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  • 11 Feb 2021 8:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2020 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award is Will Kostakis. The Maurice Saxby Award recognises service to children’s and/or young adult literature by an individual, team or organisation that has displayed excellence and passion in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW. 

    Will's passion, excellence, and commitment to the promotion of reading and children’s literature are evidenced by his roles as an ambassador for the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge and Australia Reads, and as a mentor of children and young adults as both readers and writers.

    Will has devoted considerable time, energy and expertise in engaging young readers and writers across NSW, often waiving fees, offering free virtual sessions, and self-funding regional tours in hard-to-reach schools, to ensure students have the experience of exposure to, and connection with, a real-life author!  As a regular guest in schools, Will is well known as a catalyst for creating and nurturing young readers and writers. His Author in Residence programs inspire student writers through his rich, practical and real-world connections to writing.

    Growing up in an immigrant family and being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Will has been a staunch advocate for the development of diverse and inclusive collections in school libraries. Driven by the hope he can help make students feel less alone through literary connections, Will is empowering readers and positively contributing to the reading culture of schools.

    In 2020, Will launched Line by Line, a virtual writing club for established, emerging, and aspiring storytellers as part of his response to the limitations of connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Will is active on social media, promoting his work and the work of like-minded authors. His awards and ambassadorships to date are impressive, but it is belief that representation matters that keep readers coming back to his work. The members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Will on the receipt of this award.

    This award will be presented at The Laureate & The Literacy Leader Professional Learning Summit on March 13th, 2021.

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  • 11 Feb 2021 7:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John Hirst Award for 2020 is Lee FitzGerald. Lee is an Adjunct Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship for the School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

    The John Hirst Award honours the memory of the Association’s founder, who had a vision and a passionate drive to establish the primary place of libraries in every NSW school. This award recognises excellence in professional leadership and/or service by an Association member who is either a teacher librarian or who supports school libraries in New South Wales. 

    Lee FitzGerald has been engaged in the NSW Teacher Librarianship community since 1988 when she began working as a teacher librarian. She worked as a TL in a number of Sydney schools, with her longest role being Head Teacher Librarian at Loreto Kirribilli for 11 years, where she led a team focusing on inquiry learning and developing a love of reading.

    Throughout her career as a TL practitioner, Lee has regularly published and presented on teaching and learning initiatives. Lee has authored and co-authored two professional books, as well as a number of journal articles based on her research and practice. Demonstrating the breadth of Lee’s reach in publishing across the profession in NSW and Australia, she has been the Editor of The NSW Department of Education journal, Scan, and is currently the Editor of the Australian School Library Association journal, Access.

    Lee has presented numerous keynotes, workshops, and online professional learning sessions for NSW TLs and teachers. She has also contributed significantly to the tertiary training of teachers as teacher librarians in her work as a sessional lecturer and marker with the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University since the mid-2000s, and later as a full-time Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship. To this day, Lee continues working with CSU as an adjunct lecturer, where she teaches across the subjects, Introduction to Teacher Librarianship, Resourcing the Curriculum, Digital Literature, and Literature across the Curriculum.

    Lee has been a proactive member of SLANSW’s Management Committee and demonstrated considerable leadership in service by leading the establishment of the Publications & Promotions Sub-Committee, the creation of the Members’ Blog, and expansion of the Association’s social media presence in 2020.

    In the past 3 decades, Lee FitzGerald has been a TL leader of guided inquiry, evidence-based practice, and action research within the NSW teacher librarianship community and has been incredibly generous with her time and expertise in mentoring and supporting the professional learning and training of hundreds of TLs in NSW. Lee is a worthy recipient of the John Hirst Award 2020 and members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate her on this achievement.

    This award will be presented at The Laureate & The Literacy Leader Professional Learning Summit on March 13th, 2021.

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  • 11 Feb 2021 7:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2020 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John H Lee Memorial Award is Beth Wilson. Beth is currently the Head of Information Services at Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga, Sydney. The John H Lee Memorial Award is presented to an individual or a school team in recognition of innovation in learning and teaching practice in a school or schools through learning technologies.

    Beth Wilson has designed and constructed online portals for her senior school libraries using LibPaths in the Infiniti Library Management System. When COVID-19 restricted the opening of physical libraries, Beth redeveloped the portals to cater for the remote learning needs of students and staff, with particular attention to increasing easy access to digital resources including databases, pertinent websites, ebooks, audiobooks, options for entertainment, and teaching and learning tools. Beth also developed guides for teachers to assist them in using a variety of technology platforms in their teaching.

