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