PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

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Professional Learning: Edcamp Cardigan Camp Nov 2021

Professional Learning: Edcamp Cardigan Camp Nov 2021

I’m super excited to be facilitating two sessions in the November 2021 Edcamp Cardigan Camp. Edcamp is a 24 hour online school librarian event, free and open to everyone around the world. There are no keynotes or webinars, just online collaborative sessions led by a facilitator.

The 24 hour, online format makes it a perfect event to connect with school librarians around the world. There are a range of session topics.  You can find the session times on the Edcamp website. Once you register, on the week of the Edcamp, you’ll receive the links to each of the sessions and the Wakelet board resources. 

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Building a Reading Culture Part 2

Building A School Reading Culture – Part 2  Organisational Culture Research

Building a positive reading culture might seem like a pretty obvious goal for a school librarian. It makes sense, right? It’s an admirable goal and the importance of such can be supported with evidence around the benefits of reading across academic, social, and emotional domains. But when I set myself a goal of building a positive reading culture at my school, I was challenged to think more deeply about the process. What exactly is a positive reading culture? What does that look like and how can I measure that? You can read about the start of this journey in my post Building A School Reading Culture Part 1 Getting Started.

In this second part in my journey, I’ve been investigating organisational culture, outside of just the school library realm. This then led me to investigating organisation climate. Before I could unpack what a reading culture is and how to measure and improve it, I first needed to understand what culture is at an organisational level. I started by diving into the literature around organisational culture.

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Ramblings: Failed Goals

Failed Goal: Social Media For My School Library Over the Holiday Break

Have you ever fallen short of a goal you have set for yourself? I know have. Many, many times. Just recently, I set for myself a goal of increasing engagement on our school library social media account. I started using Reels and Stories and posting more often. I used a scheduling tool to post on the days I wasn’t working and to ensure we had a consistent presence. And it worked. We increased our followers over the term by 26 and increased accounts reached by 5745% to over 47,000 accounts and 3229 content interactions.

So where does the failed goal come in? I was determined to continue this over the school holidays. That’s the time the students are most likely to be scrolling on Instagram, right? It makes sense for the Library to be active then, sharing tips on how to access ebooks and promoting holiday reading. I’d even lined up a connection with the local public library so that I could share their holiday programs and collections. But. Instead, I did nothing. Nada. Not a thing. I didn’t post once on our school library account over the two week period.

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Building a Reading Culture Part 1

Building A School Reading Culture – Part 1 Getting Started

When I first started at my new school and new school library this year, something that the library team shared with me quite a few times was their disappointment with the culture towards reading at the school. They felt that the school had a poor reading culture. They couldn’t quite determine why or what was the cause. Leadership was generally supportive, the school library well staffed but with reduced funding compared to previous years. So why did it seem like the students didn’t enjoy reading? Continue reading

Professional Learning: Genrefication: Beyond the Buzzword

Professional Learning Genrefication: Beyond the Buzzword Webinar with EduWebinar

I had the great privilege of talking genrefication again by presenting a webinar with EduWebinar all about genrefication.

It was great to revisit my genrefication process, especially as I am looking to start all over again at my new school. It was also fascinating to revisit the research in this area and see what the current trends are.

If you would like to view the webinar, you can register for the recording at EduWebinar.

You will find my slides from the presentation below.

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Resource: Cricut Refurbishment

Refurbishing a Cricut Machine

I have been fortunate to have a Cricut machine in each of my past 3 libraries. I love them. I love getting creative, love how these machines can make displays, signage and crafting activities easy. So, I was excited and – let’s be honest – relieved when my new library said they had a Cricut machine.

However, I was a little shocked when the Library team mentioned that they didn’t use it and found it easier to cut things by hand. Seriously? That didn’t make any sense to me. It only took the first time me getting it out to use it to understand where exactly they were coming from and why they were finding it so frustrating. I found it frustrating! It took longer than it should and even making a simple project wasn’t easy. Why? The machine had been given to the team without the proper tools and with no training or instruction. The mats were old and either had left over paper struck to them or had lost their stick altogether. And the team had only ever been told to use it with an iPad rather than on a desktop. It was like trying to use the machine with our hands tied behind our backs. Completely impractical and a waste of time.

Thanks to having used a Cricut before, I knew what it could and should be like. And I knew I could refurbish the machine to make it fun and easy to use. Here’s what I did.

How to update a machine

If you’ve decided to purchase a secondhand machine or have inherited an older machine for your library, here’s a few simple steps and tips to get the machine running again smoothly and so you can enjoy using it.

These tips are not going to help a machine that isn’t functioning properly – I leave that to someone with technological and mechanical knowledge, but these should help you get the basics of the machine working well.

Not sure if a Cricut is right for your Library? Check out my post Cutting machines in the Library which goes into the pros and cons.

