Schools Library Service

Schools Library Service

About us

We offer a comprehensive educational resource and advisory service through an enthusiastic, experienced and committed team of librarians and support staff.   

To view a presentation about what our SLS can offer you or for any enquiries about the service, please contact us at generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
Our service is available to all schools, nurseries, educators within the region, via an annual service agreement. Our Service Agreements can be bought into or upgraded at any time of the year.  Further information can be found in the Service Agreements section.

For any school that does not have a current Service Agreement, we also offer a number of one-off taster packages which support both the enjoyment of reading; literacy and school library improvement.  
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm

Can you please get in touch with us first if you are planning a visit to collect your pre-ordered resources.
We have approximately 250,000 items with over 35,000 different titles, so there is always something new to look out for. All of our resources are available for topic box loans or for your school library.

We have several specialist collections that include:
  • Dual language early years
  • Reluctant readers
  • Professional reading
  • AV resources
  • Specialist large print (CustomEye)
  • Art loan
  • Artefact boxes
The number of resources that can be borrowed and exchanged is determined by the individual Service Agreement taken out by your school or organisation.

General fiction and non fiction is issued to your school, while other items are issued on named staff membership cards.

You can reserve individual items yourself via our online catalogue or send in requests using our downloadable form.  Topic forms are returned for whole class topic resource boxes, these are then delivered through our van service termly.
 
We will send your items to you via:
  • County Council Courier Service, for small packages, if your organisation buys into that service.
  • The SLS delivery service at the beginning of each term for blue topic boxes.
Alternatively we can make arrangements with individuals for collecting resources from Cleaswell Hill if neither of the above options are suitable.  For enquiries please call us on 01670 620072 or e-mail us at generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
We can supply you with a broad range of artefacts in themed boxes, and each box comes with laminated explanation notes.  All of our artefacts can be found on the catalogue at www.schoolslibraryservice.co.uk or there is a downloadable artefacts publication available..

There is no extra charge for these boxes as they are part of your school's service agreement.  They can be requested as part of a topic or own their own and can be borrowed for one school term.

Each box is issued to a named individual within the organisation and should be returned at the end of term using our delivery & collection service.  If a longer loan period is required, we can renew the resource provided the item has not been requested by another user. This will need to be requested before the collection period.

Our artefact packs are very popular resources and we recommend that you request them well in advance to avoid disappointment. Please email generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk to request artefact packs.
 
All our books are selected by an experienced team of professional librarians.  The advantage of subscribing to SLS is that you can borrow resources for specific purposes and exchange them regularly.  When the books are worn out and looking tired, or just not being used in your school, then they can be sent back to us in exchange for some new copies or titles.

All of our books can be found on our catalogue at www.schoolslibraryservice.co.uk

Our book collections include the following:
  • Picture books
 
  • General fiction
    • Pre-school to post 16.  
    • We can also supply multiple copies (up to 4) of titles for reading groups
 
  • Reluctant or struggling readers
    • The collection has shelf guidance as to the books reading age and interest level.  Our publication listing the series within this collection, the reading age and interest levels is available.
 
  • Non-fiction
    • For both curriculum use in the classroom and recreational reading.
 
  • Local Books
 
  • EAL & Foreign Language Books
    • If you have a specific language requirement, we will endeavour to obtain suitable resources from our suppliers.
 
  • Visually Impaired Pupils
    • We are able to acquire tailor-made editions of many class read titles to suit the individual requirements of your visually impaired pupils.  Please contact us to discuss this service further.
 
  • Bag Books
    • Stories for children and teenagers with SLD & PMLD
    • These are also growing in popularity as a resource to be used with early years as an alternative way to read a story.
 
  • Professional Reading Collection for School Staff
    • We have a comprehensive collection of books on many aspects of education, teaching and libraries.
These collections include: audio visual, art and  photography. All are listed on our catalogue at www.schoolslibraryservice.co.uk

Each item from these collections are issued to a named individual within the organisation and should be returned at the end of term using our delivery & collection service.  If a longer loan period is required, we can renew the resource provided the item has not been requested by another user. This will need to be requested before the collection period.
 
