Category Archives: Teaching and Learning

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the school community, CPD should be undertaken on a regular basis – as current knowledge and skills can quickly become out-of-date.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

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.

 

Providing Excellent Library Provision

logo2By Alison Tarrant, MCLIP, MSc Econ Honour List Librarian, School Librarian of the Year Award 2016

Cambourne Village College is in its fourth year. We opened in September 2013 with a single year group, and have been building up year by year. Starting from scratch really enabled those running the school to think about what was needed – and a school library was definitely part of the plan. I was appointed as Librarian in the Easter term of 2013, which allowed me to plan an excellent library service.

Among some there is a misconception that the library is just a room full of books, and the Librarian someone who stamps them. Though the most visible aspect of the job, this is not excellent library service, and definitely doesn’t reflect the role of Librarian. At the core of excellent school library provision are two things: Information Literacy and Reading Development. These provide the fundamental helix which enables everything else.

empty-library

Information Literacy

Information Literacy (IL) is the ability to find, use and communicate information in an ethical manner,(1) and is often widened to include research skills – such as note taking and evaluating outcomes. It is teaching pupils the skills they need to maximise the opportunities the internet provides, while exercising criticism. As Librarian, I create worksheets that guide students through the research process we use. (2)  I introduce this to all Year 7 classes at the start of the school year, and recap with other years as necessary. I lead sessions to introduce specific skills when required. I collaborate with teachers to provide resources that provide scaffolding for students, while allowing them freedom, and I produce videos that guide students through resources or skills as reminders for homework. I create Research Starter booklets for any topics where it is harder to find information at the right level – using short excerpts from higher level texts allows students access to the information without its being overwhelming. This creates a platform from which students can conduct their own research; once they have a foundation of knowledge they can access other information more easily, both in terms of understanding (3) and validity.

Reading Development

The Library stands astride a difficult gulf – supporting reading for pleasure while simultaneously ensuring pupils are progressing in their reading skills. Those who literally cannot read will probably fall under an intervention department, but there are plenty of students who fill the spectrum between ‘able to read’ and ‘fully fluent independent reader’. (4)  At the most basic level, the Librarian’s job is to make this development easier by encouraging students to read, by connecting books (including e-books) and readers. Calling this ‘basic’ is not to underestimate its importance. There are pupils in CamVC who only read now because two years ago they found a book they loved – this can have long-lasting and potentially life-changing impact. Not all students will want to read, and I take a further step in trying to identify these students. ‘Attitude to Reading’ surveys given at the beginning of the year help us recognise those ‘reluctant readers’, while comparing the results to their reading ability allows us to identify different groups (‘can but won’t’; ‘can’t but will’ etc). This leads to intervention interviews with the students in question: What is it that is preventing this child from wanting to read? Is it a family matter? A self-consciousness? Do they struggle with idioms and contexts? Are they simply not used to it? It is only by talking to the students that we can get to the core of the issue and start to target the cause, rather than the symptoms. Of course we will not be successful with everyone, but sometimes having the conversation is more important than the outcome – the fact that someone cares can make a difference to a child.

Reading is important – it provides opportunities to experience someone else’s life decisions, and unveils the wider world in all its complexity, helping students understand themselves and each other better – and I am here to discuss this all with them. “Miss, what’s a hermaphrodite?”; “What do you think about the death penalty?”; “Why does this book have rude words in?” The journey of discovery is not complete without someone they can turn to and ask the questions that have been raised in their minds. The Librarian extends learning and guides curiosity – “Ah, you liked that one? Try this,” or places a book in the hands of someone who needs it (a book with an LGBTQ character for someone who is questioning their sexuality perhaps) because they will not ask for it, but it might be the most important book they will ever read.

Progression

For the first two years, the focus was on embedding the double helix – setting up the Patron of Reading scheme and ensuring library lessons were fully utilised with an activity to develop reading skills in each session. At the same time the library started to develop an atmosphere – warm, inviting and engaging. Each school library represents a school in the same way the daemons in Philip Pullman’s ‘The Northern Lights’ represent each character’s personality, and the library was starting to capture the best of the staff and school surrounding it. In the early days the library was empty, with far too few books (building the collection year by year is the only way that makes sense – allowing that flexibility to respond to changing curricula and students) and yet now the shelves are overflowing. We now have e-book lending set up and a few different e-resources to help students with their research. For us it is a combination of formats and information – not one versus the other. Books, e-books and the internet are all tools that are useful in different ways and for different things; part of my job is ensuring the students can select the appropriate one and use it to its full advantage.

