Kick-ass librarian (how to get one)


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Presentation for the English Teachers Conference, 2012

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  • Introduction of me
  • So I asked some of the English teachers at my school What can a kick arse librarian do for you?I have their answers here. But what do you think? I’ll ask you later to contribute, but here is what I think!
  • This is my take on it. Lets work through these and see what we come up with.
  • Look – that’s me over there – on the edge – away from the other kids. I used to be dark haired before I became blond!
  • Back in the day - school librarians were all gussied up and in a stamping, shelving, ordering and cataloguing frenzy.  Yes, it is a stereotype, but there is often some truth in stereotypes.  Days were filled with accession lists, designer bookmarks, and getting the covering just right on the books, but most of all standing guard on the resources of the library and making sure there was a suitable hushed silence and reverence for what was contained within the library walls.  Well some of those things are still necessary, but librarians in schools today are much more than perfectly ordered libraries with perfectly covered books - hell some libraries don’t even cover their books anymore.  They don’t cover the books because they have moved on to a different role.  Yes, the title librarian still stands for many - I proudly embrace that title, but the title of librarian now embraces a world of technology, advocacy, connection with students and staff and embracing a library which hums with activity of various kinds, not just a silent space with books around the walls.
  • More than anything else technology has changed the way school librarians work. We are now using software which has changed how we do the most basic library tasks, particularly cataloguing books and resources for our students and staff. We can upload catalogue records in a flash using our library software. We have access to electronic ways of buying books, we can use the blogs and electronic feeds of our peers to select books for our readers knowing that we will have success in finding an audience for what we buy. We are looking increasingly into ebooks and ereaders, bring your own devices and indeed using these devices ourselves – just like you do. We have access to databases of display ideas to draw our readers in, help online for many of the issues which we have dealt with in isolation for many years. We have various communities which give us ideas and help, practical examples and which make the life of the library more exciting and more interesting for our users both students and staff.
  • Great example of using technology to connect with students. Freyberg High’s library blog. I could have shown you Cover to Cover from Kerikeri High School, The King’s High School library blog with is, frankly, amazing! I could have shown you Paua Eskett’s blog from Rickarton High. And several more. Is your library on your moodle or intranet? These ways of connecting with our users are what we need to get onto. It isn’t difficult. It is even fun! And it means that the library is extending it’s services well beyond the doors of the building and into the homes of the students.
  • A librarian with commitment is committed to the school, to the students and to raising the achievement levels of those students using the resources the school library is perfectly placed to provide.  This commitment means that despite the fact that most school librarians are not paid a salary, are not paid during the school holidays, or at the weekends they are actually spending that time upskilling quietly by the light of a smoldering heat pump in the winter, just like the teachers they work with are doing.   They are checking out the SLANZA Facebook page, (actually they know what facebook is for a start ,and they are connecting with it because it is what our students use and therfore they need to know).  They are browsing around on the interwebs for resources they can use in their libraries, adjusting them to their needs, be they kickarse bookmarks which promote the library online resources, or learning their way around the Epic Databases Checking out Web2.0 tools which they will then share with you.  
  • Passion is what you need to make a difference.  Passion is the key to sharing the love of the library.  You don’t want to have a dispassionate librarian, someone who is filling the job, someone who would rather do something else with their day than connect students with books, connect with staff in a valuable way, to entice students who are reluctant library users to see the value in spending their time there, and once they are there to entice them further to find that perfect book which begins a connection with text and a tentative exploration of books leading to a relationship with books.  A passionate librarian is what you need if you want your library to be used.   It is the fire in the belly of your librarian which can really make the library work.  While it isn’t expected that the kick arse librarian lives and breathes the library 24/7 it can be that way.  
  • The crux of any librarians job is to make a difference to the teaching and learning in the school.  To provide support for it, to provide resources which support the curriculum and to provide a place which welcomes learners and embraces their new ways of learning.  
