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Posted By Tanja M. McGuffin- Jennings, 31 January 2019
#BookFlix has taken librarians by storm on Twitter. It originated from an instagram post by author Sara Rosett which quickly took flight on the wings of super librarian Lucas J Maxwell generating an inspiring Book Riot Article [] which was transmitted to the librarian community of tsundokuists via LJM's newsletter 'The Portable Magic Dispenser'. It is a perfect example of the power of collaboration and sharing as it has resulted in many posts of displays ranging from electronic to craftwork to printed with different categories featuring 'New Releases', 'Trending', 'Bingeworthy Series' & 'We Recommend.' The idea of using popular culture to hook young readers is appealing. It is also the perfect opportunity to showcase exciting new fiction, debut authors, old favourites and addictive series chosen by students in your library. Furthermore by tagging authors it lets them know that their writing is appreciated. WCB Library's effort is attached. Carnegie winners, historical fiction, fantasy, action, drama, adventure , mythology and reality reads are all featured. Favourites chosen by pupils include the fantastical and imaginative worlds of Nevermoor, The Summoner and Children of Blood and Bone. Books that highlight the struggles faced by refugees and offer a portal to empathy and understanding also appear with 'The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle' and 'The Boy at the Back of Class' in New Releases. 'Lightning Mary' is another newly released title that encourages STEM learning and tells the story of an incredible historical figure, the intrepid fossil hunter Mary Anning so there is plenty to inspire readers who are tentative about what to try next. I think it is a concept that keeps on giving as it could be evolved to include #GraphicFlix, with a display highlighting memorable Graphic Novels, possibly tied into Paul Register's Excelsior Award which has done a sterling job in communicating the appeal of sequential art to receptive readers. Also #ScreenReads, as more books are destined for cinematic or Netflix treatment with 'Are You There God, It's Me Margaret', 'Darkmouth', 'Noughts and Crosses' and 'Artemis Fowl' being just a few treats in store in 2019 and beyond according to this article at Not forgetting #CarnegieHighlights which could focus on award winners.​ If you visit #BookFlix on Twitter you will discover many more examples of the creativity of librarians - not Meek [as David Walliams would have it] but bold bookaneers seeking new frontiers to celebrate the magic of reading. Tanja Jennings, WCB Library, NI

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Posted By Helen Thompson, 25 January 2019

This isn't really a blog post (surprise!) but a message from Annette Goldsmith. Rather than paraphrase I thought I'd simply replicate her message about the new prize for translated young adult literature. There are some lovely titles on there that you will have heard of, and probably read. However there are also titles that will broaden your knowledge of translated fiction. All would make excellent additions to any library. I'll certainly be watching with interest!

Dear colleagues,

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative is a group of translators, librarians, editors, publishers and more dedicated to helping librarians identify and promote world literature for children, teens, and adults. We have established an award for translated YA literature to encourage youth to read more widely. Translations are an important part of the diversity conversation but account for a tiny percentage of available works.

Some Batchelder titles are YA crossover and USBBY's Outstanding International Books list includes translations, but no other award focuses on translated books for teens. I'm excited to announce that we have published our shortlist today (we'll be announcing the winner and honor books at ALA Midwinter):

The list is a truly global one and we would be grateful if you could share the link widely to help spread the word.

The ten books on the shortlist are from France, China, Germany, Equatorial Guinea, Japan, India, and Sweden, and they include fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. YA is a broad age range covering many developmental needs, and the list reflects that, with some books being well-suited to older middle-grade readers and others being adult titles with strong teen appeal. These titles are fresh, sometimes funny, and they invariably upend stereotypes while telling a riveting story.

If you'd like to find out more about GLLI, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and the Web

Thank you for supporting our efforts!

Annette Goldsmith Member, 2019 Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) Translated YA Book Prize Committee --

Annette Goldsmith, PhD Co-Editor (with Theo Heras & Susan Corapi),

Reading the World's Stories: An annotated bibliography of international youth literature (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) Librarian, Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, Los Angeles, CA

"A book is like a world you can carry around with you." Liniers, Written and Drawn by Henrietta (TOON Books, 2015)

Tags:  Translated YA 

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Falling out of love with reading — how to rekindle the passion - YLG Eastern Spring half day school

Posted By Susan U. Polchow, 20 December 2018

This spring half day training session run by the YLG Eastern group takes place on March 22nd 2019 at Bury St Edmunds Library and will examine some of the reasons children and teens turn away from books and how we can address this issue as librarians, teachers and advocates for reading.