The role of Librarian has developed as well, from the days of cataloguing and setting up the Library management system, whereas now it is more focused on the library being a whole school resource – including contributing to teaching. I am uniquely placed in having an overall view of what is being taught and when, so I created a curriculum map. Compiling this information is invaluable for realising opportunities for collaboration between teachers, and showing progression of knowledge. It gives me an opportunity to make sure my resources are up to date, and that any opportunities for research skills or reading lists are utilised. My knowledge of what is going on within the school makes teamwork with colleagues easier, and creates opportunities for collaboration between different members of staff. For some Librarians, using this knowledge means they can develop additional learning opportunities – whether this be through interactive videos, creative projects, or any other talents your Librarian has.

I contribute to the school at a strategic level. Attending Middle Leader meetings means I know the pressures and deadlines that exist within the school and enables me to provide assistance and contribute, for example, with suggestions for the school’s development plan. Given the central role the library plays in school life, this 360 degree view allows me to make sure the library is aligned with the school’s aims over the next year or so. Access to the development plan is essential for any library which functions as a department within the school, and ensures that the school is getting the most from its investment. It answers the fundamental question: Where is the library contributing to the school’s aims? My Library’s development plan is broad. It covers reading ages, inclusion, staff CPD, working with feeder primaries – and these are marked off against the annual report, showing the impact and value of the library and librarian.

It is only through being respected as a professional (5) in my own right that this excellent library service has been achieved. I am incredibly well supported by the Senior Leaders, with a sensible budget and access to CPD. (6) As the Library has developed, the role of a Library Assistant has become a necessity, and we are planning a long-term vision for library provision, laying out the core aims and priorities of the library. There are very few definite things in education, but research has shown that libraries that have this support, impact on student outcomes (7) regardless of economic status. Providing an excellent library service is far more than stamping books: it is varied, important and has a positive impact on both staff and students.

[1] Learning Resources in Schools, Library Association Guidelines for School Libraries (1992).
[2] http://loc.gov/teachers/tps/quarterly/inquiry_learning/pdf/StriplingModelofInquiry.pdf
[3] Hirsch, E.D. ‘Why Knowledge Matters’, Harvard Education Press, 2016. P.83
[4] For more information on the different stages of reading CLPE have created a brilliant diagram that explains the fluid stages: https://www.clpe.org.uk/library-and-resources/reading-and-writing-scales
[5] I am a Chartered Librarian, and as a member of CILIP I adhere to the code of professional practice. For more information on chartering for librarians see: http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/jobs-careers/professional-registration/information-employers
[6] The School Library Association runs brilliant courses: http://www.sla.org.uk/training.php
[7] http://www.rgu.ac.uk/research/research-home/research-at-aberdeen-business-school/news/impact-of-school-libraries-on-learning/

As first published in Leading Change – The journal of the Leading Edge network.

 

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.

 

 

Recommended graphic novel titles for school libraries

Recommended graphic novels for school librariesOur fantastic visit to the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London has really given all participants an insight into the world of graphic novels and really interesting discussions about some of the pitfalls regarding content and appropriate audiences for different age groups.

The store manager, Lou Ryrie, who is also a huge advocate for school libraries has put together just for our event a list of recommended titles, with very detailed comments about age-suitability and useful warnings. You can now find the list below:

Recommended graphic novels for school libraries.

Another fantastic source of recommended manga and comics lists for children and Young Adult is the Comic Literacy Awareness organisation (CLAW): www.claw.org.uk/

You can contact Lou for any queries at the following email: manager2.london@forbiddenplanet.com

Stan Lee Excelsior Award

We would also would like to draw your attention to the Stan Lee Excelsior Award which is the only nationwide book award for graphic novels and manga. Kids aged 11-16 decide the winner out of a shortlist of eight titles by rating each book as they read it.

To discover more, visit the award website: www.excelsioraward.co.uk

 

Pupil Library Assistant Training Day 2015

CILIP SLG National in collaboration with the London and South-East Group have recently run their second Pupil Librarian Training Day at the Elmgreen School with Librarians and students from 12 different schools.