  • Folks gotta keep up, the world is changing. Librarians gotta change too
  • To make a difference to the teachig and learning your librarian needs access to PD.  To provide support for learning, to provide resources which support the curriculum and to provide a place which welcomes learners and embraces their new ways of learning your librarian needs to be learning too.  Your librarian needs access to PD. In New Zealand there are three ways of getting Professional Development for librarians. The National Library provides nationwide support in the form of PD days and network meetings. There is also the School Library Association SLANZA which runs PD sessions in lots of formats conducted by it’s members, but also with guest speakers from overseas and conferences. SLANZA conferences give librarians the chance to see kick-arsedness in action. They could be called ‘ideas generators’ so many great skills shared. These are just like your conferences and are the source of major learning for school librarians in New Zealand. The next one is in Wellington in July next year. In my time in school libraries I would have to say that attending SLANZA conferences has given me the ah ha moments which have contributed to any kickarsedness that I might have. The knock on effects for our students from my conference attendances have been huge.A Kick arselibrariant loves to learn. They love to learn about new ideas and strategies for working with students and teachers. They want to be lifelong learners and model that for their students and teachers.
  • SLANZA (as I’ve mentioned) is awesome! It is the source of the reading lists which we know lots of English teachers use when searching for resources for the themes their students are studying when in Year 12 and 13. - By the way the SLAZNA wiki will soon be revamped and moved to sit alongside the SLANZA website.
  • Learning to use tools is part of the learning that school librarians have been up to. We can share with you where to find copyright free images which students can use in their work. Online tools for referencing. Online tools for recording reading. Tools for speechmaking. For language learning. And for staff from all school departments to use. Librarians all over are sharing their learning with their staff. Sending out links to websites you might need.
  • Learning to use tools is part of the learning that school librarians have been up to. We can share with you where to find copyright free images which students can use in their work. Online tools for referencing. Online tools for recording reading. Tools for speechmaking. For language learning. And for staff from all school departments to use. Librarians all over are sharing their learning with their staff. Sending out links to websites you might need. Epic databases = amazing for research at all levels of the curriculum. Year 13 English Shakespeare research – get onto the Literature Databases. Researching the life of a famous person – get onto the History Resource centre.Etc Etc. Debating? Opposing Viewpoints. 
  • Leaving all the technical stuff behind, I became a librarian because I wanted to share my love of reading.
  • You can learn Enthusiasm. You can learn it from your successes. For me BookTalks make me happy. I can maintain the enthusiasm for booktalking for about 4 periods in a row until I flagg a little. Booktalks are great for me, they give me a connection with the students and their reading, booktalks are great for the students, they give them a way to argue about a book with me. I adore reading and I think that everyone should, I’m a reading evangalist, all school librarians are reading evangalists, Enthusiasm is what you use to spread the word.
  • Are you reading from your school library? Do you ask the librarian to buy books you want to read? Do you take suggestions from the librarian? Do you read Young Adult? Why not. - Seriously get hold of Age of Miracles, or Looking for Alaska and read what young people like to read. If you don’t ‘get’ teenagers there is no better way of ‘getting’ them than reading what they read. This photo was not a set up.
  • Expect these things from your kick arse librarian
  • And this
  • Or this. The too busy thing! Nobody is too busy to learn new skills if their job depends on it.
  • Resource locator
  • There are lots of school librarians out there who do fabulous things. It is just that nobody knows that they are doing them. If we don’t share with our staff what we are doing then we may as well be invisible.
  • Yes we know you are the teachers of the curriculum stuff, but we can teach the skills which sit alongside your teaching
  • If you heard Susan Sandretto at this conference or are familiar with her work you will know that critical literacy skills are vital for the young people we work with. Librarians are here to help teach critical literacy to your students. We are all PDd up to help you. Web evaluation, how to judge websites by their covers, online safety for your students – and possibly yourselves, we can do this stuff.
  • Kick-arse librarians love to share. When we learn new clever tricks we really want to be sharing with you guys.
  • People you gotta have fun in your libraries. None of your dry dusty underused spaces any more. There are loads of things you can do to have fun in your libraries. Risk it for a biscuit, competitions of all kinds, get all the school depts involved. Have some music, have some art.Get your library users as kick-arse as your librarian.
