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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.

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.

There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower: Bristol, 18 May 2017


Our course There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower, run by Lin Smith, will be held at Gordano School, Portishead, Bristol on 18 May 2017.

Arm yourself with sufficient knowledge to become more involved in, or to spearhead, an Information Literacy Programme in your school.  During the day delegates will explore the definition of Information Literacy and how it applies to 21st century learners. The course will cover the best kind of questioning and will identify core skills with citation, copyright, plagiarism and website evaluation being discussed.  Ideas for possible lessons will be explored and delegates will be encouraged to discuss and invent hypothetical lessons, including the use of games. It will include a brief look at free web-based software which can be used to enrich skills lessons keeping students engaged and interested. 

The closing date is 4 May 2017. A £15 early booking discount will be applied to all applications received by 20 April 2017.

Key Audience: Secondary school librarians / library staff / teachers with a responsibility for learning skills

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Help, I'm in Charge of the School Library!: Sutton, Surrey, 23 May 2017

Our course Help, I'm in Charge of the School Library!, run by Susan Staniforth, will be held at Heath Educational Books, Willow House, Willow Walk, off Whittaker Road, Sutton, Surrey SM3 9QQ on 23 May 2017.

An essential course for anyone new to running a secondary school library.  Delegates will gain an overview about all aspects of managing a school library, consider the role of the library in the school, learn about the processes and practicalities of running a library and be provided with an opportunity to look at a range of helpful resources. They will leave with the confidence to move the library forward and ensure it is used to maximum effect within their schools.

The closing date is 9 May 2017. Bookings received by 25 April 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount.  Special discounts available for non-SLA members who are customers of Heath Educational Books.

Key Audience:  A course for secondary school library staff

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Job Vacancies: The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Hertfordshire - ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN

We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and suitably qualified person to work as part of our School Libraries team.  Experience of the routine tasks necessary for the smooth, day to day, running of a library is essential together with excellent IT skills.
The post is term time, 40 hours per week, plus 10 days to be worked in the school holiday.  The pro-rata salary for this position will be up to £22,476 per annum (which equates to a full time salary of £27,372), depending upon qualifications and relevant experience.
Further details and an application form can be obtained from our website or by email from the Human Resources department:staffvacancies[at] 
Closing date for applications is Wednesday 26th April 2017.
Interviews will be held on Thursday 11th May 2017.

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Job Vacancies: Wellington College, Berkshire - Librarian

Position: Librarian

Department: Mallinson Library

Location: Crowthorne, Berkshire

Reports to: Head Librarian

Salary: Competitive

Type of Contract:  Permanent

Hours per week: 37.5 - Mon – Fri with Saturday working on a rota during term-time

Weeks per year: 38 (33 term time plus 5 during school holidays)

Closing Date: 19th April 2017 at 5pm

Wellington College, one of the world’s leading coeducational day and boarding schools, are seeking to appoint an experienced and flexible librarian to join our small and friendly library team. Excellent professional skills are required alongside a rapport with teenagers and confidence to deliver information literacy skills’ sessions.

The ideal candidate will have a keen interest in reading and familiarity with children’s literature together with strong IT skills and knowledge of online sources.

Our vibrant and busy library is the perfect setting for an enthusiastic candidate who is seeking the opportunity to gain further experience in all aspects of school librarianship.

Ideally the candidate will be available for training and induction between 5th June and 7th July 2017.

Our excellent staff benefits include free lunch whilst on duty, subsidised membership to the Wellington Health and Fitness Club, contribution to Wellington personal pension scheme and access to a BHSF health cash plan.

For full details, including how to apply, please visit the non-teaching vacancies page of the Wellington College website:

Please note that CVs without an accompanying application form will not be accepted.

The College is committed to equality and diversity and the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Applicants for any of the positions available at the College must be willing to undergo a number of safeguarding checks including an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check, reference checks with previous employers and, where applicable, a Barred List, Prohibition and EEA check.

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Information Book Award: 2017 Information Book Award Short List announced

The School Library Association announces the shortlist for the seventh annual SLA Information Book Award.

Chair of the Judges Chris Brown said; “This is the 7th year of the Awards and it is an absolute delight to have received more brilliant, attractive and amazing books than ever. Inevitably that wonderful abundance has made judging and choices more difficult and this shortlist reflects the incredibly high standards publishers are achieving in producing information books for our young readers.”

