To My School Library, With Love

There is a government primary school I know that has its fiction and non-fiction resources distributed throughout its classrooms. These resources used to be all together in one small room, but that room was recently put to other uses. As far as I know, there is no catalogue or database to organise these resources. Perhaps there is a spreadsheet printed out on a pin-board somewhere. I suppose that situation can work if children are happy to browse, or know who to ask about where to find the specific topic or item they’re looking for.

When I went to primary school in Queensland in the 1980s, the library was most definitely a distinct ‘place’. I remember very little about most of my classrooms, but I have vivid memories of the library.

The library at Kenmore State School was a brick building, separated from the junior classrooms by an undercover concrete pathway whose cracks, I recall, were infested with girl germs. If you went too far, you got to the dusty staff car park (out-of-bounds!), and then the swimming pool. Lunchtimes often saw me playing ‘tiggy’ and ‘brandy’. Less often I was on the oval trying to play sports that required two ‘C’s that weren’t my strong points – competitiveness and co-ordination. On many lunch breaks I found myself in the library.

The librarian was as constant to that school as the steel pipe gate and bitumen assembly area (complete with yellow dots indicating foot positions for ‘Attention’ and ‘At ease’). I think her name was Mrs Fielding. The bulk of the library consisted of low shelves at about head height, with non-fiction works laid out in Dewey. Behind Mrs Fielding and our borrowing cards was an area of perhaps four square metres, where the junior fiction was placed on low shelves and in browseable tubs. A few beanbags were thrown around on the plush and vibrant carpets.

On the other side of the library were the tall shelves which enclosed the big-kid’s books. To me, this space had a private and arcane feel. As a younger kid I heard the snickering of older boys in there, and wondered what schemes they were cooking up. I once ventured in and picked a big-kid chapter book at random. It was on the second shelving unit to the right, third shelf from the bottom (I am seeing it as I type), and it was called Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson. Flicking through the pictures, some combination of the book and the room gave me a distinct feeling, which I know today as being called ‘otherness’. There was something frightening, wonderful, and sacred about that book and that place in that moment. I still get a vestige of that feeling when I read it to my children.

I grew up to be one of those scheming boys. One of my favourite places to scheme with my gang (the ‘Super Sneaky Team’) was the library courtyard. The courtyard had a few timber-slat benches painted government-issue chocolate brown. Beside and amongst the brick paving there were a few shrubs and a paper-bark tree. There were broad-leaved vines growing over a high timber fence that was painted to compliment the benches. Our main – and perhaps, only – scheme was to wander past Mrs Fielding, and exit the sliding door into the courtyard where we would engage in some innocent banter to dispel suspicion. We’d do that for a prudent time, then slip off to the far corner, which was invisible from the Fielding vantage point, and scale the fence. After celebrating our super-sneakyness we’d wander off somewhere else. Perhaps the oval.

I wonder if the library still has that courtyard?

In about 1985, the library installed the first computer available for student use. It was something along the lines of the RadioShack TRS-80 MC-10. Mrs Fielding was very encouraging of me to use it, and I began to imagine she purchased it just for me. In a tiny corner near the back entrance to the senior fiction area, I learned to program in Basic, and to save my experiments on magnetic tape. I can easily imagine my life would be very different if Mrs Fielding hadn’t set me up with that machine in that little corner. I almost certainly wouldn’t be in this job, writing this article.

I regret to tell you that by the time of my final year at Kenmore State School the Super Sneaky Team had been disbanded for some years. We had creative differences about the role of sport at lunch-time, and I once fought Sandy in the mud for an hour in an attempt to resolve it. I’d landed in a new, geekier, crowd and we spent most lunch times playing role-playing games. In the library.

(My mum forbade me from playing those games – she said they were satanic, and they were the reason my friend Tom talked in his sleep when he came for sleepovers. But I was addicted, so I had to learn to be dishonest with her.)

