Friday, June 29, 2007

Librarians gather at SLA Weekend Conference

Librarians gather at SLA Weekend Conference – University of Nottingham 22nd – 24th June 2007.

After a long journey, which included flooding, and thunderstorms I finally arrived at Nottingham – funny thing is I only travelled from Lancashire yet had encountered torrential rain and frightening flooding. Having booked in and seen my accommodation I set off to meet the other 300 plus librarians that had all gathered in the University of Nottingham for this very special weekend conference.

The SLA weekend training course is hugely popular. Held in June at a different location each year, the course has become an essential element of professional development for many school librarians. For me this was my very first SLA weekend for years I had wanted to attend and now all of a sudden I was here!

This very special weekend conference explored the future of school libraries, learning and education. It also celebrated the SLA's 70th birthday along with Orchard and OUP’s birthdays so needless to say it was cake, cake, cake! The conference was packed with workshops, author talks, stands, exhibitions and of course cake. We were delighted to listen to Gervase Phinn (author, SLA president and also HMI) after our evening meal on the Friday evening: he humoured us so much that we were in stitches with laughter. We also listened to Anthony Bravo from Crossways Academy in London. Anthony boasted of his new academy and he delighted us with his examination results. Phil Bradley spoke to us about Web 2 and VLEs – the technology is out there, we just need to be aware of it. Stephen Elboz chatted away to us about his work and what inspired him to write. A kind gentle man who touched our hearts with his words and wisdom.

You might be thinking by now that we had a busy weekend but it didn’t stop there: Julie Bertagna, Aidan Chambers, Tanya Landman, Michael Lawrence, Sue Palmer, Guy Parker-Rees, Bail Rai, Marcus Sedgwick and Ceri Worman all chatted to the group and all ate cake!

I can’t boast enough about this weekend and what I have gained from it. Meeting such wonderful people really did give me the push I needed to recharge and be inspired. Networking with other school librarians also helped me so much to think about my role and to give me that extra zest in my work place.

Some of the workshops that I attended included Manga and Graphic novels which was delivered by Dr. Meg Gibson. I also attended the ‘Lead and be Led’ workshop run by Geoff Dubber. MLS Eclipse gave a brilliant demo about their new .net package for libraries. There is really too much to write about and all I can say is that the SLA provided a fantastic weekend for us all.

Laughing by day with other librarians and laughing my night with Gervase Phinn gave the conference a special feel and left us all with a lasting impression and a hunger for next years conference: Glasgow 2008. I still can’t believe I have attended this conference: a craving I have had for many years. It is something that will stay with me for a long, long time.

I would like to say a big thank you to the SLA and all the people that helped to make the conference a massive success. I would also like to say thank you to my employer for allowing me the opportunity to attend and develop in my role as school librarian.

A truly remarkable weekend!

Valerie Dewhurst BA (Hons) School Librarian
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn
Lancashire Branch Secretary (School Library Association)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

March of the Abolitionists

The March

of the Abolitionists

remembering the bicentenary of the abolition of the Slave Trade in the UK


The March of the Abolitionists arrives in Liverpool on the 23rd June 2007

marking 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade.

The lifeline expedition

Eric Lynch, a Liverpool born descendent of slaves has been kind enough to both plan the route around areas of slavery significance in Liverpool and lead it.

Sup.Rowley Moore is covering the Police escort and we shall have three stops, one outside each cathedraland one at the Town Hall where we shall be greeted by Cllrs, including the leader of the City Council Warren Bradley. A number of dignitaries and politicians are flying into Liverpool to participate in the march from former slave ‘triangle’ countries.

The March will lead into the 'Reconciliation and then?' Conference on
29th June @ 7:30 pm at the Great Hall, Hope in Everton, Shaw street. Eric will be opening the conference by inviting the community to enter discussion on the areas detailed.

Warren Bradley has confirmed his attendance as City Council leader. The speakers will discuss History, what is happening now...and a view for the future. Eric has been asked to field the first question which will really set the scene for the debate. Prof Pillay Vice Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University will chair the debate.


If you are interested in greeting the marchers outside the Cathedrals
along Hope Street please contact: John Patterson on

If you would like to attend the 29th conference after reading its aims, or would like to ask a question of the named panel please contact:

John Patterson on

or by calling: 0793 136 6888


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

From Concept to Reality: The Big Hope

'The leaders and Influencers of today inspiring the potential leaders of tomorrow'


The Big Hope is coming. . . June 2008

As you are probably aware next year, 2008, Liverpool, England celebrates its elected role as European Capital of Culture. Liverpool Hope's contribution to the city’s 2008 celebrations will be the Big Hope World Youth Congress, an event which also represents Hope’s contribution to the European Parliament’s Year of Inter-cultural Dialogue.

The Congress will be attended by over a thousand young people of both Christian and other faiths who are likely to become leaders and influencers in the world over the next 25 years. Under the patronage of Baroness Caroline Cox, Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University, the Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool and the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, co-Presidents of Liverpool Hope University, delegates will be invited from every continent of the world. The congress will last for one week and take place between the 4th and the 11th June, 2008.

