Category Archives: Advocacy

CILIP Conference 2022

Nick and Charlotte from the SLG Committee and Hannah, our bursary winner, are excited to be a this year’s CILIP Conference and Expo on 7+8 July at Liverpool Exhibition Centre.

Come and see us on our stand where we will be talking about the work that we have been doing to promote school libraries and school librarians as we recover from lockdown. We have an exciting programme of webinars to support CPD and professional registration, and we can let you know about our SLG Conference 2023!

If you can’t be there this year, we will be tweeting throughout the two days as library and information professionals from all sectors will be sharing their experiences and knowledge. You can follow us @CILIPSLG #CILIPConf22.

This year’s focus is on how libraries can approach the challenges of the climate crisis, tackle misinformation and censorship, explore equalities, diversity and inclusion, as well as the consultation around CILIP’s new Intellectual Freedom policy.

Don’t forget to come and say hello!

Intellectual Freedom: policy consultation

As a of CILIP School Libraries Group you can help us develop CILIP’s policy and supporting guidance on intellectual freedom for librarians, library workers and information professionals in all sectors by adding your feedback and knowledge to this survey. Complete the survey.

If you’re a member of a CILIP Member Network, Special Interest Group, Diversity Network or Devolved Nation help us develop CILIP’s policy and supporting guidance on intellectual freedom for librarians, library workers and information professionals in all sectors by adding your feedback and knowledge to this survey.

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom in School Libraries

Interim Joint Position Statement

May 2022

This statement has been produced jointly by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the CILIP School Libraries Group (CILIP SLG) and the School Library Association (SLA). It is intended to provide clear guidance for school librarians, school leadership and Governors when considering issues relating to intellectual freedom and censorship.

As leadership organisations for School Libraries, we believe that:

i) Intellectual freedom – the freedom to read, to learn, to question and to access information – is central to a functioning democracy.

ii) It is a core role of libraries, librarians and other library staff to promote intellectual freedom on behalf of their users, to empower users to enact their information rights and to oppose censorship in all its forms – both tacit and explicit.

iii) School librarians and library staff are responsible for promoting and preserving intellectual freedom by working with school leadership and teaching colleagues to support children and young people in their development as informed and responsible citizens.

We affirm the principles set out in the AASL School Library Bill of Rights. Based on this, we assert that it is the responsibility of the school librarian or library staff to:

iv) Provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities, and maturity levels of individual learners;

v) Provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and ethical standards;

vi) Provide a range of information resources which will enable pupils to make informed judgments in their daily life;

vii) Provide materials that illustrate and illuminate different views on controversial issues so that learners may develop under guidance the practice of critical reading and thinking;

viii) Provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural groups in our society and their contribution to our national heritage and identity;

ix) Place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate for the users of the library;

x) Actively oppose censorship for any purpose other than material that is proscribed by law, which risks the incitement of illegal acts or which constitutes ‘hate speech’ as defined by the Public Order Act 1986, the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

We recognise the significant challenges faced by school librarians in embedding these beliefs into their practice and will be working to provide further support in the coming months.

Jointly signed by Nick Poole, Caroline Roche and Alison Tarrant

Find out more about CILIP’s project to develop a new policy and supporting guidance on intellectual freedom for librarians, library workers and information professionals in all sectors.

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

Parental Leave, Amanda Ball

Earlier this month MP Stella Creasy came out and highlighted the ridiculous lack of maternity cover for her public serving job. She has stated she has had to beg the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for extra money to get in extra help to cover the service she provides, other parliaments in Europe have locum MP’s to cover for MP’s who are sick or who are on parental leave.
As someone who, over the last 6 months has had to try and organise what will happen to the service that I provide during my approaching parental leave I find myself sympathising in the extreme. I am fortunate that my school supports the library, recognises the service that the library provides has impact (through shared figures at line-manager meetings) and regards the school library as “a great place to be”, “a wonderful atmosphere”, “incredibly useful” and “a great resource for our
students”. So, how do you go about persuading your SLT to cover your job with the same level and ability as you? What arguments could you use for maternity or any other long term absence?
Think about these questions when talking to your line manager about a planned long term absence.

  1. What hours do you see the library being open during your absence?
  2. Which services and events would you like to see continued while away? Which ones have the most impact on the students? SLT can’t run everything you do but they and you don’t want all you have built to have collapsed when you come back.
  3. How much technical expertise is needed for each role? Knowledge of the stock and service is vital in some capacities but not in others.
  4. Which long-term or long embedded systems that you are in control of need to be temporarily passed on to someone who can maintain them?
  5. Is there any capacity for development of a library assistant’s role? With added CPD (even if provided by you)?
  6. To what extent are any services or events planned in advance? (I currently am working on a calendar of events, where I am planning out all the displays for the next year. Something I have never done but I am really enjoying!)