The first activity of the day was varied and well-paced and focused on developing pupils’ customer service skills. All students were asked to evaluate and analyse some of the decisions that they have to make at the Library desk such as: What do you do when your friend wants you to favour her? How do you cope with disruptive students? Will you bend the rules to avoid a confrontation? Students were asked to consider their responses, and then vote for their choice of 3 possible answers to each question.

The programme of the day was also interspersed with ‘spot quiz’ questions that had students abuzz and keen for the fantastic book prizes available. One of the questions was particularly interesting because it asked to estimate the size of the largest book ever made. With dimensions close to 5m x 8m, it is called ‘This is Muhammed’, was made in Dubai, and is a compilation of stories highlighting the lifetime achievements of Islam’s Prophet.

Some of the schools contributed to the Library Showcase and the feedback from students and librarians has been overwhelmingly positive with a lot of ideas for competitions, clubs and events shared. Other activities also included the creation of a promotional poster for a new book with an audience vote during lunchtime.

The highlight of the day was an energetic presentation by the newly published Children’s author Abi Elphinstone, who bounced across the stage telling us about her adventures. Writing may seem a long way from her childhood ambition to become a Unicorn, but Abi has been to some amazing places, and collected all sorts of tales, names, traditions and myths which are woven into her stories. We saw the objects that have inspired her – the ankle bone of a sheep is a memorable one – they are used by children in Mongolia for a game, and Abi learned this when she stayed with Mongolian Eagle hunters.

Writers, she told us, have to live, because everything you see or do or learn about can become a part of your storytelling – “Our world is so magical, if we always look down at screens we miss so much of the magic.”

A major character in The Dream Snatcher is a wildcat and she spoke about how these critically endangered creatures are one of the few truly untameable beasts in the world. There is something thrilling about this quality of wildness, but you have to experience it, as Abi found when she visited a wolf sanctuary “If you hold a wolf, it’s like holding fierceness…and if I write a story about a wolf I’ll know now.”

Aspiring authors need two essential qualities: determination, and imagination. Abi tried for 7 years before a publisher accepted her writing, and she collected 96 rejection letters. Keep going, she says, fail lots, but keep going!

After such a successful day, CILIP School Libraries Group for London and the South East and the National Group intend to make this event a stable of our annual provision so keep an eye for next year event!

LIBMEET – Saturday 25th April 2015

On Saturday 25th April we held our third annual one day Libmeet. Hosted once again by Barbara Ferramosca, Librarian at Lilian Baylis Technology School in Vauxhall, and subtitled Embracing Change, we are pleased to report that it was our best ‘unconference’ yet with more than 90 delegates attending, including 11 authors 7 library resources exhibitors and 73 librarians from all over London, the South-East and the Midlands.

A great day for making new contacts and catching up with old friends, it was packed with information and ideas to inspire us.

Dzifa Benson at Libmeet 2015

Dzifa Benson at Libmeet 2015

Still smiling from a lively performance of The Signifyin’ Monkey by our Artist in residence Dzifa Benson of Authors Abroad, we separated into groups to get to grips with our choice of workshops…

Running Project Qualifications from the Library

Project qualifications are great for students, giving them experience of independent learning so valuable for university and for life. They are also good for the library, raising our profile across the subject departments and offering us an opportunity to impart information skills at point of need in the context of a recognised qualification. Projects are offered by various exam boards – AQA  OCR and Edexcel at Level 1 Foundation, Level 2 Higher which is equivalent to half a GCSE, and Level 3 or the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which is equivalent to half an A’ Level.  Universities particularly value the EPQ and some will reduce the grades they require from a candidate who has done well.

Projects can be run within or beside the curriculum. Form time or lunchtime clubs are an opportunity for the able or gifted & talented learner in Key Stage 3, 4 or 5 to broaden and extend their knowledge in an area of their own choice. They will also cultivate skills in communication both written and verbal, project management, research, product development and self-evaluation. Run in lesson time, project qualifications can offer the same benefits and sense of individual achievement to those who are less able and / or less engaged with formal classroom learning.

