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SLA Blog » July 2018RSS 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.


An exciting vacancy has arisen within the SLA. 

The Member Development Librarian will have oversight of Member Services, and be the first port of call for profession based (opposed to membership based) enquiries. This person will enjoy a great degree of autonomy and will take responsibility for managing her/his day-to-day workload.  Main areas of responsibility will be in maintaining and developing services to Association members and looking after the website content. Project management may be required at times.

The Member Development Librarian has to have a flexible approach in assisting with urgent demands and new projects. They will work with the team in the Office to ensure SLA members receive a first class service and a strong and proactive Association.

Base:            SLA office, Swindon

Hours:             37 per week although a part time role of 25 hours or more would be considered (Flexible Working Arrangements available after the probation period)

Salary:        NJC scale 28-29: £25463 - £26470 (FTE)

Holiday:      22 days plus bank holidays

Closing date: Wednesday 29th August. For more information, see the documents below (the person specification is 'Why work at the SLA') or email info[at]sla.org.uk

More Details...

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Development and Discussion: Reading for Pleasure

This is the first of the Development and Discussion posts, that will come at monthly intervals in between the Chief Executive's blog. Written by external people to the SLA the idea of these blogs is to provide something for SLA members that will enable them to think about things, develop their practice or consider different issues that impact the environment they work in. To discuss the post use the #SLADevChat1 and don't forget to include [at]uksla in your tweet! 

The first blog post is written by Alison David, Consumer Insight Director at Egmont Publishing, and it looks at issues around children's reading for pleasure, and the importance of reading culture at home. There are many interesting issues that the blog touches on but for me a key issue is how important reading together, and aloud is, and I'm sure this is equally important at school as it is at home. So if you're thinking about next year's activities, it might be worth asking - where can you encourage school staff to read to children? Can you work with parents at all, or work with schools around you?

In the meantime, and while you have a rest, the SLA has released some 'Alternative reads' for books which are worth trying if a child has been enjoying one of the best-selling books. More information can be found here: https://www.sla.org.uk/blg-if-they-liked-that-what-now.php

A huge thanks to Alison David for writing the post! 


PDF file, 663 kB

Requires Adobe Reader

SLA Members Only

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SALARY: Scale 5 (22-25) £ 23,895-£25,875 per annum salary pro rata, 42.5 hours per week,  term time only. (8.00am-5.00pm with 30 minutes unpaid break).

Are you passionate about reading and literacy? Do you possess excellent communication, administrative and organisational skills? If so, The Academy is seeking to appoint a highly motivated, innovative and enthusiastic Learning Resource Centre Manager. We are looking for a LRC Manager to be responsible for the efficient and effective operation and development of our newly built library. The LRC Manager will be  responsible for providing a library and learning resource centre for the whole Academy community, recognising the needs of all students and staff, directly supporting the delivery of teaching and learning.                Previous experience of working in a library or bookshop would be an advantage but is not essential.
In particular candidates should have:

  • A passion for learning.
  • Outstanding behaviour management skills.
  • Outstanding communication skills.
  • A flexible approach.
  • The capacity to contribute to the development of the Academy’s Christian ethos.
  • High expectations of students in terms of learning, achievement and behaviour.      

CLOSING DATE: Tuesday 31st July 2018, midday.


LRC Manager Advert

PDF file, 129 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)


LRC Manager Application Pack (1)

PDF file, 802 kB (Requires Adobe Reader)

More Details...

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Real Life Mysteries resources

b -small publishing have created some activity guides to go with their 'Real Life Mysteries' book. This book is shortlisted for the SLA Information Book Award so do have a look at these activities: https://www.bsmall.co.uk/activity-hub

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If they liked that what now?

The SLA have joined forces with Education Umbrella to provide alternatives to some of the best selling children’s books of the moment. The feedback that we quite often get is that there are so many children’s books available it can be overwhelming to try and guess what a child will like, so these short lists are a starting point for books you may have already bought or borrowed.

Education Umbrella runs a reward scheme called Eureka, and if you buy through them and choose the SLA to benefit, the points accumulated will be used by the SLA to provide books on the list to school libraries with a very limited, or no, budget.

