Tuesday, February 25, 2014

International School Librarians' Knowledge Sharing Weekend in Brunei: my take-aways

A huge thank-you to Karli Downey and her team at Jerudong International School in Brunei for hosting a valuable two-day workshop for international school librarians, Feb. 21-22, 2014.  About thirty of us came together from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, and Brunei to share our practice and thoughts.

See the LKSW Libguide for an overview.

The highlights for me included:
  • Lyn Hay, from SybaAcademy and Charles Sturt University, spoke on the concept of the iCentre (see her slides here)
  • Lyn Hay also spoke about guided inquiry -- and Linda Twitchett (AISS) spoke about how she developed a scope and sequence of information fluency for her secondary school.
    • As Lyn listed the seven survival skills a la Tony Wagner, I mentally tried to remember the 9 elements of our UWCSEA profile:  Qualities ( Commitment to Care, Principled, Resilient, Self-Aware) and Skills (Critical Thinker, Creative, Collaborative, Communicator, Self-Manager).  Information fluency/literacy is implicit in the descriptions of each.
    • Made me realize our library team needs to schedule time with our curriculum dept to continue to hash out our own research model.  Linda came up with four main stages: Exploring, Investigating, Processing, and Creating.  Our middle school has most recently settled on five stages:
      • Identify and ask relevant questions
      • Gather and organise information from different perspectives
      • Analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
      • Communicate
      • Reflection
    • Made me re-read my blog post on "Carol Kuhlthau meets Tim Brown: Guided {Design} Inquiry"
    • Lyn highly recommended Keri Smith's book, How to be an explorer of the world -- which is one of those books I hesitate to buy for the library, as it's meant to be written in and personalised.
    • Check out Linda's Libguide on Research.
  •  Crys Mills reminded us of some great Australian picture books -- I put the list here in LibraryThing -- and will double-check we have them.
  • Library tech topics....
    • In the RFID discussion Rob George reminded us that RFID isn't sufficient for security, that most libraries still use magnetic strips for that.  We don't anticipate going to RFID though the self-check and ease of inventory are appealing.
    • Thumbprint (biometric) recognition for check-out with Follett Destiny: Kim Beeman said she has a working installation -- which I look forward to seeing when I get to Bangkok next.  I always envisioned it for primary, but several people warned me that it doesn't work reliably with kids younger than seven or so -- as their fingerprints are too soft? unformed?  Others also mentioned parental concern over storing biometric data of children.
  • Book Weeks.... listened to others discussing what they do.  What we all do is cram a lot into one week.  Why not make every week "book week"?  Spread out more author visits over time, matching the right author to the right age level during the right curriculum time.  World Book Day in April could be the excuse for the whole campus to dress up as a book character.  The UN provides enough days throughout the year to focus on (especially for us as we aren't a nation-based school), e.g., World Literacy Day, Mother Tongue Day, etc.
  • Engaging readers.... Lots of good ideas and resources.
  • Collection development... Ditto.
  • Audiobooks and e-books....  A topic we all have opinions about and experiences with, e.g., Shrewsbury has Overdrive, so we were quizzing Kim Beeman.  Many of us have FollettShelf, Bookflix, and TumbleBooks.   Barb Philip shared the wealth of her experiments in her primary school library.
  • Style of PD.... this small group worked well.  I'm now thinking our network in Singapore (ISLN) should go for one-day Bootcamps designed for no more than 50 participants at a time, on various topics, e.g., on graphic design and signage, copyright, RDA and cataloging, managing genres and the trend to genre-fication, etc. -- for all library staff.
Next year LKSW might be in Bangkok..... ? 

Photo above:  a snapshot of the fabulous biscuits made specially for the conference!

Connecting books and readers via the virtual, visible, spatial, and personal

I have a penchant for schematics.  Below is the one I made while thinking about the types of connections between readers and books -- and ways to enable them.
Note: when choosing ways to connect, three factors must always be considered:  Can it scale? (i.e., will it work for large numbers)  Is it easily accessible?  How will it be maintained?

We recently started an initiative that manages to combine all four delivery methods.

The personal connection is that we invite secondary school teachers to identify the books they want to recommend to their students.  The library then buys 3+ copies of those books for the general library collection.

The virtual connection is a booklist of the titles via our library catalog, e.g., see Dr. Alex's Favorites (where Alex McGregor is the head of History).

The visual connection is a huge skeuomorphic bookshelf poster (thanks to a new big Epson printer and this *.jpg of a blank wooden bookshelf) of the booklist, with a QR code linking to the list. 
To give you an idea of the size, the blank spots on the "shelf" are A4 size (8.5"x11") so teachers can add books to their shelf (read: maintenance) -- by printing out a cover and just blue-tacking it into place.  (Who said cutting and pasting is dead?)  See below example of a poster on a classroom wall.

The spatial connection is a display shelf in the library where multiple copies of each book are displayed - in a very visible way.  (The wall posters are also displayed, but as A4 size in acrylic holders.)
The books are placed face-out with the extra copies stacked behind -- and in the event that all copies are gone, we have a mini-poster (another visual connection) which is a piece of paper inside a plastic sleeve -- which has a QR code and shortened URL leading to the title in the library catalog, so people can check how many copies are available.  I always complain you can't see what books are missing when looking at a shelf -- this way you can permanently display the most important or popular titles.

Will we have room for all the teachers' selections?  We'll find the space....  Click here for a Google Presentation showing all the book wall posters made so far.

Next I want to some teachers to write up little booktalking blurbs and see if we can hang them off the metal holders -- the way independent bookstores do.....