The Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship

In April 2019, I received the exciting news that my paper Information literacy, young learners and the role of the teacher librarian was selected for the Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship. The Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship is funded by the National Council of Women of NSW and the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Associations to commemorate Miss Arnot a former librarian with a remarkable career of 47 years at the State Library of NSW. In May, I was honoured to attend the Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon at NSW Parliament House with my mother.

In August 2019, the paper was published in the Journal of Australian Library and Information Association and published by Tayor & Francis Online https://doi.org/10.1080/24750158.2019.1649795

The link below is for a free eprint, there are only 50 available so if you are interested please click the link to receive your free copy.

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RHUP7H7CEKRZNX6HACVE/full?target=10.1080/24750158.2019.1649795

The motivation in writing the paper was triggered by interest in the topic and awareness of limited literature available regarding information literacy in the early years of schooling. In addition, I was preparing for a conference based on showcasing information literacy teaching and learning experiences with students in Years 1-2. The conference presentation can be accessed via:

Staff training, Mitchell Building, photograph by Ivan Ives, Pix Magazine Collection A7417037h

Staff training lead by Jean Arnot. Mitchell Building, photograph by Ivan Ives, Pix Magazine Collection A7417037h https://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryofnsw/32331882277/

To follow is the speech I gave at the Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon:


It is an honour to be here today to receive the Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship. I wish to thank the National Council of Women of New South Wales, the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Associations, and the State Library of New South Wales for making possible such a prestigious award that acknowledges, recognises and commemorates female librarians. Learning of Jean Arnot’s dedication to librarianship and commitment to women is inspirational, and I am proud to be associated with this award.

In reflection, I realise 2019 marks for me twenty-five years of service to the library and information profession. However, libraries have played a role throughout my life. Libraries allowed me to borrow books beyond my abilities as a child, developed me as a teenager, informed me as a young adult, and allowed bag loads of books to be loaned to my own children. Libraries continue to educate me, deepen my knowledge, stimulate my curiosities, provide hope, and are always there for me. 

Back in 1994 when I worked as an information specialist at McKinsey and Company, our team had a dedicated computer where we had to plug the right coloured cable in to connect to the Internet. We had specialised training about URL’s and how to search the World Wide Web. Since 2002, my role as a teacher librarian has allowed me to be at a school library each day surrounded by young minds, literature, information and technology. The pace of change is astonishing, what I once taught to twelve-year-olds I now have adapted and teach to children in their first years of schooling. When I recently asked a Year 2 class with an information need ‘how can we find out?’ there was a pause, I was hoping to hear ‘look in a book,’ expecting to hear ‘Google,’ but was not prepared when one child quietly replied ‘Ask Siri.’ How far we have come from plugging a cable into a dedicated computer to using voice recognition to search for information.

Commitment to learning and near completion of the Master of Education Teacher Librarianship at Charles Sturt University has provided me with strength and direction to adapt, and allowed me to enhance my commitment as a teacher librarian. I look forward to what is ahead. 

Oh, what a Book Week!

Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. The CBCA short list books offer schools an abundance of opportunities to engage with reading, responding to, and celebrating literature. When responding to the theme for Book Week Reading is my Secret Power, children in grades K-2 suggested that reading helps you learn, builds knowledge, and gives you the power to relax and be in the book.

Engaging with the short list books builds students’ literacy skills through incorporating rich, objectively selected, and aesthetically valuable texts. Leading up to Children’s Book Week the six Early Childhood Books were shared with classes in Years K-2. In Year K, we discussed the main character of each book and will be creating a book character bunting based on the books. Year 1 focused on the thinking routine – Step Inside the Character and will respond to the books with drawing and writing. Year 2 discussed and wrote about story elements such as setting, messages, symbols and connections. They will be creating a diorama in small groups to represent the books. Students in Years 3-4 were introduced to the short list Picture Books which were selected for their artistic and literary unity of text and illustrations.

A highlight of Children’s Book Week was an exhilarating K-3 Book Week Assembly. The atmosphere was set with an outstanding opening performance of Pure Imagination by the Primary School Choir. We sat back and relaxed as we enjoyed viewing I am Jellyfish by Ruth Paul on Story Box Library, a captivating story set in the deep blue sea. Children in Years K-3 sang Oompa Loompa and bopped to the tune. The book character parade allowed each student to parade across the stage and display their stunning designs. It was truly magnificent to see such a wide variety of book characters appear from favourite books and show their true style.

This year we had three author’s visit us to share their stories and insight. Years K-2 met Lesley Gibbes who read her award-winning book Scary Night to Year K. Years 1 and 2 learnt behind the scenes information of the characters in the book series Fizz – a fluffy white dog who wants to join the police force. Lesley’s recently published book Searching for Cicadas was written from memories of searching for the Black Prince cicada in her garden. Lesley’s advice for writing great stories was to always think about ‘What if?’

Years 3-4 met Deborah Abela who informed us that for her ‘every week is book week.’ Deborah shared stories of her childhood and hinted how her own experiences and personality are imbedded in her stories. The Spelling Bee book series was inspired from her experience with spelling when she was in Year 4 where her teacher introduced a Spelling Olympics each Friday where the girls versed the boys. Deborah’s concern and passion for the environment inspired the book series Grimsdom, New City and the newly released book Final Storm – Deborah had us sitting on the edge of our seat as she read extracts from this action pack series. Deborah also provided advice on writing an exciting story – she highlighted that it is vital to always consider ‘I wonder what would happen if?’

