The Theory of Shelving – moving from 2 to 3D shelving

As any librarian knows shelving and organising of books take a large part of the basics of the job and of any library. Over the past few years we’ve been playing around quite a lot with the idea of shelving and ordering and specifically the role this plays alongside non fiction and student searching in a school library. We’ve been quite revolutionary in our designs but the theory we’ve always held to is that any organisation needs to meet the needs of the students in your own school. 
In a school the needs of the user are different to that of a public library and I have delved deeper into these ideas in different posts but the main point is that schools should not be tied to a public library model but to reflect the differing needs of their students who all (fundamentally) have the same needs, unlike the users of a public library.
Due to the fact we’ve been looking so much at shelving I’ve started to form lots of different opinions around the idea of shelving. As we all know shelving is only ever truly realiable as soon as the books have been shelved correctly. As the first book gets taken off the shelf the ‘trust’ in the ordering of the shelf becomes questionable as we are not sure if the peruser of the book has placed the book they were looking at in the correct position. This is the reason why shelving forms such a basic practise in any library.
Luckily students don’t read too much into this and are probably not aware of it at all. However it has had me questioning and thinking about how users do access and look for specific content. As mentioned a lot of my research had previously been around non fiction so instead I’ve been thinking recently about fiction. 
Libraries, in general, organise fiction via alphabetical order of the authors surname. This makes sense and makes it easy to move from one place to another and still find what you want. However as we have seen with non fiction this isn’t necessarily the easiest or best model. Some schools organise fiction based on genre. This brings about lots of slightly different problems though. What about books that have multiple genres? Do you put it under the main genre or different copies of the same book into the different genre sections? 
The way we’ve normally organised our fiction has been through the alphabetical system and then a mixture of smaller collections. So we’ve had separate shelves on award winners, author or series focus, firsts in a series, humour more recently a mindfulness section as well as a lgbt one. This has worked well and as we have such good knowledge of our stock we can highlight to users where exactly books could be even if they may appear under a number of different types. For me such a knowledge of stock in a school library is fundamental. We work so much with it we should know at a drop of a hat where a book could well be.
But all of this organisation still feels a bit 2d to me rather than a higher definition version of what could potentially be possible. As mentioned before we need to reflect our systems dependant on how students want to access it. The question then becomes how do they access other content? 
If you take a look at the list of popular content organisers for teens in 2015 it is no surprise to see they are driven almost solely by social media. Facebook takes pole position with teens also heading to Twitter, snapchat and other similar platforms to access information. So if this is the case is there anything in utilising how these work into the organisation of a library? 

Obviously there seems to be more likelihood in these being tied closer to the non fiction collection as they are all being used to access information/knowledge than a fiction collection but could there also be something in the way the information is organised within these platforms that might help us?
If you take a look at how Apples App Store or androids Play Store organise their content it gives a little clue into how people and especially teens are searching for content. Within these systems there is a mixture of organisation going on. At the top there is content organised by genre with specific collections cropping up to tie into special events etc. For instance logging in today there is a collection of content related to the earth and conservation. Further down there is content highlighted as being new, then most popular content is drawn out into a collection and finally at the bottom of the page is content that is specific to the user based on previous downloads and search requests.
From the organisation of genre down to most popular these make perfect sense. These are the things that we try to do in our library and I would hope in most libraries. Have these smaller collections highlight things that are popular to other users (peer reccomendations) and topics tied into real life events (popular culture etc but ‘of the moment’ so in the forefront of people’s minds). But it is the final section that I like the most and feel has the most potential.

Content that is specific to the user based on what they have already accessed or searched for. This is exactly how Facebook makes it timeline work and how Twitter has begun to organise content on your feed. Although it is a complicated ever changing algorithm the fundamental is that by looking at the people you are friends with, or follow, it organises the content you see based on how much/often you interact with them. Scores are given to comments on photos/statuses and even how much time you spend looking at someone’s profile and these scores highlight the users you would probably want to see the most of.
So how can we use this and bring it into a library? We couldn’t have a separate shelf for each of our users that changes on a daily basis.  

