Author Archives: carolineroche

Why should I develop my skills?

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/bulletin-board-laptop-computer-3233641/

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a continuous engagement in learning and development activities that increase and improve your skills and knowledge. There are many reasons why people undertake CPD and it has several benefits; to individuals, to the organisations they work for and to their wider profession.

School librarians work within a constantly changing environment with new DfE initiatives introduced, educational research and reports published, a constant stream of possible new resources to consider, advances in technology, and an influx of new students (and staff) into the school each year. These mean that in order to stay up-to-date and provide a relevant service that meets the needs of the school community, CPD should be undertaken on a regular basis – as current knowledge and skills can quickly become out-of-date.

This can be difficult to do when you are managing a busy library. In an ideal world CPD would be provided in-house but training that happens in schools is often not particularly relevant to school librarians and there are barriers to attending external training, not least a lack of budget and the need for the library to remain open and staffed during the school day. However, a lack of support from the school should not mean that your CPD doesn’t happen. If you are in this situation then it’s important to be pro-active and take control of your CPD outside the school environment and there are lots of opportunities for librarians to do this, a few suggestions include:

  • A range of CPD opportunities on the CILIP website including an extensive webinar programme and eLearning resources, all free to members. Although these may not be aimed directly at school librarians, many are useful for developing generic skills.
  • CILIP members also have free access to online journals including Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA), ProQuest Library Science and SAGE journals. In addition, there are many online articles and blogs aimed at school librarians written by professionals working in the sector.
  • Research reports published by organisations such as the National Literacy Trust, The Reading Agency and BookTrust (to name but three) are accessible via their websites or you can sign up for e-newsletters .
  • Free online courses that can be undertaken in your own time are available via Future Learn and Open Learning. Again, these may not be specifically aimed at school librarians but will cover useful skills required such as digital skills and study techniques.
  • Informal learning can also take place via Facebook groups aimed at school librarians or Twitter chats that include a wider range of education staff.

But why should we use our own time for work-related CPD? Surely it is up to our employers to give us time off for this?

The idea of maintaining standards by CPD is not a new concept and many professional organisations require this of their members. The Association for Project Management require their Chartered members to undertake 35 hours of CPD per year; the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management require all members to do 20 hours CPD annually; and, whilst not mandatory, CILIP encourage professional registration members to complete 20 hours of CPD each year in order to revalidate.

Interestingly, although professional CPD brings benefits to the school by improving the service you deliver, enabling you to provide high quality provision that meets the needs and expectations of the school community, it also has numerous personal benefits:

  • It increases your confidence in your own skills and expertise. This impacts on job satisfaction, motivation and engagement resulting in a greater sense of wellbeing.
  • It exposes you to new ideas and best practice, and gives you access to experts in the profession.
  • It enables you to work in more efficient and effective ways, again impacting on job satisfaction but also allowing you to cope with change and deal with challenges thus reducing stress.
  • It helps you to recognise and fill gaps in your competencies and knowledge, giving you a sense of direction and helping you to reach possible future career goals.
  • It allows you to keep up-to-date with trends and advances that influence your work, keep pace with others in the profession, and shows a commitment to self-development and professionalism.

There is also another aspect of CPD that feeds into the wider profession. By maintaining your personal knowledge and standards, you are helping to develop the overall reputation and status of school librarianship. When we demonstrate to our school community that CPD is important enough to us to seek it out and undertake it in our own time, we are sending a message not just to the immediate people we work with but to a much wider circle. And this dedication to school librarianship can be used as an advocacy tool by our professional associations to deliver the message that school librarians are professionals and should have an appropriate status and pay to reflect this.

We all lead busy lives filled with both personal and work commitments but if we are serious about school librarianship as a profession then we should be committing ourselves to undertaking CPD, with or without support from our schools.

Barbara Band
School Library Consultant and Trainer
@bcb567

National Survey Results – Could do better!

School Librarians deliver their report card to Education Minister Nick Gibb.

Key findings include:

9 in 10 schools in England that participated in the research have access to a designated library space, falling to 67% in Wales and 57% in Northern Ireland however;

Schools with a higher proportion of students on free school meals are more than twice as likely not to have access to a designated library space;

Employment terms for librarians and library staff fall below national standards, with low pay and little investment in professional development and training.

To download the report for yourself, please visit the Great School Libraries website.

