New friends made, old friends caught up with, highs & lows of the year shared, there was lots and lots of talk at our Auckland event. The food was amazing and the drinks were cold so the noise level increased accordingly.
Joanne Drayton was a dynamic speaker who kept us well entertained as she told us of how she came to write her book on Anne Perry. Joanne’s research process; interview style, and her insights into the teenager Juliet Hulme and the woman & writer, now Anne Perry was at times hilarious and definitely thought provoking.
We also celebrated the presentation of a Life Membership award to our friend and colleague Kaaren Hirst (St Mary's College, Ponsonby).
Christine Hurst, Library Manager, Macleans College, Howick, Auckland.
We’d discussed sharing a taxi on the Librarians email list and once the flight arrived, and there was no sight of the person we were supposed to meet, I realised quite a major flaw in my plan - we hadn't exchanged phone numbers. The taxi pulled into the main driveway at St. Andrews School, and I'm sure the driver thought we were going to do a runner because he repeated several time "The school is closed. School holidays.”
I found our accommodation in the hostel, which was a pleasant surprise, and then went to the meet and greet. I spoke to several people I know, and met several more whose names I recognised from the Listserv. After a long chat with the ladies at Access-It (l'm a huge fan) I did the rounds of supplier exhibits and grabbed a few pens. A few of us from the hostel were ready for dinner so we set off across the field and down the main drag towards the shops. The first place we came across was Thai, so we dived in to a selection of dishes. Back at the hostel a pre-bed cup of tea and I was ready for bed. The daylight savings change that morning meant it was only really 7pm, but it felt like 10pm. A long read of a good book (The Girl on the Train, in case you're wondering. An excellent read). All in all a good first day.
After trying not to fall out of the single bed all night, I headed off to breakfast. The dining room manager was a humorous man, which helped to start the day on the right note.
The first keynote speaker, Roger Dennis, was interesting (technical issues aside). He talked about how the world was changing rapidly and the growing technology curve showed an increase in tech over a short period of time. He talked about the pace of change going faster and faster, and to keep up he recommended buying Wired magazine, and also checking out Scanadoo, Tell Spec, and Thingiverse. He also reckoned that reverse mentoring is all the rage these days; find a digital superhero kid who knows what changes are coming up. I shall be on the lookout! When asked if we should be teaching our kids coding he said no, get kids to learn the logic that computers use, but not coding. When asked about e-books and print books, he said that print offers a serendipity that you don't get with digital; you don't know what's coming next in print.
My first workshop of the day was on e-books and e-literacy. Apparently research shows that we are reading more than ever before, just differently. Some read digitally, and some by print, and others a mixture of both. Setting up for e-books in your school can be tricky, and having to think about all the different technology can be challenging.
Next I went to find out about the librarian's toolbox. I got so much out of this session! The presenter had a website full of links to some really cool ideas, and I walked away from her session thinking that my year 9 orientation sessions next year are going to be transformed.
Mark Osborne from CORE Education was our second keynote speaker who delved into the modern learning environment. He challenged us to think of the library as no longer a storehouse, but as makerspaces/hackerspaces. We heard about, and saw, some amazing collaboration spaces.
The last workshop of the day was on how libraries are the new relevancy. The presenter talked about the many ways she has changed the library space at her school, in particular bringing the library staff out from the back room to be ‘front of house’ and interacting with the students more. The vacated space was then used by IT. I love the idea that the IT Department is more accessible to students.
The SLANZA awards and happy hour was next. A full, exhausting day.
Keynote, Janelle Riki, was an amazing speaker. I loved hearing about her family, and her journey. Hers was another message about change, and Janelle’s Seek slide showing the demand for certain industries, and lack of demand for others, was an eye opener. She helped me view my students from a different perspective, and my library (and me) will be better for it.
