The Australian Reading Hour – a perfect fit for school libraries

Anita McMillan
Knowledge and Learning Resources Manager
West Moreton Anglican College

It is exciting to be involved in a process where different industries band together to create a whole that is worth far more than the sum of its parts. It is both professionally and personally exciting when it’s all about what we love best – reading.

I’ve had the honour of working with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and a number of other book industry giants to take the Australian Reading Hour campaign to new heights. This year on Thursday 14 September we are asking all Australians to set aside one hour to read. Libraries, bookshops, publishers, authors, illustrators, politicians and corporations will all be involved.

As school library staff, we are in the perfect position to organise, facilitate (or at the very least encourage) such a reading activity for our entire school community – staff, students, parents and supporters.

What is the Australian Reading Hour?

The Australian Reading Hour’s premise is simple.

It’s about picking up an Australian book and reading for an hour any time during the day or night on Thursday 14 September.

The Australian Reading Hour is the first cross-industry reading campaign supported by the whole book industry – the Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Library and Information Association, the Australian Literary Agents’ Association, and the Copyright Agency.

How can my school be involved?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Register your school at readinghour.org.au, and download the school information pack from the ‘Resources’ tab.
  • Let your school community know about the Australian Reading Hour via newsletters, emails, your learning management system, the library site itself, digital signage and social media.
  • Create a display of your favourite Australian books in your library.
  • Leave some library books in your school’s staffroom.
  • Post on social media about your favourite Australian books and favourite time and place to read.
  • Post on social media about what you will be reading for the Australian Reading Hour on 14 September.
  • Create a reading nook that will encourage your readers to come in and read in the library.
  • Host a reading lunch hour or reading camp-out.
  • Tweet about the Reading Hour on the day, using #brbReading (stands for Be Right Back – Reading).

How can I find out more?

The official Australian Reading Hour website provides the opportunity to register and access resources.

ALIA has put together an event site, with lots of useful ideas and information.

The Australian Reading Hour is managed by Cheryl Akle, Better Reading. You can contact Cheryl via email: cheryl@betterreading.com.au.

Enjoy leading and encouraging your school community to take one hour out of their busy schedules on 14 September, to read.

Mackay libraries unite for award-winning Anzac project

In 2016, the ANZAC 100 Mackay Remembers: Field of Poppies Project received the Queensland School Library Association's Brian Bahnisch Award. The facilitator of the project, Margaret Spillman, shares her story, and how the community worked together to commemorate the ongoing Anzac centenary in a meaningful way.

Margaret Spillman
Teacher librarian
Mackay West State School

During the lead-up to the Anzac Centenary I wondered how we as a school community might honour the memory of those who served. In particular, I wanted a way for our students to be actively involved, as the future of the Anzac traditions lies in the hands of our young people. I was inspired by the Sea of Poppies outside the Tower of London. While the poppy might commonly be used for Remembrance Day, I decided to use it for our project as well because it is such a strong visual symbol for all those who served.

My concept was that students would create a poppy using a red plastic plate. This would have a soldier’s name written across the front. It would be attached to a bamboo stake and ‘planted’ on the front lawn of the Mackay Regional Council building in the week before Anzac Day 2015.

Continue reading Mackay libraries unite for award-winning Anzac project

SCIS is heading to NZ in March

It’s been five months since SCIS was last in NZ, and we’re getting ready to come back.

We’re hosting professional learning workshops in Auckland (15 March), Wellington (18 March) and Christchurch (21 March). These workshops – hosted by SCIS Manager Ben Chadwick and Director of Metadata and Library Services Rachel Elliott – are suitable for SCIS subscribers and non-subscribers, and are a great way to learn how to make the most of SCIS while catching up with other school library staff.

Not a subscriber? If you would like to check out what SCIS offers before heading to one of our open workshops, register for a free trial. You can browse through the SCIS catalogue, download records in SCISWeb, and check out how we can assist with your resource management and collection development. We’d love to have a chat and answer any questions at the workshop.

