The Life and Death of Amadeo Modigliani: an Exhibition

A List of Books for Safer Internet Day

A list of books to suggest to students when discussing online safety and Internet use.

Chicken Clicking – Jean Willis & Tony Ross
Dark Poppy’s Demise – S.A. Partridge
Defriended – Ruth Baron
Exposed – Susan Vaught
Followers – Anna Davies
Identity Theft – Anna Davies
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali
Want To go Private? – Sarah Darer Littman
Web of Darkness – Bali Rai

A General Moan about Library stuff

When I saw that Ed Vaizey was the poster boy for the 2016 National Libraries Day I wondered briefly if he had had a Road to Damascus type conversion and thrown his weight behind the Save Libraries Campaigns.

Sadly no, I did post a flippant tweet (see below) that has become one of the most popular things I have said online for ages.

I understand that CILIP has to work with the Tory Party in Government (PIG) and needs to keep lines of communication open since Vaizey is now speaking to them again after the vote of no confidence against him in 2013 but it does leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.

Over the years CILIP appears to have made a habit of saying and (not) doing things that have upset a lot of members, former members and those librarians that have never joined. I have been a member of CILIP for well over a decade – since I came to the UK in fact and have been a relatively loyal supporter (although not completely uncritical) and have had discussions and arguments with friends and colleagues trying to see the positives in things that CILIP has done.

I will state for the record that I am currently on the CILIP Youth Libraries Group (YLG) London Committee as the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals Judging panel representative. Now the CILIP CKG Awards is an example of something brilliant that CILIP has run for donkeys years, as is the YLG and many of the other excellent Special Interest Groups that find a home in CILIP.

I have faith in Dawn Finch the new president of CILIP, but I do not know if one person will be enough to change things. That being said I do think that the new CEO Nicholas Poole has also been doing well!

2016 is probably going to be the year in which I decide to stay in CILIP or chuck it in and become a Library dissident.

My mood was not helped by this news:

Considering that I used to work in some of the Libraries on offer and worked with some amazing people in Enfield it was more depressing than these bits of news generally are.

Also what is up with Banks getting their claws into library users? Part of me thinks Barclays with their Digital Eagles is doing it to improve their frankly crappy image, as well as hook vulnerable people that do not know how to use computers or the internet. Plus why are is the UKSCL supporting Halifax and their Digital Friends scheme? I am not even going to mention the risk of internet banking on public computers, so there you go.

On the plus side this coming Saturday is National Libraries Day (thank you Alan Gibbons) and I have heard nothing this year about library staff members being prevented from celebrating it.

The Siobhan Dowd Trust 2016 funding opportunity for schools and groups who work with disadvantaged young people

In 2016 the Siobhan Dowd Trust is funding an opportunity for schools and groups who work with disadvantaged young people to apply for a series of small grants to be spent in local independent bookshops.

The amount awarded in each UK region will total £1000. This may go entirely to one school/group, it is possible that this amount will be broken down into several smaller grants of £750 / £500 / £250 – £250 can still buy a few nice books!

Which bookshops we use will depend on the location of the winning groups. It is expected that young people will choose the books themselves, with guidance from their librarians, teachers and booksellers.

As with other school competitions the Trust has run, this is not eligible for fee-paying schools to enter.

All they need – in a short email to their director – is the following:

* Your contact details
* Name and location of your school / group
* PP / FSM number (or equivalent to demonstrate that you work with disadvantaged or vulnerable groups)
* What it is you do to engage hard to reach young readers (we are looking to build on already existing good practise).

Please email this to

2016 Deadlines by region:

June 30:
North East
North West
Yorkshire & Humber

September 30:
West Midlands
East Midlands
East of England

November 30:
N Ireland
South West
South East

For more details visit:

Shakespeare Documented: A multi-institutional collaboration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

Shakespeare Documented is the largest and most authoritative collection of primary-source materials documenting the life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), bringing together all known manuscript and print references to Shakespeare, his works, and additional references to his family, in his lifetime and shortly thereafter.

#TeenLibrarianMonthly January 2016

Download (PDF, 745KB)

Phil Earle: I want to help children find their life-changing book

Award-winning novelist for children and young adults, Phil Earle, has been appointed the new online Writer in Residence for children’s reading charity, BookTrust.

Today, (Monday 18 Jan) Phil kicks off his six month residency with a vlog talking about his belief that everyone is a reader and that there is a story out there for everybody.

Phil said: I’m chuffed to bits to be working with BookTrust as their Writer in Residence. Growing up as a non-reader, I had no idea about the power of stories: of the places they can take you or the people you can meet as a result. I really want to show children that the right book for them is out there.

