SLAV Online Book Club Meeting February 18th 2021 – Topic: Series

Our heartfelt thanks to those of you able to join us for our first bookclub meeting for 2021! As always, so many of you had so many wonderful contributions to share with us, and it is very appreciated. Below is the list of titles and series shared and discussed.

Some titles may have an indicated suitable age range next to each title, however this is merely a guide and as always we encourage you to use your own judgement, as you know your students best.

Disclaimer: The lists generated as a result of Book Club discussions are not, by any means, an exhaustive list of all titles or authors for each genre/category discussed. Nor will all titles be suitable for all libraries. We advise staff discretion when referencing these lists, to properly confirm individual title suitability for individual libraries, school and students needs. These are suggested titles only, shared by our members and inclusion on, or exclusion from, a list does not suggest SLAV endorsement or rejection of a title.

Magisterium by Holly Black
Slated by Teri Terry
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Series by JRR Tolkien
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Once, Then, Now, Soon, Maybe, After by Morris Gleitzman
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
Gone Series by Michael Grant
Specky Magee by Felice Arena and Garry Lyons
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
Tokyo Ghoul Manga by Sui Ishida
Contagion Series by Terri Terry
Young Bond by Charlie Higgins
Berrybrook Middle School Series by Svetlana Chmakova
The Royal Rabbits of London by Santa Montefiore
Just a Girl Series by Jane Caro
Thirteen Series by James Phelan
Hamster Princess by Ursula Vernon (Yrs 1 & 2)
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My Australian Story Series by Various
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
‘Choose Your Ever After’ series by Various
Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer
Heartstoppers by Alice Oseman
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (Yrs 3, 4 & 5)
Five nights at Freddy’s novels and graphic novels (scary content, based on a video game)
Funny Kid by Matt Stanton (Yrs 3 & 4)
Wings of Fire (novels and graphic novels) by Tui Sutherland
A Wizards Guide to Defensive Baking – T Kingfisher
The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah. J. Maas (Secondary)
Assassination Classroom, Naruto, Attack on Titan etc. Also graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, Guts, Drama, Sisters
Wolf Girl by Anh Do
Conspiracy 365 Series by Gabrielle Lord
Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles
Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush Saga
Dragonkeeper Series by Carole Wilkinson
200 minutes of Danger Series by Jack Heath
Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson
One of us is Lying and other titles by Karen McManus
Twisted Tales Series published by Disney is popular with year 7 girls
Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith
Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
For mature readers Rock war Series by Robert Muchamore.
Bodyguard Series by Chris Bradford
Carousel by Brendan Ritchie
All series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Wiliam Wenton by Bobie Peers
E-Boy by Anh Do
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
Jenny Han – To All The Boys Trilogy
Pages and Co by Anna James
Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Legend by Marie Lu
Road to Winter by Mark Smith
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Discworld by Terry Pratchett
Mortal Engines Quartet and Rail Head by Philip Reeves
YORK series by Laura Ruby
Prince without a Kingdom by T. De Frombelle
Assassins Creed by Oliver Bowden
Famous 5 and Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Wolves of Mercy Falls and Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
New duology by Will Kostakis is great (The Monuments & Rebel Gods)
Rogue and Hive by A Betts
The Giver by Lois Lowry

ADULT – What We Are Reading
Dervla McTiernan The Ruin (series)
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Station Eleven by E,ily St. John Mandel
Book of Colours by Anne Cadwallader
The Broken Shore book 1 by Peter Temple
Truth by Peter Temple
The Dry by Jane Harper
All our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The White Girl by Tony Birch
The Truths We Hold An American Journey by Kamala Harris
Dark Tides by Phillipa Gregory
Lydia Sherrer series is a bit like a grown- up Harry Potter

Humble Pi by Matt Parker (math mistakes, very funny).
The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery
Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
Greenlights by Matthew McConaghy
Honeybee by Craig Silvey


SLAV Online Book Club – 27th August 2020 – Engaging Covers

Our biggest thanks to those of you able to join us for our recent bookclub meeting. As you can see the list is quite lengthy, which is a wonderful result! Some titles have an indicated suitable age range next to each title, however this is merely a guide and as always we encourage you to use your own judgement, as you know your students best.

Disclaimer: The lists generated as a result of Book Club discussions are not, by any means, an exhaustive list of all titles or authors for each genre/category discussed. Nor will all titles be suitable for all libraries. We advise staff discretion when referencing these lists, to properly confirm individual title suitability for individual libraries, school and students needs. These are suggested titles only, shared by our members and inclusion on, or exclusion from, a list does not suggest SLAV endorsement or rejection of a title.

