Uplifting school libraries


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by visualpanic

This week I picked up an interesting post from Doug Johnson ~ Not your mother’s school library. If your mother’s school library captured your passion, then it served a great purpose for the times  – but that’s a whole different story. My interest was piqued because of the (expensive) Workshops for School Library Teachers  being offered by Simmon’s graduate school. That title stumped me a little as it seems particularly out-of-date (school library teacher?), but the professional development courses seem to be quite current.  Interestingly, they are exactly the sort of courses that we offer free or at low cost via our professional associations here in Australia.We also learn a lot from our personal learning networks, with twitter and local lists always busy sharing the sort of information we need to keep our libraries current and vibrant places of 21st century literacy and learning.

Perhaps we are lucky! The Australian library scene is a vibrant one, as evidenced by the report tabled in the Federal Parliament that highlights the importance of teacher librarians and school libraries in education. The purpose of the Inquiry that led to the release of the report  was to look into and report on the role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools.  So we are being noticed.

I like to think that we are also working hard to promote quality education for those who aspire to be a teacher librarian, as well as those who want to undertake further postgraduate study. It’s great to know that our CSU Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) aims to remain current.  We introduce teachers to the world of teacher librarianship, and we use the most current technologies as part of the course. Think blogs, wikis and social bookmarking, and you’re at the starting line. I’m pleased with the extension opportunities that we offer as well, and next session I am keen to get stuck into some new subjects.

For those ‘in the know’ I’ll be teaching ETL501 Information Environment which is supported by the work of international leader James Herring who keenly promotes improved web use as an element of 21st century information literacy.

I’m also looking forward to INF443 Creating and Preserving Digital Content, and INF206 Social Networking for Information Professionals.

Throughout our courses at School Library courses at CSU  we explore foundational and ground-breaking issues and technologies for school libraries and teacher librarians. I will be using Facebook, blogs, wikis, Diigo, Flickr, Slideshare, Zipcasts etc – in fact, a swag of online tools that helps makes learning relevant and vibrant for those in the courses – allowing them to learn about them and then integrate them into their own school and personal learning needs.

Our students have to be involved in their own architecture of participation if they are to help their schools and school libraries embrace the challenges  to create a renewal of pedagogy and technology work practices.

So I think that we are certainly addressing the passion that our our mother’s school library inspired, and the focus and vibrant 21st century literacy and learning that our grand-children’s school library will need!

Don’t believe me? Here’s what a few students said at the end of my first session of teaching at CSU.

Thank you for a most stimulating, informative and challenging course. I have already adopted some new ways of thinking and learning into my classroom practice and I know that there is a long list that I look forward to reflecting upon and enacting as time allows.

What a pleasure it was to do this subject with you at the helm. What it has taught me is invaluable.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful resources and support throughout the course. You’ve taken me from someone who really had no idea what she was doing to someone who has some idea with a thirst for more. It’s very transformational, challenging and definitely lifelong learning.

Paint your own horizons


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Werner Kunz

What will you do in your school library this year?

While we are always looking for opportunities to encourage growth and development in our school library services, and new ways to promote what we do, there are some ‘tried and trustworthy’ options for advocacy and promotion that should not be missed. The Horizon Report 2011 K-12 edition  points out how important it is for school library professionals  to keep technology in the forefront of our thinking.  The National Australian Library Associations ALIA and ASLA have provided a site to help us tell our community What a Difference a School Library Makes.

I really want to share with you Buffy Hamilton’s Annual Report.  She shows us three key things:

  • what you can and should be aiming for in your school library each year (even if you start small)
  • strategies for promotion beyond the school through media promotion
  • how to ‘package’ a professional annual report (even if you start small)

Congratulation to the Creekview High School library  team for another great year. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

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

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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.