Thank you

This is a rather embarrassing post to write, but it needs to be done as I need to publicly thank some people for their support.

In September, I was awarded the 2010 IASL/Softlink International Excellence Award for the work I have done on this blog. This would not have occurred without lots of kind library staff for sharing their trials and tribulations when using technology for learning; without being nominated by the award by Helen Boelens and without supporting documentation from Kelly Tenkely, Camilla Elliott, Mary Manning and Sandy Phillips. A generous and supportive readership also made this possible. So thank you all.

A huge thank you to Softlink for generously sponsoring the award and to Softlink’s Chief Operating Officer Nathan Godfrey and  Marketing Coordinator Karen Gear for making the presentation a wonderful experience. Thanks also to all of the IASL committee involved in the application process.

Now on to another embarrassing episode in my life. Bright Ideas has regularly featured the brilliant work of Whitefriars College teacher librarian Tania Sheko. Since my first contact with Tania, she has become a real supporter and a firm friend. Tania recently featured a post about me in her fantastic blog, Brave New World. She has requested that a parallel post be posted here and so as to agree to her wishes, the post has been reproduced below.

If you think about people who are a constant and inspirational support in your professional life, you know that you are indebted to these people on a daily basis.

I’ve decided to feature an interview with Judith Way, a Victorian teacher librarian who has made a significant difference in the professional lives of teacher librarians and others, and whose unassuming, friendly nature has endeared many, both in Victoria and globally.

Judith’s blog, Bright Ideas, which she writes for the School Library Association of Victoria, is one of the first things I check daily because I know that she is on top of what’s happening in the world of education. Although she may not need an introduction since so many are connected to her through the blog, Twitter andOZTL-NET, to mention only a few platforms, I’ve included a short biography as an introduction to a recent interview I conducted with Judith.

Judith Way is a teacher-librarian with a Graduate Diploma of Children’s Literature and a Master of Arts. Recently she was recognised for her work with the Bright Ideas blog through the  2010 IASL/Softlink International Excellence Award .She has also been the recipient of the School Library Association of Victoria’s John Ward Award for outstanding contribution to teacher librarianship in 2007 and the SLAV Innovators Grant in 2009. She was awarded the Children’s Book Council of Australia Eleanor E. Robertson prize in 2003. She has presented at conferences locally and internationally. Judith writes the Bright Ideas blogfor the School Library Association of Victoria.
How did you come to create and write the Bright Ideas blog?

Due to the success of the School Library Association of Victoria’s Web2.0 online program in 2008, there was a real momentum for more online resources for school libraries, and the idea that schools would showcase what they had developed to encourage others was a big part of that. I was honoured to be asked by SLAV to write the blog on their behalf. I had undertaken the ’23 things’ course through Yarra Plenty Regional Library in 2006.

What were your initial thoughts/feelings about the blog?

Excitement! What a fantastic opportunity to delve into the web 2.0 world and see what we could all make of it in school libraries.

Was it difficult to take the first steps in creating a blog identity and developing a readership?

The first thing was getting a body of work up on the blog. No-one is really going to read a blog with one or two posts on it, so building it up was vital. I then promoted it via the OZTL-NET listserv and down the track joined Twitter. That really developed the readership. Then I joined the ILearnTechnology blog alliance in January this year and that furthered readership again.

What were some of the difficulties you experienced along the way?

School library staff tend to be a modest bunch, so encouraging people that their web 2.0 efforts should be highlighted and shared with others was a challenge.

What were some of the highlights?

Getting lots of positive feedback from readers, especially in relation tothe school library examples that were shared.
Last year Bright Ideas also had the honour of being voted the “FirstRunner Up” in the Edublogs Awards for the ‘Best Library blog”. What a fantastic vote of confidence that was.
Notching up 200,000 hits earlier this year was also a terrific milestone and it was an unbelievable recognition to be awarded the 2010 IASL/Softlink International Excellence Award in September.

How is the role of the teacher librarian changing, if at all?

In one way it is changing dramatically. In another way, it isn’t changing at all. What do I mean by that? We are facing enormous changes in the way we present learning opportunities to students. Social media and eBooks have changed the landscape for many school libraries. But we still want to teach our students how to research well and to love reading- whatever the medium.

