On Friday 16 May, School library Association of Victoria, in conjunction with the State Library of Victoria, held a forum to explore the role of individuals working in a school libraries and the importance of their personal approaches to the position. Entitled Your Library, Your Career : Manage, advocate and create change for a dynamic school library and fulfilling career, over 100 delegates ranging from teacher-librarians and librarians to technicians attended, once again indicating the diverse range of professionals working in school libraries. This Storify captures the #slavconf Twitter feed of the day, capturing conversations and knowledge sharing made possible beyond the actual forum venue through social media.
Three keynotes addressed the topic: Advocacy, vision, community and personal responsibility in the management of the emerging model of school libraries Justine Hyde, Director Library Services & Experience Directorate, spoke from a State Library of Victoria perspective on The Library as the centre of the community. Justine outlined the transformation that has occurred in recent years as the result of research, planning and innovation to produce a 95% increase in use of the library by the public. The journey continues for the State Library as they transform services to include more public involvement with an eye to new inclusive technologies through their website and programs.
Christine McAllister, Acting Manager Libraries & Learning, Brimbank Libraries shared the experience of Building a Learning Community. Christine discussed Brimbank’s ‘Programs Framework’; a tool the library service uses to ensure programs are strategically targeted to support the community’s learning, leisure and lifestyle needs and enhance social and economic outcomes. She illustrated the importance of designing specifically targeted services and building the skill capacity of staff. This advice resonated with school library staff especially those who have participated in the SLV PLN (Personal Learning Network) program.
Library Teams 2.0: leveraging your Personal Learning Network for growth and innovation, presented by Camilla Elliott, Head of Library/eLearning Coordinator Mazenod College, focussed on the role of the individual within the library team. It explored the necessary components and the ability to gain value by leveraging the tools, community and ideas within an environment that develops ownership, a sense of belonging and the confidence to act. Success relates directly to individual attitudes however, leadership and a vision are essential.
Dr Carol Gordon, recently retired library educator of Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, challenged delegates to consider the today’s important challenges for school libraries by exploring the School Library as a Model for Educational Reform. Carol emphasised equity of instruction and sustainability as critical criteria for the conceptualisation of viable school libraries. Ranging from inquiry-based learning to reading and literacy programs, she also reminded us of the vigour required within school library programs, the need for tracking of programs to ensure equal access for all students. Carol had a busy week while here in Victoria, conducting workshops at SLAV branches in Mafra and Wangaratta, and at John Fawkner College.
Suzette Boyd, also recently retired, gained a reputation for innovation and leadership throughout her career as a secondary teacher librarian. Through Your Library, Your Career: a Case Study, Suzette challenged delegates to aim to be the cultural and educational hub of the school. She provided a reflection toolkit to support this journey and shared a case study of her own career to inspire those present to reinvent and rebrand the library and its staff. Suzette emphasised the need to know your team and its capabilities, the importance of building connections and trust with students and teachers and, most importantly, the principal.
The forum rounded off with the SLAV/SLV team moving into experimental territory and trialing an unconference session. Ever conscious of the value of peer sharing, the unconference model invites delegates to write onto a ‘sticky note’, a topic they would like to know more about. They are then put together in teams of like-minded individuals for discussion and information exchange. The experiment was a success and delegates can look forward to more opportunities for informal learning at future SLAV events. Finally, two important and exciting initiatives launched at the forum were:
- The new SLAV website www.slav.org.au introduced by website manager Joy Whiteside.
- The SLAV mentoring program, introduced by Dr Susan La Marca, which will involve experienced members in providing support and advice to newly qualified SLAV library professionals. Details will be available through the ‘members’ section of the SLAV website.
Please note: Presenters papers and presentations will be available shortly in the Professional Learning section of the new SLAV website.