Food for Thought. Breakfast Clubs and Their Challenges by Cathy Street and Peter Kenway (1999).

As you may already be aware, in late 2016 we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

We have checked and sorted these publications, discovering many interesting items during the process. You may recall that in February this year we created a LibGuide and published a series of blog posts looking in more detail at a selection of these NUT resources.

 

Our focus has now moved to the over 400 other organisations included in the donation. Some of these were and still are well known, others are special interest groups that offer a unique perspective on the key educational issues of the day. This week we thought we would share some of the ‘gems’ that we’ve discovered so far and the item we are focusing on today is Food for Thought. Breakfast Clubs and Their Challenges by Cathy Street and Peter Kenway (1999).

 

The purpose of the report is clearly stated at the beginning:

This report discusses the state of development of breakfast clubs in the United Kingdom with the key aim of improving the state of information about a topical but, relatively under-researched, area of out-of-school provision. Specifically it seeks to:

  • describe what breakfast clubs ‘on the ground’ are like.
  • examine why they were formed, how they operate and how many children use them.
  • identify and analyse the problems that appear common to many clubs.
  • discuss the opportunities and challenges for government and policy makers.

 

The final report would be of use to those currently or planning to organise a Breakfast Club and also to policy makers responsible for services for children and their families.

The report was based on a study which included interviews with the staff of a representative sample of 35 clubs. Clubs from urban and rural areas were included, some of which were established whilst others were newly organised. All the clubs served food.

The answer to the question ‘What is a Breakfast Club?’ is not straightforward. They are an example of before-school provision but while some are school based, others use community facilities. Some concentrate on learning support or childcare whilst others focus on promoting healthy eating or good dental care. Not all Breakfast Clubs provide food. Of course all this diversity can cause confusion which might explain why there has been little detailed information about Breakfast Clubs. A situation which the authors hope will be remedied by their report.

Although very diverse there are some common features of most Breakfast Clubs. A basic distinction can be drawn between clubs founded with children’s interests paramount – supporting their education; improving health and nutrition; teaching dental health; offering social opportunities – and those founded with needs of parents, especially for childcare, uppermost.

Some of the predominating characteristics of the clubs surveyed included:

  • Most clubs use school-premises, serve only that school and only operate during school terms.
  • Clubs are typically open for about 45 minutes to one hour, from about 8am.
  • Most clubs cater for primary age children.
  • Most clubs are run by school staff (who are paid extra for it)

 

Information about the total number of clubs had to be estimated using information from a variety of sources. Between 400 and 600 clubs were in operation but of course clubs were closing or starting up all the time. On average 15 children attended each club each day but not every child attended on every day. Total attendance is estimated to be between 18,000 and 27,000 children.

The two main problem areas concerning the development and sustainability of breakfast clubs were identified as funding and staffing.

Breakfast clubs in more deprived areas are dependent on other sources of funding because they cannot charge enough to cover costs. Clubs may get funds to start up but then be expected to raise funds themselves which can be very time consuming. Many sources of funding are aimed at new enterprises and cannot be accessed by established clubs.

It is difficult to get parents and others to volunteer to staff a breakfast club. Rules about benefits make it hard for parents to be employed to run the clubs and the early start and short time involved also make for unattractive working hours. If the clubs are run as an ‘extra’ by school staff then funds have to be found from already overstretched school budgets and there is a lot of additional work and responsibility.

The biggest challenge that policy makers face if breakfast clubs are really to help with what children eat in the morning is to find ways of lessening the pressure that almost all the clubs currently seem to face to reduce their expenditure on food as far as possible. This does seem vital or else the breakfast part of their name will only refer to the time of day breakfast clubs are held.

Although published in 1999 the Report’s Appendix 2 : Summary of Research Findings Regarding Health, Education and Childcare contains information which is so recognisable today on the low consumption of fruit and vegetables, the rise in childhood obesity, the rate of dental caries and childhood poverty.

Not surprisingly, in April 2018 the National Education Union (NEU) and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) published a joint survey entitled Child poverty and education: A survey of the experiences of NEU members.

 

The scale of the donation means that these items have not yet been catalogued – and that is the next stage in this exciting project. In the meantime, please visit our LibGuide which includes information on the access arrangements that we have put in place for these fascinating items.

