School Librarians lobby Parliament!


The day finally came – the day that school librarians in the UK lobbied Parliament about making school libraries statutory, and inspected by Ofsted (thus ensuring that schools had libraries and librarians). School Librarians in Scotland lobbied their Parliament on Saturday 27th, as they were not on half term this week, and School Librarians in the rest of the UK lobbied Parliament on 29th October.  It was a momentous day, with authors joining the lobby, and even Guardian books tweeting about the day.  Those who couldn’t go tweeted about the day, and showed their support.  To read a Storify of these tweets, go to this link:  Not every tweet from the day was there, as many of them were asking for support, but the story of the day in tweets and pictures is there.  As you can see from the tweets, some good stuff was done with MP’s, and some promises made.  It is not too late to contact your MP and ask to meet him in surgery, or just put your point over in a letter.  As many MP’s around the country should be contacted – we need to ride this wave.  The lobby doesn’t end today – lets keep up the pressure.  One of the greatest blogs of the day came from Jeff Norton, who completely ‘gets’ what school libraries are about.  With especial thanks to Barbara Band, newly appointed CILIP Vice President, for her enthusiasm and initiative, and Elizabeth Bentley for ensuring that everyone was kitted out in the fabulous T shirts.  If you want to add comments or congratulations the the Facebook page, here it is.  Enjoy the tweeted story of the day, and keep up the good work!

The cartoon was drawn for the day by Sarah McIntyre, and was used by kind permission.  It depicts Sarah and Philip Ardargh on the campaign trail.  Sarah’s great blog post about the day with some wonderful photos is here.

Urgent questionnaire about the impact of author visits on reading

The Children’s Writers and Illustrator group, part of the Society of Authors has asked all of us to fill in an important questionnaire (link to Google doc at end of post).  Children’s authors Bali Rai and Helena Pielchaty say that the group has met with representatives in the DfE about how to get the Government and Ofsted to recognise the value of libraries in schools and the impact of author visits on reading.  The committee was advised that any letter sent to Sir Michael Wilshaw (Ofsted) would have to have evidence to back it up.  This survey is to collect the evidence from all of us.  We all know that author visits always generate interest in that author’s books, and reading, so I think we can all give a positive response to this.  The responses need to be in by November 12th, please email them to  Thank you.  Link to survey here:

Mass Lobby of Parliament on October 29th 2012 at 2pm

A group of school librarians are planning to lobby parliament for school libraries to be made statutory.  This protest is planned for October half term.  This is not a demonstration but a lobby, so you will need to contact your MP in order to be part of this group, or you can come and show your solidarity.  Barbara Band has organised a Facebook page – look for Mass Lobby for School Library Inspection.  We feel that if school libraries were on the Ofsted Inspection Schedule then that would force schools to keep libraries open and to think about their provision.  Please join us.  A sample letter to write to your MP is in the box on the right.  Follow the Facebook page or Twitter @schliblobby to keep in touch.  If you are not on these, contact me via this page and I will put you in touch with the organisers so you can go on their mass email.  Please publicise this as much as you can – we would love it if lots of us attend!  This lobby is supported by both CILIP and the SLA.  Thank you.

Have your say on public libraries

Voices for the Library, a public library campaigning group, is keen to gather ideas for what a 21st century library service should look like.  As school librarians are experts in the field of teenage readers – as well as usually being keen library users ourselves – our views on public libraries would be invaluable.  So please follow the link to their site, and join the Facebook page, to join the very interesting discussions taking place around this subject.

Ofsted and Libraries – watch this space!

Following the publication of the Ofsted report on Moving English Forward  there has been much discussion on the online internet group SLN about what this means for school librarians.  At the London Association of Teachers of English last weekend led by an HMI Inspector, it was emphasised that school libraries would feature in inspections of whole school reading cultures where literacy was felt to be an issue.  If attainment in English at GCSE and AL English are high, then the library will not need to be included.  What will happen, I wonder, to schools who have problems with literacy, and don’t have school libraries any more?  Is this finally the resurgence of school libraries that we have all been waiting for?  What is your opinion – does this Ofsted report bring it any closer?




Michael Gove answers tweets about School Libraries

Recently, Michael Gove was asked questions by a Parliamentary committee about a whole host of subjects submitted by the Twitter community under the hashtag AskGove. Lots of us school librarians got involved, and asked why libraries were statutory in prisons and not in schools.  So many of us asked the question, that it was actually put to Michael Gove.  He had a very short answer, but I think it does start in the right direction.  Now it is up to CILIP and the SLA to follow up with Michael Gove and see that all school libraries are fully resourced, fully staffed and inspected by Ofsted.

Library Day in the Life Project Round 8

This week is the Library Day in the Life Project Round 8.  Coordinated by Bobbie Newman of Librarian by Day, this is a great opportunity for librarians to talk about and publicise what it is they do all day.  Librarians can take part by through blogging, Twitter, photos and videos.  This is open to all librarians around the world and from all sectors.  It is always a great way to get a glimpse into other jobs that librarians are imvolved in.

More instructions on how to take part and for adding your details can be found on the Library Day in the Life wiki.


Shout About School Libraries!

CILIP, the SLA and ASCEL are joining forces for a new campaign to Shout About the value of school libraries and school library services.  We are all asked to join forces and talk about, blog and tweet the value of school libraries.  If you tweet, please include the hashtag #SHOUTABOUT,  and follow @anniemauger (CEO CILIP) so she can make our feelings known in government and wherever it matters.  Have a think about what you can do to support this campaign.  If you tweet, then tweet daily during the next couple of months about important moments in your school day, with the hashtag, so that the tweets can be collected.  If you blog, then send the link to annie, so that everything can be collected for advocacy.  And keep an eye on the webpages for useful information too.