Nancy Cheeseman began our session by explaining in detail how Year 13 students at Parmiter’s School in Hertfordshire undertake the Edexcel EPQ, tackling the work in their own time over just 4 months but supported by teaching staff and librarians. See the slides from her talk Running Project Qualifications from the Library

Barbara Band  then described how experience with different groups of students has led her to develop her delivery of the AQA Level 2 Higher Project at The Emmbrook School in Berkshire. Barbara currently offers her course to able students in Year 9, running her sessions extra-curricularly, largely during Form Time, and acting as supervisor to each student. Lively discussion followed around the different ways of delivering these qualifications, potential groups of students who might benefit and consequent challenges. 

The potential of Augmented Reality (AR) for the school library

Barbara Ferramosca led a workshop on the growing phenomenon of Augmented Reality (AR) and its applications in the school library. The workshop kicked off with a few short introductory videos to one of the leading platforms Aurasma

Barbara has been experimenting with Aurasma, at Lilian Baylis School, using just a couple of Galaxy Tab 3 tablets. Barbara says “The Augmented Reality app adds an exciting new dimension to student book browsing, every cover and display come alive with trailers, videos, pictures, book reviews and so much more! The library turns into a veritable treasure hunt, and all the students need is a device that can run the app.” Any Apple or Android device will work, including mobile phones.

Then we had a chance to try out Aurasma for ourselves by scanning a few book covers from Barbara’s library.  The benefits were immediately clear, and lively discussion ensued:

  • It means we can archive all types of library generated content – written book reviews, video book talks, student podcasts, reading lists, information booklets etc. in one place, particularly as Aurasma currently include a huge storage space with their platform.
  • It will allow us to display all this content, at the drop of a hat, to impress line manager, parents, or Ofsted Inspector!
  • We can support the curriculum by creating short tutorials for teachers focussing, for example, on developing student research skills, or exploiting an online resource that the library has purchased. Once created, the AR experience could be re-used or modified year on year.

Naturally there were a few questions:

Q. How much time, effort, and support are needed?

Barbara Creating a quality AR experience is a long-term commitment, so plan strategically from the beginning. Target specific stakeholders, perhaps parents, special needs or reluctant readers? Remember too that showing off an exciting, cutting edge library is good for recruitment – a Senior Management Team priority in every school.  

As a solo librarian myself I have enlisted work-experience students from a local college who run our Aurasma project under my supervision.

Q. What types of content can be displayed with AR? 

Barbara MP4, JPEG and PNG. Anything that can be converted into these formats can be displayed, maximum size100 MB.

Although very new, see some examples of its application in education at http://www.innovatemyschool.com/industry-expert-articles/item/1085-augmented-learning-using-augmented-reality-in-schools.htm

Q. Could this be a project for students themselves? 

Barbara – Yes, creating AR experiences could be an engaging way for students to study a topic in depth or enjoy literature afresh.

The options are virtually limitless!

Wheeler’s e-book Platform and MLS Reading Cloud

Our third choice of workshop comprised practical demonstrations of two recently-launched online e-book platforms: Wheelers’ and Micro-Librarian’s Reading Cloud

Having recently linked with Peters’ Bookselling Services, Wheelers now offer a range of titles not found on other platforms. We were impressed by both the children’s books, e.g. the wide range by Michael Morpurgo, and the young adult titles which included work by authors attending the Libmeet!

On the other hand, MLS Reading Cloud is attempting something new… a unified platform, compatible with their Library Management System and allowing students to respond to their reading via a safe social media-style environment. If the reading cloud delivers as promised at the demonstration, it will allow us to watch students’ reading levels, deliver aptitude tests and more all within just one platform. Definitely worth keeping an eye on!

Workshop Materials for Children’s Literature

Our fourth and final workshop was led by a group of authors, poets and a storyteller from CWISL (Children’s Writers and Illustrators from South London) who explored the impact on pupils’ attainment of access to good literature and author visits. There was discussion around how to build a good case for such expenditure especially when budgets are limited.

See presentation by  Chitra Soundar

Chitra Soundar and Ivan Todorov at Libmeet 2015

Chitra Soundar and Ivan Todorov at Libmeet 2015

Other authors joining us the  workshop and , indeed for the whole day were:

and non fiction author  Bybreen Samuels promoting Non-Profit Booster, her practical guide to setting up a charitable organisation.

