The MeeGenius library enables users to read children’s books, personalise and share them for free.


A range of classic children’s books are available including versions of:

  • Peter Pan
  • Jemima Puddleduck
  • The Princess and the Pea
  • The Lion and the Mouse
  • Field Mouse and Town Mouse
  • Jack and the Beanstalk

The stories have been recorded and are read aloud. As the story progresses, words are highlighted for readers to follow and learn. This makes the MeeGenius library perfect for young children learning to read and young language learners. Users can personalise stories for specific audiences, however if users wish to save these stories for use later on, they must register and login. Some stories appear to be abridged, others are not.

A MeeGenius app is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch as well (A$2.49).

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely from i Learn technology for the heads up on this great tool!

Promoting reading using Glogster

This is a terrific example of using Glogster edu (see earlier Bright Ideas post) to promote reading. Anita Beaman has devloped this glog to further promote interest in a popular genre of books.

Glogs can be linked online for the full multimedia experience as well as printed out and laminated for display in the library or classrooms. This could be a good thing for librarystaff to create, or to encourage students to make either as library monitors or for creative response to text.

People still read, but now it’s social

When Apple’s Steve Jobs said in 2008 that “people don’t read anymore” there was an outcry from a range of people across the world. Jobs, was of course, decrying the Kindle eReader as a stand alone device and it would be interesting to know how many people who have purchased the iPad have done so primarily looking for an eReader.

A recent article in the New York Times, Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social takes a look at the phenomenon of social reading thanks to a number of eReaders enabling users to highlight and share passages in eBooks as well as being able to share thoughts and ideas via email, Twitter and blogs. Article author Steven Johnson says

Yes, we are reading slightly fewer long-form narratives and arguments than we did 50 years ago, though the Kindle and the iPad may well change that. Those are costs, to be sure. But what of the other side of the ledger? We are reading more text, writing far more often, than we were in the heyday of television.

And the speed with which we can follow the trail of an idea, or discover new perspectives on a problem, has increased by several orders of magnitude. We are marginally less focused, and exponentially more connected. That’s a bargain all of us should be happy to make.

The changes in the way we read are occurring rapidly. I’d like to know how many people across the globe who have purchased an iPad as a portable device rather than an eReader have downloaded (at least the free) books from the iBooks app. Will they read them? Perhaps. Would they have ever read them without such a device? I think not. The article is a brief one and well worth a read.

The many and varied roles of the teacher librarian

Carl A. Harvey II is the library media specialist at North Elementary School in
Noblesville, Indiana.

Carl A. Harvey II, a library media specialist at North Elementary School in Noblesville, Indiana has developed a document on the expectations of teacher librarians/school library media specialists/school librarians.

Covering eleven points such as teaching, addressing new technologies, collaborating, leading, learning and innovation, this document is a great starting point for anyone who needs guidance about the diverse role of the teacher librarian.

Although US in origin, this document is relevant to Australian school libraries. However, one omission does seem to be the lack of acknowledgement of the contribution to reading programs and support.

Thanks to Keisa Williams for the heads up on this document.

Storyline Online

Storyline Online is a free site where celebrities and other well-known people read stories that have been pre-recorded.

Storyline online

Stories featured include:

  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
  • The Polar Express
  • Me and my cat
  • Dad, are you the tooth fairy?

and readers include

  • James Earl Jones
  • Amanda Bynes
  • Al Gore
  • Melissa Gilbert
  • Sean Astin
  • Elijah Wood and
  • Jason Alexander

With activities and activity guides available, there is plenty of support to use Storyline Online in the classroom. All stories have captions for hearing impaired students and literacy uses.

Users can select their internet speed so that the reading is at the correct pace. Storyline Online is a program of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation

Thanks to Melissa Edwards for the link to Storyline Online.

Feature blog – Girton Grammar School

Girton Grammar School Head of Library (and immediate past Children’s Book Council Victorian Judge) Miffy Farquharson has developed two book blogs for her school. Miffy explains how they came about:

The student blog has been in place for about a term now. It is supposed to be by and for secondary students, but I am having trouble getting students to contribute. I think that this is because the students don’t actually do much blogging themselves. So you will see that most of the entries are by me.

Student book blog

Student book blog

I have set in place some protocols to keep the identity of our students anonymous, which includes only using their initials, and I edit out any mention of their age. I have tried to create enough categories to that when the blog starts getting really long readers will be able to sort through the entries to find age appropriate books easily.

I have also learned how to add tags, and create a cluster map. I have an accompanying Blog roll for my favourite bookish websites, which is slowly being added to. Crash Solo is one of my favourites.

This blog has been a huge learning curve for me, as I had only used a blog to record Hockey news and results in the past, and hadn’t got into any of the fun stuff like feeds and blogrolls in the Hockey blog.

 I have also started a ‘grown-up’ book review blog which was prompted by the submission of a review of Tim Winton’s ‘Breath’ by a colleague. The review was very obviously for an ‘adult’ book, which was not appropriate for the student blog, so a new site was created.

Teacher book blog

Teacher book blog

 Thanks to Miffy for sharing her efforts in getting students and teachers to read and blog. Well done.

Feature blog St Martin of Tours – Rosanna

Kim Yeomans of St Martin of Tours Primary School in Rosanna has allowed Bright Ideas to gain insights in to the development of her library blog.

