Mind tools – What does it mean to be literate in the age of Google?

With the holidays here, we thought we could share a longer video with you, particularly given it’s one of the best videos I’ve watched about information literacy. It’s comprehensive, current, and logical in its flow. I thought I knew a lot about information literacy – now I know a lot more.

The presentation comes from Dr. Daniel Russell, research scientist at Google and took place in March this year at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina.

He begins by calling a library a mind tool that ‘amplifies your cognition’. Wonderful stuff.

We hope you have a happy, safe, chocolate filled holiday and we’ll see you next term.

 

 

PLN Plus – be the change you want to see

Kelly Gardiner, Online Learning Manager at the State Library of Victoria, is a well-known voice in the VicPLN community, particularly in relation to professional learning for educators and librarians. This post introduces the guiding questions that underpin the new PLN+ course, beginning on the 11th March.

We’ve been wondering: what’s the next logical step for people who’ve done the VicPLN course?

Last year, we found out. With support from AITSL, we carried out some research into impacts of the VicPLN courses. Many of you participated in that. The thing is that a startling number of people report that the course changes their practice. And once that’s happened, what do they do?

They – you  – start to enact whatever changes seem most needed in your immediate world or beyond. It might be changes to the way you do your work, the way you collaborate with colleagues, the interactions with students, simple process or system fixes, big initiatives.

It’s about leading change.

Now, we’re not all Joan of Arc.

But it seemed clear to us that after the initial PLN courses, people then need the skills, tools and resources to enable them to enact the kinds of change they want to see – in their workplace, in their classroom or library, in the wider school community, in professional networks, in disciplines, or the broader systems and structures.

How do you become an advocate for literacy or simply for more resources? How do you collaborate to create new professional networks or share ideas or raise funds? How do you involve the wider community in learning? How do you create programs that pass on what you’ve learned to students?

How do you define what you want to do, attract support, design and manage projects?

How do you keep on learning, when you have so much to do already?

And what does that mean about our VicPLN network – what do you need from it now?

We can’t promise to answer all of those huge questions in a few weeks. But let’s make a start, shall we?

If you’d like to take part in the course (and maybe change the world just a bit) you can find out more here or email learning@slv.vic.gov.au  to book a place.

Influence and Enchantment

As part of a new series on advocacy in school libraries, regular Bright Ideas contributor Catherine Hainstock shares her reflections on how school librarians can assert their place at the heart of the school.

The School Library Association of Queensland in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology has recently published research on the important contribution that school libraries and teacher librarians make to literacy development. This excellent report reinforces the findings of decades of research on the positive influence a well-resourced library with a qualified teacher librarian has on student achievement.

I read this report in tandem with Guy Kawasaki’s book, “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions”. His book is about promotion and customer service and even though a school library is not a business, I believe it’s a useful model to explore. At the end of the day, as a teacher librarian I feel I am here to help others. The better our service, the better the result. I am also interested in how we promote what we do because no matter how much research is released, how well supported a school library is, how well it is resourced, or how qualified the teacher librarians are, there is no immunity from decisions to down-size or side-line a library service.

We must make our contribution to school life and student outcomes evident and our influence felt by everyone who comes into the library. Kawasaki’s book helped me understand that my ultimate goal is not about improving customer service, it’s about enchanting people with our service.

[Enchantment] is more than manipulating people to help you get your way. Enchantment transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility. It reshapes civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers.

— Guy Kawasaki

Kawasaki’s book goes right back to basics (and that’s not a bad thing). He reveals the foundation of enchantment as ‘Likeability’. You can’t enchant people if they don’t like you or your service. (I still haven’t forgot the tyrannical librarian in the public library when I was a child!) Those lady-dragons in pearls may be extinct now, but we want students and teachers not just using our services, but raving about them. Here’s a short list of points from the book that I found relevant to school Library/Information Services (and check out this infographic for more):

  • smile (and be polite)
  • accept others (and sometimes give them a break)
  • get close (get out of the library and make contact)
  • project your passions/find shared passions
  • create win-win situations
  • adopt a Yes attitude

Kawasaki also points out that likeability only goes so far – people need to be able to trust you and your service. In a chapter on the importance of trustworthiness there’s some excellent food for thought about:

  • focussing on  goodwill
  • living up to and fulfilling promises
  • giving people the benefit of the doubt
  • the importance of expertise and competence  (like keeping abreast of basic ICT skills for us)
  • showing up (physically and virtually interacting with our clientele)

Reading these two publications at the same time brought into focus the influence we have (or can have) as teacher librarians and how important it is that we recognise and actively cultivate opportunities no matter how big or small.

