30 May 2006

CPTLA - great news for Parra!!!!

A report from Carmen Hartz, from OLOR, shows the ongoing commitement and inspiration which is the hallmark of so many of the TLs in the Parra Diocese.

Best of all - Carmen has ensured that the Parramatta TLs will again have a voice in future professional activities.

Thanks Carmen for 'putting up your hand'!!!

On Friday 19th May 5 primary teacher librarians attended the 21st annual CPTLA (Catholic Primary Teacher Librarian’s Association) conference at the Mercure Hotel on Broadway.

The conference is an opportunity for catholic primary teacher librarians in the state of NSW to network and learn about innovative practices in school libraries.

The keynote speaker for the day was author Lisa Forrest who shared stories about her best and worst experiences as an Olympian in the late 1970’s.

A choice of workshops throughout the day then allowed individuals to pursue topics of interest while an all day trade fair allowed all present to view and be inspired by new resources.

Some of the workshops to choose from were:

  • The Learning Federations Learning Objects with a primary focus
  • Book week books summarised and activities suggested
  • Ipod Shuffles with an overview of how to set up providing Audio books on Ipod shuffles in the library
  • Weblinks
  • Copyright
  • Storytelling in RE

Unfortunately there were only 5 primary teacher librarians from Parramatta in attendance, this is probably due to the fact that we have no representation on the CPTLA committee.

SO in a moment of weakness I volunteered as the Parramatta delegate! Be prepared to hear more from me about the CPTLA over the next 12 months.

The major work of the CPTLA is the annual conference. In preparation 2007 will be a 2 day conference, in or around May, at a lovely venue somewhere in the state of NSW.

28 May 2006

Livesearch on AlltheWeb

From the inservice on Friday:
"What questions does a search engine ask you?"
And the answer was "do you mean"?. In other words, search engines don't do much prompting to help us refine our searches. This led to some discussion about the future developments in search engines that are being worked on.

Now a report from Pandia Search Engine News about AlltheWeb, that confirms these directions......as well as providing us with an update on this trusty search tool.

Yahoo! is experimenting on the old AlltheWeb site.

The old Norwegian AlltheWeb search engine is no more, the technology having been integrated into the Yahoo! Search Engine. The site lives on, however, and Yahoo! is using it for various experiments, features that might finally find their way to the Yahoo.com site.

The latest experiment is Livesearch. As soon as you start writing a search query, AlltheWeb will start guessing your intentions, generating a list of alternative keyword combinations for you to pick. Read the rest of the report here.

26 May 2006

Enabling Curriculum - in the afternoon!

During the afternoon James Herring continued to explore a comprehensive range of options related to searching and ways that these tools can be used in the curriculum. It is our role to support teachers and students to improve access to information and ideas for learning.

However, in passing, James also mentioned Flickr as one of the alternative tools to Google's image storage space called Picasa - a place to store images, share images and promote what you are doing.

We mentioned Flickr at the Network Meeting, but if you missed out - read on. I promised to add a bit more information for those at the PD session - so here it is.

Flickr can do a lot for libraries!!! offering easy storage for any size library on any budget, and creating a more dynamic atmosphere for tagging (keeping track of what your pic are about), comments and more. It is also a great professional resource for saving the images that you use in PD sessions, or on particular topics in the curriculum. Better still - never mind where you are you will be able to access your Flickr resources, and embed them into anything you are doing. All this goes doubly for our students, who are very visual and love to take pictures, and share them with their friends.

Here are some ideas from the Weblog by Michael Stephens from his Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology. Some good ideas to adapt.

Enabling Curriculum

This report comes directly from the second session of the Professional Development being held at St Michael's, Baulkham Hills. James Herring from CSU has been working with the attendees on a range of ideas - all focussing on our roles as Teacher Librarians within NSW curriculum framework, and on our teaching and learning practices.

"There are a lot of blind statements about what we teach our students in our schools – lifelong learning skills – finding information." says James - and then promptly challenges us to look 'differently' at our goals and the learning outcomes for our students.

What do we know? What do our teachers know? What should be our goals? What is achievable? Our do we manage information? What 'language' or terminology do we use for information literacy skills and processes? How do we manage plagiarism?

"Quite often what the students are taught in schools bears no resemblance to what students need in the workplace. In the workplace people often find information from others in the workplace – through people!" James talked about research that showed the very different perspective that our students have of the research process, as well as the actual skills that are needed outside of a school environment.

It is easy to believe that we 'know' what to do to engage our students and prepare them with lifelong learning skills. Not so!

James will continue to challenge our thinking, as well as to provide practical and hands-on experience in using search engines and online tools to enliven the information literacy component of our Teacher Librarian roles.

