Final Reflection

Introduction:

At the beginning of my journey of Masters in Education I had a very limited understanding of modern libraries – their form, their function and their future.  I was, excuse the pun, ‘an open book’.  As I progressed slowly and steadily through the course, learning occurred and significant changes in understanding, thinking and behaviours were made.

During my course, a position at my school became available – to teach information literacy and work in the library.  Suddenly I was thrust into the real world of a Teacher Librarian and started putting into practise what I was learning.  It was exciting to apply new knowledge as I went, but the pitfall was that I suddenly knew, with great clarity, how steep the learning curve would be. I would have to become part metaphorical mountain goat to climb that mountain of know-how and can-do.

At first I was hesitant in even describing my role as the official ‘Teacher Librarian’ but my confidence grew through the course and now take the title with pride. My learning continues apace (does it ever really stop?) but I now have more of a clue and a network of people to tap into if my knowledge or experience is lacking.

In this reflective portfolio, I will focus on the three major themes which altered my understanding of what a TL does.  Key areas of learning were: Information literacy (metaliteracy), the role of the TL leading a 21st century library, and the application of ICT.

The critical importance of a dynamic, accessible and centrally situated library in a school environment underpins my career.  I also believe a qualified teacher librarian can enhance all aspects of school life, from academic to social.

As a visual learner I have to admit that I first imagined my journey to end with the library as a destination – a wonderfully resourced room or hub.  Now I view the library as a hallway – a place of transition, with many doors of possibility into which everyone needs to pass to get to where they are going, no matter what that their journey or interest might be.

Information/Metaliteracy:

Through the subject ‘Teacher librarian as leader’ I understood how the curriculum savvy, connected and clever TL could influence those in more influential positions to see sense and use resources more effectively.  It wasn’t until ETL 401 however I found my teaching passion – Information Literacy, Multiple Literacy, Transliteracy and I became a convert.  It made critical sense to me after years of teaching in various roles that vital to all understanding was an ability to be literate – across all formats and forms.  Information literacy goes beyond the classroom to affect all aspects of education and how we function across society.  In the discipline neutral library, we are perfectly poised to guide students to become empowered, critically reflective, skillful thinkers and adroit researchers, who use information ethically (Hamilton, B. 2009 p. 34).  As a TL I could enable and foster this diverse literacy by tapping into the innate enthusiasm of my students to communicate effectively, consciously direct their own learning and master their information rich environment. The aim is to move beyond skills to a shift in attitudes and behaviours, so they are subsumed into the way a student operates.

 

Howard Rheingold’s article regarding metaliteracy, springs to mind easily.  Many articles meld into the background but it was reading about how librarians facilitate the flow of information and ideas rather than disseminating them, that lit the spark (Rheingold 2012 p. 52).  It wasn’t about the ‘what’ (well maybe a little) it was about the ‘how’ – how do you get the information you want, quickly, smartly, across all platforms – so that it can be used effectively and meet your information needs?  My role was transitioning from seeing the library and librarian as nouns to verbs!

 

This was the role I had been placed into at my school.  I was asked to teach students to find information, effectively use it, cite it, sift and sort it, scan and skim it, value it and cognitively understand the process of information research.  Defining information literacy was and is illuminating in its possibilities – digital literacy, transliteracy, plain literacy.  Barbara Stripling (Stripling 2010 p.1) was particularly convincing in her incorporation of ‘all formats’; James Herring similarly uses terms such as ‘exploit’, ‘adapt’ and ‘reflect’  (Herring 2011 p. 63) when discussing how students should be taught to navigate through the information overload. Joyce Valenza, one smart lady, was leading the charge in her article Manifesto for 21st Century Teacher Librarians (Valenza 2011) when she articulated how TL’s empower students to ‘triangulate’ across a myriad of media formats to best suit their lines of inquiry and evaluate as they go.

Joyce Valenza’s call to arms was wonderful.

 

No TL could not be moved to cheering when watching this!  And I was moved, motivated and empowered to make such a difference in my role.  I mentioned in my blog that my new view of TL’s had been ‘shaken’ (Blaich (a) 2013) by all the wonderful possibilities of what a TL could now do.

Initially I was scheduled to a set timetable in the junior school.  It soon became obvious that ‘just-in-time’ (Valenza, J. 2011 para 20) learning needed a flexible TL – so with some negotiation my timetable was put up on a Google doc and teachers booked in or out at their own points of need.  Rigid timetabling was removed and I could devote a day to a class who required quality and quantity time in the library, support in the classroom, contribute to planning meetings or attend excursions.  Similarly my role changed to taking whole classes to taking anyone at any time, depending on requests from teachers, resource needs or space constraints. I became the travelling TL – going where and when I was needed, doing what people required and resourcing where I could. I was not seen as only being in the library.

I consulted with a colleague and we started drawing together a scope and sequence of transliteracy and corresponding ICT skills to audit K – 6’s requirements.  We roamed across all the curriculum documentation we could find to select what fitted our learning outcomes and blended it together – learning as we went how mercurial the transliteracy landscape was.  ISTE Nets, ACARA, IB PYP, 21st Century Fluency, Common sense media, Common Core, Key Stages etc were used.  A basic document was created and yet it was and is still, lacking!  It is still a work in progress as I hone the skills, attitudes and outcomes to fit in with the PYP curriculum, year level and IT knowledge/ skill base.

 

Carol Khulthau has to be mentioned as a highlight of my course.  I wrote in my blog that I was ‘smitten’ with her theories (Blaich (b) 2013).  The ‘Information Search Processing Model’ (Kulthau 2007) has been enlightening, especially when teaching in an all-girls school.  The mapping of the emotional journey or affective side of information searching is incredibly valuable.

 

To communicate the different iterative stages is one thing, but to highlight the emotional highs and lows of the process also empowers and normalises the anxieties many of the students in the upper grades feel when embarking on extended research projects.  I have encouraged students to journal their emotional journey concurrently with their bibliographies, notes and data collection.  At the end of a project they are able to review how it went by examining their academic/emotional journey.  Cognitively they are engaged in their own learning patterns and behaviours and hopefully improving their overall performance.

 

Enabling students to engage in higher order thinking via transliteracy is important.  Synthesising disparate resources to create new ideas whilst showing the lineage of their thinking through notes and referencing is vital.

