Emergency remote school librarianship

I completed my Master’s degree through the quality online program offered through Charles Sturt University, Australia. Every aspect of my learning journey was clearly outlined, well developed and supported through their online learning platform. They had been offering this type of program for many years and so by the time I arrived in classes, it was running very smoothly. Many Universities have suddenly switched face to face classes to online classes, forcing teachers to suddenly adapt not only the method of instruction but also the content and the assessment (Hodges et al.). It is important to acknowledge there is a huge difference between carefully crafted online learning experiences and our hasty move to remote education and that applies to all sectors, tertiary, secondary and primary.

With all of its challenges and difficulties, this time of emergency remote teaching (ERT – yes it already has its own acronym) offers all educators opportunities to develop new skills and methods that may well become a regular part of education delivery. We have what is now called Pandemic Pedagogy and Natalie Milman, writing for Education Weekly goes as far as to outline 10 essential aspects teachers should consider as they proceed with classes online. We should be evaluating the successes and quality of our ERT programs so that we can prepare for future disruptions (Hodges et al.).

The challenge for Teacher Librarians is that similar to IT coaches and support staff in that what we do to support learners and teachers while involving technology, is also best achieved one to one or with small groups, real-time and face to face. I have been reading many blogs and tweets and other posts trying hard to see what my peers are doing. I think as A J Juliani rightly states – there is no manual for this and so no one right way to go about being a Teacher Librarian working ERT. This is actually very liberating and the truth of the matter there never was one right way.

So here are a few things our library team has tried over the last four weeks driven by the desire to add value rather than stress or busywork.

  1. We have emphasized reading for fun. No strings attached. Just read for enjoyment. To do that we removed limits on borrowing before school went to ERT. We had one and a half days but many students took us up on the offer and walked out the door with many books. We made sure our students and parents new about our online reading resources. We explored all the “free” online access offers and only took up the ones that we rated and were actually free and without strings.
  2. We post once a week to all primary students and again the post is simply – read. Enjoy what you are reading. We have offered a few activities that were entirely optional and again away from screens.
  3. We have run an online parent afternoon tea for primary parents showing our online resources. We had a limit to the numbers who could attend. It was very much appreciated by the pare\nts who came who like us have been thrust into this strange world of ERT.
  4. We set up a padlet for grades 6 and above and staff to show what they are reading right now. In our school we usually have that posted at the doors of our classrooms. It is now online and I am thrilled at how densely populated it is and with many wonderful comments from the people who are posting.
  5. We have endeavored to keep BOB alive (BOB is Battle of the Books and we hold two of these Quizzes each school year, one for grades 5 & 6 in December and one for grades 3 & 4 in May). Our students have really engaged by offering questions for practice quizzes run through Google forms. So we are working on existing commitments to make them actually happen.
  6. We are working with whole classes in the online meetings, small groups and one to one to support research through guest spots, reference interviews and again filtering through all the “free” offers of resources and finding the ones that \are the best fit for us.

The things we have struggled with to date is the sudden pressure to do more to be “visible”. I am resisting that as much as possible for a few reasons. We don’t want to clutter up people’s inboxes with extra unnecessary work (see the pint about adding value). When we do try to do the extra things they can turn out to be overly complicated – I am finding that keeping it simple is so important for my own sanity but also to be able to communicate clearly.

What doesn’t change are the underlying values of why we do what we do. In resource selection I found myself going through the same criteria we would use when evaluating any online resource to add to our collection – and fortunately we have that clearly outlined in our Collection Development policy. We support personalized learning and my best ERT experiences have been working with students one to one on their particular needs and questions. We want to empower our students and teachers to be confident users of information. We celebrate reading and invite everyone to be part of our reading community.

We are about to go to Spring Break and everyone in our school community will be having a staycation this year. We sent out a Spring Break online reading resource to all staff and students, just in case they were near the end of their print book piles. I am planning to go offline for a few days at a time. As I said in my last blog post – I am not great at this ERT librarianship – yet.

Works Cited

Hodges, Charles, et al. “The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning.” EDUCAUSEReview, 20 Mar. 2020. EDUCAUSEReview, er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

Juliani, A. J. “This is not online or distance learning.” A J Juliani, ajjuliani.com/this-is-not-online-or-distance-learning/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

Milman, Natalie B. “This is emergency remote teaching, not just online teaching.” Education Week, 30 Mar. 2020, www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/30/this-is-emergency-remote-teaching-not-just.html. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

Online librarianship – learning to support colleagues and students from home

I really appreciate blog posts by colleagues that help us as we are beginning online learning. Carl Hooker is a great example of a colleague who has shared his own experience and has some very practical ideas. The infographic below is from his blog post on the 19 March.


