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SLA Blog » February 2010RSS 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.

Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)

Is anyone planning DEAR activity for World Book Day on 4 March 2010?  Nikki Heath is compiling a collage of DEAR activity and would love to hear from any schools - with a photo of the activity please.  Nikki will make sure you all get a copy of the collage too. 

Please include your school name, number of students and a contact email as well as the photo.  Nikki can be contacted on wernethschoollibrary[at]yahoo.co.uk

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Primary School Library Charter & the Commission on School Libraries

Primary Charter coverThis week most of our time has been taken up with our newly launched Primary School Library Charter - there is a super article in The Independent by Geraldine Brennan. See p3 of the ‘Education and Careers' section in the 18 February 2010 edition - or you can read it online. Geraldine interviewed Lucy Bakewell and her headteacher Beth Clarke on the value of the library to the achievement in the school.

The Charter has been generously received in many places with press coverage, blog entries and news items (look out for a small piece in TES tomorrow).  To further the cause of school libraries, both in general and in this particular, SLA have sent the Charter with a covering letter inviting a discourse on school libraries to all the major political parties; individuals receiving this are the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Vernon Coaker MP, Ed Balls MP, Michael Gove MP, David Laws MP (these last four all having school and learning remits), as well as to the chair of the Commission on School Libraries - Baroness Morris.  It is entirely appropriate that this has occurred in the same week as the Commission has called for submissions to be sent to them, in writing, by 17 March 2010. There is a series of lines of enquiry set out in the press release - the SLA is working on a response but individuals are also encouraged to respond - the press notice can be seen on the MLA website.

Take this opportunity and make it count for the future of all our school libraries.

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GraphicologyThe SLA is making available a special offprint of the article "Graphicology" by Chris Brown from The School Librarian, Volume 57 Number 4, Winter 2009.

At a time when graphic novels are receiving increasing amounts of attention, school librarians who extend their stock by incorporating graphic material may well find they are challenged to justify such expenditure. The article is designed to make the case for the value of graphic novels, to address some of the concerns that librarians often have about introducing them, and to help you engage staff and pupils.

Including a roundup of web resources, this special four-page offprint is a free PDF download.

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School Libraries and the UK Government

There has been a lot of activity going on behind the scenes recently - which has all culminated in a major rebuttal of the government's position on school libraries and trained people running them. European colleagues have forwarded a joint letter to Gordon Brown today - this is signed by SLA as well as IFLA School Libraries and Resource Centers section, International Association of School Librarianship, CILIP Information Literacy group and co-ordinated through European Network for School Libraries and Information Literacy (ENSIL).  The letter can be seen on the ENSIL website.

CILIP have also issued a letter to the PM from the President Biddy Fisher on the government's response to the E Petition to make school libraries statutory - you can see their Press Release and also the full text.  All this at the same time as SLA has released its Primary School Library Charter - a huge wave of different and complementary organisations underlining the importance of school libraries and librarians. With all this activity one can only hope that government will start to listen and act to the benefit of all our schools and pupils.

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Every primary pupil deserves a school library, says new Charter

SLA Primary School Library Charter

The School Library Association (SLA) has today (15 February 2010) launched its new Primary School Library Charter, arguing that investment in school libraries must start early.

The Charter will help primary headteachers and governors set up and run a school library or increase the contribution that their current library makes to the school's effectiveness and the pupils' wellbeing and learning. Sir Tim Brighouse, associate professor at the Institute of Education, University of London and former Schools Commissioner for London, welcomed the charter, saying: "The school library is one of the key indicators of whether a school environment is as best fitted as it can be for learning. If the library is a desert, you start to worry".

The School Library Association believes it is vital that children have access to school libraries for the daily opportunity of wider reading experiences as well as information and research skill building from an early age. Children who can confidently find their way around the school library have the key to future learning and leisure.

As the School Libraries Commission, chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris, invites contributions to its inquiry into the role of school libraries in 21st century schools, the SLA Primary School Library Charter outlines the benefits of a well supported and resourced primary school library, such as:

  • Creating independent readers for life
  • Teaching young children the information literacy skills and judgement they need to become creative, curious, confident and flexible learners throughout their school years and beyond
  • Delivering the aims of the Government's Children's Plan for every child to enjoy their childhood and achieve their full potential
  • Providing an important community space for out-of-hours learning and a point of contact with families.

The SLA Primary School Library Charter is available at http://www.sla.org.uk/primary-charter. Print copies will be sent direct to all SLA members and will be available through school library services, and schools can order single copies by e-mailing publications[at]sla.org.uk.

