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SLA Blog » October 2015RSS 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.

Chatterbooks reading groups and book clubs

Since September, The Reading Agency has been working with the Department for Education (DfE), alongside eligible schools library services and local public library services, to introduce more Chatterbooks children's reading groups into primary schools. By March, The Reading Agency anticipates that 200 new Chatterbooks clubs will have been set up in schools across the UK.

This is in response to the suggestions outlined in the DfE's Reading: the next steps report which set out plans to help more primary school pupils become confident readers and discover a love of books, including helping primary schools set up extra-Chatterbooks Childrencurricular book clubs and facilitate library membership.

Chatterbooks clubs are about choosing and chatting about books, in a positive and unpressurised social environment. They are about listening to books being read aloud and enjoying creative activities inspired by books. Chatterbooks clubs are designed for KS2 pupils and can be run by librarians, teachers, teaching assistants, parents and volunteers. Secondary school librarians, young volunteers and sixth formers also run Chatterbooks clubs for primary school pupils.

Book Club Guide Picture

Interested in setting up a Chatterbooks club?

Download the quick guide to setting up a book club.

Sign up to the Chatterbooks network for more information.

Visit www.chatterbooks.org.uk to find out more about running children's book clubs and to try out some of the themed Chatterbooks packs which include activities, book recommendations and discussion ideas.

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Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive: Penrith, Cumbria, 12 November 2015


Places are still available on our course Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive, run by Angie Curran, which is taking place at Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0AH on 12 November 2015. The closing date is 4 November 2015.

The cost for the full days training is just £105 (SLA members),  £135 (for delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subscribe to Cumbria SLS, £165 (non-members of either the SLA or Cumbria SLS).  Our concessionary rate for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual) means one of your colleagues could join you for as little at £70 (SLA members), £80 (Cumbria SLS subscribers), £90 (non-members).

Key Audience: secondary school library staff

More Details...

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The Children's Bookshow: Free workshops on 20 November 2015

Venue:  Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU

We are delighted to invite you join us this year at Europe House on Friday 20 November 2015, at one of our two free translation workshops which are running simultaneously from 17:00-18:00 (registration from 16:30), and at our reception afterwards at 18:30.

You can choose to attend:


Workshop (1) with award-winning poet, novelist and translator Kevin Crossley-Holland; writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn; and young award-winning translator Joshua James in a workshop of translation from Anglo-Saxon centring on Kevin’s The Exeter Book Riddles,


Workshop (2) with renowned children's author and poet Michael Rosen; and Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) editor Sasha Dugdale; and other panellists (tbc) for a session on world poetry for children. They will read poems from Taiwan, Polish, Russian, Mexican, Eritrean and Dutch and discuss how these poems can enrich children’s early experiences of literature, and how teachers and parents can introduce poetry themselves so it endures in their children’s and students’ lives.

All are welcome to join us after, at 18:30, for a glass of wine and to listen to Michael Rosen give an introductory speech about the Children's Bookshow.

Tickets are free, but booking is essential. Please contact Suzanne Westbrook on suzanne.bookshow@gmail.com to reserve your place.

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South Kensington Kids Literature Festival

South Ken Kids Festival

16 – 22 November at the Institut français

The South Ken Kids Festival is back from 16 to 22 November! Quentin Blake (the festival’s patron), Claude Ponti, Tony Ross, Axel Scheffler and many more will grace the Institut français with a wonderful variety of events including drawing duos, workshops, films, live drawings to jazz music and more!

Link: www.southkenkidsfestival.co.uk

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Have you nominated your Pupil Library Assistant of the Year

The judging panel have been approached to extend the deadline for nominations due to nominations getting stuck in the Headteachers in trays.  In truth we do realise that half term holidays have made the 31st October deadline something of a problem.

Therefore receipt of nominations has been extended until Friday, 13th November.

Please do consider nominating your worthy students we already have some wonderful stories about the contributions they make to the school community.

Abbie Craske, last year's winner, wrote an article about her experiences which was published in Cilip's Update magazine and is available here

Abbie PLYA Cilip Mag Final Piece

Word document, 17 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


An article by Barbara Band and Susan Staniforth about the award was published in the School Librarian and is available to download here:

School Librarian  Article

PDF file, 330 kB

Requires Adobe Reader




The official dedicated website for the Award is at www.libpupilaward.co.uk

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First Story National Writing Competition: deadline Friday 4th December 2015

First Story CompFirst Story’s National Writing Competition is now open to all state secondary schools. Students can submit a story or poem of 850 words or less on the theme of ‘Echoes’, to have a chance of being published in The Sunday Times online, winning a place on an Arvon creative writing residential and being professionally published in a collected anthology. The competition will be judged by three acclaimed writers: James Dawson, Adam Foulds, Helen Mort, and Laura Dockrill. Find out more here.

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FREE resources for Suffragette movie!

To celebrate the exciting cinema release of ‘Suffragette’, National Schools Partnership with Pathé and Into Film have developed a new resources to bring the struggle of the suffragettes to life for a new generation. Download for free here: http://www.nationalschoolspartnership.com/suffragetteresource.php

  • The resources will get the whole school celebrating and developing a true appreciation for the Social Changers who forged the democratic society we live in today.
  • Students will draw parallels between life now and over 100 years ago, reflecting on the precious rights and liberties they enjoy.
  • They will also use research skills to learn about the figures who fought for a more equal society and those continuing the fight today.

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Anthony Horowitz on school libraries

A great quote from Anthony Horowitz writing in the new journal Teach Reading and Writing: "The school library was both my refuge and my inspiration. I think it's very dangerous for someone like me to try and tell teachers what to do in order to improve reading and writing; it's arrogance to assume that  simply because you have sold lots of books , you know it all. However, if I am asked what schools need  in order to facilitate literacy, I can answer without hesitation: a well-stocked library and a full-time, trained librarian with the necessary resources and funds to ensure that library flourishes. The library should be the battery at the heart of every school. Everything begins there - communication, confidence, the acquisition of cultural references and the exploration of our hinterland. It's where you start to develop empathy and an understanding of the human condition - who you are, where you are, and how you got there". Anthony Horowitz, Author, Teach Reading and Writing, October 2015, p78.

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Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive: Penrith, Cumbria, 12 November 2015

Early booking discount deadline fast approaching!

Our course Reading for Pleasure: edgy, cool, or just boring? Make it infectious and survive, run by Angie Curran, will be held at Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria on 12 November 2015. The closing date is 2 November 2015. Bookings received by 16 October 2015 are eligible for a £15 discount making the cost of the full days training just £90 (SLA members),  £120 (delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subscribe to Cumbria SLS),  £150 (non-members of either the SLA or SLS).  Our concessionary rate for a second person attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual) means one of your colleagues could you for as little as £55 (SLA members), £65 (Cumbria SLS subscribers), £75 (non-members).

Key Audience: secondary school library staff

More Details...

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Job Vacancies: Assistant Librarian (Maternity leave cover) - Radley College, Oxfordshire

Radley College is an independent boarding school of 690 boys situated five miles south of Oxford.  Its foundation in 1847 was to offer a different education from that offered by most Victorian public schools.  A strong emphasis was to be put on aesthetics, and the beauty of the campus, the trees and the buildings contributes significantly to the atmosphere.  We are likely to remain a single sex boarding school for many years to come and the hallmark of the school remains its warmth, generosity and wholeness.  Everyone in Common Room and all the boys are expected to be involved in the wide variety of activities outside the classroom.  Further information about the school may be found at www.radley.org.uk.

We are seeking a charismatic, enthusiastic and vibrant assistant librarian who has excellent communication and IT skills.  You will need to be approachable, patient and happy to actively engage with boys and colleagues.  You will be an LIS graduate (or working towards it). 

The Library contains resources in all formats suitable for all ages and interest.  We encourage the use of any resource if it can be used to push pupils beyond the existing boundaries of their intellectual and cultural education.  A key part of the Library’s role is the development, administration and promotion of the school’s various collections, most of which are housed centrally in the Library.  A significant part of the collection consists of online resources, the library management system is fully automated and the Library maintains a strong social media presence. 

In addition to the specified duties of each post, all members of the department are expected to assist with any task at any time.  There is much encouragement to learn new skills and develop or innovate aspects of the Library. 

Main Duties

  • Pupil supervision
  • Acquisitions, cataloguing and classification
  • Updating and develop promotional materials; promotion of stock on social media sites
  • Support and develop reading initiatives, library promotions and events
  • Oversight of displays, shelf layouts, etc. 
  • Monitor stock use and relevance, recommending items for disposal
  • Production and updating of user guides
  • Running induction sessions for new users

The Library is open throughout the school terms (approximately 33 weeks per year) and operates seven days a week during term time.  Hours of work average 15 per week. 

These key tasks are not intended to be exhaustive, but they highlight a number of major tasks that the post-holder may be reasonably expected to undertake.

Further information, including an application form, can be found on the College’s website www.radley.org.uk


More Details...

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FREE activity packs for Curiosity House

Shrunken HouseCURIOSITY HOUSE is a major new series for young (and not-so-young!) readers aged 8+. Perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket, the series is a gloriously gothic treat, written by bestselling YA author Lauren Oliver and co-author H.C. Chester.
To mark publication of the first book in the series, THE SHRUNKEN HEAD, we are offering activity packs comprising:

  • A3 poster (2)
  • Make-your-own badges (10 sets of 5 badges)
  • Colour-in cards of each of the main characters (10 sets of four cards)

Packs available while stocks last.

