A key to the past – the library continues to be used by past students

(This post has been written by Pam Saunders, Head of Library).

It is not uncommon for us to receive queries from past students. It would seem ‘once a Melbourne High boy, always a Melbourne High boy’ and this entitles one to keep using the school and its resources.

Yesterday was typical, with a request from an old boy.  He had graduated in the mid 1980s and was asking for a copy of the school biology textbook which he would have used back then. It was The Web of Life, a familiar text for many of us.

Web of Life Books

With some deeper reference questioning it was revealed he was actually after a dichotomous key for eucalyptus. He recalled his HSC biology teacher had shown one to the class. Now, as an avid bushwalker, the old boy wanted to use it, ideally the same key, to identify trees on his walks.

We found The Web of Life and several books on eucalyptus. We also found dichotomous keys online (thank you Mr Google) including a beautiful item on the State Library of Victoria website.

dichotomouskey

This raised a discussion this morning amongst the library team about what books we should be keeping and whether they should they be on the open shelves. I am starting to think we need to consider an archived collection (we do have some space for this and a small collection already) so the books are retained but not distracting library users from a fresh, current collection.

I wonder what the next request from an old boy will be for.

 

 

Art is not just pretty pictures.

This has been cross-posted from my blog Brave New World.

My topic today is Art as a subject in schools. I wonder if we sometimes underestimate or misunderstand the role of Art in a student’s learning. It’s so much more than making pretty pictures. Art personifies learning through a transparent process of deep exploration and problem solving – with an end product to show for it. Just as with literature, the end product can be unpacked to show what influences were part of the creative process. Happily this is not a scientific process but one which invites the exploration and interpretation of the viewer.

Art is a model for problem solving in other areas of learning. We should hold onto Art, and not be fooled into thinking that it is less valuable than subjects which are associated with occupational success. We need Art. I visited a year 9 class today to see the students happily working on large representations of themselves based on their exploration of the unit ‘Home and Place’. My part in this project was the collaboration with Mihaela Brysha, Head of Art, in resourcing the project  in our library website (Libguides). I’m including the project brief:

This unit explores ideas about belonging and is designed to question our relationship and interaction with:

  • Others
  • Pop culture
  • Consumerism
  • Cultural beliefs,
  • Personal histories
  • The natural world

The aim of the exploration is to make and visually interpret personal statements about what home and place means to you and how it shapes personal and cultural identity. Australian artists Patricia Piccinini, Fiona Hall, Gordon Bennett, and Howard Arkley address some of these ideas from very different perspectives, influences, art forms, aesthetics, materials and techniques. The study of their ideas and studio art practice as well as interpretation and analysis of their artwork aims to provide stimuli for the exploration of ideas, content and techniques for practical explorations.

The online resources were a starting point for further research into these artists: Fiona HallGordon BennettHoward ArkleyPatricia Piccinini.

I loved the size of these art works, their bold colours and strokes, delicate details, diverse imagery and visual storytelling. I loved the energy and focused activity in the classroom, the productive interaction between students and teacher. I took photos.

Image (1) Image (2) Image unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3) unnamed (4) unnamed (5) unnamed (7)
unnamed (9) unnamed (10) unnamed (11) unnamed (12) unnamed (13) unnamed (14) unnamed (15) unnamed (16) unnamed (17) unnamed (18)
unnamed (20) unnamed (21) unnamed

 

I’m looking forward to the hanging of these in the art show. Well done, boys, and well done, Mihaela.

What exactly does a 21st century teacher librarian do? A list of curated topics in Scoop.it

On the topic of the teacher librarians’ role and exactly what it is we TLs do in our jobs, I wanted to share this article in The Guardian: Beyond books: what it takes to be a 21st century librarian.  We all know that there’s more to being a librarian than stamping books, as the subtitle of the article states. How bothered are we by the fact that a large proportion of our school communities have little idea what we do?

If we stopped the next person walking by on the street and asked them what our jobs as librarians involve, we’d be willing to bet that their first answer would be stamping books. This is because many people’s experience of librarians is of the frontline, customer service staff.

I think the same can be said of school libraries although it varies greatly depending on the interaction between teacher librarians and teaching staff. What the article says about librarians is surely relevant to teacher librarians, librarians and technicians -

If anyone ever thought they’d become a librarian because they liked books or reading, they would be sorely disappointed if they did not also like people too.

Of course, in the digital age, in fact, in the global digital culture in particular, teacher librarians play a vital role in schools. What exactly is the role of a 21st teacher librarian?

It’s not something which can be answered in a simple sentence. For this reason, I want to share links to curated websites on this topic. I am including a list of Scoop.its which have been curated by various people (including me) on the topic of the 21st century teacher librarian. I hope you find this list useful; it includes all things relevant to the 21st century librarian in the broadest sense.

My Scoop.it – What is a teacher librarian?

Curation and libraries and learning – Joyce Valenza

e-Books – Carmel Galvin

Create the web and learn to live - @pipcleaves

21st century libraries – Dr Steve Matthews

Educational technology and libraries – Kim Tairi

Embedded Librarianship – Buffy Hamilton

Graphic Novels in the classroom – @dilaycock

Information coping skills – Beth Kanter

Information science and library studies –  Joao Brogueira

Information fluency, transliteracy, research tools – Joyce Valenza

Inquiry and digital literacy – Shawn Hinger

Internet Search – Phil Bradley

Learning – Darren Kuropatwa

Libraries and ethnography - Buffy Hamilton

Libraries and Tumblr – Buffy Hamilton

Libraries as sites of enchantment, participatory culture and learning (what a title!) – Buffy again

Livebinders – Peggy George

Multiliteracies – Vance Stevens

New librarianship – Karen Burns

Personal learning networks for librarians – Donna Watt

QR codes – libraries – NairarbilUCA

Readers’ advisory for secondary schools – Marita Thomson

School libraries – Nickki Robinson

Social media content curation- Guiseppe Mauriello

Social networking for information professionals – Judy O’Connell

The library technician – Dawn Jimenez

Student learning through school libraries – Lyn Hay

Weird and wonderful - for librarians and booklovers – Jean Anning

This selection is only a small fraction of what’s being curated by people passionate about their topic on Scoop.it. It’s overwhelming but also a fantastic way of keeping track of evolving scoops on searchable topics. The fact that the list relevant to teacher librarians is so broad indicates the breadth of the teacher librarians’ focus and involvement. Of course, we can’t do everything but it’s a good idea to see potential involvement, and having seen the bigger picture, delegate to team members (assuming you have a team) the most pressing areas according to their interest.

By the way, Scoop.its are very easy to make and make reading enjoyable in their magazine-scoop-style presentation. It’s easy to follow, to search, to share and to recommend Scoop.its and articles. It’s also a brilliant way to build your Personal Learning Network by investigating the curators, checking out their bio, looking at what else they’ve curated or what they themselves follow.

You’ve got to start somewhere! Happy scooping!