Tag Archives: school libraries

Honorary Life Member…

…that’s me – and the School Library Association surprised me with a generous Hon Life Membership which rather took the wind out of my sails when I recently attended the SLA Conference in Glasgow.  For a start it was quite odd being ‘just a delegate’ at the conference I had a hand in putting together (that was inevitable due to the time of year that I left SLA) but it was delightful too.  I got to see and chat with lots of friends, and didn’t have to dash off to be somewhere else!  I managed an off the cuff thank you speech – as well as (I hope) adding my voice to the call for the Great School Libraries Campaign.  Plus, the Ceilidh band that evening turned out to be a great success too – just right – with lots of help in the dances!


Copyright Minh Nguyen

Seriously though, if you can do back the Great School Libraries Campaign – it is vitally important, especially in these times of closing or de-professionalised public library services, that children have access through their schools to a great library.  Their literacy, ambition, health and well-being will all suffer if they have no access to good quality reading and information resources when they need them.

Since then it has been a bit of a flurry of activity which has included writing an article, completing a series of reviews, attending our first Youth Libraries Group Virtual meeting plus a few days away.  Will was working taking taking photographs for his new book but I was really just enjoying the scenery, catching up with local friends and enjoying Stratford Upon Avon.  We were anxious our newly laid lawn and the patio plants would survive in the heat – but all was well.

This week has been a glorious mix of work and and publisher events – including a sneak preview of the work of Chris Riddell in illustrating The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling.  We are in for a real treat there (publishing Bloomsbury, October 2018).  Then off to the Branford Boase event – a celebration of the best in new writing for children and young people, but that also recognises the important role of the editor in the process.  It was won this year by Mitch Johnson for Kick with his editors Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker – published by Usborne – their third important book award win this year!

Last night was a fascinating discussion event hosted by Alice Curry at Lantana Publishers called ‘Inspired by India’ an evening of picture books and conversation from Chitra Soundar, Poonam Mistry, Ranjit Singh and Mehrdokht Amini at the Nehru Centre.  I had never been to the Nehru Centre before but check it out as it has a programme of events and exhibitions that are varied and interesting. IMG_0237

After 3 late nights in London – and Saturday there for my first FCBG National Executive meeting I am having a quiet day at home – a little light housework, followed by some reading and then a welcome catch up with friends from the village in the pub tonight!




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Every Child deserves a Great School Library

The School Library Association and CILIP’s School Libraries Group have launched a three-year school library campaign.

Supported by CILIP, the campaign will focus on the importance of school libraries and librarians and the benefits they bring to children, staff and schools. Aside from raising the profile of school libraries, the campaign will have three specific objectives:

*The recognition of School Libraries/Librarians in Ofsted Inspection Framework.
*The creation of a School Library Strategy for England.
*Specific investment into School Library development.

The campaign will look to Scotland and its success in creating a National Strategy for School Libraries. The Government-backed initiative will be implemented in Scotland this August as schools in the country return from the summer break.

The Great School Libraries campaign will build on lessons learned from Scotland helping to unite stakeholders in a common goal of improving school library provision across all four nations in the UK. The campaign will look to engage with school librarians, supporters and school library champions and other allies to help push the message that: “Every child deserves a Great School Library.”

The aim is to create strong evidence-based advocacy messages tailored to various stakeholders including politicians, the Department for Education, Ofsted, schools – including teachers, parents, leadership teams and governors. There will also be media and public focussed awareness campaigns, helping to build an understanding of the importance of school libraries in supporting the curriculum and achievements amongst pupils.

CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole said: ““This is a truly important campaign and one that has the potential to transform lives. Great school librarians not only support students, but also teachers – helping to raise standards and results across the board. They inspire people, improve literacy through a love of reading, and help teach lifelong skills like information and digital literacy. Teachers can call on them to help find information and resources when they are planning lessons.

“Through this campaign we will provide evidence that clearly shows the value of school libraries – not just to pupils, but also for teachers, schools and wider society. That is why we are saying Every Child deserves a Great School Library.”

Alison Tarrant, Managing Director of the SLA, said: “This campaign is an opportunity to celebrate and discuss school libraries and librarians, and to promote understanding and engagement with the profession. We will be working tirelessly to achieve the aims set out.”

Caroline Roche, Chair of CILIP’s SLG, warned that school libraries were being undervalued and often faced cuts as head teachers felt increasing budget pressures, saying that the campaign is a “chance for school librarians to stand up and show the value of a good school library, professionally run by a school librarian.”

