Monday, October 5, 2009

Reading the Times ...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shopping in Abano Terme: Not sure they need a special day to say Grazie! Note
the Parma hams and other epicurean delights, and no turkeys here in September!

With Special Thanks to ...

  • all of you for a clean start and your energy and enthusiasm for the work.
  • Kim Turner for the clarity with which she helps make sense of "the books" in the Accounting for TLs 101 workshop this week.
  • Kam for the Kidsbooks excursion where, all reports have it, much buying and chatting and sharing took place.
  • Nanci Farrell whose place I was able to take this week to hear the remarkable educator Andy Hargreaves talk in Coquitlam about The Fourth Way, a direction in education that draws on the directions education has taken since the '60s and that offers inspiration and hope for educational change that respects the knowledge of teachers; Andy was also the keynote speaker at this year's BCTF Summer Conference. I am into the book now.
  • our team in MLST and the wayward, ever-moving Maryann who might be entering a new decade in her thinking about life and work later this month.
  • those who enabled five Vancouver TLs to journey to Europe this summer to affirm and enrich and provide momentum for the work of teacher-librarians.
Nope. Not Scaredy Squirrel! Book shopping in Ferrara en route to the IASL Conference,
lest you think we weren't the hardest-working TLs ever!

Readings ...

Getting into the spirit of professional development and October (school/library month), I pass along these readings:
  • Things That Keep Us Up at Night: Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson have an eye to the future. Read their SLJ article for October 2009. Seems we may be expendable if we don't attend to the shifting landscapes of learning. Hmmm! I think I said just such a thing on Monday night at the Secondary TLs' Department Heads' meeting. I think James Henri hinted at this point a year ago August when he came for our VSB Summer Institute, The Changing Landscape for School Libraries.

    What do Joyce and Doug suggest for teacher-librarians? In the face of rapid educational and technological change, with severe economic conditions forcing re-thinking about all aspects of schooling, we could, with just 14 changes in the way we conceptualize and undertake our work, sleeping soundly knowing that we have viable and meaningful "libraries" that meet the needs of the whole educational community.

    Thanks, Annabelle, for this timely reminder. There's sleep coming ... but maybe from exhaustion of just trying to keep the pace! The biggest nightmare, Valenza and Johnson remind us, will be not attending to the urgency for change.

  • Tough Choices, Tough Times: This next reading is related, substantial, and predictive of important changes for the American education system which inevitably seems to impact our system in Canada.

    While acknowledging that it refers to the American labour force, our Italian connection and IASL Conference Organizer Luisa Marquardt of the Faculty of Education at the University of Roma Tre the Executive Summary from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, suggesting it provides opportunity "for reflecting on the relationships about the poor/high quality in education/training and the quality of less/more skilled workforce. World class education for a world class economy is based on the combination of several skills and competencies (p.6) which contribute to building imagination, creativity, vision."

    I like the parts about re-thinking teacher compensation, meaningful assessments that are grounded in important learning, "second chance" learning, early childhood education, and resourcing schools for success. While I wonder about "contract schools," it is note-worthy that the NCSAW based its findings on research in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand.

  • "Beyond the Stacks: The School Librarian in the Digital Age" by Cindy Long (NEA): An interview with a high school TL places things in perspective -- kids need to learn to think critically to find reliable information sources, they need to be digitally literate, and educators needs to be working with TLs!

The BCTLA Executive won the Angela Thacker Memorial Award last year for its DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) campaign. Sylvia and I are very proud of this award and of our district's participation and support. Again, our Trustees and District Management have endorsed the initiative which is a wonderful thing.

Largely through the efforts of Victoria TL and BCTLA VP Advocacy Karen Lindsay last year and again this year, the momentum is picking up. Can Vancouver boast 100% participation on October 26, with every child and every member of the school/educational community dropping what he or she is doing to read for 20 minutes to celebrate school libraries and the joy of reading? Did every school get the lovely poster with photo by Kelowna TL Al Smith, our BCTLA publications guy? And we are awaiting word of Legislative participation this year so things are looking very exciting for this project.

Here's one TL's idea of a deeply engaging "authentic" DEAR project:

Parkland's librarian presents human books
By Jeff Bell of The Times-Colonist, October 8, 2008
Shared via AddThis

TL Studio 2 at Gladstone: Wednesday, October 14. Pat, Alan, Frances and I will be there with great anticipation of the many technology-related interests you will bring!

The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable’s
Fall Breakfast with Gregory Maguire

Saturday, October 17, 2009UNIVERSITY GOLF CLUB
5185 University Boulevard
8:30 am. Registration & Book Sales
9:00 am. Breakfast

Dress code: Something Wicked!

Gregory Maguire is the author of more than a dozen novels for children and, to date, five novels for adults, including WICKED, the basis of the Broadway musical of the same name.

Word from Linda Dunbar is that there are still a few more seats. Call Linda at 604-822-8783 to reserve a seat and you can pay by cheque at the door, after reserving.


I am sending out the most recent Friends of the School Library forms by email attachment. Note that there is a new location for submissions. There are also translations in progress. Watch for these. Our first event for our Friends will be held on Tuesday, October 27, and will celebrate National School Library Day and the critical role school libraries play in relation to student learning and enrichment.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Mine starts now.

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