Thursday 21 December 2017


One of the (many) things I love about being a school librarian is working with small groups of students on a variety of projects - it’s a real chance to get to know them better. This often took the format of reading groups and I would run several of these throughout the year, and I also set up and managed an HPQ project with Year 9 students, so when the teacher with responsibility for the more-able programme asked me if I could “do something” with a group of twelve year 7s (11 year olds) to run on a longer timescale, I jumped at the chance. But the question was … what? I didn’t want to run a basic reading group and knew that if I was going to do this over the whole year I would have to come up with an interesting and challenging programme for them.

I then discovered that the book “Varjak Paw” by S F Said was being performed as an opera at a local theatre and this became my starting point. Although the book was, perhaps, slightly young for the students, it had a lot of themes I could explore and, as I started creating lessons around it, I realised I could extend the activities to make this a cross-curricular project bringing in lots of skills and learning experiences.

This is what I did:

  • All students had a copy of the book to read, we then discussed it using the Carnegie Award criteria looking at the style, plot and characterisation.
  • Visit to the opera (I should add here that I’m qualified to drive a minibus so taking students out on trips was never a problem for me). I was offered a pre-show talk by the artistic team and was the only school to take this up; the students were also asked to provide feedback to the director as this was the first performance. I asked the Head of Drama for input so we could analyse the performance and used similar criteria to that of GCSE students when looking at lighting, sounds, movement, costumes and props.
  • We then compared the book and the production, discussing what had been changed or left out and why.
  • I provided the students with a selection of books that had animals as characters to extend their reading. They all chose something different and discussed their choice with the rest of the group.
  • Each student was given an animal to research using range of books – and I ran a session on research skills. The aim was for students to investigate their animal, find out how they lived, what they ate, etc. I chose slightly unusual animals and ensured I had appropriate resources in the library. Students were also able to research online.
  • Students produced an information poster about their animal using IT skills.
  • The posters together with the books were used for display in the library.
  • Next was a creative writing exercise – students had to write a story (aimed at 9 - 10 year olds) with their animal as the main character using the information they had gathered in their research. There is a lot of information available online about how to write a story plus I had some books in the library on this topic so we had a look at these and discussed our findings. We also looked at different starts to ascertain what makes you want to carry on reading a book.
  • The ensuing session involved a visit by the year 5 class from our feeder school (this was part of a regular programme of visits to the “big” library) – the year 7 students read their stories about animals to them and they made animal masks together. This was also an opportunity for the younger students to explore the library with a year 7 “guide”.
  • We discussed the illustrations by Dave McKean – how they fitted into the story and what they added – using the Greenaway criteria.
  • The illustrations are quite graphic and almost silhouette in style so we undertook an investigation of silhouettes and how they were first used in photography. The next activity was creating posters using a silhouette of their animal against an appropriate landscape-related background using mixed media. Students could also create a silhouette of themselves if they wanted to!
  • Photography is a hobby of mine (I also have an A level in it) so I delivered a workshop on photography, concentrating on architectural structures.
  • We then used this passage from the book - “Stretched out under the open sky, shining like silver in the pre-dawn light, the city was a huge, mad jumble of shapes and sizes. It had tall towers, gleaming steel and glass – but also squat brick houses, dark with chimney smoke. Wide open gardens jostled with narrow alleys; sharp pointy spires topped soft, curved domes; concrete blocks loomed over bright painted billboards. They were all in there together, side by side, each one part of the whole …” – and I got the students to create a personal response to this by taking photos of buildings and making montage to represent this scene.
  • Another library display … using the passage and the resulting montages. It created a lot of interest and comments.
  • We looked at other Dave McKean books and discussed them – and I used them for a library display alongside the students’ comments.
  • I wanted to introduce poetry to the programme so we had a lesson where the students looked in the poetry section of the library for animal poems. They had to choose one that appealed to them – which they read out – and explain why they had chosen it.
  • The cats in “Varjak Paw” are Mesopotamian Blues (a made-up breed) but Mesopotamia was a real place so we investigated where this was and how the history of the area had changed over time … more research skills – this time linking with history!
  • The opera had used a range of original instruments from Mesopotamia and this was our next investigation. What sort of instruments were used, how were they played, what did they sound like? It’s surprising what you can find on YouTube
  • Finally, at the end of the year, we watched Mirrormask – and discussed the film in relation to the plot, themes, audience, lighting, set, etc.