    While there has been a significant increase in the use of online learning in education and the application of micro credentials and online badges in the tertiary sector, Beth has taken this a step further by applying tertiary online learning and micro credentialling approaches at the secondary school level through the school library. She has developed a series of tutorials in various aspects of Information Literacy, using iSpring Page, which can be counted towards micro credentials for students in her school. In recognition of the value of this work, her school is now including these online tutorials as an option for students to gain credit towards a new “Certificate of Global Competency” as a form of digital portfolio of student achievements throughout their time at the school.

    Beth Wilson's recent leadership within her school community in terms of the design and implementation of learning technologies into teaching and learning to facilitate information and digital literacies clearly meets the criteria for the John H Lee Memorial award.  Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Beth on receipt of this award.

    This award will be presented at The Laureate & The Literacy Leader Professional Learning Summit on March 13th, 2021.

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  • 11 Feb 2021 7:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The School Library Association of NSW Teacher Librarian of the Year for 2020 is Vicki Courtenay. Vicki is currently a Teaching and Learning Librarian at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill, Sydney.

    This award is given to a teacher librarian or team of teacher librarians in recognition of their outstanding contribution to teaching and learning in their school and their engagement with the school library community. To this end, Vicki has demonstrated her passion to establish the library’s role as a centre for academic scholarship, co-teaching opportunities, and reading culture.

    Vicki exhibits a strong understanding of information literacy theory and practice through the development of The Research Wheel. Inspired by Carol Kuhlthau’s Guided Inquiry Design and Information Search Process, the Research Wheel acts as a framework for teaching information literacy skills and helps students develop and apply lifelong learning strategies. Vicki works closely with both the HSC and the IB students at Trinity to build their study skills and has run a number of professional development sessions for staff to support them in fostering use of The Research Wheel with students.

    Working closely with her colleagues, Vicki co-teaches information literacy skills in context with curricular content. She applies an understanding of how boys learn to ensure success through student application of The Research Wheel.  During the remote learning phase of 2020, Vicki championed a “Library Minute” initiative, involving recording short explanatory videos using screencasting software to explain how to access various online library resources from student devices.

    Fostering reading for pleasure has also informed Vicki's programs in the senior school. For example, her rapid recommendations activity taps into the value of peer recommendations in reading engagement. A positive reading culture in Vicki's school community is evidenced by her coordination of reading picnics, pop-up library events in the school grounds, along with reading aloud to staff and students in support of Australian Reading Hour and National Simultaneous Storytime.

    As a teacher librarian at Trinity Grammar School, Vicki Courtenay has made an outstanding contribution to teaching and learning within her school, and has actively and effectively engaged with the school library community.  Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Vicki on receipt of this award.

    This award will be presented at The Laureate & The Literacy Leader Professional Learning Summit on March 13th, 2021.

    Download PDF

  • 16 Oct 2020 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Members of the SLANSW Executive have developed a Position Statement on the Status of School Libraries in NSW. This Position Statement was endorsed during the most recent SLANSW Management Committee Meeting (13 October 2020). To read the Position Statement in full download the PDF.

  • 21 Mar 2020 12:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The School Library Association of New South Wales recognises, through the conferring of awards, the professional leadership, vision, innovation, publications, research and collaboration of its members and those whose work influences the development of literacy, and in particular, information, digital, critical and creative literacy.  

    SLANSW awards include the John Hirst Award, the John H Lee Memorial Award, the Teacher Librarian of the Year Award, and the Maurice Saxby Award. The President, Dr Di Laycock, presented the 2019 SLANSW Awards at the "Reach out through Reading" Conference on 7 March, 2020. 

    Left to right:

    Dr. Di Laycock (President SLANSW), Prof. Alyson Simpson (Maurice Saxby Award),

    Phyl Coath (John Hirst Award), Lizzy Martin (SLANSW Teacher Librarian of the Year). 


    More information about these awards can be found at: https://slansw.net.au/Media


  • 1 Mar 2020 8:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2019 recipient of the Maurice Saxby Award is Professor Alyson Simpson. With a background as a primary school teacher librarian, Alyson now works with graduate-entry preservice teachers at the University of Sydney as a Professor in English literacy education.

    The Maurice Saxby Award for service to children’s and/or young adult literature is given to an individual, team or organisation that has displayed excellence and passion in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW. 

    Alyson’s passion, excellence, and commitment to the promotion of reading and children’s literature are evidenced in her voluntary service over two decades to KOALA, which stands for Kids Own Australian Literature Awards, and through her work as a teacher educator in undergraduate and postgraduate programs for preservice teachers.

