#62 Music


The traditional area of the curriculum associated with the library is English, for obvious reasons.

However, any area of the curriculum can help to raise the library’s profile and encourage daily use. Music is one of the obvious targets. Music is an extremely powerful medium and is eternally popular with young and old.

If you have the money (!), you could consider investing in music: classical and modern to suit the curriculum and current tastes. Both should coincide if your music department has entered the 21st Century. CDs are always popular, as are musical scores. Market research is advisable to avoid expensive mistakes; ask them what they want! (Staff and Pupils). Books about musicians are also popular.

Why Lending Libraries Suddenly Rock

Introducing a music listening skills project in the school library


#61 Google Alerts For CPD

Google Alerts

If you have a Google account (or something similar, they usually offer the same facilities), you can setup an alert on any topic that takes your fancy.

In Google, it works this way. Once you’ve logged in, click on ‘Settings’. Click on the ‘Accounts’ tab.

From there, choose ‘Google Account Settings’ and choose ‘Alerts’ from the list.

After that it’s a simple case of inserting your search term, choosing where you want Google to look, and how often you want this done. Supply an email address to receive the notifications and you’re done. Reverse this process to delete an alert, by going to your alerts page and choosing ‘Delete’.

Another simple but powerful tool. More information here.

#60 RSS For CPD


Another good way to gather information is to set up RSS feeds which will keep you updated about the library world with minimal effort. A previous post went into detail about setting up RSS Feeds.

Select your sources, and the information will come to you. Simple, easy to use and a great tool.

Some suggestions for CPD RSS feeds below: all have an RSS button somewhere on the page.

BBC News: Education

CILIP Training Events

School Library Association (Subscribe to the weblog)

Joyce Valenza (USA)

Librarian’s Internet Index

Library 2.0 On Shambles

School 2.0 On Shambles

Reading List For School & Youth Librarians

School Library Journal

Teacher Librarian Ning

… and any of the hundreds of school librarians blogging out there.

#59 Professional Research

Professional Research

Many librarians might claim that they don’t have time for this sort of thing.

However, if you make the time for it, it may save you a lot of time and effort in the long run, and will certainly enhance your professionalism and career prospects. It doesn’t need to take up much of your time (perhaps an hour a week) and if you subscribe to mailing lists, the information will come to you automatically.

It doesn’t matter what level you’re at in the profession: high or low profile, a new graduate or an old hand, you can always learn from your fellow professionals. You get the chance to hear opinions from professionals in different circumstances from your own, different countries and different cultures. All of which is very healthy.

How to do it? Mailing lists, blogs (the blog roll on this site links to some very proactive and innovative people), browsing school library websites and reading professional literature. Some good starting points on the web are linked below.

School Librarians Network

School Library Association

CILIP Training Events

School Libraries Online: International Association Of School Librarianship

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

Canadian Association for School Libraries

Australian School Library Association (ASLA)

#58 Mailing Lists And Web Groups

Mailing Lists & Web Groups

Mailing lists and web groups are a brilliant way of keeping in touch with other professionals. When you sign up to a mailing list or group, you are usually given option about how you are updated. You can usually be emailed instantly when someone puts up a message, choose to be emailed at regular intervals (daily or weekly), or you can choose to go to the group or mail list at a time of your own choosing to check for new messages.

Librarians, like other professionals, use these to exchange information, seek advice, point out good resources and to exchange resources. An excellent example of a busy and well resourced web group is the SLN (School Librarians Network) group, which lives on Yahoo. It is busy, has many members and has dozens of useful documents for use and adaptation by school librarians.

The School Libraries Group (part of CILIP) also publishes some useful information, but isn’t as interactive as SLN. You could also consider joining international mailing lists: LM_NET (USA) and School Libraries Online (International) are good examples. It is very good practice to observe what is happening in other countries; many are way ahead of the UK game and it is encouraging to see that some countries take their school libraries very seriously indeed. Of particular interest are USA, Canada and Australia.

#57 Helping Reluctant Or Poor Readers

Reluctant Readers

There are many avenues open to you to try and help those who are poor readers, or who just don’t want to read.

For the reluctant reader, you can try alternative media: graphic novels, comics, magazines, Internet pages, audio books. In many of these cases they will be taking in the information and sometimes reading in spite of themselves, but without the apparent effort of ‘normal’ reading. They’ll probably also have fun doing it.

For readers with low reading ages, you can try ‘quick reads’, graphic novels, comics magazines, audio books and perhaps practical help such as paired reading with a competent peer, or an older reader. The competent reader should read more, to keep the flow and the story moving.

In these circumstances, it helps to have some sort of introductory exercise to let the participants get to know each other; quite often they can end up as ‘buddies’ in normal school life. This can be as simple as a few questions about hobbies, friends, interests and skills.

A few links below to some starting points and further links.

Motivating The Reluctant Reader

Reaching Reluctant Readers: Tips, Tools, and Techniques

Useful Links

#56 Disability Discrimination Act


This is legislation that anyone working in the public sector should be aware of, particularly those who are working with young people with special needs, and those with physical disabilities.

At one level, it is about equal opportunities for those who have disabilities, both in terms of inclusiveness and physical access. However, it is usually more complicated than that. There are plenty of cases where DDA requirements are not fulfilled, due to practical, financial, or political reasons.

It is difficult to offer advice on this topic without seeming too cynical or mercenary. I would say that you should consider DDA under the following circumstances:

  • Disabled pupils (or staff) are being denied equal access or service due to poor facilities.
  • Disabled users are being treated as second class citizens due to physical restrictions.
  • Disabled users are not considered when ICT hardware and software is being sourced and purchased.
  • When your physical space is used for ‘alternative’ purposes such as exams etc.
  • When permanent encroachment on your working space is threatened, particularly if this means less space, and/or physical obstruction.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

DDA: A Summary (BBC)