="Title" content="Issues and challenges of a small library">

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Using Wikis

I have just started to use wikis to manage some of my documents. The blog environment just does not do this, well Blogger does not do it. I know there is other blog making software that does allow a document storage, but I feel I am committed to this blog.
I have set up a wiki to store the documents I use in my work. It is located at http://planningstuff.wikispaces.comThis will be an evolving space as I add more of the planning and teaching documents I use. This is not a true wiki as it does not allow others to post and edit. In this instance I am really using it as a personal document store.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Successful database conversion

This is a timeline and step by step process of the database conversion so far, from my first visit to the School of Distance Education, where I saw the database process in operation to the final uploading of our library database to the web.

What comes next? Building a school website that incorporates a library section and an online link to the database from the outside world!-

14 November, 2006

After visit to Brisbane School of Distance Education (BSDE,) looking at their website and going through their tutorials, I showed PL (the school principal) the site and what I thought the approximate costings would be based on BSDE prices. PL could see the advantages although admitted he did not understand all the implications of the process. He was familiar with the Libcode product from his work in Central Queensland and had used the Libcode system although did not understand all that it could do when he was at a 2 teacher school. Agreed that going Libcode for management and online was a good option if it could be done with little upheaval. Gave go ahead to contact Libcode for discussion.

Showed the Libcode site and tutorials to NW so she could have a look at them and feel comfortable with the possible changeover. She liked the selection tabs for subject headings but was concerned we could not add any of our own, especially the ones for Reading Ages which are used for the reading collection.

These questions have arisen so far:

  • What type of reports can be run?
  • Does Libcode allow me to print spine labels?
  • Can I create subject headings?
  • Will it import the subject headings I have now?
  • What is the extent of links I can add to the OPAC page (Ayr High School)?
  • Can I make the OPAC page the central point of a library home page and have other pages following – or would it be better to just have a to and from navigation link?
  • Do I need to change over barcode labels? Are we able to print our own barcode labels to suit our needs if we change over library systems?

22 November, 2006

Phoned Libcode and they are ‘as keen as mustard’ to get our database online. I can send the LOASIS directory of my database and they can do a trail changeover of data and put it on the web for us to have a look at. They will return our converted database with a demo version of the library management software so we can see how our data converts. This will be free of charge.

It takes about 20 minutes to convert the data. The system will our old barcode labels. There seems to be no problem with the location of the database whether it is on the admin server or on our stand alone PC. There will be a backup offsite with the database stored on Libode’s server.

It was suggested I subscribe to Curriculum Corporations SCIS Authority Files to make full use of the search facilities available. This will be useful to the students…but then again any access that can be provided is more than they have had to date.

It seems this could happen before the end of the year if we push to make it work, but if it does not happen until early next year it is not going to be a major drama.

23 November, 2006

Burnt copy of LOASIS directory and mailed it to Libcode. The library PC does not have a burner, so will do it from one of the other admin PCs.

27th November, 2006

Trail database is received and online version is available. Unfortunately the wrong version of the database is in the trial – this is the original database before I made any changes to it, but the process is still the same. I can install a version of Libcode to work with.

6th December, 2006

Visit from IT and technicians from EQ with news that we had been accepted for the trail of Managed Operating Environment (MOE). We have also been lucky in the infrastructure grant from the Commonwealth Government and this will make it easier for us to put new PCs in the lab.

Libcode will require a new PC and I have suggested we also set aside some finances for a PC for building WebPages with Dreamweaver and perhaps Stylemaster and photo editing software.

Teachers will receive laptops to place on their desks and for take home use and planning.

The MOE will see us with one network and the logon identifing the privileges that that user has. There is talk of orange card for network management access and it was indicated that I should go for this, it is also necessary that I be onsite when the changeover occurs. Not sure of the staffing implications or the effect this will have on the management of the library. Seems to be a bit of a re-run of past events that took a lot of my time.

The focus is to have the library database online and to provide the best service we can with limited staffing. There is lots of infrastructure work to be done and I am not sure that staff realise the implications this will have on my time unless there are additional days made available for this.

I phoned Libcode to talk about some of these issues and it is indicated that the database should be bedded down and running with no glitches before the network upgrade, which means this will have to occur over the holiday period before teachers return to school.

19 January, 2007

Copy of database taken and mailed to Libcode. I decided not to take the circulation details across and just converted the data for the collection.

There are many inaccuracies in the circulation data and I thought they were better left behind.

