Friday, September 26, 2014

The voices of information literacy. ECIS librarian conference

This is my second experience of an ECIS librarian conference and it is just as transformational as the first. Every session has been relevant to my work. I have been inspired by my conversations with my colleagues. I bought a great book. I presented a workshop. It has been exhausting and stimulating.

I have been taking notes in every session on Evernote and then tweeting the link to the notes on the conference hashtag #ecislib2014 

While so much of the conference has had practical applications I have enjoyed the thought provoking sessions. This afternoon Veronica Cunningham of St John's school here in Waterloo gave her session - 7 voices of information literacy. She us completing her PHD thesis exploring how an international school community defines and understands information literacy? The 7 voices were students, teachers, parents, librarians, IT, leadership and administrative staff. 

Veronica's research invited these groups to meet and discuss their views of information context and information literacy. The first conversation was in homogeneous groups. All discussions were recorded. The second conversation was in mixed groups. This was the first time these people had been gathered together to talk together. It was in the listening that new appreciations and understandings were formed. These groups did not get together usually and it was the first time they had been able to hear each other's views, fears, frustrations and ideas.

The transcripts revealed similarities among the 7  voices. The emphasis on technology was a strong similarity. Other factors shared across many groups was a feeling of being overwhelmed by the number of technical tools, platforms and the flood of information. 

I find this research inspirational. I wonder how I can achieve this in our school with our New Literacy curriculum review and feedback? I am waiting with anticipation for this research to be published.

One keynote address, five workshops, exhibitor booths and buying a book - it has been a great day. 


Provocative and practical - ECIS librarians pre conference workshop

First day of the ECIS triennial Librarians' conference at St John's School Waterloo, Belgium. I attended the day long workshop presented by Kevin Hennah, a retail consultant to school and public libraries.

We spent the whole day sitting and listening to him present. There was some discussion but he showed us more than 600 slides and spoke for more than 5 hours. If I get nothing else from this conference (and I know I will) it would have been worthwhile coming for this day alone.

He was provocative. Many times I felt myself squirming in reaction to one of his statements because I realised that my library was not as effective as it could be.

"Librarians are forward thinking. They are early adopters of new things. They do, however, hang on to the old as well."

So I need to adopt the new and discard the old. This applies to books as much as it does to technology. Kevin went on later to say that we should buy a book and get rid of an old book, one in and one out. 

Some of Kevin's ideas about shelving and painting and furnishings will cost money. Something that costs next to nothing is to weed the entire collection ruthlessly and make space for face out displays. Face out displays allow the customers to see the books. Print will sell itself with great covers if the students and staff can see them.  Watch this space for some before and after photos.

Kevin challenged us to think of three big messages we would give our principals when we return home. I am fortunate to have a principal who would have been agreeing with everything Kevin had to say - the three things I know that will make her eyes light up....

1. I want an amazing sign outside our library doors that say "Library" - clean letters, great colour.

2. I want to develop a library brand and learn how to use it effectively across both campuses.

3. I will be asking for some library furniture this budget round - ottomans (very appropriate for Istanbul)  easy chairs and slat boards and perspex for face out displays.

I am very fortunate because I work for a Head of School who has great passion for and understanding of interior design. I understand about the merchandise and together we can work on the visual merchandising of our books. 

I can't wait to get back to school to try out these ideas....

I am tweeting from conference #ECISlib2014 see you tomorrow with the next conference blog post.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Need books

We have recently had a chess master visit our school. Chess is now being played throughout the school and often in the library. Thus week while some high school boys were seriously playing at one table this was the picture at another table... My thanks to the teacher who let me take the photo. I love that she was looking to a book for answers...

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Last week I posted this photo on Facebook. We have many thistles around our school at the moment and I love their dramatic purple/pink colours. One of my friends commented that these are actually deadly to cows. I am pretty sure she was not suggesting I was a cow, she was simply sharing the information. At the moment I am learning about collection management including how to select books and resources for our collection and of course deselect them - also known as weeding. I realized how conservative I have been in weeding the collection. I think I have been fearful since we are such a distance from sources of books and customs makes it tricky to import them. However, old, musty, dated books are as toxic to our library as purple thistles are to cows. 

As I was reading about weeding (now that is fun to say) I found Doug Johnson's article about it and his comment, "Poorly weeded collections are not the sign of poor budgets but of poor librarianship. Period." 
Ouch. That was like coming up against a thistle. But, like so many things, Johnson is right. I have to overcome my fears and get into the collection and get rid of all the weeds. If I don't my students will not find the great new books we have.