Our exhibition area was available throughout the day offering a lunchtime opportunity to get to grips with school library resource suppliers including:

After lunch we grouped into a Library Surgery to share good practice and thoughts on some thorny topics suggested by delegates.

  1. Ideas for clubs competitions and how to run a club successfully
  2. How do we effectlively manage the diverse people who support us in the library
  3. Effective reporting for school librarians

The day finished, as it began, with Dzifa Benson, who performed ‘Bottom Power’ her poem about the exploitation of Saartjie Baartman, and last opportunities to visit Lilian Baylis School library or catch up with our library resource exhibitors.

Many thanks to Barbara Ferramosca for hosting the day and for all her work in organisation and looking forward to meeting even more of you at our events in the future.

Nancy

The Beating Heart of the School – a London & SE SLG course

heart image copyright free

On Friday 14th November 2014, SLG London and South East committee hosted a training course to attempt to deal with some of the issues facing school librarians. This event was inspired by issues raised in the APPG document published in May 2014; The Beating Heart of the School. This is a summary of the key elements of the course.

Post written by Dawn Finch

The Beating Heart document has highlighted both the need for a professional librarian in schools, and the need of schools to have a more enlightened view of what exactly a school librarian does. Sadly it seems from their findings that in schools there is still a very archaic view of the abilities of school librarians, and this can hinder how much they are able to be part of the higher level or management structure of the school. Ultimately this can have a directly negative effect on pupil progress, and is essentially a misuse of valuable resources.

In the course we discussed how a successful and ‘outstanding’ school library is such an integral part of the school that its influence reaches far beyond its walls. It simply is not possible to be a “Beating Heart” if the pump does not have the strength to reach every limb! So how do we break out beyond our walls? We have all done every event and reading initiative we can think of, and taken part in every scheme and promotion we can – but most of us are still finding it hard to keep a high profile, and to increase the number of our loyal users.

One of the most successful strategies for creating extended loyalty for the school library is to engage in certain branding activities; make a logo, create a theme, decide what image you want to represent for your library and be persistent and consistent with your promotion of the library. Our aim should be that as soon as anyone sees our logo, they should have an instant understanding of what we represent, and of what a library can do for them. Branding is recognition in a heartbeat, and recognition creates loyalty. What we are looking to do is create a feeling, an emotion, and ultimately loyalty.

On the day we also looked at the issues surrounding digital literacy. The days of ICT skills in schools has passed, and school librarians are now at the front-line of the teaching of digital literacy. We live in a world of cyber-crime and cyber-bullying and our children’s best defence of this is knowledge and understanding. We cannot expect our children to protect themselves online, or to behave well, if we do not model good behaviour in schools. To this end we need to be using social media and blogging just as they do, but to use it to show young people how it should be done.

There are many arguments against the use of social media in schools but, as Ofsted are increasingly saying, it will soon not be possible for schools to achieve an outstanding rating if they fall behind in digital literacy. The fact remains that some of the finest resources available for researchers are now in blog form. To deny use of blogs and blogging in schools is to deny access to some of the most accurate first-hand resources available. This denial will also act as a kind of exclusion policy exposing the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the classroom.  If we do not allow our pupils access to blogs for information and research, we are simply encouraging unreliable wiki-research and creating a two-tier system of work.

As an example, let’s look at the landing of Philae on Comet 67P. Pupils researching this historic event can read Wikipedia, or newspaper reports, but how much better is it to access the blog of the European Space Agency and subscribe to their updates?

How about if your pupils are studying fashion? During London Fashion Week they might be able to find a newspaper report about the week, or even some smaller articles on the official site. How much better would it be to follow the accredited blog of a young designer as they go through the process for the first time?

Then we should take into account the fabulous resources that we have at our fingertips to protect our own service. How would we have access to articles like this one by Phillip Ardagh about the importance of libraries if we did not access blogs? We are not even touching on the importance of Twitter and other social media as a vital communication tool, but needless to say it is all part of the same move towards a digitally literate society.