23 January, 2007

CD is returned with the Libcode program and converted data ready for installation. The installation process was just a copy and paste of the CME file to the library directory on the server, The ALICE database is still there and provides a backup should all go wrong in the conversion and uploading of student data. There is always the CD of the installation as backup too.

Staff need to be manually entered into the system and this was done quickly as they were ready to borrow to support their planning for the term. Adjustments needed to be made as the default loan period is 14 days and this would have caused all teachers loans to be overdue before the end of term. Bulk changes in the Utilities function allowed the Teacher Reference (TR) loans to be 70 days, Curriculum Resource (CR) to be 330 days, Learning support (LS) to be 330 days and Reading Resources (RR) to be 330 days. The data transfer so far has gone without any problems.

30 January, 2007

Student data was imported using a SiMS download. This was very easy and allocated all students to their correct year levels. Data appears to be correct and a trail of loaning to students is successful.

Joined up to the Libcode online support group and subscribed to the newsletter. All correspondence with Libcode by telephone and email has given prompt and accurate help and information.

31 January, 2007

The library database goes live with an upload of data to the CME web. The URL is http://mtsamsonss.cmeweb.libcode.com.au All of the data transfer occurred with not problems and was quite quickly executed.

Graphics were emailed to Libcode to add to the website when ready. Adding new materials was an easy process, although we have not attempted a SCIS download as yet.

The problems we are experiencing now are in adjusting to a new library program.

Searching the interface, printing the spine labels and tweaking the system to suit our work practices are the difficulties now. It is now a matter of moving slowly and discovering ways to work with the library system. NW is learning along the way, but is finding the adaptations a little more difficult. She is positive about the process though. Most of our problems relate to the difficulties and inaccurate data already in ALICE. These problems are –

  • Items not returned mainly by staff from the previous year (as we did not take the circulation over, we need to search in ALICE to sort these out). It involves a shelf check and asking teachers if they still have the resources in their possession.
  • A previous unresolved stocktake in ALICE assigned quite a few resources to Missing and this has caused status issues in Libcode.
  • There are items in the catalogue which have been lost. A stocktake later in the year will resolve this. We are not attempting a stocktake though until we are more comfortable with the new system.
  • In ALICE we were able to combine items and scan them out once. (Such as a class set of atlases or a curriculum box of teachers resources. The box or container was scanned and its contents were then collated to that borrower. Returning the items could be done by scanning each item or by a bulk return). I am sure this facility is available, but it appears these items will need to be re allocated to a box for this facility to function.
  • NW was having difficulty in searching and then administering the system, as it will not allow multiple windows to be open. (I did not operate this way in ALICE and tended to finish one activity and move to the next). Perhaps the online inquiry will assist her, although it will not give all the information she may need, it may help her a bit.

In some ways I think it is a matter of not making this system do all the things we were doing with ALICE, but to discover the features of Libocde and working with them to our benefit.

Advantages so far –

  • The Libcode system is very quick
  • Adding new items to the catalogue is straightforward, especially the selection of subject headings and the allocation of DDC.
  • Importing of student data was easy.
  • Exporting the data to the web as easy and this interface is very easy to use.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Library Report

I wrote this report in November as the school year drew to a close and as a preparation to set the direction for next year, which is already here. I am thinking of how to get things going again when we return to school in a couple of weeks time so it was good to bring this out and refresh my mind and to refocus.

Library Activity Report
For the year 2006
Upon my arrival in the library I could see that there was much to do. There were so many needs that some priorities needed to be set. Initial steps were the physical aspects of putting the collection away in an orderly fashion, securing the database, and establishing a budget. There was a range of perceptions from staff about what the teacher-librarian could do. The way that I could see to overcome some of these difficulties was to attend to the most pressing physical needs first; work on staff perceptions and do what libraries and teacher-librarians are supposed to do – resource well, provide the best access to resources, assist where possible but to keep the core business – information literacy - in focus. After this first year there is much to report on.
General library operations
The library is now open and active for 3 days per week to provide access and assistance for individual needs before during and after school. The time allocated to the teacher-librarian is equally divided between administrative duties and teaching. Assistance with lesson planning and resources and general liaison with teachers occurs in the administrative time. There is a structured timetable with each class including preschool visiting the library every week. There is a mix of involvement from class teachers; where some teachers actively seek assistance and involvement from the teacher-librarian in their unit planning for the delivery of research, information literacy skills and literacy enhancement. Some teachers do not involve themselves with the lessons and find other tasks to complete in their classes’ library time. Despite differing levels of involvement, the staff seem to be supportive of the library program.