There are many great guides to how to weed. CREW is a guide from Texas and is downloadable. Then there is the guide from National Library of New Zealand services to schools. Most advice to write a clear collection management policy and set the selection and deselection criteria very clearly. The trouble with weeding is that some people in our schools do not want to part with books. Somehow it can be a very controversial thing to remove books from the library collection. The blog "Awful library books" actually shows the terrible books that librarians are removing form their collections. It also gives some great reasons why we need to weed. In the section "Why weed?" they make the valid point that libraries have limited space. The SCIS electronic newsletter 'connections' article about weeding makes the valid point that students actually need materials available ina way that they can easily be found, not crammed together, old and new together.

So yesterday, in the effort to make space at our smallest campus I spent the day weeding the picture books. As I did many children came up to ask what I was doing (as I sat amid piles of old dusty and worn out books). Anna in our Prep class (age 5 years old) sat down beside me and asked if she could help. I told her my criteria for deselecting the books and I handed her an old musty book and asked her what should I do with this? She looked through the book carefully while telling me' "I haven't seen anyone look at this book". After looking at the date due slip, noting the browned pages and ripped spine she said no we shouldn't re-shelf this book, put it on the pile. Together we worked through about 20 books. Some of the nice looking books we stopped and considered the copyright date (information she grasped quickly and consulted on a few other books). Unfortunately for me Anna had to go to another class and I was left on my own to ransack the picture books. 

That day 580 books were removed from our collection. Don't despair I reordered the tattered favourites and classics. The shelves now show the beautiful new books we have. Children came in and loved browsing the shelves. I have grown stronger in my professionalism as a librarian and yes, though I like the purple thistles they really can be toxic to students use of the collection. I will return and finish the job on the whole collection.

The cramped shelves.

Weeded shelves

The list confirming 580 books were removed. and the box full of old books

Beilharz, R. (2006). Secret library business – part 2. Connections, 63. Retrieved from
Johnson, D. (2003, September). Weed. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from Doug Johnson website:
Kelly, M., & Hibner, H. (2013). Why we weed. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from Awful Library Books website:
Larsen, J. (Ed.). (2008). CREW resources and links. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from Texas State Library and Archives Commission website:
Services to schools weeding guide. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2014, from National Library of New Zealand website:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sharing the love - or passing it on

Caroline Lewicky and Amanda Bond
 I enjoy conferences. I have attended many conferences over the past few years. Here are some photos from the most recent one - last Friday May 2nd the LTEN  conference was hosted at our school, by us - the New Literacies team.

As part of our conference Caroline Lewicky and I presented a hands on workshop using photopeach and showing how we used it with grade 3 this year at our school. Have a look at some of the excellent trailers produced in just 15 minutes.

Storyboarding for the digital stories
 This digital story telling workshop has its origins at another conference I attended here in Istanbul in 2001. It was the ECIS triennial librarians conference. There I attended a workshop on digital book trailers. So many ideas whirled around in my head but the best advice I got was to try out the websites with small groups before introducing them to a class. I went back to school and did just that. I created an after school activity and worked with five grade 3 and 4 students. We fell into big holes and small and together climbed out and worked out how best to make the trailers.

The following year (2012) I worked with a colleague and her class in grade 4 and then the next year Ayse and I presented our work at the CEESA conference in Prague. The slides are embedded below.

This year Caroline and I were asked to work with the entire grade 3 - 3 classes over two campuses on a digital storytelling assessment. I learned so much working with an expert IT integrator. We refined the whole process once more and linked it all with our school's New Literacies curriculum. 

So from one conference as a workshop participant, to many hours working with students and colleagues at school developing great skills and literacy competencies, through to presenting at two conferences with expert colleagues - a conference workshop attended is worth the time and money invested. Thanks so much for sharing the love - look how far it can go.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Selecting Turkish language books - Pandora's box?

Selcuk Demirel - artist
This afternoon my colleague Lindsay and I went shopping for nonfiction Turkish language books to add to our library collection. We went to Pandora book shop and met with Merthan who has been helping me get a list together of what we potentially need. Merthan visited our Marmara Campus a few months ago to look at our collection with me. 

We spent a wonderful afternoon selecting books - some in English and Turkish, a wonderful book on birds of Turkey. Most of the books were in Turkish language but more importantly written by notable Turkish writers and scholars. Many of our students do personal research on Ataturk and we have no resources in Turkish language by Turkish authors about this important nation maker. The books we purchased for the sciences are all were written by eminent Turkish scholars. We are slowly building up our Mother Tongue (why do I hate that phrase so much?) collection and to do so with a colleague in an actual bookshop was a delight. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Destiny at IICS - my first ever i-movie

Our New Literacies Team (IICS speak for the ITC integration team) was issued a challenge last November - make a movie to show the new literacies in action in our school. I wanted to show how we use the library management system from Follett - Destiny. From grade 2 our students are given logins to this system so they can use many of its features which empower their learning and literacy development. I think Destiny is an amazing learning platform and we are encouraging our students and staff to use it to the full.

Here is the movie - I hope it gets my message across.