Lighting the Future

I returned to my school from the Lighting the Future Youth Libraries Group (YLG), School Library Group (SLG) and School Libraries Association (SLA) joint conference yesterday with my head buzzing with ideas and inspiration.

From the opening address by Professor Stephen Heppell; a brilliant speaker and possibly one of the hardest working humans in education and outreach.

Don’t believe me? Then take a look at his website: – it will keep you busy for a while!

Also take a look here: then read the report:

Don’t just take a cursory glance at – take a serious read through you WILL learn something new. I can almost guarantee that!

One of the many other things he mentioned was and a free downloadable Hunger Games project:

The Reading and Technology panel was just as riveting, with Jonathan Douglas, Bev Humphrey and Dave Coplin
In brief:

  • ebooks good but tablets more immersive
  • Since 2005 10% drop in reading online. Reading in all formats dipping (Literacy Trust Survey)
  • Book trailers can help break genre boundaries – video can help attract non-readers to reading
  • Learning via youtube can be easier than via books
  • A skill we all need: ability to read a wikipedia article critically not word processing

  • The day was capped off with a networking session and dinner with poetry and stories with Liz Weir, John Agard, Tony Mitton and Atinuke

    Saturday brought with it, Reading in the Political Spotlight – Question time panel with Nic Amy, Aidan Chambers, Annie Mauger, Simon Mayo, Miranda McKearney and David Reedy with all participants being very vocal in their views

  • Aidan Chambers – librarians can teach more than teachers. Do not confuse the profession with the act of teaching
  • David Reedy what’s needed to support schools is a fully funded & resourced schools library service’
  • Annie Mauger ‘librarians do need to get less ‘nice’ we need to become more assertive’
  • Escaping the Echo Chamber – advocacy outside our own circle – Voices from the Library represented by Ian Clark

    Saturday evening’s dinner was brought to a close by Morris Gleitzman who spoke about his new book Again and how he was influenced to become a writer and a reader.

    Sunday featured AGMs for the hard-core YLG, SLG & SLA members, followed by Access and Opportunities through Libraries – a panel discussion with Tony Durcan (Newcastle City Council), Helen Boothroyd (Suffolk County Council), this brought with it highly politicized twitter discussions between a number of librarians unhappy with the SCL stance on what has been happening in tehj library world of late.

    The conference ended as it had begun with a fantastic address, this time by incoming SLA president, the author Kevin Crossley-Holland in which he dedicated himself to the service of the SLA and school librarians within the UK.

    Other highlights of the conference included the reliably entertaining Maggie Stiefvater, fresh from her attendance at BEA in New York on the Saturday and Angie Sage who spoke on the Sunday about her path to becoming an author and her Septimus Heap novels. The publishers in attendance were also fantastic offering proof copies of current and forthcoming YA and childrens books.

    For me the best part of the conference was meeting up with friends old and new and speaking to fellow travellers who have the same goals and aims that I have at serving the young readers who use our libraries and trying to convert those that do not use libraries into readers and participants in our service.

    My friend & colleague Caroline has a brilliant write-up of the conference here:

    Ian Clark also has an excellent view of the conference here:

    For a complete blow by blow account of the conference (via Twitter) take a look at the storify feed created by John Iona here:

    [View the story “Lighting the Future” on Storify]

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