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SLA Blog » March 2009RSS 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.

International Children’s Book Day

Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2 April, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated all over the world to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books.

The celebratory day is coordinated by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing children and books together.  IBBY has members from over 70 countries, who work individually and together to promote and support children's literature and reading. Each year, a different section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), has the opportunity to sponsor the worldwide event.  This year, EBBY, the Egyptian section of IBBY, has chosen the theme for the celebration - "I am the World" - and the International Children's Book Day poster for 2009 was illustrated by Egyptian artist and former Disney animator, Hani D. El-Masri.

All those interested can visit IBBY UK's website - http://www.ibby.org.uk/ - for reading ideas and resources.

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Aidan Chambers Honoured

Our ex President and new Patron Aidan Chambers has just been elected to the list of Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature.  This is a huge honour as it is recognition and honour from Aidan's peers.   The Society was founded in 1820 by George IV 'to excite literary talent and reward literary merit' and is currently housed in Somerset House on the Strand. The Society is independent of government and of any other institution such as the universities. Anyone who is interested in its aims and purpose can become a Member for an annual subscription.

The existing Fellows elect new Fellows after being proposed by at least two; there are about 400 in all, with about 14 new Fellows are elected each year.  New Fellows are formally introduced into the Society at the AGM and summer party, this year to be held on 1 July. They sign the roll book with either the quill used by Byron or the pen used by Dickens.

The Society holds regular meetings at which papers are read on literary topics, discussions held, and the Fellows meet and talk informally.  The Society's Patron is the Queen, the current President is Michael Holroyd and the current Chair of Council is Anne Chisholm.

 Huge congratulations from everyone at SLA!

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Coping with difficult behaviour in the library

Cool, Calm & CollectedHave you been struggling with difficult behaviour problems in your library? Here is a very practical answer to your concerns.

Cool, Calm and Collected: Managing Behaviour in the Secondary School Library is the SLA's latest title in our respected Guidelines Plus series.

It is an essential guide to all the issues surrounding behaviour management, including style and image, body language, use of whole school policies and of course it suggests strategies to use with groups,  individuals and also adults in the school library. Also included is a range of case studies written by established school librarians who share their own experiences.

Further information and a sample chapter are available in our Publications section.

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SLA Branches

I have been spending quite a bit of time visiting branches this last couple of weeks.  It has been a real pleasure to meet you in your areas - and especially to be invited to the inaugural meetings of the Dorset and London branches.  I am keen to meet more of you all over the country - do ask me and I shall try to get to meet you all if at all possible. 

The interesting aspect of these branch meetings is just the obvious benefit and enjoyment all the members get from networking, sharing problems, and just the chance to feel there are other people out there doing the same sorts of things as you are - the sense of isolation is reduced.  This is exactly what SLA is here for - to support you the members in this eminently practical way.  These quotes are from members at a recent branch meeting I attended -

  • Thank you so much for making yesterday's SLA meeting possible and for making us all so welcome!
  • I rarely meet other librarians so it was a lovely opportunity to meet so many in one room! I found the session very motivating and I left with many ideas and a revived enthusiasm.
  • Tricia Adams

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Story Writing Competition

247tales.com - Bloomsbury's brand new online competition for young writers - is now live. This is a (very) short story writing competition that challenges 8 to 16-year-olds to write a piece of fiction in only 247 words or less. Each month a Bloomsbury author will write a 247tale on a particular theme and then it's over to the young people to create their own miniature masterpiece. For full details visit the website - http://www.bloomsbury.com/sites/copy.aspx?id=3 

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Raising School Libraries’ profile

It is an ongoing work stream to make sure the issues in school libraries stay in front of the people who make the decisions.  To this end SLA have responded to several important consultations recently - this usually involves quite a piece of work reading the consultation documents and then compiling the written responses.  In the last few months we have contributed to DCSF on the 2020 Children and Young People's Workforce Consultation and the 21st Century Schools Consultation, as well as the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum.  We have also made verbal contributions to the DCMS Public Libraries Review and the National Literacy Trust's Literacy Manifesto.  It's been a busy time, but it is vital that we make these representations to keep school libraries at the forefront of provision in schools.