I recall one day in particular. We’d pushed together two (brown) laminate trapezoid tables near the doors to the courtyard. I was waiting for my turn to create a character. I gazed over the heads of my friends to the high louvre windows on the far side of the library, where, despite the film of dust from the staff car park, I could see the sky, and the trees on the hill above the shopping centre. It was raining. I was aware of the cold and wet outside by virtue of comparison with the warmth and comfort inside the library. I was aware of hushed conversation, of kids moving calmly amongst the non-fiction shelves, of Mrs Fielding stamping somebody’s card. I’d forgotten my friends, and like my first venture into Moomin Valley, I was lost in my own tranquil place. That moment is my single strongest memory of my primary school library.

I’d like to go back there one day. I don’t know if the building is still being used as a library, or whether it is even still standing. If anybody knows I’d love to hear from you.

Ben Chadwick
Manager, SCIS

Book review sites ANZ

SCIS has catalogued these book review websites recommended by colleagues in Australia and New Zealand. They are a great selection tool for library staff.  The SCIS number for each site is listed, which you can paste into the SCIS Orders page. Otherwise, simply click here to download records for a selection of these sites.

Just So Stories by Sue Warren (SCIS No. 1664473)

Random Reviews and Ramblings from Redcliffe
Random Reviews and Ramblings from Redcliffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom shelf  by Barbara Braxton (SCIS No. 1641811)

The bottom shelf of the bookcase is the one that the little people in my life always go to. There they find the books they love to read and share - the familiars and the favourites, and often some first-reads that have been added since their last visit.
The bottom shelf of the bookcase is the one that the little people in my life always go to. There they find the books they love to read and share – the familiars and the favourites, and often some first-reads that have been added since their last visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Children’s Daily by Megan Daley (SCIS No. 1702039)

Did you know that the single most important person in your child’s reading development is YOU?  A LOVE of reading, that most important factor in becoming a lifelong reader, begins at home with powerful children’s books and a house full of words.
Did you know that the single most important person in your child’s reading development is YOU?
A LOVE of reading, that most important factor in becoming a lifelong reader, begins at home with powerful children’s books and a house full of words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book chook by Susan Stephenson (SCIS No. 1664473)

Book reviews, resources, tips for parents and teachers from an Australian writer who is passionate about children literacy, learning and literature

Book reviews, resources, tips for parents and teachers from an Australian writer who is passionate about children literacy, learning and literature

 

 

 

Senga White from New Zealand recommends the following sites from New Zealand

Bobs Books Blog by Bob Docherty (SCIS No. 1702486)

I offer my knowledge and passion for Children’s Literature to promote reading and literacy in your school using your own library resources plus new books sent to me by authors and publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beattie’s Book Blog by Graham Beattie (SCIS No. 1702490)

Beatties Book Blog
Judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn’t, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reading doctor    by Kate de Goldi (SCIS No. 1702492)

Author Kate de Goldi has a regular Reading Doctor segment in Bootnotes, the online magazine from Book Council of NZ
Author Kate de Goldi has a regular Reading Doctor segment in Bootnotes, the online magazine from Book Council of NZ

 

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.

Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year 2012

International School Library Day, coordinated by the International Association of School Libraries, is celebrated each October.

Many school libraries in Australia choose the third Monday in October as the day to celebrate what school libraries are about, and to raise awareness of school library services with teaching colleagues and the community.

Alinda Sheerman
The 2012 Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year
Alinda Sheerman

The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Pledger Consulting (LinksPlus/Weblinks) announced the winner of the Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year Award this year won by Alinda Sheerman of Broughton Anglican College, Menangle Park, New South Wales. The judges commended her on

“working closely with the College staff in developing curriculum units based on the Guided Inquiry approach, supporting students at all levels in their learning and at all stages of the teaching /learning process. She ensures that the school library is a positive learning environment for all. She provides leadership not only in curriculum but also the promotion of a love of literature and the use of ICTs, and excels at providing collegial support, willingly passing on her skills and knowledge to others.”

SCIS congratulates Alinda Sheerman and all the state and territory nominees who show what a teacher librarian can do to promote learning and teaching.

