Category Archives: Training and CPD

Data Driven Librarianship

Join CILIP on 4th May at 12:30 for a new module in the Data Driven Librarianship course powered by Nielsen BookData, recognised by CILIP. In the Research Module Update, Nielsen BookData will provide a full year review of the UK book market’s 2021 performance, including a look at their library loans data and further insights from LibScan. Register now for free:

Librarians, discover how you can harness the power of data to understand your users and inform your decision making on buying and stock selection in this 3-part series run by the experts at Nielsen and recognised by CILIP. Session recordings as well as further reading materials, resources and exercises from our friends at Nielsen are available here so you can complete the series and earn a CILIP-recognised Certificate of Completion:

Why should I develop my skills?


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the school community, CPD should be undertaken on a regular basis – as current knowledge and skills can quickly become out-of-date.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

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:

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


Revalidation – why bother?

Post written by Sheila Compton, who is on the SLG National Committee

When looking on the CILIP Directory of Registered Practitioners to see if my Revalidation had been updated I noticed that coincidentally the Revalidation was registered exactly 41 years after I originally registered as a Chartered Librarian. This led me to reflect on what had driven me to undertake revalidation at this stage in my career, when I am clearly not on an upward trajectory in the job market! Soon after I became a Chartered member, ALA, the profession became all graduate entry. Although the status of those who had achieved Chartership under the old system was preserved I later decided to update my qualifications by obtaining a degree. I felt that this would enhance my skills to the level of younger professional colleagues; and would also put me academically on a par with teachers, as I had eventually settled on a career in school librarianship.

My degree involved a lot of reflection on my own practice through action research, which gave me many opportunities to develop my skills. Over the years I had attend training events and conferences to keep myself up to date so I could just have left it there; quite frankly at this stage in my career why bother with revalidation? Looking at the profession with its dwindling numbers of professional school librarians, and having no desire to change jobs, there did not seem a lot to motivate me to revalidate. After all, surely it would take ages to evidence and require extra work?

Like many people I started in a half-hearted way to keep a record of my CPD and thinking it would have to be evidenced through formal conferences and training sessions, with certificates of attendance to validate my presence. Months later I had not really got very far with it, and almost gave up until a flash of inspiration made me put down revalidating as my performance management personal target at school. This I felt would achieve two aims as I would have evidence of professional development for school, and it would actually make me finish my revalidation. There was also a slight hidden agenda as in my capacity as SLG Vice Chair I wanted to show librarian colleagues that revalidation is achievable at any age and stage in your career, and perhaps to encourage others to do the same. I think that it is important to be able to evidence our continuing professional development both from the point of view both of our own integrity and to ensure our viability in the job market.

The SLG 2016 Conference “Read all about it” spurred me on to actually get on with the whole revalidation process as I attended the seminar, led by Matthew Wheeler of CILIP, on Professional Registration which included Revalidation. In his presentation Matthew explained the process and showed that for Revalidation the key elements were the logging of CPD and a reflective statement. It soon became evident that the tasks were less onerous that I had thought. Professional reading counted as an activity, as did attendance at courses and even participation in committee meetings. By the end of the year I realized that I had well exceeded the minimum requirement of 20 hours without any excessive financial cost, or demands upon my time.

The final task was the reflective statement, the hardest part of which was encapsulating my reflection on all of the CPD in 250 words. With the CPD log and the reflective statement uploaded to the CILIP VLE the process was finished in December, and in January I was thrilled to receive confirmation from CILIP that my Revalidation had been accepted.

So why had I done it? I wanted to prove that it was an achievable target, and to be able to show my line manager and the Head that I was still keeping up with professional development. I had achieved my personal targets, developed my professional practice, and realized how much CPD can be done in a multitude of different ways. I hope that maybe I will be able to encourage my fellow librarians to revalidate too; it is not difficult, and there is a real feeling of achievement when you get the congratulatory email from CILIP.

Sheila Compton BA (Hons) MCLIP Revalidated 2016

SLG Regional Conference: Oakham School

Julie Angel, Assistant Librarian at Eltham College, attended our conference at Oakham School on November 1st 2016, and sent us her report of the day:

The SLG Regional Conference was held at Oakham School and hosted by Darryl Toerien, Head of Library and Information Services at the school.

The first speaker the day was David Harrow, the Academic Deputy Head, who talked about how the school library was at the centre of teaching and learning and the impact it had on students and their outcomes Post 18. Backed by research and the statistics that generated, I think we all felt valued and appreciated as our hard work and input does genuinely make a difference.  He told the group: “… even when the aims of the curriculum are considered in this most utilitarian fashion, properly staffed and resourced libraries are highly successful in developing the required qualities and outcomes. However, the progressive interpretation, where the aim is for students to acquire both knowledge and mastery of the processes of learning more for themselves, as well as engendering ongoing wellbeing, is also dramatically evidenced by the same studies as being strongly supported by libraries. The place of the school library at the centre of teaching and learning can, therefore, be established beyond doubt.” This is a strong statement in support of libraries, echoing the supportive statement from the deputy head in the previous report from the Regional Conference at Eltham College.

