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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.
With many members impacted by the ongoing weather events, it’s timely to bring to the attention of our members, and those that work in school libraries, resources available to assist them now and with disaster preparedness.
To read the media release in full, download:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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