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Author Kim Slater presents Amy McKay with her Librarian of the Year 2016 award...

'The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s prestigious honour to recognize the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day, highlighting the best practice of those whose work is outstanding.

This year Amy McKay at Corby Business Academy (www.corbybusinessacademy.org) has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2016'.

Our colleagues from Books go Walkabout were delighted to attend the award ceremony at The Judges Court, St. Martins Lane, London on the 3rd October, 2016.

Award winning author Kim Slater presented Amy with her prize and you can see range of library activities, reader support and wider engagement with the library and literacy sector that Amy has achieved in her career so far here. All of which made her a very deserving winner in 2016.

You can read more about Amy's work at the Corby Business Academy on their web pages here.

Dolphinbooksellers were united '...well done and congratulations Amy!'

slalogobuttonNomination forms for School Librarian of the Year 2017 will be available from the SLA website, at http://www.sla.org.uk/nominations.php

Previous Winners of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award
2015: Annie Brady – St Paul's CBS Secondary School, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
2014: Liz Millett – Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable
2013: Hilary Cantwell – St Paul’s Community College, Waterford, Republic of Ireland
2013: John Iona – Oasis Academy, Enfield, Middlesex
2012: Adam Lancaster – Monk’s Walk School, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
2011: Carol Webb – Forest Hill School, London
2010: Duncan Wright – Stewart’s Melville College, Edinburgh
2010: Kevin Sheehan – Offerton School, Stockport
2009: Lucy Bakewell – Hill West Primary School, Sutton Coldfield
2008: Nikki Heath – Werneth School, Stockport
2007: Ingrid Hopson – George Abbot School, Guildford
2006: Anne-Marie Tarter – Ripon Grammar School, North Yorkshire
2005: Anne Robinson – Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College, Bedworth

The SLA School Librarian of the Year 2016 is sponsored by Macmillan Children’s Books (www.panmacmillan.com) and Softlink (www.softlink.co.uk).

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Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


IMG 9918In 2014, there were three exceptional librarians on the Honours List and we were pleased to be able to attend the ceremony held by the Schools Library Association.

This year Liz Millett, Teaching Assistant/Library Co-ordinator at Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable, has been awarded the honour of the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014 at a celebration at the Hotel Russell in London on 6 October. Award-winning author and artist Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books) presented her with the award.

Weatherfield Academy is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning Difficulties and additional complex needs. There are 117 pupils in the school with 52% attracting Pupil Premium funding and entitled to free school meals and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students lifelong skills. In 2009 a room was adapted for the library and Liz Millett took on the job of developing it. The pupils make good levels of progress, as judged by Ofsted in 2013.

Liz says “My aim is to increase their pleasure from reading whatever level they are at to make sure they are not frightened by books or put off them, so that they will come to see reading as something they will always have for themselves.”

To read more about Liz go to: http://www.sla.org.uk/liz-millett.php

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Sue Martin - Dolphin Booksellers - the best in children's books, always on line

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Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


Image 1This year two librarians have been awarded the School Librarian of the Year, a celebration at the Hotel Russell in London, on 7th October.

Ginette Doyle, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection committee said:

"They are not joint winners, but each deserves the accolade of School Librarian of the Year.”

Photo from Philip Cooper Photography

“It was an extremely strong, and international, Honour List. In the end we chose two librarians both working in different ways to bring their libraries into the heart of the school and learning.

Candy Gourlay, author of the award-wining Tall Story and recently published second novel, The Shine, presented the award to:

Hilary Cantwell, librarian at St Paul’s Community College Waterford, Republic of Ireland.

Hilary gained expertise in New York schools and public libraries before joining an Irish government programme to create school libraries.

St Paul’s has 430 students and is in a rural county with the highest unemployment in Ireland. It is affiliated to the Irish government’s inclusion programme, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools.

John Iona, librarian at Oasis Academy Enfield, Middlesex.


John creates award-winning resources, delivers the school’s Extended Project Qualification programme and plays a significant role in curriculum planning and support. The school has 1,100 students of which up to 70% have English as a second language. John actively promotes reading for pleasure with a number of initiatives including Reading Games.

A great celebration and the awards a real reflection of the importance of reading and literacy in schools.

Dolphin Booksellers are pleased to celebrate this achievement of the School Library Association.

Sue Martin

Dolphin Booksellers- the best in children's books always on line


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


Image 1Kevin Crossley-Holland,celebrated author and President of the School Library Association, delivered an enchanting and beautifully crafted lecture:

'Footprints on the Grass: Speaking of Gardens and Children's Books' to a full house at Homerton College Cambridge on 6th September.

The theme of gardens was delicately drawn into ways in which children use imagination within places where there is space, beauty and security.

Kevin talked about John the Peddar from Norfolk, is journey to London following a dream about a pot of gold, only to turn back and return home where the pot was in his back garden.