  • Music cd’s
    • The music cd collection has a range of music from classical to traditional, including CDs featuring sound effects and dialects.
 
  • Spoken word
    • These include many popular children's titles and a number of the cd's also have accompanying books.  
 
  • DVD’s
    • The DVD collection holds both fiction and non-fiction titles.  These cover all ages and a wide range of curriculum areas.
 
  • Art Collection
    • This collection holds almost 1700 pictures and prints. Our visual publication of this collection is also available.
 
  • Photograph Collection
    • A wide range of themed photo packs that include several high quality A4 colour images.  
What are they?

Our blue topic boxes provide you with a comprehensive range of up to date resources to use in classroom teaching. Each topic is put together bespoke, to fulfil your specific needs. Topic boxes generally consist of a selection of non-fiction titles but might also include: fiction titles, AV materials, art loan,  photograph packs and artefact packs if you have requested them and are available.

Topics are loaned on a termly basis and are delivered to your school at the beginning of term and are collected at the end of term.  The school administrator is emailed with your school's particular delivery route and date. These routes are also posted on our facebook and twitter accounts; keep a look out for your routes photo.

Requesting Topic Boxes

Schools are given the opportunity to request their topic boxes for the whole of the next academic year in the Summer term, or if this does not suit the school,  the forms can still be submitted termly. All topic box forms need to be returned to SLS by the end of the first half term. Topic forms after this date cannot be guaranteed to be ready so that they can be included on the delivery service.  You will be informed if this is the case.

The topic box request forms are available to download below.  Once they are filled in can they please be emailed back to generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
  • AUTUMN topic request form
  • SPRING topic request form
  • SUMMER topic request form
If your school has a current SLA you may request resources from us. If the items are in stock, you can reserve them via our online catalogue at www.schoolslibraryservice.co.uk.  You will need your schools SLS library membership card and password to be able to reserve through the catalogue. Please contact us if you require either of these.

Title and Subject Requests

From time to time you may wish to request a certain title that is not in stock, or resources on a specific subject for your library. These items are usually bought or borrowed provided that they fall within our stock remit.

A downloadable title request form is available.  This will need to be emailed back to generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk

Artefact Requests

Our artefact packs are very popular resources and we recommend that you request them well in advance to avoid disappointment. To do this, please email generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
Our standard Service Agreement includes an element of SLS staff time for a library review. We also offer a wide range of advisory, training and support services.

Please contact us on 01670 620072 to discuss your needs, or email us at generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk

Our team of experienced, professional librarians can advise you on all aspects of school libraries. Further details of these, and other advisory services can be found below.
 
SLS can carry out a comprehensive review of your library, looking at all aspects of the library including its location, the furniture & fittings, staffing, the stock and evaluating the effectiveness of the library. We would then make recommendations on the future development of the library and can help and support you in implementing these recommendations.

Alternatively, if you would just like some help with editing your stock or some general advice on running the library then we can arrange to come into school to do so.
 
We can help you organise your stock and advise on the best way to arrange your fiction and information books (and picture books if you have them). We can also advise and assist with classifying your information books and colour coding these books in first & primary schools.

SLS can provide colour code wall charts to help pupils locate the resources they are looking for and alphabetical subject indexes at appropriate levels for pupils.

We can advise on promoting special collections, such as books for reluctant readers or books for an up and coming event, such as National Storytelling Week!  We can also advise on the best way to display books in the library for maximum impact.
 
We believe that the creation and implementation of a library policy is vital to an effective school library. It needn't be a lengthy document, but should clearly state the role of the library, it's aims and how these will be achieved. A well designed library policy will also inform the future development of the library.

SLS can advise and help schools to draw up a library policy - or refine or update an existing policy. We can also advise on planning and development.
 
If you already have, or are considering having an automated library management system in your library, we can offer advice and basic instruction .Our knowledgeable staff are able to offer impartial advice on the purchase and implementation of a variety of  systems suitable for different types of libraries in all phases. The links below will take you to the Home Pages of the Library Management systems used mainly in our schools.
  • MicroLibrarian Systems
  • Softlink Library Systems
If you are considering relocating your library, or simply re-organising the layout, we can offer help and advice about the best way forward.

