Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

The last time I wrote about the value of reading, I latched onto the words of my TV buddies – The Simpsons – when they proclaimed: Books have an amazing power!

But when I come across a visual which says (nearly) all that I write, think and feel, I just love it!!

Read Full Post »

The new Australian Children’s Laureate has just been announced!

Having written more than 60 books for children, including novels, picture books, non-fiction books and a play, Ursula Dubosarsky will spend the next two years traveling throughout the country promoting the joy and importance of reading.

While following in the tracks of Morris Gleitzman, the previous Australian Children’s Laureate will not be easy, Dubosarsky has already set her sites high.  Using the theme ‘Read for your life’ Dubosarsky has stated that her aim is to get teens reading!

Australia’s new Children’s Laureate has urged all parents to sign up their children to local libraries and visit weekly, worried that younger readers may not develop a lifetime appreciation of reading as they move into adolescence and adulthood……

“Reading is a lifetime project, it’s not something you learn, and that’s it,” she said. “To be a good reader you have to read all the time. It’s like learning to swim but only doing one lap. You won’t be able to save yourself.”

The Age: New children’s laureate worries for teen readers by Linda Morris. February 11, 2020

Check out the video of Dubosarsky on Story Box to get a feel of where the next two years are headed:

Read more about the concept of Australian Children’s Laureate on their website.

Read Full Post »

Every now and then I publish a post on my other blog which has as much relevance here on BevsBookBlog as it does on NovaNews.  So here’s my recent NovaNews post.   It would be great to have some feedback from my many readers here!

 

Timetabled Wider Reading sessions has been a given in each of the school libraries in which I’ve worked throughout my career.

Working in senior libraries, Wider Reading sessions have been scheduled with each class once a fortnight during an English period.  With the English teacher accompanying the students into the library, I’ve always felt that the session is as much for the teacher as it is for the students.   In the hope that the teacher will take on board my words of wisdom and exciting titbits about the latest great reads and their authors, I always try to pitch my enthusiastic words carefully.

Sadly though, there has been many a time when I’ve ‘lost’ the teacher to the photocopier, to the quick trip back to their desk for the forgotten whatever, to a quick/long chat with another teacher who happens to be in the library at that time or to any number of ‘more important than teaming with me in the library’ reason that calls the teacher away.  Then there are the times when the scheduled session with me is cancelled at the last minute: the students need to finish an essay, an assignment, a something or other which they will be doing in the library during their scheduled session.

Undoubtedly, these occurrences confirm in the minds of the students that their Wider Reading session really isn’t as important as their regular English period; that the Wider Reading session is a just a ‘filler’.  Students are always ready for a ‘zone out’ session.  Bad signals are easily sent and even more easily received.

Very disappointing.

Those times dampen my enthusiasm.

Those sessions however, when the English teacher has been on the same page as me, the teacher librarian, and has worked hand in hand with me,  the students are focused and engaged.  Those sessions are absolutely brilliant and rewarding because it is in those sessions that I am sure that the the students are really achieving my end goal – developing a love of reading!  It is these kinds of sessions which continually bolster my own enthusiasm to continue inspiring students to read.  It also confirms my belief that the role of teacher librarians in promoting reading and its value with both students and staff across our schools is of undeniable value!Knowing full well that the students’ sessions with me once a fortnight are but an isolated burst, I depend on the English teacher taking on board what I have to offer so they can reinforce it with their class during regular English periods.

Perhaps it was in an attempt to engage the English teachers more fully in the Wider Reading sessions, that in one school I worked, the library team decided to give the Wider Reading sessions a new slant.  In consultation with English teachers, the teacher librarians devised a program in which various aspects of writing style were the focus.  The program, liberally peppered with examples from novels in the library collection, was presented once a fortnight when students came in for their ‘Wider Reading’ session.  With a workbook to complete, there was an expectation that students would complete ‘homework’ and present it for correction by the teacher librarian.

The program was very well thought out and was great at highlighting writing style to the students.   Giving students ideas to improve their own writing style, the students were unwittingly being forced to read novels for a purpose: examining authors’ writing style.

As good as these sessions were though, the program unsettled me.  I found myself questioning the purpose of the Wider Reading program we were presenting.  Almost overnight, we seemed to have lost the opportunity to use this once a fortnight session to freely expose and encourage students to develop a love of reading and recognize for themselves the deep seated value that reading can bring as a lifelong skill and instead replaced it with an additional English period where the focus is on reading for the purpose of eliciting a written response.

We no longer had the time to explore other exciting programs which had been a part of our previous Wider Reading sessions:

  • cross age reading activities in which Year 10 student selected, considered and then read picture story books to the Preps – an activity which had a huge impact on all participants
  • a poetry showcase venture which was completed in conjunction with our local public library
  • a Writer in Residence program in which Year 10 & 11 students could be inspired to read and write
  • author visits which inspired and ignited interest, passion and reading

My passion is to encourage the growth of a reading culture in our schools.  As I’ve said so many times before, I passionately believe that reading is the cornerstone of all education.  Reading has an indelible impact on students’ ability to write.

So, at the bottom of all my thoughts rests one question: How can we make the most of that precious once a fortnight Wider Reading session to inspire in our students a love of reading?

Indeed – food for thought.

Read Full Post »

So let’s be honest!!

Have you ever had a squirmy feeling when you’ve seen a student in your library sneeze or cough while holding a book?  What about when you’ve noted that a particular student appears to be super unwell ….. almost probably running a temperature …. while browsing through books in the library?

