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SLA Blog » February 2008RSS 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.

Dr Ross Todd to run training course in the UK

Ross ToddWe are pleased to announce that Dr Ross Todd will be visiting Europe for a few days in the Spring and the SLA has been able to book him to come and do one of his very popular workshops for us on Monday 19th May 2008 in London. He will also run training courses for the Dutch and Belgian School Library Associations during that week

This is a unique opportunity for school librarians and teachers who want to learn and work together to bring about the best learning opportunities for students in information age schools, through a guided enquiry framework. Because we are so committed to encouraging such working together we are making a second place available to someone from the same school for half price. We expect places to fill up quickly so do book as soon as you are able.

Each participant will come away with:

  • An understanding of guided enquiry: the philosophy and grounding in learning theory
  • A knowledge of the current research in guided enquiry
  • The ability to plan and implement guided enquiry learning
  • The ability to ensure learning outcomes of guided enquiry projects
  • Strategies to develop a school community in guided enquiry
  • The capacity to train others in guided enquiry
  • Prototypes of learning materials and impact measurement instruments.

Dr Ross Todd is Associate Professor in the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Originally from Australia he is also Director of CISSL , the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, based at Rutgers. Ross is well known in the UK for the work he has done in the field of Information Literacy and school libraries, including being keynote speaker at the SLA conference on this subject at Guildford in 2005, and the LILAC conference in 2007. Ross also ran a very successful series of lectures around the UK for the SLA a number of years ago.

For more information or to book places for this course please see the full course details or contact the SLA office on 01793 791787.

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School Libraries Leading Learning

logo for Glasgow conferenceWe are pleased to announce the opening of booking for SLA's 2008 Weekend Course, to be held in Glasgow, from 13th to 15th June.

Focussing on the importance of the library and librarian's support for learning within the school, the SLA has brought together many inspirational speakers such as Ian Gilbert, Founder and Managing Director of Independent Thinking Ltd, and Dr Jonathan Sharples, Deputy Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind.

We also offer a great range of practical workshops on such diverse subjects as What is a Good Learning Environment?, Teaching Information Skills to the Google Generation and Using Second Life in an Educational Environment.  Together with an excellent social programme, including a civic reception by the Lord Provost of Glasgow in the wonderful City Chambers, a Saturday night céilidh, great networking opportunities, not to mention a host of approachable authors, this has to be a brilliant opportunity for personal development and inservice training for school library staff.

Full details of the programme as well as a booking form are now available.  Please note earlybird prices offer a great discount for anyone booking before 31st March.  Booking closes 23rd May.

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Domesday Book goes digital

The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).

The original Domesday Book has survived over 900 years of English history and is currently housed in a specially made chest at London's Public Record Office in Kew, London. This new website has been set up to enable visitors to discover the history of the Domesday Book, to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation, and provide information and links on related topics.

Those who remember taking part in the 'New Domesday project' in the 1980s can also find out what has happened to the data collected then.

There are commercial adverts on the site which may make it more difficult for schools to use, but there is plenty of useful material as well.

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24-year-old debut author wins Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize

Début author Sally Nicholls has scooped one of the most valuable and prestigious children's books awards in the country at the age of just 24.   Now in its fourth year, the prize was created to uncover hidden talent in children's writing, and is one of the most valuable children's book awards in the country.

Sally, a graduate of the Writing For Young People MA at Bath Spa University, was just 23 when she wrote Ways To Live Forever, a powerful, inspiring and courageous story told in the voice of 11-year-old Sam, who is terminally ill with leukaemia.

Ways To Live Forever was announced as the winner of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2008 by Children's Laureate Michael Rosen in an evening ceremony at Waterstone's Piccadilly on 13th February. As well as a £5,000 cash prize, Sally receives the promise of ongoing commitment from Waterstone's 325 nationwide branches.  Beating off stiff competition from a nine-strong shortlist, Ways to Live Forever is set to be the début of the year -- foreign rights have already been sold in seventeen countries and rave reviews have been flooding in.

Sally Nicholls was born in Stockton in 1984. Tragically, she lost her father when she was just two years old.  She spent most of her childhood immersed in books, and dreamt of becoming an author from a young age. After graduating in Philosophy and Literature at Warwick, she took and MA in Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, where she won the prize for the writer who showed the most potential. 

Sally is a practicing Quaker and a member of the Society of Friends and loves the theatre and reading - especially the works of Sartre, Kafka and Dostoevsky. She now lives in London and is writing her second novel, based on the pagan myth of the green man.  The Midnight Hunter is due for release in January 2009.

