Monthly Archives: January 2018

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Young, Gifted and Black

To Be Young, Gifted and Black is an amazing song by Nina Simone & Weldon Irvine, it was written to commemorate Nina’s friend, Lorraine Hansberry, author of the play A Raisin in the Sun, who had died in 1965 aged 34. It became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.

The book Young, Gifted and Black, written by Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippins is, as the introduction says a love letter to our ancestors and the next generation of black change-makers

Celebrating 52 black heroes both contemporary and historical this book is beautiful to behold and to hold and is an essential addition to every library. With luminaries including Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay, Nobel Peace-Prize winning president Nelson Mandela (my personal favourite – it was an honour to be able to vote for him in the first free and fair elections in my homeland) who was able to unite a divided and fractured country without violence or hatred; sisters Venus and Serena Williams two titans of Tennis, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, award-winning author Malorie Blackman, Harriet Tubman – one of the best-known conductors of the Underground railroad and so many more!

There are 52 people celebrated in this book, one for every week of the year if you want to turn it into the centrepiece of a rotating library display. Some known to me but many not. NO I tell a lie! There are 54 people celebrated in this book – the author Jamia Wilson writer, director and publisher of the Feminist Press who has introduced me to people whose lives cause ripples today in our world and artist Andrea Pippins whose work shines on every page; they too deserve recognition for this work of biographical art they have created together.

In a world dominated by white privilege this book is a brilliant new addition to an arsenal of education about the stars of our multi-cultural world who are so often ignored or airbrushed out of history.

Library Freeconomics

This post is an adaptation of a training workshop I gave last year for the SLG based on my experiences of working with low to no budgets forcing me to improvise and find alternate ways to gain skills, experience and books and other useful materials.

Getting free stuff or your library may seem like a pipe dream, for as people have been saying since the 19th century There is no such thing as a free lunch – this is true, but not universally so.

Ideas, co-operation and assistance:

One of the misconceptions when it comes to obtaining free stuff is thinking in tangible terms. While they are essential, it is impossible to overstate how important advice, ideas and guidance can be. With training courses getting more expensive and out of reach of library staff that cannot be released or afford courses being aware of networks of colleagues where you can pick the collective brain and share your own experiences with others.

The largest group for School Librarians is the School Librarian Network, started by Elizabeth Bentley, this is a mailing list of librarians who offer experience, support and a place to chat and vent if needed: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sln/info

The Heart of the School is a website set up and run by Caroline Roche to celebrate and showcase the work of school librarians in the UK. The site is a rich mix of examples of best practice and ideas that can be used and adapted by librarians across the country: https://heartoftheschool.edublogs.org/

Lastly my own site Teen Librarian is a mix of ideas and programmes that can be used in school and public libraries as well as an array of downloadable content that can be freely used and adapted, from card games to posters and lesson plans. You are here now so once you have finished reading this incredibly interesting post take the time to rifle through my archives and see what takes your fancy!

Looking Online

Project Gutenberg

With the near ubiquity of smart phone use among students and a range of apps that enable smart phone owners to read e-books on the go Project Gutenberg is a veritable goldmine of over 53 000 public domain books that can freely and (more importantly) legally be downloaded in a variety of formats, including .azw (Kindle), .epub (all other e-book readers), pdf and html for (online reading).
These books can also be read on tablets, computers and dedicated e-book readers.
http://www.gutenberg.org/

Librivox

Librivox exists to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.
https://librivox.org

Free Posters

Latest Free Stuff is a website that catalogues free materials from a variety of sources, one of their sub-sections deals with posters. It is always worth going through what they have as the posters are a mix of educational and public interest.
http://www.latestfreestuff.co.uk/free-posters

The Secret Book Company Poster Freebies: https://www.thesecretbookcompany.co.uk/collections/freebies

Bloggers & Blogging

Make friends with local book bloggers as they sometimes look to give away excess books to local schools and libraries.