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Horowitz in The School Librarian

TSL coverThe new Spring 2009 issue of The School Librarian should now be with you, featuring a fascinating article by Anthony Horowitz, along with other great features and reviews.

SLA members have access to an online index of books reviewed and to the full text of the reviews in the ict[at]SLA section, with live links for all websites.

If you are not a member of the SLA and would like to see a sample back issue, please email publications[at]sla.org.uk

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Carnegie Shadowing

The time for shadowing the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 2009 awards draws near - the shortlist is announced on 24 April - will all our favourites be there?  If you are planning to shadow the award this year you can apply online for the free publicity packs - www.ckg.org.uk/pos - before 23 March 2009.

The shadowing website - available to all participating schools - has been re-vamped to look and feel more like a social networking site and will allow

  • Uploading of video content and blogs
  • Designing of individual questionnaires and polls for everyone to participate in
  • Highlighting favourite authors or illustrators from the current shortlist
  • Link to past winning books in the ‘Living Archive' via the ‘step back in time' function

Joy Court, Chair of the 2009 Judging panel, is excited about the changes, "The key advantage of the shadowing website is that this input from young people can be achieved in a safe environment with librarians and teachers, the group leaders, remaining responsible for the administration of each account."

"It provides an excellent resource for both children and their group leaders," says Joy, "It won't just be the young people learning about ICT as it's also a great opportunity for librarians and teachers to develop their online skills and to gain support and ideas from colleagues across the UK."

The new features have been made possible by the support of ALCS, the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society, and provide an invaluable resource for both the shadowers themselves and group leaders, linking ICT and reader development.

Take a look at the CILIP demonstration group home page to see how reading groups' can develop their own homepage and identity.

I know the huge enjoyment and satisfaction involved in being a part of this process (I was Chair of Judges for the 2008 award) and found the process stimulating and challenging, being a part of such high quality and passionate discussion about children's and young people's literature. 

Tricia Adams

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World Book Day Poster

Sunlight posterWorld Book Day is today! - Thursday 5 March 2009.

The SLA has created a striking new poster to help you promote World Book Day in your school library.

The poster is a high-resolution pdf download, and is available exclusively to logged-in SLA members at the Downloadable Posters page.

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Booktrust Conference

I had a fascinating and uplifting day at the Booktrust Conference yesterday - at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre - with over 300 other librarians, early years specialists, authors, publishers and interested parties.  All chaired with humour and a wicked sense of fun by Professor Tanya Byron. 

As well as looking at the varied and successful book gifting schemes of Booktrust there was an address from Beverley Hughes MP - Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families - who remarked 'a love of reading is the key to getting every child to achieve their potential.'  I would heartily agree with that sentiment!

After the Minister had left there was a very lively debate between Michael Rosen (Children's Laureate), Kate Wilson (Group MD of Scholastic UK), Viv Bird (Chief Excecutive of Booktrust), John Newman (Newham Bookshop) and Angela Wilkinson (West Derbyshire Children's Librarian) all chaired by Julia Eccleshare (Children's Book Specialist).  Michael was critical of the government not having a joined-up policy on the reading of books, and commented that schools were pivotal in making this happen.  His solution to keeping children and young people reading was simple - read a book to a child. Kate Wilson emphasized the need to validate children's reading choices whatever they may be, wherever the interest takes them.  She also emphasized the need to make the social side of reading more accessible on line and within families; as well as commenting that it should be mandatory for all initial teacher training courses to include an understanding of children's books and for Ofsted to always include the library in inspection reports.  (This latter point Michael disagreed with as he feared the Ofsted big stick approach was too scary already.) Viv Bird made some very encouraging comments on the school library being fundamental in allowing/enabling access to books - whilst discussing the character of school librarians as passionate advocates of reading to young people. 

An uplifting day - we just need to make sure all the right people hear all these messages...

Tricia Adams

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