From our sponsor, Hilary Murray Hill, CEO, Hachette Children’s Group commented: “On behalf of the Hachette Children’s Group I am delighted that we will are sponsoring this important award for a further year.   School libraries are an essential part of the development of literacy for many thousands of children in this country and the SLA supports and promotes all that is best in children’s librarianship.   The quality of this year’s submissions is higher than ever before and congratulations are due to the commitment, creativity and skill of all the editors, authors and illustrators whose books have made it to the 2017 shortlist.”

The shortlisted titles in each age category are as follows:

Under 7

  • A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies Illustrated by Petr Horacek ISBN 9781406359633   Walker Books

  • Our Very Own Dog by Amanda McCardie, Illustrated by Salavatore Rubbino ISBN 9781406356205 Walker Books

  • My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things by Various ISBN 9780241224939   Dorling Kindersley

  • The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer ISBN 9780500650677 Thames & Hudson


  • The Great Fire of London by Emma Adams, Illustrated by James Weston Lewis ISBN 9780750298209 Wren & Rook

  • RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden by Mike Dilger, Illustrated by Sarah Horne ISBN 9781472913432 Bloomsbury Children’s

  • Hello World by Jonathan Litton Illustrated by L’atelier Cartographik ISBN 9781848575035   360 Degrees (Little Tiger)

  • Ada’s Ideas; the story of Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer by Fiona Robinson ISBN 9781419718724 Abrams Books for Young Readers


  • Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson with advice from Dr Olivia Hewitt Illustrated by Gemma Correll ISBN 9781471405310 Hot Key Books

  • Who Are Refugees and Migrants? by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young ISBN 9780750299855 Wayland

  • Survivors of the Holocaust by Kath Shackleton ISBN 9781445150444 Franklin Watts

The winners will be announced at an event at Hachette Children’s Group, Carmelite House, London, on Wednesday 22nd November.

Voting for the Children’s Choice from the shortlists will be open very shortly – announcements will follow on the SLA website and via Twitter [at]UKSLA and on our Facebook page -


Judges’ Comments on the Shortlist Titles

Under 7

A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horacek

Nicola Davies is a passionate advocate of the natural world and delights in introducing children to all its glories. Over fifty different animals, birds, insects and marine creatures are brought vividly to life through her words and the accompanying illustrations. Full of vibrant colour and detail, capturing movement and habitat with judicious use of colour, these enhance and extend the descriptive poems, transporting the young reader around the world.

Our Very Own Dog by Amanda McCardie, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

From the fluid and colourful pictures of dogs on the flyleaves, the stylish quality of illustrations is instantly recognisable. The story of a rescue dog becoming a family pet is interwoven with factual information, including training techniques.  This is the perfect book for any family considering the implications of getting a pet dog, a perfect balance of fiction and information.

My encyclopedia of very important things by various authors

A lovely bright layout, combining excellent photos and quirky illustrations offers an appealing setting for the text. There are plenty of facts on each page, laid out clearly and using simple, accessible language. There is something to interest everyone here, from dinosaurs to clouds, music to habitats. This is a lovely browser that offers something new every time it is picked up.

The big book of bugs by Yuval Zommer

This engaging large format picture book is ideal for just dipping into or reading from cover to cover. More than an information book, it challenges the reader to spot the hidden fly fifteen times, while searching for other bugs along the way. Full of scientific facts about insects from all around the world, with every page a visual delight.


The Great Fire of London by Emma Adams, Illustrated by James Weston Lewis

Changing the face of the city forever, the story of the Great Fire of London is one which has resonated throughout the past 350 years. In deceptively sparing detail, Emma Adams describes how it started, the efforts to quench the flames, how it was eventually defeated and the impact on the people of London. The bold, print style illustrations, in a limited palette of blazing orange and smoky blues and greys, give a haunting vision of a city ablaze.

Hello World by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by L’Atelier Cartographik

Make friendships across the world by learning basic greetings in around 150 languages from Moroccan Arabic to Ukranian and many others too.  Lifting the language flap reveals transliterations and interesting details; captions highlight information about aspects of life and history and simple maps show basic geographical information.  ‘Hello World’ will fascinate children interested in countries and in how people communicate.

RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden by Mike Dilger, Illustrated by Sarah Horne

Gardens are home to an amazing abundance of wildlife, from birds to butterflies and small mammals. This fascinating and accessible guide, illustrated with photographs, shows the plants and creatures which might be encountered, with tips for young naturalists on how to encourage visitors and where and when to spot them.

Ada’s ideas: the story of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer by Fiona Robinson

This is an inspirational story of female achievement which also highlights the importance of the imagination when it comes to scientific invention. Published two years after the 200th anniversary of the mathematician’s birth, this beautifully designed picture-book biography introduces the reader to Ada’s world and her pioneering work with Charles Babbage.  A truly empowering story.


Mind your head by Juno Dawson and Dr Olivia Hewitt, illustrated by Gemma Correll

Straightforward advice mixed with a healthy dose of humour make this an excellent book that all teenagers would do well to read. It approaches mental health issues and sources of help in a sensible, non-sensational way with plenty of detail. Correll’s illustrations are as always a delight, bringing a lightness to serious topics but never trivialising the subject.

Who are refugees and migrants? What makes people leave their homes? And other big questions by Michael Rosen and Annnemarie Young

Equipped with all the organisational features of a traditional information book, this also has a distinctive authorial voice which makes it highly readable. This timely book is designed to explain and inform, but also to challenge preconceptions and encourage the reader to develop their own opinions.  The topic is explored through a wide range of personal stories which combine many new voices with some of the more familiar ones.

Survivors of the Holocaust by Kath Shackleton

A very moving and personal take on the Holocaust, describing children’s stories in their own words. The stark illustrations clearly convey the fear, anger and despair that they experienced and work well with the straightforward text. The timeline and ‘what happened next?’ sections tie the stories together and provide context, making this an unusual and compelling look at the subject.

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Free copies of The Week Annual for completing survey

The Week Junior magazine are giving away two copies of their 2017 Annual (RRP: £7.99 each) when you fill in a short survey on how you encourage curiosity. 
To complete the survey and receive the annuals for your library or classroom, please visit: tp:// 
01 TWJ Issue62

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Job Vacancies: Chethamís School of Music, Manchester - Head of Learning Resources

Maternity Cover  - Term time + 4 weeks
Salary £22,720 (FTE 26,372)  Scale point 26
Hours: Monday – Friday  8.30 – 4.30pm
(1 hour unpaid meal break)
Start Date 4th June 2017
(subject to recruitment checks and any changes to Maternity start date)

Chetham’s School of Music, established in 1969, is an independent co-educational boarding school based in Manchester city centre. It is the largest specialist independent music school in the UK with around 300 students aged 8-18 who are musically gifted.   The School teaches all core curriculum subjects, with music given a high priority in the curriculum.

The School Library reflects the musical bias of the School, having fiction and non-fiction books, magazines covering all academic subjects taught in School as well as a very large music collection including books, sheet music, orchestral sets, wind, brass and jazz ensemble music, string ensemble and baroque music, choral scores, miniature scores, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records and audio-visual equipment.       

You should have a postgraduate library qualification recognised by CILIP, a music degree and experience within a school, music conservatoire or other music library.  You should have excellent organisational, computing and interpersonal skills and preferably staff management experience.

For an application pack and job description please vsit the website:
Application deadline: 9am, Monday 10 April 2017

Interviews: w/c 17th April 2017

Chetham’s is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service. Reg. Charity No: 526702

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Wicked Young Writers Award 2017

WYWA MASTER ARTWORK UpdateThe acclaimed WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS (, created and sponsored by the award-winning musical WICKED in association with the National Literacy Trust (, are delighted to announce that Strictly Come Dancing star, author, award-winning journalist and former Labour MP Ed Balls has joined the judging panel, alongside ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar and the acclaimed performance poet and writer Laura Dockrill. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returns as Head Judge for the third consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED.

Launched in 2010, the free-to-enter annual creative writing competition for 5-25 year olds raises money for, and awareness of, the National Literacy Trust who campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance of literacy.

To ensure as many people as possible are able to take part, the awards deadline has now been extended to 27 March, 2017. Entrants can submit their writing by visiting, where they will also find writing tips and resources from the Award judges.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of the Awards, set up to encourage and recognise excellence in writing, and creativity, and help develop literacy and writing talent in young people. Since launching, over 25,000 young people have entered original and thought-provoking pieces of writing that consistently reflect the interests, concerns and deepest thoughts of young people, providing a first-look at the emerging voices of a new generation.

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