We will advise you on the best use of the space you have available and suggest options for the layout to best suit your needs. We can advise about shelving and soft furnishings and direct you to reputable suppliers.
 
We can offer help with recruitment and training for new library staff. We can also offer advice and support to teachers who are responsible for the library and for parent helpers and volunteers.
Training sessions tailored to individual schools, hosting termly meetings for school library staff and access to SLS publications and newsletters are just a few of the ways that SLS can support teachers and library staff.

Further details of these, and other support services for school staff can be found below.
If you have a specific training need concerned with libraries or reading we can help. We can offer INSET sessions for school staff, tailored to meet your needs. We have recently held sessions concerning 'Whole School Reading' projects and sessions to update teachers on the current trends - and recommended authors - in children’s publishing.
Termly meetings are organised by SLS so that librarians and teachers working in school libraries have an opportunity to meet with others who are working in similar situations. If you are a non subscribing school, then please do still talk to us about attending these meetings.

They are a great opportunity to share good practice, seek advice, talk over any problems and keep up to date with current local and national developments in the world of school libraries.  From time to time SLS invites guest speakers to attend the meetings too.

The meetings are usually held in March, July and October in school libraries around the county, which gives everyone the opportunity to experience a different library.

The minutes from the most recent meetings can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.
 
  • June 2017
  • October 2017
  • March 2018
The SLS newsletter is e-mailed to all schools every February, June & November.  It aims to keep schools up to date with what is happening at SLS and in the wider world of school libraries.
If you have not received your copy and would like the latest one, please email generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk or download from the link below.
 
  • February 2017
  • June 2017
  • November 2017
Take the opportunity to purchase books for your school at up to 25% discount via the agency agreement we have with our book supplier.  There is a service charge to be included.

How the agency agreement works:

You:  
  • Either provide SLS with a list of titles you wish to order, or we can discuss your budget and areas / titles / authors you would like us to purchase
  • Provide an official school order form.
  • Give us details of the servicing (book jackets and spine labels) required & your library management system, if any.

We:
  • Research the bibliographic data needed to order the books.
  • Send you a copy of the order to check through when this is returned to us we will then,
  • Send your order to Askews & Holts & send you a copy for reference.
  • Arrange for servicing as you have specified. There is a small charge for servicing.
  • The books will be delivered free of charge directly to your school.

Contact generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk for further information.
 
Our staff at SLS have years of experience of working directly with pupils in schools. We can offer storytelling sessions, book talks and reader development sessions and research and library skills sessions. Further details can be found below:

Our staff are very experienced at storytelling and are happy to come into school to carry out storytelling and/or poetry sessions with small groups or whole classes. We will tailor these sessions to suit your needs, so if you are focussing on a particular topic, or would just like a storytelling session - or assembly - to celebrate the pleasure of reading, contact us to discuss your requirements.
An enthusiastic visitor who is passionate about books and reading can really motivate children to pick up a book. We can arrange to come into school and talk to your students about reading and books. We aim to make these sessions interactive and stimulating and can include quizzes and games to give the children a real buzz about reading and books.

Alternatively, you may be thinking of starting up a reading group or book group and we can offer advice on the best way to do this. We can also offer input to book and reading initiatives, such as World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Roald Dahl day and many more.

Our annual publication - Calendar of Book Awards and Display Ideas - A Month by Month Guide - is invaluable in helping you plan reading related activities throughout the school year.
 
We can arrange to come into school to work with pupils on research and library skills. Once mastered, these skills will enable pupils to access information throughout their school lives and beyond.

We can also offer training for pupil librarians in first and primary schools. These sessions are always well received and give the children a sense of ownership of their library.

Additionally, our publication, A Pupil Librarian Toolkit for School Libraries, is a step by step guide to training pupils to help run the school library.
 
Staff at the Schools Library Service have produced a variety of publications and booklists. These are free of charge to schools who have a Service Agreement with us. We can also compile booklists, resource lists on an ad hoc basis. Please contact us with your requests and we will try to help.