Librarians can follow the same signposts. At one stage this week I was communicating with a colleague on Google Hangouts. comments on a document we were working on and email – all at once. This is not ideal. I need to gather my thoughts and decide the BEST way to communicate with my colleagues and students and then stick to it. Some situations may require a different form of communication – context and purpose are the guides here.

To support our learners online when we are spread across the entire school is a tough call to know how to do this and do it well. For this signpost, I decided I would try to prioritize so grade 11 and their Extended Essay and Research project and we had started our Battle of the Books with grades 3 and 4 so keeping BOB alive is another goal. I am thankful for eBooks and databases and at the same time I want to encourage our students to leave the screen and READ a book – or get creative (like the bookworm below showing the books they have read – for younger grades of course).

My reading caterpillar BOB – one book to go and then I will have read all 6 titles… Keeping BOB alive

Office hours are given to grade 11 students and our library team has set meeting times weekly now. Being available is important. I am using my Google Calendar to try to organize my time and my analog journal helps me to jot notes and items to attend to that can come my way through e-mail. Being organized is vital when working from home and Zachary Dome has some good ideas to share on how to do that – including giving yourself deadlines and a schedule.

Content delivery and retrieval that can be accessed from many p[latforms is another great idea. Our school uses Google Drive and I tend to complete all my work there but then also share it on our See Saw and Managebac platforms.

Then finally the power of reflection – this blog post today is my reflection for the week. Online learning is challenging. Last week we were all at school in an environment that was energetic, noisy and full of life. This week we are at home in front of our computer screens. As a teacher-librarian, my work is all about working with students and staff and it still is – it is just VERY different at the moment. I am learning how to do this in what seems like a tsunami of tips, offers, tools, and advice that keeps appearing in my inbox and Social Media. I am a connected librarian through FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram so I am receiving a lot of information right now. I am also guilty of sending requests, information, and advice to my colleagues and students.

The phrase “Flexibility is my friend, expectations are my enemy” seems to be my mantra this week. My days have not ever gone according to my plan – but then they never did at school either. I am not good at this distance learning teacher-librarianship – yet.

Works Cited

Domes, Zachary. “How to organize your life: 10 habits of really organized people.” Lifehack, 5 Mar. 2020, www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-organize-your-life-10-habits-really-organized-people.html. Accessed 19 Mar. 2020.

Hooker, Carl. “A beginner’s toolkit for teaching remotely.” Hooked on Innovation, 19 Mar. 2020, hookedoninnovation.com/2020/03/19/a-beginners-toolkit-to-teaching-remotely/. Accessed 20 Mar. 2020.

“Information overload, why it matters and how to combat it.” Interaction Design Foundation, Jan. 2020, www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/information-overload-why-it-matters-and-how-to-combat-it. Accessed 19 Mar. 2020.

Richards, Reshan, and Stephen J. Valentine. “A letter to educators teaching online for the first time.” EdSurge, 13 Mar. 2020, www.edsurge.com/news/2020-03-13-a-letter-to-educators-teaching-online-for-the-first-time?utm_campaign=site&utm_content=share-318. Accessed 19 Mar. 2020.

Schwartz, Laura. “What teachers in China have learned in the past month.” eduTopia, 13 Mar. 2020, www.edutopia.org/article/what-teachers-china-have-learned-past-month?fbclid=IwAR0X4149YybElkTU-jtANDR2rMaOMFIbzef1YfxE-hyqvuUbOWmDXuLuSFE. Accessed 19 Mar. 2020.

Haere Mai – welcome to New Zealand

Throughout the month of February, I was invited to blog about New Zealand literature by the Global Literature for Libraries Initiative. As explained on their “About” page this group, “strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. We intend to do so by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators, librarians, publishers, editors, and educators, because we believe that these groups in collaboration are uniquely positioned to help libraries provide support and events to engage readers of all ages in a library framework that explores and celebrates literature from around the world.”

I thought I would add some of the posts here to my personal blog as well – enjoy

This month we will focus on the literature of New Zealand.