Have you ever wondered, as the sneeze hits the book or the coughed on hands flip through the pages of the book, whether it’s possible for other students, or heaven forbid, for you yourself to ‘catch’ the germs deposited on the book if you should be the next one to touch the book?

No reason to laugh here, because this was exactly the thinking during the ‘Great Book Scare’ when it was thought that an infection could be caught just by borrowing a book from the library!

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fear sprouted in both the US and England that contaminated books, particularly those lent out from public libraries, could spread deadly diseases.  At a time when epidemics of tuberculosis, smallpox and scarlet fever were rampant, this frantic panic instilled a fear of public libraries.

Joseph Hayes, writing for the Smithsonian.com, has written a fascinating and comprehensive article outlining the history of the Great Book Scare:  When the public feared that library books could spread deadly diseases (August 23, 2019).

Well worth a read!

 

 

Read Full Post »

Even though I’d been working in libraries for a while, it had never happened.

I’d never had to deal with a wet book!!

But ….. it happened!

Just a few weeks into my new job (now some years ago!) it was with the flick of my hand that my cup of tea went flying and literally drowned the precious novel I was in the middle of reading.

Fortunately, an experienced colleague was on hand to smother my embarrassment and calm my nerves by showing me just how easy it was to save a wet book!

A recent post on Open Culture brought memories flooding back!!

And yes – we went through a very hefty bundle of paper towels that day, but the book was saved!!

Read Full Post »

With our summer holidays just finished in Australia, many of us are taking a little while to ‘get back into it!’

Settling back into work-a-day routines isn’t made any easier when coming across locations such as this one which has to be the ultimate hotel for any one of us working in libraries!

The Library Hotel in New York where each floor celebrates one of the 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System and has a reading room that is open 24 hours looks and feels amazing – and that’s just from watching this video!!

 

So when are the next holidays?!  🙂

Read Full Post »

It’s the start of the new year here in Australia.

For many libraries, particularly school libraries, a shortage of qualified and capable library staff is a real issue.  So for many of us, Pepper may just be the perfect ‘extra hand’ needed to jazz up the library!

Pepper is appealing, informative and knowledgeable – as long as you teach it everything it’s likely to be asked!

And that’s exactly what’s happening at Dudley Denny City Library in Mackay, North Queensland, Australia.  Library staff there have introduced this new staff member to their library patrons and have taught it to dance, play games and share historical stories with library patrons.

Currently, Pepper is only one of two humanoid robots in Australia.

At just 1.2 metres tall, Pepper has arms and hands similar to that of a human being. It moves around on wheels, and uses eye colour to indicate whether it understands a message.

Read more about Pepper at Dudley Denny City Library or check out this video below where Pepper shows of its talents at a meet the staff of the Financial Times briefing earlier last year.

 

Read Full Post »

Early last year, I blogged about an amazing find: a beach library in Coogee, Sydney

Well …… I’ve just found another one, this time in Albena on the Bulgarian Black Sea.

beach-library-albena

With over 2,500 books in 10 languages, the 140 library shelves extend for more than 12 linear meters.  Like many open space libraries being established around the world, readers are encouraged to borrow a book and leave their own.

I’ll have to keep this one on my ‘discover Albena list’ when I head that way one day!  Meantime, read more about The Beach Library on the Albena website.

Read Full Post »

Not very far from The New York Public Library lies Bryant Park – a beautiful, peaceful spot to wander and indulge the beauty of nature.

But ….. did you know that underneath Bryant Park, there is space for 2.5 million books?!

While it’s kind of eerie to think that a huge stash of books lays under the beautiful surrounds of this park, a seroius relocation of books from the New York Public Library has been operating for quite some time.

A recent article by Sarah Laskow: The New York Public Library is moving 1.5 million books to an underground lair outlines the comprehensive plans that have been put in place to create a safe, secure and highly organized location for books that can no longer be stored in the library.

Twenty-five years ago, when the library first moved books under the park, construction crews carved out two underground floors, but only the top one was finished. The second level, deeper down, was an unlit hollow, until, starting in April 2015, renovations transformed it into an archive-quality storage facility.

It is a beautifully cool 65 degrees down here, with 40 percent relative humidity, and there’s a new electric trolley system, in which books can be sent off to reading rooms upstairs in bright red carts. Most importantly, there is space for 2.5 million books.

The process of relocating the books, organizing, storing and thinking through how books requested can be easily retrieved is quite fascinating, so take the time to have a look at the article.

UPDATE:  Further to details outlined above, I’ve just read an article on Quartz which describes the unusual method of storing the 4 million – yes: 4 million! – books stored in the underground collection in Bryant Park.  Out with Dewey and in with ….. size!

Read Full Post »

It’s hard to reconcile from the warmth and safety of my home that wars across the world are ravaging life as we know it, reducing once great cities to nothing more than rubble.

Reading about this secret library in Syria brought me to tears.

Omar at the front line

                                 Omar at the front line

If you haven’t read this BBC article about “Syria’s secret library” read it.  If you don’t have time for that, scroll through the article to view the video in which Amjad gives a tour of the library.

Words really can be very powerful!

Postscript: I read that Darayya, the city in which Syria’s secret library, has now been evacuated.  Many of the books have been removed, but evidence of what was there remains.  In a short news segment in which Amjad, the young ‘librarian’ who lovingly tended the shelves of this library is interviewed, it was very moving to hear him say that he now dreams to study and become a librarian.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »