Friday, December 14, 2007

Time for a Break!

Time for a Break!

Rather than add to the size of your email with large summary email missives each week, I am blogging and will be sending out the link.

More Changes in School Libraries

The new TL at the Gladstone library is doing her course work in the TL diploma program and is rumoured to work part-time as well at Kidsbooks.

We will update the TL Directory in January to reflect the many changes.

I have a new assistant.

FPinfomart Training

The FPinfomart Training and Professional Services team will hold classroom training sessions in Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008.

If you would like to participate, can you contact Moira before registering with Yvonne Yip at

If you are unable to attend, please contact Yvonne to set up an alternate virtual or phone training session. For more information on all of the different training opportunities, as well as details on the on-site venues, please visit the Training Schedule.

DVD: The Boy Inside

The Ministry of Education is sending out copies of this DVD for schools, as you will have seen in my earlier email today. We need to catalogue one copy be sent in for cataloguing. Can someone let me know when one is available. Remind your administrator that our centralized resource and expertise services are the best way to retain and promote resources in schools. If anyone should happen to get two copies, we could always add one to the district Media collection!

Lunch with Jamie McKenzie –

I can't tell you how great it was for me to be invited to share in the Nootka potluck luncheon with guest Dr Jamie McKenzie, former superintendent for the Bellingham School District. For those of you who want to find out more about his work in supporting teachers who are integrating technology with teaching and learning and in building strong school library programs go to his From Now On website. And the lunch was fantastic, especially the cream puffs!

Cancelled/un-cancelled/re-scheduled -- Workshop on Accounting --

As I drove back to the VSB from Nootka on Thursday afternoon, the snow appeared to be sticking so, on seeing that most were coming from the East Side, I thought it best to cancel the workshop. In addition to emailing, we phoned the schools. You will have seen the email -- several were also sick. But TLs are a hardy and dedicated breed. Six came, two by bike. And the snow turned to rain. So we had a small but successful workshop. I am planning another one for January as Accounting will still send someone.

Lunch with Author Hadani Ditmars

Author Hadani Ditmars and I had lunch this week ... I don't get out very often like this, I swear! She is widely published with a major article on the loss of culture due in the March issue of The Walrus.

Here is a link to her literary agent's page:

Hadani is going to be available in January and February for sure and is well suited to social studies global issues topics. I have several schools already interested in setting dates. Here's the "blurb":

Hadani Ditmars’ Dancing in the No Fly Zone chronicles 7 years of reporting from pre and post invasion Iraq. She has read and lectured on Iraq internationally, from the Vancouver Public Library to London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs to Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Hadani has had a particular interest in the plight of children and youth in war zones, having documented the experience of Lebanese “children of war” in post civil war Beirut, Somali and Palestinian refugees, as well as children in Iraq. Her work lends itself to elementary and secondary social studies. The chapter of No Fly Zone entitled “The Pool People” describes the plight of displaced children and their families camped out in an abandoned aquatic centre in a north Baghdad slum. “In Hospital” focuses on the Baghdad Pediatric Hospital – sadly in worse shape post invasion than it was under draconian sanctions that restricted the importation of basic medicine and supplies.

Iraq, like Canada, was once a secular, multicultural society with one of the best public health and education systems in the world. Today, infant mortality rates are on a par with sub-Saharan Africa and the literacy rate has plummeted. Baghdad’s libraries, museums, schools and public institutions have been burned, looted or co-opted by sectarian militias and a whole generation of children have had their education interrupted or severely curtailed.

Hadani’s book as well as her video and photographic presentations offer a very human and easily accessible way into the lives of average Iraqi men, women and children caught up in war and conflict, and can greatly contribute to widening the worldview of young people in Canada.

Awesome Stories

Membership to this databases of stories, audiostreaming, audio/video clips, online games, and virtual field trips is free. I am getting the monthly newsletters -- December features Beowulf, Who was St Nicholas?, and The Story of Peter Pan. There is a newly located Learning Tools section.

Check out the site, sign up for the newsletter, or subscribe as an individual member: We could also subscribe as an academic group if there were interest.

SLRCCC (School Library Resource Centre Consultative Committee)

We had our second meeting of the year on Tuesday morning this week. The committee was pleased to welcome two academic librarians from the SFU libraries and will be joined by one from the UBC Education Library in January. The introduction of academic librarians to the committee structure is exciting for us. The "big picture" for our students who go on to post-secondary and for what happens to prepare their students who undertake practica in our schools to work with TLs is just a hint of the possibilities of conversations.

"The Role and Responsibilities" document (see Handbook, section 1, pages 10-16) was reviewed and we are now able to announce that it looks as though both VEPVA and VASSA will "endorse" the document as a statement of best practice for TLs. The first page (page 10) will be revised for The Handbook to include the following paragraph and to reflect the additional endorsements:

The “Role and Responsibilities” document is not intended as written policy; rather, it is a working document, a set of guidelines to help new teacher-librarians, those considering teacher-librarianship, and those who work with and support the work of teacher-librarians in schools. As a reflection of what constitutes best practice for Vancouver’s teacher-librarians, it can be used as a tool for assessing professional development needs and a framework for discussions of school library programs where it is important to have common understandings about the work of teacher-librarians.

We wished my assistant well in her new year-long position gifts for our Media and Library Services support staff, as well as for the technicians who keep school libraries up and running, were delivered. We also were informed that there will be no change in the Systems Librarian position.

Handbook Revisions

I will begin to work with my new assistant on the latest revisions to The Handbook. The version in the portal is a little out of date but we are now downloaded and ready to go with updating in January. Input from TLs would be important. If you haven't printed out a copy, you could wait but access the electronic version for your own needs.

Get Carded Info

This is a reminder to those secondary schools who have not yet responded with the number of classes of grade 9s who would be involved with this VPL initiative that it would be important to respond this week coming. Thanks for your help.

Ressources: Encyclopedie Decouverte and World Book for Kids (French)

Always in search of resources to meet the needs of Vancouver's French Immersion students, we have been working with the World Book rep on pricing out the French version of the Discovery Encyclopedia as a district/French Immersion purchase. More information will follow. The actual copies are not due out until the Fall of 2008. The electronic database World Book for Kids (French) is due in February. This is not going to be a cost item to schools.

"That's a Family" DVD and Teacher Guide

The Anti-homophobia Consultant has ordered copies of this kit for every school. You may remember I announced at the multivendor display that we are participating, along with the Anti-racism Consultant, in this acquisition for all elementary schools. We will discuss cataloguing with our "catstaff" and then get them out to the professional collections of our elementary school libraries thereafter. We would anticipate that you will want to promote this engaging and significant resource at professional development opportunities and/or staff meetings.

And finally ...

I hope you have a wonderful, lively, and productive last week of school. Unless there is an accumulation of important news, I don't expect I will need to do a summary next week. Here's wishing you a lovely break and a fulfilling new year. Thanks for all the support you have given me. It has been a busy time but I think I'm getting a handle on the pace and expectations. Now if I could just adjust to life in a cubicle!

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