 

Herring defines information literacy as a ‘practise’ (Herring 2011 p.63) rather than a set of skills.  In 2013 I wrote “teacher librarians are at the centre of equipping students with the essential skills, tools, understanding and etiquette, to adeptly navigate their way through this ever-expanding labyrinth of information.” (Blaich (a) 2013)

 

Since writing this, I have since realised that transliteracy is not and cannot be the sole domain of the TL.  In my practise I have embarked on effective, informed and sustained teaching partnerships.  I aim to facilitate students’ technological aptitude and boost essential research know-how in regularly planning and communicating with classroom teachers, so all students can seamlessly practise transliteracy.  It is vital to meet their real needs, students and teachers both, in their academic, wider lives or “third space” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspiari 2007 p. 25).

 

 

 

How a TL leads a library to change its ‘spots’

 

When I first was appointed to the position of the TL at my school I was aware that senior management wasn’t thrilled with the concept of libraries in their traditional manifestation.  They had recently closed the senior library and were about to reimagine the space.  I saw this as an opportunity to help the process and inform senior management about how libraries are being reimagined and in many ways going back to the future:  Tod Colegrove – Libraries of the future.

 

My colleagues in the junior libraries and I compiled a presentation about what libraries could be, what was currently being done, and I backed it up with empirical data from my course, which showed the academic and social benefits for a reimagined, connected, well-staffed and vibrant space.

It was met with mixed results.  A library was built – with lots of beautiful furniture and state of the art technology. In the senior school however there was no qualified TL employed, or a head of library.  It was a beautiful showroom with a library technician, alone – who does an admirable job but it could be so much more.

 

As I come to the end of this course I am now reflecting on the changing role of the library in a school and how to best communicate to management the vital importance of maintaining the most significant resource a library has – staff. Qualified TL’s who are connected, informed and progressive, can make a massive academic impact in a school.  I want a “spumante-flavoured school library program” (Loetscher 2007 p.65) where the librarian has the ear of the administrators and transforms learning experience through technology, information literacy, just in time resources, collaboration and documented academic outcomes.

I hastily add that there are two thriving junior school libraries at two different campuses with TL’s and library technicians.  These libraries are viewed with great respect and are used continually by all members of the school community at one time or another during a school week.  The library staff as key resources are utilised well and support the patrons in all aspects of their school life.

As a TL we are advocates for our roles in the school (Gaiman 2013).  We need to be integral to the academic successes and social melange of a school.  Traditional TL roles, some of which are still current and relevant, need to accommodate the diverse changes across education and communicating to the administrators is vital (Oberg, 2007 p.397).

 

Even though the senior library could be more, in my library over the last couple of years we have embarked on change.  A maker space, open access at lunch, before and after school is only the beginning.  All students, parents and staff are welcome to use the space – simultaneously.  Computer technology in the form of coding, green screen and webcasting has begun in the ‘back office’ area, which is being slowly transformed into a studio of sorts.

 

Our catalogue has changed from a stagnant school only access via one computer to an online 24/7 access catalogue.  We are embracing online research tools via subscription such as Britannica online, Pebble Go and Storybox online – and they are being used.  Our next adventure is to embark on ebooks – to find a provider with DRM which suits our needs, has relevant content and is easy to access – the budget is another thing altogether!  Partnerships with other schools to create a consortium for the provision of ‘just in time’ online resources via Ebscohost – demand driven acquisitions is being considered as is transferring all newspaper resources to an online provider – so they can be used the way our students want to use them.

‘Little Bits’ technology and Sphero kits are being used at lunchtime coding clubs.  High profile events are scheduled in the library space and I meet regularly with curriculum coordinators and teaching staff to input course ideas, resource suggestions and help to document the curriculum.  Feedback is provided to staff on how students perform during and after sessions and I discuss student outcomes, so I can adapt my teaching/library practise.  The ‘spumante flavoured’ intent is there and the journey has begun.

 

The power of connection

 

In ETL 503 I learnt something that will impact my career as an effective TL – you need to be connected, or perhaps wired in to the network of information and resources around you.  This is what we strive for with our students – that they are connected to resources, ideas, suggestions and communities.  TL’s thrive on the many and varied connections that the new digital age and central collaborative position in the school allows.

 

As a learner of the TL craft I started to look into the immense reserves (Blaich (d) 2014) of a wider collegiate TL body and resources that could be found in my local area, state and around the world.  I was not disappointed.  The collegiate bodies are amazing resources to tap into – Oztlnet and SLAV are the two key organisations which highlight, refer and impart ideas, discoveries and share knowledge freely.  As a solitary TL at my campus, sometimes it feels a little daunting to be the person patrons come to for ideas about innovative teaching, new technologies, books for pleasure and research, learning developments and of course metaliteracy.  Having a wider community of TL’s to ask and be inspired by is marvellous and essential.  Sometimes a problem shared is indeed a problem halved, especially when you have the best brains in the business on the task.

 

Watching others in similar roles seek guidance through online forums is also inspiring – it reinforces the notion that as a profession we have an amazing reserves of knowledge and current practises (Shenton, 2014)ready to be shared.

 

In ETL 503 learning that a variety of selection aids is an amazing weapon in the armoury of a good TL was essential.  There are so many to choose from and there are of course the favourites I go to in order to become aware of new trends in publishing, titles and education resources.  I am particularly enamoured of Magpie, School Library Journal as subscriptions; www.goodreads.com , www.insideadog.com  and www.amightygirl.com are also brilliant sources for inspiration – each one for different reasons.  I also discovered through online forums how Pinterest, Symbaloo and Diigo are also used to both curate and share content.

 

Keeping a keen eye on the myriad of book awards around the planet also pays dividends.  Smarties, Newberry, CBCA and Caldecott to name a few.  Tracking what the ‘experts’ think of different texts is valuable as they are the ones who have such a vested interest in finding the best, investing in the growth of literacy in all its kaleidoscopic forms.

 

 

One of the key discoveries is to ‘walk the talk’.  We need to embrace, embody and live the standard of intellectual risk taking that we expect of our students.  It is never easy stepping out of a comfort zone (Blaich (e) 2013) and into the unknown but it is necessary if one wishes to progress or inspire others to do so. As a TL you constantly encounter pressure to master a new technology, implement a new practise or source and provide a new resource.  Adaptive change and mastery of the new is, I think, the bread and butter of the TL’s world.  We are working in an area of constant change where we must “revisit, reframe, and reimagine” (Lamb 2011 p.27) not just knowledge per se but the space in which we work, the collection we present, and the methods we communicate with.

 

It was enlightening to read all the papers detailing the seismic changes occurring in the world of libraries and then applying those shifts into my own environment.  Being directed to the wider TL horizon was in fact the most enlightening of moments – to draw on the breadth and depth of knowledge and practise out there.  The success of a TL is attributable to connections and tapping into the TL intelligentsia in the world.

