Sarah Elliott’s Blog

Travel with me on my voyage of learning and discovery…

Archive for September, 2009

Building a library from scratch

Posted by sarahelliott on September 21, 2009

Our school has moved to a ‘new’ location. New to us, but actually very old! The positive is that our new location means that we now have more space for a school library and in reality it’s as if the library is in its first year of existence. Last school year we catalogued the majority of our resources, but now we’re hoping that we can really promote them and the purpose of the library.

The negative is that the room is actually a bomb shelter… so we have no windows and the air circulation is not the freshest that you might hope for. Oh yeah and then there’s the issue of us ‘temporarily’ sharing the room with music! But, I’m looking at the positive sides of things because I am positive that we can make this work.

One image that struck me from Ross Todd’s workshop (see previous post) was that of a school library with inspiring words such as “triumph, invent, dare…” were painted in large letters, arranged as a word cloud, on one of the library walls. What a fantastic idea! So, in my new library, I am dedicating one of our enormous notice boards to that idea and will try to recreate something similar. I hope it works! I’m not sure yet, but I’m also going to put up some questions based on the PYP 10 key concepts, as they are thought-provoking and will hopefully inspire the students to think more deeply the different resources that they use.

I am only working 1 day a week for the moment, so the process of creating the library is a slow one. Last week I finally managed to move the furniture into place (this was previously impossible as the library was being used a) as a teachers’ workroom and b) as a classroom and c) it had to be painted and the floor was polished)! This week they will apparently start work on the internet connection in the room and so next week I will start to sort out the resources – with some volunteers.

I am enjoying this challenge!


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Professional Development

Posted by sarahelliott on September 21, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) annual conference in Padova, Italy.  This was an amazing experience for me, and I felt that it gave a much needed boost to my TL-spirit. Not that I have been doubting my desire or ability to be a TL, rather, I guess I had started to feel the pressures of being the only TL in my school and the only TL that I knew in Norway!

Before the conference started I took part in a workshop on Guided Inquiry with Carol Kuhlthau and also Guided Inquiry and Web 2.0 with Ross Todd. Wow! It was just fantastic. Ross Todd was particularly inspiring and I loved some of the web 2.0 tools that he demonstrated to us. I shared many of those ideas with my husband as soon as I could get onto the phone to him and he in turn is preparing to share some of the great ideas about the use of wordle with the rest of the staff in a meeting this week.

At the conference I listened to many talks and attended seminars given by leaders in the world of teacher librarianship. Notably, James Henri, James Herring, Carol Kuhlthau, Jennifer Branch and so the list goes one! Hearing those people speak passionately about student learning and the role of the school library and librarian was inspiring.

I learned a lot from my experience in Italy, but not only from the lectures, seminars and workshops but also by meeting many other international teacher librarians. That was one of the best parts about being there, meeting lovely people with similar interests to mine and equally passionate about their job as I am! Being able to talk over frustrations and ideas together was very beneficial. Feeling part of a group was very special and important. Connecting with the teacher-librarian community can help us in building our information literate school communities. Knowledge sharing certainly leads to knowledge building. Conversing is definitely one method for developing and refining ideas.

An incredibly worthwhile experience, now I am dreaming of IASL 2010 in Australia! – if only! 🙂

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