Saturday, August 24, 2013

Library Orientation

East Coast Bays Library, Auckland, New Zealand
Every time my colleagues go on vacation I ask them to do something special for me - take their photo outside a library. AS a result of their generosity of time and spirit I have many great photos of my wonderful colleagues outside libraries across the globe. What do I do with these pics? I use them as a resource for library orientation.

In New Zealand we gave all new students in year 9 (start of secondary school) an activity that involved finding out where in the world their library was using clues on the back of the photo. We called the Amazing Library Race - once they had the correct location they had to locate resources about their country at specific places around the library thus getting to know the layout of their new library and some of the online resources (database and library web page) as well. The students loved this activity - our library team loved it too though it was exhausting (so much so we only ever scheduled three in one day)
Celsus library, Ephesus, Turkey

Now I am in Istanbul I am using the same idea but adapted for a teacher orientation. I love our library catalogue "Destiny" and I really want to introduce our new teachers to some of its features. I think it is a great tool for encouraging reading and information literacy skills. We took the new staff through this orientation last Wednesday with some great feedback about how useful it was and how much they enjoyed the experience. 

My challenge this year is to add a great library orientation for our new students. I want to use the photos and the activities. My New Literacies Team colleague Caroline suggested I use a buddy approach so that someone in the class who has used Destiny before team up with the new student and they work through a checklist activity to ensure the student has some hands on introduction to the system. I love this idea. I will start to craft such a thing to try out as soon as possible. I guess it should be in grade level for relevance and appropriateness. My mind is a whirl with ideas. 

In the meantime - why the photos of libraries around the world? Relevance and context - I want my colleagues and students to be aware that libraries are contributing positively to communities all around the world. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy New Year?
I am a Southern Hemisphere girl. I have just been on Summer holiday to the winter in New Zealand. Now I am back and about to start the school year I want to greet my colleagues with "Happy New Year". I get mixed and mystified reactions to this salutation. To me it is the most natural thing in the world to say "Happy New Year" at the start of a school year simply because in New Zealand the school year starts in January, after the summer holidays. 

What I like most about new years is the chance to set goals. Once we get back to school and gather as a library team we will try to do that together. What shall we continue to improve on? What new things shall we try? What things shall we abandon all together? The key to all these questions is our desire to become an Inquiry Library that enables our school community to be the best that they can be. OK I know that is a little clumsy as a vision statement but it is a good starting point. 

So "Happy New Year" to all my Northern Hemisphere Colleagues as start the 2013- 2014 academic year.