Celebrating CSLD Across the Country
A number of years ago the Canadian Library Association declared October 23 as National School Library Day. This celebration has become a valued tradition in many districts and provinces. Canadian School Libraries would like to continue to shine a spotlight on school libraries across Canada on October 23 as a day to recognize that school libraries make a difference in teaching and learning every day. Be inspired and enjoy reading about all of the activities, events and experiences celebrating Canadian School Library Day (CSLD) from across Canada!
Treasure Mountain Canada: October 20 – 21, 2017, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Treasure Mountain Canada (TMC) is a research symposium and think tank that fosters academic and practitioner research into the school library learning commons and associated instructional practices. This year, CSLD comes immediately after this year’s TMC – the fifth biennial symposium, held in Winnipeg in partnership with the Manitoba School Library Association’s SAGE conference.
Building on the SAGE conference’s theme, Truth in Our Stories: Seeking a Path to Reconciliation, TMC5 participants gathered to examine and discuss close to twenty papers submitted by academics and practitioners exploring various aspects of the symposium theme, Culturally Relevant and Responsive School Library Learning Commons. The symposium concluded with The Big Think, where we explored the implications of what we had learned, and relevant future actions that will move professional learning and practice forward.
The symposium was a great success: the papers add to the growing body of made in Canada research from previous symposiums, and inspires future research and practice.
Congratulations to Anita Brooks Kirkland
CSL is proud to recognize Anita Brooks Kirkland as the first recipient of the CSL Angela Thacker Memorial award.
The Angela Thacker Memorial Award was established in memory of Angela Thacker, teacher-librarian, library coordinator, and school library colleague, mentor, leader and advocate who served the Association for Teacher-Librarianship in Canada (ATLC) and the Canada School Library Association (CSLA) in many capacities. This award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or school library learning commons.
The award was presented to Anita Brooks Kirkland and celebrated with Treasure Mountain Canada participants at dinner in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Liz Kerr and Carol Koechlin were honoured to present the award on behalf of CSL and The Association of Library Consultants of Ontario (TALCO), the nominating body.
Anita’s outstanding contributions, dynamic leadership and exceptional expertise in the field of school libraries, school library learning commons, and teacher-librarianship is well known across Canada, most significantly through her excellence in the formation, development and leadership of the Canadian School Libraries (CSL) organization and CSL website dedicated to excellence in library learning commons nationwide. Anita exemplifies teacher-librarianship and models its attributes of collaboration in schools, school districts, universities and professional organizations through thought, word and deed. Anita has made and continues to make a profound difference in the lives of learners.
CSL is pleased to share news stories from provincial and territorial associations from across the country.
Yukon Teacher-Librarian Association
Yukon teacher-librarians have made significant progress in embracing the learning commons model and moving towards transitioning their spaces to flexible, collaborative, and innovative learning spaces which serve the diverse needs of each school population and truly engage all learners.
For the past ten years at Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse, to celebrate National Library Month, a contest is announced at the start of the school year to choose a new school bookmark design. Students have one month to submit a design and “make their mark”. There is much anticipation in the school while we wait for the new bookmarks to be printed and distributed in time for School Library Day on October 23. This year, it was one of our talented, artistic grade 10 students whose artwork was chosen.
As facilitators of the Learning Commons, Yukon teacher-librarians collaborate with teachers and students to enrich and enhance learning initiatives and programs. This fall, as Yukon teachers deepen their understanding of the new BC Curriculum, which Yukon schools follow, we look forward to the many ways that we can collaborate with Yukon teachers to ensure and enhance student learning. At Golden Horn Elementary Learning Commons, teacher-librarian Grace Snider is guiding her students on a year-long inquiry project using the “Made in Yukon” book The Magical Thread as her anchor resource. This is the story of two 10 year olds who lose their way in the Yukon wilderness and experience exciting adventures as they find their way home.
Happy School Library Day from North of 60º!
The BCTLA is celebrating a victory this year. We won a fifteen-year court battle for BCTF, fixing contract language illegally stripped by our government in 2002. Our ratio of teacher-librarians to students was restored to 1:702 this year, which puts more teacher-librarians in school libraries. Some districts have an even better ratio. Thanks to the efforts of our past president, Heather Daly, visionary for BCTLA for ten years, we are looking forward to celebrating BC’s success on National School Library Day. We are recognizing Heather’s dedication to the profession by presenting her with the Teacher Librarian of the Year Award on behalf of the BCTLA.
The teacher-librarian association in BC is vibrant and has passionate leaders. Each year, BCTLA hosts a Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) challenge across BC to promote and advocate school libraries. Bonnie Chapman, from Surrey school district, initiated this province-wide event in 2007. This year, schools across BC are organizing their own special guest readers. These include the mayor, school board trustees, and other local community members and celebrities. When announced, the schools participating will drop everything and read a book. This has been extended out into the community, with other workplaces dropping everything to read for twenty minutes to show their support for school libraries.