Happy reading and don’t forget to join us for our next meeting on October 14 2020 to dicuss biographies. Register HERE.

Covers that do well to engage readers:

George Ivanoff – new reprinted new covers of his series are excellent

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Real Pigeons Fight Crime Series by Andrew McDonald and Ben Wood

Polly and Buster Trilogy by Sally Rippin

Justin D’Ath – Extreme Adventures Series

Heartstopper Graphic Novels by Alice Oseman

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon

Film tie-in covers work well in YA

Five Nights at Freddy’s book series based on the video game

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

The Stranger Things Books by Various

The End of the World is Bigger Than Love by Davina Bell

Design styles that don’t work as well to engage:

‘Babyish covers’ in a secondary school and other covers that suggest a young audience or young characters

Kids hate old fashioned covers

Cartoonish or illustrated covers in middle grade

Stereo typed colours – pink being for girls

Currently Reading:

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski.

Emergency Rescue Angel by Cate Whittle

Fox Eight by George Saunders

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller

Plain Janes Graphic Novels

Lumber Janes Graphic Novels

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow – Siobhan Curham (Yr 9)

Taylor Before and After – Jennie Englund (Yr 8)

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Snow by Gina Inverarity

Yellow by Megan Jacobsen

The Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman

Monuments and Rebel Gods by Will Kostakis

Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Kwame Alexander Titles

Sarah Crossan Titles

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

SLAV Book Club July 29th 2020 – Reluctant Readers






Our biggest thanks to those of you able to join us for our recent bookclub meeting, sharing with us your tried and tested recommendations for reluctant readers. As you can see the list is quite lengthy, which is a wonderful result! We have indicated suitable age range next to each title, however this is merely a guide and as always we encourage you to use your own judgement, as you know your students best. JF – indicates Junior Fiction, MG – Middle Grade, YA – Young Adult, A – Adult.

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, particularly if it is coming from overseas.

Disclaimer: The lists generated as a result of Book Club discussions are not, by any means, an exhaustive list of all titles or authors for each genre/category discussed. Nor will all titles be suitable for all libraries. We advise staff discretion when referencing these lists, to properly confirm individual title suitability for individual libraries, school and students needs. These are suggested titles only, shared by our members and inclusion on, or exclusion from, a list does not suggest SLAV endorsement or rejection of a title.

Happy reading and don’t forget to join us for our next meeting on August 27th 2020 to dicuss book covers! Register HERE.

Books that have been turned into films often work
The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson YA
Polly and Buster Series by Sally Rippin MG
Choose Your Own Adventure by George Ivanoff MG
Real Pigeons Fight Crime Series by Andrew McDonald and Ben Wood JF/MG
Swerve by Philip Gwynne YA
Pale by Chris Wooding YA
Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore YA
Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz YA
The Bad Guys Series by Aaron Blabey JF/MG
The Fall and Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks MG
Royal Flying Doctor Series by George Ivanoff MG
Escape From Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith YA
Wings of Fire Series by Tui. T Sutherland MG
Warrior Cats Series by Erin Hunter
Rangers Apprentice Series by John Flanagan MG
The Witching Hours Series by Jack Henseleit MG
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens MG
Ruby Redfort Series by Lauren Child MG
It by Stephen King A
Skullduggery Series by Derek Landy YA
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen YA
Exploding Endings by Tim Harris JF/MG
The Minutes to Danger Series by Jack Heath MG
Scythe, Toll and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman YA
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney MG
Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton JF
Bro by Helen Chebatte YA
David Walliams Books MG
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (post movie) MG
Barrington Stoke Series (for students with reading difficulties) MG – YA
Orca Series JF
Weirdo Series by Ahn Do JF
Able by Dylan Alcott YA
Audio books were also suggested as a way into story
Graphic Novels and Manga also allow a way into the story through illustration
Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi MG
Sport Biographies
Nova Weetman titles ALL
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck YA
Garfield JF
Lark by Anthony McGowan YA
Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall MG
Once and Then by Morris Gleitzman MG
Grimsdon by Deb Abela MG
Ghost by Jason Reynolds YA
The Dog Runner by Bren McDibble MG
The Stubborn Seed of Hope by Brian Falkner (short stories) A
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley MG
The Girl Versus the World Series by Various MG
Speak and Shout by Laurie Halse Andersen (trigger warning – sexual assault) A
One by Sarah Crossan YA
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers YA
Nit Boy by Tristan Bancks JF/MG
Life On the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers YA
Risk, Black, Wreck and Found by Fleur Ferris YA
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (short stories) YA
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (short stories) MG/YA
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman YA
Road to Winter Series by Mark Smith YA
10 Futures by Michael Pryor MG
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes MG
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor (short stories) YA
Things a Map Won’t Show You (short stories) YA
Little Legends Series by Adrian Beck and Nicole Hayes JF
Specky Magee Series by Felice Arena MG
Take the Shot by Sue Whiting YA
Tiny Timmy Series by Tim Cahill JF
Sporty Kids by Felice Arena JF
The Legend Series by Michael Pankridge MG
Foul Play by Tom Palmer YA
The Bench Warmers by David Lawrence MG
Little Fur Series by Isobelle Carmody MG
More Than a Kick by Jennifer Castles and Tayla Harris ALL
Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi YA
My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier YA
The Breakways by Cathy. G Johnson MG
Boris Series by Andy Joyner JF
Selby Series by Duncan Ball JF
Rabbit and Bear Series by Julian Gough JF
Parvana by Deborah Ellis YA
Tom Weekly Series by Tristan Bancks MG
All Graphic Novels by Raina Telgemeir MG
One of Us is Lying Series by Karen. M McManus YA
Special Forces Cadets by Chris Ryan MG
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo YA
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer MG
Heartstopper Series by Alice Oseman YA
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas YA
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han YA
Unwind by Neal Shusterman YA
Ice Station by Matthew Reilly YA