But are there other things we could learn. There are platforms that we can utilise that do emerging similar or at least give us the potential to. For instance MicroLibrarian allows us to set up recommended reading lists for students that they can access through the app. This brings a recommendation to them which could well be based on their interests etc. Although this is a great tool the only downside is that you would have to continually update your list (as facebooks algorithm does) to keep it up to date.
One thing we are currently trying to attempt is to use this idea alongside the things we are already doing to make a more 3dimensional shelving profile for our students. We already have a self developed program that tracks users reading ages, interest ages, genre preferences and many other pieces of data and we are beginning to tie this into our (again self developed) management system where books are put onto the system with fields including as to a band of interest ages, genres and a readability age. We also have it tie into books already issued looking at authors and genres and the readability ages of these books to then automatically select recommendations based on all this criteria ordering the most relevant books at the top. Students can then access these ‘shelves’ through the iPads in the library. By no means is this a scheme of any sorts. Students do not need to read these books however it does introduce them, like the App Store to personalised content for them.

Ideally this would also be linked to the eBook collection where books could be downloaded straight from this recommendation list.   
The more you think about the more potential there is to move into a 3 dimensional model for shelving. All it takes is some imagination and the possibilities truly are endless. Instead of just you usual alphabetical ordering system a personalised, individual, ready made shelf for each student could be possible to further advance reading for pleasure beyond the ordinary. 

We’ll do it anyway -CILIP 

So CILIP have just emailed members to try and find out why so many of them are opposed to obligatory revalidation.

At the last vote an extremely slender majority voted in favour of this which means that there is almost as many people who are against it as want it and no doubt the amount of voters was equal to only a small percentage of actual members further meaning that we really have no idea what people think.

My thoughts have also been dead set against the idea of obligatory revalidation. I cannot see the point in making members have to revalidate every year to prove that they are doing a good job. Many organisations themselves have their own schemes of appraisal and even in schools there are various different models of how this is achieved (especially with the ever increasing number of types of school that exist!). For instance in my job I have an appraisal that is linked to my actual job in school and not to some woolly one size fits all scheme that showcases librarianship as a very small set of skills and caters for the majority rather than for all.

So I do my appraisal in my school which takes time etc to do and then I have to undertake an arbritary scheme, that means absolutely nothing to me or my job and takes time away from actually sing my job.

Ok, so I understand in some professions this revalidation performs part of their appraisal process and this is brilliant but again this is CILIP not realising that their members are diverse and want they want from their membership is something that is a bit more specific to them. Revalidation means nothing to my employer so why should I do it and why should I pay the penalty for not doing it when I pay my fees every year and have done so for god knows how many years without actually getting anything from it??

I’ve had this argument before with people involved in CILIP. Their come back has been interesting to say the last. When I’ve argued that it is a waste of my time I’ve been told ‘but it only takes a few minutes to log your CPD online.’ Which then raises even more questions as to what is the actual point of it all if it’s so simple to do. Is there anyway of actually legitimising what people are putting on? Could you just make it up? If so then surely that defeats the whole purpose and gives me even more reason to not to do as it really doesn’t mean anything at all!

Then in answer to my questions surrounding being penalised for not doing it the most common answer I’ve received, apart from a shrug, is ‘well we can’t really penalise people forgot doing.’ What? Well what is the whole point of ding it then? 

To me this is just another example of CILIP being out of touch with not only its membership but also the real world! Why would you continue to spend time money and effort on sketching that ultimately deans actually mean anything. Something you can’t prove as being legitimate and something that you more you think about it the less quality it has.

And yet, with this recent email it tells me that it doesn’t matter what it’s members think. CILIP are going to continue doing what they want to do as they always have done and with that they move further and further away from roviding a service it’s paying members deserve and actually want.

The inaccuracies of the What Children Are Reading Report

I’m all for stats, figures, data and reports but I have to say I’m really not impressed with the ‘independent’ research produced by Prof. Topping for Renaissance Learning and the Accelerated Reader programme.

Even if Prof Topping receives no remuneration for his work the data he uses comes exclusively from Renaissance Learning (RL herein). Throughout, for me there are a number of inconsistencies. Where any other report may introduce other theories rather than the single assumptions made on the data, this one sticks stalwart to its seemingly misguided assumptions. As with data it can be twisted and manipulated to give any picture someone may want. Data is subjective. It’s its very nature.

The first point I’d like to raise is the title of the report and the statements made at the beginning. This report, it states, is important because it is actually based entirely on what young people are reading.