With the recent court case success, new and previous teacher-librarians are reflecting on best practices. This is especially shown with a brand new curriculum being fully implemented this year. The BCTLA supports all of our colleagues and we are proud to release our newest document From School Library to Library Learning Commons: A Pro-Active Model for Educational Change (2017).
This document summarizes three years of work by two groups of Vancouver teacher-librarians — elementary and secondary — engaged in teacher inquiry. The inquiry groups have described, in both personal and professional terms, the continuum of change upon which a school library becomes a Library Learning Commons in BC. They have been joined by voices of teacher-librarians throughout BC who have successfully undertaken similar initiatives. We give a special thank you to Moira Ekdahl. She holds many titles, including past vice-president of BCTLA, and current Faculty of Education instructor at UBC. Moira will receive the well-deserved Val Hamiliton Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.
This Canadian School Library Day, BCTLA is proud to celebrate all of the efforts in BC school libraries, and we hope to continue our shared success. Six BC delegates attended the International Association of School Libraries conference in California this past summer. Our colleagues presented on our court case and we connected and shared with teacher-librarians across the world. This experience was transformative and inspired us to implement innovative new ideas to benefit our community as we look to the future of the BCTLA.
Jessica Bonin, British Columbia Teacher- Librarians’ Association (BCTLA) President
The Saskatchewan School Library Association, with the help of a grant from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, is actively compiling a list of resources to assist teachers and teacher-librarians across the province who are teaching the history of treaties and residential schools. This is one way that the SSLA is responding the TRC Calls to Action that we hope will benefit all school libraries in the province. At this time, we are still gathering the resources, but the SSLA plans to launch the resource list on our website in the spring of 2018.
Gaetan Hammond, SSLA President
We will definitely be celebrating on Oct 23, however in Manitoba we celebrate “Manitoba School Library Day” on the fourth Monday of October every year (this year it falls on October 23). This day is officially proclaimed by our provincial government and The Manitoba School Library Association (MSLA) is instrumental in ensuring this happens every year. This year’s theme is “Seeking Truth Through the School Library and Learning Commons.”
In conjunction with this officially proclaimed day, the MSLA holds a Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) challenge where teachers, students and schools can register online to participate. Everyone who registers does a D.E.A.R. event at their school on Oct 23 at 11 am. Last year, we had 80 schools participate, and over 18,000 students reading across the province! This year we hope to surpass our results from last year. Schools visit our website and use the form to register their school for the D.E.A.R. challenge. We also make a poster every year that advertises the event and send that to our membership. It is also available at the above link.
Christine Robinson, President, Manitoba School Library Association
Ontario school libraries are taking the stage at one of the biggest school library conferences on the continent. The American Association of School Libraries conference will be held November 9-11, 2017
in Phoenix, Arizona. There were over 1500 workshop applications and only a select few were chosen; fortunately, the Ontario School Library Association will be well represented by three Ontario teacher-librarians. Diana Maliszewski from the Toronto District School Board, Alanna King from the Upper Grand District School Board, and Melanie Mulcaster from the Peel District School Board will share some of their work with the estimated 5000 attendees. In addition to the presentations, our Ontario teacher-librarians attendees (as well as other school library professionals such as Liz Kerr) plan on attending Treasure Mountain with Dr. David Loertscher and Dr. Ross Todd leading the retreat. This is fortuitous, considering that many of these teacher-librarians also attended Treasure Mountain Canada in Winnipeg just before. Another exciting aspect of the AASL conference will be the release of the brand new AASL Standards for School Libraries. Connecting this document to Canada’s own Leading Learning document will be educational and illuminating.
School libraries in Quebec have been busy! Through forward thinking, engaging and collaborative programming, librarians in Quebec are delivering a range of services to their schools. Here is just some of what they are doing.
Both public and private school libraries across Montreal are busy organizing another edition of the annual “Battle of the Books” competition. Put together by librarians from across the city’s various English school boards and associations, the Battle of the Books engages high school students in a trivia contest that tests their knowledge of 12 pre-selected books. See more about the BoB here.
At the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), Librarian Nick Warren is adapting library services to meet his students’ unique needs. Responsible for eleven of the EMSB’s Outreach and Social Affairs Schools, “Nick, The Librarian” is on the front lines, fostering literacy and positive development in students who face a number of challenges.
Librarians in the Quebec English School Boards are also providing support and instruction with assistive reading technologies. To find out more about these amazing accessible reading initiatives in Quebec see: https://accessiblereading.com/.
