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  • 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. 

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  • 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. 

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