A (school) year in review – what has SLG been doing this year?, Caroline Roche

Now that the school year has drawn to an end, it is time to review what SLG has been doing for our members over the past year.

Great School Libraries Campaign (GSL) :We are working in partnership with the School Library Association (SLA) to oversee the Campaign. We are at the end of our first year of campaigning, and the GSL steering group will be meeting shortly to evaluate the first year, and where we go with the second. The first year was, of course, the year when we launched the questionnaire which was the end result of a couple of years hard work behind the scenes. The results are currently being analysed, and will be communicated to everyone some time in the autumn term.

Conference 2020: Planning is almost complete for our biennial Conference, and we hope to launch bookings and the programme early in the Autumn Term. We have secured the same venue as last time – Kents Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. The Conference will take place from Friday 24 th – Sunday 26 th April. Like previous conferences it will be packed with keynotes and seminars which will satisfy your intellectual curiosity as well as give you great practical ideas to implement as soon as you get back to your schools. We will also have a good mix of authors – who would have known at last conference when we had Muhammad Khan, a new debut author, that he would be so successful with ‘I am Thunder’? In addition, next year marks 40 years of SLG, and we plan to celebrate that Conference, so do plan to be there if you can!

AGM and training day: On October 18 th , at CILIP HQ in London, we shall be holding our AGM, embedded in another great training day. Put the date in your diaries now, details will be released early next term. Again, we will give you the chance to meet a couple of authors and have some excellent training.

Book Packs: Our popular book packs are going to have another addition – Girl Power – which will be launched at the AGM. Details of how you can order any of these can be found here and your school can be invoiced. Some of the book packs from previous years have nearly sold out, so if you were putting off buying one – get yours now!

Regional Training days: these days are one of the ways that we bring benefits to you as members. So far this year we have held two training days – one in Lancaster in June, which has now become established as a yearly event, very well attended. Our vice chair Rosalind Buckland is responsible for building up a strong network and running this event. The second event took place at the Drill Hall Library in Chatham in July. This focussed on post-16 development, and featured Darryl Toerien talking about the FOSIL group and research skills, and Sarah
Pavey giving practical advice on how to apply research skills. This course has proved so popular that we are looking to run it again in the Autumn, at least once, as participants noted that for those of us running EPQ lessons, this was invaluable. One of the comments said “This was the most exciting professional presentation I have heard in a long time. This is the future of school librarianship for me.” If you would like us to run a course near you and can offer us a free venue, close to good transport links, please let me know.

ASCEL and NATE teacher Conferences: Through the GSL Campaign we have been
represented at both of these teacher conferences – the former is for Heads and Senior Leaders, and the latter for English teachers. At both, we highlighted libraries and what we can offer schools, and we had many favourable comments and made good contacts.

Festival of Education: Nick Poole, the CEO of CILIP, spoke about Great School Libraries at this prestigious education event. Educational leaders and politicians go to the Festival, and he spoke to a full room, and made many good contacts for us. See his post on the blog here

In addition to all of this headline news, we are working on the next edition of SLIV (School Libraries in View) which will be out in the Autumn term, planning other Regional Days which will take place after Conference, writing articles for this blog and other publications, tweeting and Instagramming (did you take part in our extremely popular #slgmaybookchallenge? Look out for more of these to come! ) and developing our new Facebook page. If you do not follow us on any of our social media sites please do join the conversation! We are part of the team that runs the Pupil Library Assistant Awards, and we support one of our committee members – currently Darryl Toerien – to speak about school libraries at IFLA. We also speak at conferences – you may have caught vice-chairs Lucy Chambers and Rosalind Buckland speaking about our book packs at the recent SLA/YLG Conference.
All of this is achieved by volunteers who have extremely busy jobs and lives themselves, and I couldn’t be prouder to lead this team of professionals for another year.

If you ever want to email me, I would be happy to respond. This is my email address:

Have a very happy holiday, get lots of reading done, and look out for more blog posts in the summer and bookings and eNewsletters in the Autumn Term!

Caroline Roche, MA, MCLIP

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