In order to help me answer all of the above I decided to make a spreadsheet based on the steps below.

  1. What are the key tasks that you perform day to day, week to week, term to term? Put that in a spreadsheet.
  2. Put next to each task the level of professional knowledge you need for each one
  3. What are the key events that you run during the year? How much work is involved?

My exploration doing this myself produced the spreadsheet below and I hope can be used as a base to show the many different tasks undertaken by library workers who are working in a professional capacity. Some people may not agree with the level of professional knowledge I have put down for things like cataloguing but I created it with a specific purpose that as much of the service to students be retained as possible during my absence.
The key in the spreadsheet also indicates the level of competency of my library assistant who predates me in role and is going to be very busy during my absence, I understand a lot of colleagues are solo workers and may be able to use a variation of this document to illustrate how a library assistant, even part time, can increase the service capacity of the library.

This exercise has been useful in that it gave me an overview of what exactly some schools are missing out on by not hiring a school librarian as a specific role. The events, the classes, the teaching, the clubs, the research help, the links within and without the school community all these things are missing when a school perceives the library as a “room with books in” rather than a service.
I hope that when come back from parental leave I will be able to step straight back into my role with very little disruption – which is what any teaching professional in similar circumstances, or indeed an MP, would also expect.

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

 

Reading Rocks event, October 2016

From time to time, SLG is asked to send representatives to different events around the country to speak or to set up a stand.  This involved us getting involved with a stand in the ATL Conference earlier in the year, being represented and giving a talk to a Headteachers’ Teachmeet in the summer, and the Reading Rocks event this autumn.  Lucy Chambers from the committee attended this event, and wrote her report for us.  Every meeting we attend is a chance for us to interact with people we wouldn’t normally reach, and to spread the word about the great things school libraries are doing.

Lucy writes: ‘I attended the first one day Reading Rocks 2016 conference, established to ‘discuss ways to make reading rock for every pupil.’  near Warrington, to deliver a workshop on behalf of SLG.  This was an opportunity to speak at an event aimed at teachers rather than just librarians and is something the committee has been discussing for some time: how to cross the invisible barrier and promote the impact librarians can have on a school to educationalists.

The District CE Primary School in Newton-le-Willows has won awards for its approach to reading and has many inspirational reading areas, from several small libraries within the school to a Story Shack, a book-themed playground and a Little Library of books for parents.   They promote reading with stylish and interactive displays and regular reading events throughout the year.

My role was to advocate the value of school librarians, in this case in primary schools, and to promote SLG.  I also spoke about how I use regular Reading Year events to get children reading in my four schools in Tower Hamlets.  The day was devoted to literacy sessions of interest to primary school teachers, with several authors and promoters of reading schemes. Keynote speakers included James Clements, the founder of Shakespeare and More, who works with schools to develop the teaching of reading, and Mat Tobin, Senior Lecturer in English and Children’s Literature at Oxford Brookes’ School of Education, talking about the hidden messages in picture books , including a thought-provoking interpretation of ‘Not Now Bernard’, elicited with discussion from Year 1 to Year 6 pupils.

Workshops ranged from sessions promoting First News, Phoenix and other magazines to a project using rhythm and music to improve reading comprehension in low ability children. Other workshops included storyteller Dan Worsely, Into Film, Mat Tobin, Jonny Duddle and Nikki Heath.

Altogether, it was a very impressive event with some excellent speakers, a great range of exhibitors and an ambitious programme.  If you are a primary school librarian or teacher, look out for Reading Rocks 2017 and sign up!’

See the school’s website www.district.st-helens.sch.uk/ for further information

 

SLG Regional Event in Kent/SE London

CILIPSLG held one of its very successful Regional Training Days at Eltham College in South East London on October 24th.  The day was heavily over-subscribed, and there are plans to rerun the day next March for all those who were disappointed this time.  Like all of the training days, there was an eclectic mix of subjects, and everyone found something to interest them in the day.

The first speaker was Caroline Roche, who also hosted us in her Library at Eltham College.  Caroline also runs Heart of the School website. She talked about using technology to help the learners in your school, and EPQ students in particular.  She showcased Diigo, MySimpleShow and Animoto, and gave out practical How To worksheets after her talk.

Next came Matt Imrie from Farrington’s School.  Matt runs the very successful Teen Librarian newsletter and website.  Matt talked to us about Freenocomics – how to get stuff for your library for free, and how to encourage your students to blog about books.

Last speaker before lunch was Maggie Thomas from Bacon’s College.  Maggie told us about a radical refurbishment of her library which involved her in strategic thinking and planning, including a review of how she should be line managed.  She had amazing support from her Line Manager throughout the successful process.

