YLG Conference

The 2015 YLG conference took place in Glasgow 23-24 October.  To help librarians attend, the YLG Scotland committee held a Facebook/Twitter competition to sponsor a place at the conference.  Alison Young and Stephen Macpherson from Glasgow Life were the librarians sponsored to attend the conference.  Many thanks to Alison and Stephen for producing these reports about the conference:


Alison Young

The theme of this year’s conference was Diversity and it was held in partnership with the Community, Diversity & Equality Group.

The day opened with a sobering yet inspiring presentation by Karen McCluskey, Director, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.  She discussed gang violence and how it is a public health issue, but that work by early years practitioners including focusing on parents reading with their children can change outcomes for young people growing up in poverty.  She also stated that books can provide the positive male role models that are lacking in many young people’s family circumstances and that access to books through schools and libraries could help change lives.

Next up was the first of the workshop sessions.  I attended Paul Register’s presentation on the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards which he founded in 2011 and which in 2015 had 226 schools from across the country taking part.  These give young people the chance to vote for their favourite graphic novel from a shortlist of eight based on four criteria: story; artwork; characters and dialogue. The shortlist is designed to be as broad and appealing as possible to boys and girls of all abilities and cultures. He has also started a Junior Award for primary school age children.

Workshop 2 was by Briony Birdi who focused on the provision of Library Services to Black and Minority Ethnic Communities. There has been a recent shift to libraries better serving and reflecting the communities they serve and she explored the concept of the “culturally competent librarian.” She stated that effective staff training is absolutely vital and that greater effort should be made to engage the BME community to provide expertise in the creation and provision of in-house cultural awareness training.

The author Sarah Crossan then gave an energetic and inspiring talk about her books, and how she believes that poetry should be part of everyday lives for teens.  She discussed how verse novels seem to be more accepted and mainstream in the USA and how she hoped that progress could be made on this here in the UK.  She gave a mesmerising reading from her latest verse novel “One” about Grace and Tippi, conjoined twins.

Lunch was followed by a quick-fire session by the exhibiting publishers: 2016 looks like it will be a great year for inclusive books which will meet the needs of readers from diverse communities and with a range of abilities.

Workshop 3 was by Bev Humphrey who explored iPad apps which meet the needs of users who are affected by dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders and social issues such as bullying. She also highlighted apps which reflected a diverse range of cultures.

I then attended the parallel plenary on LGBTQIA* Library provision for Children and Young People. This opened with a discussion about the acronym LGBTQIA* and what it stands for. We then explored and debunked various myths about LGBTQIA* library provision. We discussed how important it is for young LGBTQIA* people to see their personal circumstances reflected in literature and that unfortunately there is not as much material as there might be. Barriers faced by LGBTQIA* young people and their families accessing library services were then explored.  Finally, excellent practical advice on collection development and management was given.

Author Miriam Moss then described how her own experience of being caught up in a hijack as a teenager in 1970 gave rise to her latest novel “Girl on a Plane.”

The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway presentations were then made to Tanya Landman for “Buffalo Soldier” and William Grill for “Shackleton’s Journey” before the Gala Dinner.

CILIP CEO Nick Poole gave the final address of the day on how librarians work every day to build a better nation and announced a partnership between CKG and Amnesty International beginning in 2016.

The whole day was extremely valuable and has given me many ideas on how better to meet the varying needs of all the young people attending my school.                            

Alison Young, School Librarian, Glasgow Life


Stephen Macpherson

After successfully applying for funding from YLG Scotland, I attended the YLG Conference on Saturday 24th October, at the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank Glasgow.  The purpose of attending the event was to enhance my professional development as a School Librarian. I am currently pursuing professional Chartership.  I saw the Conference as an opportunity to network with other professionals (Librarians, Publishers etc) experience the atmosphere as speakers share their experiences while embracing the theme of the Conference – Diversity, and gain inspiration in seeking out potential new stock for my collections in my school library.

