The team were very kind to me today and left me to finish of the subject headings and then work on my own reflections. I took the opportunity to look carefully at the HKIEd website and how it was organised. I considered how our site could be improved and made more accessible and user friendly.
Our library page has always been quite good and child friendly but is was beginning to look a bit dated and it needed a spruce up.
So I spent the day working on the Inquiry page. I had started this before the holidays but it needed a lot more work.
Well now it is almost finished and looking much more professional.
Here are a few images to give you some idea.
What I also did was make some Smores to use as cheat sheets for when children need help with referencing. Hopefully these will be useful and they look so much better that a word document. Here’s an example of one on how to cite a book.
Now I know it is not APA style or 100% accurate but it is for primary aged children so we are starting simple. I’ve lots more I can link if anyone is interested.
I have a very limited knowledge of academic libraries, this being my first time back stage so to speak so I may be making vast generalisations here. If you have more experience I would really like to know your opinions as I have found it to be quite an isolating place and worry that the people who work here may also have that experience. People have been very friendly and welcoming and I realise that I am creating more work and they have their jobs to do but it is so quiet.
As a teacher librarian I spend all day in a busy, often noisy environment where I have to communicate constantly with children and colleagues. Our library often has 2 classes of 30, other teachers and parents, and so it is rarely silent and often buzzing. I don’t want it to be a silent place. It is a place of learning and I expect our children to collaborate and communicate. They need to be mindful of others needs but it is not an academic library so the environment here is going to be different.
The expectation here is that everyone works quietly/silently unless they have booked a studyroom where they can work as a group and build understanding through discussions. That is what I expected. It is certainly very busy but what I think has surprised me is that I think you could work here all week and come into very little contact with the patrons. Yes the assistant librarians have to take turns on the information desk but many others in the work force are physically very removed from the users. Does that matter? Are they still capable of fulfilling the needs of users? Do they remain motived and passionate about their job? I don’t know. Maybe it is no different to a shop. The shop manager very rarely appears on the shopfloor. When they do it is usually to check things are running well… is this how it works in the library?
Much of the day in the Information, the Aquistions and the Media Sections are spent in front of a computer in a very quiet office. (Many without windows.) Everyone, I suppose quiet rightly, is focused on the work they have to do and is getting on with it but the silence of the library spills into the offices. In the Information Section this is because it is partially open to the library but the other areas I visited where just as quiet. I thought there might have been a bit of chat between coworkers but there appears not to be. I do realise that I am working in a place where English is not a first language for many people and may be missing out on some of these conversations, I might have even changed the dynamics of the office, but it is so damn quiet!
Is this always the case? Can anyone shed any light? Is it a lonely job? And where does the motivation come from? I’m not sure I could do it. Then again not everyone would like 60 children collaborating and talking, making a mess of the shelves and enjoying themselves.
Ok so I haven’t posted in an age… yeah I know that’s not what a great librarian should be doing. Well to tell the truth I sort of lost the will to live. I needed some time out. I deferred for a term, which looking back had it’s pros and cons. The pros were I’ve had a rest and feel like getting back to it. The cons seem to be that there are no units to do this term so I have ended up having 2 terms off! Not great but there is not much i can do about it.
Good news is that I’m now ready to start my placement. I will be going to the Hong Kong Institute of Education for 10 days. I’m not sure what i will be doing but it will be a challenge I’m sure. I’ll then have to write that up and then get doing the study visits. Theonly 2 more subjects…bibliographic standards and information environment. I could be almost finished this time next year!
That will be good because my library is getting a complete refit! I am being given a large empty box..almost a whole floor to do with what I like. Now I’m no designer so I am going to need some help…hopefully from some of my twitter friends and those TLs in HK with experience and expertise.
Tried a new piece of online software today, SMORE What a fab little tool. It makes me feel almost professional at making stunning flyers and newsletters. Take a look and let me know what you think to my first attempt.
If one thing is standing out in my limited reading so far it is vision. It seems that without a vision you can not be an excellent leader. Well this does make sense as if you don’t know where you are going then how can you get there? So I had a think and decided to try, in 5 minutes on the back of an envelope, to clarify what my vision is for our school library.
1. Our school library will be a vibrant learning environment that is used by the school community and valued for it’s impact on learning.
2. It will provide the resources that teachers, students and the curriculum needs, just in time, for learning. Providing a collection that reflects the needs and wants of the students and teachers.
3. Every student will be able to effectively and efficiently access the quality information they need.
4. Every student will be able to read. This goal will be pursued relentlessly by all staff within the school.
5. The library will be regarded as having a presence amongst the community; both in a traditional form and digitally.
6. A wide variety of IT tools will be made available and learning will drive their use.
7. All children will want to spend time in the library for a variety of academic and recreational reasons.
8. It will reflect our international community and all children will be able to see themselves reflected in some of our materials.
9. There will be free access to information.
I’m sure there must be more. It will be interesting to see if this changes as the modules develop or if my ideals remain the same and how I approach them differs.
Consideration also needs to be paid to how this vision can be shared with others within the school and to ensure that we all have the same vision. If we don’t then once again how can we be expected to arrive in the same place if we are all travelling in different directions.
Bottom line…student achievement. If we as TLs make no impact on this then we are not worth a bean. There has been a lot of research proving that TLs do make a difference but as educational environments change and schools move towards becoming Information Literate School Communities what should we do?
Farmer (2007) notes that the following needs to be worked upon.
1. Address the collaborative needs of the community.
2. Demonstrate how library resources and services contribute to student achievement and how this can be optimised through collaboration.
3. Ensure that students have a rich collection of resources to address the needs of all.
4. Ensure our schools have qualified library staff.
5. Integrate information literacy throughout the curriculum.
6. Collaborate with the school community to provide a systematic program of teaching and learning.
7. Be proactive in supporting the community demonstrating what the library and the librarian can do for whole school achievement.
Evidence based practice obviously has a large role to play here. If we are to prove that we can make a difference we need to show we can through empirical research. Not only this though we need to embrace change. As schools change so should we. Yes we still need to be managers of resources and collection builders but we also need to ensure that our libraries are without walls and that we can provide the best and most appropriate resources for our teachers and students virtual or traditional.
On another matter here is an interesting paper on learning spaces from Farmer (2009), worth a read.
Got it! The most important role of a TL is to be an effective teacher. To do that I need to create a enriched and emotionally supportive environment where there is a balance of challenge…. too little and the children become bored and don’t learn, too much and they are put off learning. Tileston, D (2000) 10 Best Teaching Practices, Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press. It doesn’t matter where the environment is, be it traditional classroom or the library, the same holds true. Why I hadn’t realised this earlier I don’t know.
As an effective teacher I want my students to be effective learners and therefore I need to teach them skills to enable them to access information. If they don’t have those skills they will never become effective independent learners. Now I’m beginning to see why the IBO are so keen on the idea of the Teacher Librarian and see the role they play as pivotal. Children can’t find out for themselves unless they have some skills and my job is to ensure that they have them.