Category Archives: Advice

So you want to attend/organize a protest?

Here are some things that you ought to read before participating:

How to Protest Safely: What to Bring, What to Do, and What to Avoid (Wired)

ACLU:

Rights of Protesters

Know Your Rights

Students’ rights: Speech, Walkouts and Other Protests

Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests

ACLU Cut & Fold: Know your Rights

American Friends Service Committee:

Protest Resources

Constitutional Protest Guide (Georgetown Law):

Protests & Public Safety: A Guide for Cities & Citizens

Right to Protest:

Protect your Protest

Human Rights Campaign:

Tips for Protesting Peacefully & Safely

Ten Ways to Build a Brilliant Brain

A fun and practical guide to making your brain brilliant, from well-being expert Nicola Morgan.

Build a brilliant brain with this fun and practical guide for young people from award-winning well-being expert Nicola Morgan. From the benefits of the right food, sleep and exercise, to how to be creative, curious and resilient, discover the incredible science and top advice to make your brain the best it can be. Packed with fascinating facts and brain boosting activities, this illustrated guide gives you the power to build your brilliant brain!

Walker Books

Ten ways your brain is different from the person’s sitting next to you

By Nicola Morgan

One of the most important things a human has to learn is that everyone else is both the same as and different from them. Our brains are wired the same as every human’s for hundreds of thousands of years but we have different psychologies and personalities, influences and experiences, different biology, and so we will not always think, feel, behave or react the same as another person in the same situations. Knowing that is the basis of empathy and of how we make our way through our world.

What are ten specific differences to be aware of as you think about the person sitting next to you?

1. Genes

Our genetic make-up makes each of us literally unique, including in the detail of our brain. We don’t know exactly what the genetic effect is in a given situation but we know it’s there and for some things more strongly than others. For example, we know that dyslexia often has some genetic link.

2. Age

Age makes a difference. Obviously, if the person sitting next to you is two, or 102, and you’re 42, their brain is not the same as yours. And there are biological stages of development that make a typical 12-year-old teenage brain different from both a typical two-year-old brain or a typical 19-year-old or 40-year-old brain. There are some things that older brains can do better than younger brains and vice versa. And we all age differently, too, depending on genes and lifestyle, amongst other things.

3. Past experiences

Everything that happens stamps its mark on our brain and changes us in ways big or small. A significant, perhaps memorable, experience can directly affect how we act later. Someone praising us or not praising us can make a difference to our confidence – we might not remember the original moment but it will leave its mark. No two people have identical experiences.

4. Neuro-divergence

The person sitting next to you might have a neuro-divergence. It could be dyslexia or dyspraxia, ADHD or colour-blindness. Whatever it is, it makes their brain different from yours – even if you also have the same neuro-divergence. No two are really the same even if they have the same name!

5. How time has been spent

The brain of a person who has spent a lot of time playing the violin is physically different from the brain of someone who spent the same amount of time reading books. What we spend time on changes our brain.

6. Introversion/extroversion

Introversion/extroversion is widely regarded as a largely fixed personality trait. It’s a fascinating topic and when I give INSET talks in schools it’s usually the bit that teachers are most intrigued about as it impacts learning so much. It’s not about shyness but a biological level of sensitivity to stimuli, especially when people are the stimuli. Understanding the introverted nature of the people around you will really give you insight into their experience of the world.

7. Type A/B

Another personality aspect is to do with reaction to goals, ambition, success. Type A people are fiercely competitive and beat themselves up when they don’t come top; Type Bs are more laidback and are better at switching off. Their brains behave differently.

8. Support network and friendships

Our mental strength is very much affected and changed by support from the people around us. Do we have people who make us feel confident, people we can go to with a problem or doubt, who we can share success and excitement with? Each friend and connection is part of us and changes us – and therefore our brain.

9. Optimism

Optimism is not a fixed personality trait but more a mindset or learned behaviour. But how optimistic someone is (at the moment) will profoundly affect how they behave or react and whether they go for opportunities. And optimistic or pessimistic thoughts are formed in and by our brains. You can train your brain to think and behave more optimistically and in doing so change your neural pathways. Check out my ‘Pathways exercise’ on my website – or ask me to speak to your staff about building positive neural pathways.

10. Luck

There’s so much we can each control in our lives – and that’s what I focus on, teaching people of all ages that their brains can be ‘in their hands’. But there’s also a lot we can’t control. We should spend very little time thinking about that but it’s worth recognising that a lot that makes our brains how they are is down to luck. Knowing that helps us not be judgmental.

