SLAV Connects is a blog by the School Libraries Association of Victoria (SLAV), formerly named Bright Ideas when a collaboration between SLAV and the State Library of Victoria (SLV). Its aim is to share news from the Association and to encourage teacher librarians, librarians, school library staff, educators and all interested persons to actively engage with the school libraries, to share tools and experiences; to network on a global scale; and to embrace dynamic teaching and learning opportunities.
As we commence the new school year, it’s timely to share this guest post from SLAV Council Member Julie Pagliaro. In this post Julie, teacher librarian at St Kevin’s College, Waterford Library, reflects on the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources held last term. The management of digital resources is a complex matter for school libraries, made easier by sharing successful examples of practice through workshops such as this.
The School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV) Workshop – eBooks and eResources was an engaging day with everything that you have ever wondered about eBooks and eResources being addressed. David Feigham, Information and Library Services Manager from Mentone Girls’ Grammar School, set the scene, with his inspiring knowledge and experience on how to implement best practice strategies in this area of our library collections. Practical ideas followed on how to incorporate Kindles, how to promote ebooks and the importance of keeping usage records. Julia Petrov from St Patrick’s College, Ballarat emphasised that eresources should always be no more than three clicks away and we must make it easy for our users. The provision of ebooks and eresources requires flexible and creative thinking on the part of library staff. By working together, we will be in a stronger position to know what works and how to achieve the best deal for our schools.
Presentations and notes from the conference will be available via the member’s area of the SLAV website.
Advantages of eBooks and eResources – they’re private, can’t be lost, instant, great for when a book is in high demand and you don’t want to buy multiple copies of it, content can often be differentiated according to different learning standards e.g., Online Britannica has low, medium and high levels
People still want print books over eBooks
EBook usage seems to be higher than NF. When we chose to introduce fiction eBooks first did we have the order wrong?
Provision of eBooks and eResources is higher in the Independent and Catholic sectors. It is concerning, that government schools are falling behind in this area.
One often repeated view, was that as a profession, we need to work together with our vendors in order to ensure we meet the needs of our students and staff.
Sometimes it is unwise to purchase outright. Consider more flexible options such as leasing.
Publishers are not the same and they often and do change their eBook licensing agreements. We must learn to manage this.
Don’t expect one provider to meet all of your eLearning needs.
Know your usage of eResources and examine whether you are meeting your school’s needs.
Access to your resources should be no more than three clicks.
You are invited to share your knowledge of ebooks and eresources via a ‘comment’.
In this guest post from Sue Osborne, Head of Library Service, Haileybury College, Brighton, she shares her experience of the recent PLN Plus course.
I was interested to do the PLN+ because I had participated in several PLN courses (two 23 things, PLN research tool kit) and I was interested in taking the things I had learned the next level. I was also interested in the idea of project work and finding other library professionals who were interested in developing similar ideas in their schools.
I found the course to be quite different from my past experience of the PLN. Firstly, it was a shorter course – only four weeks long, but it was filled with new ideas, so in terms of content it still delivered. There was also a less formal approach, with four stages rather than particular products or apps to focus on. It was more about the process of starting and growing networks, rather than specific, measurable outcomes. I found this approach disconcerting at first, but once we all started talking about our areas of interest, I took to it well.
I enjoyed the relaxed approach, self-driven learning, connecting with like-minded colleagues who wanted to be instruments of change within their organisations as well as a huge pool of ideas and tools to think about and try. I will be exploring the tools for at least the next month or so! I’ve listed my three favourite tools below.