What would you say are the most important goals of the teacher librarian/ of educators in general in these times?

To remember the power you have to make a difference to the lives of your students. You have the ability to be a positive role model in terms of using information well, both content and morally. To teach students how to make a positive digital footprint and how to be cybersafe and cybersavvy. To pass on the love of reading. These are lessons they will carry throughout their lives.

Thanks, Judith, for your thoughts, and also for the untiring support you provide for teacher librarians and educators everywhere.

Thanks Tania for your support and kind words. It is nice to know that one is appreciated!

International School Library Month (ISLM)

October is International School Library Month. The theme for 2010 is Diversity, Challenge, Resilience: School libraries have it all. The ISLM coordinator is Marie O’Brien from Australia and International School Library Day is October 25.

ISLMonth Logo

The ISLM bookmark project is running again and the IASL website will be showcasing what people are doing for ISLM. The IASL website states:

What people are doing for ISLM 2010

Send in your submissions for “What people are doing for ISLM 2010” by email to the IASL Web Manager, Karen Bonanno.

Subject line: ISLM activities

Include in your email message the following information:

  • Country
  • Name
  • Title of your position
  • School or organisation
  • Brief outline of the ISLM activity
  • Web link, if appropriate

If sending images to accompany your report on ISLM activities please send them as .jpg or .gif. Keep them as small as possible, example 240 x 180 dimensions, as large files will slow down the display of the web page

Please note: Submissions received after 31 October 2010 may not be included on the ISLM “What people are doing for ISLM 2010” web pages

Logos and resources such as posters and maps can be downloaded from the IASL website. Looking forward to reading about and viewing pictures of the celebrations!

Happy ISLD!

Thank you to the International Association of School Librarianship for ways to celebrate International School Library Day.



Suggested Activities for International

School Library Day

For School Libraries and Other Organisations

I If your school library has a Web site, create a special page to publicise International School Library Day. Include the work of students. Tell the IASL Webmaster so we can link to your page.
N News… Send a press release to your local newspaper with information about International School Library Day activities. A sample press release is available on this Web site.
T Tell people in your school community about International School Library Day and the importance of school libraries in teaching and learning.
E Encourage reading. Have your students compile a list of five books from your country (no more than five — this will force them to discuss their choices) that they think school students in other countries should read. Send the list to IASL-LINK, with information about the age level of the students who compiled the list.
R Recognise excellence. Use International School Library Day as an opportunity to recognise the contribution of other people to the school library programme — student monitors/aides, support staff, teachers, parents, staff of the local education/library authority, volunteers, donors.
N Notify the IASL Newsletter Editor and/or the IASL Webmaster about your activities and share your ideas with others. Send a message about what you are doing to IASL-LINK…
A Arrange a book fair with an international theme. This might include highlighting books about other countries, books by authors from other countries, books in other languages…
T Take part in one of the special activities organised by IASL to celebrate International School Library Day this year. There is information on this Web site to help you.
I IASL-LINK… Use the IASL listserv, IASL-LINK, to tell other members of the Association what you are doing for International School Library Day. Share ideas for activities…
O Organise a visiting speaker from an international organisation, or a speaker who has worked in another country, or someone who has been involved in an international project.
N Newsletter. If your school (or your school library) has a newsletter, write a short article about International School Library Day and the importance of the school library in education. Ask students to write about their school library and publish the best articles.
A Americans call them mousepads; Australians and Europeans call them mousemats. Ask your students to design one that will remind the user of school libraries every time she/he uses a mouse! A Christmas present for the school principal, perhaps?
L Link up with the local public library for a cooperative activity. Ask the local public library to host a display about the school library; support the local public library by hosting a display for them in Library Week or at another time.
S SLAV (the School Library Association of Victoria) is producing some promotional materials for International School Library Day. Check out their Web site and consider placing an order.
C Contact a school library in another country to exchange messages or undertake a co-operative activity, perhaps using email or the Web. If you are an IASL member, use IASL-LINK to make contact…
H Help a school library in a developing country by raising money to enable them to buy books and other materials that they need. Contact IASL to contribute to the IASL Books for Children Project.
O Organise an Open Day in your school library and invite parents and other members of the local community. Have students demonstrate the online catalogue, computer-based services… or show new books or other resources.
O Organise (or attend) a function through your local school library association or library association to celebrate International School Library Day — a seminar, a party…
L Logo. Ask your students to design a logo for International School Library Day, such as might be used on a Web page. Send the best to the IASL Webmaster (electronically if possible) for mounting on the IASL Web site, with the name of the student and the school.
L Library monitors/aides. Organise a visit to another school library (or another library) for your student library monitors, so that they can meet other people who are interested in libraries, and see how another library functions. Make them feel important, show them that the school values their contribution.
I Interview (with your students) parents and others in the school community to find out what school libraries were like when they were at school. Share stories about the changes in school libraries over the years. Display the interview transcripts and any photos that are available.
B Bookmarks (the paper or cardboard ones!). Ask students to design bookmarks promoting their school library and/or International School Library Day, for the principal, teachers, their parents.
R Reach out. Invite a local politician, or journalist, to spend half a day in the school library. Talk to them about school libraries; let them see a school library “at work”; have your students show them what they have achieved through the school library; show them the resources; talk about needs. Be positive — emphasise the importance of school libraries for learning.
A An activity organised in conjunction with the library staff of a local university or college, for senior secondary school students who will be going on to higher education.
R Run a School Library Trivia Afternoon (or evening, depending on the audience), with questions being related to the school library or capable of being answered through its resources. One group might compile the Trivia Quiz questions in advance for another group to answer. You could share your questions (and answers!) with others through IASL-LINK or the IASL Web site.
Y Yahoo! With your students, search the Internet for information about school libraries in other countries. Use the results as the basis for a discussion of the ways in which school libraries differ around the world.
D Displays with an International School Library Day theme, not just in the school library but in the school entrance area, or at an outside location. Involve the students…
A Associations and organisations of school librarians and school library media people. Support your local association; take part in its activities; contribute to its newsletter or magazine; attend conferences and seminars. Ask the association to support International School Library Day.
Y Yay! Let’s party! Join together with other local school librarians, librarians, and people who support school libraries, to celebrate International School Library Day! Invite your school principal. Invite school district or library authority personnel. Present them with reminders of school libraries (mousemats/mousepads, bookmarks, balloons, badges). See above for ideas.