Publications acquired by emailing us at generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk.  Please be sure to state your school name or organisation as we are unable to send items to private addresses.

Schools without a Service Agreement or outside Northumberland can still purchase publications electronically. Please email us for further information.
 
A large laminated guide to Dewey classification and our colour coding scheme.
A tool kit written for librarians, teachers and parent helpers who are thinking of using pupils to help voluntarily in the running of the school library or resource centre. The tool kit is suitable for all schools.
Updated annually, this month by month guide gives dates and information about regional & national book awards and special days. It also includes ideas for displays to promote the resources in your library and to encourage pupils to broaden their reading experiences.
A guide to fiction series, play scripts and non-fiction produced for struggling readers by specialist publishers.
A guide to setting up a school reading group with lots of ideas for reading group activities.
Why Subscribe? Northumberland Schools Library Service supports reading and information provision in schools, as well as saving schools time and money.

When you take out a SLS Service Agreement (SA) you immediately have access to professional & experienced staff & over 250,000 resources including special collections of books for reluctant & struggling readers, pupils with EAL, & pupils with a visual impairment.

You receive the best of the newly published books when you want them, and when you’ve finished with them you can exchange them for more new books at no extra cost so you have no redundant stock.

Who can subscribe?

We offer Service Agreements (SAs) to all Northumberland schools, academies, independents, other organisations and schools outside Northumberland.  Anyone can have a service agreement, contact us for further information.

When can we subscribe?

The annual Service Level Agreement runs for 12 months from 1st September to 31st August. Provision can be made for schools & organisations signing up to a SLA during the year.

What do you get access to?

These agreements entitle all subscribers access to various services including loans of books and other resources, advisory time, delivery/collection van visits, access to training sessions and school library staff meetings, and discounts on books and library management systems.
 
In order to offer maximum flexibility we allow schools to choose either a standard or special Package.

Standard Package

Schools have the option of buying a subscription bronze, silver, gold or platinum level.

The amount of stock which can be borrowed is dependent on the level of service (Platinum,Gold, Silver or Bronze) which the school chooses to purchase.  The maximum number of books that can be loaned at any one time is determined by the number of pupils in the school and the level of service required.

Special Package

Schools can benefit from all the services listed above, but can decide for themselves the number of books they need. Loans of resources begin at 50 items and increase in multiples of 50 items.

Agreements and Charges

Follow this link to view this years Service Agreements and Charges for First, Primary and Special Schools.
 
In order to offer maximum flexibility we allow schools to choose either a Standard or Special Package.

Standard Package

Schools have the option of buying a subscription bronze, silver, gold or platinum level.

The amount of stock which can be borrowed is dependent on the level of service (Platinum,Gold, Silver or Bronze) which the school chooses to purchase.  The maximum number of books that can be loaned at any one time is determined by the number of pupils in the school and the level of service required.

Special Package

Schools can benefit from all the services listed above, but can decide for themselves the number of books they need. Loans of resources begin at 50 items and increase in multiples of 50 items.

Agreements and Charges

Follow this link to view this years Service Agreements and Charges for Middle Schools.
 
The High and Secondary School Service Agreement enables schools to decide on the level of books they need & pay accordingly.

The Service Agreement also includes free access to the delivery and collection service at the beginning and end of each term, advice and support, access to School Library Staff meetings and up to 10 additional items per teacher, including artefact packs, audio-visual resources, art loan & photograph packs and items from our professional reading collection.

Agreements and charges
Follow this link to view this years Service Agreements and Charges for High and Secondary schools.
 
In order to offer maximum flexibility we allow organisations to buy a Service Agreement via a Special Package.

Special Package

Organisations can benefit from access to all our usual services, but can decide for themselves the number of books they need. Loans of resources begin at 50 items and increase in multiples of 50 items.

Agreements and Charges
Follow this link to view this years Service Agreements and Charges for other organisations.
 
From time to time schools without a Service Agreement may need a particular service and can contact SLS to discuss their needs.

Special Package

Schools can benefit from all the services listed above, but can decide for themselves the number of books they need. Loans of resources begin at 50 items and increase in multiples of 50 items.