25 May 2006

Max the Monkey sets off.....

Yesterday, a group of enthusiats got together at Mary MacKillop, and helped Max the Monkey launch his very own blog, telling the adventures of his fun journey.

"I decided that I wanted to leave the library and go on an adventure so.............
I packed my bag and left on an adventure".

Read Max the Monkey's blog here. Better still, why not add a comment, and add to the fun for the children involved in this project!

21 May 2006

MySpace and School Libraries

For those of you who attended the School Library Network Meeting on Tuesday 17, you will have heard Jan talk about the fact that we need to question what MySpace means and/or might offer in our understanding of our 'digital' students.

Well, new thoughts or old - definitely something to think about! An important read for all of us is found in another of the series of papers from Stephen's Lighthouse, this one being "What can MySpace teach us in school libraries". Read it here.

19 May 2006

NYT and "Scan this Book"

Blogger Stephen, from SirsiDynix, highlighted the following amazing article about books and technology:

The New York Times Magazine article from this past weekend (May 14th)is getting a lot of blog play. Phil Bradley has summarized some of the interesting stats here:

"Here are a few of the highlights:

Humans have published at least 32,000,000 books that, when digitised will fit onto a 50 petabyte hard disk. With tomorrow's technology it will all fit onto your iPod.

Nearly 100% of all contemporary recorded music has already been digitized, as has 10% of the half million movies on the IMDB.

1,000,000 books a year are being digitized, and books can be scanned at the rate of 1,000 pages per hour (by machine).

The link and tag may be two of the most important inventions of the last 50 years, allowing each book, page, paragraph, word to talk to each other.

Books, including fiction, will become a web of names and a community of ideas.

The effect of copyright law, to protect the publishers, has meant that about 75% of all books have been abandoned; out of print and unable to be copied. 15% of books are in the public domain and 10% are in print.

Value has shifted away from a copy of a book towards the many ways to recall, annotate, personalize and edit a work."

Worth a read!

Smart Technologies; Smart Books

Now available - Download SMART BoardTM software 9.5 for your SMART Board interactive whiteboard at no charge. Designed with input from educators, version 9.5 is easy for beginners but will accommodate even the most advanced users. Features include a searchable 6,000 image Gallery, backgrounds and interactive files. Learn more or download now.

Are your students stuck in "answer" gear?
The new book Q Tasks will help you develop a questioning culture and empower students to think critically, with 89 step-by-step tasks on curiosity, question types, building good questions, research quests, opinions, interviews, surveys, writing, study skills, and more.The whole book is available to read by checking out the pdf of each chapter. Scroll down to find the chapter links. Click here to browse the entire book!

18 May 2006

Search for credibility on the web

According to a recent article in eSchoolNews, two university researchers, along with a team of experts, are working on a technology that would allow users to assess the credibility of information they find through web searches. Michael Eisenberg (of Big6), professor and dean emeritus at the University of Washington, and David Lankes, an associate professor at Syracuse University, received a grant to establish a web site called the Credibility Commons. The site aims to provide computer programs and tools to help users more easily find credible information online. Read the article here.

17 May 2006

Shortlist for the Carnegie medal

A clash of titans in one section of the world's leading children's book prizes was offset yesterday by an invasion of relatively ungarlanded talent in the other.

Four out of five names in the shortlist for the Carnegie medal have won the award before. But none of the eight finalists for the £5,000 Kate Greenaway illustrators medal have held it previously.

The awards - uniquely, administered and judged by librarians - are more internationally respected than any others for the age group. The Carnegie, which was founded 69 years ago and carries no prize money, has been won in the past by authors ranging from Eleanor Farjohn to Noel Streatfield and CS Lewis. Read the full report from The Guardian here.

16 May 2006

SirsiDynix Institute

I have added SirsiDynix Stephen's Lighthouse Blog to the Blog listings and the SirsiDynix Institute to the Links.

The Institute has a lot of information about library developments, issues to consider etc. In addition, it has seminars that can be listened to online (after the event as they take place when we are asleep) - or better still, subscribe to them by podcast. Now that I have discovered that I can subscribe through iTunes, I'm on to it!

The link to read about the podcasts is here.

15 May 2006

Book Bites

I have added a link to Book Bites blog which Marita Thomson runs at Patrician Brothers. Thanks for sharing this with Teacher Librarians everywhere!

This is just one example of the great flexibility and opportunity that blogs offer us for promotion, communication, and engagement with our students.

14 May 2006

ALIA Children’s and Youth Services Group

Marita Thomson writes...

