#GreatSchoolLibraries Campaign is officially launched!

I hope that most of you noticed that this wonderful Campaign was launched yesterday, 20th September 2018.  I was certainly busy on Twitter with it!

Most of you know that with my other hat on I am Chair of CILIP’s School Libraries Group, and in this capacity I am on the team that launched this initiative.  Working in partnership with Alison Tarrant of the School Library Association and with other partners, we have started a three year campaign with the objective of raising the profile of school libraries with the government, Ofsted and educational professionals everywhere.  Our aim is to get them to realise the value that a school library brings. and therefore to properly fund them where they exist, and put them back in schools where they have been taken out.

To this end, we would value your help!  We have a data collecting team who is compiling a lot of information to prove the value that we bring.  If you could help us by sending us a case study (or two!) on how you have made a difference to teaching and learning.  I am attaching a template here, and an exemplar case study for you to look at.  If you need any further help with this, please contact me on this page and I will put you in touch with someone on the team who can help.

On the website you will also find two wonderful posters to put up in your library, and an exercise for your students to do as well, celebrating your library and what it means to them.  You can send pictures of these to us – send them to me and I will put them on the page.

Let’s celebrate our #GreatSchoolLibraries!  Please tweet about your successes using that hashtag, and let’s make this three year Campaign make a difference!

Draft guide and template

Case study example

#GreatSchoolLibraries – a great campaign!

With my other ‘hat’ on, Chair of CILIP School Libraries Group, I am really proud to tell you about the new campaign backed by CILIP that was launched at our 2018 Conference.  The Great School Libraries campaign was launched by CEO Nick Poole in his opening speech. Working closely together with the SLA – School Librarians Association – CILIP, CILIPSLG and SLA are campaigning for the end of the closures of school libraries all over the UK.  Not only that but we would like to go further and we are stating that every secondary school should have a professionally staffed, fully funded library.  Please follow the link to register your support for this campaign, and to watch the presentation to see how we hope to achieve this together.

How the library supports students in a Hampshire school

Jo tells us of her work in promoting wellbeing in her school.

I wanted to share some work I have done regarding wellbeing for Students with other librarians as I am aware this is a growing area of concern for schools, which may fall within our gifts to support.

I’ve been in my role as Library Assistant at a large Hampshire secondary school since the end of September, when I changed careers having spent a few years at home with my young daughter. I’ve learnt so much about working with teenagers and in a school but have so much more to learn!

I was originally asked to host an assembly for every year group at our large secondary school , providing an outline of how the library can support them. Feeling fairly confident of what I would say to the lower years who are much more engaged with reading than the older GCSE years, I wondered what was the best angle to approach it from that felt interesting and relevant to the students. So I created a very short anonymous survey and asked the following questions:

– what is important to their friends right right now?
-what is exciting their friends?
-what are the challenges facing their friends?

I pitched it from the ‘friends’ angle to enable students to be more likely to open up about others than themselves. Distributing the survey to all in Year 10 and 11, I received many results within 24 hours that highlighted some very interesting themes, so I decided to roll the survey out to all year groups. About 80% of tutor groups completed these surveys, the results of which were very enlightening.

The main theme that ran across the year groups was the importance of ‘gaming’ – I’d never heard of Fortnite, the X-box game, before reading the survey responses but I made sure I read about it afterwards as about 60% of all surveys across the year groups mentioned this as important and exciting! Anxiety was a common thread, the ’causes’ of which differed between the year groups. Years 7-9 suggested anxiety was mainly due to navigating difficult friendships, starting to think about choosing options, and completing a lot of homework. Years 10 and 11 suggested anxiety stemmed from a pressure to achieve in their exams (self imposed or from family), coping with the amount of revision, balancing revision with hobbies, not having enough time to do everything, eating poorly, worry about starting college, and concern over what they are going to do after college. Interestingly spending too much time on phones/gaming was also cited as a cause of stress!

