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Slamit5 Clarecentre 280312SLAMit5 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. 

SLAMit5CC 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.

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