Following a general invitation on the aliaCYSS e-list last week, I attended the latest meeting of ALIA Children’s and Youth Services Group this week. Since it was being held just up the street at the new Blacktown Library, and as I had been meaning to make contact with the Youth Services Librarian for some time, I thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. As circumstance would have it, the local YSL wasn’t able to be present, but the rest of this active bunch ran a well-planned, informative and fast paced meeting, convened by Margaret Redrup-May, which covered many topics of interest to teacher librarians.

If you are seeking ideas for Book Week presentations then you may want to go along to the annual Pre Book Week Extravaganza. I attended this event years ago when working in public libraries and would recommend it as a lively and stimulating evening, suited especially to primary TLs but also those ambitious high school people who go all out for Book Week (Sharon, you know I mean you).

National Simultaneous Storytime is on again in September and the book this year is Good Night, Me by Andrew Daddo and Emma Quay. This event is planned to coincide with National Literacy and Numeracy Week. Whilst the story chosen is aimed at young children, there is also some scope for organising events that involve older students working with primary schools or preschools.

An interesting issue that CYS has been grappling with over some months is fair dealing over the lending of computer games. ALIA executive have been researching this and liaising with the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia to work towards guidelines or an agreement which should be finalised later this year. Although I had thought this not a matter of relevance to me I then recalled that we had recently been given multiple copies of a game used by our Business Studies classes. I shall now be contacting the publishers for permission to loan these copies.

Whilst ASLA covers the interests of teacher librarians very well, keeping up with what is going on in other libraries which serve children and young adults is a good start to developing partnerships in our local communities. Must make that appointment with the local Youth Services Librarian this week!

Marita Thomson

Tag - You’re Delicious!

The latest research suggests that there are approximately one gazillion websites out there (source: Wikipedia), and four out of five doctors will tell you that no one in their right minds should ever try to memorize the Web addresses for even one-tenth of that amount. So that’s why the Web demigods invented bookmarking: it’s a nice, simple way to keep a list of your favorite websites handy for whenever you use your computer.

But bookmarking with your Web browser has its limitations. For one thing, you’re saving your bookmarks only on your computer. If you’re using a desktop PC in your classroom, that means you can’t bring your bookmark collection with you when you go home or elsewhere; it also means you can’t share your favorite bookmarks with your colleagues very easily. Meanwhile, categorizing bookmarks has its limitations. Sure, you can organize them into neat little folders for each class you teach, but it’s not like you can tag them with relevant keywords or jot down some notes about each website very easily.

That’s where del.icio.us comes in. del.icio.us (yes, it’s pronounced “delicious,” and written in lower case) is a community bookmarking tool. By “community,” I mean the entire online community - everyone with Internet access. del.icio.us allows you to share your bookmarks with the entire world, accessible from any online computer.

To learn about this 'cool tool' and how to use it, read the whole post from Andy Carvin at Learning.now

13 May 2006

Google Notebook Screenshots

Folks who attend the K-12 Network meeting will be introduced to Web 2.0, and the plethora of possibilities it offers us all.

I use del.icio.us all the time so was interested to read about the latest product entry to online 'social bookmarking'. From TechCrunch comes a report about Google Notebook. A Google employee named Erica Joy has posted a number of screenshots of Google Notebook, which will launch next week at google.com/notebook. Notebook looks like it is designed to be a flat out del.icio.us competitor, allowing you to gather content from around the web, add metadata like categories and, if you like, publish the information.

10 May 2006

Children's Book Council Conference

Mary Anne Cartwright received professional development support from the CEO to attend the recent CBC Conference. I though I should share her enthusiam with you all...

"I had a wonderful time at the 3 day CBC conference. Listening to a wide panel of children's authors and illustrators who provided informative and interesting talks on their books and the state of children's literature in Australia and globally was just fantastic. My favourite speaker was definitely Kosei Ono who spoke about Manga and Anime both in Japan and Europe. I also heard Emily Rodda, Terry Denton, Andy Griffiths, David Lloyd, Emma Quay, Lisa Shanahan, Doug McLeod, Helen Oxenbury, Pamela Freeman, Robin Morrow( ex Children's bookshop Beecroft) Shaun Tan, Bob Randall, Anita Heiss,Libby Hathorn, Libby Gleeson,Jeanette Rowe, Andrew Daddo, Chris Cheng, Lene Kaaberbol speak and met loads more including Lynley Dodd and Robert Inkpen.

The Trade Fair was brilliant with a wide variety of displays available and I have never been to so many book launches in 3 days...of course you know what that means, lots of champagne. My favourite part however was the Illustrator's Studio where illustrators, on a rotating roster, drew for the audience some of their favourite characters from their books.