I ran out of time before I ran out of ideas … I could have explored the geography, religion and customs of Mesopotamia; looked at the more mystical side of the book where Varjak was learning about “The Way” and investigated various martial arts and meditation techniques; examined other gothic forms of art; there are also lots of themes in the book around family, friendship and acceptance that we touched on but could have developed further.

All-in-all we had a great time on this project. Students were able to pick up lots of useful skills and enjoyed having something different to explore outside the curriculum. It also made me think about expanding other reading activities – most books lend themselves to something similar, for example, “Mister Creecher” by Chris Priestley is great for exploring medical history and then moving into the science and ethics of organ transplants, and “Fallen Grace” by Mary Hooper allows you to explore Victorian death customs!

You just need to start thinking outside the box.

Thursday 2 November 2017


As a librarian, I consider “reading” to cover anything that involves the printed word and in any format; I also think “visual literacy” is quite important, especially in the world we live in, so picture books (with or without words) count too. But I talk to quite a lot of students about reading and it’s interesting how many of them assume I’m just referring to fiction books.

There also hasn’t been a single Open Evening where I’ve not had a parent come into the library with their child and announce “he’s not a reader” (sadly it tends to be boys) – what the parent usually means is that they don't read fiction. And I've worked with teachers who hold this viewpoint. Yet when I think about my own reading it definitely includes non-fiction, books that I will pick up and browse, either because they tie in with my interests, intrigue me or I’m drawn to the illustrations.
The importance of reading for pleasure has been well documented with academic, social and health benefits, and reading non-fiction feeds into all of these.
·        It helps you learn about the world, history, other cultures; reading non-fiction will give you an insight into how the world works and increase your general knowledge. Children leap from one interest to another and we never know which is going to be influential in steering their future, impacting on their career and life choices. It is imperative that we enable this exploration to happen. Children need to be able to explore and investigate the random topics that pique their curiosity.  

·        Non-fiction exposes you to new words and information. So many stories are embedded in facts, especially historical novels, with references to people and events. Without this background knowledge, you can lose the context and essence of the story. Imagine reading “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne without any awareness of the Holocaust? I recently read “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton in my book group, and investigated the period and place in which it was set (1680s Amsterdam). I knew absolutely nothing about this time in history and the knowledge enriched the book for me, adding depth to the characters.

·        Non-fiction helps develop the information literacy skills of locating, evaluating and using information, supporting comprehension and offering increased engagement with texts through personal interests. If you understand how information is organised and presented, it will help you to find and organise information yourself.

·        Non-fiction exposes you to different styles of writing – text, captions, annotations, explanations. Reading non-fiction sets you up for the more complex texts you are likely to meet, not only in further and higher education, but also in many workplaces. Writing non-fiction also requires recognition of the building blocks of language – how to introduce and conclude, argue and compare – exposure to these techniques will inform your non-fiction writing the way exposure to fiction informs creative work.
·        Non-fiction is often more appealing to visual learners as well as EAL and SEN students. It is also important in helping to lure boys into books. Research indicates that boys read non-fiction, autobiographies and newspapers; we need to send the message that reading these texts is just as valued as reading fiction.  

·        Non-fiction engages the mind and allows you to become “lost” in the text the same way that fiction does – I have seen this many times in school libraries with students totally absorbed in information books.

So, make sure you promote non-fiction in your libraries. Some easy ways of doing this include:
·         Having lots of choice – magazines, newspapers, atlases, information books on popular topics, etc.

·         Value all sorts of reading – different books require different reading skills and they are all needed.

·         Mix fiction and non-fiction in displays.

·         Link fiction with relevant non-fiction. For example, “The Bubble Wrap Boy” by Phil Earle with books on skateboarding and graffiti art.

·         Add the relevant Dewey numbers to genre book lists so students can find appropriate non-fiction titles that link with the stories.

·         Use titles and covers to hook them in – toilet humour works well, such as “Why Eating Bogeys is Good for You” by Mitchell Symons.

·         Promote books about things they can relate to, something that is happening in the world or that ties in with recent events, or utilise a local interest – one of my schools had a large contingent of ice-hockey fans due to the local team.

