This is quite a belated post. I have had a year of being on the fringes so to speak of my library world so have not dedicated the time I should have to reflection. Instead I have enjoyed the experience of living in a rural community, spending time with grandchildren, gardening and reading as judge for the Aurealis Literary Awards. I also have experienced the angst of trying to find employment which will not require long commutes on a daily basis.
I returned to Singapore in February 2017 to attend the Librarians Knowledge Sharing Workshop which was held at UWCSEA East Campus and organised by the amazing team of Katie Day and Barbara Phillips. This brought together 80 librarians from the Australasia region to share best practice and what they are doing in their school libraries. It was a time to reconnect with familiar faces and meet new ones to extend my library learning network.
The first day was a pre-conference day with Dianne McKenzie focusing on inquiry and the school library, specifically, to explore how inquiry and information literacy skills can be implemented and integrated into a curriculum through the library program whether it is a stand alone program or in collaboration with other faculty. As Dianne commented for learning to occur, we need to be bothered and be connected. Learning needs to be relevant to us. It has to mean something. Further, it is the exploration of the big ideas that is the platform.Secondly, the point of the learner is valued. Thirdly, inquiry teaching starts by posing questions, problems and scenarios. As librarians we can use fiction and non fiction as the catalyst. Finally, we need to ask ourselves, what type of thinking do we want the students to engage in? What is the learning? What is being challenged? What is the relevance? What is/are the big idea/s? The day progressed with activities and conversations – being placed in the same situation that we place our students in each day.
The next day was the start of the workshop itself, bringing together all participants. The keynote was given by Bradley Tyrrell from Scotch College, Perth, Australia who reminded us of the big picture. As librarians we need to verbalise our place in the organisation’s strategic plan. A lot of questions were raised about data and protecting it. Other points were familiar to me, and part of my own practice including creating annual reports; value adding each day to teachers and IT department and using statistics. One of the highlights I enjoy from any communications and sessions with Bradley Tyrrell is his commitment to open access and willingness to share knowledge products. As he states, one of the purposes of the Scotch College library website:
is to “support other libraries as they continue to innovate in their spaces, allowing the traditional structure of a library to be reshaped and inclusive of new paradigms and services.”
For librarians, whether new to the field or experienced, our own library spaces and practices are improved through such open networked support and communities of practice.
The day continued to be jam packed as other sessions considered such practices as using controversial picture books, speed dating with picture books with Professor Myra Garces-Bascal (look at her blog Gathering Books), integrating reading for pleasure, using GoodReads for a Middle School book club; and creating a reading programs for boys (Nadine Bailey’s “Blokes with Books”). I also presented a session on my experience of introducing digital games into the school library programme which was part of my coursework for my Master of Education (Knowledge Network & Digital Innovation).