In these exciting times, many of our school libraries are in transition, preparing to meet the needs of a 21st Century curriculum. For example, the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) has established a digital citizenship curriculum. Focus is placed on responsible use of digital technologies to enhance creativity and collaboration in student-led learning, as well as how to create a “positive digital footprint” online. Teachers, students, parents and librarians work together to support these important initiatives.
At The Sacred Heart School of Montréal from the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS), Librarian Joan Harrison used Google StreetView and Story Spheres to create a virtual tour for orientation. Using Google Cardboard, students explore a 360 degree image of the library and trigger audio tags which describe the Library services.
Finally, Quebec school librarians are continuing to make their way into classrooms, teaching students the skills required to navigate a world that is overwhelmed with information. At Royal West Academy (EMSB), Librarian Stephanie Germain collaborates with teachers from all departments, regularly giving presentations that incorporate digital information literacy into existing class assignments.
As School Library day approaches, Quebec librarians are excited to shine a spotlight on all our accomplishments, past, present and future, and to passionately advocate for our continued relevance.
Joan Harrison, ABQLA
The PEI Teacher-Librarians Association has expanded National School Library Day into School Library Week! October 23-27 is spent celebrating school libraries across the province. Some of the contests being held this week include “Guess Who’s Reading?” where students need to guess the staff member based on a photo of them reading their favourite book, and “Who’s Who?” where students guess the book series or character based only on their silhouette. Some schools are having literary-themed pumpkin-decorating contests or book-themed trivia contests over lunch hour, and many are inviting guest speakers in from the community to share their own writing or their favourite books. We are all working together to celebrate our libraries, both large and small!
An Update from Teacher Librarians of Newfoundland and Labrador
Teacher Librarians of Newfoundland and Labrador have been working together to grow the school library learning commons movement across the province while at the same time have been lobbying to improve access to teacher librarians for more students in our schools. This report highlights some of our recent activities.
Presentations and Submissions
In the fall of 2015, we made presentations and submitted multiple papers on behalf of teacher-librarians in the province to the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association Panel on the Status of Public Education in NL. We argued that allocations for teacher librarians needed to be increased in order to resolve the inequity of access to school libraries and teacher librarians that exists in this province, especially in our many very small schools. In 2016, the provincial government launched the Premier’s Taskforce on Improving Educational Outcomes. Our organization made several submissions again highlighting the need for increased access to teacher librarians and school library learning commons. Happily, the final report of the taskforce included a number of recommendations related to the importance of teacher librarians and school libraries in improving student achievement.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no job description detailing the roles and responsibilities of teacher librarians. Our organization has prepared a proposed Role Description and provided it to the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District in May 2016. Additionally, we have been lobbying our school district to invest in a new Library Management System for NL schools.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education is presently piloting a new library curriculum support document called Extending the Classroom: The Library Learning Commons. The document is long overdue and highly-anticipated. This year, 8 schools are participating in the pilot project, with two members of our executive acting as mentors for the project. This is creating a great deal of excitement about school library learning commons in the pilot schools and others.
TLNL has conducted conferences for the professional development of teacher librarians in each of the last three years. These conferences, called Teacher Librarians Connect (or TLC) have been held in three different locations across our vast province to date–in Gander, Corner Brook, and St. John’s–and will once again this year take place in central Newfoundland.
Boys Undercover Reading Program (BURP)
The Boys Undercover Reading Program, created by our president Heather Godden, has expanded widely over the years, with 20+ NL schools now participating actively in the program. TLNL has supported this expansion by granting two BURP book carts and funds to start up a BURP collection to two schools each year.
TLNL continues to advocate for school libraries and teacher librarians across Newfoundland and Labrador, and in particular recognizes the need for more equitable access to school libraries and teacher librarians for all students, especially the many NL children who attend remote, very small schools.
Leigh Borden, NLTL
Nova Scotia School Library Network
Great reading from the NSSLN Blog: Tips for the New Year in School Libraries
Library Association) AGM held in Long Beach, California in August 2017, Dianne was honored as an IASL Lifetime Ambassador for her work within IASL as well as work for school librarians across the world.
Honorary members are individuals who have made noteworthy and outstanding contributions in the field of school librarianship. Unanimous approval of the full IASL Board of Directors is required in order to become an honorary member of the Association. Shown in the photo with Dianne is Gerald R. Brown, also from Canada, and former chief librarian of the Winnipeg School Division. Gerald was named IASL Honorary Ambassador in 1998. He continues to be active is library and archival endeavours.
Read more in the next CSL Journal!
Find out about how IASL celebrates October as International School Library Month and how you can participate! “The 2017 theme for ISLM is “Connecting Communities and Cultures”. It is based on the annual IASL conference theme of “Learning Without Borders”.