Maintaining a reading habit over the summer is important, and given all the sunshine forecast you may want a flexible activity you can do as a family, whether you’re on the go or having a picnic- so buy (or borrow) these books and then read and discuss them. Perhaps you could start a family book club for the summer. The lists are available here: https://www.educationumbrella.com/SLA

Have fun, get talking and improve your child’s literacy in one go. Enjoy the summer reading on behalf of the SLA and Education Umbrella!

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Learning quiz on the NHS

Carel Press have added a learning quiz on the subject of the NHS to their Library Learner Quiz Pack, you can try it here

NHS Library Learner

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Initially a one year appointment

The school is an outstanding Roman Catholic school in the trusteeship of the Fathers of The Oratory, London.  There are 1330 pupils, 80 boys aged 7 to 10 in the Junior House receiving a specialist music education, 900 boys aged 11 to 16 in the first to fifth forms and 350 in the sixth form, including 80 girls.

The school is looking to appoint a part-time Librarian to work five days per week every afternoon from 3.30pm to 6pm in St Philip’s Library at the heart of the school, from September 2018.  The part-time librarian will work alongside a full-time librarian who will work throughout the school day.  The two librarians will overlap for an hour every afternoon.

The post is initially for one year, with the possibility of it being extended.  Ideally, the successful candidate would have experience of teaching within a school context.  Duties include managing book stock through Eclipse, a library book management system, and assisting pupils in the selection of books. 

Hours of work                       Five days per week; 12.5 hours per week (from 3.30pm to 6.30pm); 38 weeks a year (term time).

Salary                                     £9,277 per annum

Applicants must complete an application form which, along with further details, can be found on the school website www.london-oratory.org/vacancies.  Application forms should be submitted to the Procurator by email (procurator[at]los.ac) by 9am on Monday 30th July.

This school is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment. The successful applicant will need to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Seagrave Road, London SW6 1RX             Telephone       020 7385 0102                       Fax      020 7381 7676

More Details...

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UKLA Book Award winners announced

Ukla Logo Web

The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards to be judged entirely by teachers. In their 10th Anniversary year, Sarah Crossan scores a second win with her novel We Come Apart co-authored with Brian Conaghan. Joint winners in the 7-11 category are the powerful refugee story Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird and the remarkable information text Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown. The winning book for the 3 to 6 category is Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea written and illustrated by Morag Hood.

Full details of the Awards and the winners are on the UKLA website: https://ukla.org/awards/ukla-book-award

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CE Blog 1: The Future of the SLA

Welcome to the first Chief Executive’s blog. This will be monthly, and the aim is going to make sure members of the SLA are aware of what’s going on within the SLA and what I’m working on. It’s important as all our activities are dependent on the memberships that you pay for, and I want to make sure that you are informed and involved. This first blog is going to be based on the keynote I delivered during the SLA Weekend Course in late June. You can comment on anything in this blog by using the #CEblog.

I have now been in post for 4 months – and I feel like things are going well. I’ve learnt a lot, and the team in the office and the board are phenomenal – they  all really care, and have made me feel incredibly supported as I started out on this journey so a big thanks to them.

The vision I have for the SLA is to continue to grow it as a strong, diverse, supportive community. The SLA needs to be pro-active and education focused – building on the brilliant work done by Tricia, and ensuring that pupils remain the inspiration and central focus. The aim of the SLA is clearly stated on our website – every pupil deserves a first class library experience, and that’s why we support anyone who is involved in running or supporting school libraries.

I am really pleased we have been able to announce two new member benefits in the most recent edition of Info[at], so now members can benefit when they use DLT Magazines or The Literary Gift Company – see your latest copy of Info[at] for more information.

I am also excited to announce that the SLA have joined forces with Softlink to run a quarterly school library display competition – this is open to everyone, members or not, and internationally. The deadline for this round of entries is 1st October 2018 and the winner will be announced in the Winter Edition of Info[at]. For more information about this competition have a look here: https://www.  softlinkint.com/lp/sla-and-softlink-invite-you-to-enter-the-school-library-display-competition

So that’s a little insight into the current activity of the SLA, but we have also been busy making plans for the future as well.


