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.
After more than 11 years working for the School Library Association it is with mixed feelings that I write my final blog entry. Although looking forward to a very active retirement (see the Autumn 2008 School Librarian) I shall miss the vitality of the SLA, the enthusiasm of the Executive Committee and members, and the dedication of the staff in the SLA office. It has been a great pleasure and an honour to be your Chief Executive and I look forward to continuing involvement in other ways as an Honorary Life Member.
Watch this space for details of my successor, who I shall leave to introduce herself when she takes up the reins in the Autumn!
A rich array of books, magazines, pamphlets and other printed material spanning five centuries has gone on display at the National Library of Scotland.
The summer exhibition is Imprentit: 500 years of the Scottish printed word. It celebrates the 500th anniversary of the start of printing in Scotland and explores the impact that printing and publishing have had on Scottish life.
Visitors can see highlights from the printed treasures including books, magazines, pamphlets and fanzines, starting with the Chepman and Myllar Prints, a volume containing unique copies of the three earliest books printed in Scotland. Among other items on display are:
Imprentit is free and open daily until Sunday 12 October. Find out more on the printing exhibition page
The SLA is sorry to inform members that once again our ISP has been unable to rectify a problem with our emails, and we have had no messages at our usual addresses for several weeks.
If you need to contact us, or are unsure if your message has got through, you can ring us on +44 (0)1793 791787 or email to info(at)sla.org.uk or to a temporary address sla(at)dsl.pipex.com
We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.
The Book Marketing Society is promoting its 40 Best Audiobooks.
The promotion aims to showcase the wealth and quality of audio books. Included in the top 40 are: The Wit of Cricket by Brian Johnston et al and P G Wodehouse's Summer Lightning in the humour category; Anthony Horowitz's Snakehead and Michael Bond's A Bear Called Paddington in children's; Yann Martel's The Life of Pi and Paul Torday's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen in fiction/classic/crime; and Simon Barnes' A Bad Birdwatcher's Companion (Naxos) and Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain in non-fiction/poetry/plays.
The list was chosen from more than 160 books submitted by publishers. Judges made their selections based on quality of literary content, abridgement, reading, production value and sound quality. The public can vote for their favourites online with a chance to win £500 of National Book Tokens. A top 10 will be revealed on 21st July and an overall winner on 31st July.
The NYR is enabling visitors to download free samples of the titles from its website.
Full audiobooks list
National Schools Film Week will be held this year from 20th - 24th October in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd - 7th November in Scotland.
Nearly 2,000 free film screenings are being held in over 500 locations across the UK as part of the 13th National Schools Film Week.
Up to 320,000 children are expected to take part in what is now the biggest festival of its kind in Europe ... and for 60 per cent of children who attend, this will be their first ever cinema experience!
Films for Primary schools include: Igor, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Golden Compass, Kung Fu Panda, WALL-E, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! whilst older students will be attending screenings of: The Kite Runner, Persepolis, Happy Go Lucky, Juno, Son of Rambow, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.
A number of filmmakers will be holding Masterclasses with children including two-time BAFTA winning director Kevin McDonald (The Last King of Scotland), Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, Dirty Pretty Things) and Abi Morgan (Brick Lane).
Filmmaker and Film Education Patron Lord Attenborough comments: ‘National Schools Film Week offers a wonderful range of international films which capture the imagination of young children across the UK. The films are a way of introducing serious and important issues to children through creative means.'
Film Education Director Ian Wall adds: ‘It's amazing to see how National Schools Film Week has grown in just 13 years. When Film Education launched it, we didn't dare to dream that it would become this big, with this many separate events and locations. We believe passionately that film can play a pivotal role in education. For many kids across the country, this will be their first magical experience of cinema.'
This year, the week will launch in London's Leicester Square on 17th October followed by the Young Film Critic of the Year Ceremony.
In March 2003 the European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy (ENSIL) was founded in Amsterdam by twelve people from eight different European countries, including Kathy Lemaire, Chief Executive of the School Library Association. These people represented various national associations for teachers and librarians, and also a number of Ministries of Education. Currently the network has almost 80 members from 21 European countries.
ENSIL is the only specifically European organisation in the field of School Librarianship and has proven to be a vital entity for collaboration, professionalization and dissemination of information and knowledge in this field.
