Congratulations – Dromkeen Librarian’s Award

book_imagination_edited Congratulations to Melbourne High School Head of Library, Pam Saunders, recipient of the 2014 Dromkeen Librarian’s Award presented at the State Library of Victoria (SLV) on 12 October. The award ‘is presented to a teacher, a teacher librarian or a children’s librarian, working within or outside the education system, in recognition of the important role played by this person in introducing young people to literature and encouraging an enjoyment and love of reading.’ Jan-dromkeenPam has a long involvement with libraries and adolescent reading having previously worked as a librarian in schools and public libraries, as well as managing the Centre for Youth Literature at the SLV. In her interview with Tania Scheko, teacher librarian, she speaks of the development of her love affair with reading, saying..

I was fortunate to have become a reader on the lap of my father as he read to me. I remember walking as a very young child to the shop to buy the new magazine Playhour and then my father reading it to me, especially the comics. This was further fostered by a dynamic school librarian, Mrs Cecilia Stubbs, who ran the library at Burnie High School in the 1970s. She encouraged students to use the library, to be involved and, best of all, she challenged my reading, pushing me to read titles which I would not have discovered myself. Titles like Black like me by John Griffin. I hope I have emulated her as a librarian.

Pam’s award shines a spotlight on the role of library staff in the development of a culture of reading within the school and individual students. We know that to instil a love of reading is to give a student the passport to seeing the world through a different set of eyes. At the forthcoming School Library Assoc of Victoria (SLAV) conference to be held 21 November, author Leigh Hobbs and others will explore the importance of the school library, and the primary school in particular, in “Building Community Through Reading”. Reading is a skill for life. Congratulations Pam, you and others like you in our libraries are a positive influence on our students’ futures.

The Dromkeen Medal, this year awarded to esteemed editor and publisher, Helen Chamberlin, and Dromkeen Librarian’s Award have a distinguished history of over 32 years, with previous Medal recipients including well-known children’s book illustrators and authors such as Shaun Tan, Bronwyn Bancroft, Roland Harvey, Ruth Park and Graeme Base. 

Exploring Makerspace culture

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It’s twelve months since Kristen Fontichiaro presented Sharpening our toolkit: defining great work, exploring Makerspace culture and badging accomplishments at the SLAV Conference Transliteracy: whom do you ask and how can you participate? At that time Kristen spoke of the value of Makerspaces as positive learning opportunities based on her experience and research with the Michigan Makers group  and the University of Michigan, USA.

A number of schools have explored the idea and are implementing them in various ways.  As a ‘third space’ in a student’s life – a place that is neither home and nor the classroom, libraries and the concept of a Makerspace is an ideal fit.  Every school has a unique ‘maker’ identity according to the interests and resources available to that community. Some lean towards integration with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and concentrate on electronics and coding. Others, such as Mazenod College library that I presented to delegates at the recent ELH conference, feature Lego, MinecraftKerbal Space Program and Augmented Reality.


Makerspaces: creating an opportunity

Regardless of the focus, Makerspaces share a common definition:

  • A place where people can use tools and materials and can develop creative projects
  • Can be embedded in an existing organisation or stand alone e.g. Makerfaires
  • Are adaptive – can be shaped by educational goals or individuals’ creative interests Makerspace.com

Opportunities for innovation are emerging rapidly as schools purchase 3D printers and the notion of introducing computer coding as a primary school subject is being canvassed by education departments worldwide.  There is an opportunity here for school library staff to look at their spaces and investigate the possibility of working in collaboration with Technology and IT Departments combining ideas across the school.

Schools libraries have the benefit of a degree of flexibility to venture into providing activities with a Makerspace mindset as an opportunity for students to tinker, explore, relax and mix with peers around a shared interest. It doesn’t have to be a fully equipped, technical space.  Students simply need somewhere they can explore and learn in a voluntary yet constructive capacity.

Do you have a Makerspace story to share in relation to your school library?  Please use the ‘reply’ box below to share your story.

Some resources to assist your research:

SLAV’s FYI journal – Summer 2014 – Theme- Makerspaces – the changing nature of school libraries includes numerous articles and a list of further reading
What does the next generation of school libraries look like? – Mindshift article by Luba Vangelova
Linking for learning – Makerspaces – list of resources
Makerbridge – an online community for everyone interested in makerspaces and maker culture
Edutopia – Maker education – a range of resources and practitioner advice including an excellent article by Vicki Davis
Makers as innovators – a series of books produced by the Michigan Makers, plus a list of ideas to consider
Invent to Learn – Making, tinkering and engineering in the classroom by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager.

makerspace-Fontichiaro

 

CBCA Book Week 2014 – Connect to Reading

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Children’s Book Week this year is coming up on 16-22 August.   It’s a  special week on the Australian literary calendar as an opportunity to highlight quality Australian children’s literature and, as the 2014 theme suggests, spend the week connecting readers with great stories.  We are fortunate in Australia to have a strong community of writers and enthusiasts supporting the writing of children’s and adolescent’s literature.  They are ensuring stories are written through Australian eyes and embedded into young minds at a time when our identity can be diluted by the mass of other pursuits that fill the lives of young people.

School libraries in particular plan this week as an opportunity to connect with readers, their teachers and their families.  Visiting authors conduct writing workshops, book highlight activities are planned and special efforts are made to tie the event into student programs.

The new Australian Curriculum also supports the role of local literature in our students’ lives stating:

The presence of Australian literary texts and an increasingly informed appreciation of the place of Australian literature among other literary traditions will be part of the national English curriculum.  Australia’s evolving ethnic composition and the increasing national importance placed on our geographic location in the Asia-Pacific region brings with it a variety of cultural, social, and ethical interests and responsibilities. These interests, and the collective cultural memories that have accumulated around them, are represented in a range of literatures including the inscriptional and oral narrative traditions of Indigenous Australians as well as contemporary Indigenous literature.
To assist you in making the most of the 2014 CBCA Book Week, here are a few resources to launch ideas:
We’d love to hear if you have more ideas to share?  Please ‘leave a reply’ to this post.