Library program – developing information literacy
During the year I changed the day I use for the management of the library to Tuesday as this is the day that staff have their non-contact time. By having the Wednesday in between it gives me an opportunity to chase up any resources that may be required; for instance, resources from other schools, the Council library, sourcing internet sites and adding them to the intranet and any lesson preparation that is specific to the requirements of teachers’ lessons. As the year has progressed it has been easier to find out what teachers are doing with their classes, especially now that Tony has formalized their planning and integrated units. There are no specific outcomes for information literacy, so it is a matter of seeing what is in the unit plans and slotting in the skills the students need to accomplish the tasks. Earlier involvement in the unit planning would be of assistance so that the ICT outcomes and the information literacy skills are better aligned.
The promotion of reading, literacy and the diversity of books has been my focus when the class programs did not lend themselves to co-operative teaching opportunities.
The structured timetable does not allow flexibility without negotiation. Once the time is set in the timetable, teachers are reluctant to relinquish that time even though they do not need my input to finish the activities. Some of the classes do not require my input for the whole term, especially for some of the ¾ hour blocks. Other classes would have benefited from more time and it was a struggle with some classes to complete some of the activities that we set out to do.
Library management system
ALICE Solo is used to manage the library and reading resources. This is a stand alone library system and is operated on a single workstation. At the beginning of 2006 the library workstation was operating with Windows 98, was completely standalone, with no secure logon and no backup. To update the workstation Windows XP Pro was installed and the workstation was connected to the administration server, allowing for restricted logons and regular backups. ALICE Solo does not have different levels of access, allowing only the Master logon. The database or inquiry is not able to be viewed on other computers in the school, so all patrons must ask the library staff to perform searches and queries on their behalf. Over time, the library management system has had multiple administrators and assistants entering data. Many inconsistencies are evident in the parameters, settings and in particular the creative subject headings.
Providing full time support with part time staffing
No matter what the staffing allocation for the library, staff and students need access to resources and learning support every school day. The staff have no restrictions placed on them in the amount of resources they can borrow or in their access to the library. Although they do not have access to the library database, the collection is small, well organised and in the process of being better signed. The staff only need to browse the collection for their needs and write down the barcode of any resources they take from the collections. They are not required to reshelve resources. Students have access to the library before, during and after school on any of the three days that library staff are on site.
A parent assists with reshelving on some Tuesday mornings. This is helpful as it is the first operational day after all the children have borrowed (previous Thursday) and the returns trolley is quite full.
Online and offsite support
To enhance online support, the workstations in the computer lab were rebuilt with Windows XP and linked using a Workgroup arrangement, with one of the workstations having Internet Information Services (IIS) installed for the easy management of a small intranet. Separate logons were created for the students, staff and administrators and a naming and saving convention for files was established. The new intranet supports the students by providing a list of sites for reference and links for the topics covered in their class learning for the term. The students have been instructed in the use of the Council Library databases as another information source, and how to use the library database to place holds and request items. The Council also provides a Mobile Library van visiting the school every fortnight. Most of the students have borrower cards and visit the van class by class during the day. Special emphasis has been placed with the year 7 students to use the Council library services. They have been introduced to the Teenage Fiction section of the Mobile Van and a list of suitable authors was given to Lyle and he has put these into the van’s collection. A visit to the main Strathpine library was to acquaint the year 7s with the physical aspects of the Council collection and to raise their awareness of the services available to them for study and research as they go into high school. Having access to the collection and databases of the Council greatly enhances the school’s access to quality resources.

These actions – trusting staff to have access to resources, providing online resources, skilling students in the use of the Council databases and promotion of the Mobile Library and Council library services are early measures to provide greater support for staff and students.
Two Book Fairs were conducted during the year which were well supported by parents. The first one gained $600 and the second $200 worth of books for the library; and while this is one of the benefits, it also provides an opportunity to meet the parents and to encourage reading.

