The School Library Group of the Library Association of Ireland notes with disappointment that the March 9th announcement by the Minister for Education on the expansion of DEIS supports to further schools has once again failed to deliver on the 2005 DEIS Action Plan commitment to expand the JCSP Demonstration Library Project.
The 2005 Plan stated that: ‘provision for school library and librarian support (will be extended to the 50 SSP schools with the highest concentrations of disadvantage over five years – extension to further SSP schools will be considered subsequently)’.
It is unconscionable that, seventeen years later, this commitment has still not been met, with just 30 JCSP libraries having been established.
The School Library Group of the Library Association of Ireland calls on the Government to immediately rectify this omission by putting in place the structures and funding needed for JCSP Demonstration Library Project expansion – as committed to in 2005.
All educators, particularly those working in DEIS schools, are concerned that the educational attainment gap will have widened considerably over the recent periods of school closure due to COVID-19. Disadvantaged students who may already have been dealing with major challenges are at particular risk of falling behind even further.
The extra supports that school libraries and school librarians can offer to students in DEIS schools are now more important than ever. While the Government stalls on the promised expansion of the JCSP Demonstration Library Project, most fee-paying secondary schools have libraries that are staffed with fully qualified librarians. Not acting on the promised roll-out of libraries for more DEIS schools widens the educational advantage gap even further.
LAI School Library Group Committee 16th March 2022
It’s certainly been a year of change for the School Libraries Group.
Our SLARI Chair, Hazel Scanlon retired from the helm at the time we changed over from SLARI to the School Libraries Group. Doreen Lundon became the first Chair of the SLG when we became official, having previously held the position of SLARI Secretary. We soon discovered we were to lose Doreen to university librarianship (though we wish her the very best of luck in UCC!). Because of current times, we have not yet had a chance to formally thank Hazel or Doreen for their time serving the SLARI and SLG committees, so on behalf of those of us you served and represented, thank you for all the time and energy you put into this group.
At our last committee meeting, Kathleen Moran, Senior Librarian of the JCSP Libraries Project was elected to the position. Kathleen has a great deal of experience in the field of libraries, leadership and advocating for libraries for all schools. We feel extremely lucky to welcome her to this position.
Kathleen was recently interviewed by Irish Times journalist Peter McGuire. You can read the piece here:
Our conference on Friday 16th November at Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, is called The School Library: Reaching out to our Communities. The conference features short presentations from school librarians on collaborating with their school communities, and contributions from book shops, Children’s Books Ireland, the Irish Film Institute and academic librarians.
This conference is ideal for those new to libraries (librarians, teaching staff or those responsible for the library), but will also appeal to those with more experience.
We will have a pop-up bookshop from Dubray Books, a book swap (bring along books and take some home), the launch of the SLARI Mentor Scheme, and a networking lunch to get to know your fellow librarians.
To sign up for the conference please fill out the Booking formand return to our secretary in advance of 16th November, either by post or by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Delegates can pay in cash on the day. Our full SLARI Conference Programme November 2018 is now available.
All are welcome to attend this important AGM as we will be looking to fill a number of executive and committee posts. A strong committee is our best guarantee for a strong SLARI and a group that can work to achieve our policy statements. Hope to see you there!
Our conference with Juno Dawson will be held in the National Library Kildare St. on April 20th. Make sure to book your place for what should be a terrific talk from the fantastic YA and mental health author Juno Dawson.
We had a great morning in Gonzaga College as the guests of their librarian Siobhan McNamara who had organized a fantastic event for our 2018 Great Reads Awards. The large auditorium was nearly full. We had a number of authors who had made the time to come along, Helen Donohoe, Paul Gamble, Laurence Anholt (who won most read Junior category), Sarah Carroll (who won most read senior category), and Meg Grehan. We are very grateful for them making the effort to attend as it is a big part of the buzz of such events to see students meeting authors. Dave Rudden (last year’s winner of Junior most read category) was also in attendance and proved very popular. Sarah Webb gave a lovely talk introducing the award and announced our winners, One of us is lying by Karen McManus (senior category) and Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (junior category). It was a very interesting short list and a huge thanks to all the librarians who had whittled down a long list to this excellent shortlist. We can now start thinking what our suggestions will be for the 2019 award.
Our November conference was well attended and seemed to hit the right notes for those who attended based on the very positive feedback. Lorraine Marrey did a great job in preparing the feedback form and in collating the information. Most found the venue and catering very suitable and we are very happy that the speakers were also considered ideal. The hope is that for our 2018 conference and agm we can provide for some of your suggestions, which of course want to focus on things that actually work, supporting the new JCT and research skills with effective practice.
The November conference is to be held in the National Library on the morning of the 24th. Our main speaker will be from Jigsaw, an organisation that specialises in helping teenagers deal with the pressures of modern day living and staying mentally healthy. They will be giving us an oversight on how teenagers see themselves and how they tend to deal with their day to day lives and problems that arise. Jigsaw will be followed by a teachmeet, which will have four librarians give short presentations on activities they use in their libraries for supporting student wellbeing and mental health. The topics will include ideas on using yoga, meditation, mindfulness, restorative justice, solution focus therapy and music.
To access potential funding for a school library collection you can apply for the CBI Robert Dunbar donation given annually to support reading for pleasure in schools. Check out the entry form on http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/