I don’t know who’s sitting next to you. I don’t know you. But I know that your two brains are different in fascinating ways. You could, if you wished and if it is appropriate, start to talk to them and get to know them. Then you’ll know a bit more about what is in their brains – you’ll find similarities and differences. You still won’t know exactly what is going on in their brain, but the endless quest to get closer and closer to the mind of another person is what connects us. It’s pretty much the whole meaning of life – not to feel alone but to be at peace with the brain inside our own head as well as the ones nearby.

Nicola Morgan, aka The Teenage Brain Woman, is an award-winning author and speaker on many areas of well-being and learning. Her best-selling examination of the teenage brain, Blame My Brain, was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize; the prize-winning Teenage Guide to Stress, along with The Teenage Guide to Friends, Positively Teenage, Life Online, Body Brilliant, The Awesome Power of Sleep and Be Resilient, underline Nicola’s unparalleled expertise. In 2018, she was awarded the SLA’s prestigious award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books. She used to be a teenage novelist and one day will be again. Her new book is TEN WAYS TO BUILD A BRILLIANT BRAIN, published by Walker Books. www.nicolamorgan.com

Online Story Times, Copyright and Fair Use/Fair Dealing

Story-times are one of the greatest selling points of libraries all over the world. When the coronavirus quarantine started in 2020 story-times were among the first programs shifted to an online format.

It is a long-held view that live readings of story-time books in libraries are legal, thanks largely to the Fair Use doctrine in US copyright law, and Fair Dealing in UK law.

Fair Use (USA)

Fair Use describes uses of copywritten works by entities other than the copyright holder in quantities, means or purposes that do not infringe on the rights of the copyright holder.

Under section 107 0f the Copyright Act (Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use) in order to perform, utilize, or reproduce a copyrighted work and be covered by the “Fair Use” exemption, the use must meet four (4) criteria:

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

~Public Library story-times are always non-profit & educational,

The nature of the copyrighted work

~The work used is (generally) a picture story book – which is meant to be used by or for certain age groups, and (generally) are meant to be read aloud

The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

~The nature and purpose of the work is meant to be read from start to finish. In most cases the entirety of the work is used in a story-time.

The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

~Story-time does not have a detrimental effect on the marketability of the work. In most cases, story-time books highlight those works and increase marketability.

Fair Dealing (UK)

A statutory definition for fair dealing does not exist; it will always be a matter of fact, degree and interpretation in every fair use case. The Intellectual Property Office lists the key factors used to determine the validity of whether a particular dealing with a work is fair as follows:

Has the use of the work impacted negatively on the market for the original work? If the creator or owner has lost potential revenue through the re-use of their work, it is not likely to be fair.

~Story-time does not have a detrimental effect on the marketability of the work. In most cases, story-time books highlight those works and increase marketability.

In the UK authors & illustrators are compensated through the Public Lending Right scheme. Each time a book is borrowed by a library worker for story-time it contributes towards the amount that registered authors & illustrators receive each year through PLR.

Was it reasonable and necessary to use the amount of work that was taken?

~The nature and purpose of the work is meant to be read from start to finish. In most cases the entirety of the work is used in a story-time.

The rights to making a video or audio recording of a story are set out explicitly in law as belonging to the copyright holder.

The current theory is that like in-person story-times, live (unrecorded) online story-times are ephemeral and also covered by fair use.

To date there has been no official legal precedent that supports this theory.

At present most publishers in the US, UK and elsewhere have temporarily relaxed copyright restrictions (with a number of caveats) to allow libraries and educational institutions to offer pre-recorded and live online story-times.

Once the threat of Covid has receded, many libraries may look at keeping a reduced virtual story-time offer in conjunction with their in-person ones for patrons who are unable to visit a physical branch; when this starts happening a wide-ranging discussion about this and copyright will begin in earnest.