Recently, in order to be able to continue the important work which ENSIL is doing, and make it more effective, a decision was made to formalise ENSIL into a foundation. This foundation, which is based in the Netherlands, has now been legally formalised and will be known as the ENSIL Foundation (Stichting ENSIL) .
The new ENSIL Foundation (Stichting ENSIL) has made the following statement about its goals:
"Based on international research which shows that the quality of students' learning outcomes is greatly enhanced by effective school libraries, ENSIL promotes the basic principle that all pupils in schools in each country of Europe are entitled to quality school libraries/media centres and services, run by professional and accredited school librarians/ information specialists."
The Foundation will try to achieve this goal by:
Publishers and authors have failed to find common ground over the thorny issue of age guidance on children's books, despite a summit meeting last week which was intended to resolve the high-profile and damaging conflict.
At last Thursday's meeting between the Publishers Association, the Society of Authors and Philip Pullman (on behalf of almost 3,000 signatories of the online statement which now include J K Rowling), both sides presented conflicting research into the issue. The SoA said that 77% of authors were against age guidance, while publishers insisted that 75% of authors have agreed to it.
The sticking point in the dispute remains whether authors should be able to refuse to have age banding on their books. Publishers have confirmed 'that there has been, and remains, no question of age guidance being added to a book without full consultation with the author'. But they added: 'The remaining point of difference, which is to be considered further, was that those speaking for authors feel strongly that authors should have the right to refuse to have age guidance on their books.'
The Poetry Archive, from The Poetry Book Society, has launched its landmark 100th recording by Nobel Prizewinning poet Derek Walcott.
The Poetry Archive is a unique project dedicated to bringing poetry to a wider audience and to recording today's poets for posterity. It has worked systematically to record the voices of living poets and to make them available though its website. The Archive believes that poets' own readings of their work offer a powerful source of insight, understanding and enjoyment. Its CD backlist includes work from Margaret Atwood, Charles Causley, Wendy Cope, Seamus Heaney, Jackie Kay, Christopher Logue, Edwin Morgan, Sean O'Brien, Don Paterson and Michael Rosen, to name just a few.
Now Walcott becomes the 100th poet to join what co-director Andrew Motion calls 'the world's most remarkable online collection of poets reading their own work: a treasure house of information, insight and pleasure'.
Reviewing the recording, Robert Minhinnick (who has also made a recording for the Poetry Archive) says: 'Derek Walcott is surely one of the finest poets in English of the twentieth and now twenty-first century. This is incredibly rich writing delivered without show or declamation. An essential recording.'
Poetry Archive CDs are only available for purchase through the PBS's online bookshop and from the PBS direct. The PBS has worked with the Poetry Archive since its launch in 2005 to bring the voices of living poets to as wide an audience as possible. The online Archive includes extracts from new 60-minute recordings by contemporary poets alongside historic recordings by poets from the past. It is a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. It is run by a small staff, supported by a distinguished board of trustees and a panel of specialist advisers. It depends for its existence on funding from public bodies, charitable trusts and generous individuals. The money earned from sales of Poetry Archive CDs goes towards making more recordings.
Founded by T S Eliot and friends in 1953, the PBS is a unique poetry organisation which provides an international membership with its Selectors' choice of the best new poetry books. The Poetry Book Society runs the Poetry Bookshop Online a niche online poetry bookshop featuring the full range of poetry books available in the UK, which also sells the Poetry Archive CDs and SoundBlast performance poets' CDs. The PBS also runs the Children's Poetry Bookshelf and the Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition, and awards the annual T S Eliot Prize for Poetry.
CDs can be bought from the Poetry Bookshop Online
Listening Books believes that by providing books in alternative formats (MP3, CD and internet streaming) it is able to make reading more accessible.
To show its support for the National Year of Reading, Listening Books will offer 50 free internet streaming memberships (for one year) to the first 50 people who contact them and mention the National Year of Reading. Free memberships are for schools, organisations and any individuals who suffer from an illness or disability that makes it difficult or impossible to read or hold a book, including visual, physical and learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
For more information call 020 7407 9417
Internet streaming is a way of delivering audio to your computer via the internet. Members may listen to as many books as many times as they like, on any computer, in their home, school or work place and at any time during the day. This is invaluable for those who are studying as they no longer have to wait for the audiobook to become available.
To see which titles are available to be streamed go to the website and click on the catalogue button.
