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Members of the Australian Coalition for School Libraries have developed a joint statement on School Library Inclusion in the National School Reform Agreement. This Joint Statement was sent to Minister Clare (28 March 2023) and NSW Minister Pru Car (17 April 2023). To read the Joint Statement in full download the PDF.
The Ross J Todd Research Grant honours the contribution and commitment of Dr Ross Todd to practitioner research in school libraries by supporting a member or members to engage in research in their school libraries that contributes to the building of local evidence.
In 2023, the Ross J Todd Research Grant is awarded to teacher librarian Vicki Bennett from Nowra Hill Public School and Cambewarra Public School.
Vicki’s research will focus on collaborative teaching between the teacher librarian and classroom teachers in a primary school setting that aims to improve student literacy outcomes. Such collaborative teaching will involve the teacher librarian working with classroom teachers in the implementation of inquiry learning, facilitating research skills in students, and providing appropriate resources to support teaching and learning.
Vicki is interested in the benefits of collaborative teaching for both students and teachers. Her research will be underpinned by literature that indicates the positive impact of collaborative teaching on students’ educational outcomes.
Members of SLANSW congratulate Vicki on the receipt of this grant and look forward to watching the progress of this research project.
This grant will be presented at Professional Learning Summit: The Strength of Story on March 4th, 2023.
The award for SLANSW Teacher Librarian of the Year 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.
The 2022 SLANSW Teacher Librarian of the Year is Emily Williams, Teacher Librarian at St Georges Basin Public School. Emily has shown passion and commitment to her profession and to her local school community by working across all dimensions of her community to build professional relationships with students, staff, and parents, and by building the profile of both her school library and the position of teacher librarian.
Emily’s practice incorporates highly engaging library programs designed to develop students’ reading and comprehension skills, research skills, and independent reading. As well, these programs have included a heavy emphasis on students’ use of learning technologies and instruction in digital citizenship. Emily has also worked closely with classroom teachers in the design and implementation of inquiry units of work.
Emily’s passion for her work is made clear in the wonderful events and displays she organises for the students. These activities include “Picnic Reads at Recess,” Book Week activities, The Premier’s Reading Challenge, and regular displays corresponding to library-related calendar events. Emily also runs a vibrant Library Leaders Program, hosts an engaging library website, and generally creates an attractive and welcoming physical environment and atmosphere for staff and students.
In addition to working closely with teachers and students, Emily works hard to keep parents informed about, and involved in, library happenings. She writes a fortnightly article for the school newsletter and attends the P&C Meeting each term to advocate for the library. Emily also takes her passion beyond the school community into the broader community by fundraising for causes, such as the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Regarding her own professional growth, Emily is an active member of her local, state, and national professional bodies and regularly attends professional development opportunities offered by these groups. Furthermore, she has given back to these organisations and their members through presentations for SLANSW, ALIA, Shoalhaven Teacher Librarian Network, and the Primary Libraries Creative Collaboration (PLCC), organising events for her local TL network, and sharing her knowledge, skills, and resources via social media.
While it is difficult to articulate all that Emily has done to be recognised as the SLANSW 2022 Teacher Librarian of the Year, perhaps her Principal and Assistant Principal have said it best in their support of Emily’s nomination:
Self-awareness and self-reflection make Emily an exceptional teacher librarian. She is always striving to know better so that she can do better and is flexible and receptive to feedback. You can see that Emily loves what she does and has a commitment to her school. Our library is a magical place because of Emily’s commitment.
This award will be presented at Professional Learning Summit: The Strength of Story on March 4th, 2023.
The Maurice Saxby Award recognises service to children's and/or young adult literature. It is awarded to individuals or organisations that have displayed excellence and passion in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW.
The recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award for 2022 is author, Susanne Gervay. Susanne's passion for, and commitment to, the promotion of reading and children's literature in New South Wales and beyond over a long period is evidenced in numerous ways.
As a lecturer, teacher, and educational specialist with a Master of Education and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, Susanne writes with insight into issues that affect both children and young adults. Through her award-winning writing, she has tackled important questions head-on for children and young adults about divorce, bullying, physical trauma, consent, feminism, cancer, the Holocaust, war, and peace through books that include: ‘I am Jack,’ ‘Butterflies,’ ‘Gracie and Josh,’ ‘Elephants Have Wings,’ ‘Ship in the Fields,’ ‘The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses,’ ‘Shadows of Olive Trees,’ ‘Heroes of the Secret Underground,’ and, most recently, ‘The Edge of Limits.’
Susanne’s honest and, at times, confronting, writing combined with personal experiences encourage readers to walk vicariously with her characters; validating and celebrating courage, difference, and resilience.