Kim says:

I did the SLAV Web 2.0 course last year and decided this year to set up a blog for our LRC. The LRC already has an active presence on our school intranet but I felt the blog and Web 2.0 tools might let me do a little more. The Library already has a MyClasses page (intranet), but I was looking for other engaging ways to share what we do in the LRC and promote reading.  The Web 2.0 online course offered by SLAV last year introduced me to many new and exciting tools.  Attending the SLAV conference with Will Richardson earlier this year provided the impetus to actually begin our LRC Blog in mid February.


The main aims of our LRC Blog are to

  • Share the activities and learning we do in the LRC
  • Promote books and reading
  • Encourage students to participate in an online community
  • Introduce students to appropriate Web 2.0 tools
  • Develop student understanding of a global classroom

 It has been really encouraging seeing the students embrace the blog and add their comments.  Even our Principal who is on Enrichment Leave is contributing her learning on our blog and adding dots to our ClustrMap!  I have found Slideshare and Animoto are great Web 2.0 tools that enable us to share our work. This term I’ve added to our blog with the New LRC and Websites pages.  I am currently trialing SimplyBox for our website collections (even though it is blocked at school) because it is simple for me to set up and visually easy for the students to use at home. 

Ripper reads - student comments
Ripper reads – student comments

Our LRC Blog is evolving along with my own skills and knowledge and will continue to do so to meet the needs and interests of both the students and our Library program.  It is trial and error seeing what works on our blog, but I’m really enjoying the process!

Congratulations to Kim on inspiring both students and staff to become a part of the Web 2.0 world! Well done Kim.  (Don’t forget that Kim had previously shared some excellent photos of previous Book Week displays that might prove inspirational.)

‘Cheaper’ books, but at what cost?

Both The Age and The Australian are reporting today on the Productivity Commission‘s decision to advise the Federal Government to implement it’s recommendations in yesterday’s report.

Publishers fight cheap books

Jason Steger

July 15, 2009


"We won't have Australian authors if we don't have Australian publishers,'' says writer Peter Temple.
“We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” says writer Peter Temple.

BOOKS could be cheaper in Australia if the Federal Government implements recommendations in a report issued yesterday by the Productivity Commission.

But it faces a hostile campaign from the bulk of the book industry, which says the commission’s report is flawed and will damage publishers, printers, smaller booksellers, authors and Australia’s cultural wellbeing.

The commission urged the Government to scrap territorial copyright protection for writers and publishers to put Australian book prices more in line with those in the US and Britain.

In its final report on the parallel importation of books, it recommended the lifting of all restrictions after a three-year adjustment period; the rejigging of financial assistance to the book industry; a new survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and a review of the brave new world after five years.

It said the current legislation, under which Australian publishers have 30 days to publish editions of books published overseas or face competing editions, stopped booksellers from importing “cheaper or better-value-for-money editions”.

The recommendations were welcomed by Dymocks boss Don Grover, the driving force behind the Coalition for Cheaper Books. However, he told The Age a three-year delay would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, “and that’s unreasonable”.

Opponents of the change said they would turn their attention to lobbying. The majority of the 560 submissions received by the commission, including those from state and territory governments, opposed the lifting of restrictions.

Scribe publisher Henry Rosenbloom, who has funded much of his local publishing by acquiring rights to overseas titles, said there was no guarantee of cheaper books. “It’s crazy to recommend policies now that will lead to the destruction of significant parts of Australian publishing, book selling, writing and printing that are dependent on exchange rates and the behaviour of booksellers.”

Penguin chief executive Gabrielle Coyne warned that if the Government adopted the recommendations, it represented a “move away from evidence-based policy”.

Authors such as Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, Kate Grenville and Morris Gleitzman have spoken out strongly against any change to territorial copyright. Yesterday crime writer Peter Temple added his voice. “We won’t have Australian authors if we don’t have Australian publishers,” he said. “If you think Australian publishing is important, if you want them to take risks on authors, backlists, bringing on talent, then you care more about product than simply profit. If you think it’s important they stay in business, you don’t do this to them.”

The Printing Industries Association of Australia claimed the recommendations put at risk hundreds of jobs. PIA policy manager Hagop Tchamkertenian told The Agethat Maryborough “would be devastated. One in four workers depends on the book printing industry.”

Michael Heyward, publisher at Text, pointed out the irony of the commission recommending changes to benefit the consumer but advocating a review of the grant system that could mean higher taxes.


The Australian report focuses on job losses:

 Cheap books will cost ‘at least 500 jobs’

July 15, 2009

Article from:  Australian Associated Press

A PROPOSAL to lift copyright restrictions on books may deliver cheaper prices but at a cost of more than 500 jobs, a union says.

A Productivity Commission report yesterday called for an end to century-old laws that limit the importation of cheaper books from overseas.

Supporters say consumers are overcharged $200 million a year because of the restrictions and that dumping them will boost competition and cut prices.

But there is no guarantee this will happen, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said.

What is more certain is the direct loss of 500 jobs within the publishing and printing industry, the union’s print division secretary Steve Walsh said.

Other estimates put the figure at 3000.

“In this economic climate, where every job is precious, it would be terrible news for our valuable print industry,” Mr Walsh said.

“It would allow books printed overseas a major advantage over Australian suppliers.”

Many local authors believe scrapping the laws will strip them of income.

Writer Tim Winton used his acceptance speech for his Miles Franklin award in June to defend the legislation as it stands.

Mr Walsh said: “If retailers … are so concerned for access to cheaper books, they should revise their profit margins rather than asking printers to lose business in pursuit of books printed cheaply overseas.”

It will be more than interesting to see (especially in these economic times) if the Federal Government acts on the advice of the Productivity Commission.