I took the survey results and looked at how well the library supporting the emerging themes of Wellbeing and Gaming and worked with Peters to identify a bespoke book list relevant for these themes. I also looked at the Literacy Trust’s article on GameLit which proposes a new genre, of fiction set in the same alternative realities to what users of video games experience. https://www.booktrust.org.uk/whats-happening/blogs/2018/january/5-virtual-reality-books-for-your-gaming-mad-tweens-and-teens/

I captured images of the new books that were coming in and included these in my assembly presentation, as well as creating a ‘New in the Library” display in the corridor outside the library

For Years 10 and 11 I drew upon the wisdom of Danielle Marchant, founder of the Pause retreats who had previously acted as my business coach when I was working in a senior HR role in Asia. Danielle, who had experienced burnout and set about to design the retreats that she needed but weren’t available, is the author of “Pause@ by Octopus books https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pause-press-pause-before-life/dp/1912023091 and we came up with 5 tips to Pause that were relevant for Years 10 and 11.

These included
1) Breathe – I demonstrated the different between belly breathing which we do when relaxed and fast upper body breathing that we do under stress
2)Worry Jar – the act of writing down your worries and putting them in a jar, taking the worrying thought out of your brain and onto paper helps you to question if it really is something worth worrying about, stopping your mind worrying over and over about the issue causing it to be bigger than it really is, freeing up space to concentrate on other things!
3) Importance of Blank space – allocated unstructured time to help deal with the constant busyness of their life. This also included tips on using their phones less – e.g. not charging overnight in their bedrooms, switching off devices two hours before bed and picking up a book instead, ‘see the Sky before a screen’.
4) the importance of getting outside to re-energise – whether its walking the dog, playing football with friends, going for a run or eating your lunch outside
5) Readaxation – I referred to Nicola Morgan’s work on Readaxation and positioned this as the link between the library and wellbeing. That by finding a great book they can lose themselves in will help them reach ‘flow’ and take their mind off their anxieties or exams, as well as helping them sleep if reading before bed!

I signposted the following categories of books to them:

Wellbeing

GameLit

Young Adult

Since the assemblies, the books have flown out with reservations constantly being made. The GameLit has certainly been popular with the boys, they have been shocked to find something that taps into their game playing passions!
I am also hoping to set up a ‘Thrive’ lunchtime club to support wellbeing, and am in discussions about inviting Nicola Morgan in to the school to speak to Year 10 and 11 students, as well as parents, in October as they enter the crucial GCSE years.

If you’d like to know more about the Pause, visit www.lifebydanielle.com or contact me directly.

School Librarians Network – our lifeline!

Do you belong to the internet group School Librarians Network yet?  If not, I really have to ask, why not?  SLN is a lifeline for school librarians everywhere.  Many of us are solo librarians, without anyone else to bounce ideas off, unlike teachers who have departmental colleagues to do that with.  Therefore many of us struggle on, inventing everything from scratch, creating everything and not having anyone to consult about problems that are solely library related.  Well, SLN is the answer to that!  Started by the inspirational Elizabeth Bentley more than 15 years ago – and I have certainly been a member for that long and it wasn’t new then – SLN was a Yahoo Group.  It is a safe place to bounce ideas around, ask Dewey queries, ask LMS questions, share problems and find a sympathetic ear, ask copyright questions and much, much more! SLN has a wealth of files that members can access, where generous librarians have shared displays, book lists and quizzes.  You need only to ask, and generally somebody else has done that and will share with you.

The reason why I am writing about this now – although it is always a good time to join SLN – is that Elizabeth has migrated the group from a Yahoo group to a Groups.io group instead.  This is a more reliable platform, and will give the group greater flexibility.  All of the files have been migrated too, so years of work has not been lost.  All current members were automatically migrated, but if you are reading this and are thinking that you need to belong to this inspirational community – and who wouldn’t! – then the joining details have changed.  Simply send an email to: SLN+subscribe@groups.io to join the community.  See you there!

Image courtesy of Britannica Image Quest.

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Dear Justine Greening – please save our school libraries!

Today a missive has been fired in the battle to try and halt the fast rate at which school libraries are closing.  With school budgets increasingly squeezed, it is very often that school librarians find they are suffering.  ‘Best’ case scenario is that the school library finds that it has no operating budget, and so pupils are left without access to the latest and best children’s books, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal books.  Worst case, the library is closed, or they make the librarian redundant and let the ‘library’ stumble on as a room full of books.  For of course, as we all know, a room full of books doesn’t become a library until and unless it has a skilled practitioner at the helm.  And a budget!