The Future

One of the issues we know is impacting the profession is access to training. This is one of the key drivers for starting this blog – it has a dual purpose. As I mentioned I want to increase communication between members and SLA headquarters, but I also want to deliver access to current themes and topics of discussion. In between my monthly blogs will be blogs written by people external to the SLA – the main point of which will be to deliver some element of CPD, something that will cause you to think about your practice, and reflect on what you are trying to achieve. The first external blog post has been written by Alison David, from Egmont Publishing, looking at the barriers parents face in reading to their children, and what we can do to help them overcome them – it’s an important piece of research that has implications for us as we converse and communicate with parents.

Next, some very exciting news! I have been spending a lot of time on this since I started in post, and I am delighted to announce that by the end of the year the SLA will have a new website. Short term, our aims are to make the website easier to navigate, more user friendly and to increase engagement. I am also hoping this new system will allow us to streamline processes in the office, giving us more time to spend on other vital things. Longer term, we are hopeful that this will mean we can have another look at our brilliant online courses, and see if there’s a way we can develop these further.



We are currently exploring the ways we can increase benefits to organisational members – at the moment there is no difference between the two types of membership, but if the organisation is a member we should be engaging with more than just one member of staff within that organization. We want to proactively feed information to line managers, HR teams, Bursars and Heads to ensure that they have the information available to make decisions, and to make any conversations regarding budget or training easier. So often these conversations are strained because there is a lack of common ground – there isn’t a common starting place, and we need to try and build this.

We are also exploring new types of membership to engage all our supporters, rather than just those who rely on our services. More details about this will be released later on in the year, and hopefully this will mean additional engagement from organisations beyond the sector.


We are currently putting together our training offer for 2018/19 so if you have areas that you would like training on please let Ann know via info[at]sla.org.uk. We are keen to increase and diversify access to training, and part of the way we will look to do this will be through an increased number of sponsored places both for the Weekend Course and for our training days as well. This is dependent on the goodwill and generosity of the companies involved in this sector, but I will be doing everything I can to encourage them to get involved.

I am also in the process of seeking renewed sponsorship for the Awards the SLA runs. These do not take any of your sponsorship money so they are completely reliant on the generosity of companies. While I’m on the topic of the Awards, let’s do a quick Awards update.

  • Information Book Award – the shortlist is out, and the Activities and are available on the website (https://www.sla.org.uk/information-book-award.php# ). Voting for the Children’s Choice Award is also open!

  • School Librarian of the Year – we are currently putting together our Honour List which will be announced soon, and this year we are going to be changing the timeline so the winner is announced before the end of the school year – this means that nominations will open earlier than before. Do consider putting yourself forward for this – it’s not attention seeking, but a brilliant way to show everyone what we do, and it is lovely to get some external validation of the things you are doing so well within your school.

  • The Inspiration Award will open again this year – this is an award all about the inspiration, innovation, creativity and resourcefulness in its library design and in use – it’s not all about new libraries! I know there are brilliant uses of space out there, so do include yourself!

  • And finally, the SLA supported Pupil Library Assistant Award moves into its 5th year next year, so planning and scheming for that has already started.

As we move on our Awards, training and publications continue to be a priority – enabling everyone to access best practice and then celebrate it is really important. We need to show that school libraries are worth saving – if the only story the general public ever hears is that there’s no funding they will think there’s nothing to fight for. We need to show everyone all the best that a school library has to offer.

Our focus on high quality publications will continue. We are excited to welcome Cathal Coyle into the SLA family as he takes over from Geoff Dubber as our Publications Editor. He has some brilliant ideas and I am sure our publications will move from strength to strength under his supervision.

We will also continue to provide quality resources for you so they are there when you need them. I particularly want to highlight two resources to you.

The first is called ‘Reading Grids’ (https://www.sla.org.uk/reading-grids.php ) these stemmed from some research I was doing at the time, looking at intervention for reluctant readers, and I came across Teresa Cremin’s research on ‘Building Reading Communities’ – the research is here, and well worth a read (https://researchrichpedagogies.org/research/theme/reading-for-pleasure-pedagogy ). She found that there are four main components to building a reading community – book knowledge, reading opportunities, book talk and a supportive, diverse reading environment. So often school librarians have a wealth of book knowledge, but as incredibly busy people they struggle to disseminate this information – you are not working in isolation, so use the rest of the staff. If you can disseminate what you know to them they can pass it on to the pupils. So this is what the Reading Grid is for – it lists lesser known recommended books by reading age from 0-Adult and it links to book trailers or reviews making it something that’s useful in the classroom rather than something that is just for reference.