We used to say the library was the heart of the school; a place for students to learn, inquire, read and enjoy. But with all the technological changes occurring in education, school libraries are no longer contained within four walls. Perhaps the focus can finally shift from the physical space to the real heart of the library – teacher librarians and the services they provide. Over the next few posts, I hope to explore the idea of teacher librarians at the heart of the school. I’d like to reflect on what that can mean for us and how we can continue to grow our influence.

Other posts in this series:

Image Credit: (ca. 1910),  Interior of The Queen’s Hall, showing a member of staff sitting at the Enquiries window, State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection.

New Libguides from the State Library of Victoria

Librarians at the State Library of Victoria answer complex reference questions for patrons everyday, whether it be onsite, via email or on the phone.

After years of experience with the questions people bring to the collection, reference librarians have developed over forty library guides looking at specific research topics.

The guides are aimed as a one-stop shop for subjects like bushfires in Victoria, court cases in Australiaearly Australian census records and more.

Each libguide gives background information on the topic and the Library’s holdings, key resources and related web links.

Recently published guides include:

And if you’re wondering what a reference librarian at the State Library does when they get an inquiry, here’s a video about the process.

New Year, New Resolution

Every year brings new challenges to school libraries; whether it is budget cuts or 1:1 technology roll-outs or something else. In the current education climate it is vital we all continue to demonstrate how our services benefit the school community and improve teaching and learning. This article is the first in a series that will focus on supporting Teacher Librarians in their leadership and advocacy roles.

 Resolution: noun. 1. A firm decision to do or not to do something. (Google definition)

I’ve been on school holidays, but like every other Teacher Librarian I’ve been making plans for the next year. I’m looking for ways to encourage students to read more and learn how to put information into their own words. I’m planning a Tumblr site for students and staff as we launch the iPad program plus a whole lot more. And now here it is – the start of a brand new term.

We all know that keeping New Year’s resolutions is hard. Staying committed to new plans in the library can be just as hard. They get lost in the day-to-day scramble to meet the needs of students or staff, or they get side-tracked by other ideas that crop up. It’s easy to slip into a reactive mode of operation rather than a proactive one, and that’s not good for a school library’s image. So how do we maintain our resolution and realize our wonderful plans? First, we need to lay some foundations.

Compass

Image Credit: Compass by Walt Stoneburner on Flickr

Build a Vision, State your Mission
Have you got a vision for your school library? Visioning may sound like day-dreaming, but it is a vitally important proactive step for school libraries. The vision is how you see the library in the future, it is your inspiration. It is also how you aim to meet the future with your service.

Without a vision, things can be confusing (or worse). You may find members of the school community have out-dated perceptions of the purpose of the library, the role of the Teacher Librarian and even the relevancy of the service. Share your vision and refine it with principals, staff, students, community members; it will improve your library’s position and help it to become important to the school’s overall vision and strategic planning. Now commit to the vision with a Mission statement. (No, they are not the same thing; you’re going to need both!)

Mission statements spell out how you intend to turn the vision into reality. The statements you make in it are your approaches or strategies so think broad rather than specific for this. Once you have good mission statements, you can use them to help you prioritise and decide on goals and the actions/programs to achieve your goals.

If you’ve never written a vision or a mission statement before, there is plenty of help at hand.

 

Library guides at the State Library

Librarians from the State Library of Victoria have been putting together Library guides on various subject areas to help people with their research tasks.

It’s essentially a cheat sheet that guide you through the research process by wading through the array of resources available to you.

Here’s a sample of what’s been created:
1. Aboriginal people & the law
2. Adoption & forgotten Australians
3. Bushfires
4. Companies in Australia
5. Court cases in Australia
6. Early Australian census records
7. Finding Australian legislation
8. Finding book reviews
9. Finding music scores & popular songs
10. Finding poetry

Image of research guide on census

There are 28 more guides on a range of topics but you can see the entire list here.