Resources:

Section 107 of the Copyright Act (USA): https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

Fair Use Copyright Explained: https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/articles/fair-use-copyright-explained

Public Lending Right: https://www.bl.uk/plr/about-us

Silence is Not an Option

Silence is Not an Option is the first book by Stuart Lawrence – the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence who tragically died in an unprovoked attack on 22 April 1993. The book is interspersed with reflections on his brother Stephen’s life and murder as well as the tools that have helped him live positively and kept him moving forwards when times have been tough. An inspiring read directed at younger readers (aged 10 +) Stuart’s aim is to use his
own experience to help young people – to help all people – find their own voice, stand up for change, and contribute towards creating a more positive society.
Stuart is determined to ensure that children today understand the impact of their actions against others and the importance of inclusion through teaching tolerance and celebrating difference. He has a background in education – working as a teacher for over 15 years – and is now a motivational speaker and youth engagement specialist. Stuart is also a mentor for several young people in the South London area.
Since his brother’s death, Stuart and his family have had a huge impact on the change of attitude towards racism within British society. Their story is still as impactful and important today.

Scholastic

This is a great book to read slowly. It gives the reader practical activities in each chapter, to really think about themselves and how they can impact those around them, before moving onto the next chapter. It is for independent reading and reflection, but could also prompt some brilliant discussions between young people if shared with a group. Chapters range from the influence of role models (Stuart discusses meeting Nelson Mandela) to championing yourself and others. Stuart is incredibly busy, but I just asked him to quickly recommend some books for teenagers to help them understand their place in the world and how to contribute positively:

– Black and British by David Olusoga (I’ve read the abridged “short history” version for younger readers and it is brilliantly fascinating)

– This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany  Jewell (another full of practical advice)

– Everyone Versus Racism by Patrick Hutchinson

– No Win Race: A Story of Belonging, Britishness and Sport by Derek A Bardowell

Scholastic also allowed me to share this excerpt from chapter 3: YOU ARE IN CONTROL:

SELF-CONTROL

After losing my brother Stephen, I really had to learn self-control. Suddenly, my family and I were in the newspapers and on the TV. A lot of the time, the public were being misinformed about our story. I was so angry that my brother was being portrayed as a gang member and a drug dealer, when he was an A-level student aspiring to become an architect.

However, I had to control myself, because lashing out would only affect my family and my brother’s case negatively. It didn’t mean I didn’t speak out, but I had to exercise self-control in the way I handled the situation. I had to be calm and composed, even though I didn’t feel like it.

What is Self-control? Having self-control means being able to manage your decisions, emotions and behaviours so that you can achieve your goals. This skill is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom!

Self-control is rooted in the front part of our brains, in an area called the prefrontal cortex. This is the planning, problem-solving and decision-making centre of the brain. Did you know that this part of the brain is much larger in humans than it is in other mammals? This area of our brain acts differently at different stages of our lives. For example, teenagers are more likely to act on impulse or to misunderstand their emotions than older people. As much as you might not want to believe us adults and feel like you are an exception to the rule, these are scientific facts!

You can only control yourself. For example, let’s say you are trying out to become the captain of the school netball team and, unfortunately, you aren’t picked for the role. Instead of sulking, getting angry or upset, you show good sportsmanship and shake the hand of your competitor. In doing this, you use your self-control. You are unable to control the situation but you are able to control your reaction and that is what is important. Don’t forget, it’s always useful to get feedback so that you can improve and win next time.

About the author: Stuart Lawrence is the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence, the young man who, on 22 April 1993, at the age of just 18, was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. Stuart is an educator and motivational speaker, dedicated to helping to transform the life chances of young people.

Stephen Lawrence Day is held on 22 April each year to commemorate Stephen’s life.
Follow the journey: #SilenceIsNotAnOption Insta @hon_stuartlawrence Twitter @sal2nd

SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION is published today by Scholastic.

With thanks for sending me a review copy

The Awesome Power of Sleep

The essential guide to sleep from award-winning teenage well-being expert Nicola Morgan, author of bestselling Blame My BrainThe Teenage Guide to Stress and The Teenage Guide to Friends.

Late nights, addictive technology and minds racing with exam stress and friendship worries: it’s no wonder the teenage stereotype is tired eyes and sleeping through the weekend. Just like adults, teenagers are sleeping less now than ever before, yet sleep is crucial to our health and well-being. Internationally renowned expert on the teenage brain, Nicola Morgan, tackles this essential subject – asking why teenagers so desperately need a good night’s sleep, exploring what a lack of sleep does to their developing brains, and explaining how to have the best sleep possible. Authoritative, accessible and informed by the latest scientific evidence, Nicola Morgan writes a fascinating and helpful guide for both teenagers and adults alike.

