Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Academia, Bec. Not friends. October 13, 2014

Filed under: ETL507 portfolio — becinthelibrary @ 9:53 pm
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As is my usual MO, I have left my ETL507 portfolio to the last minute. No excuses, just let life get in the way, let other things be my priority because frankly, they were more interesting.

Everything about academic writing does my head in completely. I am not good at critical thinking and suck at evaluation. Add this to the fact that my degree is by distance and this subject in particular is highly personalised and not at all interactive, well, this interpersonal learner is falling apart.

I’ve spent the last two days thinking of almost nothing else but what I will include in my portfolio – what has really truly made sense to me? If I pull away the veil of academia and the double speak I feel almost all readings are written in, what has touched me at the core, stopped me in my tracks with a ginormous lightbulb appearing above my head shouting, “YES!”?

Almost every. single. time. the answer has been: any time I have actually been in a library TALKING TO SOMEONE and putting what I learnt immediately into practice.

This is not unusual, people. I learnt this lesson the first time around at university when I did moderately well at the academic subjects but received 7/7 on every single teaching prac in each of the four years.

REAL LIFE! I got to step away from academia (bane of my life) and talk to REAL PEOPLE in REAL LIFE and that’s where I shine. Where my talents, skills and attitude are respected, valued and obvious. Where my word choice is backed up by positive body language. 

So, University Lectuerer, how about instead of these 3000 words I need to write, how about we just sit down and have a chat over coffee about what a sensational librarian I will make? About how I thrive off finding and using my PLN to help guide me in my lifelong learning? About how I’m OK with not knowing something and that I will find a real life person to help me solve the problems that will come my way as I move forward into my career?

Oh, no, that’s not how universities work?! SURPRISE!

OK, so I will play the game. Here is my middle ground:

So to me, it makes sense for my portfolio to be reflective of this hunger for real life connection as much possible. I want and need to find a way for this portfolio to be something that is ME and not some dry piece of academia that no one (including me) will ever use or see again. I know it won’t be the polished piece of writing that other students will produce but hopefully people will look at it and feel like they know ME, that they can hear my real voice and passion.

Wish me luck.

——-

Edit – October 14th

I think it is pertinent to mention that I totally understand the need for concise, analytical, evaluative writing. It enables people to clearly understand the worth of a concept, idea, opinion or request. I also completely embrace the fact that being able to write in this manner effectively would help me greatly in my career. However, it doesn’t mean I have to like it or that I can’t complain about having to do it.

Thank goodness there are so many wonderful academic writers and lecturers out there providing outstanding content for learners such as myself.

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Study visit: a truly international school October 12, 2014

Seriously people, you don’t get better than this.

You want to know what a highly functional, beautifully laid out, extremely useful library looks like? Visit this school.

The collection houses almost 100,000 (yes, really) resources in a variety of satellite libraries around the school (ECC, EAL/ESOL, counselling, parenting, guided reading, professional reading) as well as the usual sections in-library (NF, graphic novel, fiction, Chinese, other foreign languages reflective of the student body, magazines, early chapter books, Super Series, New Books, big books, AV and more!)

The library is always packed at break times and the parent body is extremely active, with “Friends of the Library” organising multiple highly successful events through the year, including a Pyjama Party, an international schools book club through Scholastic and lots of mother tongue reading sessions.

I challenge anyone to walk into this library and NOT want to pick up the nearest book and snuggle in for the duration 🙂

Yet!!

And this is a big one for an aspiring TL with 7/8 TL courses behind me and an indignant fire in my belly – the TL doesn’t actually do a whole lot of TLing. My word he runs a magnificent library programme in terms of borrowing, reader development and event management but take a look at the school’s teaching of information literacy and you will find a ginormous gaping black hole.

Why??

This is a question I have asked repeatedly with no satisfactory answer.

My thoughts are:

At the most simplistic level, the maths just doesn’t add up – the TL cannot see every class over the course of a week. There are more classes than there are periods to teach them so it’s a clear logistic issue. (There are a million solutions to this but at this point in time, most of them are not being used. The most obvious one – teaching on request – is used at least once during an inquiry unit and consistently at the beginning of each school year.)

Perhaps the TL has given up trying after years of unsuccessful advocacy for a useable IL scope and sequence as well as an additional TL. There is only so many times you can ask and be told no before you just stop asking.

It’s easier to focus on one thing and do it well rather than trying to be all things to all people. The collection management facet of TLship is extremely successful at this school because that is what is focused on.

 

 

 

Study visit: British school in China September 20, 2014

Filed under: Study Visits — becinthelibrary @ 3:36 pm
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Students in Grade 2 – 5 are the predominate users of this library however children aged 3 to 6 are also catered for with weekly lessons given by a visiting TL who is based on a separate campus.

Now that the library is staffed with a qualified TL who promotes the space as a learning hub, students are slowly becoming more frequent users of the library for services other than pleasure reading. Explicit information literacy teaching and hosting literature based events are new and developing facets of this library’s services. 

A more developed AV and database collection would be beneficial for this school.

It is a sad indictment on the previous librarian and the philosophy of the school that this library utilises almost no technology.

