If you have read the inside front cover, you will have seen a reference to the SBA having a big think about its future. The head scratching went on for practically the whole year but at the end of it we had what we hope is an exciting and interesting programme.
The thinking went something like this: the SBA had done well in its first three years – the number of school bookshops had risen dramatically, and the idea had become respectable for many more people in education, publishing and bookselling. Nevertheless there was a feeling that we should be more active and wide-ranging in the promotion of children’s books. Also, that we should try to reach out to as many people as possible involved with children and books; not only school book-shoppers, but classroom teachers at all levels, librarians, students and, who knows, even some mums and dads. Most important of all, we wanted to do this in tune and in tempo with people like us: people who are serious and committed about their professional lives but who, after the working day, pick up private adult lives which include shopping, housework, watching television, mending the car, DIY, bringing up children, hobbies, being exhausted and just lying in bed on Sunday mornings. We didn’t think that the majority of teachers spent their out-of-school lives only reading children’s books, and felt that they would appreciate some imaginative and practical help in coming to grips with the huge mass of children’s publishing.
This attitude and approach enabled us to construct our programme for 1980 and beyond. These are some of the things which we decided:
Membership of the SBA
We felt that this was limiting our scope and unnecessary to teachers and PTAs setting up their own school bookshop. We have gradually phased it out.
School Bookshop News had done a great job during the five years of its existence.
Books for Keeps has different ethos and, we hope, a larger parish. You’re reading it now and you will be the best judge of its success though we’d like you to hold off an assessment until we get properly into our stride. At any rate we want our new magazine to be an accurate and true expression of our restated philosophy; a philosophy which recognises the enormous demands in time and energy that all teachers have to grapple with. If you like or don’t like what you’re reading, write and tell us. Either way we want to know. And if writing is too much of a chore, phone us.
SERVICES AND PUBLICATIONS
Our intention is to build up gradually a range of items which help you help children come to books with interest and pleasure.
The SBA Handbook: The What, Why and How of School Bookshops
This needs updating and rewriting soon but it still continues to be the best short cut to setting up and running your own school bookshop. It’s free from the SBA on application.
Badges and Bags
Badges seem to be ever-popular and our 55mm metal ones carry the Books for Keeps slogan as you can see in the illustration. They cost 10p each, including postage and packing, which we think is still pretty cheap these days. The paper bags are real Penguin ones which you quite often get when you buy books at your local bookseller. We charge £1.20 for 100 bags.
Everybody loves posters and, of course, they’re marvellous for brightening up and creating lively book atmospheres in book corners, libraries and school bookshops. We have two packs, one for primary, the other for secondary schools, made up of about ten publishers’ posters. We charge 60p each which covers postage and an OAP’s time in folding and packing. You could of course write to a dozen or so publishers and get your publicity free but when you add up the cost of the stamps and bear in mind that you may or may not get suitable posters, it’s probably easier, quicker and cheaper to write for our packs.
School Bookshop Insurance
Commercial Union and the SBA have special insurance cover for most of the calamities that might befall the average school bookshop. If you want details, just write or phone us.
We try to answer any question put to us about children’s books. Apart from school bookshops themselves which we know quite a bit about, we like to think we’re a good place to start with if you have a problem or a query. If we can’t answer your enquiry straight off the top of our heads, we’ll put you in touch with someone who can.
In the pipeline:
We’d like to do a parents’ guide about books from 0 to 18 years old for mums and dads keen to foster reading for pleasure at home. It’s unlikely that this would see the light of day until 1981. We are investigating the possibility of the SBA publishing a lively book magazine for children themselves.’ It would have to be very cheap and full of interest and things to do. This is another project which is some way off yet but we’re thinking hard about it. Lastly we’d like to mount thematic book promotions like, for instance, football, science fiction, high adventure, poetry, love stories, fantasy, various hobbies and interests, and music, especially something on rock-‘n’-roll. It would involve posters, stickers, bookmarks, listings and so on. We would try to be enthusiastic and absorbing about the theme itself as our instinct is that if children have already hooked themselves into something, using books to further that interest comes much more naturally.
If you want any of the items mentioned in this brief resume of the SBA and its works, just complete the order form on these pages and enclose a cheque or postal order made out to the SBA.
CAN YOU HELP?
During the next few months we have to rewrite the SBA Handbook called The What, Why and How of School Bookshops. We are looking for good ideas which work well in practice and which help the running of a school bookshop. If you think you have something which other teachers might find useful, we would be happy to receive detailed descriptions (and illustrations if necessary) of the following plus anything else you think is a good idea which we haven’t mentioned.
Write to: Richard Hill, SBA, 1 Effingham Road, Lee, London SE12 8NZ
DIY shelf-units especially the lockable, movable variety
keeping of simple accounts
selling second-hand book schemes
good publicity ideas
good competition ideas
stock control systems
having mums, dads and children helping in the school bookshop savings schemes