James Valentine hosted his Afternoon Show on 702 ABC Radio from the Exhibition Centre where the Conference was being held and would you believe he was looking for an embittered librarian but instead he interviewed me live!! You can see a picture of my hair if you go to his show for the day on

I just wished every teacher librarian in our Diocese could have attended the Conference as it was an enriching and invigorating experience to meet so many people who loved children's books."

09 May 2006

Bibliography maker - online

In keeping with the enthusiasm that students have using online tools to do things, then EasyBib just might be useful for you for an online activity. There is a free version, and students can actually create their whole bibliography. Unfortunately it only does MLA style - but still might be worth a spin. If you know of another source like this, just add a comment to let everyone know.

07 May 2006

Deep Web - Search Tools

The regular search engines can’t see beyond the front page of an estimated 200,000 sites with information in databases. This is information that is usually developed by experts in the field. TechLearning’s “Delving Into the Deep End of the Web” has a list of tools that can search these resources. To make it even better, there are tips for specific tools.

Very handy for building Webliographies and Pathfinders!
From Educational Technology

03 May 2006

1st ACEL-Microsoft Online Conference on Innovative Teaching and Learning

15-21 May 2006

The Australian Council for Educational Leaders and Microsoft are combining to offer the first ACEL/Microsoft online conference on innovative teaching and learning in the classroom. Featuring informative papers and interactive discussions, the conference will be held for seven days on the internet (24 hours a day) from Monday 15 May to midnight Sunday 21 May 2006. Each day participants will have the opportunity to discuss innovative classroom practice online, with education colleagues in Australia and around the world.

There is no cost for participating in this online conference, to read the papers and join in the daily online discussions. To register, log on to: http://www.cybertext.net.au/acel06.htm

National Bibliographic Database: Free in 2006

Earlier this year the National Library of Austalia announced that it was now providing free access to the National Bibliographic Database Libraries Australia, . This service provides access to the complete database of over 14 million records for both Australian and international resources. Users also have the option to buy material using links through online bookshops.

Using the navigation links schools can have quick access to authoritative sources of information.

You can still search PictureAustralia independently, but it is now also fully integrated into the comprehensive new search facility of Libraries Australia.

However, not to be outdone, PictureAustralia has also announced an exciting initiative to increase the number of contemporary images in PictureAustralia, by including images from www.flickr.com

FlickR, managed by Yahoo!, is a global online repository where photographic images can be uploaded, stored and shared. Now you can contribute your images to PictureAustralia by loading them into our two groups available on FlickR, PictureAustralia: Australia Day and PictureAustralia: People, places and events.

The PictureAustralia: Australia Day group is a collection of images relating to this day of national significance. The PictureAustralia: People, places and events group is a collection of images depicting the people, places, and events, which make Australia unique.Why not search PictureAustralia for a streetscape or town as it looked in the early part of the 20th Century and then capture it as it looks today.

Each week they collect the metadata (descriptive information) and the thumbnail images from the groups and load them into PictureAustralia, enhancing its value to researchers and the general public. The first load will occured the week following Australia Day 2006.

Why not start 'snapping’ and photograph Australia as you see it, then upload your images into Flickr and share them with the world through PictureAustralia

02 May 2006

The Teacher Librarian's Toolkit

I thought I would share this online Toolkit from the Ontario Library Assocation with you all, as a few TLs have already looked at it and found some good ideas. Most documents are available in two formats -pdf & Word - and readily adaptible to our own needs.
"Teacher-librarians can and do make a difference. There is a considerable body of documented evidence that proves that schools having a good school library and program have a positive impact on student achievement. Evidence-Based Practice is not complicated. It is a simple process of paying attention to what you do and keeping a record of how that helps teachers and students. As Ross Todd explains, Evidence-Based Practice is “knowing and showing how the school library programs helps students learn.” For more information on Evidence-Based Practice, please
click here."

01 May 2006

What this blog is about

So many people have mentioned the need for regular news online, that is additional to main workplace sources of information.

In thinking about the amazing changes that we are involved in with the digital world of our students it seemed just the thing to go really digital with a kind of online journal and update column combined!

I don't know if any of you read The Gutenberg Elegies by Sven Birkerts a few years ago, or indeed other books that have predicted the demise of print and books. While I don't think books are about to disappear just yet, I do think that we have to be sure that we understand the very different world that our students (or digital natives as they are sometimes referred to) are operating in.

This blog has been set up to provide an easy online way of distributing and discussing important bits of information related to working as information professionals in school libraries. BibBlog is an online record of ideas and happenings - perhaps a bibliographic record of changes? I hope BibBlog works for you as easily as it can work for me!