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 stated her top five issues in school libraries as:
Demonstration of the value of the school library to principals and school councils is essential
Plateauing of budget figures is a trend being noticed across many schools
Resourcing the Australian Curriculum
Phase 1 learning areas (English, Maths, History and Science) is a priority. Then resourcing of new learning areas.
Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
Development of programs and resources to support these and,
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
catalogue records for resources are unavailable or unsatisfactory
e-resources are not available, or not managed or used appropriately
time to manage resources is limited and/or wasted
library system 7%
system does not meet school’s needs
resources are not promoted to staff and students
budget for resources is inadequate
staff responsible for managing resources are not doing this effectively or do not exist
technology required to use curriculum resources is not available and/or inadequate
finding what resources the school has, and where they are located, is difficult
weeding of resources does not occur regularly
access to resources is inadequate
age of collection 4%
outdated resources are retained
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
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
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.”
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?
On Tuesday 4 December 2012 SCIS conducted a consultation workshop with SCIS partners discussing future priorities in our support for school libraries.
Judy O’Connell, Course Director (Teacher Librarianship) at Charles Sturt University started the day with a set of challenges that covered collections, search, cataloguing, curriculum, interoperability and access. Her presentation Strategic directions for school libraries reinforced the context within which education libraries need to work. These included curriculum, the cloud and game-based learning in a library environment which is both physical and virtual.
The challenge to participants was to rethink library catalogues, which should no longer be seen as simply tools for locating records. Interrogation of data from different data pools requires new thinking and a new user focus. We need to change our technology interface to provide a natural, predictive and responsive search capacity. Web 3.0 challenges us to make library search into a discovery interface.
“How does search impact the way students think, and the way we organise information access?”
Judy pointed out that the search experience influences how students see information structure. Students conceptualise information and the search environment differently, and the way they search should influence the way that we organise information. The learning technologies environment has changed since library management systems were first designed, and we must not lose sight of what is happening in other areas of information retrieval. The importance of metadata developments, including Resource Description and Access (RDA), mean we cannot take old thinking into new information environments.
On 12 July 2010 Education Services Australia (ESA) was represented at the Adelaide hearing of the Parliamentary Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools. Also appearing were representatives of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA), the Joint Use Libraries Association of Australia, the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Public Libraries South Australia, Friends of Libraries Australia and the University of South Australia (UniSA).
Thanks to the Parliament of Australia’s live broadcasting program we were able to listen to the hearing from Melbourne, posting some of the significant issues from the hearing to twitter! ESA’s position is that national collaborative services such as SCIS and edna provide essential tools for teacher librarians in delivering services to their users. Our key recommendation is for an adequate distribution of funding for the ongoing development of school library staff in both specific library-related professional development and as a key element of whole school development.
ALIA and UniSA both argued for a need to expand tertiary education options for teacher librarians and to educate teachers in information literacy skills. The Friends of Libraries Australia emphasised that the relationship and connection between school and public libraries needs to occur more systematically and can’t work without teacher librarians.
An article in AdelaideNow highlights the popularity of libraries in South Australia and briefly reports on the concerns about teacher librarian shortages and funding which were raised at the hearing.
Education Services Australia, as SCIS’s parent body, has put forward a submission to the inquiry arguing for an adequate distribution of funding for the ongoing development of school library staff in both specific library-related professional development and as part of generic whole school development, and further discusses how major policies and investments such as the Australian Curriculum and theDigital Education Revolution impact strongly on the use of resources that support teaching and learning in schools and argues that the work of teacher librarians has become even more important as a result. Representatives of Education Services Australia have been invited to attend the hearing in Adelaide on July 12.
All submissions, including that submitted by Education Services Australia (No.119), are available in PDF format (excepting those designated Parliamentary-in-Confidence) from the inquiry’s submissions page. An extraordinarily diverse array of individuals and groups have submitted responses to the inquiry – and it must be said it is heartening to see organisations not directly related to libraries such as the Queensland Teachers’ Union (No. 240), and the Copyright Agency (No.289) putting submissions forward which strongly defend the importance of the role played by libraries and teacher librarians in schools, alongside library organisations such as ALIA (No.332) and ASLA (No.327).
This inquiry has the potential to strongly affect all school libraries and librarians, so do take the time to review some of the submissions and to follow the outcomes of the hearings – and get in contact with your library associations to put your 2 cents in too!