Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Group Idea: STEM Cell

I had this idea ages ago and I promptly wrote down then got on with doing other things and it soon faded into the low murmur at the back of my mind. It popped up again this morning as I was reading an article about building Lego robots and I thought that it be a fantastic basis for an engineering club, that jogged my memory and the STEM Cell idea bubbled up again but with new pieces added to the mental framework.

A cell can be many things, two of which are:

the functional basic unit of life

&

a unit of a clandestine cell system, a penetration-resistant form of a secret or outlawed organization

Wikipedia

A stem cell has the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics1.aspx

STEM stands for Science, Technology Engineering Maths

The STEM Cell will be a group dedicated to experimenting with each of the four disciplines by using practical and creative activities and experiments to create or enhance an interest in one or more of the subjects. Much like a covert cell the can be copied and used anywhere and the experience enhanced by communication with other cells and information exchanged about experiments that have been conducted. Similar to stem cells themselves, a group such as this will allow its members to use what they learn to become anything as they grow and develop.

This type of group would by its very nature be cross-curricular and run in conjunction with the Science, Mathematics, ICT and Design & Technology Departments but organised by the Library.

Activities can include:

The Mentos and Diet Coke experiment

Raspberry Pi & programming

Code making & breaking – this one can be used for intergroup competitions

Mathematical Origami

Building Robots from Lego

Activities can be set up to run on a termly or half-termly basis depending on the length & complexity of the activity and the capability of the young people involved in the group.

At present I am still working on ironing out all the details but if anyone has ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments field below.

Turning Japanese: an Introduction to Manga

Going back in time about six years, at the end of 2006 Liz Chapman, at the time the editor of the now sadly defunct Public Library Journal, approached me to write an article about Manga, Libraries and running youth library groups centred around Manga and anime.

I was recently able to find a .pdf copy of the article and present it here:

Introducing the manga phenomenon, offering suggestions for collection development and management, events and running manga groups.

Some thoughts on the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards Longlists

The 2014 CILIP CKG Awards mark the first time that a longlist has been compiled from all the books nominated by members of CILIP. The words inaugural and prestigious were used in the CILIP press release – they are good words although ones that I seldom use on a daily basis so I get a thrill when I see them in print (I am a bit of a word nerd).

From the press release:

Traditionally an extensive list of nominated books, comprised of titles which have received one or more votes from member librarians, is made public, followed by a shortlist announcement, before the overall winners are crowned. CILIP, the organisers of the Medals, took the decision to judge and announce longlists in order to shine a spotlight on some of the brightest authors and illustrators in the running for the esteemed awards, to reflect the high number of quality children’s books being published.

Read the full press release here

The books are chosen by the judges using the same rigorous criteria they use for the shortlisting and eventual winning titles.

Over the past few years due to the increase in quality writing for children and young people longlists had been growing ever larger; this has caused suggestion from some sectors about splitting the Carnegie Award at least into a teen and young reader award (that suggestion was shot down in flames and buried at several unnamed crossroads to prevent it ever rearing its head again). Large longlists also adversely affect the judges who have to juggle work, life and reading up to 120 books several times to adequately judge the merits of each according to the criteria for each of the awards. I will just say that the judges still have to read every title nominated to assess eligibility so the integrity of the awards is not affected in any way.

I am going to be on the CKG Judging Panel next year and am looking forward to the honour (there is a smidgen of dread as well but mostly excitement).

A small part of me is upset as some of the books I was hoping would make it through to the shortlists did not make it, I wholeheartedly support the longlisting as it will bring more books to the attention of the greater public as well as stimulating debate in the literary merits of fiction for children.

Adding a longlist to the steps leading up to the announcement of the winning titles will allow shadowing groups to follow the process more closely; previously by some arcane and unknown process the judges were able to whittle down 60+ books into a 6 book shortlist. Working with 20 titles is more manageable and if schools are able to carry the full longlist students will be able to start discussing the awards process sooner and will have the opportunity to compile their own lists of potential winners and discuss the titles in the run up to the shortlisting when the official shadowing scheme begins,

The books on the longlist that I have read are fantastic and deserve to be there, I will be reading as many of the other longlisted titles as I can before the shortlisting on the 18th March. I will hopefully post my favourites here during the week before the shortlists are announced.

CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway 2014 Awards Longlists

The CILIP CKG Award Longlists have been revealed:

2014 CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL LONGLIST:
• The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond (Walker Books)
• All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Templar)
• The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Penguin)
• The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston (David Fickling Books)
• Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head)
• After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross (Oxford University Press)
• Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin)
• Blood Family by Anne Fine (Doubleday Children’s Books)
• Infinite Sky by CJ Flood (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
• Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (Electric Monkey)
• Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti (Walker Books)
• Hostage Three by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
• The Positively Last Performance by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford University Press)
• Brock by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
• Binny for Short by Hilary McKay (Hodder Children’s Books)
• Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Jonathan Cape)
• Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo)
• Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber)
• Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)
• The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)

2014 CILIP KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL
• One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne (Walker Books)
• Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne (illustrator) and Nick Bromley (author) (Nosy Crow)
• The Paper Dolls by Rebecca Cobb (illustrator) and Julia Donaldson (author)(Macmillan Children’s Books)
• Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
• Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde by Joyce Dunbar (illustrator) and Jill Barton (author) (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
• Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
• The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) and Drew Daywalt (author) (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
• The Dark by Jon Klassen (illustrator) and Lemony Snicket (author) (Orchard Books)
• This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
• Where My Wellies Take Me by Olivia Lomenech Gill (illustrator) and Clare and Michael Morpurgo (authors)(Templar)
• Mysterious Traveller by P. J Lynch (illustrator) and Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham (authors) (Walker Books)
• Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David McKean (illustrator) and David Almond (author) (Walker Books)
• The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children’s Books)
• The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon (Pavilion Children’s Books)
• Abigail by Catherine Rayner (Tiger Tales)
• The Lemur’s Tale by Ophelia Redpath (Templar)
• Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Walker Books)
• Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (illustrators) and Alix Barzelay (author) (Templar)
• Too Noisy! by Ed Vere (illustrator) and Malachy Doyle (author) (Walker Books)
• Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett (Brubaker, Ford & Friends)

"We Need Libraries" – One Man and His Beard

We Need Libraries – a brilliant song about libraries and why we need them by One Man and His Beard.

A unique purveyor of indie/punk dance songs with strong hooks and melodies,with the appearance of a 100 year old but the energy of a 20 year old
One Man And His Beard played the final protest in front of the BBC in London in 2010 to help save BBC 6 Music,and in 2012 played the We Need Libraries song at the Speak up for Libraries Rally at Westminster Hall,London to help spread the message that many Libraries are under threat!

Listen to some of his other music here: https://soundcloud.com/onemanandhisbeard