Former school librarian, author, and past CILIP President Dawn Finch had had enough.  After one particularly poignant tweet she decided to contact Nick Poole, the CEO of CILIP, and together they drafted a letter to Justine Greening.  As Chair of CILIP’s School Libraries Group I was also contacted, and was very proud to be a signatory to the letter.  At about five yesterday there were about 20 signatures.  Just before he went into a meeting Nick Poole tweeted that he wondered if any more authors would like to join in and sign.  When he turned his phone on after the meeting. Nick said ‘twitter had melted!‘ By the time the letter was published this morning, there were 150 signatures.  But authors have continued to tweet their support, and so the list of those who support school libraries is growing. The Bookseller also wrote a great piece in support of the cause.

The letter has now been sent to Justine Greening, and you can read the full text of it here.  There is so much more to add – as others have pointed out, we haven’t even touched on the role that librarians play in digital literacy yet, or in wellbeing.  But first things first!

There is also a hashtag going around called #schoollibrariesmatter. Please tweet using this hashtag.  Follow @NickPoole1 @dawnafinch and @CILIPSLG to retweet all the wonderful replies.  Let’s give this legs!

Finally, for a piece of work connected to this, Nick Poole has asked me to collect data around the running costs of STATE school libraries.  Please could you add your data to this Google Document. It is completely anonymous – all we want is Salary+budget  and County.  If more than one librarian included in that salary please indicate, and if zero budget please indicate too.

Thank you all!

 

UKEd nomination for best Educational blog!

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I am proud to announce that Heart of the School has been nominated as one of the best Educational Blogs in 2016!  This is in UKEd Magazine, and the blog is featured alongside teacher’s blogs.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed stories to Heart – all your hard work has been acknowledged!  Please do keep your contributions coming in – everything from lessons you teach on information literacy to displays you put up.  It is really important to show the breadth of things that school librarians do – we don’t just stamp books, we have a vital role to play in educating children.  If you wish to read the UKEd magazine with the nomination in, then you can download it from here.  Thank you everyone – and keep it coming!  We passionately want to show that school librarians make a difference to every school!

Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

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The Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award is a joint venture between the School Library Association and the CILIP School Libraries Group. As well as promoting the work and achievements of pupils within their school libraries, work which involves dedication and commitment but which often goes unnoticed and unrewarded, it also highlights the benefits and values of the school librarian.

Do you have a pupil librarian who could become the Pupil Librarian of the Year 2017?

Someone who is reliable, volunteers regularly and who has made a difference to the library, being a role model for others?

Someone who is an example of the synergy between a school library and the pupils?

Why not nominate them?

Watch out for more details when the award opens on September 19th

The award is supported by a number of leading children’s books publishers and the company, Authors Aloud UK, and judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

For further information including nomination forms, contact details and sponsorship: http://libpupilaward.wixsite.com/home

About the CILIP School Libraries Group

The School Libraries Group (SLG) of CILIP affirms that school libraries and school library services are fundamental to the development of a literate population able to participate fully in a thriving democracy, culture, civilization and economy. www.cilip.org.uk/slg

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.  Website: www.sla.org.uk

Cutting the posts of all School Librarians in Argyll and Bute

School Librarians across the UK have always looked to Scotland as an example of best practice.  In Scotland, for years, all school libraries had to be overseen by a chartered school librarian, and were well stocked.  Unlike England, where professional qualifications were less and less valued, and the cheapest option often held sway – often with libraries closing altogether.  Well, no longer.  Argyll and Bute have now decided to do away with ALL of their school librarian posts – but not to worry, they have decided to keep their hanging baskets and municipal flower beds instead.  The towns will carry on looking pretty whilst the children lose a valuable educational resource – so that’s all right then, isn’t it? Children in Argyll and Bute will now be educationally disadvantaged compared to their peers in the rest of Scotland. If like me, you think this is certainly NOT all right, please protest.  Write to the council, and please do sign this petition to Save Scotland’s School Libraries.

Being Me – book resource pack around being different

SLG logoThe CILIP School Libraries Group have produced another excellent book pack, following on from the World War One resource pack.  This time the theme is ‘Being Me’, and it centres around difference and disability.  The books cover a wide range of subjects, with questions and exercises suitable for all reading groups.  Primary as well as secondary books are included, as well as poetry.  SLG members can download the pack for free from the CILIPSLG website here; non members (and members) can buy a beautifully produced pack at a very reasonable price. Details on the flyer here.  Please contact Sarah Masters   for more details.