·         Have a non-fiction book of the week – displayed and promoted.
Later this month, on 22nd November, the School Library Association Information Book Award winners will be announced. Have a look at the shortlists (and those of previous years) for some great non-fiction suggestions for all ages.

I know the Holy Grail is to have every child reading fiction for pleasure and we should not abandon this ideal or stop encouraging students to read stories but it is important that we do not diminish or downgrade non-fiction whilst aiming for this. One of my pleasures is to spend an afternoon browsing the shelves of my local library – as well as fiction, I always come home with a very esoteric pile of non-fiction books too!

Monday 18 September 2017


There’s been a lot of talk recently about the decision by John Lewis to stop labelling children’s clothes as “boys or girls” – I never realised quite how divided things were until I became a grandparent and discovered that even baby wipes are marketed in both blue and pink packaging (despite the contents being identical)!

I’m not sure why some people are up in arms about children’s clothes being labelled with just an age range. If you look at boys and girls clothes, the differences are ridiculous, especially considering all children like to do the same sort of things ie: be a child. Clothes need to be adequate for the task in hand which means coats should keep them warm, shoes should be tough enough to withstand kicking balls whilst keeping toes safe, and trousers  thick enough to protect knees when they fall. A glance at the girls’ ranges in almost every shop will show you that the majority are totally unsuitable for any of these activities … they are thin and skimpy in pale pastel colours that get dirty the minute you put them on.
I have nothing against pink or sparkly - my 3 year old granddaughter loves sparkly things and I’m rather fond of a bit of glitter myself (though prefer it with black or red) but it’s the messages we are sending with different styles of clothes that I object to – “just sit and look pretty little girl, you’re not meant to get dirty or play and explore the world because your clothes aren’t suitable for doing that”. And it’s not just the implied message via the types of clothes; the actual messages on them are appalling. Go and look at ANY range of clothes and you’ll see what I mean – girls just want to have fun, girls are pretty and lovely whilst boys are clever and strong and adventurous (and don’t get me started on “suggestive” messages on T-shirts for 5 year olds)!

The argument that you can buy from any section is fine except that parents are taking on board this message about boys v girls and will say “you can’t have that because it’s in the boy’s section (believe me, I’ve heard them). They also seem to be concerned about the social stigma of having somebody ask why their daughter is wearing a boy’s top or is mistaken for a boy. Of more concern is a child being bullied for the same reason (and yes, this happens too). I’ve also been in a situation where a girl has turned up wearing a boy’s t-shirt that a boy in the same group also happens to be wearing … and the boy has been teased over this! If they were wearing “just” a children’s t-shirt, this wouldn’t happen.
Let’s move on to toys and books.
The majority of shop displays have a definite split between the type of activities considered suitable for girls and boys - you can probably guess what it is but if you aren’t sure then take a look at the fantastic “Let Toys Be Toys” campaign! All children need a wide range of play to develop different skills. The reality is that 51% of the population is female and if we don’t encourage girls to look at science and technology as being valid to them, to stop sending the message that playing with construction toys or science kits is for boys and that craft activities are for girls, then we are losing out on a huge source of creativity and inspiration that is important for our future economy.
Not all of our future scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and business leaders are going to be men! There’s a saying “You can’t be what you can’t see” and this applies to both boys and girls, though particularly to the latter.
And what about books?

Fortunately, the majority of librarians I know are pro-active in supporting diversity and inclusion within their stock (and this is one of my most popular workshop topics) – they have books with strong female characters, stories about boys who are emotional and cry, tales with both boys and girls fighting evil and saving the world. Unfortunately though, many publishers still seem to market books aimed at one or the other sex … either via the cover design or using gender-labelling in the title or blurb. The latter is, happily, becoming less common but any glimpse in a book shop will show you a plethora of pink and glittery covers that are obviously aimed at the “girlie” market.
I will be the first to admit that I’ve used these covers to lure students into picking up (and then hopefully reading) a book. Anything that gets them reading is my motto, and I will unashamedly be manipulative and use any means to achieve this. But it is a sad fact that, whilst girls are frequently happy to read a wide range of books with varying covers, boys will rarely pick up a book that they think looks “girlie” which is a shame as the covers often hide a fantastic story (the secret is to wrap it in brown paper and run a lucky dip in the library!).