Walker Books

Nicola Morgan has written extensively about the teenage brain and mental health, and this, her latest book, focusses on the science of sleep. Now, I go through life feeling tired, thinking that there’s nothing I can do about it as it is all down to being woken up most nights by a restless child, but THE AWESOME POWER OF SLEEP reminded me that there are so many things I can do about it…and I’m trying! Less screens in the evening (she typed, on a screen, just before bedtime…), less alcohol and caffeine, more deep breathing and stretches – I really do think everyone could get something out of reading this book.

Nicola wrote this piece for Teen Librarian (any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental):

In which I become a little bit bossy (to adults) about sleep

While I was writing THE AWESOME POWER OF SLEEP, this was a common scenario when I arrived at a school to talk to teenagers about some aspect of their wellbeing.

The librarian and someone in the Senior Leadership Team – let’s call them Matt and Caroline, just for fun – greet me and we walk towards the staffroom. “What are you working on at the moment?” Matt asks, conversationally.

“Sleep,” I say. Two pairs of ears prick up. They ask for some tips.

On questioning, I discover that Caroline arrives home exhausted after work, eats some biscuits (because sugar), collapses on the sofa and falls asleep with the TV on, wakes an hour later feeling groggy, cooks a meal, has wine, does some work, goes on social media, has another glass of wine “to help me sleep” and then settles down to finish her work and answer emails before going to bed.

Matt is similar except that he isn’t allowed to fall asleep on the sofa because the house is cacophonous with family members at various stages of homework or emotional meltdown and he can’t do his emails and work until he’s in bed and everyone else is asleep. He has strong coffee to keep him awake enough to do the work. The wine still features, though. Thank goodness, he thinks. Because wine helps you sleep, doesn’t it?

Matt and Caroline have only done one thing right: created a routine. And, yes, I recommend a routine. But not like this! These are terrible routines which will wreck their sleep length and quality.

The main mistakes are:

  • Having a nap late afternoon or early evening. It’s OK (though not practical on a workday) to nap earlier but a nap after work hinders the important night sleep.
  • The second glass of wine. (Possibly the first, too, but I won’t take all your pleasures away!) Alcohol raises heartrate and we need a lower heartrate to get the benefits of deep sleep. More deep sleep happens in the first half of the night while the alcohol is still in your blood, so a huge proportion of restorative sleep is damaged.
  • Answering emails (or doing anything on screen) in the late evening – because of the light and because emails are almost never relaxing…
  • Working late at night, because it wakes your brain with adrenaline and dopamine while still making you tired. So, you are tired but alert.
  • Caffeine – but you know that.

I don’t blame Matt and Caroline for any of this! These are very natural habits for over-worked people. They are so focused on getting through the work and life stuff, thinking about the young people in their care, never having enough time to look after themselves, that they have done what busy people tend to do: take the easiest paths down the hill.

Matt and Caroline are not getting enough sleep. This negatively affects their:

  • Concentration
  • Mood
  • Appetite and food choices – sleep deprived people are hungrier and more drawn towards fatty, sugary and salty foods
  • Self-control and resistance to temptation
  • Controlling words and actions in response to emotions
  • Memory and retention of information
  • Hormones
  • Immune system
  • Mental and physical health and wellbeing in pretty much every way

Matt and Caroline need to read The Awesome Power of Sleep before a teenager gets their hands on it and starts telling them off! But what I really care about is that everyone gets better sleep because when we have better sleep we feel better and when we feel better we function better. Matt and Caroline, by looking after themselves will be better able to look after the people they care about.

So, if I seem to be critical, I’m really not. I just need to be a little bit bossy because I care! I also know what it feels like not to have enough sleep: I’ve had my baby grandson living with us for the last six months. Now, there’s a boy who’s going to need The Awesome Power of Sleep as soon as he can read!

The good news is that habits are not so difficult to break. You might need a bit of help, though, and that’s where I come in. You’ll find all the tips and explanations in my book and on my website. The main one is to create a healthy routine in the winding-down period towards sleep, avoiding the things that hinder sleep: alcohol, caffeine, stress, work, and the lights and notifications from screens.

2020 was hard on many people’s night-time rest because anxiety is one of the worst enemies of sleep. But as we enter 2021 and really need to take care of ourselves, I hope Matt and Caroline, and all the other adults working or living with young people, will sleep well: but not on the sofa after work!

