14/06/2017

Role of the Teacher Librarian

I completed the Graduate Diploma in Information Studies Teacher Librarianship some time ago and have been working as a Teacher Librarian since 2002. I have also worked as an Information Specialist in a corporate setting. This year I am extending my professional learning and updating my academic studies to a Master of Education Teacher Librarianship at CSU. Looking back my motivation to become a teacher librarian was inspired by a teacher librarian at a school where I worked on a casual basis, I considered the role to be special in that you taught all classes K-6, teamed up with class teachers and spent time with books and organising information – this was the mid 1990’s so technology in school libraries was limited. During my experience I have witnessed considerable changes to the teacher librarian role particularly in regard to technology (Boyer, 2015) for management of resources and for teaching and learning. More recently, the implementation of the Australian Curriculum has provided significant opportunities for teacher librarians particularly in regard to the General Capabilities and Cross Curricular Priorities, the focus of quality literature (McDonald, 2013) in the English Curriculum and the attention to inquiry learning (Lupton, 2012) and (McIlvenny, 2013).

Teacher librarians have a unique and important role in schools, day to day responsibilities range from collection development, reading promotion, information and digital literacy guidance, manager of the physical collection and library layout, designer and manager of the online library, facilitator and provider of professional training (Lupton, 2016) and a central person to many students who find the library a special place to be. Implementing literature, information and digital literacy skills into the school curriculum is an essential role of a teacher librarian as noted by Scholastic (2016). More recently teacher librarians have been involved with the Makerspace Movement (Bonanno, 2016) requiring skills in new technologies exploring design, creativity and problem solving. As this could all be in a day’s work the need to be welcoming, up-skilled, organised, flexible, and able to prioritise is essential. Continue reading

12/06/2017

EduTECH – Future Library Congress, 8-9 June 2017

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

11/06/2017

EduTECH Australia – Maker Movement Masterclass

I was fortunate to have attended EduTECH Australia 7-9 June. It was an exciting three day conference and I have come away with so many new ideas and stimulation for the school library. Key aspects introduce new hands-on activities with the Maker Movement, consider and act forward in regard to the changing nature of education and how school libraries are relevant, reflect on information literacy learning, and immerse more deeply into the school. This post focuses on the The Maker Movement.

The Maker Movement 

Presenters – Amber Chase @ChaseyA29  and Lisa O’Callaghan @kallicani from Calrossy Anglican School, Tamworth NSW.

Their STEM Blog https://stematcalrossy.wordpress.com/

The day kicked off with creative activity – light up your name! It allowed me to fiddle with little bits, I admit I needed some assistance by helpful teachers but it did work in the end and I was proud to light up my name.

Background

The presentation focused on STEM and the Maker Movement – ideas to get Maker happening at your school and participate in Maker Culture. The Maker Movement is creative and promotes confidence in trying new things, it is a mindset that applies various skills, connects all disciplines, encourages innovation, is engaging, hands-on and fun. It aligns technology, arts and craft.

A segment of The Four Corners program Future Proof was previewed to put the Maker Movement in context of changes in school and work.

The masterclass promoted many areas to get ideas from but for big picture information it was advised to visit: NMC Horizon Reports for K-12 Education and Libraries  and the Royal Institute of Australia RiAus.

How to start

Best advice is to start small. Continue reading

27/05/2017

Missing Rabbit inspiration for Book Week

Earlier this week a Year 4 class entered the library extra quietly with a new class member – a rabbit. The gorgeous rabbit had been found on the road outside the school, lucky for him he was promptly adopted by Year 4 and spent the day at school. During his library visit he was very inquisitive and wondered around the library checking out each nook and cranny. The next few days this delightful rabbit spent his time resting at the teacher’s home.

This morning while walking my dog I stopped to read a missing rabbit sign, well it seemed to me this must be the lost rabbit at school – it does have white and caramel patches, it ate fruit and vegetables but I am not sure if banana was on the menu. Shame the lesson did not involve Latin and Jazz music – it would have been something extra special. I forwarded the information to the teacher who is taking care of the rabbit.

Besides all that excitement of a rabbit in the school library, this superb missing poster has provided me with the inspiration to run a competition for Children’s Book Week. The Book Week theme is ‘Escape to Everywhere’ the task will be to create a missing poster for a book character that has escaped from their book. A few days ago I was lost for ideas, after a visit to Tristan Bancks Book Week 2017 ideas post and this crafty poster I am starting to set the scene for another exciting Children’s Book Week in 2017.

It turns out the school rabbit is male and now lives with the Year 4 teacher who has informed me Mrs Lettuce was found – the Vet knew Mrs Lettuce was lost and assured her that she was found and safe back home.