1/ Mightybell – the platform the PLN was based in has been fantastic. It is easy to use, looks great and has greatly enhanced the learning and sharing for this course. Far superior to Edmodo, which was used in the last course. I love it. Not sure how I might use it in my work, except perhaps to set up a project group of my own down the track (not on the cards just yet)
2/ Shadow Puppet – this iPad app allowed me to take photographs and then record a narration track over a slide show. I decide when each photo comes up. It is intuitive and dead easy to use (as easy as Animoto, which I use almost constantly at work now). I am planning to use Shadow Puppet with my newly formed Middle School Library Committee. We are going to make short how-to presentations about the library catalogue, searching and so on for classes to view before they come to the Library to do research
3/ Padlet – this product let’s you set up a wall, send the link to people you want to have participate in the project/discussion and you all post ideas (a bit like post-it notes) so you can collaborate and brainstorm together. I am already using this regularly with other staff to talk about planning information literacy sessions and trying to develop a reading culture within the school
I guess the number one thing I am taking from the course is a sense of community – that we are all part of something bigger, something that can help us achieve great (or small) things. The openness of the participants has been fantastic and I think many of us will stay in touch by following each other on Twitter, or continuing to build on our Padlets or other collaborative tools.
I will also take a renewed sense of purpose in what I do, and the knowledge that I have skills and experience that other people appreciate and value, just as I value their experience and skills. The rise in my professional (and as a result, personal) self-esteem was an unexpected bonus.
Finally I plan to implement some programs in my school and document them, with the objective of sharing them via Bright Ideas, or perhaps even FYI, so that others can see what I am doing, and perhaps be inspired to try something different. I have the confidence to push myself forward and try harder, which is probably the most valuable thing of all.
Bookemon is a service that allows you to easily create and publish books online and print high quality hard copies on demand. Bookemon has an edCenter that lets educators create a space where students can work on group and individual projects. One teacher librarian making the most of this online tool is Pam Rajapakse. Pam is the teacher librarian at Prairievale Public School, Bossley Park, NSW. In a school where the majority of students speak English as a second language, Pam is using this tool to engage students in literacy and reading. In this guest post, Pam shares her experiences with Bookemon.
Prairievale Public School (PPS) has just over 420 students and the majority have Assyrian heritage. English is a second language for over 90% of families. New arrivals are often enrolled at the school throughout the year. The socio economic level of the community is not the highest and hence the parents are challenged to prioritise needs and wants on a regular basis. So it’s not surprising that reading and writing are school priorities with comprehension skills targeted across stages.
In such an environment, my focus is to support children and teachers with work in the classroom. As research shows, there is a direct correlation between academic achievement and staff and student involvement with the school library.
Reading is one of the most important interventions in breaking through language barriers and children need to enjoy reading for them to read. If someone likes an activity, they are most likely to continue with it. The decision to Bookemon for publishing with students was based on this idea.
At the beginning of the year, I introduced the concepts of Five Ws to Stage 1 classes and continued to refer to this strategy when we engaged in reading and research activities during the year. The Bookemon publishing process started with students returning to the Five Ws, creating characters, settings and events based on a plot created by the class. We negotiated names, places, settings, changed characters and descriptions to suit the evolving plots, we laughed, debated and agreed to disagree on many things along the way. Every child in every class was allocated a page to illustrate and one child was selected to illustrate the front cover.
Illustrating the stories acted as a great leveller and a confidence builder – some were keen to draw, some were not whilst others did not want their work published. So it was essential to applaud and appreciate individual efforts by each and every child along the way as it proved that whilst not all of us are gifted with the paint brush, beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder. It was such a buzz towards the end of the process because teachers and students could see how the book was coming together and could not wait to see the finished product.
While the students gained some insight into how a story is constructed and what’s involved in the process of publishing, I think what I value most was their increased appreciation of how language works. The process of combining words to form beautiful ideas and depicting what the words don’t tell you in their drawings has begun to build my students’ confidence and motivation to read.
I am hoping that these activities and the outcomes we’ve seen aren’t limited to the library space and teachers at PPS engage with similar ideas in their classrooms. Bookemon provided the perfect platform for the stories to be published. As a school, I have had to register and create an account, free of charge. Once I scanned and uploaded the illustrations, the formatting templates were very easy to navigate with the entire palette of editing tools ready at hand. I received the books I ordered in two weeks in very good condition, confirmed and posted from the US via ordinary post. I am hoping to repeat the activity with other stages gradually in the next year as many teachers have already expressed their interest. Teachers’ feedback on the program shows me activities like this in the library are making a positive impact on not only students, but teachers too.
