The 21st century library

In the 21st century school libraries need to consider their spaces, the role of the teacher librarian, and the move to digital content and access in the age of BYOD (Bring your own device). In Australian schools, demonstration of the value of the school library to principals and school councils is essential as they look at resourcing the Australian Curriculum.

‘What do teacher librarians teach’ by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones  is an excellent infographic 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.  Increasingly, teacher librarians are working with classroom teachers to develop their students’ capacity to identify and ask good questions, and to improve study and research skills.

Modern school library design may look more to the contemporary approach of buildings such as Trinity Grammar’s Tudor Centre, which brings together library, curriculum, and technology staff.

In the age of BYOD students are not necessarily accessing the same information at the same time. For students and staff 24/7 access to resources is important, as is providing resources in a variety of formats: print, e-book, DVD, audiobook and digital video library. Identification of suitable apps for teacher resources and for use by students is  featuring increasingly.  While we may be seeing a drop in the use of our non-fiction print collections this may not be a matter of student preference.  Content and relevancy are important regardless of format.

In most schools the school library catalogue is the only place where users can search for school-owned/licensed resources all in one place. School library catalogues provide access to learning resources for the school community.  While students and teachers can use a search engine to find millions of online resources, this search will return everything online EXCEPT the very resources that the school or system has actually selected and paid for.

The student or staff member seeking books, information, and learning resources expects to do one search and for that search to return all the relevant material available to them, regardless of its format or its location.  Single point of search assumes an integrated set of search results, which requires integrated metadata.

21st century, next generation library systems will need to include digital rights management, a seamless secure single sign-on, and federated searching across a variety of resources, databases and collections.  Next generation systems will need the ability to connect with  a variety of devices and, increasingly, to provide a personalised service similar to the Amazon or Google experience.

This is why making digital content discoverable through school library catalogues is essential.
For a long time a priority for library staff has been to organise the physical library space in ways that are attractive and encourage users to visit and explore, as well as making it easy for them to find what they need, and assist browsing for inspiration. We work to make location and lending of resources as seamless and self-servicing as possible. We now have additional responsibilities. As well as serving our users who are visitors, browsers and borrowers of physical items in a physical library space, we now need to serve our library users accessing and downloading resources in virtual spaces.

Bus wrapped with SAP Big Data by IntelFreePress http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
Bus wrapped with SAP Big Data by IntelFreePress http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Enhanced content in SCIS catalogue

The SCIS Catalogue is a valuable starting point for school staff looking to identify books, digital resources and websites to support the curriculum, and subscribers are encouraged to use it as a selection aid for locating resources that are required for a particular purpose in a school. While providing catalogue records is core business, SCIS recognises the value of enhancing the catalogue record where possible with any information that may help school staff discover and review resources of interest.

In July 2011 SCIS added enhanced content services from Syndetics Solutions and LibraryThing for Libraries to the SCIS Catalogue, via a subscription with Thorpe-Bowker. The bibliographic records in SCIS OPAC are enhanced to display additional detail about resources, including plot summaries, author notes, awards and reviews. This content is delivered to SCIS by linked data based on ISBN.

Consider the subject headings and notes if using SCIS Catalogue as a selection tool
Figure 1: If using SCIS Catalogue as a selection tool, consider using the Subject Headings and notes

The SCIS Catalogue bibliographic record display provides a link to Google Books. The Google books link/s (if any) will appear at the bottom of the display.
There are three possible links:

  • Entire book is viewable
  • A portion of the book is viewable
  • “About This Book” information is available.

These links will enrich search results with lists of relevant books, journal articles, web page citations and links to related works and full text when available.

Google Books link in SCIS Catalogue record
Figure 2: Google Books link in SCIS Catalogue record

 

Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue
Individual records from SCIS Catalogue can be saved directly to selected social media services as bookmarks. The persistent website address (URL) for these records will be in the format http://opac.scis.curriculum.edu.au/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1411770 where the bibID is the SCIS number for that record.
Note that you will need a subscription to the social bookmarking service you wish to use, and anyone accessing these SCIS records from your bookmarking service will need to be a SCIS subscriber.
The social bookmarking services currently supported include delicious.com, diigo.com, facebook.com, google.com and StumbleUpon.com.

Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue full record screen
Figure 3. Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue full record screen

 

Images linked to Google Books are not available for download from SCIS. The book cover image from Thorpe Bowker located within the catalogue data (if available) can be downloaded into your library management system from our orders page or via your system’s z39.50 connection. Subscriber schools may also display the images on the school website including blogs, wikis, online newsletters and the school intranet.

Syndetics content in SCIS Catalogue
Through the subscription service Syndetics, SCIS offers additional descriptive and evaluative information where available including:

  • summaries and annotations
  • fiction and biography profiles
  • summaries and annotations
  • fiction and biography profiles
  • author notes
  • awards
  • books in a series

Syndetics reviews
Syndetics delivers edited reviews from authoritative reviewing sources including:

  • Bookseller & Publisher reviews
  • New York Times reviews
  • School Library Journal reviews
  • Publishers Weekly reviews
  • The Horn Book reviews
  • Kirkus reviews

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?

Connections 90

The latest issue of the SCIS journal, Connections, has been sent to all schools, and is available online.
Highlights of Connections 90 include:-

Taking Note of Nonfiction
Peter Macinnis, who presented the ‘Clayton’s list’ for the Eve Pownall award for information books, shares his insights into what makes a good information book.

Boori Monty Pryor with Dr Anita Heiss at BlackWords Symposium 2012.
Boori Monty Pryor with Dr Anita Heiss at BlackWords Symposium 2012.  courtesy of Blackwords

Learning Online: MOOCs for library staff
Martin Gray, a teacher librarian from Singleton High School, looks at how he used MOOCs to further his professional learning with two very different online courses.

BlackWords: Celebrating writers and storytellers
Writer and activist, Dr. Anita Heiss looks at BlackWords and AustLit, which are freely available for schools, and how they can assist in embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into the curriculum.

Following IndigenousX
SCIS’s Michael Jongen looks at the IndigenousX curated Twitter account and how it can help educators to hear a diverse range of authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

Bring the Teachers In: Enticing teachers into the library
Library Manager at Wellington College, New Zealand, Brett Moodie, wanted to boost the profile of the library within the school and support the learning and information needs of staff.

 

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 discovery systems

This SCIS Asks 2013 presentation by Alan Manifold, Digital and Library Applications Manager at the State Library of Victoria sets the future of library discovery architecture in the context of the evolution of library systems and search. Alan outlined the purpose of metadata as being to:

Alan Manifold and Ben Chadwick
Ben Chadwick and Alan Manifold
SCIS, CC-by-nc
  • Authorize
  • Limit
  • Evaluate
  • Categorize
  • Link

He postulated that the format of the item no longer matters, it is about providing connections between resource and curriculum and resources inside and outside the library.  The catalogue which was once designed for inventory control has morphed into a search engine.

Alan posed questions about the evolution in libraries and catalogues in the age of electronic resources, searchable full text and mega-aggregate sites.  He touched upon discovery products such as EBSCO, WorldCat Local and the State Library of Victoria’s Primo Central. A useful observation was that while school students need authoritative information as soon as possible, they tend not to require a specific title or edition of a work.

His advice was that SCIS needs to provide connections between resources and curriculum and external indexes and search platforms.  He recommends SCIS

  • continue to provide quality metadata
  • increase the connecting of resources with curriculum
  • work on linking controlled vocabularies
  • highlight diversity of resources and formats and
  • explore ways to rate materials

Education Services records its thanks to Alan for his clear thinking and recommendations.

 

 

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

 

Collections pre-survey

What issues are schools facing in resourcing the curriculum?

During 2013 SCIS has been conducting informal surveying of school library staff who attend workshops, asking them the free text question:
What are your current collection issues?

