The Future Library Congress explored how libraries are progressing in the changing nature of education. Librarians and industry leaders shared expert advice from school, university, museum, and government libraries. Insight into the changing times of libraries, passion for information literacy and literature, the important link to technology through the Maker Movement and tools such as Virtual and Augmented Reality were key features of the presentations.
This post highlights key learning specific to school libraries and the role of the teacher librarian.
The Congress sessions were opened by Sandra Moore, President, Australian School Library Association (ASLA) who encouraged us to walk away from the Congress with three things learnt, two things confirmed, and one challenge. Sandra reminded us that teacher librarians require curiosity, kindness, stamina and a willingness to look stupid. It was also advised in order to be creative we need to steal ideas from others by way of honouring others work; study; taking ideas from many; crediting; transforming; and remixing.
Vickie McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland (SLQ), shared her journey through the changing nature of libraries and in particular stories of change at her former position at the State Library of NSW, as well as current change within SLQ. Vickie focused our attention to leading change and the importance of libraries meeting the strategic direction of their organisation. It was noted that key factors of successful leadership of a library include trust, predictability, honesty and fairness, being able to listen and communicate effectively. Vickie stressed the need to be highly visible, update staff and the library community regularly, share highlights, attend as many meetings as possible, meet with small groups to assist connections and engage staff with change. 5C’s of library leadership were highlighted: clarity, communication, clients, collaboration and collections. Vickie’s presentation was inspiring and showcased a selection of engaging images from the SLQ.
Jenny Kemp, Leader of Learning, St Andrew’s Cathedral School challenged us to think about what we are offering at our school library, and why does our school need a teacher librarian. Jenny reminded us that a teacher librarian is a complex position and requires a high set of skills. A major strength of the teacher librarian as promoted by Jenny was to teach and guide students with information literacy. Collaborating and knowledge of teaching programs to find opportunities to tie in information literacy skills was also emphasised, as well as going to classrooms rather than only being seen in the library.
I was very pleased to hear Jenny say ‘be the teacher librarian’ a factor that can get mixed up when we are all aiming to do so much. Furthermore, Jenny suggested that ‘explicit teaching has got lost with all the exciting other learning’ a statement I agree with and one that is challenging when there are so many exciting other things to incorporate – particularly when astonished with all the tech at EduTECH. Similar to Vickie McDonald, Jenny promoted understanding the school structure, being involved with faculty planning, promote skills – don’t wait to be invited, ensure you promote a clear vision of what a you can offer, and to reflect on how the library staff are using their time. To finalise her presentation Jenny promoted library space as the third space a place that is very important for a school.
The third space was also encouragingly promoted by Andrew Stark, Head of Libraries, The Southport School QLD, he referred to libraries as important meeting points, that library space should be embraced, it is not just space – it is how you fill it. Andrew also stated that a child’s feelings with their school library is something they will take with them in their learning journey. Continue reading