To request packs, go to https://hodder.wufoo.com/forms/w1c44cm40jvnp1b/


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Job Vacancies: Notre Dame School, Cobham, Surrey - Senior School Librarian

Full Time, Term Time plus 3 weeks out of term working (36 hours per week)

Required for January 2016

£25K per annum subject to experience

We are seeking a personable and professional individual to work in the Senior School Library at Notre Dame School, Cobham

Library experience is essential as is being a Chartered Librarian. You must also be computer literate and accurate, with a high attention to detail.

You must have a willingness to carry out any tasks required, ability to prioritise, remain calm and support both the senior school teachers and pupils.

Set in 17 acres of beautiful parkland in Cobham, Notre Dame School nestles in a picturesque 18th century mansion beside the River Mole. Notre Dame is a Catholic School and is a Foundation of the Company of Mary Our Lady with an ethos shaped by the life and work of St Jeanne de Lestonnac.  Despite the tranquil setting Notre Dame School is a hive of activity, with over 600 children and 150 teachers working hard in the important business of education.

Details about the School and an application form can be found on: www.notredame.co.uk/jobs.

How to Apply:

Please complete the application form and write a covering statement in support of your application and return to the HR Department HR[at]notredame.co.uk. Please note that we do not accept CVs only. 

Deadline to apply:

Closing Date: 30th October2015
Interview Date: 10th November 2015

Please consider your application as unsuccessful if you have not been contacted by 20th November 2015

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to assess applicants’ ability for positions of trust, Notre Dame School complies fully with the DBS code of practice and undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. It does not discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.

The School is an equal opportunities employer and is fully committed to a policy of treating all its employees and job applicants equally and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, sex or marital status.

More Details...

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T.S.Eliot Poetry Writing Competition

On 3 November the Poetry Book Society and emagazine are relaunching the T S Eliot Prize Writing Competition for sixth form students, formerly the Shadowing Scheme. Based on this year’s T S Eliot Prize shortlist, students can write either a 500 word critical piece on two poems from the shortlisted collections, or a poem of their own ‘writing back’ to one of the poems they found particularly interesting.

Carol Ann Duffy said it was ‘a wonderfully innovative way for students to engage with the freshest new poetry’ and 2012 T S Eliot Prize winner Sharon Olds commented: ‘How cool, as a student, to have the chance to shed your own light on the subject’.

First Prizes for the prose and poetry winners include a cash prize of £100, tickets to the T S Eliot Prize Readings and the Award Ceremony, a chance to meet the poets and a full set of all ten shortlisted collections. Winning students’ schools get an Education membership of the PBS.

This year’s shortlist will be announced on 22 October; the Competition starts on 3 November and closes on 11 December. More information at www.poetrybooks.co.uk/projects/15/and on the attached PDF

EliotWritingCompetition 2015_web

PDF file, 69 kB

Requires Adobe Reader

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Irish Times feature on Annie Brady

Great article on School Librarian of the Year Annie Brady in The Irish Times: "For second time in three years, an Irish woman wins School Librarian of the Year" - http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/for-second-time-in-three-years-an-irish-woman-wins-school-librarian-of-the-year-1.2380780

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Inspiration Award double winners

Inspiration Finalists 2015This year two outstanding school libraries won the SLA Inspiration Award at our School Libraries Celebration Day on 5 October 2015 at the Royal Society of Arts in London:

Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association said “The judges were impressed with the quality of the entries. It is reassuring to see schools valuing the role a library plays not only in the education of our children but in their social and emotional development. We would like to thank all of the schools that entered and encourage them to continue inspiring young minds.”

Find out more about the Inspiration Award, the shortlisted schools and the 2015 winners.

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School Libraries Celebration Day

Annie BradyCongratulations to everyone who took part in our School Libraries Celebration Day at the Royal Society of Arts. Annie Brady from St. Paul's CBS Secondary School in Dublin was crowned School Librarian of the Year and there were two winners of the Inspiration Award - All Saints, Stibbard, Norfolk and Valley Park School, Maidstone, Kent.

A wonderful day celebrating the impact of great school librarians and inspiring libraries on learning and teaching.

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Censorship and freedom of information survey (UK librarians only)

About 10 years ago, Sarah Mcnicol from Manchester Metropolitan University ran a survey about attitudes and practices towards censorship and freedom of information among school and children's librarians. A decade on, she is running another survey to identify any changes in attitudes or practices over this time.

If you work with young people (up to 19 years old) in a school/college, public library or schools' library service in the UK, she would be grateful if you could complete the survey which is available at: http://goo.gl/AqZwMu

The survey will remain open until the end of October and should take 10-15 minutes to complete. Please do forward the link to any colleagues you think may be interested. If you have any questions, please email s.mcnicol@mmu.ac.uk

Many thanks for your help.


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