My first workshop of the day was on e-books with the Access-It ladies. I gleaned some great ideas for using the new OPAC. My second workshop was about using customisable quizzes to engage students. We did some Dewey quizzes while learning about how Kahoot and Socrative works (I wasn’t the fastest, but was pleased to see I know my Dewey!). Oh what fun! This built on the session from day 1, and I was starting to see how my student librarians training sessions might be transformed.
The final workshop was Creative Commons. I thought I had a good grasp of this topic, but I was educated further. I came away with a plan to make sure my school is licensed.
We were then bussed to Cashmere High School followed by Upper Riccarton Community Library. I had a great nosy around, took loads of photos and came away buzzing with ideas.
Browsed the trade tables and got pens.
That night was the conference dinner. The food served at the Ilex Centre was delicious (I don’t think I will ever taste better than Canterbury beef!), and the entertainment was…well, it was entertaining.
The last day of conference, and the keynote speaker first up was Kay Oddone talking about Makerspaces. This is definitely the buzzword of the conference, and Kay showed many ways that our libraries can become makerspaces. This talk also focussed on the changing world and how the job landscape for our young people will look very different in the next 2-5 years. Much food for thought.
I did a final round at the sponsor’s stands and made sure I had spoken to all of them. Got more pens.
The last workshop was how to Zhoosh up your Book Club. Is it telling that out of all the workshops this one solicited the most note-taking from me? I came away with squillions of ideas and can’t wait to implement them in my book club.
Workshops I wish I could have gone to:
●Engaging readers with engaging book talks
●Spicing up summer: summer reading programmes
●Don’t panic: a hitch-hikers guide to book week
●Why don't they just behave?
●Developing info-savvy students
●Digital footprints: you are what you click
●Tertiary prep programme
●BYOD: One school library’s journey
My overall focus on this conference was eBooks and digital libraries, as this is an area that we are currently looking at in my school. But I chose some workshops at the expense of missing out on others that I desperately wanted to go to. Luckily for me, a colleague was able to plan her workshops so that we didn’t go on the same ones, and we were able to have an in depth debrief following the conference. This is a strategy I recommend to anyone who has a buddy or colleague going to conference.
So with a focus of eBooks, I listened to how schools were implementing their programmes, how they’d gauged the comprehension of eBooks vs print, and how successful (or not) e-books are in their schools. My conclusion is that while they add a dimension to the collection, they are not the holy grail of library services.
There was much talk of makerspaces, or hackerspaces. I watched and listened, fascinated at how this new philosophy (dare I call it a craze?) was being adopted in school libraries. And while I had moments of excitement, I know deep down that this is not something that will work in my school. At this time. In the meantime, I will be taking all the wonderful things that I have learnt and adapt them to my school community. Which is the way it should be, don’t you think?
What did I learn from the conference?
●Librarians are an amazing bunch of people
●The amount of collective knowledge within the SLANZA membership is far-reaching
●There is no substitute for meeting your peers in person
●You can discuss library things over a glass of wine much easier than an email list
●SLANZA rocks! (thank you SLANZA for my conference ticket)
●I will never run my library orientation sessions the same again
●You can never have enough pens
So in conclusion, did I love my first SLANZA conference? Hell yes! Will I go to another one? Hell yes! Try and keep me away!
EPIC Databases training with Paula Banks
Student expectations are high. As librarians working in a digital environment we are expected to empower our students and school community with tools which will enable them to search, evaluate and retrieve information that they can understand and use in the right context for their inquiry learning.
EPIC - Electronic Purchasing in Collaboration - is the national e-licensing initiative that provides access to electronic databases free to all New Zealand school libraries, funded by the Ministry of Education. On Saturday the 29th August over 40 school librarians, and teachers, met together at the National Library building in Parnell, Auckland, to be updated on EPIC database usage by Paula Banks, the EPIC manager. Participants came from all parts of Auckland, as well as Hamilton, Thames and Christchurch.
Paula's presentation was excellent, she captured our attention and enabled an easy flow of questions and answers between us all. She introduced us to many new features now available from EPIC including how to use EZproxy URL's and search widgets (search boxes that can be embedded on any web page that allow users to conduct a search directly).