Thank you, Pam, for sharing your learning and teaching with us. Visit Pam’s page on Bookemon to view more books written and illustrated by PPS students.
Libraries in all sectors are working to provide access to ebooks. Vicki Nelson, Redmond Barry Collection Librarian at the State Library of Victoria, describes the process from the perspective of a collecting institution with millions of items. She talks about developing processes around acquiring ebooks on a large scale.
The State Library of Victoria (SLV) has been working hard to increase access to our collections so Victorians can use material from anywhere, not just within the building. This in part comes from the ongoing process of digitisation, as over 600 000 heritage pictures, newspapers, manuscripts and out of copyright Victorian books are now available online. We also provide home access to subscription databases for Victorian registered users and have moved many of our print serials online, so ebooks was a logical next step.
Initially we ran an ebook trial in 2012 where patrons selected books for acquisition. The success of this trial fed into a working group which identified suppliers and streamlined selection, acquisition and cataloguing processes. As a result, SLV made ebooks available for general use in July 2013.
We made the decision to use two suppliers as it gave us the opportunity to choose from a greater range of books. SLV currently uses EBL and EBSCOHost as our ebook providers. Both link to our normal overseas book supplier’s selection and acquisition process. Both are for a single user, although EBL does have the flexibility of multiple users viewing the same book at the same time, but limits the overall number of times a book can be looked at in a year.
SLV has chosen wherever possible to purchase rather than rent ebooks, so they are permanently accessible. Of the titles we select, there are still only about 40% of overseas books available to us as ebooks. Australian publishing is even less ebook ready – we purchase books as they are published and the ebook version may not be available for months after this date. At this stage we are not ready to move to an Australian ebook selection process, so we will monitor the Australian situation until there is a change.
One of the main reasons we moved to ebooks was so that we could make them available to our Victorian registered users. Ereaders require you to download free software onto the device but once that is done an ebook can be downloaded and used for up to 7 days. We have created a guide to help new users access ebooks from our collections and there is a link to this on every ebook record in the catalogue.
If you want to find out which ebooks we have available, the quickest way is to search for a topic and add the word ‘ebooks’, eg ‘History ebooks’ and then refine your search using the filters on the left hand side.
You can also filter your search by ‘Genre’ and select ‘Electronic resources’.
Like print books, the general model is one person at a time but this varies depending on where we purchased the ebook. For example, EBL ebooks allow more than one person to access the same item at the same time, but limits the total number of times the ebook can be looked at during the year.
Whatever the number of ebooks in your collection, the process for selecting a provider is the same – trial as many as you can, test the platforms based on your needs and make a checklist of titles you want and see which companies provide them. If you can, test systems with your users and see how books work on their equipment.
Even though ebooks cost more to provide, there are a number of advantages for patrons. Ebooks can be used immediately by users inside your library and from anywhere they have web access. Ebooks are also ready to use as soon as they are purchased without the need for processing or shelving.
SLV has over a million print books and is continuing to add to this collection. Not all books are available as ebooks or on the platforms that the library is using. So at this stage, the State Library of Victoria will continue to be a hybrid library of print and electronic resources.
Kim Yeomans is the teacher librarian (TL) at St Martin of Tours, Rosanna, Melbourne, where she has been full-time in the LRC (Library Resource Centre) for the past 11 years. Kim teaches 21 classes each week and considers it a privilege to be part of every student’s reading and learning journey. Kim believes it is an exciting time to be a TL and she is regularly searching for new ways to use both books and technology to inspire her students. Kim began the LRC Blog in 2009 and below tells us how the blog is being used to make connections, and inspire students.
At our Library Resource Centre we say “The LRC is the place to be” and these days that is both physical and virtual.