The library faces substantial challenges in internet access due to the Board’s refusal to pay to circumvent the government firewall.

Locally sourced resources are the responsibility of the already time-strapped TL and library aide which means piles of books litter the staff work area.

Literature based events are held weekly and library displays are now stretching into the corridors of the school, sending a clear inclusion message.

 

This small space started out as the TL's first teaching space but she has since migrated to where the large screen TV is situation so she can utilise the document camera into her lessons.

This small space started out as the TL’s first teaching space but she has since migrated to where the large screen TV is situation so she can utilise the document camera into her lessons.

 

The shelves are too tall for the young kids but they have a good collection of fiction resources. As the school uses a British curriculum, there is a heavy emphasis on British writers.

The shelves are too tall for the young kids but they have a good collection of fiction resources. As the school uses a British curriculum, there is a heavy emphasis on British writers.

The TL is working diligently training a core group of upper primary students as Junior Librarians. Learning to reshelve correctly is their number one job!

The TL is working diligently training a core group of upper primary students as Junior Librarians. Learning to reshelve correctly is their number one job!

One of the (many) things that drives the TL crazy is the complete and utter lack of storage space. This circulation desk area is a mess because there just isn't anywhere to put anything out of view!

One of the (many) things that drives the TL crazy is the complete and utter lack of storage space. This circulation desk area is a mess because there just isn’t anywhere to put anything out of view!

I squeezed my body into one of these and chilled out with a book. They don't really match the rest of the library decor but they are pretty cool.

I squeezed my body into one of these and chilled out with a book. They don’t really match the rest of the library decor but they are pretty cool.

As with most international schools in Beijing, there is a large Korean population whose information needs have to be met.

As with most international schools in Beijing, there is a large Korean population whose information needs have to be met.

The NF is in a mess! The only way the TL can cope with the disorder is to tackle a shelf at a time, knowing that soon, SOON, it will be right!

The NF is in a mess! The only way the TL can cope with the disorder is to tackle a shelf at a time, knowing that soon, SOON, it will be right!

Getting kids to be interested in the library is of top priority. Competitions seem to be working in this regard.

Getting kids to be interested in the library is of top priority. Competitions seem to be working in this regard.

The collection speaks volumes (!) about what clientele is served in the library.

The collection speaks volumes (!) about what clientele is served in the library.

 

Study visit: Regional private secondary school July 27, 2014

Ohhhh, big kids, scary!

I have always found secondary kids really quite intimidating. It’s why I teach elementary kids! However, after spending a couple of hours in this lovely library in regional Victoria, PERHAPS I could see myself branching out towards older students.

The introduction of a small Japanese language collection is beneficial for the students participating in the programs run between the Grammar and it’s sister school in Japan.

The library’s strategic plan, approved by the school’s Executive, has made it possible for the staff to have a strong sense of autonomy over all areas of the collection.

One of the biggest things that struck me when spending time with the staff at the library was their willingness to learn and give of themselves to the students. As an example, ongoing professional development and the willingness for self-initiated learning for, and by, the staff, has meant that the recent introduction of the LMS Infiniti has been relatively painless.

Additionally, the senior librarian’s hard work at creating an incredible library intranet, in line with the library’s five year, Executive approved, strategic plan, should help achieve the vision of a dynamic online learning environment commensurate with the realities of the digital world.

Occasionally the library receives a grant from the parent body for special, extra curricular events and services such as artists in residence which helps make the library programme more diverse and interesting.

Observation and circulation data reveal that displays of student work and new or highlighted literature are highly successful in promoting reader development and advocacy.

The banks of computers are conveniently positioned near to the non-fiction section as well as the collaborative work spaces.

Part of the NF section.

Part of the NF section.

Information literacy signage

Information literacy signage

Fiction section - love the outward facing titles at the end of each row.

Fiction section – love the outward facing titles at the end of each row.

Word cloud decal helps remind students of the library's purpose.

Word cloud decal helps remind students of the library’s purpose.

A beautiful entryway to the library.

A beautiful entryway to the library.

This lovely display cabinet is one of the many ways the library helps celebrate the culture of their Japanese sister school.

This lovely display cabinet is one of the many ways the library helps celebrate the culture of their Japanese sister school.

This student made invention was a place winner in a state-wide competition, now proudly on display in the middle of the library. Some signage would be helpful.

This student made invention was a place winner in a state-wide competition, now proudly on display in the middle of the library. Some signage would be helpful.

Students can relax here with a variety of magazines and journals.

Students can relax here with a variety of magazines and journals.

The main circulation desk.

The main circulation desk.

The main computer bank.

The main computer bank.

More magazines for student and teacher borrowing.

More magazines for student and teacher borrowing.

Students in the local, regional and state news!

Students in the local, regional and state news!

Displays of current state reading challenges are on dotted around the library. This gorgeous one is in the main entranceway.

Displays of current state reading challenges are on dotted around the library. This gorgeous one is in the main entranceway.

