Wednesday, 17 March 2010

UK Library Blogs

A while ago I discovered a wiki called UK Library Blogs. It’s run by several prominent library-bloggers and aims to compile lists of all library-related blogs within the UK. What a great idea! I’ve found several interesting ones by accessing the wiki. I love reading library blogs and enjoy ones that have a personal feel to them. Some focus on professional issues whilst others have a more informal tone, but I soak them all up.

This month saw the unlocking of the wiki, meaning anybody is now free to add a blog to it. I added mine earlier this week and since then it has - for the first time - had hits from other countries.

This simple idea really is a great way to share knowledge, communicate with others and raise awareness. I can’t praise it enough! If you author a library blog, what are you waiting for? Get it on the wiki!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Campaign for the Book

In the current issue of Library and Information Gazette (11 March 2010), the front page story summarises the ongoing battle between school libraries and Downing Street. As I work in a school library this is something I feel very strongly about.

The Campaign for the Book, under the leadership of Alan Gibbons, submitted an e-petition to Downing Street asking for school libraries to be statutory, which was unfortunately rejected. The Government’s reply stated that a school library is a ‘key resource’ and left it for schools themselves to make the decision of whether they have libraries. Talk about sitting on the fence! This, I feel, is hugely hypocritical of the Government. Legally, schools have to provide careers information but do not necessarily have to provide any other sources of information. This makes me wonder, how on earth can a place of learning not possess a library? There is a startling trend which sees schools disbanding libraries because they are costly to source and the emphasis is now placed on Google as an all-knowing research tool. Indeed, in the borough in which I work, this has happened to several schools.

Grrrrr! I feel so passionately about this issue and it makes my blood boil that the Government does not feel it important. School libraries are statutory in Scotland and public libraries are statutory throughout the whole of the UK – how dare Downing Street say that school libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are less important. If I ever bump into Ed Balls or Gordon Brown I’d give them a piece of my mind!

I didn’t want this blog post to become an outlet for my frustration and anger regarding the Government’s narrow vision; I’m really having to curb what I type, otherwise it would be. In fact, I fear it is already too late! I just can’t help myself! My original intention was to simply state how nice it is to see so many different organisations lending their support to the campaign by lobbying the Prime Minister. However, these bodies are mostly institutions that are connected to school libraries, for example the School Library Association. Whilst there are non-school bodies that have verbalised support, for example several authors, it would be nice for support from other sectors to be more forthcoming. I can’t help but wonder, would this campaign have received more support had the government been as flippant towards libraries in other types of educational establishments, such as colleges or universities. A library is just as crucial in compulsory education as it is in further or higher education. School libraries are where the profession grabs library users of the future – that alone should give them importance.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Library Day in the Life (R4)

Grrr! Am well cheesed off!

Have just realised I'd forgotten all about round 4 of Library Day in the Life. I was hoping to take part in it this time round - I guess I'll have to keep my peepers peeled for round 5 instead! I'm thinking it might be July 2010?????

On other matters, it is a sad day today. We lost a fish in the library's tropical tank. Nothing overly unusual about that, except this fish had no eyeballs. Slightly disturbing and a tad gross. RIP Molly Number Two, you will long be remembered.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

LSA / Teacher / Librarian

At the start of the week, An ICT teacher I work closely with asked if I would do a one-to-one session with a pupil in his class, regarding exam technique. The lad didn’t do anything in a recent exam and it transpired that he didn’t have the knowledge to do the first question; it didn’t occur to him to flick through the paper and choose which questions to tackle first. We booked a time and I didn’t really have much of a plan in my head as of what to do, but we played it by ear. I enjoy the learning support aspects of my role as I find such moments give me a short break from books! I felt it went well (to say I hadn’t put any real thought into it) and the pupil asked for a follow up session. I took that as confirmation that I’d been on the correct path and the pupil had found it useful and (reasonably) enjoyable. Success! At the end of the session, the MFL teacher (camped in the library at the time) told me he’d had half an ear on our session and thought it ‘very informative’. With these compliments flying round, my head was beginning to swell and I’m now toying with the idea holding formal exam technique sessions for pupils.

I’ve held lessons on library inductions for year 7 pupils and referencing skills for pupils of sixth form age, but the concept of exam technique lessons never really occurred to me before. (Which I can’t quite believe considering I am an exam invigilator and often answer questions on what pupils are ‘supposed’ to do in the exams.)

Last year I attended a day’s training on SEAL practice. This covers Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning and the various barriers pupils are faced with. I learnt classroom management techniques for creating an atmosphere conducive to learning in an environment where content has to be differentiated. Library staff are often expected to teach lessons but people forget that we aren’t trained teachers; if any of you ‘out there’ has the opportunity to attend SEAL training, please take it up – I really do recommend it.

Incidentally, I have a college interview later this month for a course in post-16 teaching (PTLLS). All local residents qualify for one free course and this was the one that interested me the most. I’m really looking forward to learning the finer points of lesson planning. I quite fancy trying my hand at FE libraries one day (again), so you never know when such a course may come in handy!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Andrew K. Shenton

Hello again library fans,

I had some pretty amazing news this morning.

Over the past several years I have read numerous articles in various library-related publications written by Andrew K. Shenton. His work often concerns school libraries and the researching habits of young people. He appeared several times in the bibliography for my library dissertation and I've always regarded him as a Famous Librarian. (Phil Bradley is another of these FLs and I was in awe when I attended a seminar of his last year, but anyhoo - I digress...)

A letter awaited me at work this morning - Dr. Shenton has quoted me in his latest paper! This marvellous article is entitled 'Modelling-through-reaction: its nature, implementation and potential,' and is in Library and Information Research, Volume 33, Number 105, pp51-61. I crack a small mention on p52.

I am thrilled beyond belief! Who'd have thought it? Certainly not me! Thank you Andrew.