During 2008 my eyes were opened to the world of Web 2.0 when I completed the “SLAV Re-imagine” course. As a result, our LRC Blog was created in February 2009 with high hopes of using it as a means of connecting with our students, the wider school community and eventually the global community. Today I cannot imagine having a library without a blog as it is such a vital conduit between the LRC and our school community, particularly our students that I only teach weekly for 45 minutes. It has also provided a means for me to connect professionally and share ideas with other blogging TLs which is invaluable when you are the only TL at your school. Since I have started blogging I have spoken at TL Networks about the benefits of a school library blog and actively encouraged and mentored teachers in my school to create their own classroom blogs.
When I began the LRC blog I started small, had a clear purpose and made a commitment to write a weekly post (except on holidays) and to reply to every comment. It is important to promote your blog and I regularly link to posts in the school newsletter and introduce it to new parents at Prep Orientation. I also show the latest blog post to relevant classes at the beginning of lessons and students can follow up in their own time. We now have a number of students and parents who subscribe to our blog.
Our LRC blog documented the building of our new LRC (unfortunately some of our PhotoPeach slideshows are missing). It also conveyed the news of our Christmas Day Flood in 2011 and demonstrated the global connections we have made when Julie Hembree our blogging buddy in Seattle, Washington. Compassionately Julie came to our aid via her Bulldog Readers Blog and parcels of books arrived from library friends both overseas and local. Our blog has in turn also allowed us to reach out to others in Japan and Bangladesh.
As the LRC Blog has evolved students have written guest posts and new pages have been added as I discovered new things to share. One of my favourite pages is the LRC Snapshots page which is linked to a Tumblr blog. I always keep my camera handy to take photos of students who have shared something with me or incidental moments in the LRC before and after school or during lunchtimes – these are a collection of the precious connections you make as a teacher librarian.
The LRC Blog has ensured our library is no longer confined to four walls and is open 24/7, though recently I have found I needed other ways to provide for our students’ needs and interests. Last year I used a Wiki to create a page of links for Authors and Illustrators to link to the LRC blog. This year I discovered Weebly and began our LRC Website which is also linked to our blog. I have begun adding links to Search Engines and Creative Commons websites that I teach in class and students can access when needed from school or home. The LRC blog is now morphing into our online library hub.
This has been a great opportunity to reflect on our LRC Blog and I am amazed at how much of our library journey over the past five years has been recorded there. As you can see I could not function without it! Today the LRC Blog is embedded in both our library and school and has regular local and global visitors searching for how to draw Greg Heffley, Anzac Day resources or simply reading the latest post. The day I heard two of our Year 6 students telling prospective parents on a school tour “Our library even has its own blog” I knew I was on the right track!
My dilemma now is what will happen to the LRC Blog while I take leave for 2014…
Kim’s creation on an ‘online library hub’ that is making connections through the school community and beyond is inspiring. For further information and ideas from Kim, visit Kim’s Corner.
Story Box Library is melding the mediums of film and storytelling to create authentic online literature experiences. Australian content is delivered from a diverse range of storytellers for primary school aged students. The site also includes teacher resources, Australian curriculum links and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the stories. Teacher librarian Sharon McGuinness has discovered the extensive toolkit of Story Box Library and shares her use of it with us:
I am the teacher librarian at Thirroul PS which is just north of Wollongong on the NSW south coast. We are a school of approximately 360 students across 15 classes, with the vast majority of students speaking English as their first language.
The new NSW based Australian English curriculum, with its emphasis on literature, presents teacher librarians a golden opportunity. At Thirroul, our Stage 1 staff have been working with students using ‘Language, Learning and Literacy’ or L3,a NSW program which encourages the use and study of literature in the classroom. Working with staff, I have further expanded the suggested literature titles and am completing a similar task with regard to the suggested titles within the new curriculum – particularly those featuring sustainability, Australia’s engagement with Asia and Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
My aim is to make it easier for staff to use literature in each classroom and avoid duplicating titles across stages and grades.