' The greatest treasure in the world is on our doorstep, but you may have to go away and come back to find it.'

There were many references to Philippa's writing, and especially her most famous book, Tom's Midnight Garden.

Philippa Pearce died in 2006, but respect and affection for her writing is as strong as ever. In her memory, a series of lectures is now underway, each intended to celebrate excellence in writing for children.

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The inaugural Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture was held on 11th September 2008, at Homerton College, Cambridge, and focused on Philippa Pearce's own writing and contribution to children's literature. Subsequent lectures have ranged more widely and speakers have included Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman.

The 2014 Lecture will be given by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Kevin's speech was filmed and will be available on the Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture website soon. http://www.pearcelecture.com


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


slaThe London branch of the School Library Association met at Highgate School on the evening of November 9th. The meeting was held in the oak panelled hall and was a contrast to the new age title of the talk , ' Engaging with children in a digital way', which was presented by Ruth Harrison from The Reading Agency.

readLots of different projects that the Reading Agency are involved in show that this is a really exciting time for the development of communication and access to written texts. Young people have a myriad of ways that they are already accessing written material digitally. For libraries and schools there are lots of benefits and also some concerns, especially around the uploading of material written onto a school website, for example, by young people.

This would seem to be a very valid point but maybe there are other ways that we can encourage young people to write and express their thoughts.

As part of our work with children and literacy we are always interested in new ways of engaging with children and young people. Very keen to be part of the developing 'apps' movement.  Just the start of a new way of working and so much scope for broadening horizons.

Sue Martin at DolphinBooksellers - always the best in children's books on line


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


Bradfield College

A whole weekend of children's books at Bradfield College, Berkshire - a splendid setting and the warmest days so far.

A great success for the FCBG Annual Conference 2010 .

Cake at Conference

We were there for the Saturday speakers.

Hadn't realised that there would be so much cake.

Definitely a bonus!

A Gothic Imagination started the day with Sarah Singleton, author of The Poison Garden and Century . She carried us through the attics of neurosis and cellars of repression, describing gothic style as somewhat claustrophobic, with decay and a feeling of being trapped in the past.

John Burningham(author of Mr Gumpy and many many more books), gave some amazing reflections on his work and career as an illustrator and author, somehow even finding a flair for trains in Japan.

Truth Lies and Violence was a lively seminar with Graham Marks (I Spy - The Constantinople Caper) and Marcus Sedgwick (Revolver). They even managed to travel to get the real feel of the settings for their books and in Marcus' case tried out a gun to see what it would feel like.

Books at Bedtime, in the middle of the afternoon, wasn't at all soporific! Wendy CoolingDavid Melling and Clara Vulliamy were inspirational in their illustrations and composition of picture books. Hugless Douglas and The Bear with Sticky Paws are two of their titles.

And even time to relax too!

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Time to look at new books coming on the scene, chance to meet up with friends.

We enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and listen to the creativity of writing and illustrating.

Just wait until the children start getting stuck into those books.

Dolphin Booksellers for books and information on-line.


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.


lbThe  School Library Association have launched a Primary School Library Charter on Monday 15 th February. The charter will help primary head teachers and governors set up and run a school library or increase the contribution that their current library makes to the school’s effectiveness and the pupils’ well being and learning.

At Dolphin Booksellers and at SmithMartin Partnership we are so pleased that the value of libraries in primary schools is really celebrated. A well resourced library with an area and space which is attractive for children to sit and read or to access information is so important. Library spaces we have created have been places that children just love to be in.

Many schools, for many children, are the only place that they have access to a wide range of books. It becomes the very start of their own reading materials and if we are lucky it can be the catalyst for finding the way to local libraries.

Sir Tim Brighouse, associate professor at the Institute of Education , University of London and former Schools Commissioner for London, welcomed the charter, saying: ‘The school library is one of the key indicators of whether a school environment is as best fitted as it can be for learning. If the library is a desert, you start to worry.

Lucy Bakewell, librarian at Hill West Primary School in Sutton Coldfield and the first primary winner of the SLA’s School Librarian of the Year award (2009), believes that a primary school library plays a unique role in ‘grabbing children when they are building their vocabulary and growing their imaginations to introduce them to reading habits and information handling skills which will stand them in good stead later’. She adds: ‘Primary school librarians are also well placed to reach parents and help to create a reading ethos in families as well as in schools.’

Watch this space for more information, we will be interested to find out the response from Gordon Brown to a letter from international colleagues.

Dolphin Booksellers for up to date information and a chance to buy books on line.


Dolphinbooksellers.co.uk is part of SmithMartin LLP

A retail resource for the best children's books, entry point into our children's and community library procurement and supply service. Offering a miscellany of news and featured authors for all our readers, whatever their age.