Commenting on the publication of the research, Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP said: ” We welcome this landmark report as the first comprehensive picture of the state of play in our school libraries. On the one hand, it is a testament to the Head Teachers, Governors, Teachers and Librarians that value and promote the importance of school libraries for their learners and their schools. On the other hand the research paints a picture of inequality of access and opportunity and insecure employment that we cannot accept. The findings highlight the urgency of securing a national School Libraries Strategies and investment in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, drawing on the example of Scotland.”

To find out more about the Great School Libraries Campaign, please visit their website: www.greatschoollibraries.org.uk

Learning to predict the future by inventing it – TeenTech Awards

The surest way to predict the future is to invent it, a maxim attributed to Alan Kay while at Xerox PARC, who did as much as any to invent the future of computing.

So how does one go about inventing the future?

Somewhat paradoxically, the answer is rooted in the past.

Jacques Ellul said that history is the consequence of ideas, which means that the future, which will become the past, is also the consequence of ideas.

Now, not all ideas are good ideas, and even good ideas are not equally so, so we need to begin as we mean to go on, and the TeenTech Awards has proven to be a good vehicle for developing good ideas, and then making them better.

It starts with a question: Do you have an idea for making the world a better place? Because TeenTech aims to help young people understand their true potential and the real opportunities available in the contemporary STEM workplace, the idea must involve some combination of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. How this STEM requirement is dealt with is, for me, the first strength of the Awards – as the cyberpunk authors so forcefully heralded in the 80s, we live in a science fictional world, although it is not yet evenly distributed, so some combination of STEM in its broadest sense touches everything, and so anything is potentially an entry-point to the Awards.

The need to test if the idea is good, and then to develop good ideas to make them better is the second strength of the Awards, and  the point at which librarians have a real contribution to make to both the process of inquiry and the resources to support inquiry.  At Oakham School, where I run the Awards as an activity, this is also a rare opportunity for students from Year 7 to Year 13 to experience an open inquiry, in which neither the direction of the inquiry nor its outcome are predetermined.

The third strength of the Awards is that students are only required to develop their idea as far as they can, which for some will be into a fully functioning prototype, while for others it might simply be more or less sketched out on paper. This presents a very low barrier to entry with a high ceiling, and minimal running costs beyond my time.

The fourth strength of the Awards is the need to submit the entry in the form of  formal report, which is similar to an Extended Essay or EPQ, and provides students with a substantial opportunity to develop their academic writing.

I entered the Awards for the first time in 2016, for two main reasons: firstly, as an opportunity for students to stretch themselves through open inquiry; secondly, as an opportunity to test the robustness of our approach to learning through inquiry (FOSIL), specifically in the Research and Information Literacy Award for Years 7-11. Not only have we achieved remarkable success in the Research and Information Literacy Award (winning in 2016 and 2017, and being a finalist in 2018), and recently also the Best Research Project Award for Years 12-13 (wining in 2018), but we have achieved remarkable successes within other Awards as well. Further to this, I have been nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award for three years in a row, which is a significant opportunity, both at the Final and the Awards Ceremony, to highlight the integral role of information literacy and the librarian within an inquiry-based approach to learning, and, as a direct consequence of extraordinary success in the Awards, to challenge unhelpful stereotypes of the librarian.

As HRH The Duke of York is the Patron of the Awards, category winners receive their Awards during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

This year I travelled down with Holly, who won the Best Research Project award in 2018 for her inquiry into the causes of the underrepresentation of women in computer science.

This is a very special and memorable occasion for all involved, but unfortunately the link to the official photographs from the Ceremony has not yet been released.

However, the short video clip (5m09s) of the 2018 Awards Final at the Royal Society in London gives a flavour of what the TeenTech Awards is all about.If you would like to know more about the TeenTech Awards, or how I run the Awards at Oakham, please do contact me (dt@oakham.rutland.sch.uk).

Darryl Toerien. Librarian , Oakham School

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Screenshot 2019-03-05 12.29.53

School libraries aren’t statutory, and in the UK no one knows how many there are, or if they are staffed or funded. The Great School Libraries campaign is a three-year campaign which aims to change this – collecting data about school libraries as well as working towards securing school library funding; producing a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within Ofsted.

It is about ensuring that all children receive the benefits a school library can provide. To watch a video about the impact of a school library click here.

For more information about the campaign, or to sign up as a supporter, visit: http://greatschoollibraries.edublogs.org/

We are conducting a sector-wide survey of primary and secondary schools to better understand the level of provision of both learning resources and staff responsible for them. As you know, there is currently no definitive information on how schools are resourced – something we want to change. We would appreciate your help in gathering this information to provide a clearer picture of the situation and would be grateful if you could complete a short questionnaire.