Part of this strategy also includes using related online literature resources – whether it be author/illustrator websites, book trailers, interviews or multi modal texts. Story Box Library will bring more of an authentic literature experience into the classroom with its range of online storytelling segments. It also aims to give students the background of how the books are created, and classroom ideas. As a school we have already signed up and teachers are exploring the site, using the online storytelling segments on their interactive whiteboards in the classrooms. Teachers also appreciate the accompanying teaching notes and ideas as this fits in perfectly with our Stage 1 L3 program. I have also added several of the titles on the SL website to our Stage 1 L3 list of suggested texts.
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed the staff’s usage of printed teaching resources greatly decreasing and recognize that staff now rely on resources available online. Story Box Library fills a gap in resourcing online Australian children’s literature.
We are looking forward to the site’s further growth and development as it has the ability to provide us with a ‘one stop shop’ for a range quality Australian children’s literature.
Hamish Curry, Education Manager at the State Library of Victoria reflects on gaming and playfulness after recently taking part in conferences in Auckland and Melbourne.
Games and playful thinking have been popping up a lot for me recently, more so than usual.
There seems to be a shift in the discussion from the games people play to how games both reflect and add to the culture of our workplaces and public spaces. School libraries can potentially be a hub for this kind of discussion enabling the exploration of games and apps that contribute to our understanding of digital literacy, deep reading and game elements.
In digging deeper I headed along to the inaugural Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) from July 19-21. Here more than 40,000 gamers descended on the Melbourne Show grounds to indulge in games from all kinds of mediums: card games, board games, video games, and talks about games. The scale was overwhelming. It was a powerful physical reminder of just how ubiquitous and diverse games are, as well as how rich the networks and local game development scene are too. I spoke on a panel about The Playful Library exploring the ways in which library spaces can be designed and co-programmed to support games culture. If libraries are keen to engage with the community, then games become a powerful way to bring playfulness and partnerships into their spaces.
Speaking of spaces, I was New Zealand bound the following day to participate in the Auckland City Council’s Hui ‘New Rules of Engagement: Future Directions for Children’s and Youth Services at Auckland Libraries’. This two-day event explored the ‘serious business of being playful’ and brought about 180 staff together to discuss how library spaces can be revitalised, redesigned and reprogrammed to better support families and youth services. There was a strong sense of community driven perspectives coming through the sessions, which also included a workshop on building bridges with newspaper whilst being shot at with Nerf guns! Clearly the play potential of libraries was a key focus, and the energy of the room suggested that the tenacity and eagerness of staff was certainly there.
The themes of risk, innovation, and opportunity kept surfacing. Something that also surfaced during this Hui was an article I’d written for the Schools Catalogue Information Service on Games and learning. In it I explore the ways in which games complement and contrast with education, and how control is always shifting.
Being playful reminds us all that control is at once a state of mind and an opportunity to do things differently.
Image credit: Steam punk nerf guns at Auckland Libraries Hui – librarians vs children!
The other day, I heard a story. A parent of young children heard that the oldest children in the school – ages 9 and 10 – were going to be having an end-of-year technology celebration to which everyone in the building was invited. Eager to hear what her kids would be experiencing in a few years, she dropped by. The students filed in front of the assembly and, without a word, held up an A4 printout of a presentation slide.
That was it.
The whole school had been pulled out of class to gaze at small pieces of paper dozens of feet away.
Now, I have no doubt that the educators behind that project had great intentions and worked hard. (Anyone who has ever tried to get an entire primary school class to print out a project without mixing up whose is whose knows what a feat it is that each kid actually ended up with anything.)
But how did a tool meant to serve as an illuminated backdrop for public speaking end up as a small paper rectangle held up by a silent child? How did a faculty make a decision that seeing these faraway papers merited pulling every other child out of class? What was this project supposed to accomplish?
It’s hard to know. Maybe the technology curriculum focuses on the acquisition of specific skills and behaviours (“the learner will print from software,” “the learner will format a presentation slide”). Maybe the educators were pressed for time. Maybe something else.