After winning the award she said:  "I am so excited to have won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. The experience has all felt very surreal, not just having my first novel published, but hearing how much my book has affected and moved the judges. There were some amazing novels on the shortlist, so it's a real honour to have won".

Ways To Live Forever is a scrapbook of lists, stories, pictures, questions and facts put together by 11-year-old Sam. He's a boy who collects facts and loves looking things up on the Internet. He's curious about ghosts and UFOs - and also death. Sam has terminal leukaemia. He is going to die. And dying is a fact of life. His unsentimental view of living and dying sweeps aside our fears of death, and the pure, clear voice in which Sally Nicholls tells his story also speaks of the discovery of an astonishingly accomplished and powerful young writer.

The nine shortlisted authors competing for the 2008 award were as follows:

  • Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn (5-8 years)
  • Stone Goblins by David Melling (5-8 years)
  • Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls (9-12 years)
  • Shadow Forest by Matt Haig (9-12 years)
  • TIM, Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven (9-12 years)
  • Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (teenage)
  • Blue Sky Freedom by Gabrielle Halberstam (teenage)
  • Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann (teenage)
  • Between Two Seas by Marie-Louise Jensen (teenage)

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Welsh Assembly funding for National Year of Reading in Wales

logo for read a million words in WalesOne of the main focuses of NYR in Wales is further development of Read a Million Words in Wales, the initiative aiming to get boys between 9 and 14 years reading, particularly those who are less enthusiastic or less able.

The Welsh Assembly has now identified additional funding which will go directly to secondary schools in Wales to enable them to purchase resources.  The amount will vary between £800 and £1,200 depending on the size of the school.

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Upgrade to SLA blog

Thanks to those of you who informed us that some sites were no longer picking up the RSS feed from our blog, we have been able to make changes to it so that you will once again be able to get information the minute it is posted. 

We would also like to thank those who send us information for the blog.  Please note we try to post a range of information and news here, and to avoid being overwhelmed by shortlists for a great many book prizes and awards we have made a decision to only post the winners of such awards.  Any item of information you think appropriate will be considered, but please try to send it promptly - news is not news a week late - and if you have a good photo to send we will do our best to use that too.   Please ensure that any people included in the photo have given permission for it to be used on the internet.  Thank you

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Margaret Mahy Medal for KLQ quizmaster

Wayne MIllsUniversity of Auckland education lecturer Wayne Mills, initiator of children's literature quizzes in New Zealand and internationally, is the winner of the 2008 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award.

The award recognises Wayne Mills' achievement in establishing the popular Kids' Lit Quiz held annually in New Zealand and in 2003 expanding this to an international event.  

"Wayne Mills is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost authorities on children's and young adult books," says Dr Libby Limbrick, chair of the Storylines Trust and Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.  "He has made an outstanding contribution to children's literacy both in New Zealand and in countries participating in the Kids' Lit Quiz, inspiring young readers, their parents and teachers." 

From the first event featuring 14 teams held in Waikato in 1991, the quizzes have grown to 423 teams from 244 schools competing around New Zealand.

"The quiz is about rewarding kids who love reading and who are good at it," says Wayne Mills. "For decades in schools we've recognised achievement in other arenas - through science fairs for example and, above all, in sport. There was nothing for our passionate young readers. The competitive side to the quiz is a real draw and I believe it is specifically benefiting boys as a result."

Inviting teams of four 11-13 year olds to answer wide-ranging questions about children's books, the quizzes have become popular events in school calendars. Students ‘train' by reading widely to build up knowledge. Regional winners compete in Auckland each June at the annual Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children's Writers and illustrators to become the representative New Zealand team. 

Four countries, New Zealand, China, South Africa and Britain, competed for the World Final, initially in Auckland and in 2007 in Oxford, UK.  The British Government, local bodies, publishers, private companies and top author Philip Pullman were among those supporting the event. The 2008 final will again be held in Oxford.  

Napier-born Wayne Mills trained at Ardmore Teachers College and spent 16 years teaching in Hawkes Bay and Waikato before becoming a lecturer at Waikato University in 1989. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland School of Arts, Languages and Literacies, and a popular speaker around New Zealand.

His advocacy for children's books and reading over 25 years has included chairing roles on the Hawkes Bay Children's Literature Association, and the nation-wide Children Books Foundation, now the Storylines Children's Literature Trust.  

The Margaret Mahy Medal will be presented to Wayne at the Storylines Children's Literature Trust's annual Margaret Mahy Day in Auckland on Saturday, March 29, 2008. 

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