Report on school libraries and teacher librarians


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Enokson

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment  released a report on school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools. The report released on Monday 23 2011  investigates the issues of role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia.  The full report is available at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ee/schoollibraries/report.htm

The report focuses on the impact of government policies and investments on school libraries, the potential of school libraries and teacher librarians to contribute to improved educational outcomes, and the recruitment and development of teacher librarians. The 163-page report also looks at partnering and supporting school libraries and teacher librarians with other libraries. It is a positive report in that it is clearly supportive of school libraries and the role of the teacher librarian.

When it comes to school libraries and teacher librarians, we are in a much better position than some countries at the moment!  Our school librarians and our teacher librarians are considered worthy of  national discussion!  Nevertheless, while there are many instances of great school libraries staff with excellent teacher librarians, and adequate levels of professional support staffing, there are also many cases where this is not the case.  This report may go some way to helping to redress the imbalance, and also ensure that continuation of a strong teacher librarian academic programs in Australia.

The report was tabled to coincide with Library and Information Week 2011.

List of 11 recommendations in the report.

Impact of recent Commonwealth Government policies and investments on school libraries

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government partner with all education authorities to fund the provision of a core set
of online database resources, which are made available to all Australian schools.

Recommendation 2
The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government work with the states and territories to develop a discrete national policy statement that defines the importance of digital and information literacy for learning in the 21st century, which can be used as a guide by teachers and principals.

Potential of school libraries and librarians to contribute to improved educational and community outcomes

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority include statistical information about the breakdown of all specialist teachers, including teacher librarians, on the My School website.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government support additional initiatives to promote reading, such as a National Year of Reading. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations should collaborate with the Australian School Library Association, Australian Libraries and Information Association and other education stakeholders in developing these initiatives.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government initiate an Australian-based longitudinal study into the links between library programs, literacy (including digital literacy) and student achievement, including their impact on improving outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government support promotional activities undertaken by ASLA and ALIA that demonstrate to the school community the valuable work that teacher librarians are doing in respect of e-learning in their schools, including those that highlight their leadership capacity.

Recruitment and development of teacher librarians

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the rollout of the new national curriculum, which is to be made available online, include a component of training for teacher librarians.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government commission a thorough workforce gap analysis of teacher librarians across Australian schools.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs, establish a national dialogue, including with tertiary providers, on the role of teacher librarians today in schools and into the future. The dialogue should include an examination of the adequacy of the pathways into the profession and ongoing training requirements.

Partnering and supporting school libraries and teacher librarians

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government, through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood and Youth Affairs, discuss ways to enhance partnerships with state and
territory and local levels of government to support school libraries and teacher librarians.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government partner with ASLA and ALIA to produce a document that showcases some of the successful partnerships and programs between school libraries and other libraries, and joint-use libraries. The document should be made available to government and non-government education authorities and school principals.

The Committee hopes that this report goes some way toward highlighting teacher librarians’ concerns; showcases their valuable contributions to educational outcomes in Australian schools; and starts to examine their evolving role and place in Australia’s education system.


What happens when you enjoy your work?

Ella Morris takes a picture of her mum Glenda's library graduating class of 2011.

It’s true, not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their job – I mean, totally enjoy it even with it’s ups and downs.  It also takes a deal of meandering through life (sometimes) to finally find a slot that seems to work!  I have always admired the leaders and innovators amongst us the most, and knew that if there was some way to capture an element of their ‘magic’, I would be happy.  The capacity to ask the hard questions and then be ready to deal with the (sometimes unexpected ) answers is a rare trait. Always things are tempered by ‘other’ considerations ….. yes, more like excuses if you ask me ;-)

I’ve worked in quite a number of schools, and supported even more of them in my school district role.   We need to clone Stephen Heppell – a genuine leader and innovator if ever there was one!