Next was Karen Benoy, Librarian from The Thomas Alleyne Academy, who shared with us her experience of using data to track reading in KS3. She is a very strong advocate of not only collecting the data, but then using it in planning and organising the strategies to raise reading levels and how this can lead to the rise in achievement across the curriculum. Using effective intervention, personal to the pupils, Karen showed how her initiative has led to improved results in reading for the pupils in her school.

Clare Scothern from Trent College followed with her account of the ‘Read to Succeed’ week she held in school last year. Clare told of the experience in a very honest way, highlighting the successes of the week but also the negatives and her reflection on how she would change things next time. This was reassuring to hear that with even the best laid plans sometimes things do not always go the way we anticipated!

Our host was the next to speak on the subject of ‘Curriculum Mapping’ and its importance in the daily running of the library. Darryl spoke of the significance of working with Heads of Departments and looking at their schemes of work to ensure the pupils had access to resources that would not only support their studies but also to extend their knowledge of the subject in question. It is very evident he is passionate about this aspect of his role and how he can create cross-curricular themes giving teaching staff an insight into how colleagues are helping students to get the best possible outcomes.

Before lunch Sheila Compton, from the SLG National Committee gave us a news update on where the group in now, how she would like to see it develop and how we can play a part in the group. From her presentation it is clear the SLG within CILIP is a very active sub-group offering support and guidance to school librarians across the country.

During lunch there was time to discuss the morning’s topics with colleagues both old and new whilst browsing in the school library. We then were given access to the school’s online resources where we could look at what is on offer for those who were less familiar with these materials.

Once back in the auditorium it was the turn of Sophie Fisher from Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge to deliver a session on the ‘Diversity in Picture Books’. Sophie brought with her a range of resources for us to look at and digest whilst also giving a plethora of information on the subject of diversity in books in general. This led to a group discussion on how we each promote these books within our own libraries with many ideas being voiced.

Our penultimate session was delivered by the Assistant Librarian at The Leys in Cambridge. Lyndsey Goddard gave a humorous but very observational insight into changing sectors within the profession. Her tales of being an academic librarian in a university and the transition into schools had us all laughing out loud at the experiences she has had in both. A second career may be in the pipeline!

To end a superb day of CPD, Allison Tarrant from Cambourne Village College gave us food for thought while presenting ‘Assessing the impact of an information literacy programme.’ Questionnaires for Y9 on their understanding of IL, as well as having a logo on work to prompt students to understand that research is required, are just a couple of ways Allison assesses and promotes the lifelong IL skills needed in today’s educational climate.

May I take this opportunity to thank Darryl and Oakham School for their hospitality and allowing us to meet in such a wonderful venue. I certainly learnt a lot from the day and talking to other delegates during my time there, they too found the day highly thought provoking and as always the chance to share good practice is invaluable to us all.

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.



Counter-extremism in schools: the new PREVENT guidance

In a bid to tackle the phenomenon of radicalisation, the government has passed  the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 which affects every school in the country. In a matter of weeks, every school has been asked to provide clear safeguarding measures to address radicalisation: this is called the PREVENT action which comes with clear guidance for school and school staff.

The guidance is clear that:

  • Extremism and radicalisation are safeguarding concerns and should be dealt with using the school’s existing safeguarding procedures.
  • Schools must ensure that children understand the ‘diverse…religious and ethnic identities in the UK’
  • The Prevent duty does not require teachers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life

There are 5 themes within the Prevent duty:

  • Risk assessment: There is no single way to identify a young person who is at risk. Small changes in behaviour might indicate there are concerns about their wellbeing so members of staff MUST refer anything to the Designated Lead for Safeguarding who can then carry out a risk assessment
  • Working in partnership: every school should work in partnership with the Police. There is a telephone helpline for extremism 020 7340 7264. If you a member of staff is concerned that a child’s life is in immediate danger, or that they may be planning to travel to Syria / Iraq dial 999 or call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321
  • Staff training: whole staff training is to be carried out in every school on this issue.
  • IT policies: Staff should develop an awareness of online risks and how extremists use social media to engage with young people. Every teacher needs to be aware of the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups
  • Building resilience to radicalisation: In all lessons, teaching, support teaching and non-teaching staff should seek to offer a ‘safe environment’ to explore sensitive or controversial topics

Use of Social Media by ISIS/ISIL and similar groups

As with other online harms, every member of staff needs to be aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups. Keeping children safe from risks posed by terrorist exploitation of social media should be approached in the same way as safeguarding children from any other online abuse. In the same way that staff are vigilant about signs of possible physical or emotional abuse in any of their pupils, if you have a concern for the safety of a specific young person at risk of radicalisation, you should follow the school safeguarding procedures and report your concern to Elga Stuck (Designated Lead.

ISIL media presents ISIL as the powerful creators of a new state.. When ISIL’s official media groups release material online the group encourages supporters on social media to share the material – this is what gives ISIL its large reach, particularly to young people.

