Catalyst Book Award shortlist announced!

Catalyst Longlist plain

 

The Catalyst Book Awards 2014 was launched on Thursday 7th November at the Chryston Cultural Centre in North Lanarkshire. In the audience were pupils from Chryston and Caldervale high schools along with visiting librarians, all excited to find out which books had made it onto the longlist. The pupils were treated to an entertaining talk from Catalyst 2013 Award winner, Elizabeth Wein. She kept the pupils enthralled talking about her book ‘Code Name Verity’ and tales of women pilots throughout history. Elizabeth then had the honour of announcing the 16 books that had made it through the committee’s criteria to be in with a chance of being voted the best read for teenagers in 2014.

Catalyst is all about discovering and promoting the most exciting and thought provoking reading for teenagers in North Lanarkshire. This year we have a larger number of books in the longlist which hopefully means we are able to cater for all tastes.

Young people from all 24 North Lanarkshire High schools are encouraged to get involved in the Catalyst experience in a number of ways; from book groups within school or public libraries, to author visits and book reviews on the blog. Young people will then vote on which books in the longlist should make it onto the Catalyst shortlist and go forward to win the Catalyst Book Award 2014.  For more information visit the blog at: http://catalystnic.wordpress.com

Leaflet promoting the school library

CILIPThe School Library Group of CILIP has produced a great leaflet promoting the difference a school library run by a professional librarian, makes.  This leaflet is suitable to distribute to parents, teachers, students and governors.  It provides a simple set of questions for parents to ask whilst going round a school library – if there is one- and questions to ask if there isn’t.  This is a fantastic resource which should be widely downloaded and distributed.  If you belong to any networks, please distribute it there.  The link to download the leaflet from CILIP’s website is here: http://www.cilip.org.uk/school-libraries-group/professional-librarians-leaflet

Help build a Library in an African School

School Librarian Elspeth Scott, who works at the Menzieshill High School in Dundee, is part of a Go Africa! team which is going out to Kenya this holiday.  She was delighted when the school chose to help fund a new school library.  Through fundraising, the team has managed to raise 76% of the target so far.  It would be fantastic if everyone on Heart could help to raise the last bit towards building this library.  8 bricks cost £10 – every little helps!  Elspeth has set up a JustGiving page, lets see what we can all do to help her reach her goal.  Elspeth is building a model library from Lego, each set of bricks donated will have a lego brick, and she will share her picture with us before she goes.  So let’s get giving!  More details of how to donate on the JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/GoAfrica

National Libraries Day – Parallel Universes

Saturday 09 February 2013 is National Libraries Day, a culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries across the UK.

We are planning a school libraries event to join in with this, called “PARALLEL UNIVERSES” (aka a simultaneous story writing workshop). We are also hoping to make this an attempt at a Guinness World Record …

Matt Haig, award-winning author and writer-in-residence for Booktrust, has agreed to write the start of a story for us. We then want as many students as possible to carry on writing a middle and an ending … minimum 250 words although it can be more.

This will take place on Wednesday 6 February at 12 noon for 1 hour. We are targeting years 5 – 9 although are happy for anyone to join in.

If you are interested, please email Barbara on barbara567band@hotmail.com and I can send you the start of the story plus keep you updated regarding any news from GWR.

This is another great opportunity to promote school libraries and to support National Libraries Day so we hope you will be able to take part; even if you can only organize one class to do this, the numbers will soon add up!

For more info on National Libraries Day: http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/

Cockermouth School wins the final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz

Helen Farrar, school librarian at Cockermouth school, reports: On 6th December 2012 the team from Cockermouth School, Cumbria, won the UK final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz in Coventry. Comprising two Y7 pupils and two Y8 pupils the team won by a narrow margin of two points (one question!). The Cherwell School, Oxon, come second having gone to a sudden death play-off with St Thomas More School, Yorks, who were placed third and Junior King’s School, Kent, came fourth. It was a closely fought competition with lots of authors turning out to support the teams, Malorie Blackman as Guest of Honour and Alec Williams as MC. This is the second time Cockermouth School has won the UK final and in July 2013 they will hopefully be off to Durban, SA, to the world final.  Pictured are: Eve, Alex, Madeleine and Adam with Malorie Blackman and Quizmaster Wayne Mills

If you would like to read more about the experience of taking part in the Kids’ Lit Quiz, with the link to the site, then read Helen Farrar’s experiences on the Kids’ Lit Quiz page.

