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SLA Blog » March 2008RSS 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.

SLA Weekend Course Wiki goes live

SLA Glasgow 2008 LogoThe new wiki for those attending this year's Annual Weekend Course is now live. Simply follow the blue link on the left hand side of any page on the website, or go directly to find out more about the experience of being at one of our great events. You can ask questions, share your experiences and join in the discussions.

You don't have to be a member of the SLA, or even to be going to the Weekend Course in Glasgow, although you may feel rather left out if you're not!

Places are going fast so if you haven't booked yet you should hurry or you may get turned away! (Non resident places are still available.)

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A literary alternative to Bebo and MySpace!

Scottish Book Trust has set up an innovative online writing residency and welcomed Keith Gray as their first virtual writer-in-residence.

Keith says ...

'So this is it, it all starts here. Not only Scottish Book Trust's first ever virtual writer in residence, but what we think is the world's first ever online writing residency of this kind.

'Over the next few months you'll be able to download exclusive video clips of me talking about the inspiration behind my work and ideas for creative writing. Towards the summer I'll be posting notes to help you write your own stories, and then you can enter our writing competition where the winning story will be published in a national newspaper in the autumn.

'But if you're more of a reader than a writer, be sure to sign up for some exclusive stories. Every other month I'll be asking a top author to contribute a brand new story to this site and these stories can be sent straight to your inbox. You can be the first to read the best fiction by the best writers.

New story available now!

'For March we are proud to present Anthony McGowan's exclusive short story, Falling.Do you hate sitting with your back to an open door?  Does it feel like someone's watching over your shoulder?  Have you ever felt creeped-out by footsteps following you in the dark? Then this one's definitely going to make the hairs on the back of your neck prickle.

'I'm so pleased Anthony agreed to write a story for us, he's one of the most original and imaginative authors for young people working in the UK at the moment.  Of course you don't just have to take my word for it, but have a look for yourself at his books Hellbent, the award-winning Henry Tumour, and his most recent novel, The Knife That Killed Me.

'Falling is a spooky and atmospheric story which brings an unsettling twist to the Virtual Writer in Residence theme of 'communication'.  If you've ever received an anonymous text message, and been tempted to reply, read on... '

Readers can register on the website to receive stories direct to their inbox.

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Partners Enjoying Reading – Schools and libraries working together

Enjoying Reading is an important new initiative aiming to help every child love reading by encouraging schools and libraries to work more closely together.

Enjoying Reading wants to help schools understand how libraries can help them and provide practical tools for joint work. Research shows how central reading for pleasure is for children's life chances, and yet recent international comparisons show that children in England enjoy reading less than their international peers and less than they did five years ago.

Partners for Enjoying Reading is a partnership project led by The Reading Agency and funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It aims to build a more coordinated approach to supporting young readers, by joining up the work of school libraries, public libraries and schools library services.

The partners are

  • National Literacy Trust
  • School Library Association
  • Society of Chief Librarians
  • Association of Senior Children's Education Librarians
  • Museums Libraries and Archives Council

New resources will be launched on 1 April 2008, to coincide with the beginning of the National Year of Reading, to help schools and libraries work together more effectively. These include a website, booklets for schools, and new practical materials linked to the Summer Reading Challenge, a pivotal scheme which schools and libraries can use to join up their work, and keep children reading over the summer holidays.

This is the first time that the crucial contribution that libraries play in supporting children‘s reading has been recognised through a national online resource for schools. This shows how schools can make the best of what each part of the library system has to offer. Case studies show how this can work in practice. There is a bank of ideas for getting teachers and library staff working together to achieve common aims, and a discussion space for teachers and library staff to meet virtually and share ideas.

The website has been created in close consultation with teachers, librarians and educational advisers. It builds on the success of existing programmes and should be a catalyst for more joint work.

The time is right: The 2008 National Year of Reading is an important opportunity. Libraries and schools working together can be a powerful force for change. The Enjoying Reading tools show how the partnership can work in practice and will be a major resource for teachers to use during the National Year of Reading and beyond.

