We have updated our cookie policy to reflect recent changes in the UK/EU law concerning the use of cookies and tracking technologies. We use cookies on this website (including the page you are currently viewing) to ensure that the site functions smoothly and to help us understand how we can improve it. If you continue without changing your settings, you are agreeing to receive all cookies from the SLA website.

or view our cookie policy to find out more

Show Menu | Show Sidebar (Login/Search)

SLA Blog » Recent PostsRSS 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.

Survey to shape how libraries work with young people

A quick reminder that if you have young people wandering into your school libraries looking for a respite from revising for mocks, please could you encourage them to complete a survey on helping to shape the way in which libraries work with young people.

The survey is for young people (13-24 years) to find out their views on how they think libraries (school or public) should work with young people.

Please do share.
The deadline for responses is 2nd Jan 2019.

0 comments · Add a comment

Nominations for 2019 Board

The SLA Board is looking for members with enthusiasm and commitment to stand for election to two vacant positions on the SLA Board for the three-year term beginning at the 2019 AGM in June 2019.

We are particularly looking for someone who may be interested in becoming Treasurer in time, and for those who feel under represented. Should we receive more applications than there are places available the members of the SLA will vote.

The Board is responsible for the strategic planning and decision-making which take the Association forward. Being elected by your peers to serve on the Board carries lots of benefits and most headteachers recognise the enhancement of your professional status that this brings. Being on the Board means you will legally be a Director of the SLA. Here is more information:



If you, or someone you know, would like to stand for election, please use this document


Word document, 94 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 97 or later)


Information about the Role and Responsibilities of Board Members is available here

All nominations must be received at the SLA office by 1 February 2019.

0 comments · Add a comment

Journal of Information Literacy

The latest issue (Dec 2018) of Journal of Information Literacy is now available at jil.lboro.ac.uk

JIL is an open access journal providing high quality evidence-based articles on the latest developments in information literacy.  

HomepageImage En US

0 comments · Add a comment

New SLA publications

Two new publications have just been published by the SLA

Priority Paperwork: Policy Making and Development Planning for Primary and Secondary School Libraries

Rachel Sargeant·November 2018

ISBN 9781911222170 · Price: £15.00 (Members £11.00)

Series: SLA Guidelines · Level: Primary and Secondary


Historical Fiction for the School Library: Riveting Reads

Dawn Finch·November 2018

ISBN 9781911222187 · Price: £15.00 (Members £11.00)

Series: Riveting Reads · Level: Primary and Secondary


To order visit https://www.sla.org.uk/publications-list.php

0 comments · Add a comment

BookTrust’s free School Library Packs

Last chance to register for free books

95% of BookTrust’s free School Library Packs have already been claimed – make sure your school doesn’t miss out. You can sign up on the BookTrust website.

Funded by Arts Council England as well as BookTrust’s partners and donors, and carefully selected for a range of reading interests and abilities the free School Library Pack and Special School Library Pack are available to all secondary schools in England with a Year 7 (or equivalent) intake.

As well as books, the packs also include free resources designed to support social reading experiences, and to help you promote the reading and the school library.

0 comments · Add a comment

CE Blog 7: Education, Equity and Equal chances?

CE Blog 7: Education, Equity and Equal chances?

There have been a number of events I have attended recently where the idea of equity within education has come up. The first was a few months ago, at the launch of the OECD report ‘Equity in Education’ hosted by the Education Policy Institute. This report showed not only that the academic gap between advantaged and disadvantaged starts as early as 10, but that achievement gap could still be seen at 25. Schleicher, from the OECD, mentioned that the gap for the UK is actually still growing.

Commenting on the UK findings, Natalie Perera, Executive Director of the Education Policy Institute, said:

“[These findings] highlight how compared other developed countries, disadvantaged pupils in the UK are more likely to feel less socially integrated at schools, less satisfied with life, and more likely to suffer from test anxiety. While overall academic gaps have been closing in recent years, in order to make further progress it is essential that policy-makers pay greater attention to supporting pupils’ wellbeing”.