A quick note on request etiquette (this is important): it is incredibly bad form to contact authors and publishers out of the blue to ask for free books for your library. Authors are almost universally sympathetic to the aims of school and public libraries but their stock of books is not infinite. Writing is a career that for most does not pay incredibly well plus you will make them feel guilty for saying no and even if they want to help, they may not be able to. It is the same for publishers, publishing is a business and a business that gives away its product will not be around for long.

If you wish to approach publishers and publicists you should think of it as a transaction, why not start your own review blog or work with students in your reading groups to review books and post reviews on a school reading blog. Publishers do lookout for perspectives from teenagers about the books they publish.

It is a good rule of thumb to not ask for more books that you or your group can reliably review in good time.

Blog platforms
Blogger
WordPress
Weebly
Edublogs

Competitions

Entering competitions is a good way to acquire new books for your library, some competitions (particularly on twitter) are rapid fire not giving you much time to enter but not all of them are like that. Some give you a day or days to enter or provide links to sites such as rafflecopter where you are able to enter. Most social media sites are used by authors and publishers to run competitions, the most popular are below:
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Some publishers run giveaways in their monthly/weekly email newsletters. If you are a member of CILIP then you can sign up for membership with the Youth Libraries Group – their monthly newsletter has some of the best giveaways I have ever seen.

With regard to social media giveaways (particularly twitter) it is considered bad form in some quarters to run a competition account – basically having it solely for giveaways and competitions. I have found (with twitter) that the friendships I have made, the links I have built and networking opportunities I have gained far outweigh the competitions I have won (but I will not deny they have been really good).

Freecycle
The UK Library Freecycle group is still very new but over time will grow into a clearing house for librarians and libraries looking to get rid of things that others will have a use for.
https://groups.freecycle.org/group/LibraryUK

All the World’s a Story: the CILIP School Libraries Group Conference

CILIP’s SLG the School Libraries Group has organised their National conference to take place from the 27th to the 29th April.

To find out what is on the programme and to download a booking form visit the SLG blog here:

All the World’s a Story: the CILIP School Libraries Group Conference 2018

Mobile Library Library Mobile

Just over two years ago I created a Mobile Library Library Mobile for my daughter’s bedroom, I always meant to make it available on here but with one thing and another I never got round to doing that. Today that has changed, you may now download the mobile below the two pics of the original in action.



This is an A3 version and is slightly changed from the original design. Early tests showed that while creating a mobile using standard photocopy paper is doable, for a more long-lasting version card works better. Please feel free to add additional library-related things to hang from the mobile and if you do please feel free to share pictures.

Download (PDF, 669KB)

Teen Librarian Monthly January 2018

Download (PDF, 666KB)

Cliff McNish’s Creative Writing Guides

Best-selling author Cliff McNish contacted me in November last year offering free downloads of his creative writing guides for readers of TeenLibrarian. I decided to hold on to them until January as I did not want them to get lost in the run up to Christmas.

So if you work with young people who love writing then download these and use them to spur the best-selling authors of tomorrow on ot new heights of creative excellence!

Download (PDF, 318KB)

Download (PDF, 315KB)

Download (PDF, 484KB)

Download (PDF, 447KB)

Download (PDF, 801KB)

Download (PDF, 350KB)

Do Librarians Hate Volunteers?

I write this as I have been noticing an increase in accusations of hatred made against Librarians by Volunteer Library organisations recently, I have had this charge levelled against myself and several of my peers and friends have experienced this as well.

so in answer to the question Do Librarians Hate Volunteers?

The short answer: No!

The longer answer:

Volunteers have formed an essential part of the library ecosystem for years now, working alongside librarians and library workers, volunteers assist with programmes that would be difficult if not impossible to run without their involvement. Library staff appreciate the work done by volunteers in libraries and continue to do so.

Where librarians and activists have a problem is local authorities off-loading library provision on community volunteers as this is cheating the people they work for, as public libraries are a statutory service and are paid for through taxes – basically volunteers are forced into running for a service they have already paid for and while some volunteer libraries still fall under the aegis of the local authority and are able to give the library users access to online information provision and catalogue use, many others do not -effectively robbing the people in the library catchment area of a service they already pay for.

Volunteer libraries also create what amounts to a postcode lottery, depriving poorer communities of a library as many people are already making a choice between eating or the heating often cannot stretch themselves to volunteering.

