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Pickabook - One Stop Shop for Schools - Every book for Education

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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.

amazing apps for primary schools

50 ThingsBev Humphrey's new book on Amazing Apps for Primary Schools is now also available in an eBook edition from the SLA.

This publication outlines the many ways that using apps on tablets and iPads can help with reading promotion, creative writing and other library/classroom activities and gives you a toolkit of fantastic apps and suggestions on how to source them and use them, spending your budget wisely.

Available to purchase from the SLA website as a PDF Download Edition - add it to your basket in the usual way and you will receive it via an email notification.

The book is also available in a separate Print Edition at a slightly higher price (ISBN 9781903446973).

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In support of school libraries

Author Cathy Cassidy's thoughts on the importance of school libraries:

I see a lot of school libraries on my travels around the country as a children’s author - they are often where my school events begin and end, with a chat and a coffee and a meeting with a bunch of super-keen student librarians. I’ve seen libraries that look like something out of Hogwarts, all galleried and gorgeous and smelling of wood polish and magic; I’ve seen shiny, futuristic libraries that wouldn’t look out of place on the Starship Enterprise; and of course, plenty of libraries that aren’t fancy or grand at all, but buzzing with life and filled with kids and bright with artwork and posters. Where there is a school library - and that mythical, magical creature, a school librarian - there is hope.


My secondary school had a library, but it was neglected and dusty, with elderly, dog-eared books and no librarian. It didn’t open at break times or lunchtimes - you could only get in there in lesson time, if an intrepid English teacher took you there. It was just a room full of books, and most of the time a locked one, which was kind of tragic, but I managed to get my book fix from three local public libraries, so all was well. Things are different now. Public libraries are closing all around us, and school libraries are a lifeline for those young people who don’t have books at home.


If kids hook onto the joy of reading for pleasure, the results are clear; they will do better at school, better at all kind of things, in all kinds of ways. And how do we make sure they find this crucial stepping stone to creativity, learning, life? There are lots of expensive initiatives to grade reading skills, push literacy, get kids reading, but without libraries to back them up, not one of them is worth a thing. Young people need free access to a whole variety of books from across every genre, and yet not all schools can see this. Some revamp their libraries into Learning Resource Centres, gleaming with new computers, stripped bare of fiction; some close their libraries altogether. In one school I visited recently, the head asked me if I could suggest ways to encourage reading in the school... they didn’t have a library, and seemed not to see the connection.


School libraries are awesome. They are a refuge for the lost, the lonely; a haven for the bookworm; a hotbed of creativity, revolution and adventure. School libraries often contain book clubs and cake and laughter, as well as shelf after shelf of brilliant stories, dreams, other worlds. They teach young people how to find their wings and fly, and without them we’d be lost.


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Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure: Witham, Essex, 7 March 2017

Our course Bringing it Alive! Storytelling to boost Literacy and Reading for Pleasure, run by Alec Williams , will be held at EES for Schools/School Library Service, 11 Freebournes Road, Witham, Essex CM8 3UN on 7 March 2017. 

This is a lively, new course aimed at all primary school teachers and support staff.  It will cover the use of stories across the whole Primary Sector and explore how participants can ensure their stories both motivate pupils to read, and show them the pleasure they can get from it.  They will learn -

- How to prepare stories and make best use of their voice

- How to make stories interactive

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

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

The closing date is 21 February 2017. Bookings received by 7 February 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount making the cost of the full days training just £90 (SLA members), £120 (for delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subcribe to EES for Schools/Essex School Library Service), £160 (non-members of either group).  Additional discounts are available for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual).  Please see SLA website for details.

Key Audience: primary school teachers and support staff

More Details...

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Travelling Librarian Award

Applications are now open for the Travelling Librarian Award This fantastic CPD opportunity is run in partnership between the English Speaking Union (ESU) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

Cilip Logo

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The Travelling Librarian Award builds relationships between library and information professionals in the UK

and their counterparts in the US and across the Commonwealth. Participants undertake a professional development study tour to explore areas of their professional interest through visiting relevant libraries, information centres and associated agencies.

The award of £3000 is intended to help promote the exchange of ideas through effective communication in the English language, to facilitate learning between cultures and nations, and to encourage the pursuit of best practice within a particular field of professional expertise.

Applicants must be UK library and information professionals and a personal member of CILIP at the time of application.

