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 :-)

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.

New Year Honour – OBE

I’m excited at being able to congratulate my friend and colleague Kathy Lemaire for her outstanding achievement in earning one of the great awards in the UK which honours personal and professional contributions to society!

Kathy Lemaire, the Chief Executive of the School Library Association in the UK has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to education.

Kathy has been at SLA since 1997, and was previously Principal Librarian for the Oxfordshire Schools Library Service.

On hearing of the award Kathy said

I consider this honour really to be an acknowledgement of the work of the SLA and the importance of school libraries rather than a purely personal one, so it is for all of those hardworking school librarians at the sharp end too!

I have worked (and played) with Kathy as a member of the Executive of the International Association of School Librarianship. I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of the hard working and enthusiastic librarians in the UK when I attended and presented a session at their annual weekend conference held in Bath, UK : 23-25 June, 2006.

Kathy has always been a gentle, kind, and professionally strong quiet achiever, putting the interests of school libraries and her association first in all her endeavours. A wonderful acknowledgement of her career. Congratulations Kathy.

So work and play combine in the picture below – a glorious evening cruise in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of the IASL annual conference in 2006. On the left is Kathy Lemaire, and on the right is Karen Bonnano, an Australian from Brisbane (and another generous and strong library professional) who manages the IASL Secretariat.

  • The best bookmongers

    During my holidays I have had plenty of opportunities to visit bookshops, and my favourite local library. Searching for a book I wanted to buy at a variety of bookstores, I was struck by the changes that have taken place in marketing, accessibility and presentation of at our best bookmongers.

    I catalogue.jpgmust say that in a few of the stores I found myself foundering – where do I find the book? Is it there? Here I was, an information professional, confused and disoriented as I tried to make sense of the layout and organisation of the store!! Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything. Bad luck bookstore.

    But in two places (both highly successful and well patronised) I felt at home – and clearly so did everyone else – ages ranging from toddlers to grey-power!

    What was the common feature of these two places:

    • visually appealing furniture, layout, and spaces
    • nice displays and signage
    • easy to understand organisation e.g. scifi/fantasy, crime, biography, history, travel, sport
    • no shelf clutter, with attractive jackets on display
    • lots of comfy chairs to sit and browse
    • magazines, dvds, audio books and more
    • a handy computer so that I could carry out a catalogue search to help me find what I wanted – easily with a good human interface, not a “library” interface
    • wireless access
    • my favourite – a great coffee shop!

    I love the carpet that’s on the floor and the different places you can settle down and read a book.

    I love the use of object architecture to add interest.

    Oh, and I’m a regular visitor of the coffee shop in the last picture.

    So the two most successful places are Borders book store and my favourite Library, which does have its own fabulous coffee shop – including a super outdoor terrace with water features.

    This is interesting don’t you think? It slams home the changes needed in our school libraries quite nicely.

    But you know the great thing is that our public and school libraries can offer a lot more than even the best bookshop – loads of extra services, learning support, community support, meeting and study rooms, lots of computers, reference and information services.

    Better still, at my favourite library I can scan and issue the books out to myself – sometimes after I have picked out new releases to borrow that I have just read about in the Saturday paper! Good one! Saves me a bomb.

    How can a bookstore compete with this service, especially since some of the books I get are ones that I have reserved online at home.

    The astounding thing is that its all free!!

    First Photo: At Borders