lauren's favourite mediums, influencing how she's developed her library's atmosphere and stock.  When she first started at Portobello High School she took it upon herself to repaint part of the library to make it more welcoming and pleasant, and she always ensures the space is full with beautiful and informative displays, such as a recent reading challenge based on monopoly. Strongly believing that visual texts are really important for all ages and abilities Lauren established a graphic novel section in the library, and jointly runs a lunchtime Comics & Cookies club for all year groups.

Lauren is particularly proud of creating a positive environment for students in their final year. When Lauren first arrived at Portobello, there was a lot of negativity about the Library but through a combination of changing aesthetics, the library prefect scheme, "kindness, biscuits and bad jokes" the atmosphere has been transformed and Sixth Year students now value the Library highly and are active users of it.

Lauren, a former volunteer at Seven Stories the National Centre for Children's Books, has been known to make quite an entrance to her library; she's been spotted being pushed on a book returns trolley, wearing a furry coat, sunglasses and laden with jewellery (admittedly, not the normal style for this quietly spoken librarian but rather a special cameo feature in a reading/library promotion video created by library prefects). Without any additional funding, Lauren  established a school Literature Festival, an adjunct to the Portobello Community Book Festival. For the school festival Lauren typically mixes a variety of author visits (recently included Cathy Macphail, Keith Gray, Kirkland Ciccone and Philip Caveney) with workshops, covering everything from creative writing and illustration to comic craft, drawing on the skills of people in the local community, including the nearby Edinburgh College of Art.

This is just one example of the many partnerships outside school which Lauren has developed to tirelessly promote books and reading in a variety of ways. Work with local primaries isn't limited to transition events (though she has great fun with these, often creating book themed treasure hunts or races); primary schools also have a dedicated day in Lauren's literature festival. Lauren also reports for the free local newspaper and worked with local BBC staff to create the radio series The School That Went to War charting Portobello High School's journey as they researched the school's WWI role of Honour. This involved trips around the area to investigate the impact of the war on the local community and culminated in Lauren taking a small group of students from Portobello and another local school to Gallipoli to see the memorials/graves of some of the schools' ex-students.

Originally Lauren studied history and law, before taking up a variety of customer service/consumer advice type roles. Skills from such jobs are no doubt useful for any librarian, but it was actually the creative side of librarianship which drew Lauren in, and it was then a first job as a library assistant at a school in Newcastle which convinced her to gain her chartership. An example of this creativity is the school's 12 Days of Library Christmas which involves Christmas/library related activities, including carol singing, Christmas book craft and Christmas storytelling across 12 break and lunchtimes through December.

Lauren is continually inspired by the fantastic support network made up of Edinburgh school librarians. They have regular training and meet-ups to exchange ideas and information and this, as well as a variety of professional blogs and articles online and in print help feed Lauren's creative approach to her library. She constantly evaluates her own work through surveys and anecdotal evidence, and is able to provide strong evidence of the impact of her work. New ideas she is looking to introduce include work around health and wellbeing including bibliotherapy. When things get tough for Lauren, however, her own school librarian survival pack contains just two essential items: "Chocolate and Patrick Ness books"!

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Job Vacancies: Clifton College Preparatory School - Preparatory School Librarian, Maternity Cover

36 hours per week, Term Time plus 3 weeks per year outside of College Term-Time

We seek an enthusiastic and experienced individual to work in an extremely well resourced Library at Clifton College Preparatory School.

This role involves providing and managing resources for staff and pupils in the Preparatory School; delivering a cross-curricular information skills programme that facilitates the use of resources; integrating the Pre Library into the total life and work of the school. A good working knowledge of Library organisation and classification processes is needed, along with strong IT skills and a helpful and professional manner for assisting all library users.

The successful applicant will be able to demonstrate a good level of confidence and an ability to communicate in a helpful and professional manner at all levels, with children, staff and external agencies. Experience of working in school libraries is desirable.

The successful applicant will be a qualified, chartered librarian or working towards MCLIP.

Prep School Librarian Job Description

Word document, 75 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


Closing date for all applications Tuesday 4 October 2016

Interviews 10 October 2016

Please see the Job Vacancies page of our website for full details and an application form:

Alternatively you can email HR on recruitment[at]cliftoncollege.comor call 0117 315 7116.

Clifton College is a large independent day and boarding school with over 1300 pupils aged 2 to 18, two large commercial sports facilities, a commercial theatre and over 600 staff.

A DBS disclosure (enhanced) will be requested for all successful applicants.  The school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff to share this commitment.

Clifton College is an equal opportunities employer.

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Autumn Activities

Dr WhoThe start of term is always a frantic rush, meeting new students, making sure your LMS has updated properly, lots of inductions – as well as making contacts and re-establishing old contacts with staff!  Plus, in all that activity we also have many things we need to bring to your attention!

We have a great day lined up at our one day conference in Cardiff – Reading Outside the Box - at the wonderful Dr Who Experience.  I think this will be a day we don’t forget in a hurry – so do remember to book up (early bird booking closes on 30th September) but - we can take bookings beyond that date too!  The programme is packed with excellent speakers, and I’m sure your heads will be packed full of new ideas.