Kia Ora – my name is Amanda Bond and I am a New Zealander currently living and working in Istanbul, Turkey. Throughout this month it is my honour to share some thoughts about the literature of my homeland.

I am the Teacher Librarian at Istanbul International Community School which means I am a trained teacher, teaching English literature at High School level before training to become a school librarian. I tell everyone I have the best job in the school and it is true.

I was a student in New Zealand at a time when New Zealand literature was really coming into its own. I remember reading the School Journals that were published four times a year. These Journals are provided to schools through the New Zealand Education Department and are full of different styles of writing; feature articles, poems, stories and plays by New Zealand writers – more on those in another post in the future. I particularly loved the plays. Investing in student literacy and New Zealand writers at the same time seems to me to be a win-win situation. When I reached high school the English Curriculum was developing and beginning to insist that students read New Zealand writers. I was treated to poetry by Denis Glover called Arawata Bill and a film series created for televisions called “Winners and Losers” which dramatised New Zealand Short Stories. Thus began my sincere appreciation for the work of Witi Ihimaera.

I was fortunate to have enthusiastic teachers who instead of teaching all the same old literature chose to embrace emerging writers from our own country. Our family had a tradition of visiting the town library most Friday afternoons. I enjoyed selecting a wide range of books, decimating the displays and seeking out new fiction. Our high school had a huge library and I became friends with the librarian there too. She was always giving new books or ‘another’ book linked to the ones I had previously borrowed.  Teachers and librarians are the original influencers before the word ‘influencer’ was appropriated by YouTubers and thanks to these education professionals I developed a lifelong love of reading.

So over the next 28 days, I want to bring to your attention some of the marvellous writers and publishers from New Zealand, not as an ‘expert’ but as an enthusiast, following the footsteps of the people who encouraged me to love reading and love the literature of my home nation. My hope is that some of the posts will enable you to continue being the influencers that you are.

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Amanda Bond is a New Zealand ex-pat currently working as Teacher Librarian in an international school in Istanbul, Turkey. Her twitter handle is @kiwionthego

Why do they love BOB?

This is our fifth year offering Battle of the Books (BOB) at our school. It continues to be a very popular event for upper primary classes. We deliberately choose titles the students may not choose to read. We always have a ‘classic’ a book that has stood the test of time, “Mrs Frisby and the rats of NIMH” or “The phantom tollbooth”. We include a nonfiction title – last year it was “The boy who harnessed the wind” the year before it was “Trapped” the true story of the rescue of the miners in Chile. This year we have introduced a new category – the graphic novel to complement our existing category of the sophisticated picture book.

What is the appeal of BOB?

I think it is fun of reading books outside your normal interest areas and ranges. Many of our students read at least one of the books and a few read all seven. The way we run the quiz is that teams of up to four students enter the quiz together and they should ensure that all of the books have been covered by the team. So some students might read three others four or five but as a team they have the seven books covered.

A lovely additional part of BOB is that over the years we have created a few collections of multiple copies of titles and so our students create their own book clubs and use the BOB books from previous years to discuss.

Students create practice questions and each question gets one point to take into the competition. Each team can take a maximum of three points into the competition so past winners have often scored 22/20 points for this reason.

There is no compulsion to be part of BOB but when we run the quiz there are kahoot quizzes for the audience and they can join in with the main quiz as well. One of my colleagues thinks the appeal of BOB is the competition element. We do have trophies for the winning team.

I get my inspiration for possible book titles from the Battle of the Book organisation. We make up the question which all begin with the phrase “In which book…”. There are 20 questions total we run the first ten then rest and have a Kahoot quiz then the results go up and then we run the final ten questions. I always have three tie-breaker questions as well.

BOB is fun and an annual event in our school for grades 3 and 4 and also grades 5 and 6.

Our wonderful designer Begum and me showing off our latest BOB poster

Beautiful disruptions – new carpet

Sometimes a BIG change can cause big disruptions. We have needed new carpet in our library for the 9 years I have been at our school and finally this summer we were given the go-ahead to recarpet. I knew we needed carpet tiles and darker colours, thanks to being at a Kevin Hennah seminar at an ECIS library conference in Waterloo,  so the selection of the carpet was the easy part. The hard part was packing all our collection into boxes at the end of the year.

So early June we packed. we colour coded the boxes so that each different part of the collection was easily identifiable. We packed backwards (starting at the Z or the 999.99) so we could unpack forwards (starting with the A or 000).