 

The connections I am making through various online tools and websites is also a skill and practise I am instilling into the upper grades at my school.  There is a significant value in discovering and communicating with your peers – whether they are sitting next to you in class or on the other side of the world.   We compulsorily place a ‘one to the world’ device into the hands of our students and it is amazing to see them take it and launch into a literal world of discovery.   Looking at websites like www.goodreads.com enables them to source titles which might interest them and inspire further reading and discovery.  The ‘long tail’ just-in-time resource (Yates, 2011 p.43) which I learnt about during this course is alive and well at school.  Each student is empowered to find a mirror to their passion and are able to curate their own content.

 

Adapting one’s purview of what the school’s ‘collection’ enables a TL to resource students in ways I had not previously considered until completing ETL 503.  Joyce Valenza (Valenza, 2011) and Stephen Yates (Yates, 2011) both direct TL’s to expand the view of what can be considered a TL’s collection.  Spurred on by this idea it was inspiring to then make the connection to another TL in a similar all girls’ school in Melbourne and see that they implemented this idea.  This school has put direct links to all local libraries and federated searches into their catalogue to utilize the resources in other collections.  They have also establishing consortia with other schools to host resources, which was an area new to me but well established to other TL’s and libraries.  It is through broadening one’s perspective (Shenton 2014 p.157) and making connections with other TL’s that new possibilities can become a reality.

 

Collection development policy is also an area of a particularly acute learning curve during my studies.  I commenced my position as TL in my school and rapidly discovered there was no collection development policy and hadn’t been for a long time.  I was thrust into the role of creating one!  Again I used my wider network to beg and borrow from my wider TL resource bank, but it was and still is, a grounding document indispensable to the working of our library.  By connecting, learning and applying my knowledge I discovered that it is by doing that we learn most (Blaich (f) 2013). I understood that without a clear guide (Debowski, 2001), procedure and ‘map’, our collection was in danger of losing focus and becoming open to individual preferences of staff within and outside of the library.

 

Conclusion

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had so many wonderful learning experiences in this course.   I relish my role as a TL and do not take it for granted.  In libraries there are changes afoot, technologically, socially, educationally and organisationally but I intend to use my excellent grounding in Teacher Librarianship to not only embrace developments but be at the cusp of change. Indeed, as my confidence grows, I would like to be the instigator of the quite library revolution in my school.  Today the library, tomorrow, the world …in my ‘nexus library’ – accessing, enjoying, researching, collaborating, making, laughing and learning.

 

 

References

 

Allen, C. (1998). Afterthoughts on collection development for new schools or how not to fall for the easy way out. Book Report, 17(3), 8.

 

American Association of School Librarians. Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. American Library Association, 2007. (Downloadable for free at http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards). Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS). http://www.corestan- dards.org/the-standards (accessed April 3, 2016).

 

Blaich, K. (a) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/part-b-critical-reflection/ Retrieved 21 July 2016.

Blaich, K. (b) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/swinging-from-rope-with-large-portmanteau-attached/ Retrieved 21 July 2016.

 

Blaich, K. (c) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/the-role-of-the-teacher-librarian-with-regard-to-the-convergence-of-literacies-in-the-21st-century/ Retrieved 10 April 2016.

Blaich, K. (d) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/etl-503-assignment-2/ Retrieved 30 July 2016.

Blaich, K. (e) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/part-b-critical-reflection/ Retrieved 30 July 2016.

Blaich, K. (f) https://kblaich.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/288/ Retrieved 30 July 2016.

Colegrove, T. (2013). Libraries of the Future: Tod Colegrove at TEDxReno. YouTube. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvE0gHhK3ss

Corbett, T. (2011). The Changing Role of the School Library’s Physical Space. School Library Monthly, 27(7), 5-7.

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection management policies. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds.), Providing more with less : collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 126-136). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt

University.

Gaiman, N. (2013). Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

 

Hamilton, B. J. (2011). The school librarian as teacher: What kind of teacher are

you? Knowledge Quest, 39(5), 34-40.

 

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

 

Herring, James E. (2011) Improving students’ web use and information literacy: a guide for teachers and teacher librarians London : Facet Pub.

Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development & management.   (3rd Edition) Chicago: American Library Association.

 

Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K. & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided inquiry:

learning in the 21st century school. Libraries Unlimited.  Westport CT.

 

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette. Techtrends. 55(4) 27-36

 

Oberg, D. (2007) In Achterman, Doug; Asselin, Marlene; Baule, Steven M.; Bishop, Kay; Braxton, Barbara; Brown, Carol A.; Bush, Gail; Cart, Michael; Rosenfeld, Esther; Loertscher, David V. (2007). Toward a 21st-Century School Library Media Program. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com

 

Rheingold, H. (2012). STEWARDS OF DIGITAL LITERACIES. Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 52-55

Shenton, A. K. (2014). Just why do we need school libraries? Some ideas from students. New Library World, 115(3/4), 6-6.

Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Environment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16-19.

Valenza, J. (2011). Manifesto for 21st Century Teacher Librarians | Teacher Librarian. Teacherlibrarian.com. Retrieved 4 April 2016, from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/2011/05/01/manifesto-for-21st-century-teacher-librarians/

 

Yates, S (2011). Just-In-Time Librarianship. Knowledge Quest, 39 (5), 42-44.

 

Yusko, S. (2008). Toward a 21st century school library media program. The Booklist,104(16), 79. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/235658260?accountid=10344

 

 

Shenton, A. K. (2014). Just why do we need school libraries? Some ideas from students. New Library World, 115(3/4), 6-6.

 

 

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CAVAL

You know Superman’s dad – well his name isn’t Caval it’s Jor-El but I think I can be forgiven for mixing up the two – they sound similar.  So coming off the high of thinking I was going somewhere Supermanish, I was brought rapidly back to earth.  Phonetics, folks, is where it ended.

So CAVAL…

Today I embarked on a long and treacherous trip in ‘Big Red’ – this is my car, which desperately needs looking at, because I swear it sounds like a cow giving birth … sideways.  But only when I turn the steering wheel.  So it was a long, long drive – an hour and twenty minutes, mooing across town, straining up dale and down valley (Burke Rd hill etc).  I arrived in the wilds of Bundoora desperately needing refreshment in different forms, but I arrived.  Big Red in the carpark recovering from the ordeal.

CAVAL is a truly interesting place, staffed with interesting and passionate people.  It is rare to find people who are ‘pumped’ at the notion of providing MARC 21 records for LOTE texts and staff who become noticeably excited when talking about climate controlled storage facilities for last copy (weeded) University/TAFE texts – but at CAVAL they exist.  All 3 of them.  I am sure there are more, who fist bump each other as they sit down and accession 87 current fiction texts straight off the plane from Xianjin in dialectal Mandarin but I unfortunately didn’t meet them – just saw their very tidy desks.