I would argue that the crux of the issue is this: there were not clear, aspirational expectations for how technology could transform, extend, and deepen student learning. I would bet that this faculty did not have a clear understanding of what it meant to teach and learn with technology and how to use technology as a game-changer. I have a hunch that the administration pushed for its staff to use technology without talking about how and why to use it.
I quote an extreme example, but (I fear) it probably resonated within the realm of possibility for you. In this madcap Web 2.0 world, where there are endless “creative” tools, just waiting for you to type in a few words and pick a template, how do we move the conversation from “teachers need to use technology, period,” to, “technology needs to transform the teaching and learning and take students further than they could go without technology.”
Next Friday, we’ll gather to talk about this phenomenon. We’ll look at a possible vocabulary and framework for planning and discussing student work, and we’ll draw inspiration from Alan Liu’s Transliteracies Project as we collaborate to articulate what it means to do robust “reading” and “writing” in multimedia. At the end of the day, we’ll dip quickly into two alternative ways to use technology with kids: digital badging to track learning in formal and informal spaces and the makerspace movement. Come roll up your sleeves and dig in with us!
Rhondda Powling was part of a group, including staff from the State Library of Victoria, who presented at SLAV ‘s ‘Be in control: participate in the new age of school libraries’ on the value of personal learning networks, workflows and online tools. This guest post reflects on her presentation exploring content curation. You can find Rhondda’s blog here.
I was asked to speak about ‘Content Curation’ at a recent SLAV conference. You could say a lot about curation but I was asked to do two short sessions about ten minutes long. What to include in this brief session and what to leave out was a conundrum. I wanted the topic of curation to make sense. I tried to focus my thoughts on what I believe curation means to me. Why is it important to my learning, how do I use it with colleagues and students and why should I? So this is my experience of curation.
The phrases ‘content curation’ and ‘digital curation’ are buzz words in the online world, especially in my library networks. Although curation tools are many and varied, the approach I take when running sessions for teachers at my school is that when used properly, these tools enhance professional learning.
The AITSL Professional Standards for Teachers includes a section on Professional Engagement. The first paragraph under this is ‘Teachers model effective learning’. They identify their own learning needs and analyse, evaluate and expand their professional learning, both with colleagues and individually. One of the ways to demonstrate this kind of learning is through professional reading. It is easy to keep a record of professional reading and evidence of learning and sharing if you become a good content curator. Content curation also covers the collegial aspect.
Content or digital curation is not simply collecting links. Many teacher librarians, myself included, have been collecting links (for example: school topics, research) for years. So:
it’s not really a creating process as such but rather a process of sorting, arranging and then further publishing about information that already exists in the online or digital world
it is a process of first finding digital content that might be useful then sorting the results into the best and most relevant links, value adding with annotations and then sharing them in meaningful (organized) ways.
Good curators identify and define their topics or subjects at the outset. They then select what to keep whilst providing some context and annotation. Good curators make sure they correctly credit the sources as they offer their networks appropriate and easy access to their curated sources.
How to begin curating
Focused filtering and selection is a very important aspect of effective curation. Try to be as clear as possible about what you want. There are many ways to locate good content especially if you use social media. There are also many tools for curating. See my Google doc for some suggestions These are tools I use or others that I have seen. Some I do not use myself but they are recommended by other colleagues. Another post about curation tools that is worth looking at is 55 Content Curation Tools To Discover & Share Digital Content, which includes an annotated list, from the TeachThought blog.
I have found that the best way to choose a curation tool is to be as clear as possible about what you want then spend some time looking for the tool/s that best suit your needs. That means, as you begin, have a ‘play’ with different tools and evaluate them critically. Some tools offer more advanced filtering search options than others. Some are more visual. Of course, as with everything in the digital world, things may change and what works for a while may alter its perspective and/or no longer continue to meet your needs.
I use around five main tools that allow me to find information and links. I actively search for information on specific topics and follow a number of people and groups using social media who have similar interests to me. These include my Diigo groups, Scoop.it and Paper.li authors via gmail notifications and summaries. I usually get daily, but sometimes weekly, summaries sent to me.
