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

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


SLANZA On the wave
The School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa SLANZA 2011 conference kicked off on Sunday afternoon 17 July at St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland and SCIS is pleased to be part of this exciting three day conference.

Tricia Nathan and Pru Mitchell from the SCIS  team are at Stand 3 on Level 1 of the Information Centre Exhibition space. We look forward to catching up with New Zealand school library staff, library system vendors and presenters. There are several SCIS presentations happening throughout the programme.


Monday 18 July
Collection development life savers (Tricia Nathan) in the Auditorium 11.00-11.45 am

Giving your collection real authority (Tricia Nathan) in I09 2.40-3.25 pm

Tuesday 19 July
Professional learning horizons (Pru Mitchell) in the Media Lab 11.00 am-12.40 pm

Wednesday 20 July
MARC my e-books (Pru Mitchell) in I09 2.30-3.15 pm

SCIS will also be part of the conference social media stream at Twitter @schoolscatinfo and our new Facebook page.
The conference hashtag is #slanza11

SCIS NZ workshops

SCIS is pleased to offer the following workshops in New Zealand in July 2011

Click here to register for SCIS NZ workshops

North Island NZWELLINGTON, TUESDAY 12 JULY 2011 9.00am-12.00pm

National Library NZ Training room, 77 Thorndon Quay

HAMILTON: WEDNESDAY 13 JULY 2011 9.00am-12.30pm
Melville High School, 6 Collins Road

AUCKLAND: FRIDAY 15 JULY 2011 9.00am-12.30pm
St Cuthbert’s College, 122 Market Road, Epsom, AUCKLAND – NOTE venue change


This half day workshop is open to all school library staff and provides an understanding of how SCIS cataloguing services can assist to provide a more effective library service to your school community. Participants will enhance their understanding of SCIS as a database of consistent catalogue records for education resources created to agreed standards.

Learn how to customise your SCIS profile, and make the most of book cover images, catalogue records for digital resources, educational websites and e-books.

Find out how to use SCIS Authority Files to save time and enhance your library catalogue.

Presenter: Pru Mitchell, SCIS Subscriber Support Coordinator

Many thanks to the National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools for assistance in organisation of venues for SCIS workshops.

How do I register?

You will need to complete the online registration form in order to reserve a place at the workshop.

If your school requires other documentation beyond a printout of the online form, please register online and then email with what you require.

SCIS will invoice participants after the workshop. The cost per registration will be AUD$50.00.

What about the South Island?

We look forward to planning workshops for other regions in 2012, so even if you are unable to attend the July 2011 sessions, you are invited to indicate your interest in future workshops on the online registration form so we can contact you when these are organised.

School Library Advocacy YSL6

Evidence & Image is the focus of the Your School Library conference being held online from 4 – 18 March 2011.

An impressive array of international guests will provide presentations on the theme of school library advocacy and help school library staff develop strategies to explain the value of the library to administrators, colleagues and parents.

School libraries are not a luxury item – they are essential to learning. But getting that message out is a challenge.


Presenters and participants will share success stories from around the world
Gary Hartzell – Stephen Krashen – Keith Curry Lance – Carolyn Foote – Tricia Adams – Jerry Hurst – Maureen Twomey – Georgia Phillips – Sharon Bird, MP – Lisa Perez –  Buffy Hamilton – Sarah Pavey
Further details are available in the YSL6 flyer (pdf, 597kb)

Once registered you will receive a login to the Sosius online forum where each day a new presentation is loaded, and email discussion gets underway. The online forum allows you to work entirely at times that suit you, but to get maximum value from the conference many find it important to negotiate at least one professional development or work from home session during this time.
The tag for the conference is #ysl6

PD Planning 2011

Last Friday the Australian National Professional Standards for Teachers were released with some strong statements about professional engagement and professional learning. National Professional Standards for Teachers

Standard 6 – Engage in professional learning
Standard 7 – Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community

The timing of the standards publication is apt, as school library professional associations and other professional learning providers in Australian and New Zealand are getting started on their professional learning calendars for the year. Here are some of the upcoming highlights which SCIS is involved in.

SCIS Seminar, ACT, Friday 18 February 2011

SCIS is running its first ‘Making the Most of SCIS’ training seminar for 2011 at the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Canberra, on Friday 18 February.

This training will highlight how SCIS cataloguing services can assist staff to provide a more effective library service to their school community. Learn how you can customise your SCIS profile to optimise your use of SCIS. Make the most of book cover images, catalogue records for TLF learning objects, Clickview files, educational websites and e-books. Find out how to use SCIS Authority Files to save you time and enhance your library catalogue.

It’s not too late to register your interest at:

ASLA ACT AGM and PD Day, Canberra Grammar School, Saturday 19 February 2011

Pru Mitchell, SCIS Subscriber Coordinator will be presenting a session on ‘Rethinking the OPAC’ at the ASLA ACT conference on Saturday 19 February at Canberra Grammar School, Red Hill. The programme includes:

Lyn Hay, Charles Sturt University:  The Future of School Library: A State of Emergency?
Delia Browne, Copyright Advisory Group: Copyright Issues for Educators in the Digital World
Sue Martin, Burgmann Anglican College: Glogster workshops
Paul MacDonald, Beecroft Childrens Bookshop: The Place of the Book in the E-Book Age

Register for this conference at:

AISWA Resource discovery and the OPAC, Scotch College WA, Wednesday 23 February 2011

This workshop is being offered through the Association of Independent Schools of WA (AISWA) on Wednesday 23 February at 4.00pm, Bunning Resource Centre, Scotch College Swanbourne.
Register at:

Planning your PD for 2011

The edna Library events calendar lists further opportunities for school library staff planning their professional learning and professional engagement for the year.

