Category Archives: School Libraries

“Every secondary school in the UK should have a good library” – call by MPs and Peers

A new report by Westminster politicians calls for every child in the UK to have a good library in their secondary school.

The Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group’s report calls for the Department for Education to start collecting figures about the number of schools that have a library and librarian, and for Ofsted to look at school library provision when they inspect a school. It is vital that all schools have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfil their potential and to contribute to the success of the UK economy, says the report, The Beating Heart of the School.

See more at: http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/news/every-secondary-school-uk-should-have-good-library-call-mps-and-peers#sthash.mB72Iu5Y.dpuf

Three Years a School Librarian

In all the excitement over the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards, coming to the end of another school year and the Football World Cup I overlooked the fact that this June is my third anniversary as a School Librarian.

For the eight years prior to this momentous month three years ago I had been (mostly) a Teen & Youth Services Librarian, with a bit of Reference, Adult Services and team management thrown in for good measure. Then the public services cuts started, at this point I was in Brent, a borough that cut its already tightly run library service into the bone. I was the first casualty in Brent and one of the first librarians in London to get the chop, the only upside to being at the front of the line was I could see what was coming and had six months to scramble for a new job before the axe came down.

I interviewed for 12 positions in six months and did well but not well enough in most.

It was in the final interview I went to that got me the call-back to run a library lesson on Anne Frank and biographies which went brilliantly until I turned round and realised that the computer that was running the powerpoint display I was using had downloaded an update and rebooted itself, it was Windows Vista so took about 20 minutes to sort itself out. I had decided not to wait for the reboot went on with the lesson using and got the kids to look at specific titles.

I left, convinced that I had blown it and cursed Microsoft products under my breath.

The lesson was a week before my post in Brent came to an end and I felt the breath of doom on my neck. My last day of work was on a Monday and on the Tuesday morning I was unemployed. I received a phone-call around midday on the Tuesday offering the post of School Librarian.

Three years later I am still here!

I have restocked the library, discarded ancient and unsuitable stock, physically removed broken bookshelves, organised about 25 author visits, gotten to know an entire schools worth of students (& staff), participated in two pantomimes and run an ongoing series of weekly lessons for years 7, 8 & 9 as well as all the other things that happen in a library but are usually handled by other teams.

I have learned a lot – how to survive being a solo practitioner, partnership working with school departments and new (to me) outside agencies.

One thing I did not have to do was learning this alone! There is a brilliant School Librarians Network who helped me and continue to do so and Librarians are some of the most avid & helpful Twitter users that I know and they guided me through the early stages of my new career path.

This summer my library is receiving a comprehensive refurbishment from the ground up – carpet, chairs, tables, a new coat of paint and an enhanced IT offer (five new computers).

I am looking forward to my fourth year and have started working on new educational resources to use in the new school year.
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The Impact of School Libraries on Learning

A considerable body of international evidence shows that school libraries impact on:

  • Higher test or exam scores equating to academic attainment: this includes academic attainment in the form of higher standardised test scores in reading, language arts, history and maths, and better grades in curriculum assignments or exams;
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  • Successful curriculum or learning outcomes, including information literacy: this includes higher quality project work, the development and practice of information literacy, increased knowledge and reading development;
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    and
     

  • Positive attitudes towards learning: including increased motivation, improved attitude towards learning tasks, self-esteem, and wider reading for pleasure.
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    http://www.scottishlibraries.org/storage/sectors/schools/SLIC_RGU_Impact_of_School_Libraries_2013.pdf

    Canadian Learning Commons book

    The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada at the annual CLA National Conference and Trade Show in Victoria, BC, on Friday, May 30th, 2014. This publication presents a model for the development and implementation of the school library as a library learning commons. It provides educators with a common set of standards of practice for moving forward. CLA President Marie DeYoung stated that the organization considers this publication as a “definitive learning support that is critical for all Canadian schools.”

    http://clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/llsop.pdf