Confirmed attendees and contributors to the Congress include:

* Lord David Alton of Liverpool
* Sushobha Barve of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation in New Delhi
* Professor the Baroness Ilora Findlay of Llandaff
* Stephen Green, Group Chairman of the HSBC
* John Gummer MP
* Tommy Hutchinson, i-genius, Social Entrepreneur
* Patrick Kelly, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool
* Andrew Lancel, Television Actor, 'The Bill'
* Bishop Pius Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
* Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster
* Bryan Sanderson, former MD BP and Chairman Standard Chartered Bank
* John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, ,
* Pastor James Uwuye and Imam Ashafa Muhammad of the Inter-Faith Mediation Centre in Kaduna, Nigeria
* Ramez Salame of Beirut

…And many others both confirmed and provisional. For an up-to-date listing and bio's see the website).

The principal objective of the Congress is to bring together global leaders of the future to consider:

the inter-connection of personal integrity and public life;
how we may develop a humane global society and;
the individual as the agent of social change.

The Congress will embrace the themes of:

Global co-existence: International Development, Politics, Law & Human Rights & Reconciliation
Culture: Arts, Music and Sport
The Environment and Sustainable Development

The university are now calling for contributions to the World Youth Congress in a variety of ways: This could be via some form of sponsorship either of the event itself, of perhaps of a delegate or group of delegates, perhaps you would consider becoming a Strand Leader (see detailed description on the website), or perhaps in some other way. You tell us. .? We will be so happy to hear from you.

Naturally, we are aware of the difficulties of busy diaries and schedules and the university would do everything possible to fit around what is more convenient for you. The level of your support should you wish to become involved can all be discussed further and we look forward to hearing from you and hope that you are able to help us. On the Big Hope website you can find full contact details. Alternatively alumni of Hope or any of it's former colleges are welcome to contact the University via the Graduate Association: Tel: 0151 291 3219 or eMail to:

We look forward to hearing from you. . .

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Matthew Taylor's Blog

Hi All
I'm going to add a new link in the Blogs section (well, in a minute or two I will anyhow).

I was doing a little research after reading an article about Matthew Taylor the new Chief Exec of the RSA. He's new there (November last year I believe). So I goes along and takes a look at the RSA site while I was at it; get some contact details and the like. Lo and behold there's a link to Matthew's Blog. Well it struck me after reading a bit that there's a lesson here: Matthew Taylor as of last year worked for the Labour party as Chief Political Advisor to Tony Blair, that makes him one of 'them', 'they', those faceless people (truth is we don't even think of them as human most the time) whom we refer to collectively as 'the government'. Come on lets be honest, the faceless, inhuman 'they', do bad things to us all the time, well don't they? Then there's this blog; a human being, talking about football clubs and feeling wanted when people like his speeches and the like. A human being just like the rest of us, struggling along in life trying to do stuff.

Read some. . . try him on Tony Blair's legacy

So I'm wondering, something is happening here on the internet. The 'they' are coming out from the shadows of our collective imaginations and presenting themselves as real people, with worries, with emotions, with real lives just like our own.

I've always known this but so many people don't know this and so they continue to debate things, in their own minds and with others, without really understanding that we are all in this together, trying to make the most of our lives, trying to help each other. If we continue to think cynically, as if so-called institutions and organisations have a life of their own, that they can talk and act and make decisions, we will never fully understand the power that each of us as individuals hold to change things, our society, our living; The system will continue to reign over us, and as the system does not in-fact exist, I wonder who so many people think is actually running this country, and running not just the government but EVERYTHING.

Thank you Matthew, it's nice to meet you.

Friday, June 08, 2007

On Siegfried Sassoon

My goodness this stuff fires me up indeed!

Here's an extract from Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time Newsletter which is normally sent out following the BBC Radio 4 Programme of the same name that airs on a Thursday morning.

The subject of the programme this week was "Siegfried Sassoon - the poet who survived"

Here we go:

"I got the date of the declaration wrong. I said it was printed in The
Times in June; in fact he wrote it in June but it was printed in The
Times in July. Given what’s going on in the world at the moment and
what people are saying about the wars that British soldiers are now
fighting, I thought you might like to read the whole of it. It’s
extraordinary to think that this was on the front of The Times in 1917:

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military
authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately
prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I
believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defence and
liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I
believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow-soldiers entered
upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it
impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects
which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have
seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be
a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil
and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but
against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men
are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make
this protest against the deception which is being practiced on them;
also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacence with
which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of
agonies which they do not share, and which they have not sufficient
imagination to realize."

I hope the BBC don't mind me using this. they get full credit, especially Melvyn. . . I love his work!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Alumni & Friends - New Link Section

I've just added a new section to the LINKS section of the BLOG (right-hand-side-menu-bar): Useful links to the Diaries/Blogs of our community members (...or friends of ours. . . or what about just people I happen to take to (well, I started this blog; it's my perog, piroga, proga, RIGHT to say so!)

