Tag Archives: teacher librarianship

“Who Are We? The Independent School Library: A Statistical Profile” Susan Williamson

Via Scoop.itStudent Learning through School Libraries

Who Are We? The Independent School Library: A Statistical Profile, a chapter by Susan Williamson presents a statistical picture of a sample of independent school libraries in the United States based on a survey in 2004-2005 conducted by the Independent School Section of AASL. The profile compares libraries on the basis of schools’ student and faculty sizes, collection sizes, budgets, staffing, hours open, facilities, and access to technology. Data from three main categories of school groups (Independent, Independent Religious, and Religious) and school types (Day, Boarding, and Combined Day and Boarding) are analyzed and then compared with data from the recent AASL longitudinal survey of public and private schools. The ISS sample of libraries which consists largely of NAIS members appears to provide greater resources, more open hours and more access to databases than public schools.

In addition, studies from NCES and NAIS comparing public and private school students indicate that independent school students have higher scores both on school tests and SAT tests. The author discusses the possible role that usage of the independent school library contributes to these outcomes.

This is a chapter in the recently published book Independent School Libraries: Perspectives on Excellence published by Libraries Unlimited – see http://www.islpe.org/ for details.

There are summaries of each of the chapters including references and recommended resources supporting each chapter via The Essays page of the above website.

My iCentre presentation at SLAV’s Future School Library Scenarios conference

I presented the featured address at the School Library Association of Victoria‘s (SLAV) ‘Creating collaborative learning spaces: Future school library scenarios’ conference held at Victoria University of Technology on Friday in Melbourne.

The future of school libraries has been a hot topic these past couple of years in Australia as a result of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) fund, a range of online forums and conferences exploring the vision for 21st century school libraries, followed by the national Inquiry into Australian school libraries and teacher librarians (we hope to see the outcomes of this in early May when the report is tabled at Parliament).

These have all been significant ‘blips’ on the teacher librarianship profession’s radar, and it has resulted in much discussion at the local community, regional and education sector levels, as well as the Australian general public due to increased media exposure across radio and press outlets. Check out the Links section on this blog for examples of these.

This address explored some of the issues, concerns and potentials of school library futures in the past couple of years and examined how a TL’s own practice can contribute to building capacity for a sustainable future where school libraries become key learning centres of information, inquiry, innovation, immersion and instructional excellence. I introduced the concept of the iCentre and the ways schools can develop such a centre based on the principles of form, function and brand. This is based on the Commentary I wrote for ASLA’s journal Access.

I think the three principles of form, function and brand provide a useful framework for schools wishing to explore the convergence of facilities, resources, people, funding, policy, programs and services to develop an iCentre. TLs as information, technology and learning specialists can play a leadership role in building their school’s vision towards an iCentre approach.

I presented the iCentre model as one future school library scenario that could be considered by schools, and suggested that the form-function-brand framework can be useful in exploring what a school library might look like in the future.

Some useful references on future school library scenarios and the iCentre approach include:

Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: School library futures project. Report for New South Wales Department of Education & Training, Curriculum K–12 Directorate, School Libraries & Information Literacy Unit. Sydney:  Curriculum K–12 Directorate, NSWDET.

Hay, L. (2010). Chapter 9: Developing an information paradigm approach to build and support the home-school nexus. In M. Lee & G. Finger (Eds.), Developing a networked school community: A guide to realising the vision (pp. 143-158). Camberwell, Vic.: ACER Press.

Lee, M. & Hay, L. (in press). Teacher librarians and the networked school community: The opportunities. Connections, Issue No. 77, Term 2.

Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. [Refereed]. Scan, 29(1), 30-42.

Hay, L. (2010). Shift happens. It’s time to rethink, rebuild and rebrand. [Commentary]. Access, 24(4), 5-10.

I’d really like to hear from any schools already planning for or implementing the iCentre approach. We need to start documenting some school experiences as case studies in 2011.

Emily Rodda, Lu Rees Archives & literary learning

OK, so I’m a day late with this news because I have just finished reading the hard copy version of yesterday’s Canberra Times newspaper, but I was really taken by this full page feature on Australian children’s author, Emily Rodda‘s visit to Canberra this week to address the launch of a special exhibition and project managed by the Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children’s Literature at the University of Canberra.

Emily Rodda believes it is "vitally important that children have a smorgasboard of the absolute best stories from every culture to choose from."