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YoungMinds calls for submissions for 2010 book award prize

YoungMinds are asking publishers, librarians and young people to put forward submissions for this year's YoungMinds book award.  Books must be works of fiction or biography for young people aged 12+ published between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010, which encourage self-esteem and help them to cope with the stresses and challenges of growing up.

Nominations are open until 24 April 2010. 10 books will then be chosen for the longlist.  Young people, children's authors and mental health professionals will then take part in the judging between May and October to choose the winner. The £2,000 prize, which is sponsored by the national reading charity Booktrust, will be presented at an awards ceremony in November 2010.

YoungMinds Chief Executive Sarah Brennan said: 'This special award highlights the vital role books play in promoting the mental and emotional well being of young people. Books can really help to break the isolation experienced by young people and demonstrate that their feelings and problems are not unique.'

Booktrust's Chief Executive Viv Bird said: 'Booktrust is delighted to be returning for the second year as the sponsor of the YoungMinds Book Award, which recognises the immense value that books add to the emotional well-being of young people.'

Last years winner Chris Higgins said: 'I was absolutely thrilled to win the YoungMinds Book Award for A Perfect Ten. I set out to explore the issue of bullying from the perspective of the bully. Following her sister's death, Eve has to deal with survivor's guilt, anorexia and a grieving mother. I hope that A Perfect Ten will provide insight and understanding into both bullies and their victims, and show that these two apparently contradictory roles have more in common than we think.'

Please contact hannah.smith[at]youngminds.org.uk for more information and an application form.

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Low Carbon stories and photography

UK Energy Research Centre are asking young people from around the UK to explore what low carbon living could actually mean, and to reproduce these ideas through photographs and short stories. They will select the best contributions for an exhibition aimed at building awareness of how energy functions in our daily lives, and what a low carbon future might look like.  Prizes will be awarded according to the best pictures in each of the following age groups:  10-12 years, 13-15 years and 16 -18 years

The best contributions will be selected the for an exhibit aimed at building awareness about how energy helps us every day, and what a low carbon future might look like.  Full details are available from the website. Entries and short stories or descriptions of why the photo reflects Low Carbon Living should be submitted by email to: meeting.place[at]ukerc.ac.uk by 20th February 2010

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Telephone service resumed

Normal service has now resumed for the SLA telephones. Sorry for any missed calls. Do keep in touch!

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Telephone problem at SLA office

The telephone system is down at the SLA office this morning - please email info[at]sla.org.uk if you need to contact us until normal service is restored. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Hotbook – what is it?

The Great Wipe hath irrayzed much of world culcha, butta few bits of licheracha haveth bn found - pleez help mi choose most bestest 2 exxibit - the curator of a history of the book 2/2/3010

This message will be beamed from the future to secondary students in the UK via the HOTBOOK, a ground breaking and free digital resource created by if:book, the think and do tank.  This was launched yesterday at the Free Word Centre, Farringdon Road, London, with the aim to ignite a passion for literature (past, present and future) by introducing and exploring fragments of great works and presenting them in a way that will excite an audience that is more at ease with an electronic game or gadget than a book and with people who spend time social networking rather than reading.  
In the HOTBOOK poems and extracts from plays, novels, non-fiction texts and broadcasts are presented as short films, Flash animations, podcasts and HTML web pages. They include Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow" speech as stop frame animation, Christina Rossetti's poem "Spring" performed by cartoon rabbits, a rap version of Chaucer's Prologue, an animated version of Benjamin Zephaniah's "Talking Turkeys" and a story of computer gamers by cult sci-fi author Cory Doctorow.
The HOTBOOK includes rebooted classics and new commissions from award-winning contemporary writers such as Daljit Nagra, Kate Pullinger and Naomi Alderman, who were asked to write examples of the literature of the future.
Funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The HOTBOOK is aimed at year eight and nine students, and was conceived as a way to help less confident readers stay interested in literature at an age when many young people start to switch off from books.

The HOTBOOK has been piloted in four schools and evaluated by the Research Team at Booktrust.  A teachers' guide and classroom activities for each of the 40 digital texts have been co-written by a team of secondary English teachers led by Daljit Nagra.

This looked like a really enjoyable and successful project, which had certainly engaged the pupils at the launch event.  It was great to hear that the use of Frankenstein as one of the texts had sent the pupils to the library demanding copies of the book to read in full.  For a taster of the HotBook and to sign up for further information follow the links. Photos and information about the launch can also be found at http://www.bookfutures.com/

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