Book Club is totally managed by NW (library teacher aide), and by taking a little bit of time she is able to maximise the rewards and free picks that the scheme provides. This is a benefit to the library which can be overlooked. While I have not kept tally of the free resources we were able to accumulate in this way the figure in estimation would be over $1000. The organisation of Book Club takes at least a day to collate orders and organise distribution for each book Club order.
Library Promotions
The big event for most libraries is Book Week. It is an opportunity to promote the enjoyment of reading and promote literacy. We were able to see some of the short-listed books but were restricted to those that came with Australian Standing Orders.
The Council Library ran a free author talk during Book Week and I was able to visit the library to see an entertaining talk by NIKE BUCKLEY. This was an underutilised opportunity by most of the schools as Strathpine SS was the only local school to send classes. A visit to the Council library during Book Week by some classes next year is something we could include as a class excursion.
New displays have been added to the small noticeboard at the library entrance, this is as materials become available suitable for display. NW put together a small display on the mobile trolley to promote series such as Deltora to the students. Every week books displays are changed on the mobile trolleys and tables. We display a mix of old and new resources and promote books targeted at students interests. Regular Show and Tell sessions are held with the classes, to show new resources and discuss what the children have read that they found interesting.
The school open day was an opportunity to promote the library, its books and talk about the importance of early literacy, especially in picture books.
Newsletter articles have been added when the need has arisen to raise awareness and promote library activities and fundraising.
The Story writing competition saw some good results from our students and I am sure this is something we can build on in the future.
Library Circulations – Loans
The students have been encouraged to borrow during the holidays; they can take additional books during the holiday times. The exception is the Christmas break, but the children have been encouraged to use the Mobile van for their Christmas reading.
The children are good library users, retuning and borrowing regularly. Very few resources have been lost and replaced. Parents have been most willing to replace any damaged or lost items.
Even though teachers at this point have many books overdue, this is in part a left over from last year. Teachers now have greater loan privileges and extended times for borrowing so that next year this should almost eliminate the overdues and restrictions placed on teacher borrowing.
Loan Statistics
Most books borrowed for the year goes to EL (student in year 3) with 61 books, followed by LD (student in year 3) with 40 books. In general the lower school students borrow more items from the school library than the upper school students.
Borrowings for the year totaled 6423 items.
A school library needs to provide and maintain a collection which is relevant to the needs of the staff and students. We ask the students what they want and take note of the most popular books and borrowing trends; by having awareness or our patrons’ needs we have been working towards providing the resources that they need. In working with teachers we can resource their teaching needs when funds allow and resources become available.
The Junior Fiction, Fiction, Teachers’ Reference and Reference have been culled quite extensively. Catalogue entries have been amended to better reflect the users’ needs and our collection. Greater consistency of data entry has been established across these areas.
The Non fiction has had a preliminary cull, but there is still much to do in Non-Fiction in regard to cataloguing, adding subject headings and aligning the Dewey numbers more appropriately.
In liaison with NG (class teacher responsible for literacy budget) we have begun to add non fiction text for research. These books have lower reading ages, good layouts with visual information and also provide good examples of the text types. These have the added benefit of providing an example that teachers can draw upon for a model of the text type or genre.
The Prep allowance was able to provide some library resources suitable for early years learning.
The SPAR resources and items in the Learning Support collection were processed and catalogued early in the year.
Appendix 2 (Not included in this blog posting) provides a breakdown on the age of the collection. Only 29% of the total collection (11429 resources) has a publication date after 1996.
(This figure, although taken from the Library management system is not a true reflection of the collection. Items we have culled have been removed from the shelves, but are still in the system, so the collection size is actually smaller and the percentage of items older than 1996 would be less.)
Cataloguing the collection
Many new resources were added to the collection this year. This is a combination of left over, previously uncatalogued resources and new resources. Many items have been added that had not been catalogued in the past. The addition of the Reading Collection data is nearing completion.
Charts, Posters, Video cassettes and any resources remaining in classrooms are still to be catalogued.
Update on Reading Collection – NW has managed most of the cataloguing of the reading collection. In 2005, 1149items were added and in 2006, 3110 items were added. The total for the Reading collection at this point is 5886 items.
The Library Collection has the following breakdown –
• Curriculum 104 items
• Reference 179 items (this includes the class sets of Atlases etc)
• Teacher Reference 2989 items
• General collection 2972 items

