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.
We are trying to get a more complete picture of the situation in school libraries in the UK now. We have designed a very simple, short and quick survey to get a sense of the position school libraries are in currently. Please take 5 minutes to fill it in. All answers are anonymous and cannot be tracked to a specific respondent.
The more schools we have responses from the better our data will be, and the more notice will be taken of the results when we talk to stakeholders and government – so please distribute the link to all your networks and to other schools in your area or cluster. The survey is open now – and will stay open for 4 weeks – until Friday 25th May. Access the survey here
Director, School Library Association.
Chris Riddell & Paul Stewart will be guest speakers at the IBBY UK AGM on Wednesday 2nd May at Random House HQ, London. The meeting is free and non-members are welcome. Refreshments will be available from 6.30pm with Chris and Paul speaking at 7pm. Book sales and signing will take place after the meeting. Full details are attached and to book a place email: bicarrington[at]nasuwt.net Author information Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart are the creators of the hugely successful Edge Chronicles, which have sold over two million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages worldwide. Their other collaborations include the Barnaby Grimes series and the Far Flung Adventures, the first of which, Fergus Crane, won the 2004 Gold Smarties Prize. Paul Stewart is the author of a number of previous titles for children including The Midnight Hand and The Wakening (a Federation of Children's Book Groups Pick of the Year) for the Yearling list. Chris Riddell is an accomplished graphic artist who has illustrated many acclaimed books for children. Winner of many prestigious awards including the UNESCO Prize (for Something Else), the Kate Greenaway Medal (in 2001 and 2004 for Pirate Diary and Jonathan Swift's 'Gulliver') and the Gold Nestlé Prize for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, he is also the political cartoonist for the Observer.
Some additions to our exciting programme were added to the website - check it out here.
A petition has been created in the US calling for an effective school library program for every child.
The petition calls for the Obama Administration to:
Ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program.
"Every child in America deserves access to an effective school library program. We ask that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. Such action will ensure more students have access to the resources and tools that constitute a 21st century learning environment. Reductions in school library programs are creating an ‘access gap’ between schools in wealthier communities versus those where there are high levels of poverty. All students should have an equal opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to learn, to participate, and to compete in today’s world."
The official White House response to the petition also makes interesting reading.
Don't forget voting for SLA Board Members for 2012-2015 closes in only 2 weeks time. Make sure you login and vote. It is vital for an organisation like SLA that it has a dedicated and enthusiatic board who are supported by the members, and that members make choices as to who represents their interests in the association. Don't miss out, vote now! http://www.sla.org.uk/vote
We have just published Plans, Practices and Policies: Information Literacy and the Secondary School Library in our Guidelines series.
This new and up-to-date guideline takes an in-depth look at this essential area of work and collaboration. It provides clear guidance, strategies and a common sense approach to getting to grips with the curriculum, working with school colleagues and delivering these important skills to students.
Essential reading in this key area for the effective secondary school librarian, with our usual discounted price for SLA members.
Due to a technical problem with our website on16th April all information about online applications for membership and training has been lost for that particular day. If you did apply to join us or for a training course please ring the SLA office on 01793 530166 to check whether we have received your information.
I thought I would share with you some more of the sessions from the recent SLAMit5 conference I attended in Ennis. This was a fully funded course supported by the Comenius programme and administered by the British Council – do check out their website for all sorts of opportunities for CPD, In- service training and exchanges. SLAMit5 included a super session with Ross Todd, as ever Ross was challenging and thought provoking in his talk entitled Gen Next: From School Libraries to Learning Centres.
The main question posed was ‘Should school libraries compete in the modern digital app driven world?’ The key challenges for school libraries are
· Evidence based practice – we must document the impact of school libraries
· Building partnerships and teams – to create capacity for change, librarians are not alone we have teachers too!