At each location, we will host two workshops: a free one-hour information session, as well as a three-hour workshop aimed for subscribers, Making the Most of SCIS. Places are limited for all sessions, so register here to secure your spot.

  • Making the Most of SCIS workshop ($55.00AUD)
    These workshops are open to all school library staff. The workshop offers an in-depth understanding of how SCIS can assist to provide a more effective library service for school libraries. Participants will enhance their understanding of SCIS as a database of consistent catalogue records for educational resources, created to international standards.This workshop includes materials and light catering.
  • SCIS Information Session (FREE)
    In each location, we are also hosting a one-hour session for non-subscribers who wish to know more about SCIS and the services we provide.

To register for our NZ workshops, click here.

For more information about our professional learning sessions, including our upcoming webinar series that will begin 16 February, click here.

If you have any questions, pop them in an email to our customer service team at scisinfo@esa.edu.au.

We hope to see you while we’re in New Zealand.

Webinars Term 1 2016

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Would you like to participate in SCIS training from the comfort of your own desk?

Over three Tuesdays, beginning February 16 and ending March 1, SCIS will be hosting professional learning webinar sessions to teach you how to make the most out of SCIS products and services. Webinars are open to all school library staff, and are a great way to learn more about how SCIS can assist your library’s collection development, with the opportunity to chat with fellow library staff in Australia and New Zealand throughout the session.

Sessions are approximately 45-60 minutes, and we are always happy to answer questions about SCIS products and services at the end of each session. Registration is essential.

Tune into the following webinars to find out how you can use SCIS not only as a resource management tool, but as a form of content curation to direct you  and your users to useful, educational resources for the library and the classroom.

Introduction to SCIS (FREE)
Tuesday 16 February 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
A free overview of SCIS products and services and how they can help to organise resources in schools. This webinar includes an overview of how SCIS subscribers can request and download records.

Downloading SCIS records ($25.00)
Tuesday 23 February 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
This webinar looks at how you can turn a set of resources, whether they are digital or physical items, into catalogue records that your students and staff can find and use for teaching and learning outcomes.

Search and selection on the SCIS catalogue ($25.00)
Tuesday 1 March 2016, 2-3pm AEST, 5-6pm NZST
This webinar looks at providing techniques for searching on the SCIS catalogue, and using SCIS as a resource identification tool.

How do I register?

Click here to register your interest, and join us on Tuesday 16 February for the first webinar in the series, Introduction to SCIS. As webinar participants will be tuning in from a number of different time zones, please check the registration link for your particular session time.

If you cannot make it to your session time, we will email a recording of the webinar to all registered participants within three working days.

For more information about upcoming professional learning sessions including workshops in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne, and Brisbane, please visit our Professional learning page.

Hope to catch you there.

The SCIS team

(CC0 image supplied by www.pexels.com)

Australia Day

Australia Day, January 26, is considered to be a commemoration of nationhood by many Australians. For other Australians, however, it marks a deep loss – of sovereignty, family and culture. Here are some titles from the SCIS catalogue which look at the clash between European settlers and the Aboriginal peoples:

1788 to 1809 : from First Fleet to Rum Rebellion by Victoria MacLeay ; [edited by Lynn Brodie].(SCIS No. 1552979).  The first 22 years of the colonisation of Australia began with the arrival of the First Fleet and ended with the aftermath of the only military insurrection Australia has ever experienced. This book covers the major events: the arrival at Botany Bay, the settlement at Sydney Cove, the battle to survive, heroic explorations, and tensions between the new arrivals and indigenous peoples. ISBN 9780864271136

A commonwealth of thieves: the improbable birth of Australia by Thomas Keneally. (SCIS No. 1627531)
The history of the first four years of the convict settlement of Australia. Using personal journals and documents, Keneally re-creates the overseas voyage and the challenges Governor Arthur Phillips faced upon arrival: unruly convicts, disgruntled officers, bewildered and hostile natives, food shortages and disease. He also offers portrayals of Aborigines and convict settler. ISBN 9781400079568