Special guests are: Bali Rai Popular author Bali Rai is never afraid to tackle difficult, contemporary and controversial issues in his vast range of books for children and young people. He has written extensively for dyslexia-friendly publishers of books for reluctant readers, Barrington Stoke and also Penguin Random House. An enthusiastic advocate for libraries, he is also a powerful voice in the area of gaining diversity in children’s and YA publishing, posing the question ; if children and young people cannot see themselves represented in books, how can they engage with the world of fiction?

Amy McKay School librarian of the year 2016 and Corby Business Academy’s librarian, Amy McKay’s passion for books, libraries and reading shines through as soon as she addresses a room. She describes herself as a “stealth librarian” luring her readers in to the library with innovative clubs and activities and using her natural rapport to gradually introduce them to the world of books. She believes that the best school libraries are “fun friendly and vibrant.” She has gained the support of senior management who have seen her narrow the gender gap in school and engage students who struggle with either literacy or motivation. She will look at practical ideas to re-engage students with the world of books. There will also be a Barrington Stoke book sale. It looks like it will be a splendid & inspiring afternoon.

To find out more please get in touch with YLG Eastern's Harriet Cox at

Tags:  children's books  reading  Reading for Pleasure  visual literacy  ylg  youth libraries group eastern 

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Jingle bells, Batman smells………

Posted By Helen Thompson, 20 December 2018

Ah, the call of Christmas. Be honest, you just want a couple of days off work knowing that no sneaky blighter is putting work on your desk while your back is turned. Some will work on Monday (but hopefully finish a bit early?) and be back at the coalface on Thursday, but library cuts mean that far more libraries will be closed between Christmas and New Year than ever before. While this is a boon in terms of recharging winter-worn batteries, it leaves many needy customers out in the cold. Parents struggling to heat homes would bring children into the library for crafts or book sharing, and feel comfortable in a free and non-judgemental space. When schools are closed the problems faces by carers multiply. How to get that hot meal? Where to keep warm? Who will childmind for working parents? Not everyone with a job gets a living wage, and the struggle over Christmas is very real.

Children’s librarianship – whether it is in a public library, a school, or some other setting – is that perfect storm of a career. Children + books = changing lives. Of course whenever we work with children there are those moments when something is badly wrong and all you can do is signpost, or alert someone else, but even that is an intervention that can help.

While our thoughts turn to helping, this is a good time to remember those organisations that use books to make a difference:

Booktrust’s Letterbox Club sends book parcels out during the year to children who are vulnerable or in care. A £10 donation at Christmas will provide a festive parcel.

Want to #ReadTheOnePercent? Knights Of is following their hugely successful pop-up bookshop in Brixton with plans to open a permanent store there AND take pop-ups around the UK and Ireland. They are nearing their £30,000 target but only have until the end of January. Find out more and donate.

Book Aid International is committed to providing high quality books to areas of need. Although these are mostly in English, they also provide grants to but locally published books.

There are of course many worthy charities linked to reading. Check out the Publishers Association list

Sadly, many are in dire need of the most basic supplies – food, shelter, warmth – so remember to contribute to food banks and homelessness charities if you have anything to spare.

Enjoy your seasonal break, however long that may be, and return to work refreshed and invigorated. Remember to look out for details of the 2019 conference (held jointly with the School Library Association) taking place 21st–23rd June at Aston University. Those who joined us at Aston for a previous conference will remember what a great venue it was, and of course joint conferences are two for the price of one – who could resist!





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Making a Difference - an account of the Youth Libraries Group Conference

Posted By Jacob Hope, 04 December 2018

Kevin Sheehan, School Librarian of the Year 2010, was the winner of the inaugural Klaus Flugge bursary.  The bursary was set up thanks to the generosity of Klaus Flugge of Andersen Press and allows a librarian to attend the Youth Libraries Group Annual conference as a fully paid delegate.  In times of constraint for both school and public libraries, this is an act that can make a real difference to individuals and to their practices, just as libraries themselves are able to make a huge difference the lives and aspirations of those using them.

On a serious note I was really experiencing a mid-job mid-life crisis when I applied for the Klaus Flugge bursary that successfully enabled me to attend the Youth Library Group conference.  Actually, I was on the brink where I questioned whether I wanted to carry on as a School Librarian in the future.  Constantly being barraged by headlines in the media really has had an negative impact on my own mental health.  What have I got to contribute? Are there going to be School Librarians in the future?  Am I good enough? 

This year’s theme was on Reading the Future examining the impact of libraries on children and young people.  My tote bag said it all ‘It all starts with Enid Blyton’, which I felt on reflection was like some kind of karma.  Enid Blyton did not just provide me with escapism, away from the 1980’s plastic monotony during my formative years, but more notably made me fall in love with books, libraries and librarians.  So, it was exactly like going full circle!