Susanne’s ability to connect with young readers and promote social justice, has been recognised nationally and internationally. 'I Am Jack' has been endorsed by Life Education Australia and is used extensively in anti-bullying programs, while 'Butterflies, a rite of passage novel for young adults, was recognised as Outstanding Youth Literature on Disability by The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and is endorsed by the Burn Unit at The Children's Hospital Westmead and by Louise Sauvage, the Sportsperson of the World for Disability.
Beyond writing for children and young adults, Susanne is currently the Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator Australia East, a Writer Ambassador for Room to Read, a Role Model on the committee of Books in Homes, an Ambassador for the Premier's Reading Challenge, and an Australia Day Ambassador. Susanne has also been involved in ‘Littlescribe’ since its inauguration in 2017 as an author and partner with students. A national writing program and festival, ‘Littlescribe’ provides opportunities for students from ages 5 to 16 to select on-demand author workshops, discover resources, access writing activities, and work with Australian authors.
In recognition of her work, Susanne has been awarded the International Social Justice Literature Award by the International Literacy Association and an Order of Australia for her service to children's literature.
Susanne's passion for promoting reading and improving literacy in young people is perhaps best encapsulated in the words of a teacher librarian who wrote in support of Susanne’s nomination for the Saxby Award:
We must never underestimate the power and spread of the ripples in the pond when a rock is thrown into it. It is not the physical aspects of writing books and giving talks that have garnered the awards that are Susanne’s most important contributions to the literacy development of our students, but the unseen impact her writing has had on helping them understand that they are worthy and worthwhile and thus they have been inspired to go on and do so much more than they ever believed they could.
The members of the School Library Association of New South Wales congratulate Susanne Gervay on the receipt of the 2022 Maurice Saxby Award.
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.
The 2022 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John H Lee Memorial Award is the library team from the Pittwater House School comprising Kathryn Eyre (Coordinator of Library), Patricia Doonan (Junior School Teacher Librarian) and Michella McIntosh (Library Technician).
The impact of Covid-19 on school libraries over the last three years has been dramatic. While all school libraries in New South Wales embraced learning technologies to survive, some were able to pivot quickly and effectively to not only survive but thrive. This was the case in the Pittwater House school library where, due to the school’s location on the northern beaches of Sydney, school lockdowns began in March 2020; earlier than their counterparts in other areas of Sydney and far earlier than in regional New South Wales.
Like most school libraries, digital resources and learning technologies were already in use by the Pittwater House library team before the lockdowns. However, as one the first schools to move to remote teaching and learning, the library team lacked the experience of others on which to build and develop library services and resources in the virtual environment. Consequently, and by default, the team became trailblazers for activities that later became standard practice in many school libraries during remote learning.
The Pittwater House library team developed several innovative practices to accommodate the absence of opportunities for library staff to work face-to-face with students and teachers about resource use and to address the inaccessibility of the physical collections. For example, loan and reading histories for each of the school’s 900 students were extracted from the library catalogue and used to create customised reading packs for students. These packs were supplemented in some year groups with digital mini library guides to support students with additional learning needs. The collection of physical resource packs was organised through a driveway “click and collect service.” Particular attention was given to Year 12 students to ensure they had access to study guides and supplementary resources.
Providing equitable library access for all students during the pandemic was a primary consideration of the Pittwater House library team. Online weekly library lessons at designated times ensured assistance was available to students. In the early years, where technology access can be challenging, individual contact was made with every parent of students in Kindergarten and Year 1 to ascertain they type of support and resources that could be provided for students through the library. For students needing assistance, guided video tutorials were created and shared.
Online library lessons using Zoom and Microsoft Teams focused on the use of the school’s eBook and Audiobook collections and the safe use of learning technologies being used by students. Class presentations were often followed by individual instruction to ensure all students’ needs were catered for. Importantly, library staff delivering online lessons incorporated lessons learnt through professional reading about online teaching and learning. For example, reading aloud was an important strategy adopted to role model and encourage reading fluency in students. Throughout the remote learning period, digital collections were reviewed and updated, digital resource lists created, and collaborations were timetabled with teachers on the use of Clickview.
The Pittwater House library team employed a range of learning technologies to provide innovative solutions to support learning and teaching needs in their school during the pandemic. The initiatives introduced during remote learning provided the library team with a forum to showcase their skills and knowledge, not only to students and teachers, but to the broader school community who were kept informed via online newsletters and social media posts. The work and passion of the team meet the criteria for the John H Lee Memorial Award.
Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Kathryn Eyre, Patricia Doonan, and Michella McIntosh on receipt of this award.
