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SLA Blog » April 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.

Reading for Pleasure - for everyone!: Hamilton, 20 May 2015

Due to demand a second session of our Reading for Pleasure - for everyone! training day has been arranged to take place at Hamilton College, Bothwell Road, Hamilton  on 20 May 2015. The closing date is 6 May 2015. Due to the timescale involved the early booking discount rate will be applied to all bookings received by the closing date making the cost of the full days training £95 (SLA members), £155 (non members).  Our reduced rate for a second delegate from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual) means one of your colleagues could join you for as little at £55 (SLA members), £75 (non-members).

We understand it is not always possible to submit payment with a booking form. For this reason payment is not required by the course date as long as an official order has been received.

Key Audience: School Librarians and library staff, support staff in libraries and classrooms

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Information Book Award 2015 - Shortlist announced

IBA Illus WEBWe would like to say huge congratulations to all the wonderful authors, illustrators and publishers who have made it through onto this very highly contested shortlist for the SLA Information Book Award 2015. The quality and number of the nominations grows year on year, and the judging was so close that eleven shortlisted titles were chosen plus one commendation!

The shortlist is -


  • The Story of Buildings by Patrick Dillon and Stephen Biesty - Walker   ISBN 978 1 4063 3590 3

  • Molecules by Theodore Gray (photographs by Nick Mann) - Black Dog & Leventhal ISBN 978 1 57912 971 2

  • The Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan - Walker ISBN 978 1 4063 5314 3


  • Shackleton's Journey by William Grill - Flying Eye Books ISBN 978 1 909263 10 9

  • The Story of Money by Martin Jenkins and Satoshi Kitamuri - Walker ISBN 978 1 4063 2498 7

  • Pop-Up New York by Jennie Maizels - Walker ISBN 978 1 4063 4945 0

  • Animalium by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom - Big Picture Press ISBN 978 1 78370 060 8


  • Tiny - the Invisible World of Microbes by Nicola Davies & Emily Sutton - Walker ISBN 978 1 4063 4104 1

  • Welcome to the Family by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith - Frances Lincoln ISBN 978 1 84780 461 7

  • Ali's Story - His Journey from Afghanistan by Salvador Maldonado & Andy Glynne -   BBC Learning, Wayland ISBN 978 0 7502 7887 4

  • A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino - Walker ISBN 978 1 4063 4152 2

Special Mention and Commendation

  • The Comedy History and Tragedy of William Shakespeare by Adria Meserve (ill) & Anna Claybourne with Timothy Knapman - Watts  ISBN 978 1 4451 3187 0

Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s Group said, 'On behalf of the Hachette Children’s Group, I am delighted to continue sponsorship of the SLA Information Book Awards. It’s the only UK award that celebrates not only the fantastic breadth and depth of contemporary information books, but also the incomparable value of information professionals. It’s critically important in a world full of information that librarians are appreciated for their expertise; they have a fundamental role to play in the reading and learning journeys of thousands of children. Many congratulations from everyone at the Hachette Children’s Group to the authors and illustrators on this year’s shortlist – they are an inspiration.'

Schools will soon be invited to take part in the Children's Choice voting.  Schools and groups are encouraged to take part in the award by joining in and voting for their favourite book in each section and also by choosing an overall winner.

Peters Books & Furniture support the award by supplying packs of the short listed titles as an offer to schools – this year at a 25% discount on full price.

Voting will open during June at www.sla.org.uk/vote.php and continue through to early November. Each section will have a winner, chosen by the panel, as well as a children’s choice winner. There will also be an overall winner, awarded to the best information book across all categories chosen by judges and also the Children’s votes.  

A poster and other resources featuring the titles will be available shortly from the website.  To see the full Press Release please download the PDF.

Press Release IBA 2015 Shortlist

PDF file, 188 kB

Requires Adobe Reader

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Job Vacancies: Culford School - Assistant Librarian and Archivist (1 year - fixed term)

We are offering a fixed-term (1 year) position as Assistant Librarian’s and Archivist. Starting in September 2015, the post offers practical experience of all aspects of working in a a brand new state of the art school library.

Candidates should have or expect to gain a good honours degree in any discipline. The post will suit a graduate looking to gain experience while applying for admission to a postgraduate course in library and information management. Candidates must be adaptable and keen to learn, with good communication skills.  No prior library experience is necessary and training will be given.

