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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: Lincoln, 8 March 2016

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 12TH FEBRUARY!

Our course There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower, run by Lin Smith, will be held at BG Venues, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln LN1 3DY on 8 March 2016. The closing date is 23 February 2016. Bookings received by 12 February 2016 are eligible for a £15 discount.

A course for secondary school librarians, library staff and teachers with a responsibility for learning skills to reflect on the ways that library-based learning can impact on student progress by improving research skills across all Key Stages.

A discount of £15 will be applied to all bookings received by 12 February making the cost of the full days training just £90 (SLA members), £120 (for delegates working in Lincolnshire schools which are not members of the SLA), £150 (non members of either group).  A second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate) can do so for as little as £55 (SLA members), £65 (Lincolnshire schools), £75 (non members).  Payment is not required by the deadline date to qualify for the discount as long as an official order has been received.  Prices increase slightly after 12 February - see SLA website for details.

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Writing Digital Decisions - a blog post by Amy Icke

Writing my SLA publication began back in June 2013 when serendipitously Geoff Dubber got in touch with Linda Kelley, Chair of SLA London, about our local SLA meeting which I was leading. I had been invited to talk about the research I was carrying out as part of my MA in Library and Information Studies on using e-resources in secondary school libraries. When Geoff asked if I wanted to write a Guideline on the topic, I was enthusiastic but was, from the outset, aware that this was a significant project to juggle with full-time work. I am delighted to have completed work on the Guideline and am grateful to the SLA and colleagues for all the support they've given me along the way.

With the Guideline published, it felt an appropriate time to reflect on the process and to consider the challenges and opportunity writing for publication presents.

  •           Keeping momentum

From start to finish, I have been working on this piece of research for four years and whilst I have really enjoyed it, it has been difficult to keep momentum, alongside balancing the demands of work and starting a new job. Timely emails from the SLA, support from colleagues and new found enthusiasm when working with case study contributors all helped to keep the project on track. It sounds obvious but breaking up the task into smaller manageable chunks and asking for feedback along the way also helped with motivation and focus. Unsurprisingly, the Guideline is written remotely and there's very little opportunity for face to face interaction, although chats on the phone and clear feedback by email were all helpful and kept the project moving forward.

  • Being all things to all people

I was aware that the basis for this Guideline was my MA dissertation and writing for academic study is a world away from writing a practical guideline designed to help the day to day work of fellow librarians. Establishing my own voice in the publication and gauging the tone was something I initially found difficult. Fortunately, Geoff brings many years of experience to the writing process and offered guidance to ensure the publication meets the needs and expectations of our intended authorship.

  • Taking a step back

As is the case with any piece of work of this kind you can certainly get too attached and fail at times to see the wood for the trees. It might be the case that you fail to explain terminology correctly or to give sufficient context to an example simply because to you it feels obvious. Having people who aren't familiar with the project read your work and cast an eye over the text is invaluable.

  • Keeping the conversation open and ongoing feedback

In many ways related to the above point, I appreciated feedback from a whole range of readers, including those not involved in librarianship. My head teacher, a former colleague working in IT, my previous line manager, the editorial team at the SLA and of course my long suffering parents all contributed to the final draft. Recognising their skills, interest and expertise added a richness to the text and I hope created a Guideline with breadth and variety as we all know that working in a school requires a whole team of people to be on board and support our work.

  • Transferring your vision to other contributors (for me, case study contributors)

I think when you embark on a project like this, informed by your own day to day work and primary research, you have a clear vision of the structure of the Guideline and how it fits together. It was my responsibility to communicate this effectively to my case study contributors and for them to have a good overview of how the publication would look and feel without burdening them with information overload. In the first instance I sent them a one side plan and contents page and then, responding to their request for more information, I sent them a draft so they were able to see how the publication would fit together. In the initial planning stages I had considered devising a proforma for the contributors so they had a consistent structure but on reflection I recognised that each one was different in their scope and it was better to give the authors as much autonomy as possible in the writing process.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the Guideline and very much hope it is of use to fellow librarians. There is some truly amazing and inspiring work going on in schools (one only has to read articles in the School Librarian or threads on SLN or posts on Heart of the School) and I would encourage anyone toying with the idea of publication to jump in and have a go. It has been a very rewarding process, I've learnt a huge amount along the way and I've hopefully produced something that is useful to others! My sincere thanks to the SLA for suggesting and supporting this Guideline and to all my colleagues and friends who have made it possible.