· Engaging with Web 2.0 tools to develop deep inquiry – situating learning in the real world of kids today
· Re-imagining school libraries – and their contribution to learning, literacy and living
There is recognition of the fact of wider digital reading adding to literacy – beyond the notion of reading for pleasure. This is value added from the library rather than just adding to test scores – but this is only recognised in some schools. School librarians need to stop ‘bashing’ teachers and be non-judgemental, be sociable and accessible, help with orientation. The School library is the surrogate home as connector and safe place, giving elements, nurturing environment that may not be the case at home. The School library needs to be seen as the common pedagogical centre for the whole school. Evidence in, of and for practice is vital, so analyse student bibliographies so that you can show they are using sources of depth and variety, and their focus, multiple formats etc.
His clarion call at the end was to make modern school library into a compelling environment, physical and virtual information to knowledge commons, 24/7, innovation leader and to craft the school library as a virtual place too.
Just some highlights from Ross’s talk – but the slides will be available on the SLAMit5 website soon. Meanwhile if this has ‘tickled your interest’ check out Rutgers University and CISSL (and the CISSL YouTube channel) where Ross is based.
The countdown ticks away for a packed summer of sport - UEFA Euro 2012 starts in less than two months and the London Olympics open on 27 July.
Don't forget that the SLA has a free reading list for members covering a wide range of fiction and information books about sport to get your school library geared up for a busy sporting season.
Check it out at our Sporting Reads page.
To celebrate the paperback publication of Lauren Oliver's Liesl & Po, Hodder are running an illustration competition, which they'd love you to get involved with.
Liesl & Po is full of beautiful illustrations by Kei Acedera but what they'd like you to do is have a read of the extracts provided and choose one (or more than one if you're feeling inspired) to illustrate in your own way.
To enter your picture into the competition, just take a photo of it or scan it in to your computer, and upload it to flickr.com. Their favourites will win a copy of Liesl & Po for themselves plus another to give to a friend, as well as a special advance copy of Lauren Oliver's new book The Spindlers, which won't be published until Autumn 2012.
The deadline for entries is 24th June 2012. For full terms and conditions go to www.hodder.co.uk/terms.aspx. Email Hodder & Stoughton with any queries. The competition is open to residents of the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Bookmarks are also available - just email naomi.berwin[at]hodder.co.uk with the quantities needed and your delivery address.
SLAMit5 in Ennis, County Clare, at 44 delegates was the biggest ever, so far. All the presentations are expected to be on the SLAMit website soon. The introduction from Peter Milford from Solent College set the scene with some history about projects and how they had morphed from School Libraries as Multimedia Centres in (SLAM) in 1999 to SLAMit – where the ‘it’ stands for ‘in-service training’ – now. There are 8 partners across the EU and participants are encouraged to take part in active learning. This is now the e-book generation – the last time Slamit happened there were no iPads! Hence the current theme of moving into and operating in an electronic world.
CC Rasmussen, the chair of the Association Danish School Librarians, talked about the dilemma of the school library - what should we keep and what should we let go? The pupils are ready for new technology – teachers and librarians are not necessarily. In Denmark they have had statutory school libraries since 1990s – and a new updated law is in development – and school libraries are central to the learning of the school. But funding is controlled locally – so there are still huge differences in school libraries countrywide. Libraries are now learning centres that are seen as more ‘active’ in some way and librarians seen as counsellors. He defined the school library as a team, a collection, a function and a room all in one – graphically he depicted this as an octopus!
This progressed into a discussion on library design and a critique of the usual grid based designs often employed. This constrains space for development and he suggested a new way to look at library spaces as used in one of his libraries. This can be viewed on the architects website – checkout the Children’s Library at Nordborg School and also Hoejer Children’s Library (both 'dots' on right hand half of the screen – these then bring up a series of photographs). In both cases the use of ‘sails’ and subtle lighting effects, shelves in curves and sun ray formations make an interesting layout.
I shall write some more from this conference soon too – but it was a shame that there were not more participants from the UK there – especially as it was a Comenius funded project through the British Council. It really is worth checking out the Comenius and Gruntvig funded Training Database that covers In-Service Training for School and Adult Educators – there are so many opportunities for international work and international cooperation, and all funded. Keep an eye on it for future opportunities.