11 October 2018 Share
The latest blog from Chief Executive, Alison Tarrant - what she's been up to and latest developments for the SLA.
So, this blog is a few weeks overdue – apologies!
Things have been moving apace at the SLA with a series of announcements and special resources being released to celebrate Libraries Week; working on the Great School Libraries campaign; developing internal things – the new website and database for starters! So all in all it’s been a busy few months, but busy is good, as it means there are potential benefits for members in the works.
Over this month I’ve been to Liverpool, Macclesfield, Preston for various meetings with partners and library staff, and as well as thoroughly enjoying my time on the train watching the countryside go by I’ve had lots of time for reflection (and reading!). I have am really enjoying this role – it’s great to meet so many partners who are keen to support school libraries and who really understand the difference a school library can make. I was on a panel about non-fiction at the Bookseller Kids Conference at the end of September, and as always at these events, there was a real recognition of the difficulties the sector is facing (publishing and school libraries) and a willingness to do something about it.
Libraries Week has been incredibly positive – both from a national point of view and an SLA one, and I think the theme of well-being has really consolidated participation. At the APPG Libraries launch for Libraries Week Nick Poole mentioned that the first day of Libraries Week saw a social media reach of about 19000 people – in one day! That’s incredibly powerful – lots of sharing and engaging with incredibly moving stories about how libraries are helping people, which are fantastic.
It has also been a very busy week for the SLA. In case you’ve missed any of it here’s a rundown of what the SLA has been up to this week:
Monday – shared a mental health toolkit called the #HandsUp4HealthyMinds and movie display material from The Hate U Give movie; announced a reciprocal membership deal with the National Literacy Trust, and with that a competition for a primary and a secondary to win a year’s free membership to both organisations.
Tuesday – This day was entirely given over to the announcement of the School Librarian of the Year, and celebrating the magnificent work all the Honour List librarians do. In the end, it was Emma Suffield who took the title, and it was a lovely moment when she thanked last year’s recipient – Lucas Maxwell – for playing a role in her development.
Wednesday – Saw me travel to Preston as Chair of the Great School Libraries campaign to talk to a network of librarians there. It was great to meet them all, and really try to get across what the campaign is all about. We also released some ideas and tips of how to promote well-being in your school library – let us know if you’ve got some tried and tested ideas.
Thursday – Saw the announcement that PSP Asset Protection have sponsored a place on the one day training courses! You can choose which one you want – but there’s only a month to enter! I also attended the BookTrust annual lecture – given by Baroness Floella Benjamin. What charisma and charm and pure understanding and care she possesses. A genuine force to be reckoned with - the persistence, playfulness and passion with which she works.
Friday – we breathe… but not before we announce that we will have a new member of staff starting shortly. You may remember that over the summer we were advertising for a Member Development Librarian – someone who would be the first point of call for the enquiries, and who would make sure that the website is kept updated with resources to support all our members in what they do. I am delighted to announce that… sorry night owls– you’ll have to check in tomorrow to find out!
So while Libraries Week has been an unusually busy week we are all working behind the scenes to deliver you the best service we can. I can’t reveal any more at the moment, but make sure you read the next info@sla (the newsletter that comes with your journal) to stay abreast of the latest developments.
The next Development and Discussion blog will be published on Monday.