Frances Lincoln Limited, the award-winning publisher, and Seven Stories, The Centre for Children's Books, innovative cultural centre for children's literature, have created an award in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945 - 2001).
The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children's Book Award is for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity in the widest possible sense, either in terms of its story or in terms of the ethnic and cultural origins of its author.
The purpose of the Award is to:
Frances Lincoln Limited was founded by Frances Lincoln in 1977. In 1983 the company started to publish illustrated books for children. Since then it has won many awards and prizes with both fiction and non-fiction children's books. Bestselling titles include Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman with illustrations by Caroline Binch, and We are Britain by Benjamin Zephaniah with photographs by Prodeepta Das.
Frances Lincoln died, aged 55, in February 2001. She was described by Julia Eccleshare in the TES as, 'the publisher best known for pioneering multicultural books for children.' Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate, commented that, 'Publishing has lost a brave and innovative person who has left behind her, much too soon, a thriving legacy .'
Full details and entry form
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today announced that Andrew Motion has been appointed as the new Chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Professor Motion will take up his new position on 3 July for a period of four years. Andy Burnham said:
"I am thrilled that Andrew has agreed to take up this position of Chair. Mark Wood has done an outstanding job in steering the organisation through what's been some of the most challenging times for them, and is to be congratulated on his achievement in doing that so successfully.
"He is passing Andrew the reins of a strong, focussed organisation. Andrew's own challenge will be to help the MLA continue their excellent work through the changes and help the organisation grow into its new structure.
"He has an obvious passion for the Arts, and has been a most distinguished and successful Poet Laureate since 1999. I know he has some wonderful and exciting ideas about how he can take the MLA forward, continuing their pursuit of excellence and, in particular, promoting the culture sector to Olympic spectators and visitors in
2012. I wish him well in his new position, and look forward to seeing the fruition of his inspiring ideas."
Andrew Motion said: "I am greatly looking forward to helping the MLA continue their tremendous work in all areas of museums, libraries and galleries. It is an exciting time to be entering the heart of the cultural arena, with the enormous boost in popularity that museums and galleries have seen over the past few years, and the Olympics just around the corner. I am confident the MLA can build on this and achieve even greater things in the future."
MLA's Chief Executive, Roy Clare, said: "Andrew arrives at a very appropriate and exciting time as a newly reshaped MLA equips itself to focus on the integration, improvement, and innovation of museums, libraries and archives. A refreshed team is beginning to fit into place and will join me in looking forward to the opportunity of working with Andrew and the Board as we aim for our sector to make an ever increasing impact for the public."
The winners of the Highland Book Awards, which are voted for by young readers in the Highlands of Scotland are:
Picture Book category
Jackie Morris for The Snow Leopard
Chris Riddell for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat
Pauline Francis for Raven Queen
The Book Awards are organised by The Highland Council's Library Service with sponsorship from wind farm operators Falck Renewables and ANTA Pottery.
Attending the event, as well as a number of the short listed authors, were 142 pupils from 45 primary and secondary schools across the Highlands that had taken part. Since January they have all been busy reading, reviewing and voting for their favourite books.
Principal Schools Librarian Stephanie Hoyle said: "The third year of the book awards has proven to be the biggest yet with more authors and schools attending than ever before. We have also been able to organise extra events in schools which has allowed us to spread the message that reading is fun. Once again pupils taking part have been able to share their comments about the short-listed books on the book awards website and they had the chance to vote again in a final ballot, the results of which were kept secret until the awards presentation.
"There is a wide and wonderful selection of books available nowadays for young people to read covering an enormous range of interests. A love of reading nurtured at a young age can last a lifetime. These awards have encouraged pupils to read and review a large selection of books that they might not otherwise have looked at and I am sure it has widened their tastes on the types of books they enjoy."
The short-listed authors ran special workshops for pupils and answered questions about becoming writers.
Books on the 2008 short list were:
Picture Book category:
Back Row Left to Right Lynsey Stein, organiser, Stephanie Hoyle,
Principal Schools Librarian, Heather Dyer (The Boy in the Biscuit Tin),
James Jauncey (The Witness), Tanya Landman (Apache) and Tony Bradman
(Tom's Dragon Trouble)
Front Row Left to Right Jackie Morris (The Snow Leopard and winner of the Picture Book Category) and Pauline Francis (The Raven Queen and winner of the 12+ category).