Library resources


LIBRARY FILE: making a success of the school library. Edited by Valerie Coghlan, Patricia Quigley and Rosemary Walton

Library Association of Ireland. pound;10 from Fingal County Libraries, Parnell Square, Dublin 1

MOVING UP: the library resource centre 16 to 19. By Dawn Green. School Library Association pound;5 (pound;4 to SLA members) from Liden Library, Barrington Close, Liden, Swindon SN3 6HF. Tel: 01793 617838. Email:

BOOKFLOOD PROJECT: inspiring literacy and promoting positive attitudes to reading. Free in return for 66p SAE from Birmingham School Library Service, Ellen Street, Hockley, Birmingham B18 6QZ

Library File has been distributed free to schools in the Republic of Ireland, and UK school librarians will find it worth its price tag despite the predominantly Irish appendices of suppliers and services.

It is a no-nonsense, back-to-basics book offering easy-to-implement, hands-on strategies for library development. Parents and governors involved in library provision will find it essential reading, as will teachers and librarians.

The editorial team of experienced library practitioners believe the school library is "the engine room of education" and their enthusiasm is infectious as they talk the reader through planning, budgeting, accommodation, selecting and managing resources, ICT and information skills.

The tone is direct, chatty, and "can-do" rather than "how to", with a workbook approach and a wealth of tried-and-tested ideas. It covers curriculum-linked, whole-school information skills programmes, book promotion, automation checklists and eye-catching displays.

The well-placed colour photographs show just how achievable lively, purposeful and happy use of the library can be - even if yours is not the best-resourced school in the world.

The advent of the AS-level in September 2000, with its emphasis on key skills and supported self-study, together with the increased popularity of GNVQ curses, make Moving Up, in the School Library Association's Guidelines series, a good investment. It will be useful for librarians working in secondary schools with sixth forms and those in sixth-form and FE colleges.

Each section of this clearly-focused handbook offers easily-transferable ideas for identifying and anticipating the specialist needs of this very individual and diverse client group. The book demonstrates how the findings can be used to deliver an effective service, set achievable and measurable targets, develop a longer-term plan, win staff and management support and ensure student involvement.

Further incentive to try out the ideas appears in the useful appendices, and in the manageable number of readily-obtainable, largely UK-specific suggestions for further reading.

Reading promoters hungry for inspiration will devour the report of the Bookflood project in Birmingham. Carefully selected students from seven very different schools (primary and secondary, including special needs units) were "flooded" with a range of 250 high-quality fiction and non-fiction books selected by school library staff, teachers and pupils. The scheme had the aim of "inspiring literacy" - above all, transforming reading from a chore into a hobby.

Those responsible for running and evaluating the project in each case-study school describe the aims, access arrangements, administration, reading activities, relevant data collection and analysis methods, and future development plans, all in readable detail. Examples are given of support materials, including the reading "passports" issued to students.

Bookflood is by no means unique and the report does not offer it as a magic solution. But this publication is remarkable for its clear and honest assessment of Bookflood's success, inwhich collaboration between all involved emerges as the key to its subsequent expansion.

Eileen Armstrong is head of learning resources at Cramlington high school, Northumberland

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