Book Clubs #1 – Getting Started
I love, love my school library book clubs. So much love. I love having the opportunity to chat with our readers, to compare ideas, argue about what makes a good book, laugh, have fun, celebrate reading and just chill out. When you think about all the extra curricular activities that happen in a school, so many of them are focused around sport, music or art. Reading is so important and yet there are only a few extra-curricular activities that give readers a chance to connect. Reading can also be a very solitary hobby, so it is important to give our young readers a chance to get together in a safe space. Book clubs are the perfect solution.
When I think about what I love most about the school library I work in, my answer is without a doubt the students and especially the members in my book club. I use them as a place to connect with the students, as a chance to bounce ideas off my keen readers, get their insight into new books and the best books in the collection.
So, you want to start a book club. You’re convinced, you think it’s a great idea. But maybe you’ve tried to start a book club before and it didn’t work out. Or maybe you are just not sure where to start. In this 3 part series, I will share all my book clubing experience, the ideas that worked for me, and those that didn’t. I encourage you to give school library book clubs a go (or maybe another try).
Exciting Term 4, 2020 Updates
I know 2020 has been a massive, scary, horrible year for many. I have been blessed to ride through 2020 pretty smoothly, thanks to some wonderful employers and a great country in which to live.
Term 4, 2020 is set to be massive for those of us in Australia (and for many around the world, no doubt). I am so pleased to say that I have taken on a Teacher Librarian contract for Term 4, working in the most beautiful junior school library. This means I am working across 3 schools during Term 4, 4 days a week as teacher librarian and 1 as a library aide. It’s going to be a very busy, but very exciting term.
Here are just a few of the exciting things that are happening in Term 4 to get involved with.
CBCA Book Week
Webinars for School Library Staff – Part 7 in the Professional Learning series
Well, we have finally reached the final part of my Professional Learning Series. What started as one blog post to share my favourite places to find and connect with professional learning, turned into 7 long posts. I did mention I’m a bit addicted to professional learning, right? This time, I’m going to be talking about courses and conferences. This is where the money you saved from finding free resources from my last 6 posts is going to come in handy because courses and conferences can be expensive.
I love going to conferences. Maybe it’s the free stash you get at the booths, maybe it’s the chance to catch up with other library staff, or maybe it’s the intense learning and inspiring that gets squished into one or two days. Whatever the case, you’ll find me making any excuse to attend as many courses or conferences as I can. I’m going to share some of my favourite places to learn about new courses and conferences and luckily some of them are free! I’ve love to hear about your experiences or fav courses and conferences to attend, so please do share in the comments.
Podcasts and Videos for School Library Staff – Part 6 in the Professional Learning series
As we continue my Professional Learning Series, part 6 focuses on podcasts and video channels that are helpful for professional learning for school library staff. This is the area in which I am still growing and learning. I don’t watch videos or listen to podcasts very often, I’m new to the whole podcasting thing. If I’ve got time to spare I turn straight to an audiobook and even less often, just listen to music. But I’ve been directed enough to a school library podcast and surprise, surprise, actually really enjoyed it. Now, I find time to squeeze in a listening session every now and again. As I’m still growing in this area, I’d love to know what video channels or podcasts are your favourites? To whom do you turn when you need inspiration? And when and how do you tune it?
Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of vinyl cutting while making some new dividers for our school library (you can see them here), which gave me a bit of time at work where my hands were busy but my brain not so much. So, I grabbed the library iPad and tuned in to School Librarians United. If a student or teacher approaches, I’m quick to whip out my earphones, but it’s been a great (and time effective) way of getting in some professional learning while working at the same time.
Webinars for School Library Staff – Part 5 in the Professional Learning series
Part 5 in my Professional Learning Series is all about webinars. COVID-19 may have pushed us even further into connecting and learning online, but webinars have always been a great way to up-skill and learn from others in the profession.
Here are my top favourite places to find great quality webinars on a variety of topics, but all useful for application in a school library.