The second resource I want to highlight is an assembly presentation for Years 9 and 10 (https://www.sla.org.uk/info-lit-assembly-for-year-910.php ). It’s entitled ‘IL in the Real World’, and looks at evaluation skills outside of academic work – from Youtube videos, to Google, to newspapers. It’s quite hard hitting, but I’ve found this is the best way to get these year groups to pay attention! It will need some editing for your context, but hopefully this is a helpful starting point, and as the NLT have recently released their Fake News Commission Report (https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/fake-news-and-critical-literacy-final-report/) and CILIP’s ILG have released a new definition of information literacy (https://infolit.org.uk/ILdefinitionCILIP2018.pdf ), now is the time to talk to your SLT about putting this in the school and library development plan for the forthcoming year and make sure you’re involved.

Great School Libraries

There are issues across the sector, and this is part of the reason that the SLA has joined forces with CILIP and CILIP SLG to launch a 3 year, evidence based campaign called ‘Great School Libraries’. We are asking for ring fenced funding, a national strategy for school libraries and for school libraries to be included in Ofsted Inspections. The campaign is backed by a large number of reading and literacy charities, and we are hopeful that this will see the situation across school libraries improve. We will be launching resources in September, so sign up as a supporter now to get your supporters pack when it is released: https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/GreatSchoolLibraries

School libraries are a nuanced sector, and so what we are asking for differs between primary and secondary – more information about that can be found on the webpage. As part of the campaign we will be conducting a study into the number of school libraries through a survey – as school libraries currently aren’t included as part of the Department for Education Census there is no reliable data about the number of them, or whether they are staffed or not. We will also be asking as many people as possible who work in school libraries to complete case studies showing the impact of what they do – we don’t want to start talking about school libraries in broad brushstrokes and loose the detail, so please do consider completing one of these and contributing to the national picture. Anything you do that impacts children counts, and as the campaign will be running for 3 years you have time to plan and make sure you collect the best data.

Period of Change

The SLA is going through a period of change and we really want your wants and needs to be at the center of what we do. If you haven’t already please complete the survey – its open to members and non-members - https://www.sla.org.uk/blg-sla-launches-2018-member-survey.php it’s open for just another two weeks so get your opinions in now!


Biggest Issues

At this point in my talk I used Sli.do and got people to vote on what their biggest issues were. These are the results. There is an additional vote of 6% for Pupil Behaviour in the question “What is the thing that stops you doing the job the way you want to?”

Poll results - biggest issue
Poll results - biggest issue

Your Job poll - showing misunderstanding of the profession is the biggest factor for people












I think this is really interesting, and certainly presents a challenge for us as to how we change this on the national picture – but the start has got to be increased discourse between library staff and the educational establishment, and working harder to proactively feed information more widely into the schools picture.


What would have happened?

When I left the school I was working at, I was given a note by this one pupil. I’d been working with her over her four years at the school, and she was a reluctant reader. We had been on this journey together with me being determined, persuasive, consistent about the need for her to read, and trying a whole host of different materials with her. In my last full term, I gave her a book called ‘No Virgin’ by Anne Cassidy – a short, powerful, gritty novel about a girl who is raped. I suggested the book and gave her a realistic review – I had come to understand the grittier tale was more her thing – but she wanted to try it and she read it and loved it. On my last day she handed me a note that thanked me for not giving up on her, because she’d seen an improvement in her attainment across subjects. I now keep that note in my drawer at work, because what would have happened to her if there wasn’t a member of staff in that library? What if there hadn’t been a well-resourced library with a range of resources to offer her?  This note stands as a reminder of what’s happening to pupils day in, day out, term in, term out as there’s no one to cajole, explain or persuade them. There’s no one to show them how to evaluate websites, and no one to find them that book.

The future of the SLA is in your hands. The future of pupils are in your hands. Please get involved, and don’t give up. I won’t. 

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New SLA book, Cultivating Curiosity

Cultivating Curiosity

Just published by the SLA - Cultivating Curiosity: Information Literacy Skills and the Primary School Library by Sarah Pavey and Geoff Dubber (ISBN 9781911222156).

