Michael Gove and the (controversial) 50 books

Michael GoveI expect you have all read about Michael Gove’s proposal that every child reads 50 books a year.  I have waited to comment, so that I could bring some of the arguments against this proposal – and there have been many objections – into this article.  Whilst every school librarian would agree that pupils should read more books, it is setting the arbitary limit of 50 that is causing comment.  For some pupils – and I would have been one of them – 50 books is far too few.  For some, 5 quality books would be a good goal to have.  Librarians, who are reading specialists after all, are experts at assessing and matching books to pupils, choosing just the right books for their audience.  Not authors, as Gove suggests.  I like authors – as a school librarian I would be mad not to! – but they are not the experts in choosing books for children, we are.  Lots of people have blogged and commented about this proposal- what do you think?

Read also:

Anne Robinson’s succinct letter in the Telegraph

 Article in Scotland on Sunday

Excellent (as always) blog post by school librarian Nicola McNee

Lynne Coppendale’s letter to Michael Gove

Author Bali Rai’s blog post – a great read!

How far can a World Book travel?

WBN books journeyMarion Milroy, Learning Resource Manager at the City School, Sheffield handing over her World Book Night choice of One Day by David Nicholls outside Manor Library.  The pupils pictured are some of the students from the school going on an expedition to Malealea, Lesotho, Southern Africa over the Easter break.  Marion hopes they will have time to read the book before they take it to the pupils of Malealea High School for their school library.

Perhaps this is the furthest a World Book Night book will travel?

How about reading … in the Tardis?

School library TardisWhat an amazing photo!  This full size Tardis was built by a school DT department for the lucky pupils of Holy Rood High School in Edinburgh.  This was the idea of Librarian Rachel McCabe for reading promotion – the Tardis houses science fiction books inside.  The Tardis even makes noises when the doors are opened!  If you want to read more about the Tardis, and how this and other reading promotions have encouraged children to read in this school, then catch up with the article here:


World Book Night boosts sales of books

Interesting report from the Bookseller: 

Alan Bennett’s A Life Like Other People’s, one of the 25 books given away for free on World Book Night recently, takes second position in the chart thanks to a 202% week-on-week sales boost. Another of the 25, Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, also earns a place in the chart. The terrific sales performances of all 25 “freebie” titles continue to confound World Book Night critics who suggested flooding the market with 1,000,000 free books would have a negative impact on sales.

Federation of Children’s Book Groups Twitter Forum

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is delighted to announce that it will be starting a children’s book forum for adults over social networking site Twitter. The aim of the forum is for librarians, teachers, bloggers and anyone else interested in children’s books the chance to talk about new releases, favourites and anything else of interest surrounding children’s books. Off the back of the success of both World Book Day and World Book Night, which saw Twitter being used to share experiences, advice and generally to talk about books, this forum will provide book lovers with an interactive social book group. The Federation has always been forward thinking in the ways it encourages people to read. By running this forum it is hoped that fans of children’s books will have a way to share opinions, new books and to talk about children’s books and their love for them. The forum will run every fortnight on a Sunday evening between 8pm and 9pm and will be hosted by the Federation @FCBGChair. Using the hashtag #fcbgbkgrp chat will be directed by the participants, but at certain times of the year a theme will be suggested. For instance during the month of May it is National Share A Story Month so the theme may be the best books to share with your child. In November to celebrate National Non Fiction Day we will also theme it towards non fiction books. The opportunities this provides are endless and with nothing similar already happening on Twitter for children’s books this provides book lovers the opportunity to interact with each other in a shared interest around children’s books. The launch date for the first forum is 20th March 2011 and every other Sunday from then. For further information about the Twitter Book Forum, please contact Adam Lancaster. Email: aln@monkswalk.herts.sch.uk

School Libraries Group Conference – Have you booked yet?

SLG Conference

Just a reminder that CILIP’s School Libraries group are running a conference in 2011 at the Holiday Inn at Peterborough.  With 9 keynote speeches and over 20 seminar sessions to choose from, there is something there for everyone.  Authors Celia Rees, Robert Muchamore and Jon Mayhew will be there, amongst others.  If you would like to look at the programme, or book, please visit this link:   http://www.cilip.org.uk/slg-conference.  You do NOT have to be a member of either the SLG group or CILIP to attend the conference.  Book now to ensure your place on this important event!  Book now!