I recently had the absolute pleasure and privilege of being invited to share with librarians in the SLANZA Waikato/BOP area around the weighty and timely topic of library advocacy.
After being affected by fog in Christchurch and three plane rides later, I finally arrived in Hamilton at 9 o’clock at night (original arrival time was scheduled at 3.30pm! There’s a potential separate blog post on my stressful, circuitous journey, but I digress) and drove across to Tauranga to meet with the SLANZA Waikato/BOP crew the following morning.
While the weather that Saturday morning may have kept more faint-hearted souls in their beds, that is certainly not the case for intrepid librarians! They are like the Pony Express riders of the historic Amerian West, “heroes for the much needed and dangerous service they provided for the nation” and cheerfully turned out in good numbers. (They were admirably rewarded with a stunning morning tea spread to keep their energy levels at high! Thanks, team!)
The workshop covered 10 key areas:
- Taking a look at the big picture
- Identifying our vision
- Acknowledging what we already do
- Collaborative strategies
- Working with our whole community
- Telling our story
- Promotion and marketing
- How to gather evidence and what to do with it
- Tools of the trade
Since coming across it several years ago, I have often reflected on Lauren Cohen’s Librarian 2.0 Manifesto, which is startlingly, now more than 10 years old, and it had inspired me to want to write my own, but it never got to the top of my “to do” pile.
So, while preparing for this workshop I revisited it, along with re-reading the UNESCO and IFLA School Library Manifesto and the School Library and Learning in the Information Landscape: Guidelines for New Zealand Schools, which is now more than 15 years old. It made me realise that there has been little of significance published about advocating for school libraries and learning in more than a decade and given the rate of change in education in those dozen or so years it certainly gives pause for thought.
It also made me revisit my goal of writing my own manifesto but chose a different path and instead I incorporated the UNESCO manifesto and the NZ guidelines with my own library world view and this is what I came up with:
If you’d like more details about the advocacy workshop you can access it here:
And if you are looking for even more inspiration then you should invest in a copy of This is What A Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy. It is awesome! Expect a blog post soon on this amazing book.
Thanks to the Waikato/BOP Committee for inviting me to come and share with them. They’re an awesome team, ably led by Glenys and Linda. And thank you guys for the most precious of gifts you can give a librarian, a newly published book!
Finally, I’ll leave you with what has become a bit of a catchphrase for me in recent months as I continue to explore the intersection between libraries and learning.
Libraries: What we are, How we surprise, What we could be
I had so much fun putting together my recent contribution in Weve! It was one of the most colossal, creative and confronting pieces I’ve ever worked on. I felt a huge sense of responsibility to put something meaningful together and a huge sense of accomplishment at the end. However, I had stepped completely outside of my comfort zone and I was nervous. Had I nailed the brief? Did it make sense? Had I communicated my message, or just ended up being too obscure? I hope it says something to you and that it’s worth hearing. Then check out the other amazing contributions to the latest edition of Weve on Heroes Mingle.
NZCER’s 40th anniversary special edition of SET is now available on line and will be hitting school staff rooms from next week.
The theme of this special edition is the future of education and I can’t wait to read the articles published, especially:
“The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present”: Preparing your students for their critically multiliterate future today byKwok-Wing Lai
Future-oriented pedagogies should focus on supporting students to be creative, innovative, and capable of creating knowledge, both individually and collaboratively, at the community level. This article discusses how a group of teachers have come to understand and use the knowledge-building model developed by Scardamalia and Bereiter (2006) to support secondary students to develop as knowledge creators of the 21st century. Findings from knowledge-building research conducted in New Zealand classes are used to illustrate how the knowledge-building model can be implemented. The PROGRESS practice model is introduced to guide teachers to implement the knowledge-building approach in their classes. and
Transforming New Zealand schools as knowledge-building communities: From theory to practice by Susan Sandretto and Jane Tilson
We can no longer predict knowledge needed for the future, which has significant implications for contemporary literacy programmes. In this article we argue that reconceptualising current literacy approaches will support teachers to develop future-focused literacy teaching. We suggest that a critical multiliteracies lens can provide rationale for a future-focused literacy programme (the “why”), and that the four resources model (Luke & Freebody, 1999) can provide a way to enact such a programme (the “how”). Drawing on our research using this approach with teachers, we provide a mapping template and reflective questions as a springboard to initiate reflective discussion.