 

Getting my feet wet January 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — becinthelibrary @ 2:49 pm
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Post 2 – Making my mark

(Post 1 – school overview)

During my time in the school – acting as a substitiue teacher for both the lower elementary TL and the upper elementary TL (yes, they have TWO FULL TIME teacher librarians!!) – I  participated in the following teaching and learning opportunities:

  • teaching every grade from EC3 through Grade 5 (EC3, 4 & K were simply reading and helping to navigate the library itself; G1-2 were fractured fairytales; G3 was non-fiction text features (table of contents and index), G4 was fractured fairytales ; G5 was trickster tales).
  • sitting in on a school wide department meeting.
  • reshelving books, AV, teacher resources
  • circulation for students and teachers
  • creation of teacher resource pack on the use of Bonnie Campbell Hill’s reading continuum
  • weeding a part of the non-fiction collection (right from taking from the shelves to deleting from the catalogue to boxing them up for shipping to the Philipines)
  • placing an order for next year’s books on Follett’s online ordering website
  • creating and then pulling titles for resource lists (winter festivals, Chinese New Year)
 

A dream come true!

Filed under: Teaching — becinthelibrary @ 9:06 am
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(Post 2 – What I actually did) – link to more info about this school

This post describes a school in which i regularly provide substitute cover for the two TLs.

The school is a prestigious, vibrant, well established EC3 – Grade 12 international school in a major city in China. It has a population of just under 2000 students.

Major selling points (in general):

  • A modern  50,000 square meter school building, situated at the center of a 133,500 square meter  (32-acre) campus
  • 2 purpose-built sports domes, sitting side-by-side on an area of over 8,500 square meters
  • 4 fully-equipped gymnasiums (one with a climbing wall); baseball and softball diamonds; two full-sized turf soccer practice fields, and an aquatics center with a 25-meter pool with diving boards
  • Hospital grade filtration system filtering indoor air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • State-of-the-art, dedicated science labs in Elementary, Middle and High School
  • Dedicated visual arts wings in Middle School and High School; dedicated art studios in Elementary Performing arts wing with 600-seat theater, black box theater, rehearsal space, and studio stage
  • A 10,000 sq. meter outdoor learning environment for elementary school students

Library Media specific:

  • TWO full time teacher librarians to serve almost 800 students from EC3 – Grade 5
  • One TL teaches EC3 – G2, the other G3-5
  • 2 library-media centers with more than 80,000 volumes
  • One-to-one laptop program throughout the school
  • over 82,000 items in our collection
  • circulation sits at over 100,000 titles per year
  • subscription to over 160 magazines.
  • subscription to over 25 online research databases
  • interlibrary loan agreement with the National Library of China
  • family checkout of 10 titles (due to lack of availability of English language texts, this library serves as a public library to the school community)
  • access to firewalled sites (school streams connection through HK so parents are able to access YouTube, Facebook, personal blogs etc)
  • a group of 20 volunteers that cycle through the week – reshelving, repairing books
  • one full time library technician who works primarily in the Teacher Resource Centre (24,000 titles including guided reading texts, big books and professional reading)
  • one full time and two part time library assistants who predominately run circulation and collection organisation

Here are some images of aspects of this library I fell in love with:

IMG_2687

A fabulous display promoting the Panda book awards.

Come chill on the couches, read a magazine or a fun reference book!

Come chill on the couches, read a magazine or a fun reference book!

photo 4

Who do you see in the mirror? A READER!

photo 1

Want kids to pick up books and read? Face those babies OUTWARD!

photo 2

After reading one of the Panda books, kids can place a star underneath the title. Each star earns house points.

photo 3

American author and performer, Eric Litwin, was a visiting author for this school. The very talented EC3 teacher whipped up these fabulous full size models as promotional materials. Eric loved them!

 

The other FaceTime: being visible as a TL September 18, 2013

ETL 501 topic 7 – Information services to staff and students

Teachers in a school have a range of information needs which can be met by the teacher librarian. These needs include:

  • information on curriculum planning;
  • information on a specific subject area (to keep up to date);
  • information on current developments in teaching;
  • information on the use of ICT in the curriculum;
  • information on information literacy;
  • information on relevant print and electronic resources for learning and teaching in their subject area; and
  • information on what the teacher librarian can do for them.

Three key factors a TL needs to take into account before offering information services in a primary school:

  1. What information does the teacher/grade level already have at their disposal for their teaching and professional/personal learning?
  • check their planners
  • check existing resource lists
  • find out how the Tech Integrator’s role is/should be different from the role of the TL
  • find out from grade level leaders and PYP coordinator/principal about Personal Learning Network (PLN) groups and current readings/tasks/projects

2. What are the expected communication norms or Essential Agreements for teacher collaboration?

  • are specialists included in planning meetings?
  • is email the best way to communicate or individual face to face meetings better?
  • how much information/email is too much?

3. What level of classroom teaching involvement does the Educational Admin team expect of the TL and how can that level be scaled up/down?

 

 

 
loving the learning

continuing tales of a teacher librarian

PE to TL - The Journey Begins!

Reflections and thoughts on ETL401.

ETL507 PROFESSIONAL REFLECTIVE PORTFOLIO

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