What We Are Reading
Anything by Dervla Mc Tiernan A
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid A
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson A
Factfulness by Hans Rosling A
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah A
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift A
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay A
Gulliver’s Wife by Lauren Chater A
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins YA
Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy A
Smart Ovens For Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan A
Deep Water by Sarah Epstein YA
Every Tool is a Hammer by Adam Savage A
About a Girl by Rebekah Robertson YA
The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina A
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett A
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens A
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George. M Johnson YA
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta YA
Missing Person by Sarah Lotz A
The Second Sleep by Robert Harris A
Phosphorescence by Julia Baird A

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 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.

NEW! Discussion Forum

SLAV have started a Discussion Forum where members can share and discuss ideas and resources. To start off, we have created four threads that respond to the current crisis. They are:

Online learning resources
Safety precautions in school libraries
Tasks for working remotely
Wide reading lessons online

We have also created an open forum that allows you to pose a question, on any topic, to the SLAV Community.

The Discussion Forum can be accessed via the link below. The system will prompt you to sign in with your SLAV member username (the email address we have for you in our system) and the password you have set.

Once in the forum it is just a matter of replying to one of the threads to start sharing and contributing.

You can tick a box to receive emails about new posts. Join the Discussion Forum HERE.

Online resources

During this time, there are many lists being shared that can help you find quality resources to support online learning in your school.  We look for institutions that we know produce reliable and authentic information, and are collating a page of links to resources, guides and useful information HERE for ease of access. We will continue to update this page as we find new resources to share.


Professional Learning Resource Round Up

As we all respond to the directives and guidelines in relation to COVID – 19 our association is working hard to ensure we are doing all we can to support our members.

With some schools needing to close for indefinite periods of time there may be a need for your school library staff to indicate ways they are exploring professional learning during a period of school closure or changed operations.

To assist, we have created this post, listing a range of professional learning opportunities made available to members.

A range of presentations from past Professional Learning Events can be accessed via the SLAV Member Login page HERE.

Over the past two years we have created podcasts of all of our Reading Forum events as well recording a selection of presentations given at our major conferences. These podcasts are available to anyone online and can be accessed HERE.

Synergy is our online, research based, journal. The most recent edition of the journal is closed to members only but all other editions of the journal are made freely available in light of the Associations interest in being collegiate and supportive of the wider professional community. We encourage you to explore the wealth of information from current and past editions HERE. 

Digital issues of our publication – FYI – can be accessed HERE. 

As a SLAV member, you also have access to resources from the International Association of School Librarianship through our partner membership status. There are some wonderful resources to be accessed on the IASL website and we encourage you to find time to explore them. Login details are available on our Member Login page.

Finally, a word on our 2020 Professional Learning Calendar. As we advised in our most recent newsletter we are doing all we can to ensure we are keeping our members and presenters safe, and are responding to guidelines and directives accordingly.

Events – cancellations and postponements

Our March 23 conference has been cancelled.

The IB workshop to be held in conjunction with DATTA Vic at Kardinia College on April 16 has been cancelled.

Our May Masterclass in conjunction with LMERC – Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives has been moved to September 4.

Our May 29 Conference – School Libraries: Powering Primary has been moved to September 14.

The National Education Summit on August 28 and 29 at MCEC, a strand of which we are a partner in providing, has been postponed to a later date yet to be announced.

