What do Groceries and Kitchens have to do with Libraries?

Groceries and Kitchens JValenza

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How does your garden grow? Watering seeds! Why every interaction matters

Cottage Garden

I had a chance encounter with an ex-student at the Southland Nethui two weeks ago.

Our paths had crossed briefly 5 years ago when he was in his final year and I was in my first year at SBHS.  He professed to “not being much of a reader” at school.  He’s a fisherman, a regular “Kiwi bloke” who wanted to talk to me about books.  He reads!  He talks to the guys on the fishing boat about what he’s reading. He even sometimes, when he’s not at sea, attends the monthly public library book club.  And he wanted to share his reading journey with me!

He asked for a couple of book recommendations, which I gladly gave him, and I also gave him my card saying he was welcome to keep in touch.  Well, I received an email from him earlier this week.  He wanted to thank me for my recommendation (Fahrenheit 451) – he loved it – and did I have any other suggestions.  I quickly replied with my next recommendation, and he, in turn, replied he’ll let me know what he thinks – this time it’s The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  I think I have found a new kindred spirit!

Why am I sharing this story? As an encouragement for all my librarian and teaching colleagues. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to receive unexpected affirmative gifts like this, but more often than not, we never know our reach or influence.  Be very sure that these incidents are not just one-off anomalies, rather they’re just the tip of the iceberg. For every one student who seeks you out or you have a chance conversation with, there will be many others that you don’t cross paths with.

So, celebrate your awesomeness, continue to be approachable, kind and caring for ALL your students.

I shared my story with a teaching colleague, (he asked to be remembered to her cos she was his favourite teacher) and she was reminded of this whakatauki, which she felt encompasses the story’s essence.

Whakatauki #1.png
or, “even though it is not big, the important thing is the value “

I’m going to put this poster up in my library where I can see it to remind me, EVERY interaction sows seeds, and HOW we respond to that interaction will water those seeds.

Go be gardeners and waterers of seeds!

Sharing the effort to get the reward: the librarian, my students, and I

Another fantastic example of teachers and librarians working together, and playing to their strengths.

Information Literacy Spaces

When I first started teaching research skills I noticed that students, who were supposedly digital natives, did not know how to find information, and when they did find any they did not know how to tell if it was any good. It was as if they had no reference point to tell the good from the bad. So I took it upon myself to teach them; after all, I am a teacher.

UnfortuImage result for building independent learners quotesnately, for them and me, I do not come from a research background. Like them, my knowledge of where to find information started and ended with a Google search; unsurprising really considering I come from a generation that used Encyclopedia Britannica when I wanted accurate information. I would spend lessons talking to students, Googling their topics and suggesting websites where they could find information; basically I was doing their research for them. This approach got minimal results…

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To Infinity and Beyond!

As the result of the work in our Information Literacy Spaces schools grows, here is a library flockmate’s view of collaborative practice in her school

Information Literacy Spaces

Image result for to infinity and beyond buzz lightyearTo Infinity and Beyond was not the first title I thought of when contemplating what to name this blog post. As someone who manages to always find a quote, song or movie title for most occasions, I had three possible titles swirling around in my head that reflect my journey so far this year.

The first heading I contemplated was Back to the Future (awesome Michael J. Fox). At the beginning of this year I began a new job back in Taranaki returning to a school library and its librarianship, something I had not done for the previous 4 ½ years. So you see I was coming back to my library roots, but with a whole new focus on the future.

It was a couple of weeks into my new position when a discussion with our Deputy Principal of Learning introduced me to what we affectionately refer to as the…

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