We also consulted with our colleagues and students to get ideas for a redesign of the layout of the collection. With a disruption like putting everything in a box that meant we could change the layout of the library collection and the furniture. We didn’t get new shelves but we did get one internal wall knocked down.

I returned to work two and half weeks before all the other staff and began the process of putting the shelves in the right places and then unpacking the boxes. It was really hard work but this week, with the return to school of our students, it has been worth it. Everyone is so pleased with the new layout.  We may not have new shelves or new furniture but with the change in layout and organisation, everyone is seeing this as a beautiful disruption.

I am giving us until the end of October to complete the process with new signs to design and go up. we still have to work out how to use the new space and where some things will go.

I have included some before and after photos to show you



The value of professional registration and revalidation

In early June I completed my revalidation journal and sent it in along with my covering letter and a letter from my Head of School validating that what I had recorded was true and accurate. I must admit that when I first heard that LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) were offering professional registration to school librarians through SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) I really didn’t think it would be something I would need or want. When I was appointed to Istanbul International Community School and started the work permit process I realised the one thing that made me recognisable as a teacher AND a librarian to an outside agency (such as the Labour Department in another country) was my teacher registration and my librarian registration.

Visibility and credibility aside one of the challenges and rewards of registration is the revalidation process. Other professions, most notably the medical professions, already insist that their registered members work towards revalidation through continuing professional development. The UK implemented revalidation of registration for medical doctors in 2012, the main aim of which is to improve the quality of medical care and address concerns about the accountability of Doctors (Walshe et al., 2017). While it was quite stressful for many in the profession at first, most agree it has given doctors the opportunity to reflect on their professional progress  (“What Is the Impact,” 2014). The importance of professional development and currency in the medical profession is unquestionable, it has a huge impact on patient safety and well being.

So why would librarians need to consider their professional practice to the rigour of undergoing revalidation every three years? Librarians are involved in a sector that is undergoing rapid change. Libraries are no longer the sole repositories of information texts or providers of reading material. With the availability of information and entertainment online libraries have diversified and found ways to serve the community through advocacy for equality of access for all, provision of curation tools and spaces which bring people together. When I write libraries, of course, I mean librarians. School librarians have the added responsibility to provide information literacy and the development of reading skills. While the need for Doctors who are up to date on medical developments could be a case of life or death – the need for librarians to be updated professionally and developing their skills and knowledge along standards could be a matter of an ignorant or an educated public.

The LIANZA revalidation process has become an excellent way for me to continue to develop my understanding of the bodies of knowledge as an information professional and to consider whether I have balance in my professional practice – knowing, doing, sharing and leading.



Compton, S. (2017, February 24). Revalidation – why bother? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Talking Books website: https://slgtalkingbooks.com/2017/02/24/revalidation-why-bother/

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2012, October 21). Making a difference. Retrieved May 26, 2018, from IFLA website: https://www.ifla.org/node/5752

Walshe, K., Boyd, A., Bryce, M., Luscombe, K., Tazzyman, A., Tredinnick-Rowe, J., & Archer, J. (2017). Implementing medical revalidation in the United Kingdom: Findings about organisational changes and impacts from a survey of Responsible Officers. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 110(1), 23-30. https://doi.org/10.1177/0141076816683556

What is the impact of revalidation on clinicians? (2014, March 14). Retrieved May 24, 2018, from The King’s Fund website: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/audio-video/what-impact-revalidation-clinicians

Mothers and families grow readers for life

My colleague reading with her 5-year-old son at home

Reading mothers – a workshop my colleague Dina attended last week had us chatting this morning before work.  This workshop was presented by some Russian colleagues, Tatiana Zhukova and Larissa Valulina, who quoted some Russian research showing that when the mothers read for pleasure themselves in the home, their children are more likely to read for pleasure as well.  These librarians modelled a programme they had seen in Shanghai where mothers came into the library to read to small groups. The outcome of this was an increase in borrowing throughout the primary school.

Researcher Margaret Marga encourages parents to read to their children even beyond the age when they can read for themselves. “We should continue reading with our children until they no longer wish to share reading with us, ensuring that these experiences are enjoyable, as they can influence children’s future attitudes toward reading, as well as building their confidence and competence as readers. It is worth the effort to find time to share this experience with our children in the early years and beyond,” (2017). She lists the benefits of reading with your children as:
* facilitating enriched language exposure
* fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary
* establishing essential foundational literacy skills
* foster positive attitudes toward reading.