"We are all the same when wearing pyjamas."

It was an understatement to say that this year’s three day conference was jam packed.  There was so much for me to hear, see and experience, and I was determined to savour every single moment of this time.  Again, another understatement to say it was all brilliant.  However, if I was to identify three key moments it would be:

-         Melvin Burgess, Sharon Dogar, Juno Dawson and Sally Nicholls panel discussion examining  women’s representation within young adult fiction.  Melvin really summed it up as ‘childhood is a peculiar prison’.  However, what is very clear is that publishers, authors and librarians create a freedom where positive female characters, whether that be from past, present or future, can have and regain power.

-         Whoever thought of the Enid Blyton midnight feast deserves a sainthood.  It pulled together the whole cohort of the publishing and library world in such a fun and spontaneous way!  We are all same when wearing pyjamas.    I don’t think I have ever experienced anything as hilarious and well-spirited at a conference previously.

-         Jackie Morris provided a very emotionally satisfying conclusion to the conference exploring the importance in exploring visual literacy through wildlife and nature.  It was a very special experience listening to Jackie on how the best ideas come from the silence of voice.  I also felt very privileged obtaining a signed copy of ‘Lost Words’ personalised with my very own badger.


Jake Hope advocated in both his opening and closing speech that it was important to go away from the conference, then put the inspiration and experiences into practice.  Actually, I have to say that I have done this repeatedly since being back at school.  It is not just myself but also others have seen the positive energy that this conference has instilled into my whole being.  There has not been a murmur of those constant negative mumblings that I experienced prior to the conference.  It has really made me happy and positive for the future.  I really do believe that School Librarians have a lasting impact on lives.  Thank you for making me believe in myself again.

Tags:  conference  Klaus Flugge Bursary  reading  reading for pleasure  school libraries 

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The C word is coming - are you ready?

Posted By Helen Thompson, 30 November 2018
I know, we aren't quite into December yet, but I've had my advent calendar up for a week to promote the advent competition. It is really quite simple: Write a book review and hand it in to the librarian. The first book review of the day opens that day's advent window (all book recommendations) Get 3 achievement stamps, a chocolate, and a baffle ticket (thanks to Amy McKay for the baffle ticket idea!). Every morning the previous day's baffle tickets are entered into a prize draw - the winner gets to select a gift from the sparkly gift box! On the last day of term all of the baffle tickets are put into a final prize draw to win the ultimate prize - Christmas Monopoly! I have tried everything to get book reviews out of the students, but it looks as if this will finally work! Several have already been written, ready to hand in on Monday. I'm hoping the momentum (and the achievement stamps) will keep them coming long after Christmas has been and gone. The tree - complete with student-made book themed decorations - will go up on Monday, and the Christmas Blind Date with a Book display will go up, alongside the display of new and seasonal books. Even our Library Ravens are starting to feel Christmassy! Ho Ho Ho!

 Attached Thumbnails:

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Love Reading... love Reviewing? Don't Miss this Great Opportunity!

Posted By Jacob Hope, 28 November 2018
Updated: 28 November 2018

The Youth Libraries Group is delighted to develop a relationship with LoveReading.  It's LoveReading's mission to get more people reading by exciting and enthusing them about the best books.  LoveReading4Schools is a critical part of this and one they take very seriously.  As a community they believe they have a social responsibility to support time-strapped teachers and librarians in schools to help engender a life-long love of learning and students.

To this end, LoveReading are re-launching LoveReading4Schools this December and have an exciting opportunity for anyone interesting in becoming a Librarian Reviewer for them.  The new website comes with tons of added functionality and will have a fully updated set of reading recommendation lists for every year group from Early Years to YA books. In addition, they will be regularly publishing other lists of great relevance and importance for schools today including lists of Inspirational Books, Cultural Books, Reluctant Readers Recommendations and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

LoveReading’s job is one of curation, presenting a selected list of regular reading recommendations for their audiences. These selections are delivered by the team of editorial experts and are complemented by their consumer reading review panels.

This partnership will now include us working with them to help recruit a Librarian Panel of Reviewers. This panel will work with LoveReading to review books supplied by publishers, with the aim of them then choosing Librarian’s Books of the Month.

If you are a current YLG member and interested in becoming part of their panel, you can sign up here.



Tags:  Children's Books  Children's Literature  Reading  Reviewing 

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A Charity Calendar for 2019 . . .