Beloved colleague and award-winning expert on the transformative role of school libraries died on March 30, 2022.
Ross J. Todd was born on July 12, 1951, and educated in Australia, where he lived most of his life. He earned his Certificate of Secondary Teaching (History, Geography, French) at Townsville Teachers' College in 1970; his bachelor’s degree in Modern History and Geography at the University of Queensland in 1979; and an Associate Diploma (ATCL) in Speech and Drama at Trinity College of Music in London, England in 1980. He then completed his Graduate Diploma in School Librarianship at Riverina College of Advanced Education, Wagga Wagga, NSW (now Charles Sturt University), where he graduated with Distinction and was awarded the prestigious University Medal for Academic Excellence in 1985. Todd earned his master’s degree in Library Science at the Kuring-Gai College of Advanced Education in 1989, and his Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Science at the University of Technology, Sydney in 1996. His doctoral dissertation analyzed young women's utilization of drug information.
An educator in school library media, information literacy, and librarianship, Todd was deeply committed to information literacy and inquiry-based learning, application of evidence-based practice to the profession of school librarianship, and the promotion of research in the school library field. He wrote that his research had three interrelated foci: understanding how children learn and build new knowledge from information, information utilization for learning, and evidence-based practice for school libraries.
During his long and distinguished career, Todd received over 20 awards and honors, including the School Library Association of New South Wales, John Hirst Award in 1999. This award recognized his excellence in professional leadership as an Association member in support of school libraries in New South Wales.
A prolific scholar, Todd’s publication record spanned 35 years and contributed significantly to both the academy and LIS professions, particularly regarding information literacy and information-seeking behavior, school libraries as pedagogical centers, the impact of school libraries on student learning, and evidence-based practice for information professionals. His more recent work addressed issues of social justice and digital safety. He was a regular contributor to many publications throughout his career, including the Australian Library Journal, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science: Australia, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Information Research, Knowledge Quest, Library and Information Science Research, Scan, School Libraries Worldwide, School Library Media Research, Synergy, Teacher Librarian, and others.
Todd’s impact was global. Highly regarded internationally as a researcher and educator, he was best known for his deep commitment to information literacy and inquiry-based learning, his application of evidence-based practice to the profession of school librarianship, and the promotion of research in the school library field. His expertise as an academic advisor involved significant collaborations with library and information faculty and Ph.D. students in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and through his work on editorial boards of academic journals and peer-review committees of international conferences and symposia. He was a world-renowned keynote speaker and passionate advocate for the importance of school libraries in supporting teachers’ practice and student achievement.
He was an ongoing board member of the National Forum on Information Literacy and an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association. He was a Co-Director of the International Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) biannual conference held in Croatia. He was a member of the American Society for Information Science & Technology; the New Jersey Association of School Librarians; the Association for Library and Information Science Education; the International Association of School Librarianship; the American Library Association; the American Association of School Librarians; and the Association of Educational Communications and Technology.
Vale Dr Ross Todd. Friend and colleague, and champion for school libraries. Your humour, passion, and expertise will be sorely missed.
Life Membership of the School Library Association of New South Wales is a prestigious award bestowed on members who have demonstrated commitment to the mission and objectives of the Association through their sustained voluntary work. The Management Committee of the Association is pleased to announce Dr Lyn Hay as its most recent recipient of Life Membership.
Most qualified teacher librarians in NSW have been influenced in some way by the work of Dr Lyn Hay. Since the early 1990s in various capacities as a teacher librarian, university lecturer, researcher, professional learning leader and consultant, and member of the SLANSW Management Committee, Lyn has engaged with SLANSW to organise professional learning activities and present keynotes and workshops at SLANSW professional learning events.
As a lecturer in Teacher Librarianship at the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University from 1994-2012, Lyn collaborated with SLANSW to promote and strengthen the standing and qualifications of teacher librarians in NSW. Over more than two decades, she has also presented findings from her research into various aspects of teacher librarianship at SLANSW professional learning events and in SLANSW publications. During this time, Lyn also developed and managed OZTL_NET, a discussion list for teacher librarians. In doing so, Lyn supported the Association’s objective to provide members with access to a national professional network.
More recently, Lyn has made a significant contribution to the Association as a member of the SLANSW Executive and Management Committee from 2018-2021. During this period of rebuilding for the Association, Lyn managed the day-to-day running of the Association’s Secretariat and served as Vice President. In this role, Lyn developed and organised a strong professional learning program of face-to-face and online events, including the International Speaker Series that provided members with access to international speakers during months of COVID lockdown and travel restrictions. Lyn also developed the Association’s operational infrastructure, which included the creation of the Executive Officer’s role, website development, and membership management.
