Monday, 24 November 2008

The Meadows Community School in Chesterfield has suddently found itself in the spotlight after the headteacher decided that its librarian was surplus to requirements. It was even reported in a French Language website!
The Guardian
Daily Telegraph
Reported in France

This case was firt picked up by Alan Gibbons whoes blog I have mentioned before. Then Philip Pullman added his support, warning that the school would become a 'byword for philistinism and ignorance' and it was this that caused the quality papers to be interested. I can almost feel sorry for Lynn Asquith, the headteacher of the school. I am sure that many secondary schools have got rid of their librarian without being exposed to this sort of publicity - but the campaign for rela libraries has been growing in strength recently.

I also hope that the support from Pullman, Gibbons et al, welcome though it is, does not mean that school libraries and librarians become a sacred cow. Their role does need to be questioned and changes are probably desirable. The defence offered by the school was:

"This reflects reduced student numbers, decreasing use of the traditional library facility and a move towards the relocation and redistribution of non-fiction and fiction resources in the light of new developments in Virtual Learning Environment and interactive learning. The post of librarian will therefore no longer be required from January 2009... After reviewing this we feel that we are not removing a library from the school but changing the way it operates so that curriculum leaders will manage the resources from the internet. This is a model being adopted by many other schools and moves towards the best practice that is adopted in further and higher education institutions."

VLEs have been used in universities and colleges for some time and their introduction into schools is to be welcomed, but the idea that a VLE is about managing the resources from the internet is just wrong. VLEs manage carefully selected resources on an intranet. Some of these may be internet resources which have been carefully evaluated by the academics and information professionals but much of it will be electronic resources purchased by the library/learning centre. The VLE will also signpost print resources where relevant.

Young people have moved away from using books as their primary resource for schoolwork. The challenge facing schools and school librarians is to develop their information skills in the new environment and to encourage them to read as a rewarding activity in its own right.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Information Commons wins award

This is taken from the University of Sheffield's web site.

The University of Sheffield's striking Information Commons building has taken the top prize at the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Yorkshire White Rose Awards. The building, designed by architects RMJM, scooped the `Yorkshire Building of the Year´ award at a prestigious ceremony at Leeds Town Hall, hosted by Barnsley poet Ian McMillan.
Recognised as one of the best examples of architecture in the region, the six-storey Information Commons provides a state-of-the art learning environment for students. It combines print and digital library services with the latest IT resources, including over 500 PCs, wireless networking and IT equipped classrooms. It has well-equipped spaces for teaching, learning and study, along with a 70-seat café.The building, which also won the gold White Rose Award for Architecture, has a distinctive copper exterior and makes excellent use of natural light, as well as providing a range of study environments. It has already won a national RIBA award and two construction innovation and sustainability awards for its complex structural flooring system.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

More from Doncaster

A piece from the Star reporting on the latest developments at Doncaster Libraries.