It wasn’t until Phil was 26 years old that he stumbled across children’s literature by accident, after being ‘kicked into the children’s section’ whilst working in a bookshop.

After that ‘light-bulb’ moment Phil’s life changed and he began writing his own stories in his lunch breaks in the bookshop and, later, writing on the bus on his way to work.

During Phil’s residency he plans to interview authors, editors, poets and illustrators on his vlog in the hope of encouraging children to find the right story, graphic novel, picture book for them. Phil will host a Writer in Residence Twitter chat on 12 February at 2.30pm. His focus will be on favourite fictional families in children’s books and the chat will use the hashtag #philbookchat. Follow Phil on @philearle to take part.

Phil’s books include gritty young adult titles Heroic and Being Billy, the latter being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. More recently, Phil wrote Demolition Dad, the first in a middle-grade series described as ‘DANNY, CHAMPION OF THE WORLD in Spandex’ about a young boy and his Dad who’s an amateur wrestler on the weekends. The sequel, Superhero Street is forthcoming in March from Orion. Phil has also authored a couple of early reader titles for Orion including the football-themed Albert and the Garden of Doom.

Whilst writing popular children’s books, Phil also works as Sales and Marketing Director at David Fickling Books.

BookTrust chief executive Diana Gerald said: The BookTrust online Writer in Residence programme has been a wonderful and popular addition to the BookTrust website, giving visitors to the site a sneak peek into the lives, notebooks and sketchbooks of acclaimed writers and illustrators. We are really looking forward to Phil’s residency as he helps us in our ongoing mission of championing reading to children.

The BookTrust Writer in Residence project has been running since March 2009 and has featured a number of authors and illustrators including Sita Brahmachari, Patrick Ness, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Evie Wyld, Polly Dunbar, Clare Wigfall, Bali Rai, Hannah Berry, Matt Haig, Laura Dockrill, Chris Riddell and Philip Ardagh. The residency encourages each writer to explore topics that they, and BookTrust, are passionate about, with past residents exploring themes such as LGBT issues, diversity in children’s literature and the importance of libraries.

Listen to Phil’s first vlog here:

The Mind’s Treasure Chest

A long, long (ish) time ago I was a student librarian in the School of Education at the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology). It was during the second year of my studies that one of my favourite lecturers (Dr Liz van Aswegen) showed my class a video called The Mind’s Treasure Chest

Released in 1991, THE MIND’S TREASURE CHEST is a feature length educational comedy that teaches students to think for themselves. This film is a marriage between a Hollywood movie and an educational video. It’s about libraries, research, and information. It’s about history and hypothesizing. It’s about thinking for yourself.

Distributed in five countries, it won a multitude of awards, including Best Film for Grades 7 – 12 at the National Educational Film and Video Festival.

For Kennedy buffs, the film features a number of sequences that dramatize the history of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Parts of it are a bit dated, for example I do not think that many (or any) school libraries still use microfiche readers; catalogues are computerised and the internet is now available on broadband rather than a limited dial up service.

You may be able to show it to your students as part of their library induction or get them to spot the ways that school library usage has changed (and indeed, remained the same) but if not it is still an entertaining and educational film for Librarians to watch and reminisce on how things used to be done.

The Minds Treasure Chest from Jellyvision on Vimeo.

Making use of Limited Display Space

My School Library, while being a classically beautiful and retro (in appearance) library space while at the same time managing to be fairly modern in offering a relevant, 21st Century service is rather limited in display space, owing to nearly every available wall being covered in bookshelves.

In December of 2015 I decided to turn my storage cupboard (one of the few usable forward-facing flat spaces) into a display board, which you can see on the left alongside my beautiful grandmother clock.

The other flat spaces are between the windows, but use of this space is tricky due to the ban on anything sticky being attached to painted walls. To get round this, I attached poster paper to the window frames on each side to create a semi-permanent display advertising the library clubs that I run on a weekly basis

Has anyone else had to get round limited display space in inventive ways? If yes I would be interested in hearing how this was accomplished.

CILIP: My Library By Right Campaign


In a move that has Library Campaigners across the UK saying things like “Finally!” and “It’s about time!” CILIP has launched the My Library By Right Campaign to bring people together to campaign for:

  • The public’s rights to libraries to be recognised and respected
  • Public libraries to be treated as the statutory services they are
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to carry out their legal duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act
  • Statutory guidance for local authorities on their duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act from DCMS, with support from CILIP and the library and information profession
    For full details on the Campaign follow this link My Library By Right

    Guardian Article: Librarians take legal battle against library closures to government

    The Bookseller: Local authorities risk ‘breaking law’ on libraries