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Nine Posters from the SLA

National Libraries Day will be back on 6 February 2016, celebrating libraries, library staff and their communities all over the UK. To help you promote your library we have nine super posters to download. Exclusive to SLA members, the posters are intended for printing out at good quality resolution in A3 or smaller. Check them out here!

Many thanks to Walker Books for their help with these fabulous posters.

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Free eight week subscription to five copies of the Week Junior

Don’t miss out on the great teaching benefits of new current affairs magazine The Week Junior, a rich source of relevant, cross-curricular material for use in the library, classroom, tutor time or for homework.

Keep 8-11 year old pupils up to date with the latest news, inspire their love of reading and writing, and make use of the regular magazine features such as ‘Around the world’, ‘The big debate’, and ‘Science and Technology’ for learning across all subject areas.

Pupils also get the opportunity to enter The Week Junior Letter To The Editor Competition with brilliant prizes up for grabs for pupils and their school. Hurry as this competition closes in February.

Register today to receive a free eight week subscription to five copies of the magazine per week* and gain access to quick and easy downloadable teaching resources, plus an exclusive offer code for discounted school subscriptions.

Register online now

Brought to you by The Week magazine, this fast growing current affairs magazine is written to engage young, curious minds and features a fantastic range of stimulating stories and information for use in and out of the classroom.

For more information on The Week Junior for your classroom and to register online visit:www.nationalschoolspartnership.com/theweekjunior

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Teaching Literacy Through Film

Teaching Literacy Through Film– is a free online CPD course to help you discover new practical ways to use film to engage and inspire young people, improving their progress and attainment in both reading and writing.
Launched by the BFI and Into Film the course is delivered entirely online, enabling you to independently organise study time to suit your personal schedule. You will have opportunities to share best practice and network with other participants through various channels. Registration is a very simple two step process, follow the link below to sign up to Into Film training and gain access to this free online CPD course.
 
Starting 25 January 2016, the course runs over four weeks and will require roughly three hours of study time per week. Topics include:
  • How to improve story writing using film;
  • How to ‘read’ film and use it for critical analysis;
  • How to use simple filmmaking techniques to enhance learning;
  • How to upload your video content to YouTube.
In addition, you will gain access to educational resources to use in your classroom such as easily downloadable PDFs, classroom-ready film clips, activities and much more.
“Teaching film is the future of building a multi-skilled student” Luis Amador, Harris Academy
Register online now to secure your free place and if you have any questions please e-mail cpd[at]intofilm.org or call 0330 313 7600.
We look forward to welcoming you onto the course.

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FREE poster for school libraries

School Librarians can request a free series poster for the Edge of Nowhere novels, the first young adult series by Elizabeth George – global bestselling author of the Inspector Linley mystery novels.

To request a poster, email naomi.berwin[at]hodder.co.uk. While stocks last!

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There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower: Lincoln, 8 March 2016

Our course There is a Better Way. Information Literacy - Skills to Empower, run by Lin Smith, will be held at BG Venues, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln on 8 March 2016. The closing date is 23 February 2016. Bookings received by 9 February 2016 are eligible for a discount.

A course for secondary school librarians / library staff  and teachers with a responsibility for learning skills to reflect on the ways that library-based learning can impact on student progress by improving research skills across all Key Stages.

A discount of £15 will be applied to bookings received by 9th February making the cost of the full days training just £90 (SLA members), £120 (for delegates working in Lincolnshire schools which are not members of the SLA), £150 (non-members of either group).  Further reductions are available for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate).  Payment is not required by the deadline date to qualify for the discount as long as an official order has been received.

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Digital Decisions book from SLA

AllsortsThe SLA has just published Digital Decisions: Selecting and Using e-resources in the Secondary School Library by Amy Icke.

All secondary school librarians use e-resources as part of their everyday work, but – what's your vision? what do your selection criteria look like? Do you use freeware and subscription materials? How do you encourage your teaching colleagues and students to use them effectively? Here is a Guideline by a librarian, awarded the 2015 UKeig Early Career Award, who has focused on these issues for her MA dissertation – she shares her thoughts with us and usefully includes appendices to help with an audit, a purchase checklist, guidance on establishing an IT steering group and a resource guide. We also include two useful case studies.

Available to buy now from the SLA website (ISBN 978-1-903446-90-4).

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