Your responses will be treated in the strictest confidence and BMG Research, who are conducting the survey on our behalf, abides by the Market Research Society Code of Conduct at all times.

The survey will be sent to schools shortly and will be open between Monday 25th February to Friday 29th March. If you want to make sure this survey has been completed on behalf of your school please do get in touch with Jamie Lawson, Research Executive at BMG Research, via e-mail at Jamie.Lawson@bmgresearch.co.uk. Alternatively, you can contact him via phone at 0121 333 6006.

If you are interested in finding out more information about the Great School Libraries Campaign, please contact Caroline Roche Chair.SLG@cilip.org.uk or Alison Tarrant via e-mail at Chair.SLG@cilip.org.uk  or info@sla.org.uk

Three quick tools for research

I recently gave a ‘whistle stop’ training session to all of the year 12 pupils at our school, and this was followed by in-depth sessions to some of our HPQ and EPQ pupils at the end of last term. It was encouraging to see how enthusiastic pupils were after this training, as they had clearly learned a few new tricks to aid their research. Best of all, each of these tools is FREE! I thought I would share them with all of you, in case you are considering doing some training soon in this area; and, of course, if you have any tips/tools you have encouraged pupils to use, please do let me know in the comments below!

TOOL 1: Use Google Codes

As all information specialists know, Google is renowned for quantity of information, but this does not mean everything in the search list if relevant to what you need. However, we know it is often the first port of call for research of pupils. Thankfully, Google has various ‘codes’ which can be used to sift through all of the results, here are a handful of them:

Search for an EXACT Phrase

Use quotes to search for an exact word or set of words. Only use this if you require a very precise phrase; it will narrow all of the results to only include that exact expression.

Screenshot 2018-10-18 18.35.55

Exclude a word

Add a dash (-) before a word to exclude it from all search results. 

Screenshot 2018-10-18 18.40.07

Search within a domain

Add ‘site: ’ & a website for results from a particular website using the following: 

Screenshot 2018-10-18 18.43.29

Search within a domain ending

This can also be used to search websites with a particular web address ending, such as those of universities. UK universities end in ‘.ac.uk’ and USA universities end in ‘.edu’ – try searching these to find results which are more likely to be high quality.

TOOL 2: Use Google Scholar 

Pupils are far more likely to find quality resources here; even if you do not hold subscriptions to the journals in the results or own the books, there are still some nifty tricks you can teach them to employ…

Use ‘Cited By’: Use this feature by searching for a book or an article you have already found helpful by typing the exact title. Underneath the result, you will see it says ‘cited by… #’ Click on this to see what other published works have cited the same book or article – this will likely show related works as well as demonstrate the progression of the research literature…

Screenshot 2018-10-18 18.46.04

As noted, some of these will not be accessible, since unless you own the book or subscribe to the database, you won’t be able to view it! However, these results often show a lot of books…and with books, there is another trick you can try…

If pupils find a book that looks helpful, tell them to click on it and open in Google Books. They should then search for various keywords in the left-hand search bar to see whether they can view the paragraphs they need. Even whilst completing my MA Dissertation I often found this little feature to provide the exact paragraphs I was seeking!

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Also: Use Google Codes while searching Google Scholar

As noted earlier, you can search for results only published by universities by searching within that domain ending. Do the same on Google Scholar, since you will frequently find universities do publish dissertations, open access journal articles, or sections of books which are freely available online. 

TOOL 3: Use Zotero

You may be surprised to hear me recommending this bibliographic software to pupils at secondary-school level…however, it can never be too early to help them organise their research and they will likely be encouraged to use this, or something like at, at the university level. Zotero allows users to

  • Keep track of and easily generate citations for all of their references in a plethora of citation styles
  • Arrange their references according to folders and sub-folders – which will enable them to see which areas of their research are still weak
  • Add notes/summaries of the reading directly to the references, which can then be printed in reports (through the desktop version)
  • Users with the desktop version can install a widget into MS Word which allows them to add in-text citations as they are writing their essays!
  • Best of all – it’s free to use up to 300MB of storage (just as a reference – I currently have 180 references with attached notes saved, and am only using 0.4 percent of my storage.