That deadman dance by Kim Scott.(SCIS No. 1595239)
Told through the eyes of black and white, this is a story about a fledgling Western Australian community in the early 1800s, known as the “friendly frontier”. It shows that the first contact did not have to lead to war. ISBN 9781408829288

Rethinking settler colonialism : history and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa  edited by Annie E. Coombes (SCIS No. 1638689)
Focuses on the long history of contact between indigenous peoples and the white colonial communities who settled in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Looks at how histories of colonial settlement have been mythologised, narrated, and embodied in these countries in the twentieth century. ISBN 9780719071690

A failure to understand: early colonialism and the indigenous peoples by Margaret McPhee. (SCIS No. 1659262).  A look at the monumental clash between European colonalism and the Aboriginal peoples; from the first tentative and difficult interactions of the early explorers to the arrival of the First Fleet. ISBN 9781742455136

The Australian frontier wars 1788-1838 by John Connor  (SCIS No 1112716).  From the Swan River to the Hawkesbury, and from the sticky Arnhem Land mangrove to the soft green hills of Tasmania, this book describes the major conflicts fought on the Australian frontier to 1838.  ISBN 0868407569

The other side of the frontier: Aboriginal resistance to the European invasion of Australia by Henry Reynolds (SCIS No. 1311253). The publication of this book in 1981 profoundly changed the way in which we understand the history of relations between indigenous Australians and European settlers. ISBN 0868408921

Forgotten war by Henry Reynolds (SCIS No. 1623535).  Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas, but there are no official commemorations of the battles fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists. ISBN 9781742233925

The Black War : fear, sex and resistance in Tasmania by Nicholas Clements (SCIS No. 1659002)
Between 1825 and 1831 close to 200 Britons and 1000 Aborigines died violently in Tasmania’s Black War. It was by far the most intense frontier conflict in Australia’s history, yet many Australians know little about it. ISBN 9780702250064

All images and summaries provided by SCIS Syndetics

The Australian frontier wars
The Australian frontier wars
That deadman dance
That deadman dance
Commonwealth of thieves
Commonwealth of thieves
The other side of the frontier
The other side of the frontier

‘We remember ANZAC’

‘We remember ANZAC’ resource kits were sent to all schools in Australia this week.
They have been produced by the Department of Veteran Affairs in preparation for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
The kits themselves do not have ISBN’s but can be downloaded using their SCIS record numbers or by title.

  • Primary resource 1689387
  • Secondary resource 1689388

There are three books over the two  kits that do have ISBN’s. Bibliographic records have been created for them in case schools wish to split up the kit.

 

We remember ANZAC

Indigenous Literacy Day

Lottie gets caught reading Anita Heiss
Lottie gets caught reading Anita Heiss

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation was set up in 2005 by Suzy Wilson, with the aim of lifting literacy rates and opportunities for young indigenous children living in remote communities. The fund is supported by the Australian Book Industry and is a not for profit charity. You can find out more about the organization here.

Its main fundraising activity is Indigenous Literacy Day, which took place on 3 September this year. Many schools and libraries  hosted book swap sessions with book publishers and book sellers donating a percentage of sales to the fund.

Individuals who still wish to donate can Get caught reading

 

 

Here is a snapshot of what the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has achieved in 2014

120000 books supplied
120000 books supplied

The Indigenous Literacy Fund website is also a powerful resource, SCIS subscribers can download the catalogue record (SCIS No. 1534140)

What did your school do for International Literacy Day?

SCIS Asks 2013: The view from the school library

Di Ruffles from Melbourne Grammar School was invited to set the scene for the SCIS Asks 2013 consultation forum and provide her wishlist for school library services.

