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CE Blog 2019_1: New Year, new opportunities

Blog 2019_1: New Year, new opportunities

This new year I’m looking forward to what’s ahead of us – last year was an exciting year on many fronts, and I’m keen to keep that momentum going. My message for the year is going to be along the same lines – encouraging participation and involvement, and my aim is the same – to reduce the gap between school libraries and ‘education’. Each time I go to an ‘education’ event school libraries are not represented, and rarely in school libraries events is the rest of education represented. We need to close this gap – to show how school libraries contribute to education, and to be seen as part of the solution to educational issues. If we can’t show this, achieving adequate funding will remain difficult, as funding school libraries will be seen as reducing funding towards core educational outcomes, rather than being a positive funding decision.

One of the aims of the SLA currently is to try and bridge this gap by exhibiting at a wide range of events; this can be tricky as some of these are incredibly expensive (upwards of £2000 for a table!) but by working with partners we are maximising the opportunities we have. In other circumstances exhibiting isn’t possible, but being present, either through having a handout, or presenting. For example, I am speaking at the NATE Primary Matters Conference in February and SLA members can benefit from an exclusive 15% discount when you register online and use the exclusive code (call or email the office to find out what the code is). 

When speaking, either at events or to journalists, it’s useful to have up to date and real examples of how school libraries are contributing, so please don’t be shy about getting in touch and letting us know what you’re doing – it’s incredibly important I have examples of all the ways that school library staff can help.

An idea for a new year’s resolution is to contribute a case study for the Great School Libraries campaign – these will add the all-important nuance and detail to the results of the survey. The survey will show us how many school libraries there are – the case studies will show why this is important.  More information about the case studies can be found on the campaign website: https://greatschoollibraries.edublogs.org/resources/ or by contacting Barbara Band.

Of course, the new year is often a time for ‘self-improvement’ so if you’re looking for CPD opportunities we have courses in February on preparing for Ofsted, storytelling, supporting positive mental health and helping reduce the ‘copy and paste’ habits of your pupils. Have a look at the training courses list on the website: https://www.sla.org.uk/training-calendar.php We will also shortly be announcing all the details of the 2019 weekend course, which this year is joint with YLG, and is entitled: “Building identities, building readers: well-being and the library”, and it promises to be a very exciting and informative weekend.

The new year also heralds developments in-house: a new website is under construction which should allow you to do more online. One of the developments, and in order to comply with GDPR, is that you will have control over setting and resetting your password. This is enabled by using your email address as part of your log in, so please take some time to double check we have an accurate email address for you.

Personally, I am full of positivity for the year ahead. I have no doubt it will have its challenges, but with a positive and active outlook, determination, and working in collaboration with partners and our members I think 2019 has plenty of opportunities. All the best for the forthcoming year.

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