(More about the OECD report can be found here: https://epi.org.uk/news/oecd-equity-report-epi-response/ )

The other was at the Schools and Academies Show in Birmingham, where I listened to The Right Honourable David Laws, Executive Chairman of the Education Policy Institute talk about a similar issue, along with workforce pressures and off-rolling. He highlighted that the UK has the largest gap between advantaged and disadvantaged of the richest nations, and by the time disadvantaged pupils leave school they are on average 18 months behind their advantaged peers.

 Mike Kane MP (Shadow Minister for Schools) was the next speaker, and he mentioned the disadvantage gap while discussing the National Education Service – “a plan to provide the best education for each child”. While there were some political shots, there were some good ideas – like removing year to year budgeting, and budgeting for 3-4 years instead.  However, there was no mention of support staff and the role they could play in reducing teacher workload pressures or increasing retention of teachers.

A few weeks later I had a very positive meeting with Lord Watson (Shadow Education Minister for Labour) and I asked him why this was – he said they had not got to the detailed planning stage yet, so there may well be yet. As Mike Kane MP is married to a librarian I am hopeful – something he pointed out when I asked about school libraries in the NES picture! (As an aside, my conversation with Lord Watson resulted in him mentioning school libraries in the debate on school funding in the House of Lords – something you can see here: https://t.co/kjzFoNeeu3- so thank you to Lord Watson for his support!). *

I hear all these conversations going on about education and it is increasingly apparent to me that everyone discussing this is missing a trick – the role of school libraries. A school library is a space that feeds the mind, and finds the nutrition to take children to the next step in their journey. School libraries should be funded and staffed because having access to a range of reading materials, and someone to guide them through the selection leads to one of the most successful interventions – reading for pleasure. This study indicates that improvements in reading can still be seen ten years later: https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/insights/2018/11/the-impact-of-reading-recovery-ten-years-after-intervention.html

 But the staffing is as important for the delivery of information literacy – providing the skills to find and use information, and ultimately to fully participate in society. The awareness of bias, ethics, plagiarism and referencing are as important in the real world, in the digital world and in academia. School libraries improve pupil outcomes; I know from personal experience this is the case.

In schools which fund their school libraries, and whose library staff have access to training and support, those pupils will have more chances. More chances to find a book that makes them tick; more chances to engage with research; more chances to learn independent learning skills. More chances full stop. And that has been recognised by some schools – like the free school which is fundraising for a school library, and some of the top independent schools.

The SLA is here to support all school libraries, and everyone involved in running them, whether you do it in your own time or as a career, whether you work in the library or run the PTA. We will support anyone involved in promoting reading for pleasure, and anyone involved in delivering information literacy. It’s about the children, and we will do everything we can to ensure that each person maximises the opportunities they are given.

We need to start effectively engaging with education – we’re here to support them, and it’s about each child. Finding what’s right for them to maximise their life chances. We need to make the case that poorly supported or understood school libraries don’t maximise a child’s chances – diminishing their access to reading material, reducing their creative spaces and limiting their engagement with information will not close the gap. School libraries aren’t the single answer, but they could and do, play a part.


*Just for the sake of balance it’s worth pointing out I also had a very successful meeting with Justin Tomlinson MP, which resulted in correspondence from the Department for Education, but it was before I started the blogs!



0 comments · Add a comment


WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, have announced that the poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams and the international poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer are both joining this year’s judging panel alongside Head Judge Cressida Cowell. Dan Freedman, joins as an Ambassador for the awards.
The free to enter awards recognise excellence in writing, encourage creativity and develop writing talent in young people.
Deadline for entries is 18 March 2019.
Writing tips and resources are available on the site.
Prizes include book/eBook tokens, books for school libraries, a creative writing workshop for a class, an annual subscription to First News, a writing masterclass with a professional author and a VIP family experience at the West End production of WICKED, including tickets, an exclusive backstage tour and a meet-and-greet with members of the cast.

0 comments · Add a comment

Read On. Get On.

The Read On. Get On. (ROGO) campaign has published a new report which reveals that children's enjoyment of reading and daily reading levels are lagging behind their reading skills.

The ROGO coalition has published a best practice guide for primary schools containing a range of different activities and initiatives as well as a top tips for parents leaflet.

Author ambassador, Cressida Cowell, has also created a set of exciting reading for enjoyment posters to support the campaign.

0 comments · Add a comment