It’s commonplace for universities to have library guides, so do check them out for other subject areas, especially for senior students. Or you can create your own easily and quickly, in LibGuides.

Let us know if you’ve already created some LibGuides – we’d love to hear about them.

Bialik College Futures Forum

David Feighan, the Director, Libraries and Learning Resources at Bialik College has kindly shared the following information:

I can confirm that the podcasts of the Bialik Learning Futures Forum, which we promised to share with the wider school library community, are now available.

The Learning Futures / Learning Spaces Forum focused on the changes to the physical and online learning spaces in Australian schools. The forum considered:

  • How the new school libraries being built in Australia work within current and emerging education pedagogues.
  • How the physical library and online library and learning spaces work together to best meet the needs of schools.
  • The rise of learning / information commons in universities and schools, and
  • The rise of social media platforms in education settings.

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Speakers include:

A. Professor Leon Sterling, Chair of Software Innovation and Engineering, Swinburne University

B. Jon Peacock, General Manager, Learning Environments at University of Melbourne

CoLABorateC. Dr Scott Bulfin, Lecturer, Monash University Faculty of Education

D. Jenny Luca, Head of Information Services, Toorak College

E. Mary Manning, Executive Officer, School Library Association of Victoria

F. David Feighan, Director, Libraries and Learning Resources, Bialik College

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If you are involved in planning a new library or wanting to revamp your resources and services, this forum is a must listen source! Thanks David and Bialik for sharing this wonderful information and to the speakers for their knowledge and ideas.

Bialik College

The library staff at Bialik College are preparing for their new library to be completed. In the meantime, they have produced a number of resources about the library. These include:

Information about the new Bialik library building including:

  • facts about the new library,
  • construction photos and floor plans,
  • information on the spaces in the new building, and
  • how the new library will support teaching the curriculum and build a culture of learning, independent thinking, and reading within the Bialik community.

A number of photos of the construction of the library are also available here. We thank David Feighan, the Director, Libraries and Learning Resources and his team for providing this exciting information and look forward to seeing the physical library completed along with more news on the developing virtual library.

IFLA world report

Last week this email arrived from IFLA, alerting interested parties of the release of the 2010 World Report:

IFLA is pleased to announce the launch of its brand new World Report. For the first time, the World Report is being made available online in a fully searchable database, complete with graphical map interface. By clicking on a country’s marker, you can either select “View individual report” if you would like to view a single country’s report or “Add to report list” in order to view multiple countries in one report.

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The report includes questions on:

  • Internet access in libraries
  • Copyright
  • Library initiatives for providing information to different categories of citizens (such as senior citizens, women, the disabled and visually impaired)
  • The role of libraries in universal primary education and environmental sustainability
  • And much more!

The report has been developed by a team at the University of Pretoria led by Professor Theo Bothma and contains details of the library environment in 122 countries. Users have the possibility to add comments to the report as a whole or to individual country reports. The analysis of the data shows on one hand that there are still many countries where violations of intellectual freedom occur – such incidents were reported in 109 of the 122 countries- and on the other that there are many positive aspects where individual libraries have implemented innovative projects to improve access to information. 

Full details of the report are available here.

In relation to the report, Helen Boelens has also sent the following information:

The IFLA World report has just been made available. In Section 5 of the report, the countries which sent information have been asked to provide information about the role of libraries in universal primary education. This information is of interest to many of us. I suggest that, if your country has submitted information to the report, you should look at the information which has been provided to the international community.

I have noticed that it is also possible to comment on the information which is contained in the report but have not checked this out yet. Please note that it very important to look at the name of the institution which submitted information to the World Report.

Please take the time to investigate this important report.

National Year of Reading 2012

What brilliant news! A National Year of Reading for 2012 has been announced.

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So far the website has only the basics, but will adding much more content for

  • children
  • adults
  • reading professionals
  • events

There are, however, already a number of flyers, logos and videos available to view, use and distribute. A year to celebrate one of the things we love – how exciting!