The number of resources catalogued this year was 4784 items, with an approximate total value of $6163.68. For the breakdown of these resources see Appendix 1. (Costing is approximate as some old resources did not have costs assigned to them).
Special Boxes have been created where resources are grouped together for easy access for teachers. The topics for these boxes include – Local Area Study, Sets for Drama and Plays, Christmas resources, Anzac Day and Reconciliation. Recent Special Boxes have been created catering for Text Types and Information Skills.
Teacher Reference has been largely re-catalogued to provide better and more logical groupings of resources. Signs have been made, but these need improving for better accessibility.
Atlases and Dictionaries are being put together as Class Sets they come out of classrooms.
Intervention and Learning Support resources are being catalogued as they are found. These are located in the Learning Support Room and Lisa manages the borrowing of these resources.
Extended loans have been generated for teachers for curriculum materials that are not included in the Curriculum boxes. These loans are now for a whole term.
Processes for better management
Software and licences – as software licences are found they are being added to a folder for easy access.
Library mission statement – has been written and will be added to the library webpage.
Online user statement – needs to be developed and will evolve as teachers are more aware of online learning activities and how their students can develop with its use.
New Initiatives
Keeping the aims in mind of building and maintaining a relevant collection and working on the core business of information literacy, the initiatives for this year have included -
• E-Zine
• Intranet
• Subscription to Australian Standing Orders
• Story writing competition
• The library cat
• Year 7 visit to the Council Library
• Setting the direction – Mission statement
• Special boxes
• Prizes for the most books borrowed
Professional involvement
• Presentation and attendance at the SLAQ conference in Mackay, ICT day at Morayfield, MOE Information Day and MOE Morning session.
• Network meetings of the Caboolture T/L
• Organisation committee of Story writing competition for Cab_TL
• Workshops and online involvement as Learning Place Mentor
Next Steps – Library management
A trial will be undertaken to change the library database from ALICE to Libcode before the end of the year to enable the smooth changeover at the start of 2007.
The database will go online in early 2007 in conjunction with a library webpage. The webpage will include online reference materials and homework helpers. The Mission statement and a short defining statement on information literacy will be included. The items now on the school based intranet will be included on the library webpage. Updates for each term will include the weblinks that correspond to class activities.
For the school website to be managed more efficiently software and a PC will need to be accessible to all those making contributions to the website.
The provision of better signs for the location of resources will be easier to do once the cataloguing of the collection is complete.
At some time during 2007 a stocktake should be undertaken. This can be done incrementally or all at once. However it will require aide time to assist in loading the data and sorting out the problems that the stocktake will bring to light.
Next steps- Library Program
Develop closer involvement with teachers at the early planning stages of their integrated units.
There is a need for the library program and the development of information literacy skills to include more online content and involvement with the students. These strategies could include the use of blogs and wikis in a collaborative learning environment. There is a need to develop in the students information literacy that goes beyond the writing of a report, and research of the materials in the school collection. Strategies for information searching and organising need to be included in a more systematic and sequential way in the teaching/learning program. (This is something the Caboolture T/Ls wish to address in 2007).
It may not be necessary to be involved with the teaching of the whole unit with teachers, and allow time for support to be provided in resourcing the units better, or with teachers who have undertaken major projects with their classes.
Next Steps – Information Technology
Work with TM (class teacher responsible for ICT) to develop management strategies for the IT infrastructure. To some extent the MIS implementation will assist in many of these management tasks; but the management of software and licencing is something which needs to be streamlined and accountable.
Other concerns:
• Ensure teachers have the software they need for their class programs and that we do not install software that goes outside our licencing agreements.
• As the networking is developed an intranet will assist in communication and sharing of programs and work units. This intranet will have a different function to the current intranet set up for the students.
• Move to encourage more independent use of the computer lab by teachers, assisted by having the software and website links necessary for their class programs.
Next Steps – Information Sharing
Encourage the sharing of work programs and work units compiled by teachers. The library database could store these (in PDF form) or the use of a simple shared directory located on the curriculum server could be an early starting point.
The school website provides information to the community and needs a tidy up for the easier management and archiving of the information it gives.
Add a library webpage with the inclusion of a blog to the school website.
Have a student s section on the school website where the E-Zines are located and any other work the children can share.

Ms A, 29 November, 2006.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Some formalities and beginning to set some direction

A Mission
There is no documentation for the library in regard to policies, procedures, rationale and role. It is time to start putting some formalities into place and stating a place for the library and its activities within the school community. From the school Mission Statement and various other sources (listed at the end of this), I have written the first formal document. These of course will need to be accepted by the staff.

The Mission Statement for XXX State School state:
At XXX State School we are committed to:
  • High academic expectations;

  • A safe supportive environment;

  • Strong partnerships between our staff and the school community.
These values are captured in our school moto Learning for Living.

