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Monday, September 29, 2014

Digitising Resources

When I went on my Sydney Study Visit, the State Library of NSW was in the process of digitizing some of the resources that they housed down in their "stack". Fragile resources are normally just brought out by appointment for people to read with white gloves. To make these resources more accessible, digitizing them is the obvious solution. But it does take manpower to scan, refine and then catalogue these resources.

State Library of NSW has several floors of archived materials. Books, maps, eupheria, special collections and even furniture that has been donated to the Library over the years.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Does deep reading matter?

When I talk to my students about how much they read, they say "all the time". They read Facebook, twitter, tumbler, blogs, online newspapers.

In an age where students are reading more than ever, have we missed the fact that not a lot of that reading is deep reading. Reading that engulfs you, that involves you and reading that stays with you for years. Linear reading which keeps you focused an allows your mind to not jump around like it does when you are twittering, facebooking and tumblering ...

How long would it take you to read a book?

It seems to be a constant battle to encourage teenage boys to read reguarly. But once you start to talk about how long it will take them and explain that the more they read the faster they can get through their books, they start to conceptualise that reading is a finite activity.

This online test will give you an indication as to how long it would take you to read a number of popular books including "Game of Thrones" and "Harry Potter".

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 things to consider if you are an emerging Librarian

I was fortunate last night to attend an event at the performance space at the new Docklands Library in Melbourne.

At a time in history when Libraries are closing down and librarians are losing jobs, City of Melbourne has decided to take a risk and open a $23 million dollar state of the art modern library with over 100,000 accessible resources.

Run by ALIA, the networking event for Library Students brought together four librarians who have had different experiences within the profession to talk about how to position yourself in this changing employment space. Here are some of the ideas that resinated with me.

The Enterprising Librarian

Funding for libraries is not a given anymore. Support for School Libraries are not a given anymore. Just because the research proves that Teacher Librarians make a difference, doesn't mean that your school acknowledges this fact.In order for the School Library and Teacher Librarian to survive the digital revolution, they need to be enterprising.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Have you ever had a Blind Date .. with a book?

Have you ever just picked up a book and started reading? Most of us will look at the cover, read the back blurb and then decide. There has been plenty of research which shows that the book cover makes a big difference when people are choosing a book to read.

Teenagers seem to display lots of anxiety when you ask them to read something that they haven't created an emotional or quizzical bond with. So creating the environment for students to have a blind date with a book is liberating for them, encouraging them to take risks where they might not normally engage in this behaviour.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Evidence Based Practice

This is a reflection as part of my Sydney Study Visit.

The quote “Statistics are your fundamental accountability” by Kate Burnham at the ABC Sound and Reference Library resonated with me.

With the change in business processes being the driver for change in many libraries, it seems logical that evidence based practice must become a mantra for the 21st Century Teacher Librarian.

Quote from SLJ article, Made with

Measurement tools based on borrowings of resources are no longer reliable indicators of success like they used to be. Our students use the resources we provide for them differently and they also access our library spaces differently. From the data that I have kept of my Year 8 Wider Reading groups, I can see that what students are reading at school is often totally different to what they are reading at home.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Changing Business Practices in Libraries

When you tell people that you are training to be a Teacher Librarian the first thing that they mention is the books. Books and then coffee. 

Peoples "idea" of what a library was and what it has become is very different. To many the sole purpose of a library is to conserve and organise collections. The key focus was to meet the needs of people who held a Library Card, or a borrower. 

University of NSW, archival stacks

In the era of MBA's and Venture capitalists, we now talk about the "client". It is not unusual for a "client" of a library not to borrow any resources, but to use them onsite or online. Libraries have started discarding the draconian overdue late slip in favour of focusing on those people who do use the library resources.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What type of Library user are you?

Going through my normal crawl of the various research sites online, I came across this survey and wondered how it could be used in a school library setting. 

The survey gives the person being surveyed a category dependent on whether they perceive the local library as being important to both their and their communities needs.

Does using a pen and paper make me less of a technology leader?

A few people have pointed and made reference to the following article:
Why I just asked my students to put their laptops away

I wanted to take the time to comment as this topic has been weighing heavily on my mind as a result of both teaching students with learning challenges and the emerging realisation that my own child will find most of his life intellectually challenging.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why is information organisation important?

In the age of free-range students (McKenzie, 1994) and digital natives (Prensky, 2011) the idea that information doesn’t have to be formally organized is a compelling one.  

The pervasiveness of the internet into every facet of our lives has shifted the role of the information organiser from ‘professional indexers and catalogers to the populace at large’ (Svenonius, 2000) resulting in a bibliographic universe (Winzenried 2010, p15) which allows users to access information easily from any device, but there is no control over the quality of this information and whether it is organised for future retrieval.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

TAFE NSW Ultimo Campus Library

On the Friday 5th October, our last Site Visit was TAFE NSW, Ultimo Campus Library.

It was a great presentation, which covered all sections of the Library and it was evident that her Library was going through a lot of changes including restructuring and a change in the way the library was being funded.

TAFE services are undergoing federal policy reforms which will dramatically change their client base and in turn this will effect the type of clients who will use their services.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Santa Sabina College

In the morning of the 4th of September, we had SCEGGS Darlinghurst and in the afternoon we trekked across Sydney to get to Santa Sabina College in Strathfield. What a contrast this visit was to the one in the morning. Both girls schools, but two very different functioning libraries.

We had an excellent presentation from Helen Schutz, Coordinator of Information Services on the role of the teacher librarians in promoting development of information literacy and research skills.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Is there room for a specialised Library in a digital world

We visited the Australian Society of Genealogists on the Wednesday 3rd September in the afternoon.

At the start of my visit to the Australian Society of Genealogists I was taken back by the amount of old technology, old books and old library structures. It was a membership-driven reference library with access to a wide range of non-published or widely-distributed collections. They were very much still reliant on using older technologies such as microfiche and microfilm.

SCEGGS Darlinghurst School Library

SCEGGS Darlinghurst was the first of the K-12 schools that I visited as part of my Sydney Study Visit. The presentation was an excellent overview of a traditional lending and research school library.

We started off in the Fiction or wider reading section of the library. A light filled room with lots of resources and comfortable beanbags or chairs.

Beanbags had a corner where they
could be placed at the end of a session.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ABC Sound and Reference Library

We hit the ground running after the State Library visit on the morning of the 2nd September and walked from one end of Sydney to the other to visit the ABC Sound and Reference Library.

It was a non-lending library servicing the needs of ABC producers and reporters. It is not open to the public and only holds collections which are directly relevant to the core needs of the ABC.

Our guide was Kate Burnham who had been at the ABC Library for 11 years and had worked in the industry for 43 years.