Posted By Administration, 16 October 2018


For the past few years Peter Sheldon, (YLG Hon Member and all round Good Egg!) now retired from active bookselling service, has been working with illustrator friends, at their request, to produce a calendar for charity. Each year they generously provide him with original artwork. The 2019 talented team features Quentin Blake, Tony Ross, Jane Ray, 

David McKee, Ruth Brown, Michael Foreman, Catherine Anholt, Arthur Robins, Colin McNaughton, Mary McQuillan, Colin Hawkins, Hanne Bartholin and Shoo Rayner. There’s plenty of room to write up your daily appointments, and it even boasts a generous helping of wit and humour!


The charity in question for the past 3 years has been Clare and Michael Morpurgo’s Farms for City Children, and we can supply a copy of the cover if you would like to see it. If you would like to support the venture and buy in to the project - and our fingers remain crossed – please do the following:


You need to email: Please either send a cheque with your order (payable to E.A. Marley) to 8 Bolderwood Close, Bishopstoke, Eastleigh SO50 8PG   or use BACS: Account no: 40214168 Sort code: 30-99-71 and put your surname as the Reference, plus ‘Cal’. You will also have to email me with your name and address and how many calendars you would like to buy. I cannot accept any orders without payment attached this year, sorry. Can you please indicate that you saw it in the YLG newsletter.


The Friends Calendar costs £7.95 each, which includes post and packagingand could be perfect for that elusive Christmas present!

We do hope you have been tempted, and look forward to hearing from you by November 16th and Calendars will be distributed by early December.


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Only the YLG!

Posted By Jacob Hope, 09 October 2018
To mark National Libraries Week, Samantha Lockett recounts her experiences at the  Youth Libraries Group conference.  Samantha won the bursary kindly sponsored by Browns Books for Students. Her account is a powerful reminder of the importance of training and development within the profession.

The theme of this year’s Youth Libraries Group conference was Reading the Future. Sponsored by Enid Blyton Entertainment, it was a celebration of the old and new, looking back on childhood favourites – such as Blyton – while discussing how these can be reimagined for modern audiences. Alongside the nostalgia, there was a sense of immediacy, an awareness that children’s fiction, literacy and libraries must be fought for. The conference explored many of the key issues in contemporary children’s fiction – such as the rights and representation of women, the need for diverse and inclusive books and the promotion of empathy. Throughout the conference, authors, panelists, poets and publishers stressed the importance of reading for pleasure. Reading may not be an instant joy to all children, but with enough support it can become one.  

Within minutes of arriving at the Mercure hotel, I found myself part of a group marching towards Central Library in the torrential Manchester rain. As a visitor to the city, I had only ever ducked into the library, too intimidated by the grand architecture and swish café to do more than browse the gift shop. The tour was an eye-opening experience, giving us backstage (backstacks?) access to the many hidden wonders of the library, including the restoration room and archives. As you might expect from a collective of children’s librarians, we were reluctant to move on from the Children’s Library with its delightful Secret Garden theme, but with lunch imminent we said goodbye to Central Library and headed back. The conference was about to begin. 

That first day, I overheard somebody say, ‘Only the YLG!’. As I watched the opening courtroom skit – three librarians dressed in wigs and gowns, interrogating a series of witnesses, including Anthony McGowan and Non Pratt, about what makes a reader, I could understand why. Only at the YLG Conference. As the weekend went on, it became my internal refrain. Ginger beer cocktails? Only the YLG. A midnight feast? Only the YLG. A lollipop shaped like the decapitated head of Frankenstein’s monster? Only the YLG! One of the things I most enjoyed about the conference was that it encouraged people to have fun, to be a little silly. The poet Matt Goodfellow got an entire room of bookish people to act out his poem Chicken on the Roof. Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre had us in hysterics as they led a group drawing session of Kevin, the flying pony hero of their new book. Audience participation – one of the most feared phrases in the English language – was met with applause. What wizardry was this?! 

With such a jam-packed programme, I was worried about sensory overload. However, the programming worked extremely well, mixing formats – a panel followed by a poetry performance followed by a publisher roadshow – to great effect. I particularly enjoyed the tea break sessions; thirty minutes of listening to brilliant authors while eating themed-snacks may be my new favourite thing in life. On the second day, delegates were given a choice of breakout sessions to attend. I chose ‘Literacy by Stealth’ – a discussion of how the Book Bench project and Read Manchester initiatives have engaged disadvantaged communities in Manchester, increasing tourism and library visits – and ‘Life Online’ – a two-part session delivered by CILIP’s Andrew Walsh and the author Nicola Morgan about information literacy and the preconceptions we hold about teenagers and technology. I found both sessions to be hugely informative, giving practical advice, such as how to reach underrepresented groups and forge connections with partner organisations, that I have since followed in my own library. Another session that I thoroughly enjoyed detailed the painstaking creation of the children’s poetry book, I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year. The book’s illustrator, Frann Preston Gannon, and its publisher, Kate Wilson of Nosy Crow, took us through the stages of its creation, from early sketches to the final cover art. It was astonishing to see how much work – and passion – went into producing the book.  As I walked around the Exhibition Room, where publishers showcased their new and upcoming releases, I had a greater appreciation for… books. For everyone who plays a part in making them. I was so excited that children and young adults would soon be reading these incredible titles, and, as a public library, we would be doing our part in providing them. 