I do not regard Twitter as a curation tool but I find it very useful (via groups and hashtags) to locate possibly useful content. If I don’t have time to read it fully, I use Diigo’s “read later” option to help me filter out what I want to annotate and keep. Twitter is also one of the ways I inform others in my networks about possible sources that may also be of interest to them. Pinterest and Scoop.it are both curation tools that I use often and they make it easy to share to other social media platforms.
When I first began I looked at what others were doing. Here are a selection of people I follow:
I think it is important that the task of curating becomes a regular one, part of the daily routine. Beth’s suggestion about timing is a good one. I try to go through my lists most days. If, after a week I haven’t got to suggested sites, I usually delete the suggested lists, as new ones keep coming in.
My time was up. This was as far I got with my coverage of the topic. There is more I could discuss especially how it might be used to assist student learning.
I left the group with a second graphic that offers a good visual about the process of curating.
And these videos about why it’s important to curate.
On May 24th, SLAV hosted ‘Be in control: participate in the new age of school libraries’, a conference for library teams. In this post Cindy Tschernitz, SLAV Executive Officer, reflects on the day. The Bright Ideas team also interviewed delegates at the conference and you can listen to the recording here.
What a fantastic day for all delegates. We embraced the year’s theme of ‘Participate, engage, shine – you, me, us’ with a great level of engagement, interaction and enthusiasm. Delegates don’t want to be passive receptors of information and we need to engage, challenge and involve which we did at this conference. It was particularly heartening to see and hear from library team members who learnt from each other and spread the word beyond Melbourne Park through Twitter.
Speakers were outstanding. James Laussen Principal of Overnewton Anglican Community College and Joy Whiteside, Head of Library (a very active SLAV member and John Ward Award winner) did an excellent job setting the scene for the day. Jim gave us an overview of where education is going and Joy followed with her well researched paper on where school libraries are going. She told it as it is, no holds barred and really allowed all to reflect on their role in the school library and greater school community. We had a solid basis for the rest of the day.
Michael Jongen discussed the issues around how we can best provide access to all types of digital content. What struck me was the complexity of improving access and the more Michael spoke, the more issues were raised. As many of the delegates were involved in technical aspects of school libraries, like cataloguing, there were many many questions raised. To some degree it appears that the new cataloguing rules, RDA (Resource Description and Access) will need ongoing revision and adaptation to keep pace with digital content.
From the feedback we received, the concurrent sessions were very engaging. Thank you to Joyce, Michael and Renate and the one I attended, Management 101 presented by Janet Blackwell. Janet spoke with experience, wisdom and honesty. Telling it like it is should have been the theme for the day. Janet led us through her toolbox, showed us the tactics that she has used to ensure that the school library she is responsible for gets the credit and dollars that it deserves by making it an indispensable part of the school community. Jane gave us some fantastic quotes which I would encourage all to look at via the days Twitter hashtag #SLAVconf.
The partnership between SLAV and the State Library of Victoria was highlighted by the afternoon’s session led by Kelly Gardiner and Cameron Hocking. The panel discussion of PLN participants and stakeholders gave some insight into the value of the PLN. It was great for those of us who are PLN dropouts to know we’re not alone and even more importantly that there are ways we can improve our time management strategies to help complete the course next time. The hands-on demonstrations exploring search strategies, curation, social media and workflow were also excellent. Next conference we will make sure that we have more time so people can attend more than one practical session.
To finish the day and highlight the importance of SLAV’s partnerships with both ALIA and other state school library associations in the Australian arena, Sue McKerracher spoke about a number of initiatives particularly the The Future of the Profession project and the 13 Project. These projects bring together government, school library associations and other agencies in an initiative that will support the school community but will also provide an important platform for advocacy for school libraries.
If I had only one word to describe the conference it would be ‘invigorating’. I am looking forward to the next one on August 15 Transliteracy: who do you ask and how can you participate? which features Professor Kristin Fontichiaro, University of Michigan, School of Information in her first Australian visit. Hope to see you there.