In order to apply, please send a CV, cover letter, and reference letter from your current or most recent employer.
Completed applications should be sent to education[at] or Education, ESU, Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED. References may be emailed/posted separately if needed.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview with a panel of experts from CILIP and the ESU. The successful candidate can then travel any.

 Closing date for applications is 26th April 2017. Further information can be found here

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Be a Wally for Literacy!

Be a Wally for literacy!

Wally Montage

The National Literacy Trust are delighted to announce that the popular Where’s Wally? fun run will be back on 19 March 2017 at Clapham Common, bigger and better than ever.  Free official Where’s Wally?costumes are included in the ticket price and children and dogs are also welcome!  All proceeds raised will help us to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed. For more information visit

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Job Vacancies: reading blue coats - ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN (PART TIME, MATERNITY COVER)

Founded in 1646, Reading Blue Coat School is a leading independent day school with 750 pupils, boys aged 11 – 18, and a co-educational Sixth Form. Set in a beautiful country estate of 46 acres of sport fields, grounds and woodlands overlooking the River Thames in the village of Sonning, just outside Reading, we provide a wonderful working environment. The School employs over 170 staff and offers a stimulating, friendly and supportive atmosphere in which each pupil can realise his or her full intellectual, physical and creative potential.
We require an enthusiastic and professional part time Assistant Librarian to assist the Librarian with effective resource and information provision to students and staff. The Library consists of the main collections room; reading room; resources room equipped with 26 computers and the Old Blues room.
Key duties will include:

  • 1. Supervising pupils during the day and after-school.
  • 2. Issuing, returning and shelving library resources.
  • 3. Assisting Librarian in delivering a programme of library skills to Years 7&8 within the timetabled reading sessions.
  • 4. Producing display material both online and traditionally, and maintaining display areas and noticeboards.
  • 5. Processing new resources as directed.
  • 6. Taking reading classes as directed and updating online reader profiles.

Candidates will have excellent administrative skills with previous experience of working within a library desirable. You must be a competent user of MS office applications; have the ability to work independently; have outstanding interpersonal skills; and be committed to high personal standards of work and attention to detail.

This is a term time only position. We offer an excellent salary and benefits package, dependent on qualifications and experience.
Further details and an application form can be downloaded from our website: or contact the Human Resources Manager, Tel: 0118 933 5813 email: recruitment[at]
Closing date for applications: 30 January 2017
Interviews will be held on week commencing 13 February 2017
Applications must be submitted electronically on a Support Staff application form and may be accompanied by your CV and covering letter.
The School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Applicants must be willing to undergo checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service enhanced check.

More Details...

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Teaching Skills for School Library Staff: Derby, 8 March 2017

Our course Teaching Skills for School Library Staff, run by Chris Powis, will be held at Derbyshire and Derby School Library Service, Kedleston Road Training Centre, Derby on 8 March 2017. During the day participants will look firstly at the nature of teaching and learning before considering each step of the process - planning, delivering, assessing and receiving feedback. 

Run many times in the past, this course has received excellent feedback on each occasion.  Testimonials include -

'Fantastic course from an inspiring and practical trainer (librarian)'

'Excellent trainer, interesting and practical content - thank you'

The closing date is 22 February 2017. Bookings received by 8 February 2017 are eligible for a £15 discount.

Key Audience: KS2 and secondary school librarians / library staff - experienced and new to teaching and learning skills

More Details...

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Harry Potter Book Night Packs and Posters reserved for members

SLA and YLG Member exclusive! HPBN2017

Full colour printed Harry Potter Book Night Kits- no downloading or printing for the first 50 to respond!


Fire up fans of all ages with the first Official Harry Potter Book Night Quiz – an opportunity for fans to test their encyclopaedic knowledge of the series against one another.

Packed with fun and brain-tingling questions including a special round based on this year’s theme, The Professors of Hogwarts, there’s something for everyone. 

PLUS there are two versions available – one for superfans and a simpler one, perfectly pitched at families and newer or younger fans. It’s the perfect event to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night in schools, bookshops, libraries, community settings – or at home.

The kit contains the quiz (and answers!) plus everything you need to run a magical quiz on the night, including:
Tips on running your quiz
Team name card template

Team answer sheet

Poster to promote your event 
s for particpants to take home after the event

 Plus beautiful posters to advertise your event

 email: SLA/YLG kits in the subject line

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