  • Susan Busch, Bundaberg North State School, Queensland
  • Karen Mutton, Saint David’s Parish School, South Australia
  • Kathy Norton, MacKillop Catholic College. Tasmania

Connections 78

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

Seven strategies to develop your advocacy toolkit

Strategies
Strategies by Boris Drenec CC-by-nc-sa

Karen Bonanno provides a series of advocacy activities to help school library staff influence policy, advising that to bring about change requires consistent and persistent effort to shift perceptions. She advocates maintaining regular positive activity supported by strategies such as identifying a memorable message, capturing killer statistics, gathering startling facts and statements and leveraging the network.

Personal learning network put to great advantage

Leonie Dyason and Rachel Fidock, teacher librarians from Mooroopna Secondary College (MSC) share their experiences of the Personal Learning Network (PLN) program, run by the State Library of Victoria (SLV) and the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV). They outline how their practice has changed through application in the library, in team teaching and in troubleshooting. A list of useful Web 2.0 tools is provided.

Ten reasons why Google can’t replace learning!

Bev Novak questions the idea that searching can replace learning. Her ten questions challenge teachers and parents to consider the distinction between information and knowledge, and to refine what they mean by learning and how learning is best achieved. This article is reprinted from her NovaNews blog.

The evolving role of the school library and information centre in education in digital Europe

This article outlines research by Dr Helen Boelens into the role of school libraries in digital Europe, using the Kalsbeek Information Literacy Matrix (KILM).
A poster: ‘Read’ in European language terms is provided for download.

The Hub: campaign for quality school libraries in Australia

This article by Georgia Phillips provides an update on the activities of the Hub campaign for quality school libraries in Australia, following the release of the Australian Government’s report into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools. It includes an overview of the current state of school library staffing in Australian state and territory government schools.

Print the complete issue of Connections 78, term 3 2011

Connections 76

You can now read the latest issue of Connections online. Copies have been mailed to all Australian schools. There are articles of interest for everyone involved in school library activities.

An introduction to the Australian Curriculum

Dr Grette Toner outlines the structure, implications and opportunities for teacher librarians of the Australian Curriculum. As well as new content, the curriculum will involve new skills and new tools.

Harnessing the e-book juggernaut

Kerrie Smith traces the rise in interest and use of e-readers in Australia during 2010 and discusses the issues facing school libraries considering adoption of e-book technology. She explains what is currently available and lists criteria for consideration before purchasing a device.

The KnowledgeBank: Next Generation Project

Katrina Reynen describes a Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development digital teaching and learning resources project. FUSE (Find Use Share Education) is a portal of 30,000 pieces of content from a number of partners. She outlines policy challenges addressed, as well as research undertaken into patterns of student use of FUSE.

School library blog value

Emily Pyers points out how a blog can be used as an effective tool to communicate the library’s activities and the value of its resources to staff, students and parents.

From little things big things grow

The fourth instalment of Nigel Paull’s account of a new BER library looks at the challenges for users during operations from a temporary library.

Print complete issue of Connections 76, term 1 2011

Connections 75 ready to read

You can read the latest issue of Connections online. Copies have been mailed to all Australian schools.
There are articles of interest for everyone involved in school library activities. Let us know what you think of this issue.

Thinking about ebooks

75. Thinking about ebooks image 3
Ebook demonstration at Web 2.0 expo, San Francisco 2010, courtesy of Flickr

Stephen Abram describes and discusses the ebook, looking at what it is, and what it is not. He discusses fiction versus non-fiction, reference material and textbooks, and how the ebook can enhance usability. Read more …

Your school library collection: a catalyst for creating writers
Maxine Ramsay discusses the use of text types in the teaching of writing to young students. She explains how teachers and library staff can identify and assist in the effective discovery of good text examples within their library collection. Read more …

The highs and lows of establishing an online community
Kerry Franta describes EnhanceTV’s experience of creating an online community. It is important for members to share a common interest and to be passionate enough about it to contribute online. Read more …

Digital participation, digital literacy and schools
Through developing digital literacy in their students, educators are enhancing young people’s ability to use digital media, strengthening their knowledge and learning skills, as well as providing them with the capacity to participate and interact in wider social and cultural settings. Read more …

From little things big things grow
The third instalment of Nigel Paull’s account of a new BER library focuses on library design essentials. Read more …

Connections 74 hits the streets and online!

Courtesy of  flickrCC: www.flickr.com/photos/96741530@N00/4136024835

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.