Frank Cottrell-Boyce made me cry. He may also have made a nun cry, if his opening anecdote was anything to go by. His keynote speech was so full of sincerity, humour and wild, unrepentant bookish love, that my notes became a scribbled explosion of his quotes. My favourite is this: ‘only books catch all the voices’. Books, according to Cottrell-Boyce, stand for complication. There is a democracy to books. This, I believe, is one of the key themes of the conference. Reading the Future does not mean forgetting the past. In his closing speech, YLG Chair Jake Hope mentioned that he always intended for illustrator and author, Jackie Morris, to be the final act of the conference. Co-created with Robert Macfarlane, her book – The Lost Words – brings lost words back into being. It is a beautiful book, full of Macfarlane’s “spells” and Morris’ uncanny illustrations. Watching Morris paint an otter into life was an experience I will never forget. It showed how books, as tangible, living things, can bring people together. Not just a conference room of strangers, but families and classrooms and communities. What wizardry indeed.  

I would need another thousand words to write about all the other wonderful things I saw at the YLG Conference. Or maybe ten thousand words, including the words I SAW MALORIE BLACKMAN AND SHE SPOKE KLINGON. As it is, I will just say thank you to Browns Books for Students for the bursary, and to the YLG committee for organising it all. It was absolutely brilliant. 

Samantha Lockett is a Library Assistant at Holmes Chapel Library in Cheshire East. She is currently studying for an MA in Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University. 

Tags:  Conference  libraries  National Libraries Week  professional development  reading  reading the future. bursary  training 

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Great School Libraries Campaign

Posted By Administration, 02 October 2018

I seem to have spent the majority of my career caring about, and campaigning for, school libraries.  So I am delighted both to be involved with this campaign and to support it – a full 3 year campaign can only be a good thing!

The campaign is spearheaded by SLA, CILIP SLG and CILIP. The campaign has three aims: to secure school library funding; to produce a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within the Ofsted framework. 

The Campaign working group will be aiming to engage all potential stakeholders – whether that’s school library staff, parents, and school leadership or decision makers in government. All children deserve a great school library because adequately funded, staffed school libraries deliver enhanced and independent learning as well as reading and curriculum support. School libraries contribute to building lifelong readers and support whole school initiatives promoting reading for pleasure.

Evidence also suggests school libraries:

  • Lead to higher qualifications/attainment
  • Promote a better quality of life
  • Generate improved results 
  • Alleviate pressure on health and mental health services
  • Alleviate teacher workload
  • Increase efficiency for schools
  • Contribute to the delivery of a well-rounded education
  • Deliver and teach essential Information/critical literacy skills to combat fake news and engender independent learning 

Throughout the course of the campaign the School Library Data Group will be collecting evidence in order to show the huge variety of ways that UK based school libraries contribute to better outcomes for every child. 

We all have a role to play in supporting our Great School Libraries. To find out more go to:

The campaign are delighted to release the first batch of resources:

  • A set of two posters highlighting why school libraries are important designed by Carel Press.
  • Photoboard – either print it off and write in it why school libraries are important, or cut out the middle and take a picture of you supporting the campaign. Tweet with the reason why #greatschoollibraries deserve support. School staff could use it as the basis of a display in the library and get pupils and parents to contribute
  • case study template and example – show the impact a school library can have by contributing a case study. It could be you, or it could be someone you know. There’s an example to give you an idea of how it’ll work – and as you’ll see – it needn’t be perfect! 

The campaign would also like to invite school staff to take part in discussions that will contribute to building the national framework and defining what a ‘Great School Library’ actually is. Get involved by Tweeting (#greatschoollibraries; @cilipslg; @uksla), Facebooking (search for School Library Association (UK)) or commenting on the website. 

 Here are some of the questions the campaign is discussing at the moment:

  1. What makes a great school library?
  2. What elements of school librarianship do you think should be in a national framework?
  3. What topic do you think would be of interest to you/your school library staff member?

Our colleagues in Scotland have created a framework for showing impact: – check it out!

Get involved!  Sign up for updates and generally make a commitment to a better future of all our children.

Tags:  school libraries 

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