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Professional Learning: April 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities April 2024

Happy April. I hope this post coincides with a term break for you. It’s been a busy first three months of the year. But downtime hopefully also means a bit of time to let your mind wander and learn new things. If that’s the case, I have the perfect list of professional learning opportunities for you. From AI to supporting reading for pleasure, webinars to articles, I hope you find something to encourage you and what’s happening in your school library. 

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Getting It Wrong

Getting It Wrong: A Lesson in Reflective Practice

I don’t think I talk enough about the times I get things wrong in the library. I’m all about celebrating successes, but let’s be real here: I mess up, I make the wrong decisions, and I say the wrong things. Owning and sharing our mistakes can be helpful for reflection and making sure we don’t repeat these, so here goes.

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Book Week 2024: Bookmarks, Badges, T-Shirts and Tote bags

Book Week 2024: Bookmarks, Badges, T-Shirts and Tote bags

The CBCA Children’s Book Week is one of the biggest events in the Australian school library calendar. A perfect opportunity to celebrate Australian children’s literature and the work of school library staff and everything they do to support reading.

The theme for 2024 is Reading is Magic. It’s a great theme with lots of scope for amazing display, poster and promotional product ideas.

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Book Review: Wild Dreamers

 

Wild Dreamers

– Margarita Engle –

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Published 23 April 2024

♥♥♥♥

Wild Dreamers is a story of two teens, both facing significant challenges in their lives and their chance meeting and magical connection. It’s a story of singing therapy dogs, treacherous water, broken hearts, fleeing for safety and trying to save a species of animals gravely impacted by humans.

Wild Dreamers is a sad story, yet with sparks of hope. The writing is lyrical and magical, befitting this charming novel in verse.

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Cultivating Innovation

Cultivating Innovation in the School Library

School libraries need to be places of innovation. They and their staff must innovate to remain current in a rapidly evolving world. They need to embrace new innovations and trends. They need to support staff to look for innovative ways to educate. And they need to provide a space for students to learn to be innovative thinkers, solve problems, approach life creatively and constantly strive to add value to the world. I wrote last time about what innovation is, what it looks like in an education and school library setting, and why it’s important. In this post, I’ll share some of the elements to foster in your school library to cultivate innovation.

Take risks

Innovation requires taking risks. Stepping beyond the expected or doing something without knowing what the end results will be. Sometimes, in a school library, taking a risk is the last thing you want to do. Risk is best undertaken from a safe and secure environment, not a place many school library staff find themselves. If you are not comfortable taking a big risk or unsure of leadership support, find opportunities for new initiatives through the relationships and connections you have within the school (Bentley, et al., 2016). Innovation can happen within these areas and with people you know who will take on that risk alongside you.

Leadership and leading change

If you are going to innovate, you need to be able to bring your team or the teams of people you work alongside, on the journey with you. Leading change, particularly behaviour change, can be extremely difficult. Increase your leadership skills, learn more about managing change, and involve all members of your team and community in the ideas and push for innovation so they have buy in. Remember, innovation does not always require leading from the front, you can bring great innovation no matter what role you have.

Professional Development

Continuing to develop our professional practice is key to leadership and innovation. Being exposed to new ideas will make you more likely to give new things a try in your own space. It’s also important to monitor trends in the school library sphere, best done by connecting with and sharing ideas with others in the profession. Up-skilling and learning may help give you the confidence to implement new ideas. Schedule a reminder or subscribe to a few sources who provide professional development to establish ongoing engagement or draw upon your professional learning network for inspiration.

Record, collect data and maintain evidence

It’s important to collect data through every step you take. Measure your library at a starting point and then again at intervals while you continue to try new ideas and approach your practice creatively. Having this data will let you see if the ideas you are  implementing are having a positive impact on your library and its users. Data can come in many forms, from loan statistics, patron or class visits, survey results, anecdotal data, social media followers and more. Maintain a record of proposed ideas and successes that provide evidence for impact.

Look beyond the library

A great place to get ideas is to look beyond the library into other sectors for inspiration. You might look to public or academic libraries for program ideas, health sectors for information on how to best reach people and change behaviour, bookshops for promotion and display ideas, book influencers for tips on social media skills, or the business and marketing world for ideas on how to reach your students and market your services. Be open-minded when exploring what other industries are doing and what works for them.

Just try something

At the end of the day, the only way to innovate is to start and to try something. If you are not sure where to start, try these steps and questions.

 

Reflective Questions

Start with reflective questions and look at your current successes, weaknesses, and areas for opportunity.

What do we want to do?

Who will benefit?

Who can we involve?

How can we make it happen?

Where will the time and resources come from?

What impact will it have?

 

Create a space to write down your ideas and track these, the things you implement and what impact they have. Then share it, with your school community and the school library profession. Who knows what you might innovate.

Professional Learning: March 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities March 2024

So, you might have noticed that I am sharing this a few days later than I usually do. I’m going to blame February for only have 29 days in it this year – I could have used a few more. But the real reason is life is just very busy. Very, very busy, which I love, but see also me missing my deadlines. In all the busy, professional learning can be the thing we drop. I know it was something I dropped last year, when doing our library move, because I just didn’t have the time or energy. But professional learning is the very thing to help create time through better solutions and more energy by reinvigorating that passion for our work. So if you, like me, are struggling this week, I hope this list gives you some inspiration, some ideas and an energy boost.

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Fairy Tale Library Lesson

Fairy Tale Library Lesson – Personality Quiz and AI Image Generation

Thanks to everyone who responded to my post on Instagram about this and asked for more details.

I work with a range of different classes each week and every time I have a library lesson I seek to make it as interactive, engaging and possible. When sitting and deciding on how I might make a regular library lesson for a Year 9 English class who are studying fairy tales engaging, I started with the idea of a Fairy tale character personality quiz.

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Driving Innovation

Driving Innovation

Innovation, innovation, innovation. Have you seen the movie The Hundred Foot Journey? Great movie. In it, a young and upcoming chef moves to the city to work at a  top restaurant. On his first day he is told “This is the beast with a thousand mouths, that must be fed twice a day. And what does the beast like? Innovation. Innovation. Innovation.”

Schools can feel like a busy restaurant sometimes, it’s just that our hungry beast has to be fed at least six times a day. Innovation seems to be the buzz word of the past few years in education. How many Innovation Centres are popping up in schools? I should know, I run an Innovation Precinct. How many new positions have been created with titles like Head of Innovation and Learning? There are school innovation awards, even Innovation Academies.

Innovation and its trendiness certainly isn’t restricted to the education world. It’s a word we see used across sectors. But is innovation more than just the buzz word of the past few years? What exactly is innovation? And what does innovation look like in a school library?

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The Ins and Outs of Weeding

The Ins and Outs of Weeding

I am actually shocked it has taken me this long to write this post about weeding. Weeding is one of my absolute favourite collection management tasks.

Weeding is also known as deaccessioning, culling or deselection. It’s the process of carefully removing items from your school library collections using a specific criteria that meets your collection development policy.

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