I was struck at how diverse library provision is.  Who knew that this place existed or that there even was a need for such a company in the first place?  It’s like a company who makes the tiny plastic thingos that go on the end of your shoe laces, an ‘aglet’ if you were wondering.  Who came up with this necessary item?  But once you see it, you understand it’s vital place in the world.  Frayed laces?  Fixed.  Lots of old books or journals choking up university libraries?  Why not a storage facility that puts them into vast shelving space and makes sure they are tickety-boo for 200 + years?  Yes!

Oh and while we’re at it, they catalogue them so if someone needs a copy of what they’ve got you can get it, but even better – if you have a copy that you want to ditch and they have it – you can!  The Carm centre I suspect makes university librarians feel exactly that – calm.  The service would reassure even the most fool-hardy, weed-happy, book-tossing, resource-rationalising librarian not to worry – it’s damage control on an industrial scale, literally.  Merrily flung the last copy of Mein Kampf in Hindi?  Don’t worry – Carm probably has it.

After all that heady excitement, drunk (metaphorically alas) with the discoveries made, I  returned home – I went via Ringwood – a small error due to the GPS and intense inner contemplation of maximum shelf density for stored journals from Melbourne University circa 1989.

Eastlink was lovely this afternoon in twinkling sunshine.  Sunshine that all those resources will never see or feel in their climatically restricted, snap locked housie.  I do hope the staff get out and walk around though.  Vitamin D chaps.  It’s important but not for old books or journals.

Rock on CAVAL.

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Melbourne Study Visit

It has been an incredibly hectic week visiting a disparate array of libraries in the heart of Melbourne.  I was first reacquainted with the magnificent State Library – how could I have not been for so long.  Our guide was wonderful, informative and full of interesting detail.

As a significant icon in the Melbourne landscape and psyche the SLV is mandated to maintain and expand its connection in the lives of the community it serves, while being a leader in the provision of information and preservation of Victoria’s heritage.  The needs of our community are diverse and their vast number of ever expanding resources, testifies to that diversity.  I was amazed by how the library catered for so many groups in terms of balancing physical space, managing tangible resources but also in expanding their digital/online resources.

‘Kilometres’ of a collection – who knew that their collection was so expansive that this is how they discuss the size of it!  By the way they almost have 100 kms!  Their status as a legal deposit library and their charge to preserve every item that they acquire unless duplicated was staggering to discover.  Evidently there is continual work on maintaining the right balance between storing, digitizing and providing access to patrons. Rotating the exhibitions of SLV treasures is just one example of many.

Diverse, balanced and adaptive – this is the State Library’s core business and they are amazingly successful at it.  What an inspiring place full of passionate, educated and motivated people.

Onwards to…

The scope of the MCC’s library collection was incredible as was the staff’s in-depth knowledge of their patron’s needs.  Their aim of providing a rich sporting knowledge resource to their members/guests and as a prestigious asset was evident in the level of patronage and the intense use of the collection.  David Studham’s comparison between the MCC library and Lord’s was stark.  One can surmise that having a passionate librarian and staff who themselves are encyclopedic assets could be the key in patron demand.

I particularly enjoyed hearing about their roles in helping patrons track their family member’s sporting history and sniggered when I learnt how often they have to disabuse people of their conviction that their ancestors were test cricketers or AFL/VFL players. Oh the tragedy, the let down, the mouldy sporting paraphrenalia which would have to be demoted on their return home.  Still at least they managed to meet David, who is an inspiring and delightful human cornucopia of all sporting texts, and they also would have had the added bonus to see what can only be described as a breathtaking view of the Melbourne skyline.  I almost contemplated grabbing a membership for the MCC so I could sit in the library and while away some peaceful hours!  I then realised that I perhaps might have to like sport and actually watch it to get value for my membership, oh and live to 100 – so perhaps not.

Moving on to…

The City library is like the Tardis.  What seems diminutive and unassuming from the outside, is in fact a labyrinthine hive of community activity, connection and endeavour.  All this is supported by a not insignificant array of highly used resources in a myriad of formats. I suspect the most significant resource is the engaging, knowledgeable and energetic staff who were impressive in their passion, vibrancy and dynamism.  They seem to indeed successfully empower their patrons to create, connect, read and learn in a wonderfully central and welcoming social place.  Their enthusiasm was infectious. Cos – who was our guide was truly remarkable and a gem amongst the jewels who work there.

I was inspired to join on the spot (shiny new card in my wallet ready to go).  Discovered that Sue Perkins has written a book called ‘Spectacles’ – which I need, and found a brilliant space in the heart of the city to read, research and, well I was going to say relax but that would be ridiculous – far too much going on, all of it fabulous too.

Gil showed us ‘Littlebits‘ – a magnetic circuit builder, which allows kidults or regular kids to make different circuits that power different applications – lights, fans, wheels, LED cable.  So clever and already recommended to the IT crowd at school!

What a brilliant place, brilliant people and brilliant resources.  I wish it was a well kept secret but judging from their circulation and visitor numbers I could be the last one to know about it!

Travelling on…

After visiting RMIT it is evident that this academic library is a different breed.  Catering for students, all 82,000 of them at every stage of their academic lives is no mean feat and RMIT have it all down to a fine art.  What particularly impressed me was the detailed level of efficiency in meeting the requirements of differing and disparate patrons from VCE student to doctorate students.

The liaison librarian intricately knew and was connected to her two departments.  She supported them in a myriad of ways by tracking the needs of academic staff with resourcing, creating learning objects, libguides and presenting seminars on highly useful tools targeted to their academic lives such as ORCID.  Their aims and objectives were met via careful detailing of department responsibilities and sustained interconnection between departments.  This fluidity was especially evident between the reference librarian and the liaison librarian, where their created resources were shared freely and used by a variety of patrons in a disparate array of courses to maximum effect and benefit.

Highlights were the dynamism of the staff and how darned good they were at their craft, how serious they were.  RMIT – the grown up library for librarians.  No pratting around.  They mean business – and probably every other subject I can think of, and they will resource it up the wazoo, interconnect it, vodcast, Libguide it and then take a photo of it too.  Phew.

And we’re walking…

The contrast between RMIT and William Angliss was interesting.  The former coming from a place of reasonably secure funding, staffing and resourcing to the latter which had recently been decimated by significant budget cuts by the government.  It impressed upon me how funding affect all aspects of a library and can impact the scope and quality of the service delivered.