Ruth, from Thames High School, said "that usually if I can take one thing away from a workshop it is good, but today I will take away a lot more".
A PDF copy of Paula's presentation can be found here and she is presenting at the upcoming SLANZA National Conference in September. We highly recommend her workshop.
On Wednesday 24th June 40 SLANZA members met at St Kentigern's College library for our annual AGM. Everyone enjoyed exploring their beautiful library, and hearing the plans for expansion that were outlined by Anita Vandenberghe (College librarian). Anita also shared some very useful tips for creating wonderful displays. We were joined by Jackie Taylor from Miller books, and David Riley from Reading Warrior who each donated some beautiful books for our raffle.
After the President's and National Executive representative's reports were accepted nominations were called from the floor for new members on the committee. We were delighted to welcome Sharon Jackson from Albany Senior High and Jan Kean from Buckland's Beach Intermediate School. This takes our committee up to 15 members, however we are a large region and we try to offer two professional development events per term, so it is advantageous to be able to share the workload.
Also announced during the AGM were the successful recipients of the two conference grants Auckland region are awarding this year (Christine Hurst and Kerry Bax). This is to enable two of our members who have never been before, to attend the National SLANZA conference in Christchurch during the Term 2 holidays.
The committee would like to thank Anita and her team at St Kentigern's for offering their beautiful library as a venue, and for putting on such a delicious afternoon tea.
On Saturday 6th June 30 members and other interested people met at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate to hear two writers who are actively writing for Maori and Pasifika children, and to share ideas for making our libraries more welcoming and comfortable for our Maori students in particular.
Bevis Hanson writes his scary stories for all ages, but particularly young children. He started telling stories to the young children who came into his Otara Public Library because there were few books that grabbed their attention. He shared some of his stories with us, amazing to see a room full of librarians enjoying a picture book told with drama and excitement! And the free books were great too.
We were then privileged to hear Pam Lilley, Library Manager at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. She presented the research she has done on changing her library to make it more inclusive for her Maori students. Also present was Whaea Rowena, who added valuable insights into the needs of Maori students.
Pam offered some suggestions for becoming more inclusive, including
Fifteen school librarians and one staff member from the Auckland City Mission met at Carmel College to learn how to use Livebinders for content curation. The course was lead by Trish Webster (Rangitoto College), with help from Bharathi Char (Baradene College). After a discussion about content curation, and some tools that can be used, Trish took the participants through the process of starting a Livebinder from scratch. It was helpful for the participants to have help to navigate some of the difficulties they encountered but by the end of the morning they had created a Livebinder and imported the one that Trish created to support their learning. It was a very successful morning.
On Saturday March 7th over 30 library assistants, primary school librarians, board of trustee members, and others with an interest in school libraries met to learn more about basic library services. The topics covered included 'Where does this go' which covered collections and library organization, book covering, and 'How to cope on your own'. The NZEI provided a really sumptuous morning tea, and the participants enjoyed meeting others in a similar position to themselves. Feedback confirmed to the Auckland committee that there was a real need for this sort of professional development and that the day was a huge success.
The Auckland Region of SLANZA is holding four meetings in the last week of February to discuss the changes to the National Library Services. Please come along to whichever meeting suits you, they will all be the same format. So if you have questions and queries about the changes to National Library's Services to Schools please come along.
West Auckland : Kelston Boys High : Monday 23rd Feb : 4 – 5pm
Contact : Karen Leahy : RSVP to : firstname.lastname@example.org
South Auckland : Kings College : Tuesday 24th Feb : 4 – 5pm
Contact : Corinne Hinton : RSVP to : C.Hinton@kingscollege.school.nz
North Auckland : Rangitoto College : Wednesday 25th Feb : 4 – 5pm
Contact : Trish Webster : RSVP to : Trish.email@example.com
Central Auckland : Diocesan School for Girls : Thursday 26th Feb : 4 – 5pm
Contact : Tracy Westall : RSVP to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Albany Senior High School