We do not want to close any libraries but once a public library has been cut off from the local authority and handed over to volunteer organisations it is lost, as once austerity is done there is little chance that councils will have the will to reopen libraries or take back ones they have already given away.

It is important for areas that have community-groups that support libraries to resist governmental moves to close libraries as this sends the message that the amateurisation of the service is not a viable solution, a number of councils in the face of sustained campaigning have retained their libraries.

There is also concern about the long-term sustainability of volunteer-run libraries, this is not a criticism but rather a serious question as to what will happen after five or 10 years of constant fund-raising and soliciting donations which may lead to giving fatigue this also dovetails with my previous point about communities being double-charged for a service they have already paid for.

The Wikipedia Library One Librarian One Reference Project 2018 #1Lib1Ref

Starting today and running until 3rd February, Wikipedia is hoping to entice Librarians into helping them make their online encyclopaedia more accurate by adding one reference to an article to help it become more reliable then adding #1Lib1Ref in the edit summary to help them track participation.

How to Participate: Five Basic Steps

  • Find an article that needs a citation. There are many ways to do this. Here are some strategies.
  • Filling a “Citation Needed” using Citation Hunt
  • Finding an article with sourcing problems
  • Select an article while browsing
  • Cite a source from your collection or research
  • Find a reliable source that can support that article
  • Add a citation using Wikipedia Style. Click here to learn about adding citations and editing Wikipedia
  • Add the project hashtag #1Lib1Ref in the Wikipedia Edit Summary
  • Share your edit on social media and learn more about libraries and Wikipedia. Grab a userbox for your user page if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • For full details, links to start pages and more information visit:
    https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/The_Wikipedia_Library/1Lib1Ref to sign up and help them out!

    Coram Voice’s creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers returns #Voices2018

    Coram Voice is excited to announce the return of ‘Voices’, its national writing competition for children in care and young care leavers, for a third year running. The competition is open for entries until 8 February 2018.

    Coram Voice, a charity that provides a range of services for children and young people in and around the care system, first launched the competition in 2016 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.

    Research conducted with previous Voices shortlisted entrants found that participation in the competition had inspired them to write more, allowed them to be recognised for their talents and for some, even helped them to come to terms with being in care.

    The theme of this year’s competition is Who or What Makes You Proud and entries can be submitted online at coramvoice.org.uk/voices18 in any written form including poems, short stories, raps and newspaper articles with a 500 word limit. The competition is grouped in four age categories: primary school, lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-18) and care leavers.

    The entries for Voices 2018 will be judged by a panel of experts, each with personal experience of, or a special interest in the care system including:

  • Jackie Long, Social Affairs Editor for Channel 4 News
  • Lucy Spraggan, singer-songwriter, and newly approved foster carer
  • Ashley John-Baptiste, BBC reporter and producer
  • Jenny Molloy, author of ‘Hackney Child’
  • Mr Gee, spoken word artist
  • Lola Jaye, author of ‘Orphan Sisters’
  • Lisa Cherry, author of ‘The Brightness of Stars’
  • Dreadlock Alien, slam and performance poet
  • The winner of each category will receive a tablet and £100 shopping vouchers, and will be announced by the judges at an awards ceremony in London on 9 April 2018.

    One of the judges, Lola Jaye commented: I know that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we can understand each other’s unique experiences. That’s why I am so pleased to judge Voices 2018, a competition that amplifies the voices of young people in the care system and gives them a platform to tell the world their stories. I can’t wait to read what they produce and celebrate their achievements.

    One young person who previously entered Voices said: The competition is a safe opportunity to share your personal story – it’s a wonderful way to embrace your history and yourself” and another added “to put what you feel on a piece of paper is quite therapeutic.

    Another previous entrant commented: It can be the start of a journey… it opens up new opportunities and also shows people the potential you have.

    Voices 2018 is open for entries until 8 February 2018. For more information about the competition and how to enter, please visit coramvoice.org.uk/voices18.

    Reading Poster

    Click on the image to download an A3 .pdf copy of the poster