The location for Conference was fantastic, very accessible by public transport.  I arrived in no time at all. When I arrived, the ambience of the Beardmore with its splendour in design and décor was out this world. I was warmly greeted by a member of the organisers and assisted with the registration process and given a tour of the venue/facilities.  Then I experienced an array of guest speakers until the end of the day.  Speakers included: Authors, Publishers, Illustrators and Representatives from other Organisations, all speaking how they embrace Diversity within their professions.  Sessions would either include a single speaker or a group of individuals – in some instances a panel structure, discussion elements of Diversity such as: Religion, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, Health and Disability. Speakers were animated, enthusiastic, inclusive and knowledgeable throughout the Conference.

A favourite session of mine was the Chicken House Session.  Chicken House specialises in nurturing new writing talent.  A representative of Chicken House was present with three up and coming authors discussing their first books, with reference to the theme of diversity. I found this session inspiring on many levels. Firstly, the session provided me with an avenue for referring aspiring writers to. Secondly, I felt an empathy with the writers on the panel as their first novels have elements of their own personal stories within them - helping me to identify with the texts. Thirdly, the speakers not only engaged with the audience but also engaged with each other, sharing anecdotes and empathy. This rounded the session off as an all-inclusive ensemble – everyone was participating engaging with each other.

I had a wonderful day at the YLG Conference and will endeavour to attend future conferences.  I would like to give a very BIG thank you to YLG Scotland for giving me the opportunity to develop as a library professional. Without their generosity, I could not have attended the Conference.



Youth Libraries Group Unconference

On Saturday 9th August 2014, we held our very first unconference in conjunction with the SLG and SLA.  We had an informal day filled with user-generated sessions enabling support, advice and ideas to be shared.  Superstar Guest Speaker Nick Sharratt also came along to talk to us.

To gather people's thoughts, we created a Thinking Tree!  Here are some of the comments that were left:
Groups discussion great, as changed direction, ebbed and flowed and brought back by coordination.
Good answers to questions I didn't even know I was going to ask!
Nick was awesome, how inspiring.

It was Nick's birthday (and Committee member Jill!), so it being YLG we made sure there was a special cake too.


Joint Action Group (JAG)

As you can see from our Committee page, we have a mix of public and schools librarians in YLGS.  Inevitably, there is going to be some overlap of aims with the CILIP School Libraries Group, and the School Library Association.  We decided to meet up to think of ways we can share resources, training days and so on.  The name of this super-group is the Joint Action Group (JAG). 

You can already see the benefits of this joint-working, as we decided to hold our first Unconference in conjunction with the SLG and SLA in August.  There are also possible future plans, such as joint AGMs and conferences.  


Graphic Novel Training Day

On 28th May, we held a successful and fun event on Graphic Novels in Hillhead Library.  Feedback from members - and ourselves! - is that we there were training gaps in this growing area of youth libraries.  We decided to hold a really practical day, and were overwhelmed with the interest and as registration for the event grew. 

The following speakers came along to the event:

Gary Erskine

Paul Register, founder and organiser of the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards

Falkirk Community Trust on running a successful graphic novel event

Koren Calder from Scottish Book Trust on using the John Muir Graphic Novel in schools and public libraries


We also had Forbidden Planet ( ).

We were delighted that feedback following the event was really positive (including 'BEST TRAINING EVER'), however we were interested to hear suggestions for ideas on how to get girls more interested in comics and graphics novels, and more practical hands-on sessions looking at the books themselves  Next time...

Thanks to everyone who came along to the event, to our speakers and exhibitors, and to Hillhead Library for hosting us.


CKG Party

We held a CKG nomination party on Thursday 27th September in the Mitchell Library.  Librarians from public libraries, schools, school library services alongside students and lecturers from Strathclyde University nominated (after some fierce discussion):

For the Carnegie :  Far Rockaway (Fletcher, C.)   &   The weight of water (Crossan, S.)

For the Greenaway : I want my hat back (Klassen, J.)   &   Black dog (Pinfold, L.)