  • Librarians often talk of themselves as Information Professionals. We are here to help you. The reason we are called support staff is so that we can support you. So, at this point I’d like you to have a think about the things that your librarian could be doing to help you.
  • Discussion
  • Kick-ass librarian (how to get one)

    1. 1. How to get a kickass librarian
    2. 2. WHAT IS THE MAIN ROLE OF ASCHOOL LIBRARIAN?To make your life easier Yes, it’s true, we are all about you (and your students too)
    3. 3. What makes a kickass librarian• Passion• Commitment• Visibility• Enthusiasm• Learning• Teaching• Innovation• Connection• A sense of fun!
    4. 4. WarningBig texty slide coming,put your reading specs on!
    5. 5. The librarian in your school is there to make your lifeeasier – as previously mentioned!The librarian will be your assistant, helping to provideyou and your students access to the best resources tocomplement your teaching, and their learning.It is not the job of the librarian to merely issue andreturn resources and catalogue the new ones, butthey can do that too!Sidle up – get cosy with your librarian, let them showyou all their new clever tricks.There – I’ve finished now. Cuppa tea anyone?
    6. 6. Times have changed
    7. 7. School libraries have changed
    8. 8. Great technology looks like this
    9. 9. Bundle of links for English teachers
    10. 10. Commitment
    11. 11. Passion
    12. 12. Learning
    13. 13. This librarian didn’t keep up
    14. 14. Learning
    15. 15. SLANZA – school library networking and learning.
    16. 16. Web Tools for students
    17. 17. Epic = awesome research sites
    18. 18. Reading
    19. 19. Enthusiasm
    20. 20. English Teachers stock up for the holidays with lots of books from the school library
    21. 21. Expect this from your kickass librarian• Your librarian is out in classes working with you and the students - not in the workroom all the time• Part of the teaching team• Offers a different but complimentary skill set to the teacher• Provides tools which staff can use.
    22. 22. And this• Your librarian is great with students• Has great relationships with staff• Is important to the culture of the school• Has lots to offer lots of people• Gets credit for being awesome• Gets regular access to PD• Networks regularly with other librarians
    23. 23. But not this
    24. 24. Or this
    25. 25. Resource Locator• A librarian is a resource locator. They help you find answers to questions and help find resources (all kinds) to support the curriculum and reading of all kinds.
    26. 26. A communicator• A kickass librarian is a communicator. They talk, email, and share with teachers, students, parents, and community members. They communicate about how the library program directly relates to the learning in the school.
    27. 27. Librarians as teachers• A school librarian is a teacher. They work with students in the library using ICT and literacy. The library is a classroom. They teach students how to be information literate and the critical skills modern society needs.
    28. 28. More teaching – to you guys• A kickass librarian is a PD provider. They can help you with blogging, wikis, Facebook, e- books,iPads, Google Reader, Thinklink, Livebinders,Pintrest, Evernote, book trailers, online databases. And a bunch more.
    29. 29. Innovation• A kickass librarian is an innovator. They are willing to try new things, to get involved, to say yes to new projects. They are looking for new ways to get even better.
    30. 30. Collaboration• But most of all, the school librarian does not work alone. For a school to have a successful library program it takes everyone (the librarian, teachers, SMT, and the student librarians) working together for the benefit of the students.
    31. 31. A sense of funScenes from an ordinary King’s High Library day!
    32. 32. So, how canwe help you?You setassignments foryour students -what do yousee as thelibrarian’s rolein helping you?
    33. 33. What do you think?Do you need more kickass in your library? Lets discuss
    34. 34. References• ation+ideas.pdf Carl A. Harvey• Website - The Adventures of Library Girl• Joyce Valenza for ideas• Judy O’Connell for more ideas• My local SLANZA group for inspiration• Suzette Boyd, Buffy Hamilton, Jennifer la Garde and other fabulous librarians who have helped form me.
    35. 35. Image attribution images my ownThe majority of images came from FlickrCC
    36. 36. Thanks for listeningFind me: Twitter - @bridgy_s Websites: Email: And Facebook of course.