Nicola Morgan, The Teenage Brain Woman, is a multi-award-winning author whose work on young brains, psychology and mental health is loved by teenagers, schools and families around the world. For someone whose last school science report said, ‘Nicola has no aptitude for science subjects’, she’s written a lot of science-based books and gained the respect of real scientists. She has been a YA novelist, English teacher and dyslexia specialist and the mother of two teenage (now grown-up) daughters. Now, when not writing and dreaming in a garden office over a valley, she keeps herself physically and mentally healthy as a passionate vegetable gardener, decent cook and determined runner.

Nicola does talks, online or in-person, for conferences, schools, parents and public audiences. She has created unique teaching materials, including videos: terrific value for schools, bringing all the benefits of repeated visits at a fraction of the cost of one!

Website: www.nicolamorgan.com

Twitter: NicolaMorgan

Insta: NicolaMorgansBrain

The Awesome Power of Sleep is out now!

Teenagers at Risk

I had no idea what to call this post but eventually settled on what it is now, the first in what wil be an irregular series of posts.

I have been thinking about how dangerous it is to be a teenager today, well since teenagers have been teenagers – too old to be kids but also too young to be considered adults and often driven to dangerous and often foolhardy acts to prove themselves.

These thoughts were brought to the top of my mind by two stories involving teenagers that have been in the news lately. the first being the body-shaming of Billie Eilish:

Billie Eilish Shares Video On ‘Real Bodies’ After Body-Shaming Tweets

and

The ongoing saga of Claudia Conway the daughter of former counselor to Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway and George Conway, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, who has been thrust into the national spotlight as a real-life version of Katniss Everdean who will have a hand in bringing down the President using social media:

15-year-old Claudia Conway broke the news of her mother’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Here’s how the teenager took over social media, from bashing Trump in TikToks to trolling her parents on Twitter.

Body-shaming is nothing new, there have been books written and movies made featuring this trope and with the ubiquity of social media and instantaneous video & text communication this has become more pernicious than ever, leading to consequences varying from leaving school to suicide. Billie Eilish has spent most of her career wearing loose, baggy clothes to prevent people from commentating on her body and the moment a paparazzi pic of her goes online she faces a barrage of body-shaming from people (adults) who should know better.

The story of Claudia Conway veers into yet more dangerous territory, when adults place the burden of saving the nation (or the world) onto the shoulders of children, thanks in no small part to the large number of dystopian young adult novels that show adults abdicating their responsibilities and leaving their children to take up arms to bring down corporations and governments.

The two teens I mentioned are high-profile individuals, the first thanks to a relatively short (so far) but phenomenally successful career as musician and singer/song-writer and the second due to having a very public falling out with her parents who are near the epicenter of power in US politics.

What freaks me out is that this is becoming normalized, with people saying things like “They should have known the risks” or explaining away the attacks as being part and parcel of life in the public eye. It has not escaped my notice that these two examples are both young women, thanks to the inherent sexism of the world in which we live women usually bear the brunt of attacks. That is not to say that men are immune, teenage boys are facing increased risks of body shaming and internalized body dysmorphia.

What can we do to combat this? Watch what we say and challenge friends and colleagues who place the burden for saving the world onto the next generation, it is not up to them to fix our errors and problems, we have to start doing that if we have not already. It is up to us as adults and responsible human beings to prevent children from becoming child soldiers; while it may be exciting to read about teens taking up arms to defend a world that has failed them, these works often gloss over the toll fighting and killing can take on a person’s psyche and afterwards, the dangers living with PTSD can bring.

That is not to say that we need to stop stocking such books, but we must remember that fiction is just that – fiction, and while it is exciting, we must not use such materials as guides for the future, but rather warnings of what could happen if we let it.

A Parent’s Guide to Black Lives Matter

Yoopies UK the childcare platform, has put together a family-friendly resource guide for parents about the Black Lives Matter movement from a British perspective; with contributions from both white and BAME writers.

This guide shares resources (films, podcasts, books etc), advice, and tips to ensure that children are aware of racial inequality, racial hierarchies, and white privilege present in modern-day society, as well as share some knowledge to help combat racism today.

