Thursday, October 9, 2008


In case I haven't mentioned it, I am ever so thankful for my great TL and MLST colleagues here in Vancouver and promise to toast them all over the family turkey dinner. My work is enabled by being able to tap into the remarkable spirit of sharing the load, working collaboratively, learning about new tools and directions for school library programs, and focussing on the successes.

The DEAR Campaign

This week will be the time to begin to promote the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) project in your school. Here's what you need to know:

On Wednesday evening October 15, our Trustees will consider a submission from District Management, in response to a request from the VTLA, to endorse DEAR. I expect to be able to confirm this endorsation by the Trustees on Thursday. Your administrators will all receive information at their Area meetings this week. Here's the history:

For many years, teacher-librarians have organized special school events to mark National School Library Day (NSLD) on the fourth Monday in October. This is the first year they are taking their celebration to the general public.

Many studies have shown that daily silent reading is a very effective way of improving reading comprehension, increasing vocabulary, improving spelling, and broadening understanding of others. When students choose what they want to read from a well-stocked school library or from home, when they have the time and space in which to read and are free of tests and assignments, even twenty minutes a day of independent reading can make a difference.

The Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Challenge was tested in many schools across the province on National School Library Day last year. Hundreds of BC students engaged in silent reading from 11:00 to 11:20 that day, and the response was terrific: "You could hear a pin drop!" "Kids didn't want to stop after 20 minutes."

The Province of British Columbia has declared October to be Library Month. “B.C.’s libraries help British Columbians of all ages access the information and tools that they need to live, work and learn,” said [Minister] Bond. “Library Month is an excellent opportunity for all of us to recognize and celebrate these valuable public resources and the amazing people who work in them.” Minister Bond thanked the B.C. Library Trustees’ Association, the Public Library Services Branch, the B.C. Library Association, the B.C. Teacher Librarians’ Association, as well as all of the library staff and information professionals from across the province for the excellent services that ensure that the goal of making BC the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent is achieved.

Recently the BCTF announced its support for DEAR as a province-wide initiative and asked the government to proclaim October 27 as BC School Library Day. They have provided and distributed posters (which have been distributed to schools).

Teacher-librarians around the province, with support from the BC Teacher-librarians’ Association, have been promoting this event with district management, administrators, colleagues, parents, students, and trustees with a goal of 100% school and district participation this year!

The Vancouver Teacher-librarians’ Association had requested that District Management support the BCTLA initiative called DEAR or “drop everything and read” on October 27, National School Library Day. District Management is supportive and in turn, will recommend that the Vancouver Board of Education endorse the special school event “Drop Everything and Read" (DEAR) Challenge to mark National School Library Day (NSLD) on October 27 from 11:00 to 11:20 am or at some other appropriate time during the school day.

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  • Here's a couple of great resources for your Social Studies colleagues as we approach Remembrance Day: Passchendaele -- see also Charles Best Library Remembrance Day collation of resources.

  • How do you like my new widget called Shelfari (see my shelves in the sidebar)? Thanks, Heidi, former literacy mentor and Learning Services colleague, now back in a school. Why not explore this new Web 2.0 tool and consider how this might be useful for adult and school-age book clubs. I am now reading Follett's second historical novel, World Without End. It could take a while for this fat book to hit my shelves!

  • From my August email, I found John Goldsmith writing about another new Web 2.0 tool called Digital Book Talks (from the U of Central Florida and the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando): “Take a look at this high-tech variation [of booktalking]. After watching a couple of the booktalk video clips, it occurred to me that most of what I was seeing would be easy to replicate with a digital camera, a computer and a group of tech savvy students. The finished product would look great on a library website.” Victoria TL and BCTLA Exec member Karen Lindsay is enthusiastic about booktalking and this resource. “This looks very cool - and useful. I've signed myself up.”

  • Karen also describes her TL-on-Wheels approach to booktalking in a school where students are not always prepared with a book for silent reading: “I do book talks every chance I get …. However, an ongoing problem is the small minority of kids who arrive without books, refuse to read, hate reading, etc. To help with that, I do a "books on wheels" thing about once a term. I pass around a sign-up sheet at a staff meeting early in each term. Teachers choose their slot and I load up a cart full of books I hope will appeal to a broad spectrum of students.

    "Then I take my show on the road …. In each class, I booktalk half a dozen books, and then let the kids have-at the cart. I have a remote scanner with me, and kids and teachers can sign things out on the spot. It's been pretty effective at getting the word out that the library has cool stuff for just about any taste and that we're willing to do outreach. This year, I plan to bring along my "Recommend a Resource to Reynolds" forms, so that I can gather student requests and suggestions at the book talks, too. When I have a new book that I know I want to recommend, but that I haven't read yet, I go to EBSCOHost's NoveList database for a plot summary. I use it a lot for acquisitions, too …. We all need as many arrows in our quivers as possible.”

  • Are you or your colleagues concerned about the copyright issue for Canadian educators? On Thursday, October 23, 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the VPL Central Branch, Alice MacKay Room, why not attend the free public lecture, "Why Copyright? The Fight for Canada's Digital Future" with Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. This event is sponsored by the The Information Policy Committee of the BC Library Association as part of their conference, Jumpstarting the Public Sphere: Information Policy Issues for the 21st Century. Issues include net neutrality, media concentration, telecommunications policy, access to information, and intellectual property. Registration is required and closes October 22nd, 4 p.m., or when all seats have been reserved.

    Synopsis: In June 2008, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-61, new copyright legislation that closely followed the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The public response to the bill was both immediate and angry - tens of thousands of Canadians wrote to the Minister and their local MPs, leading to town hall meetings, negative press coverage, and the growing realization that copyright was fast becoming a mainstream political and policy issue. The "Canadian copy-fight," which includes many new advocacy groups and the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group that has over 90,000 members, has attracted considerable attention from the mainstream media, with many wondering how copyright had emerged as a contentious policy issue. This talk will assess both the legislative proposals and the Canadian copyfight experience in an effort to answer the oft-asked question, "Why copyright?”

  • SSSHHH! Word has it that a Vancouver TL is to receive recognition at the BCTLA conference in Victoria for her work in school libraries ... and so it is really important for us to be there! Great online registration for this conference too.

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