    Upon moving from teaching into teacher education, Alyson continued her association with KOALA and has effectively brought research, theory, and practice together to embed educational rigour into its programs. She has worked with schools and relevant organisations to raise the profile of the KOALA program and has introduced KOALA to multiple cohorts of pre-service teachers by highlighting how literature awards chosen by children align with syllabus outcomes and help build critical literacy in students.

    Alyson was recognised by the Australian Government, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, in 2015 for her passionate commitment to dialogic pedagogy that inspires her students to teach critically and creatively with children’s literature.  She has conducted large-scale international research into the politics and practice of teaching with children’s literature and, in research conducted locally in primary schools, has explored the use of dialogic teaching in literature circles. Alyson has authored and edited a number of books focused on reading and the use of children’s literature in teaching.

    Through her longstanding service to KOALA, Alyson Simpson has influenced the lives of thousands of young readers across NSW. Similarly, Alyson’s dedication and commitment to literacy education has influenced the professional lives of the teachers and teacher librarians of today and tomorrow through provision of a rationale, resources, and strategies to support the development of reading programs. The members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Alyson on the receipt of this award.

    This award will be presented at the Reach Out Through Reading Conference on March 7th, 2020 at the State Library of NSW. 

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  • 29 Feb 2020 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John Hirst Award for 2019 is Phyl Coath. Phyl is the Owner and Director of Syba Signs, Australia’s leading provider of library signage, and Syba Academy, an experienced provider of quality professional learning for teachers, teacher-librarians, and education professionals.

    The John Hirst Award honours the memory of the Association’s founder, who had a vision and a passionate drive to establish the primary place of libraries in every NSW school.

    As a former teacher librarian, Phyl well understands the professional learning needs of teacher librarians and the importance of creating relevant, supportive, and interesting library environments. In 1998, she founded Syba Signs and developed a wide range of student-centred signage that, over the years, has helped create modern, functional, and stimulating learning spaces that have enhanced the library experiences of students across Australia and internationally.

    In 2006, Phyl extended her support of school libraries by designing professional learning for teacher librarians that was based on evidence-based practice and research. In 2013, what was then known as Syba Seminars received endorsement from NESA as an accredited provider of professional learning, which facilitated not only the expansion of professional learning opportunities for teacher librarians and other educators, especially into the digital realm, but also prompted a name change to Syba Academy. Today, Syba Academy continues to be a leading provider of professional learning for teacher librarians in areas such as literacy and inquiry learning.

    Phyl also supports school libraries through professional partnerships with various advocacy campaigns and literacy programs. Currently Syba Signs is partnered with the Australia-wide Students Need School Libraries campaign and the Children’s Book Council of Australia Annual Book Awards.

    Phyl Coath has played a fundamental role in the professional learning journey of many teacher librarians through excellence in professional leadership. She is a worthy recipient of the John Hirst Award 2019 and members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate her on this achievement.

    This award will be presented at the Reach Out Through Reading Conference on March 7th, 2020 at the State Library of NSW. 

    Download PDF


  • 28 Feb 2020 9:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The School Library Association of NSW Teacher Librarian of the Year for 2019 is Lizzy Martin. Lizzy is currently the Junior School Teacher Librarian at St Catherine’s School in Waverley, Sydney.

    This award is given to a teacher librarian or team of teacher librarians in recognition of their outstanding contribution to teaching and learning in their school and their engagement with the school library community. To this end, Lizzy has demonstrated outstanding practice whereby she has used her deep knowledge of the curriculum to collaborate with colleagues to design and implement effective teaching and learning programs. As part of this process, she has gathered and used student data to differentiate student learning activities, and has integrated ICT to create authentic and meaningful teaching and learning experiences.

    Working closely with her colleagues, Lizzy has aligned the K-6 library program with classroom scope and sequences by identifying opportunities to enhance, expand, and support classroom learning through the curation of relevant resources and the development of students’ key information literacy skills.

    Lizzy’s Head of Curriculum notes that Lizzy “has been absolutely instrumental in creating a school of students with an unbridled passion for reading.”

    Strong links with the parent community have also been established through activities such as the use of Parent Storytellers, a pop-up community library, and the creation of reading advocacy materials.

    As a teacher librarian at St Catherine’s, Lizzy Martin has made an outstanding contribution to teaching and learning within her school and has actively and effectively engaged with the school library community.  Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Lizzy Martin on receipt of this award.

    This award will be presented at the Reach Out Through Reading Conference on March 7th, 2020 at the State Library of NSW. 

    Download PDF


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