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Free Learning Resources from the Open University

The Open University (OU) has recently launched a web site to give the public free access to its course materials. All the OU materials are available to use, take away, amend and reuse for free under a Creative Commons license. Visitors to the website can collaborate to create new ‘open access' materials and upload them to share with others.

While this may be mainly of use to adult learners there may well be material of use for specific courses or leisure interests for school students, or for staff wanting to upskill themselves or pursue a personal interest.

For example the top 10 units currently identified are:
Start writing fiction
Animals at the extremes: the desert environment
Judges and the law
Essay and report writing skills
Exploring distance time graphs
Early development
Nucleic acids and chromatin
Obesity: balanced diets and treatment
Writing what you know
The importance of interpersonal skills

You will even find one unit called ‘Encouraging book talk in the school library' in the Education section.

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Sonya Hartnett wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

sonya hartnettThe winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2008 is announced as Australian author Sonya Hartnett.  

The jury's citation:
'Sonya Hartnett (Australia) is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life. She does so with linguistic virtuosity and a brilliant narrative technique; her works are a source of strength.'

Now in its sixth year, the award will be presented, like previous years, by
HRH Crown Princess Victoria at the prize ceremony on 28 May 2008 at Skansen in Stockholm. Also attending will be the Swedish Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. The ceremony is open to the general public.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), established by the Swedish Government in 2002, is the world's largest children's and young people's literary award. The annual international prize of SEK 5 million (equivalent to approx. USD 790,000, 540,000 Euros) may be awarded to authors, illustrators, narrators and/or promoters of reading whose work reflects the spirit of Astrid Lindgren. The object of the award is to increase interest in children's and young people's literature, and to promote children's rights to culture on a global level. The award is administered by The Swedish Arts Council.

Sonya Hartnett made her publishing debut at the age of just 15, since when she has written 18 novels for children, young people and adults - although she herself generally prefers not to specify which age group she is writing for.

She is one of the authors currently charting a new course in both form and content for teen fiction, say the judges, bringing it closer to adult fiction and blurring the distinction. She also constantly pushes her own boundaries. No two works are alike. She skilfully adapts her beautiful, precise and illustrative language and her artful narrative technique to the requirements of each novel.

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2008 National Year of ReadingThe SLA, as you would expect, is planning support materials and opportunities to share your ideas for the National Year of Reading, which takes place in England beginning in April 2008.

Already on the Members' Forum pages there are four threads: one to share what you are currently reading and your thoughts on it, one related to themed booklists which will be appearing every month on the site (related to the NYR monthly themes) one to share the activities you are planning for NYR in your library, and finally Red Hot Reads - what's hot in your library?

Do use this chance to share your ideas and pick up new ones so that we can make this National Year of Reading a great opportunity to get more engaged readers in all schools. If you're not in a school in England there is no reason why you can't join in the fun!

Watch this space for more information coming soon.

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New look School Librarian

new design of TSLThe SLA is delighted to announce the new, redesigned School Librarian, which will be arriving with you around now. Having taken on board all of your comments to us about the previous version we hope that you will be as delighted as we are with the new, up to date and attractive look.

Alongside the brighter and more readable design we have increased the number of pages so that adding extra elements, such as larger print size, more illustrations and some thumbnail book covers, will not greatly reduce the amount of information and number of reviews. Thanks go to our Production Editor, Richard Leveridge whose work beat stiff competition when the Editorial Board were choosing the new design.

On the cover is one of the lovely photos specially taken for us by photographer Martin Salter, who created our International School Library Day posters and video. While we will continue to use photos on the cover we will also be using book covers as before for some issues.

Also with the Spring edition of TSL you will find a ballot form to allow you to vote for new members of the Executive Committee from 2008 - 2011, a copy of our regular newsletter Info[at]SLA which also contains more information about the candidates for election, and a printed version of the programme and booking form for our Annual Weekend Training Course in Glasgow.

We hope that you enjoy your new look journal. Please feel free to send us any comments you might have.

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