Screenshot final

Angela Platt, BA, MSc, MA, MCLIP

Librarian and Archivist
Ibstock Place School

 

The dangers of reading Fiction

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Blog post by Angela Platt, Librarian, Ibstock Place School

The term ‘reading for pleasure’ most widely refers to voluntary reading conducted independently.  According to the National Literacy Trust, it is summed as “reading that we do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction that we will get from the act of reading. It also refers to reading that, having begun at someone else’s request, we continue because we are interested in it”. Reading in this category most frequently refers to novels and stories which encourage empathy, creativity and vocabulary. It should be noted that reading for pleasure should not omit voluntary, independent reading of non-fiction, which can improve skills and instruct readers on subjects in which they are specifically interested outside of the classroom setting. However, as mentioned, this is most typically associated with the reading of fiction.

The early dangers of reading-for-pleasure

Although there are swathes of information regarding the benefits of reading fiction in our current day-and-age, especially via public and school libraries, this was not always the case! Indeed, when the novel took off in the late 18th – early 19th century, it was abhorred considerably by numerous members of the public. This was especially the case amongst proponents of evangelicalism, which was widespread in this era. They themselves did publish their own novels, but these were offered as a moral alternative to secular fiction – a religious counterpart which offered tangible moral imperatives interwoven within their text. This included works such as Hannah More’s Coelebs, a story about a young man who seeks a devout Christian wife after the death of his father.

Opposition to this type of secular leisurely entertainment was not unusual; indeed, Puritans in the 17th century had condemned theatre-going amongst their congregations, due to their beliefs in its invitation to and promotion of immoral behavior. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, novel reading was also opposed on moral grounds. Said one contributor to the Dundee Evening Telegraph in the late Victorian age:

“In the days of my youth, fiction was regarded a very dangerous reading, especially for young people. The novel and the theatre were placed on the same level. Both were of the devil, and consequently both were to be shunned.”

It was believed that novels promoted immoral behaviour. They portrayed immoral behavior in an attractive light, and caused readers to fall prey to their repugnant grip. Furthermore, novels tended to portray unrealistic versions of life, which could at the very least leave readers feeling discontented with their current lot in life. In 1864 a Dundee newspaper published a comment from the Archbishop of York which demonstrates the widespread disgust with this ‘vice’:

“[Novel reading] cascades people into useless outcomes, obsesses them with unnecessary passions, while providing a distorted view of life”

Additionally, novel reading was also believed to be frivolous and time-wasting. It was believed that women especially tended to fall prey to its clutches, and this resulted in the neglect of their domestic responsibilities. Numerous stories of domestic despair can be found which allude to a root cause of ‘novel reading.’ (some of which can be found here). Indeed, at a meeting in the Phoenix Lodge in the early 20th century a group of members decided that one of the greatest contributing causes to disruption and dissolution of families was ‘novel reading among women.’

Novels, as demonstrated, were considered ‘dangerous’ by a significant amount of 18th and 19th century contemporaries, and these suspicions continued until well into the 20th century. While now novel reading is considered part and parcel of overall well-being, it was not so in its initial phase. What about today though, is novel reading still considered a ‘danger’ in some sects of society?

Novel reading in our age

One blog, in a tongue and cheek manner, lists a number of dangers which reading for pleasure can elicit. Here are four of the given reasons:

1.      Books are filled with razor-sharp paper that can easily cut you.

2.      Reading can fill your mind with dangerous ideas. At least, some governments and organisations think so.

3.      Becoming engrossed in a book may distract you from feeding yourself, leading you to starve to death.

4.      Reading books helps keep librarians employed, a secretive group that may or may not be trying to dominate the world…

Although humorous, these claims do bear some remnants of truth. The third point recalls the fears in the 18th and 19th century that novels cause idleness. The most salient point, however, for ourselves may be the second point – which recalls to our minds instances where particular books have been censored or ‘banned’ from particular institutions or countries due to political and/or religious objections. Indeed ‘banned books’ have been a frequent cause for consternation in bookstores and libraries for decades; a number of publications which received this label can be found here.

Banning books is a demonstrable effect of the belief that books, or at least some books can be considered dangerous. Undoubtedly, this is a trickle-effect of the beliefs held by our Georgian and Victorian ancestors. Indeed, there are two reasons for which reading novels, even contentious ones, can be dangerous in a beneficial way:

1.      They inspire empathy

2.      They challenge us to think differently.

Reading for pleasure can indeed be ‘dangerous’ since it challenges us to consider new perspectives, perhaps even ones which we have not previously encountered. Given our diverse and global world, these can be especially helpful in developing a well-rounded character in social and professional environments. However, just for the sake of clarity,  I feel I should indicate what promoting ‘dangerous’ reading does not indicate:

1.      It does not equal agreeing with everything you read.

2.      It does not mean you must change your religion, political views, or ideologies to reach congruence with what you have read.

