Our 21st Century Destiny

Maybe you have to be a librarian to get excited about the Library management system but I hope not! Especially when it comes to the Destiny Quest feature of Follett’s LMS that we  launched a couple of weeks ago at school. It’s so slick and user-friendly that I’m hoping the whole school will be kicking into high gear over it.

What does Destiny Quest do?

Well it will took our catalogue from this:

Regular Destiny page at log-in

To this!

 Destiny Quest Homepage

Destiny Quest Homepage

This is a little pet project I had at the end of last year that was on a back burner until our IT team had time to upgrade the system (sadly we were behind about 5 versions).

So now searching looks more appealing and much easier to read. But wait there’s more! You can also:

  • customize the look of your page
  • write reviews
  • friend people and recommend books/websites
  • place holds on books
  • check your overdues
  • make wishlists
  • make resource lists
  • check your reading history
  • see what’s new to the library collection

And to really pull the library into the 21st Century ….

  • a smart phone app that connects to your library (go to iTunes store or Android Marketplace)
  • an iPad app that connects to your library.

Our school is beginning a one-to-one iPad program next year (incoming Year 7s); this wonderful Library Management System will mean that we remain front and centre – students will be required to install the library app as part of their suite of apps and we’ll be showing them how to use it as part of their Library orientation.

What more can I say except …
SQUEEEE!

 

Teacher Librarians vs. Learning Leaders: a rose by any other name …

A Rose by Any Other Name by Alaskan Dude from flickr Creative Commons

A Rose by Any Other Name by Alaskan Dude from flickr Creative Commons

The people over at the Teacher Librarian lobby group’s website, The Hub, recently reported on the DEEWR’s poor showing at the Canberra House Standing Committee on Education and Training’s “Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian Schools”‘.

I sent in a reply to the web article regarding some of the issues mentioned in the hearing that day and thought I’d add it below as things have arisen that I’m in the process of investigating now while I visit Canada for the next few weeks.

I wrote:

I think it’s interesting to see the numbers that are tossed about when it comes to TLs needed and the idea of shortages. There is only a shortage of TLs if schools will actually have TLs in their libraries. Most schools aren’t even looking to fill TL positions; they opt for untrained teachers, techs, librarians etc. or no one in the library.

I’m over in Canada at the moment on a holiday to my home province (Saskatchewan). In a small fit of nostalgia I went to my old high school (2000+) and met with the principal who is a slight acquaintance from the old days. I asked if I could have a look at the library and maybe talk to the TL as I was just finishing up my TL studies and she waved her hand and blithely said, “Sure go ahead, but we don’t have Teacher Librarians anymore. We got rid of them, we now use technicians and Learning Leaders, who are much better”. So a bit of an eye-opener for me that they are opting to neatly side-step TLs with yet another option that I’d never even heard of (I’m searching online to find out more about Learning Leaders today). I was interested to see when I went into the library that it looked identical to when I attended school there 30+ years ago – perhaps the library is being neatly side-stepped too, though I did see students studying (couldn’t spot any techs or LL’s). I think this antiquated stereotype of TLs and school libraries and the ignorance in the rest of the teaching profession to what we do (as also evidenced in the responses from DEEWR during the above inquiry hearing) is causing real damage to our profession worldwide. I am really keeping my fingers crossed that something positive comes out of all the hard work being put into this inquiry and that Australia may possibly lead the way in turning the tide.

So what is this Learning Leader position they have in Canada/Saskatchewan/my old school and how does it differ from what TL’s do? I’m in the process of finding out!

Mind-Set Meeting Reflections

Photo Courtesy: emdot at Flickr Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/73537086/

Photo Courtesy: emdot at Flickr Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/73537086/

A pause to reflect on the decision-making process our school working party has embarked on. Meeting on a weekly basis means it is easy for the week to slip by and not get any thoughts down.

Our first meeting involved only Step One – Mind-Setting (which needs to occur before the situation can be properly defined). It was very enlightening to get everyone’s perception of the problem/situation on to the table. Like the story of the blind men describing the elephant, it was important for everyone to see what everyone else assumed they were talking about. There was recognition of the complexity of the issue and that many were only considering one aspect of it. There was recognition that perhaps only symptoms of the actual situation had been dealt with in the past and so the actions were not successful. The picture became clearer as each member spoke around the circle and the the situation gained a seriousness it hadn’t had before; it became obvious that quick answers would not ‘fix it’ but that good decisions were possible.

The idea of information under-girding each step is one that I will have to further reinforce. We have talked about our feelings but now will need facts to base decisions on.

The most difficult aspect of the first meeting was for members to keep solutions out of the conversation when talking of their perceptions. I must be more strict about them not being verbalised at this point. I don’t want shortcuts to bias any definitions or criteria.

Just an interesting observation, but one I will address at the next meeting, is that of eye contact. I was surprised to see each member of the group when sharing their perceptions did not look at the group but spent the majority of the time making eye contact with me, the facilitator. I wonder if this is a hangover from ‘old school days’ when the student always addressed the teacher not the class’. Even the teachers in the working party did it. I tried to non-verbally encourage people to address the group by looking round at the group myself as each spoke, but that didn’t work. I’ll have to say directly.