I have two problems with this. 1. It is firstly misleading because what they are saying is that it is what young people are reading based in schools doing Accelerated Reading (AR herein). A small omission but one that changes the picture of the results entirely. There are more schools in the country not involved with AR than there are that use the system. Straight away in any report failing to state this it would prick my annoyance button and leave me not valuing any results or assumptions made, or at least questioning them.
2. The second point is that the AR system cannot 100% confirm that the books are being read. If you are unfamiliar with the system then the data that the report is based on is through the quizzes (tests) that students take after having ‘read’ a book. Now, the assumption here is that every quiz taken shows that the taker has read the book. If, this were true, then I could forgive them if they only used the data from the quizzes that were successfully passed (if a student fails in the quiz then this is a good indication that they haven’t read the book – although this brings numerous questions into play. If a student fails with the comprehension part of answering questions this doesn’t mean they haven’t read the book!) however lets argue this case. The assumption then is that to pass the quiz you have to have read the book. Well, this isn’t actually the case. Although RL will tell you that the quiz writing part is the thing that makes this work (knowing someone who has written for them I also know what they have to do!) There is still a very good chance that you do not need to read the book to pass the quiz.

Just from this small point there are already too many questions around how the data received can be seen as ‘correct’ or valuable.

This is not all.

Throughout the report many things are highlighted. At the very beginning under the category ‘book difficulty’ it states that the difficulty in the books read increases with age but not in line with the increases in chronological ages. In other words young people aren’t reading books that are in line to their ages.
Again two points. 1. Reading for pleasure is about allowing young people to read whatever books they want to read as long as they are engaged and enjoying them. By stating that a young person can only read a book within a certain age range goes against everything that a library ( where most AR in schools is run through) tries to promote. This isn’t reading for pleasure by any stretch of the imagination. 2. levelling books is such a ‘dirty’ and imprecise science. Text analysis such as SMOG analysis is impossible to give you a proper picture of readability and anyone having used AR will acknowledge that there are many ‘weird’ levels given to some books that should be a lot harder and others that are a lot easier. For instance The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien has an ATOS level of 6.1 yet HP and the Deathly Hallows is 6.9. There is no way in a million years this can be true. Fellowship, just for its nonsensical words made up from characters names alone makes it a lot harder book without taking into account the themes, dialogue and intensity of the plot, sub plots and the massive number of characters. The failure of readability is that it doesn’t take any comprehensive nature of a book into account.
On top of all this the whole age banding of books in a school library brings many many questions and concerns into play (too many for this post).

Higher achieving readers, it states, especially in secondary schools, sees a definite drop in difficulty of the books they are reading. I think this brings into question the fact of trying to produce a one size fits all intervention. It is a common problem and misguided view that you should try and fit the student into the intervention rather than changing the intervention to fit the student. We might assume then the high ability readers (intelligent students) realise that if they read books they find easier they can read more of them, get more correctly passed tests and therefore more rewards. Or that they are not taking it seriously and so only paying lip service to the programme, perhaps?
Weaker readers are the next to be interrogated and the data shows that in yr7 weaker readers choose easy books and then in yr8,9 more mainstream books. For someone that has worked with young people and researched their reading for too many years I can see the exact reasons for this. In yr7 students will want to get the success of passing the tests, they want to feel they are achieving something and this will be the driving features.
As they get older many other factors come into play, things such as peer pressure, perception of their abilities etc etc. they want to be seen as normal and the same as everyone else. They will therefore borrow the books that are closer to their chronological age or around that area to not seem as weak as they actually are. Again in age banding the books this might actually suddenly be a barrier to a young person picking the right book for them at the right time?

The take home messages of the report, is I feel,  by far the worst statement of the whole report.

‘Secondary teachers and librarians need to get better at encouraging children.’
The fault of all the failure, they state, is solely attributive to the role of the schools, it’s teachers and librarians. Now if this were a real report without bias then another alternative may be given. It might just be that it isn’t the schools that are at fault but it is the actual programme itself that is making young people in secondary schools read below their reading ages. They do so to pass tests, gain rewards, pay lip service etc etc.
If I were writing a truly independent report I would also want to consider all the schools not undertaking AR. What books are their students reading, what are the average reading ages of their books, are they more in line with the students’ chronological ages?
I work with hundreds of schools across the country yearly and in all the schools I have worked in without AR I can safely say that the books students are reading, the popular books are well above the levels in this report. In the school I work in at the moment I would most certainly say that the average age of books read is a lot higher. In fact down to our tracking I can even provide you with evidence of this.
I would also feel a little aggrieved if I purchased the AR programme as this report and this comment in particular is telling me I’m not doing a very good job. Not the greatest sales pitch maybe?
It also states that struggling readers and more able readers are being ‘seriously underchallenged.’ One could also assume then that the reason behind this is that the inherent flaws in the programme that is forcing/encouraging these students to be underchallenged?

