The School Library Commission, chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris and jointly established by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the National Literacy Trust, has published its report, School Libraries: A plan for improvement. Its key finding is that many school libraries are underutilised and do not help improve literacy, learning and attainment levels. The reasons for this, the commission suggests, are that library services and use are not integrated parts of schools' strategic plans. Baroness Morris says that "it is essential that the benefits of this vital resource are fully understood".
Also this week, Young Minds - a charity committed to supporting the mental and emotional well being of children and young people - has announced the shortlist for its book award. Book groups from schools and young people's organisations have read submissions for the £2,000 prize, aimed at helping young people deal with the stresses of growing up.
The short list is as follows:
Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham (AuthorHouse)
Ember Fury by Cathy Brett (Headline Publishing Group)
Inside by J.A. Jarman (Andersen Press)
The Truth about Leo by David Yelland (Puffin)
Them and US by Bali Rai (Barrington Stoke)
Zelah Green, Queen of Clean by Vanessa Curtis (Egmont UK).
The winner will be announced at an event at the Unicorn Theatre on 16 November.
Finally, Faber has announced that it has acquired the rights to a debut novel by a 19 year-old Nigerian author, Chibundu Onuzo. The Spider King’s Daughter is set in contemporary Lagos and features a romance between a street hawker and the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The novel is due to be published in summer 2011.