All other Reading Forums, Workshops and Masterclasses

The remainder of our program are events that are to be held in school venues. At present we are continuing to plan and offer these events on the understanding that a decision will be made a month to two weeks out from each as to whether they are to go ahead. As it is very difficult to know exactly where we will be in two months’ time this approach is hopefully the best response in unknown times.

If you have any queries about this, please contact the SLAV office on 0477 439 593 or email

We encourage all members to stay in touch with each other in these challenging times. Our branch structure is an excellent source of local support.  We encourage you to reach out and offer collegiate advice wherever you can and to ask if you need help or assistance. Our social media platforms can also be a source of connection. Please do reach out, we are open to assisting you in any way we can.

AITSL research project – VicPLN reflection

Last year, some of you completed a survey for us exploring your experiences of the Victorian Personal Learning Network (VicPLN) courses. In this post, we’d like to share our findings.

The team at the State Library of Victoria applied to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to research the impact of our professional learning approaches, in particular the impact of networked learning in the VicPLN program.

We undertook surveys and case studies with questions based on Stephen Heppell’s framework for effective learning.

Our hypothesis:

That the online delivery of the Victorian Personal Learning Network course (VicPLN) through guided collaborative learning encourages sustained change in professional practice in schools and school libraries.

Despite considerable positive feedback over the years, we weren’t anticipating the profound impact the PLN had on many participants, their attitudes to learning and confidence with peers.

Truly it transformed me or maybe it turned me inside out […] – it allowed me to develop professionally with like-minded people. It allowed me to share with those people and beyond. It allowed me to find serendipitously things that I needed and that gave me more ideas.

[…it has changed the] way I think about trying to solve problems – so if I need something – I don’t know what I used to do, but now […] I’ll go on Twitter and I’ll ask or I’ll use a certain network of people […] you don’t Google it – you Twitter it.

Key trends – Case studies

Importance of sharing – Participants who took part with colleagues from their school or library found the shared experience made the learning more meaningful and immediately applicable in the workplace.

And in terms of the library I think it’s been profound as well, in the sense that we have restructured our library, we’re aware of the way libraries are changing and I think the PLN has given us confidence to move forward and I think, a little bit out of the box in terms of our approach.

Power of networks and the idea of an authentic audience for learning – For some participants networked learning was completely transformative, changing their entire approach to teaching and learning. It enabled them to become advocates for change in their schools and the broader professional community.

[…] what the PLN did for me was to see – was to give me a bridge to what I think all education should do […] almost a subversive bridge for the children, for the students out into the world […] – I was with true colleagues. […] It gave me and it affirmed that this is what a great teacher aims to be, out in the world, thinking, making connections, making possibilities, realising possibilities.

Key trends – Survey

The first place people share is with their colleagues, with 98.5% of participants indicating they shared their professional learning with colleagues and school staff.

It makes sense that educators, as part of deeply collegiate profession, look to peers before looking out to the broader online community. It also highlights the importance of PLNs in all their forms, be they local, international or something in between. The power is in connecting with others around a shared goal.

[The PLN is] probably the first time I’ve shared my professional thinking with anybody […] in schools, you might at a staff meeting or something, but that’s probably the biggest change in my mindset, the kind of thing that I try and get other people to do now is to realise that when you’re sharing you’re not showing off, you’re … trying to get reactions to help you learn more.

72% of participants surveyed indicated that the course gave them the confidence to share with peers. Developing the confidence and shared language to engage in professional discussions with peers is core to being an advocate for change in schools and libraries. Getting issues out in the open for debate supports organisational transparency and cultural change.

The PLN has given me a language to talk to other people […] although I tend to take ideas from it rather than give online, I do share those ideas with other staff. […] look it’s really worth everyone being encouraged to do it […] it is life-changing. In the sense that my teaching practice is different.

I feel as though I have the vocabulary now to ask the right questions, whereas before I did the PLN I didn’t even know what questions I should ask.

The PLN, for me, provided a space in which to explore possibilities […] it changed my relationship [with staff and students], it changed how I operate, that I became a more effective change agent.

The project was a wonderful opportunity for the PLN team and past participants to reflect on our practice and the impact the course has had on individuals and broader networks. One of the most interesting results for us was how sharing often begins with local PLNs including colleagues in schools and communities close by.

Our networks begin close to home and then with growing confidence and success, reach out into world.

 For information on our online courses, visit the State Library of Victoria website.

Image credit

PLN Plus reflection – community in the making

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.

Image credit: Toban Black on flickr

You can follow Sue on Twitter at @LibraryMonitor and her reviewing blog Worth Reading, Worth Sharing.