So if  you believe in certain things – how do you fit that with the practicalities of the workplace you find yourself in?   My students are grappling with that very question, from various angles, depending on the course they are immersed in at CSU.  Whether its embarking on ways to integrate digital citizenship into mainstream learning, or new programs in their local library, or probject-based learning to liberate the classroom and the kids  from curriculum atrophy – there is no simple solution. There could be of course – but it takes a powerhouse like Stephen to shift things in one fell swoop.

So given all the constraints that schools can impose on us,  I am delighted with my newfound workplace.  Here is why:-

  • I am trusted 100% to do my work, and expected to find better ways to nurture the learning of my students.
  • I am working online (because all the students are studying online) and I can therefore explore better ways to help our students be part of the global connections that is learning today.
  • I work with a most wonderful team of educators in the Faculty who come from all over the world, and who are based in Wagga and also all over the world!
  • I am able to do magical things in person – such as taking a fantastic group of students on a 4-day tour of major libraries and facilities in Canberra. Who knew the National Library was so fantastic??!
  • I am able to work flexibily – which generally means I work more!
  • I am able to go out and work with schools and institutions, do workshops, write or present things.
  • I am able to work with current and future leaders in our schools and community  – these graduate and post-graduate students are responsible for shaping the learning and library services  in our schools and community – right now and in the future.
  • I am inspired by my interactions – because I see and hear so many voices, ideas, challenges and victories from so many different schools and so many different library settings in schools and in other sectors. What my students say and comment on in the forums is just amazing!  They really ARE thinking hard about the value of libraries and how they can/should adapt as we march further into a digital world.

Have I taken to this like a duck to water?  I thinks so!

That’s why it was an honour and delight to travel back to CSU  Wagga Wagga to attend and celebrate the graduation of this year’s students in various degrees up to PhD in the School of  Library and Information Studies. The sheer joy was spinetingling. The pride of the families who came along was bursting over the crowd like a huge sunburst as they observed from the balcony seating above the graduates.  As I keep learning more about how to do my job at CSU, the picture of these students will be before me – until the next graduation ceremony.

Congratulations to all our graduates!

Augmented Reality for Stocktake!

Move over barcode readers and fancy RFID!!

There is now an Awesome Augmented Reality App that Could Save Librarians Hours. This exciting new app uses the Android’s camera to “read” a bookshelf, and with an Augmented Reality overlay, quickly flags those books that are misplaced. It will also point to the correct place on the bookshelf so the book can easily be re-shelved correctly. It will be demonstrated at the Association of College and Research Libraries 2011 – and  may be hinting at the future of library resource organisation.

Yes, school libraries WILL have books for a long time to come! I would love to see this application in action.

via iLibrarian

Well, that’s done!

Yesterday I came to the end of a rather hectic 3 years at St Joseph’s College, having filled the role of Head of Library and Information Services.

At my farewell the Headmaster, Ross Tarlinton,  explained to all the  major brief  he had gave me in coming to the position.  He looked for the renewal of the College library as a Centre of Learning – and this required pedagogical and physical changes.

He acknowledged that the journey was not easy! But he was delighted that we had made it and that recently he was pleased to be interviewed about our developments at the College.

While it was certainly an exciting challenge, and one that I am proud to have been able to undertake, it’s also an era of my life that I am very glad to see come to an end.  I have many stories to tell (happy ones and sad ones)  and many experiences to share.

But all that will have to wait for another time, another cup of coffee.

In 2011 I am off to my new role as Lecturer in the Faculty of Education with Charles Sturt University. I’ll be joining a wonderful team of educators in the School of Information Studies, and am really looking forward to working with teachers and teacher librarians in schools, helping them bring the best out of the learning environments that they find themselves in.

Until I have my  image portfolio better organised, here are some before and after photos of our makeover to share!!

THE PICTURE STORY

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can always find the full set at HeyjudeGallery.

Australian School Library Review – wow!

Australian Teacher Librarians and school libraries,  received some good (awesome!)  news today from Australian House of Representatives Liaison & Projects Office.

The media alert outlines the preliminary details:

School libraries review relaunched

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment has been asked by the Federal Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon. Peter Garrett AM MP, to complete an inquiry into the role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools, that was begun in the previous Parliament.