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Teenage Girls and their magazines by Pat Pinset and Bridget Knight with an introduction by Nicholas Turner (1998)

As you may already be aware, in late 2016 we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

We have checked and sorted these publications, discovering many interesting items during the process. You may recall that in February this year we created a LibGuide and published a series of blog posts looking in more detail at a selection of these NUT resources.

Our focus has now moved to the over 400 other organisations included in the donation. Some of these were and still are well known, others are special interest groups that offer a unique perspective on the key educational issues of the day. This week we thought we would share some of the ‘gems’ that we’ve discovered so far…

Teenage Girls & their Magazines by Pat Pinset and Bridget Knight with an introduction by Nicholas Turner (1998) was the first volume of the Papers from the Roehampton Institute’s National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature.

In today’s world of mobile phones, the internet, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of social media it seems hard to remember the attraction and importance of magazines to teenagers.

In his introduction ‘Girls, Comics and Magazines’ Nicholas Tucker discusses the criticism faced by girls’ teenage comics and magazines. The word bovarism came into use after so many complaints were received about the type of literary escapism in their contents. Bovarism was taken from Flaubert’s tragic heroine Madame Bovary and meant ‘the domination of the personality by romantic or unreal concepts’. Criticism spread from the fictional elements to almost all the contents until the printed readers’ letters were about the only element to gain any favour.

One of the main ideas behind the criticism was that the comics and magazines presented an unreal picture of the world. Girls and young women would only strive to better themselves if they first accepted the harsh realities of their everyday lives. However others argued that escapist fiction provided a welcome relief from what might be a mundane existence.

General changes in girls’ magazines have led to a more positive attitude towards them and the two main articles are generally in their favour.

Pat Pinset gained much of the information about the range and appeal of the magazines she examined for her article ‘Lessons in Love’: Girls’ magazines in the 1990s from Young People’s Reading at the End of the Century (1996). This is a survey of the reading habits of nearly 9,000 school pupils aged between four and sixteen carried out by the Children’s Literature Research Centre (now the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature) at the Roehampton Institute London. It included several questions about magazines and it clearly indicated that most boys choose magazines about their hobbies whilst girls prefer magazines with a more ‘social’ element.

Pinset examined the contents of a single issue of a range of fourteen popular magazines. (Barbie, Big, Bliss, Bunty,Catch,Chatterbox,Girl Talk, Just Seventeen,Kerrang, Looks, Miss, More, 19, Rosie and Jim, Shout, Smash Hits,Sugar, totstv, TV Hits). Those aimed at younger girls (Barbie, Bunty, Chatterbox and Girl Talk) included articles on animals, making things and competitions and plugs for confectionary or fashion but did not include articles on pop stars, information about sex and /or boys’ sex lives, ‘True’ stories and readers’ letters which were to be found in most of the magazines aimed at older girls.

For an in depth examination of magazines and their contents Pinset concentrated on two issues of Just Seventeen, a fortnightly journal which began publishing in 1983 and which was named as their favourite by twice as many eleven to sixteen year olds as its nearest rival in the NCRCL survey which was Big. The aspects Pinset looked at were Covers: The Problem Page and other sources of advice: ‘True’ Stories; Group Cohesiveness and Language and The roles of the magazine.

In conclusion, Pinsent writes that these periodicals help adolescents realise that their reactions to the complexities of physical and psychological change and to the difficulties in relationships are normal, and advice given may well help them to know how to respond to parents, friends and boyfriends, and to build up their own self-confidence.

Although there are good qualities that can be associated with magazines Pinset acknowledges that there are still areas of concern. Not surprisingly magazines see their readers as consumers and moreover as consumers of fashion, makeup and other beauty products with an aim to attract the opposite sex. Whilst progress has been made there is still room for improvement in including young people from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

In’ Teenage Magazines: Education or Titillation’, Bridget Knight once again discusses the worries parents and other adults have about magazines and their perceived use of sex to increase sales. Indeed Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Worcester, described their contents as squalid titillation, salaciousness and smut and he, in 1996, introduced his Periodical(Protection of Children) Bill in the House of Commons.

Also of concern to many parents was that Britain, with 31.8 live births per thousand girls age 15-19 (Figures from 1991/92) had the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe. However this rate had changed little over the past decades and so it is too simplistic to suggest that there is a straightforward correlation between the increasingly explicit sex-related content of girls’ magazines and the number of girls who become pregnant each year.