This survey closed at the end of Term 3 with a total of 85 respondents. The results were then coded, revealing what the researcher saw as 16 distinct issues.
While the frequency of each category being mentioned in a response is shown in the table below, the goal of the pre-survey was to collect a range of responses from which to prepare a more in-depth survey. The fact that respondents were attending a cataloguing professional learning activity at the time of completing this survey question, may well explain the high occurrence of ‘cataloguing’ as an issue.

What are your current collection issues survey responses
Collection issues survey responses. Sep 2013

 

Categories

  • cataloguing 14%
    catalogue records for resources are unavailable or unsatisfactory
  • e-resources 13%
    e-resources are not available,  or not managed or used appropriately
  • time 9%
    time to manage resources is limited and/or wasted
  • library system 7%
    system does not meet school’s needs
  • promotion 7%
    resources are not promoted to staff and students
  • budget 6%
    budget for resources is inadequate
  • staff 6%
    staff responsible for managing resources are not doing this effectively or do not exist
  • technology 6%
    technology required to use curriculum resources is not available and/or inadequate
  • search 5%
    finding what resources the school has, and where they are located, is difficult
  • weeding 5%
    weeding of resources does not occur regularly
  • access 4%
    access to resources is inadequate
  • age of collection 4%
    outdated resources are retained
  • balance 4%
    balance between print and digital resources is lacking
  • collection use 4%
    staff and students do not use school resources
  • OPAC use 3%
    staff and students do not use OPAC to find resources
  • professional learning 3%
    professional learning in resourcing the curriculum required

 What’s next?

You can contribute to the next stage of this research by responding to the survey at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/scisresearch.

Highlights of Connections 84

You can now read the latest issue of Connections at the SCIS website.

GR8 Debate digital culture is killing reading

The GR8 debate was organized in celebration of the National Year of Reading and explored how digital technologies such as iPads, social media and the instant internet culture impact upon our core, traditional abilities and views of reading and writing. Both sides battled it out with a diverse array of serious and humorous academic arguments

Banned Books Week 2012 at Sunshine College

How Sunshine College celebrated Book week by looking at banned books

“The students were shocked that their favourite books had not been allowed in some places, including their much-loved year 10 class text, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Suddenly, they could feel deliciously naughty while defending freedom of speech. They raided the shelves to find their favourite banned or challenged books. They then decided which passages to read, discussing, arguing, and testing them on each other.”

Creating displays part 2: the practical side

Anita Vandenberghe in her previous article talked about the philosophy of displays – what is the story behind it? Why should we have displays and would people even notice them?  In this issue she highlights the practical side of display. Where to start, what topic to choose, where to get ideas, what material to use and how to prepare yourself?

Collective knowledge construction: four new strategies for learning

How to Connect, Communicate and Collaborate in order to learn Collectively.

QR codes, linking print and online collections

An interesting summarized exploration of how to create meaningful two-way links between the libraries online and print collections.

SCIS asks: ScOT and subject access

In the subject access session of the SCIS consultation on 4 December 2012, Les Kneebone Project Manager of the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) presented an exciting overview of recent developments in the ScOT thesaurus. Key features that position ScOT for the future include:

  • its ongoing development with input from cataloguers, curriculum developers, subject matter experts and users
  • its use to describe the machine-readable Australian Curriculum
  • its linked data API facilitating automatic semantic relationships
  • its translation into languages including Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Māori
  • its use to describe a wide range of resources through the National Digital Learning Resource Network and SCIS

Discussion followed as to future directions for SCIS in the area of subject access.

Les Kneebone
Les Kneebone presents an overview of ScOT

The ScOT in SCIS project commenced in 2006 when the thinking was that keyword searching would become the pre-eminent means of resource retrieval. Since then SCIS has offered schools the option of downloading both SCIS Subject Headings and ScOT terms in their catalogue records. The challenge is how to manage and display both SCIS subject headings and ScOT terms in a meaningful way for users in order to exploit the inferred links between resources tagged with ScOT terms that match a curriculum tagged with ScOT terms.

Also discussed was an alternative scenario of transition from use of SCIS Subject Headings to ScOT terms and how schools would manage this process.