What ‘dangerous’ reading does indicate is the possibility of greater understanding of diversity. In our day and age, this is a salient issue. In truth, we have so much information bogging us down that many people have begun to ultimately form opinions with emotions rather than weighing of evidence. This is not a political piece which argues for/against this trend – undoubtedly there is a place for both emotions and rationalism. However, if post-modernism has taught us anything in this ‘biased’ world we must concede that it is probably impossible to separate our emotions from our rationalism – and reading novels aids us in this. It allows us to understand how people in other cultures and communities view the world. It also allows us to understand why people within our own larger communities might approach the same problems and issues in a vastly different manner.

Select bibliography and further reading:

Clark, C. and Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure a research overview. [online] Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk.

Banned Books. Available at www.banned-books.org.uk

The dangers of novel-reading. (2017). The Beeton Ideal. Available at: www.thebeetonideal.wordpress.com

Dangers of Reading Books. (2011). Your Guide to Live. Available at: http://www.yourguidetolive.com/article.php?a=dangersofreading

Mandal, A. (2015). Evangelical Fiction in Garside, P. and O’Brien, K. English and British Fiction 1750-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 260.

Pearson, J. (1999). Women’s Reading in Britain, 1750-1835: a dangerous recreation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 197.

Health Information Week – join in!

Many organisations across different sectors are collaborating for Health Information Week (HIW) (3-9thJuly 2017). This campaign aims to improve accessibility of high quality health information for the public as well as building on local partnerships between information providers and improving health literacy.

How can you get involved? You could put up a health information display in your school or find out what is happening locally – you could have a stand at a health event being organised near you or offer internet searching tutorials. Many more ideas are listed here and you can ask for local contacts. Please let sarah.greening@hee.nhs.uk know what you are planning so that your display or event can be added to the diary and promoted. You can also promote the HIW campaign to staff and students via newsletters and social media (#HIW2017)

For more information and to access HIW resources:http://learning.wm.hee.nhs.uk/health-information or contact: sarah.greening@hee.nhs.uk

The Twitter campaign has started and can be followed via #HIW2017; there is also a thunderclap which anyone is encouraged to support (it just means that an automated HIW tweet will be sent at once from every twitter account that signs up before 3rd July). Support the HIW thunderclap:thndr.me/n5h7SW

It would be great to have some school libraries joining with this – as it is end of term and almost the summer holidays, perhaps some health information promotion about travel health, sun care and mental health resources like Mood Boosting books etc for reading over the holiday?

Do consider joining in with this – contact your local NHS librarian for any leaflets that you may want for your own school display.

Eltham event – part two!

SLG Regional Event.  Saturday 18th March 2017.  Held at Eltham College, London.

Due to popular demand Eltham College was the impressive venue once again for one of the SLG Regional Events.  Having offered the same programme back in October and being highly oversubscribed, Caroline Roche, Librarian and Chair of the SLG, decided to organise a second chance to access the programme. She  offered a highly informative programme of speakers and topics where school librarians could meet and share good practice.

Caroline opened the proceedings with the SLG News update as Chair.  Being one of the strongest advocates of not only schools having libraries but those libraries having a dedicated librarian, her passion for these issues was clear to all.  It soon became very apparent that the others in the room collectively felt the same way.

The presentation ‘Using technology for teaching and learning’, also delivered by Caroline, was extremely well received. Many tools were showcased including Diigo, Animoto and MySimpleShow gave us the information and confidence to go and try these in our own setting. Whilst Caroline readily admitted some of the things she demonstrated were far from new, they still have a place within the sector to aid both staff and students.

Our next speaker was Maggie Thomas, Librarian at Bacon’s College in South London.  Maggie spoke to us of her experience in ‘Rebuilding the library presence.’ This was a very personal story of how Maggie reorganised and rejuvenated her library space so the pupils and herself benefited enormously, however we could all identify with some aspects that we as school librarians face on a daily basis. Maggie now runs a highly successful library and is constantly evaluating the service she offers.

Then came Murder by the Book’. Alex Gillespie of Box Clever Education demonstrated how we could all hold a murder in the library…hypothetically of course!  We entered the library to find the outline of a body and a series of clues laid out for us to solve the mystery. Well…….what a competitive lot we are!  Clues were gathered quickly and the red herrings were identified.  The big reveal was after lunch so we retired for some well-earned refreshments.