Knight notes some of the differences in publishing practices and assumptions and those in France which is frequently associated, rightly or wrongly, with relatively open attitudes to sex but where only 9.3 live births per thousand were recorded in 1991/92. French magazines tend to target a readership of upwards of fifteen and categorised slightly differently from their British counterparts as the emphasis falls on perceptions of quality. The two main categories into which teenage magazines are divided are ‘feminins haut de gamme’ (high quality) and feminins ados’ (cheap and cheerful). Articles cover wide range of issues intended to appeal to older teenagers and readers in their early twenties.

One result of Peter Luff’s activities was that the magazine publishers set up the Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel (TMAP) which produced guidelines for acceptable contents in the magazines and is intended to monitor their output. Interestingly the guidelines were formulated by publishers, retailers and editors but teenage girls were not asked for their input.

Letters from teenage girls to local and national papers complained about the assumption that all they were interested in was sex. As one said’ …. we are perfectly sane, intelligent young people. Please stop treating us like separate life forms with only one thing on our minds.  Another girl commented that teenagers would not seek information between the pages of magazines if they were provided with facts about drugs, depression, anorexia and other worrying problems at school.

Today many of the teenage comics and magazines mentioned in the two articles have ceased publication or have moved to an on-line only format. The current debate about what the new sex-education curriculum should contain, the rise in mental health issues amongst school children and continuing high numbers of teenage pregnancies seem to indicate that teenagers are still seeking answers to questions which they do not feel able to get from their parents. The rise in speedy dissemination of information via electronic media has brought a new set of problems such as ‘trolling’ and ‘cyber-bullying’. Perhaps Just Seventeen and other teenage magazines were not so bad after all.

The scale of the donation means that these items have not yet been catalogued – and that is the next stage in this exciting project. In the meantime, please visit our LibGuide which includes information on the access arrangements that we have put in place for these fascinating items.

 

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Knowledge manufacture at the IOE

Book cover: Equalities and inequalities... / Scott & Scott.Intellectuals like to see themselves as constructors or producers of knowledge – artists and academics, too, make things! Indeed, the Institute of Education, and all of UCL, are huge construction, manufacturing, and storage sites, by which I do not mean the noise of building outside my window or yours.

Researchers and students write up their findings and theories, pass them on in presentations and post them online; editors put them in print or electronic journals and books, produce and market them; librarians collect and sort all this material so that the cycle of reading and research keeps going.

Book cover: Machine learning and human intelligence / Rosemary Luckin.All this is happening every day – and every night – at UCL, and while you have all seen lecture theatres – and hopefully also libraries – from the inside, you may not be aware that publishing is also going on around you.

More and more academic papers are made available online in open access, free to read for everyone, some in entirely open-access journals at UCL IOE Press.

Books see the light of the world also thanks to UCL IOE Press, which had started as IOE Press before UCL times and had incorporated Trentham Books.

Book cover: The picture book maker / Karenanne Knight.If you want to look at some of their publications after having seen these striking book covers, there are two places to go to: the catalogue, UCL Explore, to find out where they are, and then the shelves of the Newsam Library at the IOE.

Book cover: Education and social mobility / Hoskins & Barker.And if you take one idea away from your time at UCL or indeed your time in the UK, I suggest the mission statement of UCL IOE Press, which is true for the whole of the Institute of Education:

“… we remain passionate about furthering education in its broadest sense, for all, and supporting those who make it possible. Our work is rooted in a commitment to truth, critical reason, and social justice.”


Here are the library catalogue records for the books shown above: Scott & Scott; Luckin; Knight; Hoskins & Barker.

Thanks to UCL IOE Press for the images of the book covers; please check with them for copyright before re-using.

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An Erasmus week in Wonderland

View from bridge on river with boats, high buildings on both sides, one sea-gull in blue sky.Looming gothic spires and elegant baroque buildings… oddly-shaped squares and cobblestoned lanes… rivers and canals cutting across the network of roads and boulevards… flat land full of bikes and then some steep slopes. Which cities of Europe come to your mind?

Need more clues? Heaps of hearty food and heaps of healthy food… copious amounts of milky coffee and golden beer? A multicultural population with nonchalant fluency in three or four languages? Which country might that be?

Mediaeval castle with trams going by underneath battlements.No, it’s Belgium. Not to be underestimated, with its rather rare sunshine or otherwise (I got sunburnt in May).