Mission, Policy and Direction for XXX School Library

To provide information and support services for the provision of learning and teaching of all members of the school community-
  • through the promotion of the enjoyment and appreciation of literature

  • by fostering lifelong learning skills

  • by developing information literacy skills

In an information age the development of information literacy is important; where students will learn how to identify, locate, organise and present information in a manner which is clear and concise and suitable for the audience to which it is directed. Mining and sifting the various information storehouses or repositories is a skill for which the digital age student will need to become accomplished. The library, its staff and its resources play a part in the development of lifelong learning and the appreciation of reading and knowledge. The library will support the curriculum and where appropriate the professional needs of teachers through co-operative planning and teaching practices, collection development and the management of print and digital resources.

These were referred to in the compilation of these statements, but not directly referenced within the documents.

ALIA (2002) ALIA core values statement. Retrieved on 28 March, 2006 from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/core.values.html

Australian School Library Association (NSW). (2003) School library mission statements- examples. Retrieved on 14 July, 2006 from http://asla.nsw.edu.au/libmisstat.htm

School Library Association of Queensland (SLAQ). (n.d.) Policy writing for teacher-librarians. Retrieved on 14 July, 2006 from http://www.slaq.org.au/SubCommittees/Murrumba/PD/whatispolicy.htm

Trinity College (n.d.) Policy for P.L. Duffy Resource Centre, Trinity College Retrieved on 14 July, 2006 from http://trinity.wa.edu.au/plduffyre/library/lib/phil.htm

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Service Delivery

Valuing your time and giving the best service

To follow are three posts made to a library listserve of which I am a member. Names have been removed and my reply is at the end.
First Posting
I am wanting to know what others do with regards to their library timetables. For the past 12 years I have operated a fixed timetable, ie. each class in the school had a set library time which meant each class saw me for several weeks each term. This was done because staff wanted a regular timeslot and it did ensure I saw all classes.
However, I am seriously considering switching to a flexible timetable next year for Years 4 - 7. Teachers are becoming so busy that many of them can't fit a visit to the library in when they are scheduled to come or they forget. I am so busy that I don't chase them. They are supposed to come and see me before each term's lessons begin so that I can fit in with what they're doing, but most don't.
I guess I'm questioning the value of what I am doing and would like to know what others do with regard to scheduling of lessons. I am in a pretty big school - over 800 kids so that adds to the problem of fitting everyone in and keeping everyone happy and satisfied.
Any feedback, ideas, suggestions are welcome.
Second Posting-
I was new to the job as TL this year and have had no prior experience as I was a graduate Early Childhood teacher who was appointed to teach Preschool and do the Library. I have a fixed timetable as I thought this was the easiest for me being new to the job etc. Most classes attend, and I plan with the classroom teacher as to what they are doing etc. I am finding that I need set time to get my head around the rest of the job and catching up with loads of accessioning and covering that has been sitting here for as long as 12mths.
My younger year levels are happy to just have a book read to them and group discussion as they do not have much time for general shared reading with all the classroom requirements that have to be met these days.
I am open for any suggestions myself as I have no formal training in the library department.
Third Posting-
I know my situation is different because of the secondary department at (School Name) but I have run a flexible timetable for many years. This way I find I am working with teachers who have planned to use the library and not just using me as a baby sitting service. This way if a teacher wants to do block work in the library, say 3 or 4 sessions in a week for a couple of weeks then not again until the next trimester that's the way we work it.
The only classes that have fixed times in the library are the 1's to 3's. We find it easier for them to do it this way as we usually combine borrowing time with the lesson time and they are less likely to forget if it is a set day.
You will find some classes will rarely come, except for borrowings, under this system but over the course of their school life you will still see them and probably in a more effective way than previously.
My problem now is that since I am 0.5 NCT & relief my teachers are finding it hard to make bookings as I NEVER know which days I will be used for relief in any fortnight and the two days I know I am not used for relief are already fully booked. 'Not happy Jan' but what am I supposed to say?
My Reply-
I am in a small school this year and they are used to a very structured approach. I am only on campus 2 days per week and one day is for teaching and the other day is for admin.
So it has evolved that the timetable is structured, but it does change from term to term.

What I am finding though is that the planning and preparation for this small school takes as long as what it did in a bigger school. There is still the planning for 6 different class groups, and finding resources is quite time consuming. I am sourcing a lot of online material as our own collection is very limited, and building these into a website as I go.