Free accommodation will be provided for which some residential duties will be required. Culford is an HMC co-educational school for 670 children aged 3 to 18. The School comprises separate  Pre-Prep and Nursery, Prep and Senior Schools, all located within 480 acres of beautiful Suffolk parkland with a magnificent 18th century mansion at its centre. There are in excess of 250 boarders with some 150 students in the Sixth Form, well over half of whom are boarders.

Culford is situated four miles north of the historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, close to the A14 and just 45 minutes from Cambridge. This is a wonderful opportunity to work in in an established school in a great location.


The Assistant Librarian and Archivist will assist in all routine aspects of running the school library and with the development of our archive collection. Duties will include processing new stock including basic cataloguing; guiding users to make the most of our library services including online databases and e-book subscriptions; and working to develop the school archives. The post is based in the Senior School Library but there will be opportunities to work in the libraries in the Prep and Pre-Prep Schools. The placement may include a specific project to be arranged with the successful candidate.

The School will adhere to the SCONUL Code of Practice to provide the appointed person:

1.    an overall view of the library system, including its relationship with other libraries

2.    work experience at a level commensurate with their abilities

3.    structured training in several departments and/or a formal internal programme

Conditions of Employment

Salary:             £13,000 including accommodation and full board in term time.

Hours:                         37.5 per week

Holiday:            25 days to be taken in school holidays

To apply: please send applications with a C.V, three referees (including contact details) and a cover letter to hmpa[at]culford.co.uk

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Job Vacancies: Prior’s Field School - Librarian

September 2015

We are looking for a well qualified school librarian who is enthusiastic and able to inspire pupils of all ages. The successful applicant will support academic departments, manage and develop the library resources and help to instil a love of reading and learning. This is a full time post during term time, plus 10 additional days.

Details of the post and an application form are available from Mrs Anne Robinson, Head’s PA, Prior’s Field School, Priorsfield Road, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2RH.

Telephone:  01483 810551.

e-mail: vacancies[at]priorsfieldschool.com

Librarian Job Description

Word document, 99 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


Applications should reach the Head by Friday 15 May.

Interviews will take place week commencing Monday 18 May

We are committed to the safeguarding of children and child protection screening will apply to this post.

Prior’s Field School is a registered Charity No: 312038

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Social Media - make it work for you!: Penrith, Cumbria, 14 May 2015

Closing date - 30th April!

Places are still available on our course Social Media - make it work for you!, run by Bev Humphrey, which is taking place at Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith, Cumbria on 14 May 2015. The closing date is 30 April 2015. The cost of the full days training is £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 both groups).  A colleague attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate) can do so for as little as £65 (SLA members), £75 (SLS subscribers), £85 (non-members).

Testimonials from previous sessions of this course include - 'Wow! So enlightening - thoroughly enjoyed the day' and 'All very informative'.

Key Audience: Primary and secondary school staff

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Smashing Apps: Ilford, 12 May 2015


Don't miss the chance to attend our new workshop Smashing Apps, run by Bev Humphrey, on 12th May at Redbridge Central Library.

Using app smashing gives maximum creative reign to your students imaginations and gives them the chance to demonstrate their self motivated learning without barriers in an exciting way.This course is a workshop day with hands on sessions and tutorials. Delegates will use several apps from a select range to create content and at the end of the day they will have a finished resource to take away and use in their school or library.  A choice of apps to use will be demonstrated and different projects suggested to ensure the end product is useful for each delegate. Full training on the functions and tips and tricks of working with each app will be given along with practical help and problem solving every step of the way, making this course suitable for comfortable beginners as well as more confident idevice users.

The closing date is 28 April.  The cost of the full days training £105 (SLA members), £135 (for delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subscribe to Barking and Dagenham or Redbridge SLSs), £165 (non-members of both groups).  A colleague attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate) can do so for as little as £65 (SLA members), £75 (SLS subscribers), £85 (non-members).


Key Audience: Primary and secondary school library staff

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Stan Lee Excelsior Award - further reading suggestions

As with every year, the 2015 Suggested Further Reading Sheets are now available. Just click on the various pics to be taken direct to the sheets.
These suggestions represent just a small selection of titles you might wish to consider buying as a supplement to the graphic novels you have bought in to take part in this year's Excelsior Award. They are suitable for the 11-16 age range but, as with all book buying, librarians should use their professional judgement as well. After all, no two schools are the same.
Also, don't forget that the deadline for the return of all Rating Forms (including your JABBICA form) for this year's Stan Lee Excelsior Award is almost upon us. All forms should be posted to 
Longley Park Sixth Form College, Horninglow Road, Sheffield, S5 6SG by Friday 24th April please.

