About Me

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I currently work as a school librarian at a school in Welwyn Garden City in Herts. I am also the Chair of the Federation of Children's Book Groups a National Reading and Literacy Charity as well as being founder of National Non-Fiction Day. I also work as an indepedent consultant to publishers, schools and librarans

Monday, 29 June 2009

Alan Gibbons Conference

I attended the Alan Gibbons conference at the weekend with a stand for the Federation. As a Federation it was great to be able to support the work that Alan is doing for the whole library sector. It was also great to see so many people passionate about the causes attend. The conference itself was full of heartfelt stories about the system failing but also about hope of what can be achieved. I am a school librarian myself so Alan's work is something that is very important to me as an individual, but also what Alan is calling for and what the campaign is trying to achieve as affects the work that we do as a charity. A lot of our groups work with school librarians and public libraries in holding events for authors and in encouraging people to read. Libraries are the place where we hold strong links through the country to help complete our own aims and a destruction of these and a de-professionalisation of the role of libraries can only have a bad effect on what we are trying to achieve and make our job a lot harder.

From the conference a lot of things sprang to my mind about ways in which there might be something we can do but one of the most upsetting things was the average age of the people that were in attendance. This is by no means a mark against anyone that there was there and as librarianship as a profession but if all this great work that is going on does manage to achieve something who is going to be taking this on in the future when the majority of the profession is no longer around? Unfortunately as a profession librarianship isn't seen any more as a career, now whether this is because of the way the job has steadily been deprofessionalised over the years, or the stigmas that surround librarians or any other issues. If you want to study to become a librarian there are very few places where you can do this. Only really Aberystwyth can offer this and that is a crying shame for the profession.

I hope that from the work that Alan is doing one of the factors that comes out of it is the work that can be done by a librarian - that it isn't just shelve stacking and not something that might be a career. We need more people wanting to become librarians and we need more people of a younger age to decide to take it up as well otherwise all the hardwork that is going on at the moment through campaigns such as Alan's will be lost.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


It's great news to see Siobhan Dowd's book Bog Child win the carnegie. It's a brilliant book that doesn't have to have a fast moving plot that has adventure at every turn, but a book that you can enjoy reading because of the high quality of the writing. There is so much to think about in all her books which makes it even more of a shame that beyond Solace we will have no more of her books bless our library shelves.

We had our own carnegie party with our shadowing group in the library. 40 odd students with strawberries, pizza, prizes and a whole afternoon of fun. As always we didn't pick the right winner and we voted instead for Knife of Never Letting Go to win the Carnegie and Varmints winning the Greenaway. We weren't too disappointed though, we all enjoyed it, especially the pizza!!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Our Book Week

The RHCBA Ceremony

A quick video of some of the highlights from the RHCBA 2009 Award Ceremony

Sunday, 14 June 2009

School Website

I've been getting some people asking about our school library and the kinds of things we do. Basically for a bit of info if you want to check out what we do look at www.ReadAllOver.moonfruit.com!!

My Libraries Book Week

This is just a small snap shop of some of the things we did during our Book Week. Being a secondary school Librarian is my main job, but obviously I spend a lot of time doing things for the FCBG. Being a school librarian means though that I can work with the people who we are trying to promote reading to. I get to see first hand what works and what doesn't and get that instant gratification when you are able to create a new reader. All this helps with the work that I do at a National level.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Alan Gibbon's e petition

For all those that support Alan Gibbons and his quest for the book I urge you to sign the e-petition on the 10 Downing Street pages. If you follow link http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/literacy/ it will take you to the correct sign. This petition should be signed by all those that feel we have a right as citizens to libraries, information, books, reading etc etc. As a school librarian myself this is something that I feel everyone should get behind. Libraries in schools are a fundamental part of a childs education in life. A library encourages a love of reading, opens the doors to so many possibilities and has such an impact in every part of our lives that they are neccessity.
I urge everyone to sign the petition and hopefully together we can get things changed!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Read On

The Publishers Association put on a meeting yesterday to discuss how it could be possible to make it madatory for all schools to have a Reading for Pleasure policy in place. The meeting took place at the Puffin offices in the Strand and some of the biggest names in publishing, literacy organisations, school practitioners, Librarians and Authors were in attendance.

There was a lot of discussions around how this could be implemented and many ways on how we could go about making it happen. Discussions ranged from starting at grass routes levels and making it mandatory and assessed in Initial Teacher Training to setting up a lobbying committee and working party to carry on the work that the group had started.

It was clear that everyone in the room had a clear goal for the programme, for education to see the importance in reading for pleasure and for the school agenda to reflect this in all parts of the school not just as an add-on or extra.

The outcomes of the meeting look very positive with the setting up of a working party of all the main players in which we will be following up the issues and ideas raised in the main meeting.

It's a very positive movement that looks like it will achieve what we hope it to. There are lots of parties both in schools and out that will support it and hopefully it gain momentum and change the way reading and reading for pleasure is perceived in education and schools.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Anthony Browne

It was a great priveledge to be at the announcement today for the new Children's Laureate. Michael Rosen has done such a great job over the last two years that for anyone its going to be a hard task to follow but the laureateship gives the author/illustrator a chance to champion their corner of children's fiction as well as the bigger picture. With Michael poetry played a vital part of his campaign and rightly so. Poetry is such an amazing medium yet something in schools that it so prescibed it becomes tedious, boring and uninspiring - something that Michael Rosen has spent time trying to cure. He has also looked at, like I said the bigger picture. How writing and reading is seen in schools and how 'whole reading cultures' within schools is more the exception than the rule.

The new Children's Laureate - Anthony Browne - will bring his corner of the writing world - picture books - to the forefront. I imagine we will see Anthony showing the world just how amaxing they are and that the links between pictures and words are so close that picture books are for everyone to enjoy and not just those under a certain age. In my opinion the appointment of an author/illustrator is brilliant. In my work I know the importance of picture books and how great they are to share stories (something Jacqueline Wilson championed in her stint). They are also full of so many over types of writing and like poetry in a picture book each word is chosen on its merit to reflect the story and work in cohesion with the pictures on the page.

I can see in the next two years us getting back to the importance of picture books with Anthony Browne spearheading a new revolution. So all hail Anthony Browne - new Children's Laureate 2009-2011!!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Sophie McKenzie

Well done to Sophie McKenzie on winning in her category and also being named the overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award. Our school really enjoyed the book, in fact they thought all 3 of the older category were worthy winners, and all the staff enjoyed it to!!


WOW what a ceremony and a great result for reading general!!

I was really lucky to not only enjoy a great ceremony but to meet some really great people at this years Red House Children's Book Award Ceremony. The ceremony is always one of the massive highlights of the year and this year was by no means an exception. The whole atmosphere was buzzing from the very moment that the children started to arrive. You could feel their anticipation as they met their favourite authors and gathered numbers of signatures from those whose books they had spent the last year reading and enjoying.

For me it was great to see so many people having fun and enjoying themselves in the name of books and reading. That is what the Award to me is about. It's not just a recognition of all the books that have been read through the year and all the work that the organisers and children have put into it. But its also a recognition of great writers, writing books that we enjoy and ultimately it's about reading. Celebrating a love and enjoyment in its art and giving something back to that act which has given us so much pleasure!!

All in all a great day and very enjoyable with a very worthy set of shortlisted authors and winners. Special congrats go to Sophie McKenzie - Blood Ties is a great book!