I found it particularly interesting to learn how the entire library staff except one was part time.  Staff members at William Angliss, who were part time were certainly stretched to provide vital connective services between the library and the different academic departments and staff.  The requirements and demands of the TAFE certainly had not diminished but the library staff were expected to do more with less, which brought home the challenging budgetary juggling of this library.

Despite this, the library seemed to be successfully meeting its aims and objectives or providing resources to its patrons, resourcing the curriculum, out-reaching to all departments and enthusiastically planning how they would meet the strategic future the TAFE has planned for Masters and Doctoral courses.

Their archive section was terrific – the menu guides from the 19th century were a corker – imagine having menus from 1856!  That was forward thinking by someone.  Are they valuable – heck yes, monetarily and also as a resource for research.  I did have my eye on the Mrs Beeton’s, I really do need to find one of those to learn how to treat my servants, what my maids should be wearing, what I should pay my gardner and exactly how to pickle calf’s ears.  Never too late to learn.

Going, going ever upwards…

The University High library was a beautiful, loved and well-resourced asset in the school.  It is staffed by TL’s who obviously work really well as a team and who constantly seek to improve services to meet the needs of the students and teaching staff.  This is a library which is valued and accordingly funded.

As a team the library staff’s evaluation into new online resources for the library was encompassing and thorough.  Their adoption of GALE for non-fiction resources online was interesting and certainly something I will be investigating further.  Tracking borrowing trends of non-fiction books enabled them to see where demand was and adapt their collection accordingly, something applicable to my library where there are parallels in borrowing trends.

I heartily share Rob’s philosophy of ‘getting them in’, highlighting how vital it is to be an inclusive and accessible place for students to socialise and gather as well as access information and study.  The lack of eBook fiction was interesting but Rob’s priority of tailoring the collection to meet the requirements of the patrons, it was easy to see how he had prioritised the possible acquisition of audiobooks based on predicted demand.  An in-depth understanding of one’s clientele – their needs, reading/listening habits, preferences and academic requirements is invaluable and informs decisions to the benefit of all.

It is daunting to go to such a fantastically staffed and managed school library.  Does make one think quite a bit about having a stern talking to oneself and then raising one’s game – sharpish.  That’s the crux of this visit for me.  I have been told and I shall do something about it.  Communicating with the senior campus about meeting their academic needs never seemed like a better idea.  Just have to make sure I am wearing a flak jacket, padded salopettes, sturdy bra and running shoes – no reason.

Ah the finish line…

There is one more to go.  It is in Bundoora.  I know I live in Melbourne but Bundoora drew a blank.  I am a product of the Bayside Bubble.  Chaps, tomorrow I head north.  I have packed the compass, lunch, rappelling rope, crampons and jungle strength insecticide.  I have left the beads and buckets at home – I wouldn’t want to insult the natives’ intelligence.  Off to a foreign land. It’s beyond Greensborough for God’s sake!  Not even on the same Google maps screen.  Feel fluttery. Becks and a good lie down.

 

 

 

 

 

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ETL 402 – Reflective Post

Part B

 

Throughout ‘Literature across the curriculum’ I have learned so much more about literature being an essential conduit of learning and the power narrative literature holds to improve students’ academic and reading successes.  It was amazing to empirically affirm how reading for pleasure is such a strong indicator of academic success (Krashen, 2004 p.39), (Gaiman 2013 para. 7).

Learning about story architecture and its impact on knowledge acquisition and retention really struck a chord.  Discovering the way knowledge embedded in story formats transforms understanding from the superficial to the deep, with a greater chance of comprehension, relevancy and recall (Haven, 2007 p. 32) was exciting and made complete sense.

Reading aloud to students is not a nicety but a powerful necessity (Barone, 2011 p.156), (Giorgis,1999).  I now recognise the impact of reading aloud to students beyond the middle years. A systematic way of reading different texts aloud (Lane & Wright 2007 p. 673) exposes students to a variety of titles and genres (Barone, 2011 p.154), encourages independent reading and promotes literacy development (Krashen, 2004 p. 39) while providing “positive and long-lasting impressions” (Giorgis, 1999 p.51).  Ensuing group discussions, reflections about what has been read and drawing connections between the students’ lives and the texts are vital and will become part of my teaching practice.

In the forums I commented on censorship in the library (Blaich, personal communication, 10 September, 2015) and how important it is for students to find themselves in the pages of stories and texts.  Resources which mirror a multiplicity of mirrored values and life circumstances is essential (Vandergrift, 1997. Para 2) in light of the diversity we see in our schools.  I now recognise that students need to find a variety of ‘valid ways to be’ (Winch, 2006 p.413).  To enable students to become empathetic, functioning members of society, there is great importance in reading, sharing and discussing a wide variety of literature (ABS, 2009) in many formals (digital & print).

Digital technology permeates every aspect of students’ reading and learning.  Reading practice and pedagogy in this context is of great personal interest.  The digital natives, although assumed to be such technologically intuit, savvy beings, often lack key skills (Combes 2007 p.18).  I commented about their fearlessness and enthusiasm for e-devices (Blaich, personal communication, 9 September, 2015). Through the readings it became increasingly clear how important excellent reading skills are in a world of text.   It was also great to discover how “informed knowledge” (Centre for Youth Literature, 2009 p.31) and grounded advice in this area can directly aid learning through trust, guidance and the provision of the right texts at the right time. TL’s need to meet students where they are (Edmondson 2012, p.43) in a manner in which they find useful or attractive, perhaps transitioning to more collaborative or interactive platforms in tandem with print. As a TL I recognise the unique position of advocacy I hold to promote literary learning using technologically innovative and meaningful means.  I look forward using some of the teaching practices and skills learnt during this course to help and encourage my students to explore this digital world.

Personally, it is the impact of literature enriched curriculum and the development of key learning tools, which have provided the greatest highlight in this subject.  Meaningful and practical collaboration between TLs and teachers is vital.  I believe that it is my role to impart how literacy furthers students’ personal quests to find their place in the world and make sense of it (Gordon, 2011 p.54).  Literacy nurtures and develops students’ emotional and intellectual needs.  I look forward to becoming a TL who is informed, connected and pedagogically aware to take my place as a conduit of meaningful literature learning experiences.

References

 

Abs.gov.au,. (2015). 1301.0 – Year Book Australia, 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2015, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Reading:%20the%20home%20and%20family%20context~205

 

Barone, D. M. (2011). Children’s literature in the classroom: Engaging lifelong learners. New York: Guilford Press.

 

Blaich, K. (2015) Module 3 Discussion forum post. Accessed 2 October 2015 https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_31755_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_6690_1&course_id=_6052_1&message_id=_381731_1#msg__381731_1Id

 

Combes, B. (2007). Techno-savvy or just techno-oriented?. Access (10300155), 21(2), 17-20.