The issue of cyber-bulling and trolling is at the top of many schools’ agendas, and is often an excuse used to prevent access to social media sites. This can lead to failings in how children perceive social-media, and failings in how schools deal with cyber-bullying issues. The children that I have supported through these issues still complain that school doesn’t “believe it’s real.” Pupils often complain that adults (including teachers) still insist that the hurt felt from online insults and persecution is not real. They are often still told that they should “get over it” or “forget it” or “ignore it.”  It is very real, and the key to preventing it is to first accept the reality of it. The “sticks and stones” line is dated and insulting. If you hit me with a stick, I’ll heal. If you cut me down with savage words I may carry those scars for the rest of my life. Embracing the hurt is the first step to preventing it from happening, and the first step towards stopping your pupils from behaving in this way themselves. The next step is using social media in lessons and as an educational tool.

We, as school librarians, have a duty to provide what our pupils need, and that is information in any form and format. We should do this by using social media in both our communication methods, and in our service to our young learners. By staying at the cutting edge, and using every tool at our disposal, we will future-proof our service whilst providing what our pupils need to fully progress as both informed learners, and socially well-adjusted adults.

Course delivered by Dawn Finch

Literacy and school library consultant, writer of children’s fiction and non-fiction books.

www.dawnfinch.com

Footnote; we will be revisiting elements of this course in much greater details, including supporting EPQs, in our April LibMeet as well as our Summer 2015 training courses. Follow this blog for more information. If you are a CILIP member you can log in and see our events posted here.

All of our events are open to both CILIP members and non-members, but if you are a member the cost of events will be lower.



Documents referred to on this training course can be downloaded by using the links below;

The Beating Heart of the School – APPG report on school librarieshttp://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/advocacy-campaigns-awards/advocacy-campaigns/libraries-all-party-parliamentary-group/beating

Moving English Forward – Ofsted

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/moving-english-forward

National Curriculum for English (2014/2015)  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study

 

 

Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

This new Award is to recognise the contribution made by pupils who work in their school libraries, to acknowledge the skills gained and to give them the recognition they deserve, both within and outside their school community.

Nominations can be made by the School Librarian, by emailing the nomination to president@cilip.org.uk by 31 October 2014.

A shortlist of candidates will be drawn up by the Judging Panel and announced during the first week of the school term in January. Shortlisted pupils will be asked to submit a portfolio of evidence by 13th February 2015 and the shortlisted nominees will be invited to an Awards Ceremony, to be held on Thursday 12th March at a London venue.

The winner of the Award will receive:

£100 worth of books
£100 worth of books for their school library
Glass book trophy x 2 for the winner and for their school librarian/library
A certificate

Shortlisted nominees will receive:

£50 worth of books
A certificate
For full information about the award and the nomination criteria, please download the guidelines below.

To submit a nomination, please use the link below to download the required paperwork.

School libraries
– See more at: http://www.cilip.org.uk/school-libraries-group/pupil-library-assistant-year-award#sthash.c60yvYdz.dpuf

BETT 2015

A lot of our members have found the BETT (the British Educational Training and Technology tradeshow) incredibly useful, and tickets are now available for 2015. The event is held at the ExCell in London’s Docklands from 21st – 24th January 2015

The organisers describe the event as…

Bett is the world’s leading technology event that brings together innovation and inspiration to the education sector. The event attracts +35,000 professionals within the industry and has been celebrated for over 30 years. 

There’s no better place to meet your peers and discover latest technologies than Bett 2015. 

Register for 2015 and: 

  • Be first to see inspirational new solutions and launches
  • Learn what 2015 has in store with unmissable seminars
  • Network, share your ideas and keep up to date with the industry
  • Gain insights through inspirational speakers in workshops and seminars”

The event also hosts the School Leaders Summit which is described as…

The education space is one which is constantly evolving, and every school in the UK is thinking about how it can deal with these changes. From the new Ofsted framework and shifts in assessment to the National Curriculum and academy conversion, the goal posts are shifting and it can be impossible to keep up. School management teams are finding themselves faced with a fluctuating environment they are under pressure to adapt to and prepare for – the School Leaders Summit aims to provide guidance and insight to help deal with these issues. 

Read more: http://www.bettshow.com/Content/School-Leaders-Summit-Guidance-in-school-leadership#ixzz3G2C5nSsb

Read more about the event here: http://www.bettshow.com/Content/Why-visit-Bett-2015/#ixzz3G2Bryx5Y

Register to visit the event here. BETT Registration.