Garden with roses along old walls and iron garden furniture.Or have you lately ridden on a tram through the middle of a busy town and caught your breath when it carried you right along the battlements and moat of a mediaeval castle?

That’s what happened to me when I looked for my hotel in the great old city of Ghent. It turned out to have an absurdly romantic garden with rambling red roses, wrought-iron garden furniture, a single lily rising above a pond, and a rabbit grazing in the long dusk. This was surely the entrance to a Wonderland, for my dreams in that villa were as labyrinthine and eerie as the story of Alice.

I was on an Erasmus study week for professional staff at universities; these are the people who neither study nor teach nor research but keep the place going. In our case, we were two dozen human resources, information technology, and library staff.

People bent over tables with postcards; plastic skeleton with hats and clothes.Librarians from all over Europe (note the Belgian host in the corner).

Ghent was a mind-blowing location, but the journey was far from a holiday; as you all know, studying or training can be harder than doing a job. Lectures and talks, guided tours and work-shops followed each other, demanding our attention and our contribution.

The ten librarians from all over Europe (including Russia) were welcomed by about as many colleagues from Artevelde University College (AHS), who had worked on the programme for a year and showed continued interest throughout the four action-packed days. Their theme was ‘Superheroes’ — and now I know why!

Another theme emerging in the course of our professional exchange was ‘information literacy’: how do people find their information when there’s too much of it? How do they evaluate its quality, how do they sort it, quote it, use it? Is there a complementation or a conflict of print and digital resources? How do we motivate you, the readers, to find stuff to read… and then to read it, like, actually read it?

Large table full of games in a modern library.Artevelde University College libraries have 200 games to borrow.

A journey abroad also makes you question the society you live in. At a time when hundreds of public libraries are being closed or quite literally shrunk in England, it is uplifting but also embarrassing to wander through a brand-new, state-of-the-art city library. Some of De Krook’s five floors are as big as a football pitch, and all are full of shiny books, new computers, designer furniture, free events, and eager readers, including university students.

If in turn you want to visit an academic library as a member of the public, a lifetime of borrowing in Ghent sets you back as much as one or two days of reference access in London. AHS Alumni can continue to take books out and use the workstations free of charge. The librarians also integrate refugees as voluntary workers, which seemed to me an arrangement valuable for the students and invaluable for the refugees.

Much of the learning happens between the lines. The learning formats used by AHS, for example, offered some interesting learning in themselves:

  • Three little playdough figures in bright yellow and red on a desk.Have you dressed up a skeleton yet to personify the ideal librarian?
  • Have you done speed-dating with librarians, darting from one library cubicle to another — although maybe mainly to learn about their work?
  • Have you met librarians who recommend Lego bricks and playdough for team-building and use these themselves (must have worked, too)?

The main success, I believe, lies in a different field for every participant in an Erasmus training week. Most participants, for instance, must concentrate to communicate in English on a professional level all the time; for me personally, it was the opportunity to immerse myself in French and Dutch in Belgium. For someone quiet or shy, it would be an immense chance to speak in front of a small and sympathetic international audience; for me, the challenge was tackling various computer programmes I do not normally use.

Above all, anyone who has made the journey to an Erasmus experience will be motivated to continue in their career, dedicate themselves, develop their skills. They will also be convinced that, as the deputy mayor of Ghent assured us, neither people nor ideas should stop at borders. Imposing townhall with clock-tower and flags, including EU flag.


Photographs of Ghent (including Gravensteen Castle and Town Hall): Christina Egan. — Photographs of Erasmus week: Artevelde University College Library Services © 2018.

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Teaching resources about refugees – II

Amongst the hundreds of academic books that reach the Newsam Library every month, a colourful cover caught my eye, with two people crossing an orange desert under a deep-blue sky lit by a dazzling moon.

This painting is in fact taken from the children’s book The colour of home, the story of a child from war-torn Somalia who finds refuge in Britain but is haunted by horrendous images. For her PhD thesis, Julia Hope interviewed the author, Mary Hoffman, and the artist, Karin Littlewood, and has now published Children’s literature about refugees at Trentham Books, an imprint of the IOE Press.