The Terms of Reference require that the Committee specifically focus on:

  • the impact of recent policies and investments on school libraries and their activities;
  • the future potential of school libraries and librarians to contribute to improved educational and community outcomes, especially literacy;
  • the factors influencing recruitment and development of school librarians;
  • the role of different levels of government and local communities and other institutions in partnering with and supporting school librarians; and
  • the impact and potential of digital technologies to enhance and support the roles of school libraries and librarians

Announcing the inquiry, Committee Chair Ms Amanda Rishworth, MP, said, “The Committee is very pleased that this matter will be revisited by the new Education Committee. Teacher librarians make a significant contribution in our schools and we look forward to sharing our findings on how to enhance this valuable community resource. ”

The Committee will have reference to all the written submissions and evidence gathered at public hearings conducted by the former Education Committee in the previous Parliament.

QR code infographic

According to Nathan King at QR Code Awareness, mobile devices have changed the way consumers access the Internet as well as the way marketers are trying to reach customers. QR codes – which direct you to a website, phone number, SMS or other call to action when scanned with your smartphone – are showing up everywhere.

Although QR codes and mobile barcodes have been around for several years, the explosion of the smartphone market allowed barcode scanning to grow 700 percent from January 2010 to July 2010.

I’ve started spotting them on the back of  new books that we are buying for students!  I haven’t spotted anyone scanning the QR code as yet :-)

Free web stuff for your library

I couldn’t resist sharing this presentation from Sarah Houghton-Jan. You know – you really don’t have to have megabucks to squeeze the best out of interactive web spaces – just a co-operative and flexible IT manager!

Grand challenges or a common way of thinking?

In the old epoch...

Many schools (and organisations responsible for K-12 education) worry about moving to the cloud for their knowledge pathways and   learning interactions.  But while ‘we’ worry, have we stopped long enough and looked far enough into possibilities in order to gain a better perspective on the scope of the digital [r]evolution around us?

I see this worry as being associated with a number of things:

  • A learning agenda that is essentially about achieving a ‘competitive’ edge (exams, tests, scores)
  • A learning process that is tied to a fixed content/curriculum approach (state or district syllabus directives)
  • A learning belief system that claims constructivism while operating in an industrial model of schooling.
  • A learning approach that still has to learn about connectivism as the source of powerful learning practices.

In such a scenario school libraries wishing to be placed at the centre of innovation in 21st century learning environments are faced with a remarkable challenge. While it could be said that the whole school, or education itself, is facing a challenge, the strategic importance of school libraries in forging new places and new approaches to learning should never be underestimated.


Anytime anywhere

This is as true for the smallest central school in Australia as it is for large learning enterprises such as my own school.  I believe we still have a little time up our sleeves  simply because the majority of people – from the stake-holders to the senior administrators – do not yet understand the extraordinary opportunities before us.  But getting ourselves sorted is getting urgent.  And no, the solution isn’t just going to a laptop program. It’s much more than that.

I believe it is time to start digging deeply into the new learning culture that is emerging. I am not talking here about using Web 2.0 tools, or creating content, connections and conversations online, of playing with tech tools on laptops.  I know that we are all busy exploring these options, and many teachers are demonstrating that they CAN adopt cloud-based activities to

empower learning, and do know how to challenge their students to develop the best thinking skills possible.


Uncommonly flexible..

What I would like to see is a growing understanding of the shifting base-line of our
technology-enhanced learning environment. From there we can move to develop an adoption strategy for each school that will shape the nature of a learning commons – agile learning spaces in the real sense – i.e. a school and a school library that is both physical and virtual, and which is pervasive, real, and enmeshed in all aspects of student learning.  Some are on the way – but many are not!  Where do you fit on the spectrum?

It takes time for any enterprise or organisation to adjust to new technologies, and schools are no different in this regard, particularly when K-12 moves to the cloud.

It is easy to

point to the online professional learning networks that many educators participate in as being key to helping share ideas about how to best use these tools in their classroom.