  • ISIL celebrates and promotes an image of success online in order to attract young people – it tells them that ISIL are winning side and offer an exciting life.
  • ISIL portray their ‘Caliphate’ as an ideal, utopian state where Muslims will find status and belonging.
  • ISIL insists that it is the personal duty of Sunni Muslims to support them and travel to the ‘Caliphate’.
  • ISIL portrays itself as the only group able to defend Sunnis from the Assad regime, the Iraqi army or the threat of the West.

ISIL uses:

  • Facebook: ISIL supporters use this to share content, such as news stories and YouTube videos, among their peer groups.
  • Twitter: There are a large number of pro-ISIL accounts sharing ISIL propaganda.
  • You Tube: This is used to host videos, both of official ISIL output and videos created by users themselves. Users post YouTube links in Twitter and Facebook.
  • Ask FM: FM People considering travel to Syria or Iraq use to ask British jihadis and female ISIL supporters about travel, living standards, recruitment, fighting and broader ideology. The answers given by ISIL supporters are encouraging, saying all their difficulties will be solved if they travel to the region.
  • Instagram: This is used by fighters and ISIL supporters to share the photosets frequently produced by various ISIL media organisations. ISIL supporters also use Instagram to share pictures of their life in Syria, often showing landscapes and images suggesting they are living a full and happy life.
  • Tumblr: This is exploited by fighters to promote longer, theological arguments for travel. Tumblr is popular with female ISIL supporters, who have written blogs addressing the concerns girls have about travelling to the region, such as leaving their families behind and living standards in Syria.

PM: On social media, ISIL supporters frequently encourage others to message them on closed peer-to-peer networks when asked for sensitive information, such as on how to travel to the region, what to pack and who to contact when they arrive. Popular private messaging apps include WhatsApp, Kik, SureSpot and Viber.

How can school librarians support the school agenda in this?

Our recommended resources include:

Counter-Extremism (narratives and conversations), an open-access video database put together by the London Grid for Learning

Inspire, a counter-extremism and women’ rights organisation lead by Sara Khan


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

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.


A Year In The Life Of A Committee Member.

Post written by Barbara Ferramosca

“What don’t we do?” This is the answer that I have recently given to a person enquiring about the work that we do at the CILIP School Libraries Group committee for London and the South East.

Writing this blog piece has been a very interesting exercise as it gave me the opportunity to take myself out of the usual flow of work and really take a look at what we have done, frankly, in awe and pride.

I am a solo librarian at an inner-London secondary school and, as many of you already know, this is a job that keeps you busy, busy, busy! I absolutely love my job and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything in the world: however, there was a moment a couple of years ago when I realised that I wanted a little bit more of a challenge. I felt that I reached a good point with my service, I had developed the skills to make it move forward but I also identified some big gaps that I could not fill within the remit of my school. Although I could confidently say that the importance of my work was recognised in my school, I was and still not officially considered a head of department: this was quite an important consideration in order to keep open future career prospects in higher managerial positions. So experience in leadership, project management and working as a team came at the top of my priorities.

Something had to be done but where to start?

Volunteering for the SLG Committee came at a colleague’s suggestion and I decided to give it a try, even if I was quite unsure whether I would be up for the job. I had not been in the profession for very long and had not even started my Chartership yet!  However, I knew that I had on my side boundless enthusiasm and a willingness to learn new skills and help so I went for it and never regretted the decision.

I am pleased to say that my perception of committee meetings as a place of reverence, where established library professionals meet in an atmosphere of authority has been smashed to smithereens since the first meeting. Committee work brings together experienced professionals who have been in the job for twenty years or more with people who have join librarianship only recently. Engaging in honest discussion with people of this calibre may have sounded daunting at one time, however in the last two years I have become much more confident in presenting arguments or points of view in a way that effectively contributes to a discussion and learn from others as well.

In this atmosphere of shared experience, going to committee meetings has become an invigorating process because ultimately we are all working towards the same goal and everybody contributes with their unique perspective of the profession.

So what do we do? In a nutshell, our objective is to create both formal and more informal opportunities for school librarians to meet, keep updated with the latest developments in the field and share good practice. Our big challenge is to give all our SLG members value for money by ensuring that our courses are affordable and of the highest standards of professionalism. Unlike some other training companies, we know how difficult it is for school librarians to be sent on CPD courses and we make it our priority to make it possible!

The mind boggles a little if I think about what we have achieved in the last year alone and what we have in programme for 2015. We have recently run a whole-day course on library services impact on education attainment and currently planning a new one for next June. Between a winter social event at the pub that we have in plan for January and our fantastic annual Libmeet unconference in April, every committee member is involved in the organisation of an event and learning new skills in the mix.

We are also spreading into blog-space, as you are currently reading. We are quite excited about this blog because we wanted to create an informal yet high-quality online venue where we can discuss current issues with other professionals. This is going to give fantastic new experience to the committee members who felt that they are still struggling with Social Media, myself included.

I am really looking forward to the year ahead: with such a great team to work with, I cannot but feel that 2015 will be our best year yet!

If you are interested in joining our committee, please contact our Secretary, Sue Ayling, at the following email: