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‘It has been demonstrated that, when teachers and librarians work together, students achieve higher levels of literacy, reading, learning, problem solving, and information and communication technology skills’ UNESCO/IFLA School Library Manifesto (2000)
The inspiration for building this site came from many sources. One of the sources was the website to protest against the closure of public libraries – Voices for the Library. Another was my growing dismay and anger at the number of my school librarian friends who had either lost their jobs recently, or had their libraries reduced and sidelined as part of budget cuts. Some new Academies are even now being built without libraries as ‘it’s all on the internet now’. But the internet requires problem solving and information skills, and ways to navigate and find out the best information quickly. Librarians are skilled at this, and who better to teach pupils how to find the information they need quickly? School Librarians up and down the country are innovative and exciting, drawing pupils into reading and improving their literacy, teaching them information skills and enthusing them – yet often only their school knows about their good work. I decided to build a website to celebrate everything that school librarians do.
At this point I want to pay tribute to the wonderful School Librarian, Elizabeth Bentley who, more than 10 years ago founded a Yahoo group for school librarians called SLN (School Librarians Network). That group is still active today – over 1000 strong – and is open for any school librarian to join. Often school librarians are the only professionals in their school, and do not have a network, as teachers do, of other professionals to ask questions of. SLN fulfills that need, and has been a great source of professional strength to many school librarians over many years.
When I started planning this website, it was to SLN that I turned. At the point of launching this site, most of the contributions came from members of this list. Pictures flooded into my inbox, and tales of best practice up and down the country. This site is an homage to all the wonderful work that my colleagues do all over the country, and is a plea to headteachers everywhere not to even consider shutting their libraries – for look what good school libraries do!
I couldn’t have built the site without the help and expertise of Anne Robinson, who was the first School Librarian of the year, and whose technical expertise in putting the bones of the site together for me to populate, has been invaluable. Thank you Anne. And to everyone who has contributed to the site, a massive thank you for your time and generosity in the busiest time of the school year. Thank you all.
Caroline Roche. MA, MCLIP
SSAT Advanced Lead Practitioner
CILIPSLG National Committee Member