This also highlights the actual books that are being read. As you will notice from the lists the authors/books are all extremely familiar. They are either classic authors (Dahl) or books that are very visible in the press, books with films, tv programmes, celebrity authors, or even whole class reads.
If I were to print off our top 20 books very few would match up. Ours would be a lot higher level with students having ‘moved on’ a long time ago from these types of books. From what I’ve seen that is also a similar picture across the country. Again, one could assume that it is maybe the failure of the programme that is leading students down this path rather than the inability of the users, perhaps.

Now, you could assume that I am not a fan of AR. This would be incorrect. I can see its benefits and its uses as one tool of many to help some young people improve their reading. But it is just that, one tool. I do however object to anything that feels it can provide for everyone but making the student fit into the programmes parameters rather than changing the programme to fit the child.
I also have a problem with its use in a school library and stating the fact it is used to promote reading for pleasure. It isn’t. How can something that requires you to pass a test promote pleasure? I read a book because I want to, it gives me a special feeling to enjoy it, laugh at/with it and have an emotional connection with it. Do I then want to take a test to prove I’ve read it? No. Do I want the only reward to be if I pass a test on it, and to feel a failure if I don’t? No.

This post isn’t really about AR it’s more about the report and the inaccuracies I see in it and I’d like to finish with just one more point.
At the end of the report it states how AR is so successful at ‘motivating weaker readers.’ A point that seems in complete contradiction to the rest of the report which states weak readers are seriously underchallenged. I would take this to mean that the programme is actually not successful for weaker readers. In fact in summary I would say that the report highlights more failures in its schools than successes. The report lays this failure at the feet of the schools however and not the programme?
At the beginning of this post I spoke about how all this can be completely subjective and who’s to say that my points are correct? If you believe in confirmation bias then this post will do nothing to change your views it will only strengthen those you already have.
Who knows I may be completely wrong, or perfectly right but I hope which ever it is you enjoyed reading!

Inspecting School Libraries

So there seems to have been another mini pump into the cog of of inspections for school libraries. At the ATL conference they backed the call for support of school libraries (a great thing) by also a call for libraries to be part of the inspection process (a very bad thing).

I’ve spoken about my views before on the inspection of a school library and how support of this will do very little to encourage the use of school libraries. Schools are free to use their money how they wish and with all the government reforms in recent years giving schools more power to do as they want (just look at academisation and the free school movement) they are not going to dictate to schools that they must have a school library. This a completely against everything that they have been doing for the past 6 years. If they cannot dictate a scheme for levelling students to schools then there is no way they are going to make them all have a library. So not only is it a waste of time arguing this point it also masks a number of other issues.

1. Surely it is the job of school librarians themselves to show the quality of what they do and how much value they add to a school. If all school librarians were doing this then the argument would be a lot stronger. By blaming others, school leaders, ofsted etc they are taking away their own part to play in the demise of school libraries.

2. The issue I have the biggest problem with. Who is going to decide what criteria we use to judge school libraries?? I have absolutely no trust in the organisations who claim to support and be the voice of school librarians to come up with the right kind of criteria (let’s be honest what job have they done the last 20+ years to show they understand school libraries – yes I’m talking about CILIP!!!!). So what we could end up with is either a set of criteria created by group so out of touch with school libraries and schools in general that only reflects their own views of what makes a good library or ofsted on their own who create a curriculum driven set of criteria, again with no real understanding of what a library can actually achieve and is more akin to the English department with no understanding of the pastoral, information literacy etc etc part of a library.

I would fear for any future of school libraries that is part of an ofsted inspection especially one whose criteria is created by people who have such a weird, twisted view of what a schoo library is.

ATL, in my opinion have been spun some sort of line, which they don’t understand themselves and have blindly supported something that not only is extremely unlikely to happen but if it were to happen would have such a detrimental impact on school libraries that might mean the end of school libraries as we know them.

In my opinion we would be much much better supporting school libraries by showing school leaders the positive impact that school librarians and libraries have. By campaigning to make sure that every school understands what impact a good school librarian can have and also looking at the actual training librarians have and making sure that there is an element of school librarianship within it that doesn’t try and fit a public Iibrary model into a school one.

We really could make a difference if the people trying to campaign had an understanding themselves of what was actually going to work and what would make school libraries in schools work.