The guide can be downloaded here:

https://yoopies.co.uk/c/press-releases/blacklivesmatter

Self-care Reading List

Librarians & library workers need to practice self-care as we focus on adapting the work we do around stay at home orders and mandatory closures for the coronavirus. It is a stressful time for everyone and burnout is another very real threat! I personally am very bad at self care so I have been reading up on how to do this! These are some of the websites I have found useful in this regard:

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/self-care-not-selfish/

https://floridalibrarywebinars.org/self-care-protecting-yourself-and-others-from-burnout/

https://schoollibrariansunited.libsyn.com/burnout-and-self-care

https://hacklibraryschool.com/2014/12/17/a-librarians-approach-to-self-care/

Anti Knife Crime Fiction and Resources Lists

Knife crime soared by almost a quarter last year in Britain amid warnings that the reduction in stop and search is fuelling violence on the streets…the police recorded just under 40,000 offences involving a knife in the year ending December 2017 – which was up 22 per cent on the previous year.
~https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/26/latest-crime-statistics-reveal-knife-crime-soaring-stop-search/

Violent crime in England and Wales is rising at an accelerating pace, according to police figures showing a 22% increase in knife crime 
~https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/26/surge-in-knife-offences-fuels-rise-in-violent

The news about knife crime in the UK has been on my mind for a while now, Libraries (both school and public) are well-placed to offer links to information and resources for library uses of all ages. The lists I have compiled are a beginning so if anyone knows of other books or has links to resources not listed below, please leave a message in the comments.

Below is a list of YA fiction titles that about crime and violence involving bladed weapons.

When I Was Joe Keren David
When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he’s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image – life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe’s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own.

Hello Mum Bernardine Evaristo
“It’s a hot summer afternoon. Tension is in the air. A gang of youths on bikes gathers outside a chip shop. A teenage boy is stabbed and left bleeding on the street. The boy’s mother wonders how this could have happened to her son. She is full of questions, but when the answers lie so close to home, are they really what she wants to hear?”

The Deepest Cut Natalie Flynn
Adam blames himself for his best friend’s death. After attempting suicide, he is put in the care of a local mental health facility. There, too traumatized to speak, he begins to write notebooks detailing the events leading up to Jake’s murder, trying to understand who is really responsible and cope with how needless it was as a petty argument spiralled out of control and peer pressure took ho

The Knife that Killed Me Anthony McGowan
Paul Varderman could be at any normal school – bullies, girls and annoying teachers are just a part of life. Unfortunately ‘normal’ doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s most evil bully, Roth, a twisted and threatening thug with an agenda quite unlike anyone else. When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but when Roth hands him a knife it both empowers him and scares him at the same time .

The Knife of Never Letting Go Patrick Ness
Imagine you’re the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don’t fit in with their plans…
Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run…

Crossing the Line Gillian Phillip
Nick Geddes’s life is a mess. His sister’s boyfriend was killed in a school stabbing. His grandmother is descending into a world of her own, his mother has a ‘god-slot’ on local radio, and his father is drinking way too much. But that is nothing, because he is also crazy in love with Orla, the sister of the boy who has been killed.

Dead Boy Talking Linda Strachan
Josh has 25 minutes left to live.Lying alone in a pool of blood, Josh hasn’t much time to think.Yesterday he stabbed his best mate, and now it’s happened to him.But there are questions he can’t get out of his head. Like how did he get into this mess? Will anyone find him in time? Will his girlfriend forgive him, and what really happened to his older brother?As his life slips away, the events of the last 24 hours start to look very different…

The Passenger Dan Tunstall
Mikey’s trainers are box-fresh Nikes. They’re as white as new snow. White leather, white laces, white soles. But something on the right shoe catches my eye. It’s a tiny circle. The size of a five-pence piece. It’s bright, bright red. Blood.

Teacher’s Dead Benjamin Zephaniah
A teacher is dead, murdered by two of his students in front of the whole school. Right in front of Jackson Jones.
But Mr Joseph was a good man people liked him, respected him. How could those boys stab him and jog away like nothing had happened’
Unable to process what he has seen, Jackson begins his own investigation- everyone knows who did it, but as Jackson uncovers more about the boys, he becomes convinced that people need to understand why.

No More Knives or County Lines Christina Gabbitas & Evie Hurst

A comic strip style story about a group of friends groomed into county lines who suffer the consequences of carrying a knife.

Knife Crime Resource Links

Safety Box Knife Prevention

The Ben Kinsella Trust

Red Cross Knife Crime Teaching Resources

Teen Knife Crime booklet

Say No 2 Knives

No Knives Better Lives Resources

Knife Crimes Young People & Teachers’ Resources

First Aid

Red Cross: how do you help a stabbing victim?

How to help someone who has been stabbed or is seriously bleeding

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 for 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.io/g/SLN

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

TeenLibrarian also has a range of downloadable posters, take a look here:

here: http://teenlibrarian.co.uk/category/posters/  

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