During lunch there was time to catch up with colleagues we may not have seen for a while or indeed meet new ones! There was a definite buzz in the room as the morning’s activities were discussed as well as sharing success stories of our libraries. After lunch the murderer was identified although I am not going to disclose who that is…….you never know who reads this!

Matt Imrie, Librarian at Farringtons School, was next on stage and he gave a fascinating talk on Library freeconomics – or getting free stuff for your library.’ With budgets being an emotive topic, we were all keen to see how we can still bring new resources into school with the investment of our time rather than our money!  Needless to say I am sure we will all be entering lots of competitions because as Matt so rightly said ‘You have to be in it to win it!’

Our final presentation of the day was by Rowena Seabrook, Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International UK‘Using fiction to highlight human rights issues.’, led us to work together in small groups looking at human rights and how we can promote them in our school through our literary choices. Using a variety of resources, we touched upon many of the challenges facing different people today.  This as you can imagine triggered a lot of discussion and debate. This presentation was very timely given the publication of the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist and this too was broached by Rowena as some of the content of some titles is very sensitive and needs careful thought before lending to some students.

The day ended with lots of email addresses exchanged and the promise of keeping in touch.  I am sure I speak for all of the delegates when I say a huge Thank You to Caroline not only for hosting such a rewarding day but also for her tireless energy in the promotion of both school libraries and of course school librarians!

By Julie Angel.  Assistant Librarian, Eltham College

 

A word about Copyright

Naomi Korn, a CILIP Trustee, came to speak at the Day Conference and AGM on February 7th 2017 for SLG.  Having heard her speak at CILIP Conference 2016, I knew she was excellent and an authority on  copyright.  She runs her own copyright agency, and has a gift for explaining difficult concepts really simply for us.  Naomi didn’t disappoint, giving us a really clear understanding of how copyright works in practice and answered some questions.  However, there just wasn’t time for everything to be answered, and so Naomi kindly wrote up her talk, and included lots of great links for us, on her own blog here.  Do have a read, and bookmark the page, as I guarantee that this is something we shall all  need to visit and revisit again.  Our thanks to Naomi for her time and generosity in helping us with this difficult subject.

 

Reading Outcomes Framework

The Reading Agency has published its long-awaited Reading Outcomes Framework. This tool is designed to ‘help improve impact evaluation across the sector…..It will help you understand, demonstrate and improve the impact of your activity to encourage reading. It will support you to make the case for investment and advocate for your work by outlining existing evidence about the outcomes of reading and providing guidance about collecting evidence about the impact your work makes.’ (Laura Venning, Reading Agency, Evaluation and Impact Research Manager). It is freely available to use across education, health and charities sectors. The toolkit is the end of the first phase and the Reading Agency asks anyone using it to give them feedback.

It includes a succinct one page framework of the outcomes of reading for pleasure and empowerment, sample survey questions which evaluate whether a project has impact on these outcomes and reference evidence about demonstrating how reading relates to these outcomes. The report and evaluation toolkit form a solid 72 pages, but it is well worth reading through it.
I have been interested in impact evaluation for a couple of years now and have developed some templates for Tower Hamlets SLS. This toolkit is a most valuable addition to the subject. Measuring reading for pleasure is notoriously difficult and potentially mainly anecdotal and subjective. This toolkit could contribute to producing measurable outcomes that can be used as advocacy.

The framework outlines four stages of analysis of a reading project from the ‘activity to encourage reading for pleasure and empowerment’ to potential reading impact outcomes. These may have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, intellectual outcomes, personal outcomes and social outcomes. These in turn lead to wider positive impact on cultural, economic and societal areas.
The survey questions are very detailed and are broadly similar to the ones used by the National Literacy Trust to evaluate their projects with children, such as Premier League Reading Stars and also The Reading Agency’s Chatterbooks book clubs . I have used this questionnaire myself with primary school children and, with guidance, it produces useful information and, if used before and after the project, potentially provides useful impact evaluation data. To be of greater value though you need to assess the continued impact some time later. The survey can also be used with other stakeholders.

The most interesting sections for me are the analysis tools and the references. As someone with no statistical background, I will be studying these to improve my skills.

Full details and links to the framework, the toolkit and an interactive version are at: https://readingagency.org.uk/news/blog/reading-outcomes-framework-toolkit.html

Lucy Chambers, SLG National Committee