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  • 8 Apr 2024 10:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Media Release from ALIA and ACSL has called for 'urgent investment in Australia's school libraries as new analysis shows that students who reported never, or almost never, borrowing books from libraries scored lower on reading comprehension than their peers'. Download the pdf to read the full media release.

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  • 23 Feb 2024 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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 worthy recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Maurice Saxby Award for 2024 is Dr Anita Heiss.

    Dr Heiss has a longstanding history of advocacy for First Nations’ literature and has worked tirelessly to ensure Australian children and young people see themselves on the page in their life experiences, their skin tones, their families and realities, their ways of having fun, and their diverse lives. Through the publication of many titles, Dr Heiss has endeavoured to ensure all Australian children have diversity in their reading and are able to connect with other kids through the things they enjoy.

    As a touring author since 1996, Dr Heiss has worked with numerous groups of young people in classrooms, libraries, and community organisations across Australia, finding joy in storytime and running writing workshops. For the last five years, Dr Heiss has worked with the Bathurst Catholic Education Office and has visited schools across its footprint on her own Wiradyuri country, running writing workshops with young people. Two other significant projects in her career include co-writing two novels with the students at La Perouse Public School and the TWUGIA project run through the NSW Dept of Education, which ran for three years and offered high-achieving Koori students in south-western Sydney the opportunity to attend a writing camp.

    As a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Foundation (ILF), Dr Heiss has worked with young Indigenous people in Healesville (VIC), Katherine (NT), Tiwi Island, and in Sydney. The books published from those workshops include: Deadly Sisters of Worawa, Shock ‘Em:Storie of the Big River Hawks, and Nginingawila Ngirramini - Our Story. Dr Heiss has also been incredibly active in promoting the work of the ILF through speaking and fundraising events. Since 2006, she has contributed to the BlackWords: Aboriginal and Writers and Storytellers data set of AustLit.

    Dr Heiss continues to support professional development for teachers in NSW and Qld. She is a regular keynote speaker at educational conferences, offering resources, particularly by First Nations authors, to educators. In 2023, Dr Heiss presented at the South Australian Primary School Principals’ Conference, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Symposium: a Voice for Generations in the ACT, and the QLD Catholic Education Conference.

    Dr Heiss’ tireless and valuable work to promote reading and writing for young people in NSW reflects the objectives of the School Library Association of NSW.  Members of the Association congratulate Dr Heiss on receipt of the Maurice Saxby Award.

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  • 23 Feb 2024 1:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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. The 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 2024 is Gabrielle Mace. Gabrielle is Head of Library Services at St Augustine's College – Sydney.

    Gabrielle Mace has been proactive in promoting literacy and has demonstrated leadership through research and continuous improvement in the school libraries in which she has worked. In her previous school, Gabrielle led the implementation of a successful whole-school literacy intervention program and continues in her current school to advocate for the creation of a reading culture through activities such as her co-presentation for the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC) on ‘Developing a School-wide Reading Culture for Boys in 2023’. Furthermore, as the sole presenter on ‘Boys & Books: Breaking Down the Barriers’ podcast at the IBSC’s ‘Exploring Boys Education’ event in 2023, Gabrielle actively engaged in discussions surrounding the challenges and opportunities in boys' education, specifically in the context of literature, and advocated for the school library space and the imperative for school libraries to be staffed by qualified professionals. Gabrielle has generously shared her practice with others in the profession on her contribution to research into the development of a whole-school reading program.  In this regard, she has contributed to various publications, such as Connections magazine, ACCESS, The Book Curator and the Sydney Morning Herald throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023. Gabrielle has also presented her work at conferences, such as the AIS ‘Teacher Librarians Reading Symposium’ in 2022, the  ALIA/LARK Applied Library Research event at UTS in 2022,  the AIS Research Symposium in 2022, and the SLANSW 'Just Read' Online Meet-Up in 2021. Gabrielle’s research has led to invitations to continue to speak both nationally and internationally.

    Gabrielle continues to advocate for school libraries as a member of the SLANSW Management Committee and the IBSC’s Special Interest Group on Libraries & Reading Culture. She also actively uses social media to advocate for school library spaces and the critical importance of library spaces run by professional qualified, knowledgeable staff.

    Through her leadership, professional practice, passion and willingness to advocate for the profession, Gabrielle has demonstrated dedication to the advancement of school libraries in a variety of contexts. Gabrielle Mace is a worthy recipient of the John Hirst Award 2024 and members of the School Library Association of NSW congratulate her on this achievement.

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  • 23 Feb 2024 1:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SLANSW Library Professional Award is awarded to a library professional in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of library services within their school community. 

    The recipient of the School Library Association of New South Wales Library Professional Award for 2024 is Bronwyn McLoughlin. Bronwyn is the Librarian in the Senior Library at The King’s School, Parramatta.

    Bronwyn is an integral part of The King's School Senior Library team. She's been a friendly face, a reliable presence and a helping hand to students and staff in the Senior Library for twenty-three years. Her post-graduate qualification in Library and Information Management ensures the advice and support that she provides to the two teacher librarians, teaching staff, and students is authoritative and comprehensive. Bronwyn also provides support to staff in the school’s other two libraries as required.

    The nature of Bronwyn’s position as Librarian is wide ranging.  The administrative side of her role involves everything from selecting, purchasing and accessioning physical and digital resources to ensuring the library tutoring system operates efficiently. As well, Bronwyn ensures that the library management system is accurate, operational, and accessible, and she also oversees supervision of the circulation desk. As the “go-to” person for copyright matters, Bronwyn undertakes regular professional development to ensure her advice is accurate.  She is a member of the school’s Prize Committee and oversees the purchase, allocation, and presentation of prizes for the end-of-year prizegiving ceremonies.

    Bronwyn’s expertise was integral to the genrefication of the Senior Library’s Fiction Collection – amending catalogue records, re-labelling all items, and co-ordinating the physical reshuffle. She is currently part of the team involved in the creation of the library’s new LibGuides page following the migration of the catalogue from Destiny to Oliver.

    Bronwyn's English Literature background informs both her attention to the needs of students studying senior English courses, especially student research related to Extension English 2 projects, and the promotion of reading through collection management and Readers' Advisory assistance for staff and students. She also contributes to the creation of promotional displays for regular and special occasions in the library space and the Staff Common Room.

    Bronwyn’s research skills have been recognised by the Senior Leadership team and she is consequently a member of the school's International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Implementation Committee. To this end, she has undertaken the “Leading the Learning” and “Librarian” courses to ensure the library staff and resources are ready to support the IB curriculum.

    Over her twenty-three year tenure, Bronwyn has witnessed and experienced the ever-changing face of school libraries and those who work in them. Her mantra is that "change is a constant" and, to this end, has embraced innovation and new directions, all the while ensuring the maintenance of the highest professional standards for the King’s School Senior Library.

    Members of the School Library Association of New South Wales congratulate Bronwyn on the receipt of this award.

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  • 23 Feb 2024 1:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SLANSW Library Service Award is awarded to a member of the school community in recognition of their outstanding service to their school library. The recipient of this award for 2024 is Raelyn Carter, School Administration Officer (SAO) – Library at Cambewarra Public School.

    Rae is an inspiring individual. She shows a deep commitment to the school community and a passion for the school library's role in education. Her journey, starting as a parent volunteer and evolving into a dedicated staff member, reflects a genuine desire to contribute to the school's success.

    Rae consistently goes above and beyond her official part-time role by dedicating a full additional day a fortnight to the library, even volunteering during school holidays. Her willingness to do so demonstrates a selfless dedication to the betterment of Cambewarra Public School’s library. Rae’s recognition and addressing of the need for administrative support and proactive involvement shows her commitment to ensuring the library runs smoothly and the needs of students and staff are met in the best way possible.

    Rae is extremely passionate about, and dedicated to, supporting the school library. So much so, that in 2021 she decided to pursue further study to enhance her knowledge and support the teacher librarian in the library. To this end, and with a background as a primary teacher, Rae is currently undertaking the Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship at Charles Sturt University.

    It is commendable that Raelyn not only fulfills her official responsibilities but also actively engages and supports the teacher librarian in initiatives such as the library monitor program, resource lists, CBCA Book Week, library displays, and the general organisation and management of tasks in the library. She brings valuable insight and skills to her current role, enriching the school library and providing much-needed support for the teacher librarian. The fact that Rae willingly invests time and effort into her own professional development for the benefit of the library and the school community speaks volumes about her dedication and passion for school libraries.

    Rae’s efforts demonstrate that she significantly contributes to the success of the school library. She is an invaluable asset to Cambewarra Public School, and the positive impact she has had on school library operations, and, by extension, on teaching and learning, is immeasurable. Rae is a worthy recipient for the SLANSW Library Service Award.

    Members of the School Library Association of New South Wales congratulate Rae on her outstanding service to her school library.

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  • 17 Apr 2023 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

  • 22 Feb 2023 8:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

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  • 22 Feb 2023 8:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

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  • 22 Feb 2023 8:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

    This award will be presented at Professional Learning Summit: The Strength of Story  on March 4th, 2023.

    Download PDF
  • 22 Feb 2023 8:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

    This award will be presented at Professional Learning Summit: The Strength of Story  on March 4th, 2023.

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