The real-time web in the classroom is here to stay and are busy lowering the proverbial walls of the classroom, giving students access to information that far surpasses the print-bound copies of encyclopedias and periodicals that were once the standard for K-12 research projects. As technology-educator Steven Anderson argues, these technologies

really make the world smaller for our students and show them that they can find the answers they need if we equip them with the tools and resources do to so.

The next step is to create a vision, form and function for your school library that is free from edu-speak conventions (which can become quite stale) and is intuitively accessible to the wider school community. Re-engineer what your library has to offer in whatever ways are possible to you. It is easy to write about whole-scale change, but not so easy when you look at each school and each school library because of the underlying thought changes that have yet to happen.

Give it time – but put KNOWLEDGE at the centre of your thinking rather than ‘library’ and  ‘information services’.    Knowledge and knowledge creation – globally – is the ticket to the future!

Smithsonian Commons Project

It’s in the context of this thinking that I really enjoyed learning about the Smithsonian Commons project.  I haven’t had time until now to catch breath and absorb the implications of this important endeavour.

Michael Edson, Director of Web and Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy at Smithsonian Institution, talked about his project, explaining that foundational concept that everyone should have access to the raw materials of knowledge  creation – everyone, for any purpose.

The project is a significant one and speaks of an approach or philosophy that should be the motivation for our educational endeavours.  It demonstrates a new model of knowledge creation – one that is fast, transparent and open. The spirit and philosophy of this project is one in which they define success as a truly open sandbox that belongs to everybody.

The Smithsonian commons is a project that is just beginning and the goal is to stimulate innovation and creativity and learning through open access to s resources, expertise and communities. In the old epoch institutions like the Smithsonian and like universities were built on the model of enduring wisdom. “we didn’t have to change, we didn’t have to look outside ourselves to strenuously because wisdom endures, wisdom is slow”.  In this epoch I think we’ll be measuring our worth, this library will be measuring its worth, the Smithsonian will be measuring its worth in terms of how successful we make people outside our walls. It’s a very different way of thinking. It requires a great deal of institutional humility and generosity.  I’m inspired by the work of Kathy Sierra, social web thought leader who said “in the old days the pitch for business was follow me, I’m great. The big opportunity now is follow me or my product because I help make YOU great”.

Watch  TWIL #22: Michael Edson (Smithsonian Institution) from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

Be inspired by the idea, and visit the related websites:

Smithsonian Commons – A place to begin -  wiki

Smithsonian Commons Prototype  – wiki

Smithsonian Commons Prototype – Live

Hybrid synergy – more on the future of school libraries

It’s always exciting to read or discover more ideas to support an emerging view – particularly if it is being expressed globally. Following on from my post Hybrid Synergy – the Future of School Libraries, I was pleased to see two things this week that provided me with much food for thought.

Joyce Valenza has an (updated) Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians published in Voya. In her roundup of indicators of what a 21st century librarian is involved in, she covers

  • reading
  • the information landscape
  • communication, publishing and storytelling
  • collection development
  • facilities and physical space
  • access, equity, advocacy
  • audience and collaboration
  • copyright, copyleft, and information ethics
  • new technology tools
  • professional development and professionalism
  • teaching and learning, and reference
  • into the future (acknowledging the best of the past)

This article is a must-read – and a wonderful ready-made tool for anyone planning directions within their school.  Use this article as a springboard for developing an innovative vision and creative response to the learning needs of our students.

If that was not enough, an amazing presentation has also hit the intrawebs – from Lyn Hay at the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. In her presenation you will find a huge amount of information and ideas to stimulate your thinking.

My favourite is the iCentre!

Lyn explains the core business of the  iCentre:

  • inquiry learning, immersive learning
  • information fluency > transliteracy
  • explicit instruction
  • pedagogical fusion – integrating and aligning information, technology, people, instruction
  • customised ‘i’ support for students, teachers, school administrators and parents
  • learning innovation
  • information leadership
  • development of students as independent, informed digital citizens

I recommend taking time to look through the presentation Converging the Parrallels!