Cremin, T. (2010). Motivating children to read through literature. In J. Fletcher, F. Parkhill, & G. T. Gillon (Eds.), Motivating literacy learners in today’s world (pp. 11-21). Wellington, NZ : NZCER Press.

Edmondson, E. (2012). Wiki Literature Circles: Creating Digital Learning

Communities. English Journal, 101(4), 43 – 49.

Gaiman, N. (2013). Why our futures depend on libraries, reading, and imagination. The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2015 from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

Giorgis, C. (1999). The Power of Reading Picture Books Aloud to Secondary Students. The Clearing House: A Journal Of Educational Strategies, Issues And Ideas, 73(1), 51-53. doi:10.1080/00098659909599640

Gordon, C. A. (2011). Lost in Cyberspace? Tracking the Future of Reading. School Library Monthly, 27(8), 50-54.

Haven, K. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Lane, H., & Wright, T. (2007). Maximizing the Effectiveness of Reading Aloud. The Reading Teacher, 60(7), 668-675. http://dx.doi.org/10.1598/rt.60.7.7

Lisa Hollis-Sawyer & Lorilene Cuevas (2013) Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Ageist

and Sexist Double Jeopardy Portrayals in Children’s Picture Books, Educational Gerontology, 39:12,

902-914, DOI: 10.1080/03601277.2013.767650

Keeping Young Australians Reading. (2009) (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://www2.slv.vic.gov.au/about/information/publications/policies_reports/keeping-reading.html

Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading: Insights from the research (2nd ed.). Englewood, Co: Libraries Unlimited.

Comminfo.rutgers.edu,. (2015). Censorship, the internet, intellectual freedom and youth. Retrieved 3 October 2015, from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/professional-development/childlit/censorship.html

Winch, G. (2006). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature. (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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Module 2 – Diversity in Children’s Literature

Take personal stocktake of my knowledge of children’s literature…

I have a passion for literature of all sorts – especially children’s literature, so I thought (confidently) my knowledge of the different genres would be fairly encompassing but glancing down the list for this module I already realise that perhaps there are a few gaps there!

I know little about LGBTQ, Steam Punk and I think I know quite a bit about Multicultural literature but need to dig a little deeper to see exactly what that entails before I can definitely say I know all about it!

I am really excited about the recent developments in graphic novels, the use of picture story books for older children, the indigenous books arriving on the scene – non-fiction picture story books in this category are excellent.

I love linking the curriculum in with as many different types of genre as possible.  I know about but don’t love the ‘pre-teen’ drama section – Girl Online and Canterbury Tales, erk.  But to not put it into the library would be to censor texts the girls in my school are passionate about – so bring it on!

Strategies which could be used to increases my professional knowledge of children’s literature

The sheer volume of new works being published in any given week means that you have to have a few strategies up your sleeve to know what is hot and what is not!

Hearing it from the best advisors and the wise ones in the world of library (my colleagues) and by scrabbling around the web here is my list:

  • Websites – Inside a dog, GoodreadsHornbookLovereading and A Mighty Girl.  The last one is a great resource to find books which celebrate girls and empower them.  Particularly useful if you work in an all-girls school.
  • CBCA
  • Magazines such as Magpies, School Library Journal, Issu
  • ASLA
  • Local libraries and the wonderful people who populate and work in them.
  • Listservs – Oztlnet
  • Library networks – also teacher networks
  • Pinterest
  • Melbourne writer’s festival and other book festivals
  • School staff – library and teaching staff who often have the best suggestions, some from left field but their diverse interests and reading habits adds to the diversity of our collection and is an asset.
  • Bookshops and promotional stuff
  • Blogs

It’s a long but necessary list to keep you …

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Response to Zipe

So are we indeed not responding to the changes in the way young people read and holding steadfast to the ‘alphabetic literacy through reading print’ that we embrace?

I think there is some truth to this.  Children do decode, ‘misread’ text, as we push them to gain literacy at a pace which suits our educational institutions.  It is the mark of a good education however, to empower students to go deeper into sustained texts and gain insight into the writer’s mind.  If you immerse yourself in a book, you do indeed create a collaboration with the writer (Zipe 2009 p.38) and learn about the human condition, civic responsibility, empathy and awareness of others’ lives.

Take for example the book ‘Wonder’ R. J. Palaccio.  The Year 5’s devoured this book.  They come from (by and large) privileged secure backgrounds, they do not have to worry about their visual impact on others.  Reading through Augie’s eyes was a revelation.  They were tangibly changed by this story – by understanding another’s life experience, empathizing with a fellow human being and gaining insight into their own prejudices and snap evaluations of a person’s character by their covering.

There are many devices vying for our attention these days.  Quite a few people have written about the changes in the way that we read text – skimming, scanning and speed decoding for the main nub of information – grab and go.   Nicholas Carr wrote beautifully on this subject pointing out how we are re-training our brains to scan rather than read long protracted works.  Try a week of reading for university and then picking up James Joyce – I can guarantee that you will start skipping to the main plot elements instead of wallowing in the lyrical wonder of the text – which is the point of Joyce more than the plot I would argue.

So if all children did was skim and scan we would indeed be neglecting their needs.  Children however are a different kettle of fish.  They multi-task but they also have time.  They are also hungry for validation and have an innate passion to find their place in the world.  Reading sustained texts – books allows these discoveries, where their sense of place in society, cultural values and ideals, and ability to empathize with others is composted!  From which the soul grows.

We do provide lots of screen time at my school.  Tech is everywhere – ubiquitous.  There is even a drive to vapourise the senior library and replace it with online resources only.   What have we found by trying to force children towards only online – they want books.  Not at the rate of my generation perhaps but still the demand grows.  Books don’t have screens, they don’t have batteries and they can be taken just about anywhere.  Children and tech savvy teens understand this.  They also understand the currency of knowing about a story and being included into the ‘club’ of readers who have experienced and been changed by a particularly good tale – discuss it even, debate and analyse it.

We are recognizing the point of difference.  Catering for it in fact.  We are also firmly hanging on, encouraging and promoting the traditional book and its benefits.  It would be silly to put all your eggs in one literacy rich basket.  Bring on the plethora – as long as it’s done well and the children have the skills – tech or otherwise – to flourish and grow.

Simply Beautiful..

Zipe, J. (2009). Misreading children and the fate of the book in Relentless progress the reconfiguration of children’s literature, fairy tales, and storytelling. London: Routledge. (Chapter 2, p. 27-44)

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What is the definition of children’s literature?

Well, let me see.  What do I think?

Having read a few articles over the last week there seems to be a vague consensus on what constitutes literature for children or children’s literature.  (You see how I phrased that before – even that is contentious you know!)

