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Regional Course Details

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Opening Doors: the School Library in a culturally diverse society

Course Details:

Whatever the political future holds, the UK is a culturally diverse country.  Although some schools will feel the effect of this more directly than others, every school needs to reflect it, wherever its location – and its library has a critical role.

This course looks at the recent pattern of population change, and examines the implications for resources; the library environment; promoting reading; and information literacy.  It looks at the role of books in challenging perceptions, and also at the growing need for resources for English language teaching.  It shows how to ensure your library welcomes all students, and looks at the case for specific activities to attract those from ethnic minorities.  Finally, it looks briefly at information literacy: at successful practice in diverse schools, and at considerations for new language learners. 

The course is aimed at teachers, librarians and support staff in both primary and secondary schools, and is a great opportunity for everyone to share knowledge.  Schools in very diverse communities can pass on best practice to schools that may be more directly affected in future.


The course will cover:

  • The recent history of UK population change
  • Current issues, predictions, and definitions
  • Resource implications
  • Developing an inclusive reading culture
  • Implications for information literacy


Delegates will learn:

  • How the library can welcome all students, and support the school ethos
  • The value of role models: teachers, guests to school, parents and volunteers
  • A range of resources: to provide self-identity, to challenge perceptions
  • Materials for English language learning, and how to use them


Delegates will leave with:

  • Recommendations from both trainer and other delegates
  • Several handouts packed with more ideas
  • Post-course support from trainer and SLS, as applicable
  • Fresh confidence and a plan for library development

Trainer: Alec Williams

Alec Williams works as a trainer, speaker, writer and storyteller. An enthusiast for children’s reading, his experience managing UK library services has given him an extensive knowledge of children’s books, and the power of stories.  Alec has written articles, spoken at conferences, and appeared on radio and TV in the UK.  He gives talks on children’s reading, and trains teachers, parents, and librarians, both in the UK and around the world.  His frequent visits to UK schools, combined with his courses in over 30 countries, give him a unique perspective on diversity.

Alec is a former Chair of the SLA.  He previously ran the SLA course ‘A Reading Culture for Every Culture’, which looked at multicultural reading in today’s environment.  With much down-to-earth practical advice that will help every librarian and teacher, his training courses are rich in humour, anecdotes, extracts and examples.

Feedback from Course:

"Lots of ideas to take back to school."

Key Audience:

primary and secondary school library staff

Venues and Dates:

  • 8 November 2018, 09:30-15:45: Resourses for Learning, Parkway, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RL [Map]
    Special attendance fee applies for delegate who are non-members of the SLA working in schools which subscribe to Resources for Learning, Somerset.
  • 28 March 2019, 09:15-15:45: Peters Ltd, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham B5 6RJ [Map]
    The SLA members attendance fee will be applied to applications received from non-SLA members who are Peters customers.