I’m also very excited to have a ‘think-piece’ published!
A Librarian’s take on the future of learning
Now is an exciting time to be involved in educating our next generation. The way we think about education and our approach to teaching is continually evolving, and our libraries are also undertaking a parallel evolution. They are no longer dusty, silent spaces where the main function is to store and catalogue books. Today’s libraries are becoming vibrant spaces for information seeking, sharing, creating, and communicating new learning. They encompass the best traditions of our old-world libraries while embracing multiple pathways to supporting, connecting and collaborating in our new educational environments. Twenty-first century librarians like me are still there with the right book for the right reader at the right time, but we are also enthusiastic mavens, passionate knowledge-seekers, and committed communicators in this burgeoning landscape.
It has been an amazing experience to work through the process from submitting the abstract and having it accepted to finally seeing it in print. It was certainly a much harder and more robust process that I had anticipated, but I am so grateful for the experience and I now hope to write more about how librarians fit into the education landscape today and into the future. This is something I feel very passionate about and believe my knowledge in this area is growing as my role at Southland Boys’ High School continues to develop and I get more opportunities to work with staff and students in a range of ways.
I have had my head down, slaving away on many different work fronts in recent weeks/months. Today I made time for a little bit of Professional Learning and I’m SO glad I did! I was reading a posting on website Resource Link about attribution of images with Creative Commons License through Flickr and decided to explore their site for other gems. Boy, did I find a nugget of gold!
You need to watch this TedX Talk by Pam Sandlian-Smith on What to Expect From Libraries in the 21st Century
This short 11 minute talk is completely inspiring and almost brought me to tears.
If you have been wondering “why on earth do I bother?” ….. watch this.
If you have been wondering “do I make a difference?” ….. watch this.
If you have been thinking “what can I do to make a difference?” ….. watch this.
If you are sick of fending questions along the lines of “why do we need libraries?” ….. watch this.
If you have been wondering how to inspire your staff ….. watch this.
Do you want to remember what it is you love about the possibilities of being in our profession? ….. watch this.
I challenge you to remain unmoved, unchallenged or uninspired!
Now, if you have read to the end of this posting and haven’t yet watched this clip ….. Watch it Now!
School Libraries: What’s now, what’s next, what’s next to come is made up of a series of essays by a wide range of librarians from several countries expressing their varied views of school libraries as they are now and how the could be in the future.
In the words of Dr. R. David Lankes, Professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship, Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, Syracuse, New York, who wrote the Foreward for this book:
“To evangelize is more than simply reciting the message. To advocate is to go beyond agreeing with a cause. To truly seek change is to live our own message. We, as librarians, must talk the talk and walk the walk. If you see yourself as a vital partner with teachers, you had better have teachers that say the same of you. If you seek to turn students into passionate learners, you must also learn – every day. You must become nothing less than a radical positive change agent. It is not enough to create a haven of true learning in your library — you must spread that environment throughout the school.”
And what do I say? HEAR, HEAR!! I love this message. It speaks so strongly of my own vision I wish I’d written it myself!
What’s even better is that I was able to be part of this truly global, collaborative e-book as one of three New Zealanders to respond to the call for submissions. I’m so proud to be in the company of my friend and colleague Donna Watt and the charismatic Rob Baigent from Any Questions
Some would say, rightly, that I have an awful lot to say for myself and in this instance I didn’t confine myself to just one essay. I got so fired up writing the first one on collaboration I couldn’t help myself and went on to write another one on networking and flock-mates. If you want to read them, you’ll find them here: in chapter 9 and 10 respectively. Pages 139 and 154.
And the last word comes, again from David Lankes :
In this book you will read others views on the future and what concerns school librarians. These are the voices of the brave and the concerned. You must add your voice. If you read these essays and disagree, then disagree and suggest another view. If you read these and agree, then voice your support. If you read these and learn, use your learning and teach others. If, on the other hand you read these essays and voices and remain mute, you abdicate the future. Don’t.
Please now do the following things:
- Download this book and read it
- Really think about the issues that get under your skin, or spin your wheels
- Respond with action – talk to someone about something you’re passionate about or do something to effect change – it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you think it might be – just do it!
- Please give us your feedback. It’s how we grow, learn and change and it keeps these vital and important conversations going
And finally I just need to say – I love being a school librarian – that’s all.