IASL Conference focuses on role of school libraries in preparing pupils for the future

From the UNESCO site comes the following report from the IASL 2009 conference:

11-09-2009 (Padua)
UNESCO participated in the 38th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), which concluded last week in Padua, Italy. This year’s theme, School Libraries in the Picture: Preparing Pupils and Students for the Future, highlighted the increasingly important role of school libraries to equip students in the 21st century with the abilities to use information effectively and develop critical thinking and life-long learning skills that are essential to responsible citizenship.
While the significant contributions of school libraries to student learning have been demonstrated over the years, in the rapidly changing and competitive environment of the 21st century, the role of school libraries has shifted from one of technical work to intermediation, from conservation to innovation, and from reactive user-trainer modes to proactive teacher-trainer modes.
IASL is a professional association that provides an international forum for those interested in promoting effective school library programmes as viable instruments in the educational process.

This was the main theme of this year’s Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship that gathered more than 300 school librarians, teachers, library advisers, educational administrators, students and others who are responsible for library and information services in educational institutes from around the world.

School librarians will therefore be increasingly contributing to UNESCO’s mandate for building knowledge societies. In particular school libraries will play a key role as catalysts for the introduction of media and information literacy policies in schools by engaging both students and teachers to acquire a combination of skills, competencies, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

The topics discussed at the Conference are closely connected with UNESCO’s work on a teacher-training curriculum for media and information literacy to be introduced worldwide. The curriculum aims to integrate media education and information literacy in the initial training of teachers at secondary school levels, and will be designed according to the needs of each country.

Bookmarks Galore!

Helen Boelens has kindly forwarded the following information:

IASL 2009 Annual Conference

Abano Terme (Padua), Italy, 2 – 4 September 2009 – Bookmarks Galore

Join in on this joint ENSIL-IASL event, initiated by Helen Boelens and Angelina Pereira.

The project to display Bookmarks from around the world at the IASL Berkeley Conference 2008 was so successful, that people would like to do it again. If you or your students would be interested in making bookmarks to share with conference delegates, please feel free to do so. If they could focus on the conference theme, – School Libraries in the Picture: Preparing Pupils for the Future , Information Research through the School Library – that would prove interesting.