Gaining recognition for school libraries

As many readers will know I was recently nominated for the CILIP Information Literacy Award as part of this year’s LILAC conference.

It was a great honour to be asked to submit something let alone make it into the shortlist. The inclusion of school librarians has been extremely sparse over the years (to the point where I was only the third in the award’s history) and I think this is for a number of reasons.

When looking at the other projects and nominations it’s hard to see how I even managed to make the shortlist. The librarians making up the rest of the list are working in big institutions, doing amazing things and reaching so many people. Yet when I think this I also think about the importance of information literacy in schools and its teaching to our young people.

All the shortlisted librarians are indeed doing great things and making such a difference but as school librarians we must remember that the work we can achieve in our schools can go a long long way to helping others in their roles. In fact maybe they are able to make such a difference because of he poor nature of information literacy instruction in schools?

We have the potential to give young people the head start, the framework, the scaffolding on which they can build on over time and through the rest of their lives. Our ability to arm them with the skills is invaluable and should be seen as such.

It was a shame that the nomination didn’t cause more interest from other school librarians, willing to support ‘one of their own’ and use it as an example to show their schools what is possible and why it is important that in their schools they are given the opportunity to show their worth.

A colleague, not that long ago, said to me that he felt in school librarianship ‘there is an unsavoury, condescending clique, perpetuated by certain people and it leaves a bitter taste.’ What he was referring to, I think, was that there are a group of school librarians who like to sing each other’s praises and talk about raising the profile of school librarianship saying we should take all opportunities that arise to talk about what we do. However this only relates to things they do or have achieved and no one else outside of this. I think he felt annoyed that in fact this whole statement has a feel of passive aggressiveness to it by trying to state how they are ‘in it for school librarianship’ whereas in fact they are just in it for themselves and talk double standards when their actions speak more than their words.

Now, I don’t always agree with everything my colleague says however he is not the first person to say they feel like this. So whether these people’s perceptions are indeed correct it doesn’t really matter as the point is there are people that feel like this. They feel that those school librarians that seem to get ‘coverage’ or are the loudest aren’t giving the right representation of the profession, that they are part of a clique that isn’t welcoming to ‘newbies’ or those that don’t ‘fit’ the mould (whatever that might be).

If we truly want to raise the profile, to show the benefit of what we do then we seriously need to think about how we represent ourselves and how we are perceived within our own profession. For if there are those that in the profession that feel this way towards the clique then what do people outside the profession think? School librarians don’t get the plaudits that are deserved and the recognition of the importance of their role but how much is this down to those school librarians in the ‘limelight?’

A question I think we all need to consider.

When is reading for pleasure not reading for pleasure?

This is an interesting question and one that requires a little background.

Over the recent weeks I’ve read some rather disturbing articles about reading for pleasure and how to judge the success of reading for pleasure in a school. As many will know I have revolutionised the idea of showing impact in school libraries and especially the impact of reading, so although it is a self-recommendation that I am a specialist in this area, it comes from a strong proven track record endorsed by Ofsted and many authorities.

Reading for pleasure is a catch all phrase and very much a buzz word at the moment yet some people in the school library world seem to be making it a very murky one indeed. Reading for pleasure should be as easy as it sounds. It is the practice of reading for pleasure, for enjoyment, for satisfaction. To read for pleasure there must be only one ulterior motive. To enjoy.

So, how comes when we talk about young people reading for pleasure does it now become acceptable to not allow this to happen. How have we managed to get so caught up in the idea of impact and evidence that we have dirtied what reading for pleasure is. When I created my highly successful tracking programme the whole idea was to break down any barrier that a child had that stopped them from accessing books. Tracking allowed me to work out this problem and intervention gave me the solution. Further tracking of this success then allowed me the impact. This further tracking looked at attitudes and soft data and cross referenced this to hard data thus giving me my impact. The goal is to create a reader. A reader of pleasure.

Others, it seems, have tried to jump on this bandwagon, trying to show and create their own watered down , misinterpreted version of this and taken the only thing that is holy and sacred and scarred it. They have attempted to show impact by trying to track the goal and not the journey taken. They have made reading for pleasure take on the burden of extra motives. No longer is it to simply enjoy but it is now to create book reports, to answer quizzes, to create fancy trailers etc etc. Reading for pleasure, when it is done like this is impure and sullied and it is through a complete lack of understanding of the delicate nature of what reading for pleasure actually is that it occurs.