Here’s how I see it:

  • Children’s literature in the modern age is literature written with an idea that a child might read it – perhaps not the sole audience but as the main audience.
  • Reflects their lives, outlook, perspective and view of the world in all its nascent, evolving and naive glory.
  • Enhances their understanding of their world by providing new perspectives, view, information, description, vocabulary, expression – it is as Cairney (1994) states “Transformative” in some way.
  • Enjoyable – it is literature that is enjoyed by children – this might conflict with the first point in this list – some literature specifically written for children is despised by that particular group, similarly children do sometimes have a predilection for pushing the boundaries and searching willfully for literature that is not particularly aimed at them but then absorbed and adopted thus.
  • High literacy standard (well it should have) – but again let’s be frank the number of children who ‘inhaled’ the  ‘Twilight’ series proves that sometimes the enjoyment factor and the quality factor can be mutually exclusive – but I would still put Twilight as children’s or tween literature.
  • Accessible – these days it should and is available in different forms – digital, audio etc but also in the use of language and syntax.
  • Meaningful – it should somehow be meaningful to the reader.  Even Twilight gave meaning to some!
  • Learning – it provides some form of learning – either of the human condition, information or provides and understanding of another view point, way of life or experience.

There – I am not sure if these ideas are correct but if I could write a book or text for children and I managed 50% of that list I would be pretty pleased with myself.  I think of all the children’s literature that I have read as an adult and it all fits into those categories (and more).

It is a difficult thing to pin down – we are all so heavily invested in children’s literature as educators it is hard to objectively see that criteria that would exclude some texts.

Thank you and goodnight.

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The future of children’s literature

It was really interesting to read about the evolution of children’s literature – from its early beginnings as a spin-off from adult text, to moral codes through stories, to books of instruction – taming the savages, and finally entertainment.  I summarize badly here but you get the drift.

It seems so obvious that as the focus on children as separate entities changed, so did the interest and desire to publish for children changed.  The stark contrast in how we view children today compared to 50 years ago is stark.  There seems to be a radical change from ‘seen and not heard’ to taking centre stage.  Children seem to be in the driver’s seat a lot these days and it is only reasonable to expect that publishing is coming to meet the demand of parents wanting to provide wonderful, rich resources to enlighten and educate their children.

Children themselves who are highly connected and discerning consumers, are also making their priorities and requirements heard loud and clear too.  In Sweden children are now key forces in the family choice of holiday, car and their place of schooling – there is a very book on this subject ‘How Children Took Power’ by David Eberhardt.  I know from personal experience families who purchase cars based on the preferences shown by their children.  Note the children do not pay for the car, but get to choose the type, specification and colour!  So you can imagine the influence children have on what type of literature they want and will read!

The rapid expansion of technology and its ubiquitous nature fuels the connectivity of children with the wider world and makes their voice loud – let’s face it they have the time to ponder, upload and discuss perhaps more so than their parents, teachers and significant adult others.  Tech democratises demand.  Each voice on social media is as valid as another.  This of course has wider implications for how we live our lives generally but for literature I think we will see a greater impact on children’s choices.

Firstly I think there will be a lot more young/younger authors publishing electronically.  Kids love reading about themselves from their own perspectives.  Have a look at Zoe Sugg – Girl Online.  What a phenomena.  She’s hardly 35, leapt through the vetting process at large publilshers and wise about marketing her ‘brand’ to the kids.  She’s a fashion vlogger, blogger and now a writer.  Her book is interesting, predictable and perfect for the tween who just wants to read something catchy, relevant and (wait for the phrase to make me seem ancient) hip.

Secondly I think the trend for highly imaginative and different texts will continue.  ‘The Book with No Pictures’ is one example.  Fascinating, imaginative and fun.  Kids also want to ‘do’ things with the literature – they want to interact with it.  I love reading ‘The Very Cranky Bear’ to my 4 year old but he loves the app – with swiping motion, sound effects, games and the ability to control the pace of the story – we read it together but in a different way.

Thirdly I wonder if the massive rise of visual media will detract from literature in a print form?  Are we moving towards, or backwards to oral story telling – are the fairytales going to leap back off the page and return to the bedside in the form of a YouTube clip on an iPad?  Time poor parents could perhaps record themselves, upload it and then when the children head to bed they could have that delayed transmission ready to go!

I am pretty sure however that the printed text isn’t going anywhere fast.  The tactile nature of a book is important for littlies.   They enjoy the process of holding them, turning the pages, following the text with their finger (and not inadvertently turning the page), feeling the paper and in some cases actually tasting the books.  They are still an important sensory experience.   You can also take a printed book to the beach, swimming pool and park without fear – try having the same blase attitude if it’s a Kindle or iPad as you watch your child bury it in the sand.

So there is change afoot.  Evolving predilections of every generation provoke change.  The driving forces, to sum up, are children with their loud consumer savvy voices, parents who wish to provide enlightenment and entertainment in equal doses and of course the inevitable economics – where the money goes – so do the producers of literature – whatever the form that might be.

 

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Part C – Critical Reflection

As I embarked on this subject I took the entire discipline of resource description for granted.  I had a minimal understanding of subject headings, a nascent user-based understanding of SCIS and no knowledge at all about how to build DDC numbers, classify items and organise resources so they are easily, consistently and systematically found (Svenonius, E. 2001 p.16).

I quickly discovered that information resource description is complex.  It is deep and at times mystifying.  It is however, essential.

“Bibliographic organisation” (Hider, P. 2013 p. 13) is what we do as librarians. Understanding the four levels of information resource (FRBR) items, and how RDA facilitates the finding, identifying, selecting and obtaining of a resource (Hider, P. 2013 p.117) was invaluable.  It shed light on how the catalogue is constructed and the immense logical and cognitive thought behind an invaluable reserve of information.

In studying ‘Vocabularies’ it was time to get up close and personal with DDC23.  It is a wonderful, practical and adaptive thing but challenging to understand.  As a classification scheme its logical subject based approach provides the end users with accurate, convenient and swift access to information (Svenonius, E. 2001 p.16) – a priority for all libraries.  It is no wonder that Australia has so readily and widely adopted DDC (Martin, G. 2001 p. 54).  It’s ‘hospitality’ (Hider, P. 2013 p.166) is essential as we continually update and add.  The online resource ‘Classify’ (OCLC 2014) is wonderful, as noted in online forums (CSU Module 5 forum).  It is in essence the ‘reference’ section of DDC23 and if one simply types in a resource up comes its place in the Dewey universe.  Fantastically useful.