Cultivating curiosity in children in primary schools is one of the most important things that we can do for them. Developing an enthusiasm for learning is at the very heart of human development and a central reason for teaching information and digital literacy, and is a crucial focus for school library work. This new edition includes information about the most recent primary curriculum, government initiatives and recent inspection changes in respect of the school library and digital media. It explains the importance of embedding information literacy into a whole school and curriculum context, making use of modern technology where appropriate. It outlines and explains the processes of research for young children and shows ways that teachers and librarians can develop and promote information and digital literacy through the primary school library and link it to classroom practice. It also includes a very useful and practical case study, some templates and a reading list.

Available now direct from the SLA.

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Breaking news, KLQ final

 Breaking News! Oxford High School took third place in the World Final of the Kids Lit Quiz (KLQ) in New Zealand. Australia won and Singapore came second. Many congratulations to our wonderful UK team, who kept in the lead almost until the end.

 The 2018 KLQ UK National Final will take place on Tuesday 4 December 2018 at The City of London School for Girls, St Giles Terrace, London EC2Y 8BB. The winning UK team will be invited to compete in the KLQ World Final in Singapore in July 2019.

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Bristol Teen Book Award Launches

Bristol Teen Award

The Bristol Teen Book Award is an exciting new award celebrating diversity in Young Adult novels. It has just shortlisted six recently published books from the UK all with a theme of diversity and identity.

Further information is available in a Powerpoint presentation and a letter to engage students is available.

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New SLA book, Designs for All Reasons

Designs for All Reasons

Just published by the SLA - Designs for All Reasons: Creating the Environment for the Primary School Library by Michael Dewe and Sally Duncan (ISBN 9781911222149).

Library planning and design can be a demanding task and active preparation and involvement are crucial. This new edition of the Guideline originally written by Mike Dewe, an authority on library design, takes the reader clearly through the thinking and design process. It offers practical advice at all stages, and includes a list of useful publications and websites, along with a new case study of a time-critical library project. A vital and accessible guide to creating flexible and stimulating spaces for exciting learning, Designs for All Reasons is equally relevant to both a new build or a refurbished school library space.

Available now direct from the SLA.

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ILG releases new resources for IL

ILG Research Smarter

The CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG) has issued new versions of its Research Smarter resource sheets, which are designed to help secondary school students research effectively and be information literate.

The set consists of ten resource sheets, nine of which are each focused on a different aspect of the research process, and on how the effective and discerning use of information forms a crucial part of that process.

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National Book Tokens Schools Competition 2018

Book Token Comp 2018

There is still nearly a month to go in the big school library competition run by National Book Tokens.

The prize is a massive £5,000 of National Book Tokens, allowing the winner the chance to buy hundreds of new books for their school's library.

The winners of last year's prize - Killermont Primary School in Glasgow - created a dyslexia friendly section and a graphic novel section in their library. Could it be your school's turn this year?

The competition doesn't close until 31 July 2018, so get your entry in!

Full details and sign up form are available at https://www.nationalbooktokens.com/schools

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Job Vacancies: Tiffin School - Study Centre Supervisor


We are looking for an enthusiastic person to join our Learning Resource Centre (LRC) team in order to superviseand support students.  The successful applicant will be responsible for promoting an atmosphere and culture of independent study in the LRC and the Study Centre.  They will need to have the confidence to maintain this atmosphere, have excellent interpersonal skills and a willingness to contribute to the general library work of the LRC. You will be responsible to the LRC manager. 

It is possible that the part-time hours may be negotiated, but we envisage hours of work, during school term time only, to be as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09.30 am – 2.45 pm; Wednesday: 8 am – 4.30 pm

The pro-rata salary is £10,652 - £11,675

Successful applicants will be required to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service Check and must be eligible to work in the UK.

Closing date: noon on Wednesday, 11 July.

More Details...

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Survey - inform the future of the SLA

The SLA is going through a period of change and we really want your wants and needs to be at the center of what we do. If you haven’t already please complete the survey – its open to members and non-members - https://www.sla.org.uk/blg-sla-launches-2018-member-survey.php it’s open for just another 3 weeks so get your opinions in now!

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