If you have other bookmarks (handmade, commercial etc.) which you would like to donate, these are also welcome. Bookmarks which are donated to the IASL will be available for sale at very reasonable prices. Many librarians have bookmark collections and love to swap. If you have bookmarks which you would like to swap with other collectors, please bring these along to the conference.

If you can’t come to the conference, please

(1) send your bookmarks BEFORE 10 AUGUST to Gerald Brown, 3403 -55 Nassau St, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 2G8, Canada, or

(2) forward them to Helen Boelens, at Botdrager 10, 3641 LA Mijdrecht – Netherlands, or

(3) forward them to Angelina Pereira, at Praceta Altino Coelho 35 hab. 1.4 4470-556 GUEIFAES PORTUGAL

(4) send them with someone you know is coming to the conference.

The bookmarks will be displayed during the conference. At a time appointed by the auctioneer, the bookmarks will be offered for sale at a bargain rate, and all funds raised from this activity will go to the Support a Member fund. A location will be arranged for the bookmark swap.

Let your creativity run wild; add to the festivity; and spread the word about the themes for the conference.

If you have any questions, please contact Gerald Brown or Helen Boelens or Angelina Pereira.

GiggleIT Project

The International Association of School Librarianship has created an innovative and exciting project, GiggleIT.

GiggleIT home

GiggleIT home

From the IASL’s media release:

  • The GiggleIT Project is a global collaborative publishing project hosted by the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), working in partnership with the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL).
  • Designed to help children around the world improve their English language literacy skills, the GiggleIT Project encourages students ages 10-14 to contribute their writings to an online book (eBook) celebrating stories and humour from their culture. Humour, just like tragedy, is a vehicle that can be used to promote cross-cultural understandings and collaboration for children and young adults around the world. Children’s work will be published internationally and will identify their culture through literature.
  • Written by children for children, the eBook will contain children’s stories, jokes and poetry. The project will inspire children to be creative and make cross-cultural connections with other children from around the world as they learn about humour from other countries, while improving their literacy skills. 
  • A range of competitions, and teaching and learning packages, will motivate and stimulate reading and writing skills whilst supporting the teaching and learning with examples and worksheets which can be downloaded into handouts for the class.

Registration is free. GiggleIT sounds like a fantastic way for students to improve their literacy, have fun and collaborate with other students.


Just in time for the holidays, but with educational applications too, comes the fabulous Web 2.0 resource Totlol.

Labelled YouTube for toddlers, Totlol uses videos from YouTube that have been selected by parents/educators as appropriate for children aged 6 months to grade school (primary school). Videos are then placed in a queue to be moderated by other Totlol members before they are uploaded and available for public viewing.

Parents or teachers that are still concerned about the possibility of inappropriate content can set filters, parent locks and timers (so that children do not watch videos for too long).

As with sites like Hakia, Totlol’s viability really depends on the community helping to build it by recommending videos to be added to the site. Totlol is a brilliant idea as there are so many useful and educational videos on YouTube, but YouTube users are meant to be aged 13 and up. Parents/educators worried abour questionable videos available on YouTube can now breathe a sigh of relief!

Thanks to Gerald Brown via IASL listserv for the heads up on this great resource.

International School Library Month

Rick Mulholland, the International School Library Month Coordinator (IASL) has asked all school library staff to submit any events and activities to celebrate ISLM. Please see the ISLM Projects page.


Here is a message from him:

Here’s a snip from the page about how to submit your information:

Send in your submissions for “What people are doing for ISLM 2008” by email to the IASL Web Manager, Karen Bonanno.

  • Email subject line is ISLM activities.
  • Include in your email message the following information:
    Country, Name, Title of your position, School or organisation, Brief outline of the ISLM activity, and a Web link, if appropriate.
  • If sending images to accompany your report on ISLM activities please send them as .jpg or .gif. Keep them as small as possible, example 240 x 180 dimensions, as large files will slow down the display of the web page.
  • Please note: Submissions received after 31 October 2008 may not be included on the ISLM “What people are doing for ISLM 2008” web pages.

Look forward to hearing about your ISLM activities. Rick.