You would imagine that my granddaughter, having a rather outspoken grandmother, a mother working in the emergency services and an aunt who is an adventurer, would be immune to any of this. But no … a few months ago she announced that “girls don’t play football”(much to our horror)! This was soon corrected with the use of a rather wonderful book (“What Are You Playing At?” by Marie-Sabine Roger) but goodness knows where she got this message from – at the age of three.

I do find the statement “boys are boys and girls are girls” rather odd because what’s the definition of a boy or girl within the context we’re talking about … ie: the colours they like, the games they play, the toys they enjoy or the books they read? There isn't one. There’s nothing wrong with girls liking pink or boys playing with cars. Nor is there anything wrong with girls liking rugby or boys being interested in art.
But pink shouldn’t be the only choice available to girls (or cream if you’re lucky) and by sending the message via their clothes that “girl’s stuff” is pink, they automatically veer towards pink toys, which we’ve already ascertained are restricting their play and thus their development.

Also by constantly focusing on appearances we are creating generations who value what they look like above everything else. This applies to boys too - we expect them to be strong, brave and fit into a specific mould. Any child that doesn’t conform to these “norms” struggles and that’s where the problems start.

Girls and boys who are different, who do not imitate what society expects of them - girls who don’t like pink and pretty or boys who don’t like football and rough stuff - are often targets for bullying. Bullying reduces self-esteem and self-confidence as does feeling that you are not accepted. This results in an increase in mental health issues including self-harm, depression and suicide.
One of the most important (yet often undervalued) roles of the school librarian is the pastoral aspect and I’ve spoken about this before in a previous blog. I know from experience that this role has increased over the years and statistics reflect this yet there’s only so much we can do and so much support we can give; to truly combat this issue we need a healthier approach to letting children develop naturally and not trying to label them or put them into boxes.

You might think children’s genderisation isn’t important, that it doesn’t really matter. If you get a chance try and see the BBC TV programme “No More Boys And Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?”  - in which a class of seven year olds state that “boys are cleverer and have better jobs” and that “girls are pretty and look after children” - these perceptions were actually affecting the children's belief in their capabilities within the classroom as well as their self-worth and self-confidence. At seven years old!
Now imagine they are receiving the same signals time and time again via their clothes, their toys, their books, not to mention media and society for the rest of the time they are growing up? Do we really want to programme our children’s brains – and thus their futures – in this way?

I was recently in a high street shop where the girls t-shirts had the message “Fun All Day” and “Funtastic” whilst the boys said “I want to see the World” and “Create the Future”!!! Come on parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles ...) … don’t you want your daughters to see the world or your sons to have fun? They’re not mutually exclusive …

Tuesday 5 September 2017


It’s back to school time (although my colleagues in Scotland went back a few weeks ago) and I’ve noticed a few “top ten books for teachers” lists doing the rounds so thought I’d come up with my own one for school librarians. This is NOT a definitive list! I have at least a couple of bookshelves full of library/education-related books, all of which I could have included – although that would make this a bit of a tedious post so … a short but sweet selection! These are all books that deal with reading or managing a school library but as we work in the education sector, many books aimed at the teaching profession are also invaluable to us in our roles.
In alphabetical order by author (because I’m a librarian), these are books that I find myself recommending and talking about at workshops I run, and going to for ideas and advice.
·         The Reading Environment – Aidan Chambers
First published in 1991 but still relevant today, this gem of a book looks at the reading process and environment, as well as considering ways to engage students with books. There is a companion volume “Tell Me” that deals with the discussion of books.

·         Reading by Right – Joy Court (Editor)
A collection of chapters, written by expert practitioners, that looks at successful strategies for overcoming reading barriers, from birth to teens, to ensure that every child can “read to succeed”. Case studies are backed up with international research, and the book has excellent references and appendices that enable you to explore this issue further.

·         Unlocking the Reader in Every Child – Susan Elkin
This book is jam-packed with ideas for creating and sustaining readers, from young children through to older teens. It covers learning to read and looks at reading in different situations as well as the use of various formats.

·         Free Voluntary Reading – Stephen Krashen
A series of articles that were originally published in a variety of journals, Krashen has supported his arguments with extensive references. If you are unsure whether FVR has any value, this book will give you food for thought.