In April 2010, the Lu Rees Archives began a project to catalogue 462 Australian children’s books, DVDs, puzzles and games published in 32 languages. The Lu Rees Archives had to employ CAVAL, the professional cataloguing company to  gain access to the language expertise required to catalogue these resources  using specialist translators for languages such as Icelandic, Tetum from East Timor, and Zulu! A number of embassies also joined forces to sponsor the project. This represents the breadth of coverage across countries and languages that the works of many Australian children’s authors now have. The Lu Rees Archives now holds 659 items of Rodda’s work which makes it the largest collection in Australia.

The Lu Rees Archives has become one of the special libraries included on the itinerary of the Canberra Study Visit as part of the School of Information Studiesprofessional experience program, and in the past few years we have found the visit to Lu Rees Archives hosted by Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman is always a favourite of students, especially those students studying in the Bachelor of Information Studies, Master of Information Studies and Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) who are working as children’s librarians and teacher librarians.

Belle is the Collections Development Manager at the Lu Rees Archives and has worked tirelessly in maintaining this unique collection of works and artefacts on Australian children's literature.

Belle has also hosted a number of CSU students as part of our SIS Professional Library Placement program. This is where our students are provided with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge practically in an information-based workplace, with emphasis being placed on the acquisition of knowledge and the performance of professional activities. As a small special library, students can gain excellent individual attention and hands-on experience in information work, while contributing to special projects and being surrounded by some of Australia’s greatest literary treasures. All the new records for this recent Lu Rees project of translated works are available via Libraries Australia hosted by the National Library of Australia. This way, as Belle states: ‘The world then knows these books exist and are publicly available… ‘Most importantly, such translations demonstrate the importance of children’s stories and their ability to link people of all cultures through common stories.’

In this interview Emily Rodda also makes a distinction between ‘books’ and ‘stories’, particularly now as our world becomes more and more digitally-enhanced. She believes it is important to continue supporting an appreciation of literature and reading of stories, no matter the format (whether as an ebook or printed book), and compares this to listening/viewing ‘story’ portrayed via film or video/online games:

”It’s very, very important we go on reading because there is a logic and a rationality to even the most fantastic story, and a complexity and an understanding of how people work things out, which doesn’t appear in film because it’s all visual.

Things might happen in a logical order in a film but you don’t get that rational explanation of why things happen.

If we want our future citizens to be able to reason and to see propaganda for what it is, for example, or work their way through people trying to persuade them to do something by appealing to their emotions, it’s important, in their childhood, that they’ve learnt about rational argument and I think that’s one thing books do.”

I think this final statement sums up the power of literary learning and why it must remain fundamental to a 21st century education. School libraries are central to building a reading and literary learning culture within a school. As part of the NSWDET 21C school library futures project Envisioning School Libraries in 2009, Ross Todd and I devised a set of eight (8) principles underpinning 21C school library design as an instructional zone within and beyond the school emerged, one of which was:

A centre that supports literary learning, where students become immersed in imaginary worlds, explore personal reading interests, develop sustained voluntary reading practices, develops reading for meaning and independence as critically-capable readers. (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 16)

I think this reflects what Emily Rodda has emphasised in this Canberra Times feature.

A detailed presentation on these principles of 21C school library design can be viewed in my presentation at the Cairns Diocese Curriculum Conference:

How school libraries can support pre-service teachers

I am really impressed with this new series of YouTube videos What your teacher librarian can do for you! created by the Southern Cross University Library team to support pre-service teachers going out into schools on practicum. These are featured as part of their Professional Experience / Pedagogy in Practice libguide which provides students on practicum with loads of resources to support their prac teaching experiences.

These clips provide lots of great advice from experienced teachers, TLs and principals about how to prepare for practicum visits and introduces the important role of the school library and the teacher librarian as an information specialist and teaching partner in schools.

I really like the following ‘Words of Advice’ clip which features primary and high school principals’ advice to pre-service teachers when visiting their schools on practicums on how to get the best out of the school library. These principals are clearly advocates for school libraries supporting the professional needs of teachers and the learning needs of students.

Another favourite is Something special about OUR school libraries where the principals and TLs discuss what is great about their school library as a flexible learning centre, and mention is made of the importance of collaborative planning & teaching with teacher/TL teams and how a flexible schedule maximises the impact of the TL in supporting student learning. There is also a video introducing how public libraries can help pre-service teachers and the libguide provides advice on the services provided by state libraries and the national library for teachers.

Well done to the school communities from the Coffs Harbour district in regional (mid-north coast) NSW who present a very positive and proactive stance with regard to school libraries and teacher librarians as essential components of the school education equation. It’s also great to see a couple of CSU TLship graduates in this local group of TLs 🙂

Life Matters interview – “Teacher librarians are a dying breed”

Well done to Mary Manning (Executive Officer, School Library Association of Victoria) for educating Radio National’s Life Matters community this morning about the contribution teacher librarians make to school libraries and student learning. With primary school libraries being targeted as part of the Rudd Government’s Building the Education Revolution, the message that teacher librarian positions have been substantially diminished across some states and territories is certainly a major concern for both the TL profession and the future of schooling in Australia.