Blogs and Websites for School Library Staff – Part 4 in the Professional Learning series
Are you ready for Part 4 in my Professional Learning Series? This time I am focusing on blogs and websites that are part of my professional learning. Honestly, this could be a sub-series of many, many posts. There are so, so many blogs and websites that provide inspiration and professional learning. So, this is not a comprehensive list by any means. Instead of creating a massive list, that honestly would feel more overwhelming than helpful, I thought I would limit myself to just my top ten favourite websites and blogs, the sites I consistently turn to and return.
I personally find it time consuming to check in on websites. While you can get blog feeds or newsletters delivered to your inbox or check out the latest posts via blog subscriber readers, it’s not a practice I use. I should. Every time I check in with my favourite sites I see something that grabs my attention. Does that work for anyone else? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Instead, blogs and particular websites for professional learning and development are resources I draw upon as the need arises, rather than just routinely checking. For example, if I need something for a display or if I need guidance on policy or copyright, if I need something for the makerspace or integrating STEM into my lessons, I have my usual sites to which I turn. So, that’s what I am going to share with you.
Publications for School Library Staff – Part 3 in the Professional Learning series
Welcome to Part 3 in my Professional Learning Series, where I’m talking about the regular sources of inspiration I turn to for professional development. You can find the rest of the series here.
Professional reading can be really helpful when you are looking for new ideas or maybe just reading up on the next big thing in school libraries. Maybe you are researching for a project – is it time to jump on the makerspace bandwagon, or are you up-skilling on your marketing and branding plans?
There are lots of different sources for finding professional reading. Maybe you like just turning to Google Scholar, or maybe you like a more targeted approach. From regularly released journals and newsletters, to databases, these are my favourite sources for school library related publications.
Networks for School Library Staff – Part 2 in the Professional Learning Series
Welcome to Part 2 in my Professional Learning Series, where I will talk about the regular sources of inspiration I turn to for professional development. You can find the rest of the series here.
Networking is an important part of professional learning (and let’s face it, often de-stressing) for any professional. However, many school library staff work in isolation. They might be the only school library team staff member, or perhaps if they are lucky to work in a team, the only teacher librarian or library technician at the school. Whether working in a large team or by yourself, it is important to connect with others. Not only for inspiration and ideas gathering but for those casual chats, those moments of shared understanding that only another library staff member would understand (like, yes of course you found that item being used as a bookmark, or of course you are run off your feet as the library is the busiest place in the school!).
Twitter for School Library Staff – Part 1 in the Professional Learning series
Welcome to Part 1 in my Professional Learning Series, where I will talk about the regular sources of inspiration I turn to for professional development. You can find the rest of the series here.
I love Twitter. Well, actually, sometimes I don’t love Twitter all that much, but most of the time I love using Twitter to connect with like-minded professionals, librarians, teachers, creators, authors, publishers, and bloggers. If they are inspiring or useful to my PLN, I follow them (I might also follow a few #DogsOfTwitter for cute relief).
I started using Twitter while completing my studies in librarianship. It was a requisite of the course to sign up to and use Twitter. I was reluctant. I’ve never been a big social media user. But slowly, over the years, I have come to rely on Twitter to connect me with librarians around the world, point me to great learning opportunities, give me the heads up on new book release,s provide opportunities for engaging in chats, promoting my own learning and reviews, and provide me with a few cute golden retriever videos.
Professional Learning and Development Series for School Library Staff
I love learning. I love professional development (confession: I might also be slightly addicted to professional development). I love learning new things. Challenge me, throw me something new to puzzle over or research and I am happy. I love attending conferences, watching webinars, collaborating in Twitter chats, listening to podcasts, searching Pinterest, reading articles and more. If it is new, inspiring, or helpful, I want to know all about it.
I believe, whether you are a head of library, teacher librarian, library technician, library aide or other, you should be learning and up-skilling constantly. There is always something we can learn, something new we can try. I find that learning is what keeps me excited about working in a school library. But sometimes it can be hard to find professional development or learning opportunities specifically for school librarians. It’s also hard to find the time. We in school libraries are so busy, when do we actually have the time to sit and read or watch? I’m going to share my top favourite resources for finding professional development for school library staff and share some tips on how I fit them all into my schedule.