An exciting area of development in the near, now-ish future, is the advent of semantic web, folksonomy and tagging.  The discipline of cataloguing, will continue in the same broad vein but there are changes afoot.  Costs of maintaining high quality metadata (Hider, P. 2013 p. 189), the changing behaviours of end users and the adaptive requirements of information resources signifies a new era.  Resource description maintained by harnessing the collective intelligence (Alemu, G., Stevens, B., Ross, P. & Chandler, J. (2012) p.314) and needs of end-users, means that resources might be more easily found by those using it. A departure from standard/controlled vocabularies could be problematic for resource retrieval – homonyms and synonyms the tip of the iceberg (Hider, P 2013 p. 190) and it may also signify the end of editorial quality, structure and an authority in resource description, leading to a chaotic landscape of information (Alemu, G. et. al. (2012) p. 317), time will tell.  Library catalogues are not the first port of call for people seeking information (Hider, P. 2013 p.99) so we have to adapt to this change by making the interface more relevant or placing content into search engines.

A pertinent example is to be found right where I work.  A new interactive OPAC is being sourced.  The resources in our school will be catalogued using SCIS (with added RDA!) and DDC23 but Web 2.0 will add to the way the resources are accessed by the student body with interactivity incorporated – folksonomy and tagging will be actively encouraged.  I particularly love the visualisation of tagging clouds (Gunter, D. in Polanka, S. 2012 p.203).  Student-friendly vocabularies will be incorporated into the catalogue by users  adding to, rather than replacing the original cataloguing.  This is a radical change from the way metadata was historically used and created (Hider, P. 2013 p. 70).  This is the future – a seismic change from the way metadata was historically used and created (Hider, P. 2013 p. 70) but in my view an exciting one.

This course has provided me with the where-with-all to get down with WebDewey, subject headings and navigate my way around information resource description.  Essential for a TL or a ‘metadata librarian’ (Hider, P. 2013 p.189).

References

Alemu, G., Stevens, B., Ross, P. & Chandler, J. (2012) The Social Space of Metadata: Perspectives of LIS Academics and Postgraduates on Standards –Based and Socially Constructed Metadata Approaches Journal of Library Metadata 12:4, 311-344, DOI: 10.1080/19386389.2012.735523

Classify (2014) Retrieved from: http://classify.oclc.org/classify2/

CSU Forum 5 (2014) Retrieved from: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL505_201460_W_D/page/430569b8-fe33-4874-005d-14117967e95d

Hider, P. (2012). Information Resource Description Creating and Managing Metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Hider, P., & Harvey, R. (2008). Organising Knowledge in a global society. Principles and practice in libraries and information centres. Wagga Wagga: Centre for information studies. Charles Sturt University.

Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. Chicago: American Library Association.

Martin, G. (2001) DC and Australia from the 19th to 21st Century. In Seachange: Cataloguing in a Dot Com World: 14th National Cataloguing Conference Preprints. Geelong. Vic.: Organizing Committee of the 14th National Cataloguing Conference, pp.54-57

Polanka, S. (2012). The Semantic Web: History, Applications and Future Possibilities.  E-Reference Context and Discoverability in Libraries: Issues and Concepts (pp. 1-312). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. DOI:10.4018/978-1-61350-308-9

Svenonius, E. (2001). The intellectual foundation of information organization. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

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Feeling a rant coming on…

ETL 505 is an inexorably difficult ornery subject full of pitfalls, terminology, stress and anti-matter flavored nastiness.

The first assignment is back and I passed… but not by that much.  May I be frank? The lecturer who marked my essay (which I spent days – yes days – sweating over) for which I neglected my children (partially), eschewed meals for, ripped hair out, uttered curses so vile the dog left the room, cried over and gnashed my teeth for  – well the lecturer wrote a total of 3 tiny comments. That’s it.  A total of about 20 words. And a comment at the very end.  Frankly (yes here comes the let’s be frank bit), FRANKLY that is just not good enough.  I feel the marking should be at least a little bit more commensurate with the effort put in – and if I am fair,  in all my other subjects I have received a lot of really good feedback.  All the comments from the marker were negative – large swathes of the text ignored – do I take it that if there is no comment then this was ok – or did the lecturer just not read it?  Skim and scan????

I was asked to put in subheadings – it is an essay and style guide by CSU states that we write it to flow.   I focused too much on Metadata – well… isn’t the whole point of module 1-3 about metadata?  I did actually write about the other questions and how can you answer ‘What does organizing information entail?’ without mentioning and examining metadata?  Perhaps because it didn’t have a HEADING it was missed.   As was the bit about defining information organising and why agencies have to organise information.  No comment about my bibliography. Bah. Bother. Arggh. Grrrr.

Bear (grrr) in mind also that apart from the modules about metadata, the book about metadata – there is no guidance about what to write in this essay.  Nothing.  And don’t even go there with the rubric.  Damn your eyes – I followed that sucker to the best of my ability.  This course is generally a set and forget thing.  One reprieve for part B was the inclusion of a guiding hand – a copy of a student’s work with cataloguing RDA.  This must have been because they knew if they didn’t include a tangible example of what is to be expected they could expect a phenomenal fail rate.

I passed – so I should not be so bitter  – but yet here I am, writing this in my blog as a cathartic release of pent up frustration and general venom letting, which I have been marinating in for the last 24 hours since receiving my carefully analysed marked essay.

If you forget the imposed levels of stress heaved out by concertinaing all the difficult SCISSHL and DDC stuff into 2 frigging weeks then expect an in-depth entire subject review of learning, evaluation and discussion about the future of description/organising of materials in school libraries in 500 words – then sure it’s fine.  Except it is not fine.  It is horrible.  It is unnecessary.  I gather that they hold off giving out the final items to SCISSHL and DDC stuff so that we focus on building up our skills and not just on the final assignment. Well – that just whiffs of bad course structure.  Whiffs, wafts and yay verily pongs of it.  Design the assessment so that it incorporates the other elements into it rather than hanging on to the assessment at the end like some sort of revolting malodorous surprise.  We are all teachers here right?  We get it.  Lift your game and design better assessment.  Give more guidance on what sort of emphasis should be in that essay – I followed the rubric and yet…

One person described this subject as having to learn a new language in 16 weeks – they are totally correct.  It is.  New language, new system, new webpage (Webdewey’s a bitch) and then synthesize all the research into an essay, then write a reflection on a EVERYTHING in 500 words.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The guidelines are waffly, rubric is vague, the marks are harsh and the feedback barely there.

I deeply dislike this subject – and by that I mean I dislike it as much as seeing Clive Palmer in a pair of XXS speedos at the beach doing deep knee bends.  It disappoints, revolts and I may need therapy after it.

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