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Ramblings: That time I created a viral video for my school library social media

That time I created a viral video for my school library social media – well almost

I had a bit of a surprise last week. I created a viral video for our school’s social media account. I must add a caveat. While I created it, I did have some help and technically it’s not a viral video, as Google tells me I have to have over 5 millions views and our video certainly didn’t do that. But! We reached over 23,000 views and over 600 likes. For us and our little social media account that was massive. And honestly a little scary. Here’s how it happened.

I relaunched our school library’s Instagram account this year. The Library Team had created it a few years ago, but it had been sitting dormant for a few years. When I joined the team this year, I wanted to start using it again. I had a great basis from which to work – just over 100 followers, most of whom were students. My goal was to increase engagement, promote the library and connect with both our school community and the wider school library community.

I’ve been posting regularly over the past three terms and when Instagram announced Reels, I happily gave them a try. I had been reluctant to join TikTok as I thought I wasn’t so great with videos – but maybe I need to rethink that.

Book Week 2021. We’ve got lots of competitions and events planned. The week prior, I am posting to our Instagram and trying to generate excitement about the following week’s events. I grab a 10 second video of the regulars playing Minecraft. I ask them for permission to share and then for some music suggestions. They chat a bit and argue over a good song and we finally select one. I add it, add a caption about next week’s comp, hit post and off we go. A week and a bit later, we have over 23k views and 651 likes. Our usual average for Reels views is 300-600 and the highest we’ve ever hit was just over 3000, so 23,000 was a massive leap. Same for likes.

This one Reel managed to reach more people, added lots of new followers to our account and generally created a buzz about our school library social media account. The boys were pretty impressed with their fame. I was curious. Was it the music? Was it the hashtags? Was it the algorithm magic? I’ve gone back to those boys for some more music suggestions and I’m going to try to recreate our success and see if it is possible. I’m also changing the way I interact with our social media account – focusing on engagement and student-driven posts and information.

I’ll continue to share my successes and failures here.

Is your school library on social media? Share in the comments below.

Book Week: Wrap up 2021

Book Week – Wrap Up 2021

Well, as I write this, I can hardly believe that Book Week is over. At the same time, I feel so tired it might as well be the end of the year.

Grey background, black text reads CBCA Book Week, yellow text that reads Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds, characters on bottom of image

I love Book Week. Love the buzz it brings to my school and library. Love the excitement it generates online. Love how it gives libraries, books and reading the spotlight they deserve. Love how my school’s marketing team suddenly want to talk about what’s happening in the Library because the Book Week tag is good for their SEO. But this year, Book Week kind of took a back seat for me.

In previous years, in previous roles, I’d shape my whole planning around Book Week, the theme and the activities I had planned for the year. My new role and the tasks I’ve taken on this year, along with the climate of sudden lockdowns and online learning challenged me to look at Book Week in a different light and to reevaluate my planning and approach to this very special week.

Not top priority this year

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Book Week: Easy costume ideas you can make with things around the house

Book Week – Easy costume ideas you can make with things around the house

Book Week has officially begun in Australia at the time this post will go live. If you are reading this is 2021, you might be needing a costume right at the last minute. Or maybe you are reading this in preparation for next year. In any case, it’s always handy to have a costume backup. And these ideas are good, not just for Book Week but any dress-up occasion.

 

Book Week, especially the costume parades, can be particularly stressful for parents, students and staff. It seems there is always a last minute rush for costume ideas. It’s a busy time of the year and having a costume you can pull together with things you’ll find around the house is handy.

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Book Week: Easy costume ideas from things in your wardrobe

Book Week – Easy costume ideas from things in your wardrobe

I love Book Week. Maybe as a teacher librarian that would be obvious but I also know it’s a high-stress and very busy time.  Book Week is all about celebrating reading, Australian literature and libraries. However, I have seen first hand when the stress and requirements of the big events can overwhelm the joy.

 

I personally and strongly believe that Book Week should be fun for everyone. But I know that might not always be the case. Time and time again I have seen that the most stressful element of Book Week celebrations are often the character dress-ups. On the other hand, these character parades are often the highlight of Book Week celebrations. The joy of seeing the children and teen’s faces as they celebrate all things books and reading is so worth it. If we can make costumes easier, hopefully Book Week will be easier for parents, students and staff.

I am going to share below some simple Book Week book character dress up ideas that you can create with things you’ll find in the family’s wardrobes. While there are plenty of ideas, I’ve tried to use a range of books from picture books to YA fiction. I’ve also included some more obscure ideas, in case you want a unique costume and Australian fiction-based characters.

You’ll find below costume ideas for individuals, as well as pairs and groups.

Top Advice

Print out a copy of the book cover and attach it to your costume in some way. You could safety pin it to the front or back of your costume or attach it to string or a lanyard around your neck. It makes it easy for others to see who you are dressed up as, relates it back to the book (which, let’s not forget, what it’s all about) and can make even a simple outfit a character-related costume.

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