Going through the list of School Library Services in the
UK can be a
heart rending process as so many of them no longer exist. However, there is one
county defying all the cuts and austerity – Norfolk. This very rural county has a dynamic
School Library Service and, living in Cambridge where there is no longer one, I
was happy to be put onto the Norfolk list of authors who go into schools and
have them organise both bookings and payment, just like the good old days when the
Eastern Arts Association offered this service.
On 10 March I attended a Norfolk SLS ‘Language is Power’ conference in
where the audience of primary school teachers, school librarians and authors
were challenged and inspired. Key note speaker, Tanya Landman, 2015 Carnegie
Winner, (Buffalo Soldier)set the tone for the day when she described the appalling library cuts in
this country as the equivalent to the burning of books by unsavoury regimes.
And, Martin Illingsworth, author of Creative Approaches toTeaching Grammar, did not let his audience sit back complacently either, but shook everyone out of their comfort zone with his approach to teaching grammar. Education Secretary,Michael Gove would have squirmed in his seat or left after these two sessions.
But it was the three pupils from
the 2014 Kids Lit Quiz champions and their presentation that really showed the
impact a forward-thinking School Library Service with a belief in the power of
language can have on rural state schools. Litcham School