Taster Packages

We also offer taster packages to schools which are designed to support both the enjoyment of reading & literacy and school library improvement. Additionally, if a school decides within 6 months of SLS delivering a taster package to buy a Service Agreement, the cost of the package will be deducted from the cost of the Service Agreement.
 
Try us out!

For any school inside or outside Northumberland which does not have a current Service Agreement, Northumberland Schools Library Service offers a number of one-off packages which support both the enjoyment of reading & literacy and school library improvement.

Choose from the following options:

Storytelling

Ideal for engaging children in stories, rhyme and poetry, and enhancing your assemblies, book weeks and other special reading celebrations. Our experienced staff will spend up to an hour in your school sharing stories and rhymes with groups of up to 30 children. This option is available for Nursery/Reception children, Key Stage (KS)1 or KS2 children or children in special schools.

Book Talks

Ideal for encouraging pupils to discover new authors and titles, breathing new life into your reading groups and enhancing any special reading celebrations. Our experienced staff will spend up to an hour introducing pupils to great books and discussing reading habits and reading choices. This option is available for KS2 and KS3 for groups of up to 30 children.

School Library Evaluation

Ideal for taking an objective, professional look at the current state of the school library and planning for the future. A SLS librarian and the member of staff responsible for the school library will discuss and evaluate the library using the library review document developed by SLS. On the basis of their findings the SLS librarian will provide a written report, together with some action points, within 3 weeks of the visit.

Charges

The charges for each of these packages are inclusive of staff time, travelling, and any materials is £75 +VAT.

If a school decides within 6 months of SLS delivering one of the above packages to buy a Service Agreement, the cost of the package will be deducted from the cost of the Service Agreement.  

For further information about these taster packages please contact us on 01670 620072 or e-mail us at generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk.
 
SLS "fulfils promises, [provides] good communication, superb choice and quality of books, excellent value for money, and good, always friendly staff" - Middle School librarian

"The SLS service agreement gives staff / students "opportunities to try out new titles without having to buy them" - High School librarian

"I can't think of another service that gives such value for money and goes over and above what it says in the service agreement" - First School Head teacher

For full details of all Service Agreements or to discuss your individual requirements please contact us on 01670 620072 or email generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
The delivery and collection service is available to all schools as part of their service agreement. This means that at the end of every term the SLS van will call at your school and collect that term's blue topic boxes, artefact boxes and art loan.

When do we collect and deliver?

The school will be contacted approximately 2 weeks before the end of term to let you know on which day the van will be on your route.  A reminder is also sent out on social media for your routes collection & delivery. If you are not sure which route your school is on we can let you know.

We ask that schools not requiring a pick up to please let us know before the collection date by e-mailing generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk to avoid our driver making unnecessary journeys.

Schools which have requested topic boxes or other items will have these automatically delivered to them within the first 7 days of the new term.

Where to leave resources?

Collections and deliveries are made to one central point at your school; usually the main reception area.  Can all of the blue topic boxes please be stacked available from the pick up point from 0730 on the day of collection.  

Forgot to put out your resources?

Please be aware that any blue topic boxes that are not returned on the collection service may incur a separate charge.  Blue boxes are also unable to be collected from schools when we are there to deliver the next term's blue topic boxes.

If you have missed the collection, please contact us and we will discuss the arrangements to return your resources.
 
The next COLLECTION service will take place between Wednesday 23rd April 2018 and Wednesday 28th April.

The next DELIVERY service will take place between Monday 16th April 2018 and Monday 23rd April 2018.

Schools will be notified via e-mail the dates on which we will collect and deliver from your school and daily alerts are put onto our social media pages.