·         Innovative School Librarian Second Edition – Sharon Markless (Editor)
Considers various models of library practice and explores the wide range of issues that librarians face in their differing roles within schools. Adopts a strategic approach with examples from “real-life” situations.

·         The Book Whisperer – Donalyn Miller
No idea where I discovered this book but I’m so glad I did! The by-line is “awakening the inner reader in every child” and it’s full of clear, practical advice about getting and keeping students reading. Whatever your situation, you’ll find something to inspire you. US-biased but relevant to librarians everywhere!

·         The Rights of the Reader – Daniel Pennac
There can’t be many who haven’t seen the poster illustrated by Quentin Blake (and I would hazard a guess that many school libraries have this on display) – this book discusses those rights and covers all sorts of ideas around reading. It’s an absorbing and fascinating book that gets you thinking.

·         The CILIP Guidelines for Secondary School Libraries – Sue Shaper (Editor)
This covers every area of school librarianship from staffing and policies through to information literacy and promotion. It provides guidance and support regardless of your situation, and has recommendations, suggestions for further reading and examples of best practice. One to give to your senior management team!

·         Stop What You’re Doing and Read This! – Vintage (various)
My last book isn’t so much about the practicalities of running a school library or suggestions for reading-related activities but a collection of ten essays by authors and people in the publishing industry talking about why they consider reading is important. Every reader will find something of themselves in these chapters.
I’ve stuck to printed books for this list but there are many superb blogs and online resources that I also go to regularly for ideas and inspiration. And there are also several excellent books that I’ve left off … probably everyone who reads this blog will have a favourite that I’ve not included. If that’s the case then please do add details in the comments … I love getting book recommendations!
NB. I realised after I'd written this blog that I had missed off a source of information on school libraries that I use constantly ... and that's the fantastic School Library Association publications (probably because they're kept in my study rather than in the bookcase). These publications cover every aspect of managing a school library and are suitable for all types of schools. They are written by experienced practitioners, full of good advice and excellent value-for-money. You don't have to be a member to buy them (although if you are you'll get a discount).  

Monday 7 August 2017


I’ve noticed a recent trend with employers in the education field, when making librarians redundant or downgrading their positions, stating that their degrees are no longer relevant.
Now this is an astonishing thing for any educational establishment to say.
Do they really want to send the message to their students that “doing a degree is worthless” because that’s what this does. It indicates, to me, that those who say this have no idea what a library and information science (LIS) degree actually encompasses but also that they do not have a clue as to the benefits and value that can be obtained from undertaking any sort of degree. Benefits that include:
·         Proof of a certain level of educational ability

·         Time management skills, including the capability to meet deadlines

·         Independent thought and analysis, including problem solving

·         Team working, collaboration, leadership abilities

·         Effective communication incorporating written and verbal skills
These skills are advantageous to most employers, regardless of their industry. They should also be encouraged amongst students at educational establishments and anyone who has been through an FE process can show good practice and teach others in their use – I delivered a time management module as part of a Higher Project Qualification to Year 9 students who, invariably, would tell me how useful it was when doing their GCSEs and revising.
You don’t become a qualified librarian by learning how to shelve books or by entering bibliographic data into a library management system; you learn a set of skills in an interdisciplinary field that can be used outside of libraries. These include the ability to organise and navigate information as well as ways to preserve, prioritise and manage information on all types of media; not to mention the exploitation of research data, knowledge management, and the planning, marketing and delivery of information services.
LIS degrees cover the fields of informetrics, applying the practices and tools of management, information technology and education, dynamically combining theory and training to produce reflective practitioners – CILIP have highlighted some of the values of trained information professionals. Education has changed and thus libraries have evolved, becoming a complex educational, recreational and information infrastructure supporting a wide range of students with multifaceted needs - in schools, FE and HE establishments. It is also important to recognise that many librarians proactively undertake CPD (often outside contracted hours) to maintain their skills and experience, to remain relevant in today’s world and to provide services needed by their communities. Nurses are required to undertake 35 hours of CPD over 3 years; CILIP advises 20 hours per year for Chartership revalidation.
Furthermore, librarians in education:
·         Work in collaboration with academic staff to provide unique and personalised support and thus have an impact on student learning

·         Are able to offer training to students, both formally and on an ad hoc basis, providing opportunities for the development of information literacy skills