Di Ruffles
Di Ruffles, Melbourne Grammar

Di stated her top five issues in school libraries as:

  1. Staffing
    Demonstration of the value of the school library to principals and school councils is essential
  2. Budgets
    Plateauing of budget figures is a trend being noticed across many schools
  3. Resourcing the Australian Curriculum
    Phase 1 learning areas (English, Maths, History and Science) is a priority. Then resourcing of new learning areas.
  4. Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
    Development of programs and resources to support these and,
  5. Australian Curriculum Cross curriculum priority areas

At her school Di noted, iPads are being used through the school with Year 12 providing their own choice of device. Students are not necessarily accessing the same information at the same time. E-Books are causing issues importing into the various devices in a  BYOT school environment.

Identification of suitable apps for teacher resources and for use by students is  featuring increasingly. Particularly useful apps include  an app for the library catalogue as well as the EasyBib app  which means students can scan  a book’s ISBN for a  citation.

For students and staff 24/7 access to resources is important, as is providing resources in a variety of formats: print, e-book, DVD, audiobooks and digital video library (eg. Clickview).   Journals and databases of e-journals are used extensively. Di is seeing less use of the print non–fiction collection. Non-fiction eBooks are used but not necessarily a preferred option for all students. Students are not so fussed with format but the item must be relevant.

Di looked at the changing role of the teacher librarian and used ‘What do teacher librarians teach’ by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones  to highlight the  multifaceted role of teacher librarians. Evaluating resources is an important focus for teacher librarians, as is digital citizenship and educating students about  plagiarism. The library’s website includes research guides (which suggests catalogue subject headings) and  a Harvard style referencing tool.

Di highlighted how teacher librarians at her school are working with classroom teachers, for example in a new subject for 2014, Extended Investigation (inspired by International Baccalaureate) which aims to develop student’s capacity to identify and ask good questions, research an area of interest in depth and prepare for university level study.

SCIS Asks 2013: The future of the library catalogue

Philip Hider,  Head of the School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University presented his vision for the future of the library catalogue for the SCIS Consultation 2013.

Philip Hider
Information Resource Description:
Philip Hider
Available from
www.inbooks.com.au
SCIS no. 1624199
ISBN 978 1 85604 667 1

Based on his latest book, Information Resource Description: creating and managing metadata (2012) published by Facet, Philip outlined three approaches to metadata creation, and considered  how cataloguing services like SCIS might develop a hybrid model around these three approaches into the future.

  1. content-based retrieval, eg. search engines
  2. metadata-based retrieval: socially generated
  3. metadata-based retrieval: professional description:

Philip’s vision for future library systems included:

  • Finding, identifying and obtaining supported mostly by content-based systems
  • Selecting supported by user reviews & professional metadata
  • Navigation supported by controlled vocabularies

Phillip recommended that future priorities for SCIS should include providing metadata for key resource to support curriculum in controlled fields, to support tagging done by teachers and students and to manage or co-manage controlled vocabularies such as ScOT.

2013 Victorian Readers’ Cup

The Readers’ Cup is a free competition for schools to enter teams.  It aims to support and encourage readers and reading.  When I was a  teacher librarian at OLMC in Heidelberg we had participated several times.  We ran the competition out of the school library and sponsored the winning team into the finals.  Teams are quizzed on their knowledge of the books that they have read and make a creative response to one of the titles using web 2.0 tools.  This is an activity that runs well in structured library lessons.

2013-07-05 17.32.08
Lottie and the Wishbird. Photo by Michael Jongen CC-by

Judith Way started the Readers Cup, initially with SLAV but for the last couple of years they have been held at Quantum.  As Judith says

“The Readers’ Cup is not funded at all – we simply give our time to encourage students to read and to love book.”

It was a pleasure this year to be involved by being asked to be one of the judges .  It was lovely to see the knowledge that the students had of the books and to watch their presentations giving their emotional and creative responses to the books.  There was a shared spirit of enthusiasm and love for reading in the room.  You can find a report on the Readers’ cup here.

You can find out  how to go about running  the Victorian Readers Cup in your school and further information here.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia run Readers Cups in Queensland and Tasmania