The Importance of Reading and School Libraries

Library professionals have long known the benefits of school library spaces, managed and staffed by qualified library staff. We are all very aware of how vital school libraries are, for a myriad of reasons.

COVID19 has had an enormous impact on how our students learn, access books, resources and libraries. It has also had a significant impact on student wellbeing. Much is being written about the importance of reading for continued well being, including this excellent article written by Dr. Margaret. K. Merga and published on The Conversation on August 9th 2021.  She writes “We know that adults who are avid readers enjoy being able to escape into their books. Reading for pleasure can reduce psychological distress and has been related to mental well-being. Reading-based interventions have been used successfully to support children who have experienced trauma. In a recent study, around 60% of young people agreed reading during lockdown helped them to feel better.” 

The article draws upon findings from her important research into Libraries as Wellbeing Supportive Spaces in Contemporary Schools published in July of 2021.

Dr. Merga’s findings further reinforce the important work that SLAV completed in 2020. During June 2020, the School Library Association of Victoria surveyed its members in order to gain a picture of what remote learning meant for school libraries during term two. 269 people responded to 20 questions in an online survey.

From the Executive Summary – “The results of this survey clearly indicate the vital role of school libraries in our school communities. There are many examples here of trained library professionals displaying creativity and flexibility in responding to the learning and teaching needs of remote learning. Results clearly demonstrate how a well-staffed and well-resourced school library supports and enriches a school community. This is vital for learning and teaching, but also in support of the general well-being of staff and students and the common pursuit of developing resilient, life-long learners.” You can read the full report which includes a comprehensive reference list – here 

From SLAV Executive Officer Dr. Susan La Marca – “The spread of articles published during this period both online and in our journals, on this topic, are excellent examples of best practice responses to remote learning. They also indicate a high level of engagement with the issues related to learning and teaching by school library professionals during a time of disruption. These teacher librarians, and their school library teams, have also demonstrated a level of proactivity, expertise and reflection that is to be celebrated.”

 

Continuing To Work From Home – Some Ideas

With the recent lockdowns and remote learning continuing on and off, many of our members have been sharing (through our discussion forums) tasks they are prioritising and assigning library staff during our time working from home. We thought it might be helpful to share a list of those here for you to reference and, if needed, to jog your memory for tasks that can be done remotely at this time.

These two articles from Knowledge Quest offer food for thought:

The School Library Is Still Open! Ten Ways to Change Our Physical Spaces into Virtual LibrariesThe New

Virtual Reality: Surviving and Thriving as a School Librarian during a Pandemic

Other tasks you might like to consider and schedule are:

Revisit, revise or update policy statements on library operation
Update procedures manual
LMS
• Reconsider home page
• Revisit loan period dates
• Fix cataloguing errors
• Maintain authority file
• Update patron records
• Reassess genre lists
• Update cover images
• Update keywords and subject headings

Professional learning
Reading – FYI and Synergy
• Access past event material in the members only area of the SLAV website
• Access webinars on your particular LMS, databases etc

Update the library website
Promote ebooks and databases to staff and students
• Create user guides

Promote your availability for one-on-one online support to staff and students
Promote online competition options for students
Consider opportunity to attend more faculty area meetings
Curate resources to support projects and tasks across remainder of 2021
Liaise with teachers to incorporate research skills into future units of work
Plan displays and library activities for remainder of 2021
Begin compiling statistics and data for annual report to school admin / council

What can you work on now to ease the load in 2022? If you have any ideas or suggestions, or you think of something we may have missed, please feel free to contribute in the comments.

 

The Heart of the Bubble by Trace Balla

Some very exciting news today!

Trace Balla, the much loved author and illustrator of Rivertime, Rockhopping and Landing with Wings, has published a brand new book called The Heart of the Bubble. A touching tale of a family’s awakening to what really matters, set in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. There are also free comprehensive teaching notes available.

Available now as a PDF or paperback from Traces’ website HERE

 

SLAV Virtual Book Club List May 21st, 2020

We were delighted to welcome so many of you to our very first SLAV Virtual Book Club! Thank you for joining us and for your participation.

As promised we are sharing the list of titles discussed below. This first list is quite eclectic, owing to the fact that there was no theme for this particular session, we simply invited you all to share what you had been reading over the past few months.

Moving forward, these meetings will be themed, resulting in lists that we hope will be useful for your classrooms and libraries. We also hope to align titles to curriculum areas, where possible, and specify if they are suitable for primary or secondary students.

We have linked each title through to the Readings Website. Please keep in mind that if an item is out of stock, it may take some time to become available again if it is coming from overseas.

For now though, we present the first list and hope you enjoy!

May 21 SLAV Book Club Suggestions

Suitable for Older Secondary Students

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
A Single Thread by Tracey Chevalier

Ruin, Scholar and Good Turn – all by Dervla Mc Tiernan
The Erratics by Vicki Laveau Harvie
The Testaments by Margaret Attwood
The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
The Binding by Bridget Collins
Bruny by Heather Rose
Deep Water by Sarah Epstein
Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The End of the World is Bigger Than Love By Davina Bell
Promise Me Happy by Robert Newton
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein
Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr

Non Fiction
Bewildered by Laura Waters
Made in Scotland by Billy Connelly
Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to taking back the English language by Amanda Montell
The Convent by Stuart Kells
Educated by Tara Westover

Suitable for Upper Primary and Beyond
The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Beyond Belief by Dee White
The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot

Share Your COVID-19 School Library Experience

From the team at Students Need School Libraries

COVID-19. It changed Term 1, 2020. It changed the way students and school staff approach Term 2, 2020. It changed the way we view education. It changed the world. What it didn’t change was the need for school libraries run by a qualified and passionate school library team.

We want to know and share what school libraries or school library teams have been focusing on during this COVID crisis. It might look a little different from the usual, but it’s even more important during this time of change and upheaval.

The Task: We want to know what you, as a library staff member or library team, have been focusing on during this COVID crisis.

The Goal: To continue sharing the word about the importance of school libraries and school library staff. Schools are blessed to have you. And the schools without you are probably wishing they did have you right about now.

What you would need to do: Take 5 minutes to respond to the questions below or write a short paragraph about how your school library is responding to the COVID crisis and email it to blog@studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au Anyone involved in school libraries in any way is welcome to respond, from school library staff to parents or students, authors running virtual visits or publishers providing access to resources.

We will feature responses on the Students Need School Libraries Website and social media pages and we hope to share the stories around the world in collaboration with our international colleagues. We hope we can rally around each together during this time to support each other, our students, school staff and the wider community. Please let us know if you have any other ideas you would like to share.

Snapshot of a School Library during COVID-19.

  1. What has been the focus for your school library/ role during the COVID-19 crisis?
  2. What major tasks have you achieved?
  3. What has been the result for staff and/or students?
  4. What other information would you like readers to know?
  • Do you give permission for this information to be shared beyond the Students Need School Libraries website and social media, for example in an articles for a school library journal? Yes/No/I’d need to be contacted first
  • Would you like this posted anonymously: Yes/No. If no, please answer the questions below.
    • Your role/s:
    • Your school:

You can find more information here. https://studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au/blog/share-your-covid-19-school-library-experience/