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Job Vacancies: Gable Hall School, Essex - Qualified Librarian

(Fixed Term – 1 Year)

37 hours per week, term time, 1 training week + additional 2 weeks

(8.15 to 4.45 Monday to Thursday, 8.15 to 4.15 Friday)

School hours only, no weekend work

term time only  

Band 5 Pt 18- 26 £20,427- £25,863 (pro rata)

Gable Hall School is seeking to appoint a Qualified Librarian.  This is a high profile role within the School requiring the highest professional standards and outstanding personal qualities.  The post is wide-ranging and the successful applicant will have the ability to lead and manage the Library provision whilst inspiring students in the use of the library facility.  This is a term time only position plus training days and an additional 2 weeks.

JD Librarian January 2015

Word document, 24 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


Candidates must have a degree or post-graduate qualification in library or information studies and Chartered status with CILIP would be preferred.  Applicants must also have professional experience of working within a Library with experience of using a range of online databases, resources and IT applications.

Person Spec Librarian January 2015

Word document, 38 kB (Requires Microsoft Word 2007 or later)


We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff to share this commitment.  An enhanced CRB will be required for this post together with at least 2 written references.

For further information, job description and an application form please contact the Personnel Office on 01375 400800 ext 166 or download a copy from the Gable Hall School website www.gablehall.com.

Closing date:      Wednesday 29 April 2015 noon

Interviews:          Friday 1 May 2015

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National Revision Week launched

Rev WeekResearch into exam stress has revealed that 71.3 per cent of students facing exams this May say they only get ‘some’, ‘very little’ or no support from their schools, with guiding them on revision practices. The survey has been released to launch National Revision Week on 20-26 April 2015, to raise awareness of exam stress, and to provide teachers and students with tips, tools and advice to help reduce anxiety and increase exam performance.

The survey, carried out by free exam preparation app, Gojimo, and which had more than 500 respondents, also asked students, on a scale of 1-5, how stressed they were about their exams, to which the majority (31.5 per cent) said they were at level 5 (terrified and freaking out). When asked how far in advance they thought they should start studying for exams, the majority (43.8 per cent) said more than 8 weeks in advance. However, when asked in reality how far in advance they actually start studying, the majority (32.6 per cent) said they left it until approximately five weeks before.

National Revision Week is supported by Gojimo in conjunction with YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.Gojimo founder, George Burgess, explains why the initiative is one that’s close to his heart, “Exam time is the most important part of a child’s progression in life, whether they decide to go on to further education or not, and consequently, it becomes one of the most stressful times. For many students, it will be the first time they will have ever really faced stress, worry or anxiety; it was for me. Like most students, I was a crammer, but it’s certainly not something I would encourage as it doesn’t support long-term memory and can lead to stress. One of the things we’re now trying to do is encourage students to study little and often, which is far more effective than one big push in the few days before an exam”.

For tips from students, planning tools, help getting organised, stress busters, support and advice, visit www.nationalrevisionweek.co.uk.

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Little Rebels Shortlist 2015

A total of eight titles have been shortlisted this year for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for radical children’s fiction. It includes two picture books which set out to explicitly challenge gender stereotypes.    

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is now in its 3rd year. The shortlisted 2014 titles include 4 chapter books/fiction and 4 picture books; these are:

  • Trouble on Cable Street by Joan Lingard (Catnip Books), set in 1936 London during the rise of Mosley’s Fascist Blackshirts.
  • Girl With a White Dog by debut novelist Anne Booth (Catnip Books), exploring prejudice and discrimination and linking the Holocaust directly through to the present.
  • Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press) which examines the care system and attitudes towards mental health; this is Gill Lewis’ 2nd appearance on the Little Rebels shortlist after Moon Bear was selected last year.
  • Nadine Dreams of Home by Bernard Ashley (Barrington Stoke), a dyslexia-friendly book about a child who has fled the Congolese civil conflict to settle in the UK.
  • Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton (Walker Books); a subtle picture book about kindness and friendship winning out over force and enmity.
  • Grandma by another debut author/illustrator, Jessica Shepherd (Child’s Play); a child- friendly exploration of dementia.
  • Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz, illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain (Janetta Otter-Barry Books/Frances Lincoln) about a boy who feels different from the other boys at school.
  • Pearl Power by Mel Elliott, published by newcomer indie, I Love Mel (dis. Turnaround Publisher Services) about a little girl and her encounters with gender inequality.

