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SLA Blog » June 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.

SLA Survival Guide - just published

SurvivalThe latest publication from the SLA is now available - SLA Survival Guide: Making it Through Your First Few Years as a School Librarian.

Edited by Anne-Marie Tarter and Geoff Dubber, it includes eleven varied case studies by experienced librarians recounting their "survival" techniques. All the major aspects of running a library are considered - enjoy it and be inspired by their particular stories and advice.

Not just applicable for the new librarian, anyone changing jobs or libraries or just wanting fresh ideas will find the different perspectives useful.

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New MA in Children’s Literature/Children’s Literature and Writing

Birkbeck College has devised two MAs in Children's Literature, one critical, the other critical and creative. They start in October 2010 with recruitment now open. Michael Rosen is co-director and will be teaching two of the terms on offer. 

This two-year, part-time course offers a unique programme as it combines the theory, practice and performance of children's literature within a variety of contexts. The emphases of this programme are literary, contextual, practical and vocational and gives students from a range of backgrounds and occupations - such as teachers, editors, play-workers, journalists, librarians and writers - an opportunity to widen and deepen their knowledge of key texts in this multidisciplinary field.

The degree is organised into two pathways, which share the first two core courses and then branch into critical and creative tracks enabling students, to the benefit of their own professional intentions, to fulfil some of the following aims: develop the latest critical thought pertaining to children's literature; consider this literature in its contexts of nurture, education and wider social significance; create literature for children; professionalize literary workshop practice with young people; consider the nature of the industry of children's literature publishing.

The location in Bloomsbury offers excellent access to all the major research libraries in London, as well as convenient access for students in work.

If you have any queries, please contact: mailto:pgadmin[at]english.bbk.ac.uk. To apply online, visit the website

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Magic Threshold Crossed!

Just back in the office after a successful Weekend Course!  The venue (East Midlands Conference Centre) proved very compact and accessible - and very welcoming.  A packed programme was enjoyed by all - and the biggest ever exhibition seems to have been a hit with both delegates and exhibitors. 

We are endeavouring to add presentations and photos to the website as soon as possible.  If you were a workshop leader and are happy to have your presentation on our website please email a link or the presentation to me and we'll upload it.  Delegates - if you have photos you are willing to share please email links or images and we'll put up a montage.  Email: tricia.adams[at]sla.org.uk

Meanwhile a huge thank you to everyone involved - and to everyone who attended - really great to get to meet so many of you and be able to chat in such pleasant circumstances.

Tricia Adams

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SLA launch new School Library Design Awards

AwardsThe School Library Association, working with DEMCO Interiors, has created the exciting new School Library Design Awards. Announced at the SLA's 2010 Weekend Course, the award will be made annually to the school library that shows innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design. What matters is not how big the school library is, but what it has achieved with the available resources and the challenges it faces.

The award is open to any school library; there is no requirement to belong to the School Library Association or to have used DEMCO products. Libraries need to have been built or refurbished within the previous year, although in this, the first year of the award, applications from the last two years are welcome.

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Weekend Course - Contact Information

For urgent contact with SLA staff at the Weekend Course in Nottingham, please use this special number:

0780 706 9557

Please note that SLA HQ will be closed on Friday 24 June - urgent messages only should go to the above number.

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Urgent Travel Information – Weekend Course

We have just been informed there will be a University Open Day on Friday / Saturday so the campus will be very busy with visiting prospective students.  The North and West Entrances to the University will have a very high volume of traffic and this may cause delays. The advice from the University is to use the South Entrance if possible and follow signs to the East Midlands Conference Centre (EMCC).

There is a campus plan available on our Weekend Course web page for your information.

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Weekend Course

Are you all ready for the Weekend Course this coming weekend?  The programme promises lots of stimulation and chances for reflection too.  I'm certainly looking forward to meeting everyone this weekend....

The office is in almost constant motion getting all the materials ready for you all - and the delegate pack this year is a bumper one!  Plus, we have the largest exhibition we have had for some years taking place on the Saturday.  Norfolk Children's Book Centre will be there all weekend with their excellent bookshop - so you can buy titles by our visiting authors and get them signed. 

Come and say hello!

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Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award

Judges and Short-listed writers with John Nicoll, MD of Frances Lincoln, and Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven StoriesTom Avery, a teacher working in a culturally diverse inner city school, has won the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award 2010 for Too Much Trouble, a story the judges described as 'an Oliver Twist of our times'. The contemporary adventure story is a dramatic page-turner about Emmanuel and Prince, two brothers who fall in with a gang of pickpockets when their family abandons them. Fast paced and full of tension, it explores big issues such as illegal immigration, what makes a family and the ethical dilemmas surrounding crimes committed for survival.

The Award was founded jointly by Frances Lincoln Limited and Seven Stories, in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children's fiction. The  prize of £1,500 plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children's Books to publish the novel is awarded to the best manuscript for 8 to 12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense.  The award was presented at Seven Stories, the national Centre for Children's Books, on 8 June 2010.

In the photograph from left to right:

STANDING: Jake Hope (judge); Geraldine Brennan (judge); John Nicoll (Managing Director of Frances Lincoln); Mary Briggs (judge); Janetta Otter-Barry (judge and publisher); Sue Stern (Commended); Kate Edwards ( Chief Executive of Seven Stories)  

SITTING Remi Oyedele (Highly Commended); Tom Avery (the winner); Karon Alderman (Special Mention).

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Keep Calm SLA Poster

Keep Calm"Keep Calm and Carry On Reading" is a new poster from the SLA which we hope will turn a few heads and inject some levity into school libraries at this busy season.

Inspired by an unissued British government wartime propaganda poster, you can read more about the background to the design here.

So keep calm, stiffen your resolve and get your poster now - it is available exclusively to SLA members as a pdf download.

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Celebrating 70 years of Puffin!

VOTE for the Puffin of Puffins - Voting opened 4 June and closes 16 June 2010.

7 MODERN CLASSICS - one from each decade of Puffin's spectacular 70 years have been hand-picked as the most entertaining and inspirational children's books of all time.

  • The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett - 40s
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - 50s
  • Stig of the Dump by Clive King - 60s
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - 70s
  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian - 80s
  • The Hundred Mile-an-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong - 90s
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - 00s

Marcus Brigstocke, Jacqueline Wilson, Jasper Fforde, Cathy Cassidy, Jason Bradbury, Andy Stanton and Jenny Valentine kicked off a Puffin of Puffins debate, chaired by journalist Lucy Mangan, at The Guardian's Hay Festival on 3 June then it's up to the British public to decide.

What's YOUR favourite Puffin from this list? Cast your vote.  Winner will be announced  on 17 June.

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