Life as a pupil librarian

After reading the great article in the Guardian by pupil librarian James, I asked him to write a piece for Heart.  James was really pleased to do so.  I think he is a shining example to hold up to our pupil librarians, and we should encourage more of them to join his Facebook page. This is what James has to say:

I really enjoy my work as a Pupil Librarian in my School’s Library. I’ve been Pupil Librarian for just over 3 years.  The Library I work in is located in (or was- we are currently having a new roof fitted!)  a stunning building, perfect as a library. We even have our claim to fame- Isaac Newton’s signature (allegedly!) We have 2 library staff, and a team of 10 Pupil Librarians. Our Pupil Librarian team have to go through a proper application process….. preparation for working life!

We have a stock of around 10000 books, a growing selection of DVDs & audiobooks and we also subscribe to a number of magazines. We like (and encourage) pupil recommendations for stock in the Library.  As time has gone on, I’ve got more confident with using Web2.0 technologies- I now run the School Library Blog (http://libraryatkings.blogspot.co.uk/ ), and have my own blog (http://libraryassistant.blogspot.co.uk/ ) too! I’m currently experimenting with Glogster, Wikispaces and other Web 2.0 tools.

I also write the Library newsletter, which we produce termly. Book reviews, library news, updates on library closures, how students can get involved with the library, e-resources and how to get more out of our resources. Sometimes, I’ll write a piece all about a special library I’ve visited- Lincoln University Library, RHS Harlow Carr Library and my local library.  We run a Library Book Club, which we launched on World Book Day 2012- we had a good turnout and the club is going strong! The Library also hosts a Warhammer Club, run by our Librarian, which attracts a good number of pupils. All these activities aim to boost pupil awareness of the Library!  The School has a thought for the week, and I try to find a quote for our library blog……normally a thought for the month. I think the Dr Seuss quotes are great.

Displays are also important in our library. The whole library team contribute to the displays, and pupils like to get involved as well- it’s good fun! Just before we broke up for Summer, we did a collage of book covers- wild and wacky, but really well received by pupils. Everyone wanted to share a book they liked- from gardening to Warhammer magazines, George Orwell to GCSE study guides.  So, I do hope I can continue my work as a Pupil Librarian into sixth form. I took part in CPD23 in 2011, contribute to various library forums and am currently a member on The Guardian Children’s Books website. I am also the co-founder and moderator of the Student Library Assistants’ Network(SLANet), a group for pupil librarians like me to share ideas and discussions about their work within the school library! The link for the group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SLANet/

By James K, November 2011    Pupil Librarian

Library re-opens in school – Carterton College in Oxford.

In amongst all the stories about school libraries closing, I was sent this good news story by Rosemary Stables, Head of English in Carterton College.  This is her story – and isn’t it great to be able to report on school libraries reopening in some schools!  And what a beautiful, funky library it is – I bet the students love it!

‘Our library at Carterton Community College in Oxfordshire was closed four years ago by a previous Head who wanted the space for an Engineering suite.  The library was moved to a much smaller (and clearly unsatisfactory) room.  Much of the non-fiction was disposed of.  Our librarian left.  This smaller room was then needed for another purpose so the remaining book stock was put into storage.   
 
We tried to maintain a focus on reading for pleasure in the school (I was Head of English here at the time).  But this was never going to be easy without a library and a full-time librarian with specialist knowledge of books for young people.
 
In the meantime, the Head who made the original closure decision had left the school.  We now have a different Head who believes in the value of libraries, books and reading.  With the support of the governors, he decided we needed to restore the library.  I was really excited about this project and I moved out of my role in the English Department in order to run it.  But I’m not a trained librarian and have been very grateful for advice from local school library staff, the SLA and others. 
 
We started with an empty room, took the old books out of storage and talked to the students about what sort of library they might like.   As the room isn’t huge, flexibility became our key word, so we have furniture that can be moved around easily.  Students wanted colours that were quite cool and funky – so we went for grey with splashes of lime green, purple and orange.  Reactions have been really positive.  There are plenty of new books on the shelves now (although we still need many more).  We have new ICT equipment, access to a small garden, and messages, posters and books from supportive authors.
 
On 11th September 2012 the new library was formally opened by Sir Tim Brighouse.  We know this is only the first stage and there is a massive task ahead to restore a reading culture here.  But it’s great to have a good news story to tell!’

Barbara Band speaks up for school libraries

Watch this TES web chat where school librarian Barbara Band, who organised the recent Mass Lobby of Parliament speaks up for school librarians and puts the case for keeping libraries in the heart of every school.  And watch out for a mention of this website round around the 10 minute mark – what we say and do on this website is important in advocacy, so please keep your stories coming in!