Just thought it would spice up our reading lives a bit and add a little more of interest.

Anyone wishing to attach a link in Hope Diary to their own BLOG
(or any other site for that matter should drop me an email with
the details:

Feel free to link to Hope Diary without permission.


On Mission, Values & other such wonderful things

They held a meeting today which I attended to discuss the Draft Corporate Plan; a strategy document for the university over the next five years. I'll tell you my thoughts in a moment but first I need to respond to a posting on another Blog: Spiritual Junkie (the link is newly added into 'Alumni & Friends Blogs' section (right) by the way)

Back in a little while. . .

Sunday, June 03, 2007

We've already booked our's

Just posted up a new link in the 'Interesting Links' section. Hostel World. I placed a news item in the community a while back, telling everyone how good the offer was. We don't have any formal deals or discounts with them as such (who knows for the future perhaps!?), I just thought the deals were brilliant for all you strapped for cash individuals out there that still like to travel the world.

In short it works a little like ebay: People book and stay over at these places at the various hostels and hotels and then they feedback commentary via the website about what they thought of the place, the cost, the service, the staff etc etc. That way new prospective customers get a fairly good insight into the accommodation before they book their holidays.

Anyway I thought it was brilliant. We're already booked and are off to Luxor, Egypt at the end of July. I'll let you know how brilliant it was when I get back. . .


Any ideas...?

Hi Folks
I've been thinking. It's been a while now since I introduced the Topica-based eMail Discussion Forum. We've actually attracted around ten or so members but so far there hasn't been any actual discussions taking place. I suppose defeat is a fact of life the same as success and there's little point avoiding this; The Forum has most definitely not been a success.

I'm looking to you'all then for some inspiration as to how to get this thing off the ground. On a slightly more positive note we've had around 80 people respond to the recent posted-out and e-mailed questionnaires. Of those, around 50 or so said they would be interested in contributing to some aspect or other of the community, be that the newsletters, the community news and/or events sections or the Blog. We've now written to these people and asked what type of input they would prefer to make or get involved in. I eagerly await their responses.

Anyway back to the Discussion Forum. I'm sure there are some good options out there, perhaps better one's than Topica; I've always had this sneaky feeling that the e-mail forum approach they take is a little over complicated and messy for people to get into. I myself much prefer the on-screen type forums, you know like the one the Learnwise VLE provided on campus (for those of you that were around during its heyday - The university are replacing Learnwise by the way for those of you that didn't know).

One possibility is the Viadeo network (click on the title or footer-link for more information). Any of you know of it? They have just introduced an online discussion facility and are shortly to bring in full real-time chat a'la Messenger etc. Taken together those two would provide an extremely powerful communications tool between our community members, the like of which may one day arrive inside the friends webALUMNUS site but not I think in the near or foreseeable future. Ah well, we can dream can't we.

Bye for now and meanwhile give me your ideas wont you?


Friday, June 01, 2007

Phew, what a week!

Yep, it's been one of those weeks; Everything comes together, never rains but pours, you name it, it's been that.

First the loft conversion, then my old Dad falling over again, then my Mum's hoover going on the blink, the dog chewing my slippers, etc etc (well he didn't actually, but it adds effect, and besides he has done in the past!)

I'm tired but all in all it's been a pretty productive week. Lots of snail-mail tagged as bad, the email list getting closer to reality (apart from the odd one or two awkward one's out there that want to unsubscribe (what a cheek!). I can write about them here as they are pretty unlikely to read it anyway!

We've a new volunteer, Dave. Well, he's not exactly new (been here a few weeks now). He's pretty good on the old PC and he's been doing some real good work, sorting out, editing, deleting and adding data.

You'll be pleased to know that the new Summer Newsletter is on the starting blocks. It's good this one; We've gone for an A5 landscape format; Sounds complicated but suffice it to say it's now half the size, like a booklet, has lots more pages and looks real coooool. I think you'll like it. It's part of our 'Going Green' campaign; Well, we might not actually, singlehandedly, save the planet but at least we'll make it a little easier for the planet to save itself!

All the best folks, I'm off for my weekend off! Have a good one yourselves!


Volunteering (And Everything In Between)

For a few weeks now I have been volunteering at Hope in the Development Office.

I have never truly felt committed to any "job" I've undertaken because I didn't believe in it. This is an obvious issue as I dislike any job I have after a short time. Finding it laborious, repetitive and ultimately pointless. Money is my only motivation to work. I'm sure this is a factor for a lot of people but all find a way to deal with the nine till five adventure. I'm yet to find a solution to this issue but I have found an exception.

Volunteering is a new experience for me and brings a lot of advantages and to-date no disadvantages. I "work" for Hope but with no absolute conditions. I can do as much or as little as I please but I enjoy getting the job done and finishing my own set goals. No boss breathing down my neck informing me of my minimum work amount or the feeling of being an expendable asset in the rush rush world of business.
The volunteering is its own reward. Not for what your doing or who for, it is setting your own goals and being free to be your own most honest judge.