·         Deliver directed CPD to teaching and support staff, helping to reduce training budgets

·         Communicate ideas, information and knowledge – the lifeblood of education

·         Have an overview of the curriculum and a wide knowledge of resources including literature, periodicals, video and electronic formats enabling them to develop a relevant collection, based on user requirements, that provides value-for-money

·         Are able to ensure library resources and services are inclusive and diverse, meeting the needs of a multi-cultural student population

·         Manage staff, space, resources – often under tight budgets, and pressing priorities and deadlines
Many businesses recognise the value of LIS professionals and employ them in various roles – in research, law, media, health, the list is endless – so it’s rather ironic that establishments whose role is to educate (usually via the use of information) do not see the value in employing a qualified librarian. And you have to question what sort of library service are they offering their students and staff? Certainly not one that is the best it could be …

Tuesday 18 April 2017


Last month saw the third Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award, an award that recognises and celebrates the voluntary work carried out by students in their school libraries. Like all awards there was a winner, Victoria Langford from St Hilda’s CE High School in Liverpool and, as with previous years, selecting the finalists and winner from the nominations was not easy. The calibre of entries was high, the work that each and every student did was outstanding, and they all wrote so passionately about their individual libraries and the difference being a pupil librarian had made to them.

So why have this award? In schools it is quite common for sports achievements to be acknowledged, for drama and music aficionados to take centre stage in assemblies … and whilst some schools do have internal awards that recognise pupil library assistants … many do not. Yet these students give up their time, week after week, often for many years, to help run their school library. And make no bones about it, many libraries would not run as efficiently or be able to offer the level of service that they do without the help of these students. They are wonderful advocates not only for the library but also for reading and influencing the rest of the student population.

But it’s not a one-way process. Listening to the finalists, you realise that being a pupil library assistant has enriched their school experience and given them skills they will take into the workplace; skills that are valued by employers such as customer service, teamwork, and communication. Additionally most of them have gained social skills and an increase in self confidence that enables them to interact with staff and students alike, to connect with peers and younger pupils, and to represent the library to visitors, be they parents, authors or local dignitaries.

Pupil library assistants are also very loyal which is why vacancies are rare and in all my schools I have always had a waiting list to join the team. This can be difficult if you want to provide volunteering opportunities for students but there are other avenues you can explore:

Arts Award:
Arts Awards inspire young people to develop their arts and leadership capabilities and as “arts” in this instance includes reading, the school library is a natural place to deliver and support this. There are five levels of award, ranging from Discover (an introductory award aimed at children age 5+) through Explore (aimed at children age 7+), Bronze (age 11-25 years,), Silver (14-25 years) and Gold (16-25 years). The level of activity varies at each stage but it can lead to a national qualification. However, someone at the organisation needs to train as an Arts Award adviser.

Duke of Edinburgh Award:
The DoE provides opportunities at three levels: Bronze (14+), Silver (15+) and Gold (16+) although if you are in Year 9 and only 13 years old you may be able to start your Bronze Award. Each level includes volunteering and skills sections, both of which are ideal for the library environment. The amount of volunteering varies from 3 months for the Bronze Award to 12 months for the Gold Award but as they are relatively short-term, it would be easy to accommodate DoE students within a pupil librarian structure. The skills section lists library and information skills but also mentions things like event planning (author visits? competitions? book weeks?) as well as reading, newsletter production and writing – all of which can be encompassed into school library activities.

Reading Hacks:
Reading Hacks is a voluntary scheme organised by The Reading Agency. It involves young people (13 – 24 years) running activities that have reading at their heart, and gaining skills and experience that they are able to put on their CVs. Most are delivered via local public libraries but there are a few schools that support reading hack programmes – enabling students to use the library, organise activities and inspire others to read. Young people are also able to get involved with the Summer Reading Challenge – a scheme aimed at children age 4-11 years but supported by volunteers. Although this occurs outside the school library, volunteers help staff run the scheme, help children choose books, get involved in craft activities and create displays – and these skills can be put to good use back in the school library!

This is by no means a definitive list; there are many opportunities for students to get involved in volunteering opportunities that link with books, libraries and reading. However, if you do have a long waiting list of students clamouring to be involved with the library, perhaps some of these might offer them alternative avenues to explore?

And don’t forget, next September nominations open for the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award 2018 …