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award recognises fiction for ages 0-12 which promotes or celebrates social justice and equality. It is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and is administered by specialist children’s booksellers and 2015 ALMA nominee, Letterbox Library. The judges, Kim Reynolds (Professor of Children’s Lit. Newcastle University), Wendy Cooling, (Bookstart co-founder & editor) and Elizabeth Laird (children’s author) are meeting this month to discuss the shortlist.
Full details of the award, including the shortlist and prize giving ceremony for the previous year, can be found at:  www.littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com

Full details of the award, including the shortlist and prize giving ceremony for the previous year, can be found at:  www.littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com

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Raising Achievement: the school library's role in supporting SEN and EAL students in KS2 and 3: Poole, Dorset, 7 May 2015


Places are still available on our course Raising Achievement: the school library's role in supporting SEN and EAL students in KS2 and 3, run by Alec Williams, which is due to take place at St Aldhelm's Academy, Herbert Avenue, Poole, Dorset on 7 May 2015. The closing date is 23 April 2015.

Key Audience: School Librarians and library staff; teachers with responsibility for EAL and Special Needs teaching; support staff in libraries and classrooms.

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Job Vacancies: SEK International School Qatar - School Librarian

SEK International School Qatar is a leading multilingual school committed to the best international education. The school is implementing the IBPYP and IBMYP (candidate school). The IB Diploma Programme will be offered for the Academic Year 2016-2017.

We are seeking a highly motivated School Librarian with a minimum of 3 years experience in a similar role to join our team for the next Academic Year, 2015 - 2016. As a new school, we are looking for someone flexible, energetic and passionate about his/her job.

The school´s Employment package includes:

  • Tax Free Salary

  • Annual return flight

  • International Health Insurance

  • Housing allowance

  • End of Service Bonus

  • Professional Development

  • Free tuition for two resident dependent children enrolled in our school

If you would like to apply please send your CV and a recent photograph to recruitment-q[at]sek.es

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Worcestershire Book Awards results

Worcs Books 2015Say Her Name by teen author James Dawson has been voted winner of the Worcestershire Teen Book Award by young readers across the county. The announcement was made at a celebratory event in the Council Chambers on 19 March 2015.

James Dawson said:
"Winning awards voted for by young adult readers is always the best.  They are who I write for and it's wonderful to know my books are being enjoyed.  It was really good to visit Worcester and get to meet so many keen readers, which they clearly are."

For the last four months young people across Worcestershire have been encouraged to read a shortlist of six books and vote for their favourite. The shortlist was selected by pupils aged 11 to 14 years in schools around the county. The fourteen schools then battled it out in an interschool quiz all about the shortlisted books.

On 25 March 2015 the winner of the Awesomest Book Award 2015 was announced. This was The Case of the Exploding Loo by Rachel Hamilton. Two authors were in attendance; John Dougherty and Rachel Hamilton which made the day extra special for all those who attended adults and children alike. After a nailbiting final round in the quiz, a tie breaker question between two schools finally saw Powick C of E Primary School crowned the winning school. Thanks to Softlink for their sponsorship of the event. Here's to next year!

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essay prize winner

Jon Connell presents Eleanor Winn with her prize
Jon Connell presents Eleanor Winn with her prize

Congratulations to the winner of this year's Connell Guides Essay Prize - Eleanor Winn, a sixth form pupil at St Paul's Girls' School, was chosen by judge and award-winning novelist Philip Pullman for her piece on Jez Butterworth's play, Jerusalem.

Commenting on Eleanor's talent Philip Pullman said,
"What stood out for me in the work of Eleanor Winn was the kind of ease and authority that we see in the performance of a gifted singer or ball-player – a complete familiarity with the medium, a way of presenting the material that seems effortless. She's at home with language, so that writing and thinking about story and drama comes naturally to her. When we see a gift like that, the only thing to do is enjoy it."

More details about the winner and runners up can be found from Connell Guides. The aim of the Connell Guides Essay Prize is to encourage young people to think about and interpret literature in a way that helps to foster a life-long love of reading and writing.

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Teaching Skills for School Library Staff: Warwick, 20 May 2015


Our course Teaching Skills for School Library Staff, run by Chris Powis, will be held at Warwickshire SLS, Unit 11a/b Montague Road, Warwick on 20 May 2015. The closing date is 6 May 2015. Bookings received by 22 April 2015 are eligible for a £10 discount making the cost of the full days training £95 (SLA members), £125 (for delegates working in schools which are not members of the SLA but subscribe to Warwickshire SLS), £155 (non-members of both groups).  A colleague attending from the same school (accompanying a full paying delegate) can do so for as little as £55 (SLA members), £65 (SLS subscribers), £75 (non-members).