The School Librarian of the Year Award Honour List are gradually being revealed on the website – do look at their profiles and see some of the fascinating activities they are creating for their students.

The Information Book Award posters were sent out in your recent copy of School Librarian – if you would like some more please do contact the office as we have some we can send out.  Meanwhile do take part in the Children’s Choice voting on the website – it’s fascinating seeing whether the students agree with the judges choices.  This year there we have created a booklet of resources you might find useful for working with Information Books in your libraries and classes – check them out!

Have a great Autumn Term

Tricia Adams

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Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation

The Marsh Children’s Literature in Translation Award recognises the important role that translators play in opening up the world of literature to young readers.  The award was founded to celebrate the best translation of a children’s book from a foreign Mymarsh1language into English and published in the UK.  It highlights the quality and diversity of translated fiction for young readers.  Pre-registration is now open for the  brand NEW English-Speaking Union’s My Marsh competition.

Classic titles such as Pippi Longstocking, The Little Prince, Tintin and Asterix set the standard for this welcome addition to children’s literature.  These publications have the power to open up children’s eyes to the world around them.

The award is run by the English-Speaking Union on behalf of the Marsh Christian Trust.  The shortlist for the Marsh Award will be announced on the 20th October 2016

Customers can order the longlist/shortlist titles  from Browns Books for Students and enter the ‘My Marsh: Video review competition’ by uploading a video review of their favourite shortlisted title.  Prizes for the competition include a subscription to The Week Junior (a magazine aimed at young children explaining news and events in ways that children will understand), a copy of all the books entered into the 2016 Marsh Award, coverage of the winners entry in The Week Junior, a discount voucher for SLA training and a £100 voucher from BrownsBfS to spend on books.

Competition entries to be submitted by 20th December 2016 and the winner will be announced on the 9th January 2017.

Please find a link below to the English Speaking Union website, a copy of the pre-registration form  and a link to the  page on the BBFS website for more information: -

If you have any questions or queries regarding the Marsh Award please contact BBFS by telephone: 01482 384660 or by email:


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Job Vacancies: The Henrietta Barnett School, London - School Librarian

The Henrietta Barnett School, London - School Librarian

Term Time Only (36 hours per week – 39 weeks per year)
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 full time (pro-rata £18,000 - £22,000)

An exciting opportunity to run the newly-refurbished library of this prestigious girls' grammar school. The successful candidate will be responsible for the management and development of this essential school resource, and for supporting academic staff to facilitate independent study and research and to encourage reading for pleasure. This is a permanent position, 36 hours per week during term time only, to start November 2016. We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The successful applicant will be subject to an enhanced disclosure and disbarring service check. For further information and an application form, please see the School's website or contact Sandra Wright, the Head's PA. Applications must be submitted on the application form and be accompanied by a letter detailing reasons for applying for the post and suitability for it. Applications will be considered as they are received.

Closing date for applications: Thursday 29th September 2016 (noon) Interviews: w/c Monday 3rd October 2016

Job Description and Person Specification

Word document, 49 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)

More Details...

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Special member's offer on NEW magazine for 8-12's

Scoop is an exciting new monthly print magazine for children aged 8–12 launching on 22 September. Scoop

Perfect for collecting, sharing and inspiring discussion and creativity, Scoop will publish ten times a year.

Having seen an advance copy I can definitely confirm that it is beautifully produced on high quality matt paper and features
�... Spellbinding stories, poetry and graphic fiction from top children’s writers and illustrators:
Neil Gaiman �... Eoin Colfer �... Laura Dockrill �... Abi Elphinstone
Emerald Fennell �... David Roberts �... John Agard �... Catherine Johnson �... Gareth P. Jones �... Lucy Coats
Chris Priestley �... A. F. Harrold �... Philip Womack
�...Brain-boggling non-fiction covering current affairs, science, sport and MORE!
�...Inspiring illustrations by leading artists
�...Cool comic strips and cartoons
�...Entertaining activities, puzzles and jokes
�...Rousing reviews and recommendations
�...Engaging reader contributions and competitions

The seeds of Scoop were sown when founder and publisher Clementine Macmillan-Scott discoveredthe Children’s Newspaper while researching a book for her mother, Juliet Nicolson. Inspired by its thought-provoking content and popularity (it sold 500,000 copies a week in its heyday), and by her own literary background, Clementine began to explore the possibility of creating a child-focused print platform for the twenty-first century – a collectible, gorgeously designed magazine that celebrates the creative spirit in this Golden Age of children’s literature and illustration. After months of planning and fundraising, Clementine assembled a small team of respected publishing and design professionals and formed Curious Publishing Ltd as a platform through which to publish Scoop.

Scoop will be primarily sold through subscription, but also available in selected independent bookshops from October. The digital strategy is also being developed to create an online platform.

Subscriptions can be purchased from from September.
Scoop costs £39.99 for an annual family subscription for ten issues, and £160 for an annual school subscription (five copies of ten issues)

SLA members can take advantage of a very special offer to try the magazine out

Use the code "Library Launch" to purchase an annual subscription to Scoop for £34.99 (usual price £39.99). Please go to

NB if you have any difficulty using this code online

Please email scoop[at] or call either of the numbers below, quoting “Library” as the discount code.

01795 412895  |  08443221232

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