I think we have to be a bit realistic on what type of service we can provide with limited resources and time. And to also be ruthless about getting rid of the stuff that is not being used or in continuing to provide services which are not utilised well.

If teachers do not have the time to visit the library or plan the sessions so they are part of their teaching and learning programme it might be time to think of more time efficient ways to support their class activities.

I am working towards this by building and collecting online resources that can be used and reused, and can be put into place when the teacher has time to involve the class in them. (It also supports them I am not on campus). The days of just popping into the library to find a few things with the class is something we cannot cater for so delivering to them in a reusable and flexible fashion might be more appropriate.

Just a few ideas, hope they help.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A new addition to the Library

Library Cats
It is a tradition that libraries have cats. Recently I was browsing on e-bay when I found the perfect cat for our library. It is now a part of our library.

There is a website dedicated to library cats around the world. Eventually I would like our cat to be a part of this website.

The idea is that this term the cat will be stimulus to generate interest in the library. It is a way for me to involve teachers in the library and to demonstrate that a teacher-librarian can do more than keep reinforcing the Dewey system and the location of resources in a library. After I explained the plan the teachers have been quite enthusiastic about the idea. One teacher has even changed her focus for the term to be Pets which was not her original plan, so that is a positive step.

This term we will be exploring the literature about cats from T.S. Elliot to fables, stories and nursery rhymes. We will look at Matthew Flinders’ cat – Trim and other famous cats in history.

As yet the library cat is unmanned and has no history. The task for the children this term is to write a story about the previous lives of this cat and to give it a name. The children could do anything really on the cat theme, from care of cats, cat poetry, cat illustrations – the ideas are endless. We will be entering into our local story writing competition with the culmination and awards in Book Week in August.

Each term I will use the cat as a stimulus and reward for good borrowers, helpers etc. and the cat can go home with a student for the holidays.

This term I am also working with the students in the computer lab – another positive step, as I did not have access to the lab last term, but with a bit of class timetable rearrangements I am able to use the lab for some research topics now. I have put together a small website for this terms activities, and some links that I will use for Cats and their Adventures.
Cat Stuff Library
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T S. Elliott
Trim the cat - the story of his voyage
Trim the remarkable cat
More on Trim

New Shelf Markers

Finding Things

The shelves needed new markers. I’ve started with Junior Fiction as they were the worst and the shelf markers we had kept falling over and were a bit tired looking.
In the past I have used video cases with the plastic insert so it is easy to slide a piece of paper inside with the appropriate shelf marking. It is easy to change when they look faded or if the shelves get rearranged. I used the Queensland font in upper and lower case on the printer to make the labels.

I will colour code the library with different coloured paper inserts. So for now the Junior Fiction is yellow. With the phasing out of video format I might have to stock up on these – DVD cases will just not do the trick for this job!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Borrowing Statistics

Library Borrowing for Term 1

On the last day of term I took the borrowing statistics for the students for the term. For a comparison of past years maybe I should have looked at those as well, but really I was just looking at a starting point for the students now. Total student loans by month are –

  • January 145

  • February 533

  • March 810

  • April 138

  • Total for the term 1626

The loans on the last day for the holiday borrowing were 70 items. That is half the school borrowed a book for the holidays. March is a whole month with 5 days when I was on campus for lessons and borrowing. The loans for each of these the days was 75, 79, 89, 90 and 83 items. The bulk of borrowing occurs from Fiction and Junior Fiction.

I still think that the children could borrow more than what is currently occurring, and with my aid in the library before school every day and availability after school when possible – an increased borrowing level is achievable. The library needs to have more of a focus, so the aim for next term is to increase the student borrowing and access to the library.

In the last staff meeting before the end of term the issue of playground supervision was discussed. There was a problem with the surveillance of some areas of the playground and the safety of the children on some new play equipment. It was looking like everyone would have an extra duty – and really none of us wanted that. I could see it looming that I was going to have an outside yard duty. I felt I would have to play my part in the supervision of the students and it would not be fair to give everyone else an extra duty and I would not have one. There is only so far that the staffing can be spread in a small school and it was decided to place some areas out of bounds in some breaks so the duties were manageable. To do yard duty was not something I wanted, as with the limited time I am on campus I did not want to be outside when I was trying to get children into the library at least for some of the lunch break. So for now the situation was resolved without me being in the playground and I can concentrate on getting the children into the library more next term.