Author Podcasts now available!

Snip20150225_7Cotsen Children’s Library has interviewed children’s authors since 2009, and has just made these interviews available for free as podcasts.  There is a good mixture of well known authors on there – Philip Pullman, Sharon Creech, Joseph Delaney and Kaye Umansky, to name a few.  To read about the programme, and how the author Lloyd Alexander inspired the interviews, see here.  To read more about the featured authors including transcripts of the interviews, see here. This is a great archive that Cotsen Children’s Library has built up – thanks to them for making all of this freely available.

BiblioFiles artwork by Aliisa Lee. Used with permission.

SLN – are you a member yet?

Most – though not all – of Heart’s readers know about SLN (School Librarian’s Network) and are members of this Yahoo Group.  Most of the work on Heart comes from members of SLN.  However, if you are a school librarian anywhere in the world, and you are not a member, you are missing out on a fantastic source of support and CPD.  The group was set up by Elizabeth Bentley, who is on the SLG Committee, more than 10 years ago.  The group runs as a completely free chatroom where we can exchange ideas, put those questions that only another librarian colleague can answer, and have the occasional moan!  The group also has a large collection of very useful files.    If you would like to join, create a Yahoo profile which includes the fact that you are a school librarian.  Then send a blank email to this address and Elizabeth will join you up.

It is a closed group, but it doesn’t take too long for you to be approved.  Then you can join the most lively and informative online group of school librarians I have ever come across. You will still need your Yahoo Profile to access the files. See you there!

Hay Levels – have you seen them yet?

The Hay Levels is a new YouTube channel, with 3-5 minute short films by leading academics and experts on various subjects to do with AL subjects.  They include Simon Singh talking about the Big Bang Theory, Marcus du Sautoy talking about Trigonometry and Logarithms, Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity in religion and Simon Schama on the Weirdness of History.  Great as lesson starters to get pupils thinking – and free!

23 Librarians – could you be one?

I have recently been in touch through Twitter with Anabel Marsh who has written a blog featuring 23 librarians from all different disciplines, including school librarians of course! Anabel’s blog only covers Scotland, and can be found here:  However, there are now similar blogs being set up to cover England, Wales and Scotland.  A second round for Scotland is being collected, and if you would like to contribute your story, how about contacting the various regional co-ordinators to tell your story?  These are the contacts:

For England contact Virginia Power:

For Wales contact Kristine Chapman:

For Scotland contact Anabel Marsh:

For Northern Ireland contact Elaine Mulholland:

If you don’t feature on the next blog, don’t despair, as I believe that second and third rounds are being written.  Alternatively, you can always send your day to me at Heart to feature in the series A Day in the Life of..  – would be pleased to have updates!

School mobile library


Mobile Libraryjpeg

Does your school have a mobile branch?  Paddington Academy does!  Barry Chaplin, the librarian there told me that he: ‘borrowed a laptop and trolley (with 6 small trays and two big ones) from the Science Department, loaded the laptop with Eclipse2 and created a mobile library, stocking it with around 120 books from the boxes, the date stamp and its own banner. I had the good luck to have inherited an old silver security brick so was able to de-secure the books easily. One of the big trays was kept empty for returns which were booked back in securely at my desktop. The Mobile Library was taken to the breakfast club every morning and to tutors and English teachers who booked it for library sessions.

As a result I bought a trolley for the library and asked for our own laptop from IT Support. Five years on and the mobile library is still an important part of our offer (although less used than then). Recently I have started to use it loaded with single genre books as part of a tutor-time reading scheme.’

Anyone else done something similar?

Creating your own Literary Tube Map

So many of you asked me how Julie Aldous had created her Literary Tube map and if she had a template we could all use.  I am afraid that the display is hand drawn, but I did ask Julie to walk me through how it was created, so that it could be reproduced by any of us who were inspired to do so (me for a start!).  Julie also credits Matt Imrie for  inspiring her and helping her to find the blank tube map she started with.

To create the display:

Trace (or enlarge) a blank Tube map.  You can find one here or here.  Decide on which genres you wish to allocate to each of the Tube lines, count the stations on that line and draw up a list of books.

That is the display in essence, although it could be enhanced/varied in these ways.  You could have the ends of the lines as the harder, more stretching books in the genre.  You could also have the major crossing points where two lines/genres meet as books which can cross you over between one genre and another.  Julie said that lots of her pupils enjoyed following the lines and reading the books.  You could also, of course, create a reading task around this by having pupils read one book from every line/genre?  Anyway – if you feel inspired, go for it – and if you have photos, please share them on Heart.