Library Lovers Day Happy Library Lovers Day!

Connections 74 hits the streets and online!

Courtesy of  flickrCC:

The current issue of Connections has a bumper crop of original articles! 

If you want to share information of relevance and importance to school libraries, please contact the Connections Editor.

Image courtesy of flickrCC.


SCIS is on the road again – in Vic., S.A. and N.Z.

South Australian outback

In the next two months SCIS staff will be running a series of training sessions on how to get the most out of your SCIS subscription. The training will highlight how SCIS cataloguing products can be used to provide a more effective library service, including how you can customise your SCIS profile to optimise your use of SCIS, information about book cover images,  special order files for educational websites and TLF learning objects, and how the use of SCIS Authority Files has the potential to save you time by inserting references into your library catalogue.

The training sessions will be kicking off this Monday at the SLAV Shared learning conference for library technicians and assistants, with our SCIS manager Leonie Bourke conducting one of the first concurrent sessions of the day.  SCIS will also have a trade stall at the conference, with our Marketing Manager Tricia Nathan and Customer Support Officer Elaine Jeffries present to answer any queries you may have about SCIS.

In May, we will also be running a series of training sessions for New Zealand/Aotearoa, conducted by one of our excellent catalaguing staff, Bruce Moir, who is based in Dunedin. Bruce’s background includes secondary school teaching, working in Children’s and Young People’s Services at Dunedin Public Library, Mosgiel Library Manager, and working as a Library Adviser at National Library where he was on project teams which promoted the use of SCIS.

SCIS cataloguer Bruce Moir
SCIS cataloguer Bruce Moir

Bruce will be conducting sessions on the following dates and locations:

6 May  –  Auckland
7 May  –  Hamilton
13, 14 May –  Christchurch
19 May –  Dunedin
26 May –  Wellington
27 May –  Palmerston North

In the same month, Tricia Nathan will be running SCIS training sessions for South Australian schools.  Although most of the SA sessions are fully booked out, some sessions still have vacancies, so if you are interested in attending please don’t hesitate to contact us at SCIS to see if we can squeeze you in! The SA dates and locations are as follows:

18, 19, 20, 21 May – Adelaide
26 May – Mount Gambier
28 May – Whyalla

The lovely image of the South Australian outback is from Flickr Creative Commons, contributed by intrepid traveller Prince Roy. / CC BY 2.0

RSS readers, Feral Learning and PLEs


For its sheer enthusiasm, one of my favourite blog posts of the new year was by Stephanie Zimmerman for the ALA Learning blog, on the subject of feral learning activities and personal learning environments (commonly referred to as PLEs).
Feral learning is autodidactism, in a nutshell – an individualised learning experience in which the user takes responsibility for their own training needs and education, while PLEs support the feral learning/autodidactic experience by allowing the user to create a highly individualised, digital environment where they can gather together a variety of resources in the same place.

More and more, the internet is becoming a source of readily available, credible professional resources, and a great first step in creating your own PLE is setting up an RSS aggregator (also more commonly referred to an RSS reader), like Google Reader, Bloglines, or  Newsgator.  RSS readers allow you to ‘pull’ information from different sites that have RSS feeds, and then display it all on the one web page – which means that instead of bouncing from site to site to find relevant information, you can have it all ‘delivered’ straight to your reader, as if it were your own personal online newspaper.

Adding sources to your RSS reader is as easy as locating a site that has an RSS feed (and most regularly updated sites do now), and then clicking on the RSS feed link to subscribe to it. Any new content added to that site will then automatically appear in your reader. Not for nothing does RSS stand for Really Simple Syndication – it actually is! There are numerous other tools available on the internet that can also be used to create and improve PLEs, but RSS readers are free, web-based (so you don’t have to download any special programs in order to start using them), easy to set up and use and they do a great job.

In their article, Things that keep us up at night (School Library Journal, issue 10, 1 October 2009), Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson argue that modern practice in libraries is directly linked to equitable access to information, and that teacher librarians should be at the forefront in coming to grips with the changes in the informational landscapes. While we all know that in many schools unrealistic and occasionally absurd internet policies, and a lack of funding for professional development can make it difficult for libraries at times to live up to the best of modern practice, perhaps dangling the carrot of free professional development in front of the principal’s nose might be a way of combating a lack of flexibility in the school’s internet security policy? At the very least, we owe it to ourselves and our users to try, and setting up RSS readers for yourself and your library staff is a great way to demonstrate the ease with which Web 2.0 tools might be integrated into your school’s professional development programme.

The video below contains step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own Google reader account.  Videos showing how to set up a Bloglines or Newsgator RSS feeds can also be found by searching on YouTube.  For some interesting sites that also feature RSS feeds, check out our blogroll on the right-hand side panel of this page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed!