Thursday, 19 May 2016

School libraries are vital for reading and learning – news, guidance, links and quotes

Altrincham Grammar 2It’s ages since I last blogged about school libraries, despite all the training I do about them (the photo shows part of the lovely library at Altrincham Grammar School, where I gave a course for the School Library Association Manchester branch recently), and despite my passion for them. The closure of school libraries and school library services horrifies me. It is so short-sighted and so destructive.

I agree with Gervase Phinn: ‘Reading is the centre of learning and libraries are at the heart of this.’ It’s well worth reading the Yorkshire Post article this comes from, ‘School libraries – the “real” seats of learning’.

Do read this Guardian piece too, ‘School libraries face a bleak future’ on the value of school libraries and librarians. ‘A library is more than the sum of its books; it is a hive of knowledge and a place where the research skills necessary for future study are honed …… A library without a librarian is like a school without a headteacher …… Libraries should be a right in schools …… Opening a library door helps children open their mind. For many, books are too expensive and a library allows students to borrow them.’

‘How libraries brought out my inner book geek’ is a teenager’s take on the powerful impact school libraries can have.

New Zealand school librarian Steph Ellis has lots of good practical ideas for supporting literacy through the school library effectively.

‘I want a good book’ contains useful thoughts on helping students choose a book that is right for them. As the article says, too much choice can be daunting.

Barbara Band’s Library Stuff blog is consistently interesting and pertinent. Her post from last summer on selecting books is full of insight and good ideas.

‘5 fun ways to get teachers into the library’ by the librarian at Glenthorne High School has some great tips for doing just that. I especially like this one: students defend banned books of their choosing, against a backdrop of mug shots of teachers posing with their favourite banned books.

For anyone new to the world of school libraries, there’s lots more help available. If you are lucky enough to work in a local authority that has a schools library service, do make use of their wonderful resources, knowledge and advice. The School Library Association is an invaluable source of guidance. Their publications are excellent. Secondary school librarians will undoubtedly find the new edition of CILIP Guidelines for Secondary School Libraries extremely valuable.

And to end, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell: ‘School librarians are amazing people who match readers to books that they know they are going to enjoy and that way you actually create readers, and this happens in school libraries every day.’ Absolutely right!