Academic book with colourful cover taken from picture book next to it.At the UCL Institute of Education, we have this picture book in several copies. The same is true for another work that Dr Hope discusses with its author: The other side of truth by Beverley Naidoo tells the story of two Nigerian children in England. Our Curriculum Resources Librarian, Sally Perry, strongly recommends this novel for teenagers as well as adults. We have some more rather grim young adult fiction about refugees: about child soldiers. You can look up this term or others together with ‘Juvenile fiction’; at the IOE, we index our novels so that you can identify the subject and use them for teaching.

When I looked for children’s books on refugees in our Explore catalogue, I found some more which are mentioned in Julia Hope’s study. In The silence seeker, Carl Pearce makes the noisy building-sites, flyovers and launderettes of London look bleak and poetic at the same time, while the boy from far away does not speak a word…

The whispering cloth is set in a camp for displaced people in Thailand; illustrator Anita Riggio and embroiderer You Yang visualise dreams of a new home (see photo above). My name is Sangoel takes a Sudanese boy by ‘sky boat’ to the United States, where he is determined to keep his ‘strange’ ancestral name.

One of the books reaching out to the youngest children is My name is not refugee. Kate Milner offers very simple texts and direct questions: “What would you take?” or “How far could you walk?”.

A haunting Mongolian folktale has been skillfully integrated into an equally moving tale of boat people. A story like the wind by Gill Lewis has been beautifully illustrated by Jo Weaver, all in the same melancholy shade of teal.

Picture books, amongst them 'My name is not Refugee' and 'My name is Sangoel'.As regards non-fiction, Wayland recently brought out the series Children in our world, with titles like Refugees and migrants or Poverty and hunger. World issues are explained in simple terms and images, the dire problems always balanced with proposals for relief and change – starting with the children themselves. Independence publishers in Cambridge update their compilations of topical texts for secondary school pupils all the time; we hold three different Issues editions on the topic of Refugees.

Children’s literature about refugees also describes ways in which those books are used in primary schools. The lovely stories themselves, though, suggest very imaginative activities; it seems that parents and teachers can learn a lot from poets and artists!

The little boy in The colour of home renders a cheerful memory of his home in Africa – only to paint it over with garish flames and murky smoke. Perhaps pupils could follow this example and paint over one half of peaceful pictures… or one half of violent pictures?

Sangoel, in turn, puts his own name onto his T-shirt, converted into images so that his peers can pronounce it as ‘sun’ + ‘goal’ – all the more useful since he plays football! His classmates are thrilled by the idea and try to find rebuses for their own names.

The little girl in The whispering cloth transforms her wishes into a narrative embroidery; could this not be done, too? Could not both girls and boys fashion textiles which express their experiences of their own home, of a lost home, of a hoped-for home?

Whatever you want to teach, you are likely to find related activities and lesson plans at the Newsam Library, some in the Main Education Collection and some in the Curriculum Resources collection, and many more of course online. You could always try the search terms ‘activit*’ and ‘lesson plan*’ together with your topic or your curriculum subject.

Another special form of books are those without any words at all. Sally Perry’s essay about the exhibition Silent Books : Final Destination Lampedusa at the IOE in 2017 gives you an insight how IBBY provides books for refugee children. As a teacher, you are likely to have pupils from many backgrounds, some with little English; ‘silent books’ could be a way of bringing everyone together.

Page from graphic novel, showing drowning boy and baby rescued by helicopter.The touring exhibition had to move on, but we have wordless books on our shelves – for everyone from very young children to adults! – and you can find them at ‘stories without words’ on our catalogue.

One of them is Shaun Tan’s haunting Arrival, a surrealist story without words which readers (observers?) of all ages and all languages can pour over for hours…

Not a happy subject, but I wish you happy reading… and looking at pictures… and drawing and painting!

Please also note my previous blogpost on graphic novels and illustrated teaching materials about migration and refugee issues.

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When books are banished or school is trademarked: dystopian novels in our libraries

Did you know that Senate House, the striking high-rise building next to the main UCL campus, features in two different very dark futuristic novels: The day of the triffids by John Wyndham (1951) and 1984 by George Orwell (1949)?

Orwell’s Ministry of Truth is at the heart of a totalitarian superstate, the ultimate place of disinformation and oppression. A recent staged reading in the same building brought the classic text to life; eerie bluish light in a large dark room illuminated scenes of torture and brainwashing, with the latter no less unsettling than the former. You can still watch the show online at the Orwell Foundation’s website; just dip into those eleven and a half hours of terror…

Many of you will recently have watched dystopian visions of the future, perhaps various movies of The handmaid’s tale and Bladerunner; but have you read the stories which inspired them? The first cinema film of Bladerunner was based on the quaintly-named novella Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood, of 1986, is thoroughly disquieting for women in particular and, as we can see from the news stream about systemic sexual exploitation, as relevant as ever.

Drawing of imagined spacecraft and space station, 1953.To envisage creatures which may or may not be humans or robots, or else animals or robots, in 1968, as Dick did, was quite a feat. To conjure up monstrous hybrid plants as a result of genetic engineering and biological warfare in 1951, as Wyndham did, is no less astonishing.

Similarly, radios plugged into your ears, television screens filling your walls, and soap operas with audience involvement seem almost ordinary to us, but to describe them in 1953 was truly prescient. This is what Ray Bradbury did in Fahrenheit 451, a book mainly known for the scenes of book-burnings, but less so for the audio-visual technology replacing print.

In his American cities there are also, apparently, secret databases of the citizens’ every step, every word, even of the chemical composition of their bodies: total surveillance for total control. If you commit a crime, if you behave in a suspicious manner, you can be tracked down, hunted down – and it may be broadcast live on TV, as a deterrent and as entertainment for all.

Bradbury lived to over ninety years, well into the 21st century, and must have been bemused to see his bold visions materialising. Even the nuclear weapons which threaten the ragged remains of our civilisation in Fahrenheit have not, as we are constantly reminded once again, vanished with the Cold War.

If Nineteen eighty-four is widely studied and Fahrenheit 451 also well-known, why does the more recent Feed by M. T. Anderson remain obscure? Will we elevate it to cult status only when it is almost too late? When the internet has taken over our lives and our minds and any resistance, whether from inside or outside the loop of ceaseless entertainment and advertising, is bound to fail?

Hungarian stamp with spaceship, mid-20th c.When people let the forests and seas die, protected in their glass bubbles: their domed suburbs and personal aircraft, their shopping-malls and night-clubs on the earth and on the moon? When your health insurance is exclusively based on your customer profile and School™ is openly marked as a commodity?

Anderson, too, must be bewildered by the degree of realisation already emerging as time passes since he published his science-fiction in 2002. The idea of an incoherent and uncouth, patently inept or corrupt US President named Trumbull is positively prophetic. Pupil-teacher interaction replaced by holograms and curricula rewritten by corporations do not seem far off, either!

This gripping story, told from the view-points of fifteen-year olds in their slang is likely to appeal to any teenager, surely even those who do not normally read fiction. If you are a teacher or tutor, include it in your programme: it is the text that we need now, before it catches up with us.

The links in this article lead you to copies at the Newsam Library, UCL Institute of Education, but there are more at other UCL libraries and probably in your local library. Of course, on our library catalogue, UCL Explore, you will also find DVD’s of the films and plenty of background material. You can link to Senate House Library from your search results or search their catalogue directly and borrow from them… and while you do that, have a look at the stupendous building!


Illustrations: Drawing of imagined spacecraft by Helmuth Ellgaard on magazine cover of 1953 (CC BY-SA 3.0). – Hungarian stamp with spaceship. (Scanned by Darjac) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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LILAC in Liverpool

LILAC 2018 (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) is aimed at librarians who teach information and digital skills. Each year, the three day conference includes keynote speeches and parallel sessions covering a range of different libraries including school, public, academic and national. This year LILAC is hosted by librarians at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

Over 370 librarians from around the world have come to LILAC to share and compare. Today, I met librarians from at least 15 different countries, attended 5 sessions and a keynote speech and there are still two days to go. Tonight, we have a networking event at the World Museum Liverpool featuring the terracotta warriors.

After one day at LILAC, I’m feeling hopeful and dizzy about what is possible.  I’m thankful that we are putting some of this good practice in action already in our essential IOE LibGuides. Even so, there is always more to learn. In fact, I can’t wait to try out Database Speed Dating. Don’t laugh, I’ve tried it and it’s a novel way to make databases interesting.

So whether we’re in Liverpool, London or Lisbon, we librarians all know that information literacy skills are essential to coping with research. Sharing good practice in conferences like LILAC makes our way ahead a little more bright.

 

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