Key Audience: KS2 and secondary school librarians / library staff - experienced and new to teaching and learning skills

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New picturebooks guide from SLA

PicturebooksThe latest in our Riveting Reads series has just been published - Picture Books from 0 to 90 by Marianne Bradnock. This selection of some of the best picturebooks from the past eighty-five years sets out to dispel the myth that they are only suitable for the very youngest. Stories which are told via a subtle interaction of words and pictures make unique demands on the reader and often push the boundaries of storytelling in a way that is not found in any other form. Picturebooks lend themselves to endless re-readings, with new meaning to be found at different ages.

The subject matter is wide ranging and can be challenging, from ABCs and bedtime stories to sophisticated examinations of intolerance, loneliness, loss and our treatment of the environment. Though the main appeal will be to those working with early years and primary aged children, the titles included here have something to offer all ages, from babies and toddlers through to teenagers and beyond. Picture Books from 0 to 90 (ISBN 978-1-903446-85-0) is available now direct from the SLA.

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Download your free copy of Frances Hardinge’s new novel â€" a month before publication!

FLie Treerances Hardinge has long been a favourite of school librarians in the UK – and we’re pleased to be teaming up with NetGalley to give you a free copy!

NetGalley provides digital proofs to professional readers like librarians – as well as booksellers, media, educators and reviewers – so they can preview titles for recommendation and collection development purposes. The service is free for librarians to use, and over 20,000 librarians worldwide are registered, out of a community of over 210,000 in total. Over 30 UK publishers currently post their titles on the site.

Librarians can request titles to review, or be invited to view titles by publishers – and digital proofs can be read on all reading devices and tablets.

Simply click on the link below and create a free NetGalley account (or login if you are a member) to get your copy of The Lie Tree – a month before publication. For complete instructions on how to access digital proofs on your tablet or reading device, please visit the website.


From the award-winning author of Fly By Night and the recently Carnegie-nominated Cuckoo Song, comes the strange and compelling tale of Faith – whose father’s violent death leads her to discover a mysterious tree that only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. Realising that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, Faith begins to spread untruths far and wide, but as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .

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Berkshire One Million Minutes Challenge

Berks 1 MillHow many minutes can Berkshire primary school children read for in the One Million Minutes reading challenge?  Newbury based award-winning education charity Achievement for All has teamed up with Peters Books & Furniture to launch the One Million Minutes reading challenge across Berkshire.

Achievement for All and Peters Books & Furniture are asking primary school classes across the area to join together to read for as much as they can in just two weeks.  Just ten minutes of extra reading a day can have a huge impact on a child's education and it's hoped that schools across the area will want to be involved, celebrating reading and promoting a love of literacy.

One Million Minutes is a national challenge rolling out region by region throughout the year. There's a powerful competitive element as classes can see how they are doing against other classes in their school and across the area - plus the opportunity to win a great prize. Teachers can register their classes at https://millionminutes.afaeducation.org
They are then asked to contribute the number of minutes they read for each day to the Readometer, which will keep track of running totals and show which classes are contributing the most via the leader board.  If all that wasn’t reason enough to take part – there’s also a great prize for the winning school! Peters Books & Furniture are donating a brand new fully equipped reading corner complete with a range of fabulous new books worth over £1000!


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Job Vacancies: St Peter’s School, York - Head of Library and Research

St Peter's School are seeking to appoint a professionally qualified Head of Library and Research with exceptional vision and dynamism to join this leading co-educational day and boarding school.  The post is full time during term time (plus 7 weeks during school holidays) and would be suitable for someone at the start of their career or with more experience.

Please visit our website for more details of the post and how to apply.

The closing date for applications is 10am on Monday 27 April 2015

Interviews will be held on Monday 11 May 2015

St Peter’s School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.  Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Criminal Records Bureau.

Registered Charity Number: 1141329

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Getting the Most from the Primary School Library: Cobham, Surrey, 23 June 2015

Our course Getting the Most from the Primary School Library, run by Annike Dase, will be held at Notre Dame School, Cobham, Surrey on 23 June 2015. The closing date is 9 June 2015.  Bookings received by 2 June 2015 are eligible for a £10 discount making the cost of the training £95 (SLA members), £155 (non-members).  A second delegate from the same school (accompanying a full paying individual) can do so for as little as £55 (SLA members), £75 (non-members). Payment is not required before the discount deadline to qualify for the reduced course fees as long as an official order has been received.

Key Audience: This course is for anybody in charge of a primary school library who is aiming to provide an integrated and inclusive service to their school.

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