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Ulster Hosts School Library Symposium

16 December 2013

The vital role of the school library in children’s education was the focus of a University of Ulster conference hosted in Newry earlier this month.

Organised by Ulster’s School of Education in partnership with the Institute for Research in Social Sciences, the event brought together academics and practitioners from all over Ireland to discuss best models of practice.

Dr Jessica Bates, School of Education, said: “School libraries, both north and south of the border, are in a vulnerable position and that is why it is so important to focus on good practice and to highlight the value of the school library.

“For many pupils the school library is their only opportunity to access books and the school library can contribute to both academic achievement and personal development.

“This one-day symposium brought together researchers, library staff, teachers, principals, and policy makers and underlined the very important potential role for school libraries in fulfilling the revised curriculum and in developing literacy.”

Keynote speakers included renowned children’s author and publisher, Dr Siobhán Parkinson and leading School Library Trainer, Geoff Dubber.

Siobhán, who is from Dublin, has been writing for children for over 20 years and has published over 25 books.

She was Ireland’s first Laureate for Children’s Literature, from 2010 to 2012 and is also a translator of children’s books and publisher of Little Island, a children’s publishing house in Dublin, which publishes books by new Irish authors and books in translation.

Siobhán is an advocate for children’s books as an artform and is passionate about making books available for children to read for pleasure.

Geoff Dubber is a leading consultant offering training courses and advice to School Library Services, schools, the SLA, self-help groups and to public library authorities across the UK on the curriculum use of school libraries and library management issues.

He has over 40 years teaching, management, library and advisory experience in and with schools, both secondary and primary.

For further information contact Dr Jessica Bates on: 028 70124470 or email: