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SLA Blog » December 2010RSS 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.

Happy Christmas from all at the SLA

xmas treeThe School Library Association sends its members and supporters all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

The SLA office will close for the season on Christmas Eve and open for the New Year on Tuesday 4 January 2011.

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DfE cuts funding to bookgifting programmes in English Schools

The Booktrust had notification on Friday 17 December from the Department for Education that funding for all English bookgifting programmes to children (Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up) will be cut by 100% from 1 April 2011. The government's £13m was used to generate a further £56m-worth of sponsorship for the bookgifting schemes from various sources.

Booktime donates a book pack to children shortly after they start school, and Booked Up enables each child starting secondary school to choose a book for themselves. The SLA recognises the huge value of both of the schemes in engaging children in the joy of reading and wishes the Booktrust every success in finding alternative funding sources.

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Upcoming deadline for SLYA nominations

Don't forget to get your nominations for the 2011 School Librarian of the Year in to the SLA office! The deadline for nominations is 14 January 2011. Printed forms were included with the Autumn edition of The School Librarian or you can download a nomination form here. Do consider nominating an outstanding librarian who deserves to be recognised for the work they do.

2011 will also be the inaugural year of our new Library Design Awards, sponsored by Demco Interiors, aimed at rewarding school libraries that show innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in their design. Full details and nomination form are available here and the closing date for nominations is also 14 January 2011.

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New SLA Guideline on Plagiarism

PlagiarismCredit Where It's Due: The School Library Preventing Plagiarism is the latest Guideline from the SLA. Written by John Royce, it offers a clear introduction to the issues surrounding the problem of plagiarism, outlines strategies to counter it, and stresses the role of the school librarian in offering guidance.

Not just a book about preventing plagiarism, it addresses the broader issue of how to engender a culture of academic honesty in pupils' work, using reliable sources and citing them correctly - giving credit where it's due.

Available now - order online direct from the SLA. Back orders will be despatched as soon as possible subject to seasonal delays.

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Happy birthday You Tube!

You Tube was just five years old on 15 December 2010. As of May 2010 it was receiving approximately 2 billion hits a day!

Currently the site has

  • over 5,100 videos about school libraries world wide,
  • 3,800 about many aspects of information literacy
  • and another 5,100 about children reading.

It may be worth browsing some of them to update yourself on what is available and to see whether they could be useful for library sessions or to use as advocacy tools with senior management. How about adding a video of your work in your school library to raise its profile and disseminate some more good practice? Do let us know at the SLA if you do.

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The Pupil Premium - possible funding for your library?

From April 2011 every state maintained school in England will receive £430 for each pupil on roll who receives Free School Meals. If your school has a large number of pupils in that category, how much increased funding will be available and how will the school spend it? It may prove worthwhile to put in a bid for some of it to support library resources, particularly for those pupils, as it will soon be allocated elsewhere!

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The School Librarian, Winter 2010

TSL 58-4The School Librarian 58-4 has now been despatched to members. We are experiencing some delays in delivery due to severe weather disruption but hope that copies will be with you soon.

As usual, the ict@sla section can be read online with clickable links, a convenient way to quickly check out some new websites and resources. Our archive of the ict@sla section goes back to Volume 56 Number 1.

A complete index of the book reviews in this issue and for all of Volume 58 is available - the online index of book reviews can be searched back to Volume 54 (2006).

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Where Are We Now the most recent PISA survey

The recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey published this week shows that school children in the UK are not improving their reading standards when compared to other countries. This important survey of educational standards of 65 countries across the world puts us in a poor light.

This decline in the international rankings has happened in spite of the large amount of money that has been invested in schools and education in general over the last decade.

In 2000 we were in a creditable 7th place, by 2006 we had slipped to 17th place and in 2009 at the time of the latest survey we have slipped even further to 25th position.

Now is the ideal time to improve the reading standards of all our children and young people by investing heavily in well stocked and well run school libraries.

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Keep Calm in Gaelic

Keep Calm Gaelic Our "Keep Calm" poster has been creating a real talking point in school libraries across the country, and we are delighted now to make it available in Scottish Gaelic, in addition to the Welsh and English versions already issued.

It is available exclusively to SLA members as a pdf download and can be printed out at A3 or A4 high resolution, or reduced to create a postcard.

Gabh fois agus cùm ort a' leughadh.

Many thanks to Sarah Anderson and Sue Penny of Tobermory High School/Ard Sgoil Thobar-Mhoire on the Isle of Mull for providing the Scottish Gaelic text.

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Bill Bryson wins 2010 Educational Writers’ Award for ‘a really short history of nearly everything’

The Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors today announced that Bill Bryson had been awarded the 2010 Educational Writers' Award for A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, abridged and edited by Felicia Law. The award was made at the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons by Lord Hill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, who presented a £2,000 cheque to the winners.

The 2010 Award focused on books for 12 -18 year olds published in 2009 & 2010. A Really Short History of Nearly Everything (Doubleday) beat off strong competition from a shortlist that was described as "highlighting humour, scholarship and lateral thinking". Fellow shortlistees for 2010 included: Ben Crystal for Shakespeare on Toast (Icon Books); John Farndon for Do You Think You're Clever? (Icon Books) and Liz Strachan for A Slice of Pi (Constable).

ALCS and the Society of Authors created this award in 2008 to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications'.  It is the only UK Award that focuses on educational non-fiction.  It is made annually for an outstanding example of traditionally published single volume work, with or without illustration, for the specified age group.  The age group alternates each year; this year's focus was on works for 12 - 18 year olds and in 2011 the focus returns to works for 5 - 11 year olds.  The 2010 judging panel comprised three educational experts:  school librarian Maggy Campbell, teacher Louise Gerrard and writer Stewart Ross.

The forthcoming deadline for submission for the 2011 award for the 5 - 11 year age group is 1st June 2011.  For further details please see the website. 

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Excitement at KLQ UK Final

There was a wonderfully exciting finish to the 2010 UK National Final of the Kid's Lit Quiz which was held in the Oxford Town Hall. Two teams tied for first and two teams tied for third place. Wayne Mills couldn't have written a more exciting script had he tried. Both sudden death play-offs went to the wire. The air was electric.

The winner was Cockermouth School and in second place was Bristol Grammar School. The good news was that the New Zealand organisers for the KLQ 20th Anniversary Celebration Quiz have invited both teams to NZ so although these two teams tied they both qualified for New Zealand. The play-off for third and fourth was between Glasgow High School and Litcham High School. The eventual third-placed team was Litcham. Glasgow High was fourth.

The event was strongly supported by local dignitaries, authors, librarians, teachers, students and parents and the whole day was a huge success. The first prize was awarded to the winners by children's author, actor and comedian Charlie Higson, creator of the Young Bond series. Charlie also gave a very exciting talk to the teams at the beginning of the event. The second and third prizes were awarded by the Sheriff of Oxford and the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council. Cllr Keith Mitchell, the Leader of the County Council, told the youngsters how much he enjoyed watching them compete fairly against each other and how his Mother, reading to him as a baby, was a foundation for his love of books today.

Jacky Atkinson, KLQ UK Co-ordinator

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