My older son reading to my younger son

I attended a workshop at the same time run by a colleague from Croatia, Anamarija Dujmovic,  and one of their strategies was to create backpacks with about 10 books in for the whole family. The students could check out the bag and all its contents for four weeks. Inside there were books for the parents, adult fiction and parenting books, books for younger children and picture books. research has been conducted on the reading environment in the home and the impact it has on student’s reading behaviours. “The data seemed to demonstrate that positive reading environment highly persuaded students to cultivate good reading habits in themselves. For instance, parents who are avid readers themselves will normally nurture positive attitudes to reading as much as possible in their children,”  (Morni & Sahari, 2013, p. 422). Developing a home library with a range of materials was one of the recommendations from this study,  (Morni & Sahari, 2013, p. 423). This can be very challenging when you are not in your home country. Our school library has the opportunity to proactively encourage families to develop their own environment of home reading.

Dina and I have really enjoyed our “Friends of the library” programme and would like to expand it next year so that we give more to the mothers involved. We think these ideas might be useful. Plus we could try to run a book club. So far to date, our friends of the library friendship has been the Mum’s volunteering to help us out. This might be a great way to help them.



Merga, M. K. (2017, August 27). Research shows the importance of parents reading with children – even after children can read. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from The Conversation – website: http://theconversation.com/research-shows-the-importance-of-parents-reading-with-children-even-after-children-can-read-82756

Morni, A., & Sahari, S. (2013). The impact of living environment on reading attitudes [PDF]. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 101, 415-425. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813021101

International School libraries – information, innovation and impact


The theme of this year’s IASL conference was information, innovation and impact. We certainly have had the opportunity to consider these things through keynote addresses, workshops and presentations.

I have heard from librarians from Thailand, Zimbabwe, Qatar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, USA, Australia, Croatia and Brazil. They spoke about their research, their libraries and their students. They presented about rural libraries in great deprivation and addressed innovative ways to try to overcome their problems. They presented about services, events, and programmes to impact their students’ interests and abilities to read and research.

The one thing we all shared was that the school libraries we work in and for are set against a backdrop of continuous change. We are all striving to make an impact and the final keynote address by former IASL president, Diljit Singh, encouraged us to use our efforts wisely. To address the things that our Heads of school were concerned about – reading, achievement, effective use of technology, academic research, whatever it may be that is what we should focus on.

In 2014,Kathy Caprino wrote an article for Forbes magazine about the 9 core behaviours of people who positively impact the world. They are:

1. They dedicate themselves to what gives their life meaning and purpose.

2. They commit to continually bettering themselves.

3. They engage with people in open, mutually-beneficial ways.

4. They invest time and energy not in what is, but what can be.

5. They embrace critique.

6. They spread what they know.

7. They uplift others as they ascend.

8. They view the journey as the goal.

9. They use their power and influence well.

Throughout this conference, I have met school librarians who are making a positive impact on their students and teachers. It has been a wonderful week of learning and I certainly come away feeling inspired and ready to continue in our school library to innovate and make an impact.

Here is a great story about one man who has made a positive impact. It is called “The unlikely librarian”

Students seeing themselves on our shelves

Librarians are advocates for literacy and school librarians have the privilege of contributing to the development of a reading culture within their schools. Literature is part of a young person’s personal development and books can offer children windows, mirrors and glass sliding doors to their world (Sims Bishop, 1990). The window allows the child to see into another world, the mirror provides the child with a reflection of themselves and the sliding glass door invites them to experience the world portrayed in the book by entering into the story. If the child is reading books where the characters are nothing like themselves or their family or friends that leads to a distortion – also if the child is only reading books that mirror themselves there is a different kind of distortion. Rudine Sims Bishop explains it very clearly in the short video clip below.

Author Grace Lin further describes her own experience of windows and mirrors in her TED talk of the same name – see below for the video.

I attended a number of workshops at this IASL conference that related to this concept of students seeing themselves and seeing the worlds of others. The first was about the development of indigenous student’s literature and was presented by Kasey Garrison, Pat Carmichael and Katy Manck. There is a real need for students to read about their own ‘lived experiences’ and from authentic voices that shared some of the same kinds of lived experiences.