Lian Tanner presented to Years 5-6 and shared stories from her life experiences and how she was able to take aspects of these and weave them into her books. Lian indicated that she enjoys writing exciting action scenes with characters getting into trouble. A wealth of ideas of writing inspiration are provided on her website. Lian’s advice for writing was to take notice of what is happening around you, use your senses to imagine what it might feel like, choose interesting words, and to allow time to daydream and stretch your imagination.

Thanks to The Children’s Bookshop Speakers’ Agency for the superb author visit recommendations. It is always encouraging to see the author’s books leave the library instantaneously as hot property after we have had the pleasure of meeting the author and having them read to us.

Migration library display

In Term 3, Year 6 are working on an Inquiry unit of work related to aspects from the Stage 3 History curriculum:

  • Who were the people who came to Australia? Why did they come?
  • What contribution have significant individuals and groups made to the development of Australian society?

This library display acts as a stimulation for ideas related to migration and immigration. Resources featured within the display include:

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Hedy’s Journey: the true story of a Hungarian girl fleeing the Holocaust by Michelle Bisson

Books inside the suitcase: The Sound of Freedom by Kathy Kacer; Cry Little Girl by Alyza Barak-Ressler; Hana’s Suitcase: a true story by Karen Levine.

Images from the following books: Gittel’s journey: an Ellis Island story by Lesléa Newman; Waves: for those who came across the sea by Donna Rawlins; Ten Pound Pom by Carole Wilkinson; Migrations: open hearts, open borders edited by the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society.

Photos: Migrants arrive in Sydney – National Archives of Australia: A12111; English class at Bathurst Reception Centre 1951, National Archives of Australia: A12111.

Sourcing resources for learning is one of my favourite tasks as a TL. One resource that I found in my searches is this highly engaging, emotional and thought provoking video Waves of Migration lightshow (2016) by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

QR Code Book Hunt – Early Childhood Short List books

In this Post you will find the QR Code Book Hunt for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Early Childhood Short List books.

Instructions:

  • Print out the QR codes and place them around the library
  • Print out the answer recording sheets for students
  • Students scan the QR code, a question will appear – answer the question on the recording sheet next to the question number
  • Once all six QR codes have been found and six questions answered place answer sheet in an entry box
  • The first fully correct answer sheet drawn from the box wins a prize!

Book Week 2019 – Reading is my Secret Power

The theme for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Children’s Book Week 2019 is Reading is my Secret Power. Term 3 is always a busy term with a huge focus on the CBCA Short List books, visiting authors and special art/craft activities at lunchtime. This year we will be celebrating Book Week with a K-3 Book Week Assembly and Book Character Dress-Up Parade which will feature the school choir singing Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and years K-3 singing the Oompa Loompa song. We will also view a book on Story Box Library.

Reading is My Super Power – Book Week Display 2019

Upcoming author visits:

Years K-2 Lesley Gibbes
Years 3-4 Deborah Abela
Years 5-6 Lian Tanner

This year I will be following lesson sequences for K-2 as Posted in 2018, details can be found via a previous Post – Book Week Lesson Ideas 2018


Books featured in the Reading is My Secret Power display include:

A child of Books by Oliver Jeffers (2016)

Cocoon by Aura Parker (2019)

Bee & Me: A Story about Friendship by Alison Jay (2017)

Eliot, Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer (2013)

Visual Grammar Guide

Visual grammar provides a way to describe and communicate the features of an image. Close looking and thinking about the image helps build meaning.

This Post provides an updated Visual Grammar Guide that can be used as a teaching and learning tool for responding to images in picture books. The Visual Grammar Guide was presented to the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) via a Webinar on June 5, 2019.

Previous overviews of visual grammar / visual literacy are available via the Softlink Blog Exploring visual literacy with picture books and past Posts on the Library Owl Blog Visual Literacy – some examplesVisual Literacy using the CBCA Short list Picture Books, and Relationship between literary elements and verbal/visual details in picture books.

National Reconciliation Week Library Displays

The 2019 National Reconciliation Week theme is Grounded in Truth Walk Together with Courage. The library displays feature a selection of our nonfiction and picture book collection.

Books featured: Welcome to country – welcome words by Aunty Joy Murphy with illustrations by Lisa Kennedy; Custodians of the Land by Ellen Rykers; Indigenous Australians Before and After British Settlement by Melanie Gulie; Albert Namatjira: Gordon and Marilyn Darling’s gift to the nation artwork; and Postcards by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr featuring illustrations from Little Bird’s Day written by Sally Morgan.

Bronwyn Bancroft picture book selection and Aboriginal artwork.

Books featured: Why I love Australia; Patterns of Australia; Kangaroo and Crocodile; and 1 2 3 of Australian Animals.

New displays for the library

The first two library displays for 2019 featured being kind and friendship. The theme linked in with school values and recent staff professional learning and implementation of the URSTRONG program.

Following that, we assembled a Roald Dahl and Mem Fox author focus for our library. As always it is a delight to gather resources for the displays and enjoy watching children and teachers look into the display cases.