If you have any queries about the service please ring us on 01670 620072 or email generalsls@activenorthumberland.org.uk
 
Our aims

Our aims are to help you:
 
  • Improve your school library
  • Improve the quality of your school's learning resources
  • Respond quickly to curriculum demands;
  • Foster the enjoyment of reading
  • Save time, money and effort
  • Keep in touch with local and national developments
  • To ensure we meet these aims we regularly monitor our performance through performance indicators, questionnaires and customer surveys

Our Customer Service Standards

We will:
  • Provide books requested by you within 20 working days
  • Add brand new resources to our shelves every month
  • Supply project collections within the first 7 working days of term provided that the resources order forms were completed and returned by the required date and that you have not exceeded your allocation
  • Offer a collection/delivery service to your school every term.
  • Respond promptly to requests for help and advice in school
  • Make access to our services available through the SLS website
  • Welcome any comments on our service and will act upon them
“The library service is an exemplary service which other council departments should aim to replicate. I have been coming to this library for over 4 years and have certainly been impressed by the quality of resources, librarian knowledge & superb customer service”.

"SLS is absolutely brilliant. People have been so helpful and good at keeping me right."

"I always recommend SLS to other schools and teachers. Look at what you get for the cost - it's fantastic!"

"Thank you so much for the books. The children particularly enjoyed the selection and it was lovely to have so many."

"Thank you for the prompt service in obtaining a book I needed urgently for research."

"Where would schools be without you..."

"Very satisfied with the service - and it's nice to see that you are always moving on and introducing new initiatives."
 
"We have used the resources boxes not only to inform planning, through using them as a guide but also to enhance the children's learning through experiencing a wider range of books.  We are a small school without the space to store large amounts of books, without the boxes we would be very restricted in what we could offer. The books are constantly up dated which is another eason for using the service, we would be unable to update resources as often due to cost, so impacting on what we could plan for the children".  (Deputy Headteacher)

"They have helped to develop our ideas for the topic as well as the childrens ideas. We have only recently returned to the SLS due to finances and it is wonderful. Having the boxes prepared for you mean that you get good quality relavent books and you dont have to scourer the book shops and internet which takes lots of time and effort and you still dont often get the books you want.

If these resources had not been available it would have been much more difficult to engage the children...... as we know because we spent 2-3 years out of the SLS and its sooooooo good to be back". (Teacher)

"The resources are always extremely useful - I use them to help plan activities and set independent research tasks for the children. The amount and variety of books you send really helps in this respect. If your resources had not been available, the pupils would not have had such a positive learning experience. I would have tried my best to get similar ones from elsewhere but this would have had a high time and cost implication. Having what you want delivered to your door is just wonderful!" (Assistant Headteacher)
 
"The Divali topic box allowed the children to see real-life artifacts and provided examples of things that they went on to design and make.  It made the lessons more exciting and the children enjoyed discussing the objects and how they are used. Some of them were used to create a display which was enjoyed by the rest of the school". (Teacher)
"Superb storytelling session and particularly nice to have a male storyteller in school. Don was really enthusiastic and the children picked up on this". (Headteacher)

"The story telling was an awesome success, our children and staff loved it. Donald is extremely skilled at holding the attention of 3 to 9 year olds using only himself, no props, no gimmicks just a fabulous story teller". (Headteacher)

"Even our 3 year olds sat enthralled for the whole time - it was a great learning experience for 2 new, young pupils who had just started days before. We feel that not only is it important to share Donald's storytelling talent, but also to show our boys that men love books too! This was a really well planned, organised and creatively delivered session. Thank you!" (Headteacher)

"The story telling was magical. Don is a natural with the children, he had them all completely engrossed (including the teachers) and this was a group of over 400 children ranging from Reception to Year 6. Please say well done from us! (Headteacher)"

"Don knows our school well and his storytelling is always a treat. He's brilliant at it and captivated the whole school audience". (Headteacher)

"We always love Don's visits - children from as young as 3 to as old as the teachers, hang on to his every word - always wondering what is coming round the corner! His stories stir up emotions and get messages across". (Headteacher)

"Apparently the teachers had to abandon their literacy planning as the children WANTED to make up their own alternative fairy tales. So well done you for causing organised, educational anarchy!" (Headteacher)
 
This page contains links to many useful websites for schools and their libraries. Northumberland Schools Library Service cannot be held responsible for the content of external links.

A Guide to Phonics for Parents and Schools A guide to phonics by Rising Stars UK
Contact us using the details below.

Contact images

Schools Library Service
Cleaswell Hill Centre
Guide Post
Choppington
Northumberland
NE62 5DW
 
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