Nancy Larrick’s study published in 1965 found that “of the 5,206 children’s trade books launched by the sixty-three publishers in the three-year period [1962,1963,1964], only 349 include one or more Negroes–an average of 6.7 percent”  (Larrick, 1965, p. 64). Almost 50 years later a study by the Almost 50 years later, in 2013, a similar study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin which looked at 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people (that is less than 3%).  Only 68 were written by African-Americans 2% of the books published (Troy, 2014). No progress had been made. Where are the mirrors for the African-American children?

The IASL has special interest groups (SIGs) – and a group that has sprung up within the Children and YA literature  Sig is this group to explore and support one another in collection development of indigenous student’s literature. For our library at IICS that would mean further developing the Mother Tongue collection and ensuring that our English language collections have books written by indigenous writers from the countries and communities, our students are part of.  I have become a member of this SIG.

Some Twitter hashtags to follow on this  topic of finding authentic voices include #ownvoices #wndb (we need diverse books) and #notyourprincess

I also attended a workshop by Mary Ann Harlan – “Girls intext: Information of Girlhood in YA literature.”  Mary Ann spoke about the way young adult literature was written by adults and promoted by adults but questioned whether or not it was providing a realistic window or mirror for our teenage girls. She identified three main girlhood narratives appearing in YA literature: Sad girls, girls in crisis; Mean and bad girls; Can do and or smart girls, the nice girls. She explored post-2014 used best sellers, book award winners and lists of feminist YA novels. She asked the question of the books Who is the girl? What is the representation of girlhood presented? She gave many examples and while she was talking about each book in detail I was imagining this topic being explored by some of the senior girls writing their extended essays. 

Karen Van Drie presented a workshop about global literature in libraries a group of librarians, translators, publishers, and literature advocates whose goal is to raise the visibility of international literature in libraries. Essential to the IB librarian who is working to develop international mindedness in their collection.

As readers, we need windows, mirrors and sliding doors. As librarians, we need to ensure our collections provides all three for our students.


Cooperative Children’s Book Center School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. (n.d.). Publishing Statistics on Children’s Books about People of Color and First/Native Nations and by People of Color and First/Native Nations Authors and Illustrators. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp

Larrick, N. (1965, September 11). The all-white world of children’s books. The Saturday Review, 63-65. Retrieved from http://www.unz.com/print/SaturdayRev-1965sep11-00063

Reading Rockets. (2015, January 30). Mirrors, windows and sliding doors [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AAu58SNSyc&feature=youtu.be

Sims Bishop, R. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors [PDF]. Perspectives: Choosing and using books for the classroom, 6(3). Retrieved from https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf

TEDx Talks. (2016, March 18). The windows and mirrors of your child’s bookshelf [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wQ8wiV3FVo&t=21s

Troy. (2014, December 9). The All-White World of Children’s Books [Online forum post]. Retrieved from Black Literature website: https://aalbc.com/tc/topic/2887-the-all-white-world-of-childrens-books/


Keeping librarians weird

This morning’s keynote speaker was the inspirational Joyce Valenza. She began with challenging us to stop saying, “think outside the box” – why have a box at all? She wants to keep school libraries and librarians weird by encouraging us to have continuous transformation as part of our practice. The title of her presentation was ‘The whys and the what if’s: library innovator’s mindset.’

Valenza asserts that in school libraries transformation is a mandate and it is empowering ~ librarians are responsible for creatively move communities forward. Our spaces and programmes must be growing organisms. Choose to look up and look at the sky not the floor of our practice. There is no one right way to do school library so you can do it your way.

Using the Simon Sinek model of starting with the why of what we do Joyce asked us to think about our own WHY. Knowing your why it will make all the difference to your practice. What is your vision? My why is – I want the people in my school community to be the best learners they can be

What is the worst consequence of your best idea? Then take the risk. Taking responsible risks is all part of an innovator’s mindset. F

FAIL = First Attempt At Learning. The most important word in growth mindset and learning is “yet.” Nurture the growth mindset in yourself in others.

Some useful social networking groups to follow include: Twitter hashtag #inTLchat and #inTLlead

Some books to add to my summer reading list: The innovator’s mindset by George Couros; Social Leadia by Jennifer Casa-Todd; Connected Librarians by Nikki D. Robertson; Reimagining Library Spaces by Diana Rendina and School Librarianship, past, present and future edited by Susan Alman


An action point in planning for the next academic year is to think of three personas you want to develop in your role at school and focus on those. Stop doing anything that does not directly and positively impact learning.

Thanks, Joyce for the inspiration to keep school libraries weird.