During lunch there was a great opportunity to network, and also to play the newly published Murder in the Library from BoxClever Education.  Alex Gillespie, an English teacher who devised the game, set it out in Eltham College Library, and we were all encouraged to find out who had murdered the Library Assistant!  This was an excellent game involving deductive thinking and reasoning skills.  There are many levels to the game, and is suitable for all abilities.  Everyone enjoyed it and quite a few people bought copies for their libraries.

In the afternoon Rowena Seabrook from Amnesty International spoke to us about Human Rights issues in Teen Fiction.  Her talk was thought provoking, both in how to promote and how to protect human rights of the students in the school.  There was a lot of productive discussion around LGBTQ rights and fiction, and also representation of teenagers of all races and colours in your library stock.  We all had a lot to think about after her talk.

CILIPSLG tweeted throughout the day, and a Storify of the tweets can be found here.

CILIPSLG Regional events are held throughout the year in different parts of the country.  If you are interested in attending one of our low cost events then keep an eye on this page.  If you are interested in hosting a meeting in your school, please contact SLG through their pages on the CILIP website.

 

 

How do you make a good case for your library?

We all have been there and experienced it: the utter frustration at seen a proposal for change or development turned down by your line-manager or the Headteacher. I have been at the receiving end of many refusals before I realised that something had to change in the way I was preparing my presentation. So the big question was: how can I be more persuasive next time? How can I sway the key stakeholders on my side?

This is how my personal campaign began…

In my research for a better way to change management, I have come across a number of useful resources that have made me see my problems from a different point of view or given me practical tips that I could apply in my workplace.

The first resource that has opened my eyes to other alternatives is definitely the book “The Library Marketing Toolkit” by Ned Potter (Facet Publishing). There is a fantastic website which acts as a companion to this book and which I urge to visit and explore: http://www.librarymarketingtoolkit.com/ .

Proactive vs reactive.

The chapter that has absolutely revolutionised the way I think about tackling any obstacles in my way is the “Marketing and People” one: full of tips and case studies, it really made me realise how the ability to influence people had to become my constant priority, use the the power of Word of Mouth as well as regularly reaching and outreaching. Our colleagues as well as other stakeholders in our service, big or small, can become our champions in our campaign for change. They can assist you in establishing your professional reputation and they will probably be your biggest supporters in pushing your agenda. What I really learnt in applying these priorities is that you need to constantly nourish your support network and not seek to create one just when you most need it: this will probably not come organically and support may arrive too late!

Battle Plan.

When preparing to make a change or submit a proposal for a major re-development, one model is highly recommended to ensure that you are successful: the 5 case model. The five elements of this model ensure that you are really prepared for your upcoming battle: I find it easier to see every element as an extra arrow to my bow. This model includes: The Strategic Case, The Economic case, The Financial Case, The Commercial Case, The Management Case.

If all these elements are carefully considered, investigated and analysed, you not only considerably increase your confidence in delivering your proposal but you also prepare solid grounds for your proposal to be accepted more easily.

The Strategic Case

What is the strategic context of you proposal, namely why do you want to make this change? How does this change fit within the existing structure of your organisation, including goals & strategies, existing practices and resources? Does the change that you are proposing allow the organisation to exploit new opportunities or respond to new threats?

Essential elements to be included:

  1. A clear description of what is proposed and its fit with the business strategy
  2. The key objectives to be met and benefits to be realised
  3. Key performance indicators for those objectives
  4. A resource overview

 The Economic Case

How does your proposal deliver value for money? How does your recommendation/proposal clearly provide a return on investment? How does the option that you are proposing deliver better that the other options considered?

Essential elements to be included:

  1. Critical assessment of the options considered, including cost-benefit analysis of each option: for example, a risk impact assessment of each option.
  2. A final recommendation based on a balance of cost, benefit and risk

 The Financial Case

How affordable is your proposal? How will it be funded and to what extent can your business/organisation afford it?

Essential elements to be included:

  1. Total cost of your proposal
  2. Impact upon cash flow
  3. Source of funding
  4. Possible considerations regarding the business affordability gap. If this is the case, considerations about borrowing additional finances and at what rate.
  5. Analysis of the split between revenue and capital expenditure

 The Commercial Case

What is the commercial viability of your proposal? How will you source and ensure a steady and secure supply of the commercial elements of your proposal?

Essential elements to be included:

  1. Identification and sources of the required internal and external resources
  2. How continuity of supply of those resources is to be maintained

 The Management Case

How will the proposal be project-managed to successful completion?

Essential elements to be included:

  1. Clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
  2. Delivery plan, including contingency plan, progress reporting and evaluation procedures