She added: “ We believe that the impact that a school library has in a school, not only on literacy and reading for pleasure, but also on mental and emotional health, providing a safe haven for vulnerable children, a place for study, a place where students can find books to enlarge their world view or to find they are not alone, is inestimable.  Such value cannot be measured in terms of money or figures – a good school library, professionally run, is the gift a school can give to every one of their children, for very little cost.”

Sign up to keep informed about the campaign and find out how you can get involved at https://bit.ly/2kvAXp4.


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Busy busy

So very nearly ready for our conference, lots of things moving into place and happily the programme looks great lighting the future looks as if it will be a good one. Think I may owe everyone lunch in the office to make up for all the hard work.

Tomorrow I’m off to the new Canada Water library in docklands for an Arts Council consultation on the model for libraries of the future. Think it may be a challenging day! Frustratingly the APPG on Libraries scheduled for earlier this week has been postponed as they couldn’t get enough MPs and Lords to the breakfast meeting – so heaven knows when that will get rescheduled.

Meanwhile we have an SLA delegation off to see Nick Gibb in early July – to discuss school libraries! Could be good.

Looking forward to all the merriment in the village for the Jubilee – especially Will and Pete’s revue entitled Diamond Geezers. One more mad week at work and then a long weekend of jollity. Bring on the fun.

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Happy New Year!

So, the holidays draw to the end, with a party at the pub tonight with friends…to celebrate the start of 2012.

Last year, 2011, was a good year with lots of short breaks, mainly good health, lots of family visits and some new work opportunities for Will and I, and the girls seem to be happy in their chosen paths – so all positive.

I wonder what that new year will bring for us; certainly some tightening of belts, both literally (as I must loose some weight!) and financially, as we seem to be no nearer the end of this recession.

Work wise the new offices should create a pleasant environment, with savings that will make our lives a little simpler, and hopefully much cheaper.  The challenges remain the same – closing libraries (public and school), head teachers with no vision as to what a library can be and do, a government with a great line in chat but no commitment in legislation on school libraries, and a delayed new curriculum!  We may be in for hard times ahead, so not totally looking forward to the new year in some respects.

Whatever is thrown at us – good health, happy families and peace to all.

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The Autumn

Well I really have total admiration for those bloggers who add items their blog either daily or weekly!  I have singularly failed to meet their demanding schedules.

Perhaps I haven’t got the drive to write as much as I have the drive to read.  It’s so much easier to read other people’s blogs and add the occasional comment than to write my own!

September and October seem to have flown – lots of travelling and meetings but a few highlights stand out.  The School Librarian of the Year celebration at the Mermaid Centre turned out to be a very inspirational and uplifting day in a month when bad news about schools and libraries seemed to be the order of the day.  We have a superb new SLYA in Carol Webb and she is being so proactive in helping us promote school libraries it is a joy to work with her.  It was also a joy to meet a group of headteachers who supported their libraries and librarians and could see the benefit to their students.  This was echoed in the SLA Library Design Award where an innovative London bus conversion was making a huge contribution to a London primary school.

Working in partnership always seems to create lots of work and meetings even when everyone is working to the same end but one campaign that seems to be setting off well and making some impact already is Shout about – the campaign by SLA, CILIP and ASCEL to raise the profile and literally Shout About school libraries and schools library services – see some of the activity on twitter by searching #SHOUTABOUT.

There’s also been lots of planning around the joint conference we have ongoing at YLG, SLG and SLA – Lighting the Future – this promises to be the conference you want to be at in 2012 if you are interested in children, their reading and learning and libraries!  The team behind it are all working so hard to deliver what promises to be a superb weekend!

Spread amongst all this was a lovely evening at the Bloomsbury Party catching up with lots of librarians, authors (Celia Rees, Anne Cassidy, Mary Hoffman, B R Collins, to name but a few) and illustrators, as well as enjoying some lovely hospitality from those lovely folk at Bloomsbury.  I actually had a brief chat with Kim Newman too – always read his reviews in Empire and it was fun to shake hands and say hello.  The guests here were very high profile and it was fun to do some star spotting too!

We also managed a couple of days away and had a superb time in Tetbury at the Priory Inn – I would recommend it to anyone and the food was lovely.  Whilst there we really just chilled out – and had a lovely day in Westonbirt Arboretum enjoying the autumn colour.  We even bought a tiny Acer seedling so wonder if we can nurture that to maturity?

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