Lyn continues to provide operational support for the Association as needed, and has assisted with the establishment and operation of the Research Special Interest Group. She also continues to represent SLANSW on the School Library Coalition, a national advocacy body for school libraries and those who work in them.
Dr Lyn Hay’s voluntary work over several decades demonstrates her commitment to the Association’s mission to promote the professional interests of teacher librarians and support staff in school libraries. Members of the School Library Association of New South Wales congratulate Lyn on her receipt of Life Membership.
This award will be presented at Representation Matters: Embracing diversity and inclusion Professional Learning Summit on March 19th, 2022.
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. The 2021 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John H Lee Memorial Award is Karen Bale. Karen is a Teacher Librarian at St Joseph’s Regional College, Port Macquarie.
In 2020-2021, Karen harnessed the power of technologies to effectively shift programs and services online to meet the continuing learning and teaching needs throughout the pandemic, and quickly pivoting #LitFest2444 to be run as an online festival, requiring much thought and skill in drawing upon a suite of technologies to meet the diverse presentation needs of presenters while redesigning the festival format to ensure participant access to and engagement with festival sessions. This allowed the festival to cater for students from Stage 3 to Stage 6, from around the globe, rather than being primarily for local students in her region.
The establishment of a media lab in St Joseph’s Regional College Library, known as The Imagination Station, also demonstrates Karen’s vision for, and leadership in, integrating learning technologies into teaching and learning at SJRC. She has been very hands-on with the integration of podcasting technologies into the curriculum, supporting both teachers and students in realising the potential of podcasting as a communication and presentation tool. Recorded podcasts are published with a companion website and transcript aiming to provide access for all.
Karen was connected from inception to the Student Investment in Learning project at SJRC to empower independent student learning, based on foundational resources across a range of media. Through Karen’s leadership, and in collaboration with teachers across several discipline areas, the SJRC community is being given the opportunity to use of range of technologies to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes.
Karen Bale has employed a range of learning technologies to provide innovative solutions to support a range of learning and teaching needs in her school, as well as across school communities within her region, and clearly meets the criteria for the John H Lee Memorial Award. Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate Karen on receipt of this award.
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. The recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales John Hirst Award for 2021 is Gina Krohn. Gina is a Teacher Librarian at Glenfield Public School, Sydney.
As an outreach officer for the national Students Need School Libraries campaign, Gina sought political endorsement for, and wrote, the 2020 library petition presented to the NSW Parliament, advocating for the need for qualified teacher librarians and support staff in NSW schools. Gina continues to approach authors, book suppliers, publishers and other industry professionals to support this campaign and to make clearer the relationship between school libraries and a healthy publishing industry.
Gina also created and maintains the Primary Libraries Creative Collaboration (PLCC) website. This site functions as a free resource bank, providing access to a comprehensive range of relevant library-focused information including K-6 programs, units of work, policies, activities of other networks and organisations. This collaborative and safe space for primary school teacher librarians results in them being able to extend their networks and share their expertise and experience.
Gina Krohn has made an outstanding contribution through her organisation of professional learning events, provision of professional resources, and efforts to raise the profile of teacher librarians in their school communities and beyond. These efforts align with the objectives of the Association and makes Gina a worthy recipient of the John Hirst Award 2021. Members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate her on this achievement.
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. The 2021 recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award is Tamara Reads.
Tamara is currently the NSW Premier's Programs Officer, Reading and Spelling. In her tenure as NSW Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC) Officer, she developed a range of resources to support student engagement in reading as part of this prestigious program and in 2018 launched the PRC student site to provide an improved interface for students to search for books as part of their PRC experience. Tamara’s passion for connecting young people with reading materials saw her create the PRC Student Advisory Committee to promote leadership opportunities for the students involved, further empowering these young readers and often, budding writers. The inclusion of student interviewers for the PRC Author and Illustrator Digital Showcase, is one example of Tamara’s excellence on display in promoting reading and/or writing for young people in NSW.
As part of the Sydney Writer's Festival in 2019 and 2021, Tamara had a profound impact on students' passion for reading and writing young adult fiction. Student librarians from a public high school were invited to interview the authors presenting at the Primary and Secondary school days of the festival. This experience led to students recounting their experiences in their own school and on Instagram to inspire their peers to participate in the PRC.
There has also been significant growth and expanded reach in Tamara’s promotion of reading via the social media platforms she administers for the PRC and for teacher librarians in NSW via NSW School Libraries Matters.
Tamara’s efforts align with the objectives of the School Library Association of NSW and its members congratulate Tamara on the receipt of this award.
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