With the $12.4 billion investment in libraries and multi-purpose facilities in primary schools, special schools and K-12 schools as part of the nation’s  ‘Primary Schools for the 21st Century’ program, it is timely to ask state and territory governments how they are going to ‘match’ this investment in school libraries, by ‘installing’ qualified teacher librarians into these facilities to help schools transform ‘bricks & mortar’ into a fully functional, dynamic and dynamic learning laboratory that supports the demands placed on students as information and ICT users, both at school and when they are working independently from home.

There has recently been some discussion on the future of school libraries in Australia on the School Libraries 21C blog hosted by the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit, NSW Department of Education and Training. Discussion has been extended to July 30, so please consider adding your vision for the future of school libraries in Australia as well as your stories about the contributions teacher librarians make in preparing Australia’s young people as engaged and informed digital citizens. Also check out this recent Scan article ‘ School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21C’ which has been published to support this discussion.

Pedagogies and Technology

I have just been reading an article that is based on the work of Dr Kathryn Moyle from the University of Canberra who has been researching how students feel about the electronic devices they use in the classroom, at home or elsewhere. She surveyed 1100 people, from primary age students through to pre-service teachers. There have been numerous studies on what technologies are being used by students but not studies in the affective domain.

The major finding is that the most important desire is for students and teachers to have good relationships. It rated above technology in importance for students.

“Students want their teacher to know who they are, to take an interest in what they’re learning and how they’re learning it.” According to Dr Moyle that is a reaffirmation about how professional educators do their job – and it’s not going to be usurped by putting computers in classrooms.

Her final observation is critical. “What is does mean is that we as professional educators need to rethink what sound pedagogies look like when they include technology.”

I think this links nicely with the Librarian’s 2.0 Manifesto in while many of us may not be comfortable in this new world of technology, our students are but what they want is what they have always wanted – a caring and understanding teacher. If we are prepared to embrace technology,even in a small way at the beginning, that link may be reinforced. Why not ask your students to show you what they can do with technology? I for one certainly learnt a few PowerPoint tips from my students. I could actually see their chests swell when they knew they were teaching me something.

Concluding comments from Roy and others at the close of Library & Info Week

May 31 saw the close of another week of library advocacy in Australia hosted by the Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA). The theme for Library and Information Week 2009 was Libraries your passport to discovery!, which was a great opportunity for our information profession to promote the value of libraries in today’s society. I noticed Sue Hutley‘s (Executive Director, ALIA) statement that “libraries offer every Australian a chance to discover, access and connect to a much wider world – and in these tough economic times, it’s a lot cheaper too!”, was a message that resonated through a number of comments in the media this week, including those of Robert McEntyre (Public Libraries NSW Metropolitan Association Executive Director) in the Herald article Book now: libraries are top shelf in family attractions by Rachel Browne (on May 31).

It was also great to see  the words of Roy Crotty (fellow studentslearn blogger, President of ASLANSW and Associate Lecturer with us at the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University – love the concluding quote in the article Roy:

“If anything, the digital era has made a teacher librarian’s job even more relevant.”

The ALIA media release highlights the cultural, educational and economic benefits to society afforded by libraries and information agencies, noting that each year “Australia’s 1,500 public libraries lend over 178 million items to 12 million registered borrowers” which is over half of Australia’s population. Additional figures quoted by Sue Huntley provide the public with an idea of the breadth of library services across the nation including “approximately 9,000 school libraries, 42 university libraries, 387 TAFE campus libraries, and thousands of health libraries, law libraries and other special libraries.” In addition, the Herald article Students can borrow to boost chances outlining public libraries’ support of school children’s reading habits through the provision of multiple copies of books on the Premier’s Challenge reading list each year, demonstrates how public libraries are ‘switched on’ to the needs of kids and in supporting school libraries to resource public programs that can sometimes be beyond the capabilities of an individual school library’s budget. 

Sherman Young’s article Is the book dead? published on ABC’s Unleashed on May 26 and National Simultaneous Storytime on May 27 capped off a busy week for libraries, authors, publishers and booksellers in promoting the value of libraries, books, reading and literacy for all Australians.

An interesting antidote to the good work presented in the media this past week about the value of libraries in Australia, can be found in ABC’s Unleashed article The vulgar modernisation of our libraries (published at the end of April) is you missed it. Love to hear your feedback on any or all of the above!