The attempt to prove reading for pleasure by undertaking tasks shatters the visible foundations and transforms it into something else. As a profession we need to be more protective of reading for pleasure. We see the daily onslaught that it faces from so many external factors that it is our job to hold this delicate thing precious and to not do anything to dissipate the wisp of smoke that it is. By all means encourage young people to show their enjoyment of books and what they have read in as many ways as you want, but do not make it part of the process. Do not make it an expectation. Do not destroy what it takes so long to create in a careless manner. The ones most likely to want to tell you in these varied ways as possible are the good readers, the successful ones. But these are not the ones we should concern the majority of our time with. It is the weaker, the hard to engage, the ‘refusers’ that we need to lead towards the discovery of reading for pleasure. They are the ones that already have negative views around reading. The ones that have only ever seen reading as a forced activity and here you have further exasperating this by forcing them to read a book that they are then going to have to create, write, talk about after the fact.

Please, for the sake of young people, have a little more respect .


A Letter to Headteachers

Dear Headteacher,

I’m writing to you in the hope that you are a reasonable person who has become a headteacher with the view to providing young people with the best education they can possibly receive. I write in the hope that you are also, in your leadership, geared towards the continued progress of all young people in your care as I hope to offer you a deal that will not only help you to achieve this but to give you, your school and students so much more.

As you know the education landscape in the past few years has seen some of its biggest changes since the Education Act of 1944 especially in such a short period of time. We have seen the introduction of ‘free schools,’ academies (select and forced) the scrapping of the EMA and introduction of Pupil Premium funding, the eradication of levelling (for God knows what) a new SEND  framework, a curriculum change of all key stages as well as a restructure of the GCSE grading system. We have also seen the government and Ofsted place greater focus on certain areas such as literacy, numeracy and independent learning.

As you will know many schools have faced downgrading from previous ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ positions with the goalposts having been shuffled to make the higher recognition harder. You will also have noticed that many schools that are in the Requires Improvement category to have on their front pages statements that read ‘This school is not yet good because; students do not read widely enough’ or variations on the type.

I’m sure you also know that one of the key questions asked in school inspections nowadays is around how a school teaches its weakest readers. I do not need to tell you one of their success criteria is actually listening to young people read. There have also been numerous publications, that I know you are familiar with, that talk about the importance of literacy and especially reading in schools, reports such as Moving English Forward (2012), Getting Them Reading Early (2014), Reading Writing and Communication (2011) to name but a few.

So I know that you understand the importance of reading and literacy, know that you realise how much of an issue it is for everyone that we get it right. So my offer to you, my promise; is one of help and hope. I offer to you a solution, a way to make things work in your school, a way to succeed in literacy, reading and so much more.

This solution is a simple one and you may already have part of it in your school – all the better if you do. The solution is a library. Now stay with me, don’t stop reading just because you think I’m wrong, I know you’re sensible and pray you’ll bear with me.

To start off with you may not be familiar with the idea of a library in your school. You may know it by another name, a Learning Resource Centre or some other spurious title, however I can promise you that under it all these are all still libraries. You may have had a bad experience in another school of a library or you may believe the stereotype of a library (yet baulk at the stereotypes others have of teachers). But, I can promise you, if you support it, believe in it and work with it a library can be your solution, your saviour.

A library in your school can offer you a way to engage your students into reading, reading for pleasure importantly. It can be the place where learning is centred and can provide a way to work with your weakest students. It has the potential to work with your SEND department and offer specialist reading help for your weakest readers.

When it comes to learning a library can also work with all your teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning in your school by offering support in resources and knowledge. It can guide your students to become independent learners in arming them with the skills to find and assimilate information into knowledge. The educational benefits of a library are massive but if you needed even more reasons to have one think about the types of students that use this place as a safe haven, the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural aspects that are so difficult to put into curriculum time are fulfilled through a school library and we haven’t even started to think about the parental engagement or transition work that can easily be undertaken by a library that lives in non-contact time.

But for this to work, for your library to improve all these aspects of your school it requires just one thing from you. Support. The support to make it work, to open the doors and allow the library to fulfil its potential in your school. It needs this small thing to make a big difference, but I promise if you do it your school and importantly your students will feel the benefit in so many ways.

So I hope that you are a sensible person looking at ways to improve outcomes for all your students and teachers and hope that you take this offer with arms wide open.

Your sincerely

Adam Lancaster