Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ERAC Support for Database Implementation

In the previous post, I mentioned that ERAC (Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium) will be "...working with teacher-librarians to develop a training program for both EBSCO and World Book Online where a teacher-librarian will offer face-to-face and online seminars to support colleagues new to these resources". Here is more information on ERAC's training program, with teacher-librarians as leaders of the multi-sector database bundle implementation:

"ERAC has met several times with a small group of district teacher-librarians and has developed the following plan to support district teacher-librarian leaders to enable them to provide training and in-service to school based teacher-librarians and teachers in their districts across the province:
  • ERAC will produce a video showcasing teachers and students who currently use World Book and EBSCO highlighting the benefits of embracing these new resources

  • ERAC will contract two teacher-librarians to develop a toolkit of resources for districts to use in implementing the databases, such as PowerPoint presentations, webinars (in partnership with the vendors), just-in-time training vignettes, podcasts, bookmarks to be taken home by students, etc. A focus group or pilot district will be used to ensure that these materials are appropriate to be used provincially

  • ERAC will host a workshop (one or perhaps two days) where districts will be encouraged to send their district teacher-librarian leaders and perhaps others who will be implementation leaders to experience a training event and understand how the toolkit can be used locally

  • Should an individual district wish ERAC to deliver the training to school based teacher-librarians and teachers, a fee for service agreement can be put in place

  • ERAC has already developed a technical support plan that is in place and is being used district-by-district as appropriate and needed

  • ERAC will create and disseminate a communication to district contacts and superintendents ensuring that people know and understand the depth and breadth of the support for this initiative

We will be developing the materials and tools between now and Spring Break. We will offer the workshop in April. This is a support plan produced by teacher-librarians for teacher librarians and that the toolkit will be developed by teacher-librarians and in-serviced at a workshop given by teacher-librarians.

ERAC wants to ensure that districts get full value from their investment in these resources and that teacher-librarians are at the forefront of the implementation".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BC Multi-Sector Database Bundle Update

ERAC (Educational Acquisition Resource Consortium) earlier this school year invited B.C. school districts to subscribe to the Multi-Sector Bundle of databases which was negotiated with the Public Library Services Branch and the BC Electronic Library Network (post-secondary libraries). The latest issue of ERAC's news for District Contacts, ERAC Contact from December 2, 2008, includes an update on the success of the initiative in the K-12 sector to date.

According to ERAC Contact, at this time, "a significant majority of districts representing nearly 80 percent of the public student population" have subscribed to the Multi-Sector Bundle and all are working now on deploying the resources. The article goes on to note that, "ERAC is working with teacher-librarians to develop a training program for both EBSCO and World Book Online where a teacher-librarian will offer face-to-face and online seminars to support colleagues new to these resources". Good news!

Districts are deploying the databases in a variety of ways. Some are situating the resources with each school library in the district, whereby the databases become part of the library resources available at each school. Other districts are creating a single portal site which all schools will be using. Still other districts are doing both, and posting the links on school websites, in order to maximize availablity and usage.

An example of a district portal site is Abbotsford's new SD#34 Research. The district's School Technology & Resource Team has purchased the domain name and created the site. Another example is Vancouver's Electronic Resources for Schools.

A final note of interest is that many schools and districts are making the choice not to include all of the resource available through the bundle. Commonly left out, for example, is World Book Online's Spanish-language encyclopedia, Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos, which is part of the deal. I wonder, however, about use of this resource by students in Spanish 5-12?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Library 2020 Update

Vision: British Columbia libraries: working together to provide seamless support to British Columbians at every stage of life, learning and career

On October 22, 2007, over 150 leaders from public, post-secondary, school, health, legal and special libraries, and affiliated organizations participated in the BC Library 2020 Symposium to discuss and envision a future for BC libraries. This historic event engaged participants as they discussed opportunities for integrating services and structures that meet user needs, and reflected on societal trends, case studies, and technological advances that create possibilities for increased collaboration for the provision of library services.

In an effort to move forward the many ideas that were shared at the symposium, a representative Interim Steering Committee is developing a strategy.

The success of BC Library 2020 depends on the continued support and energy generated from the stakeholders across all sectors represented at the symposium. With this mind, one of the first tasks of the committee was to draft a vision document for review and feedback from community stakeholders in the spring. Communication, engagement, and consultation with its library constituents are key to the ongoing success of this initiative. To view the draft vision document, go here. If
you have feedback on the draft vision, please contact a member of the Interim Steering Committee, whose contact information is listed at this same location.

The current work of the committee is focused on establishing a stakeholder consultation process to finalize the vision and collaborative initiatives, develop a business case, and identify and recommend an appropriate governance model.

The Committee has recently hired a contractor, Marleen Morris & Associates, to consult with stakeholders and formulate a business case, which will articulate the opportunities, benefits and requirements of a successful Library 2020 initiative. It is anticipated that this case will also enable the committee to determine an initial, and then a sustainable, level of funding to allow joint projects between various library types to move forward over time in British Columbia. It’s anticipated that the contractor will complete deliverables in spring 2009.

A Governance Sub-Committee has been formed to research governance models in an effort to identify one that will work across sectors and ensure appropriate representation and participation of stakeholder groups. It is anticipated that the governance model will identify membership criteria, accountability, decision making principles, etc. It remains a priority that the Library 2020 model appeals to the grassroots efforts that have been so successful through the years across BC and which form the backbone of the initiative.

A major milestone for collaboration was achieved in August with the launch of the Multi-Sector Bundle, which provides access to a suite of databases for all citizens of British Columbia. This provincially supported initiative was negotiated by ERAC for school libraries, PLSB for public libraries and BC ELN for post-secondary libraries.

The Interim Steering Committee will continue meeting through the fall with a goal of identifying governance models and a new Steering Committee structure, and using the business case to garner widespread support and excitement for increased collaboration.

If you have questions on the Library 2020 initiative, please contact a member of the Interim Steering Committee, whose contact information is listed here.


From Interim Steering Committee

BC Digitization Symposium Pictures!

Pictures from the West Beyond the West: BC Digitization Symposium on December 1 and 2 have been uploaded to Picasa, thanks to the day's photographer, Jill Pittendrigh.

The gorgeous room in the pictures is part of the First Nations House of Learning at UBC's Vancouver Campus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

BCTLA at the BC Digitization Symposium (Dec 1 & 2)

On December 1 and 2, the West Beyond the West: BC Digitization Symposium, was held at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC. BCTLA representatives were part of the Organizing Committee for the day and the BCTF was acknowledged as a sponsor of the event. Presentations and video from the Symposium, including the Keynote Address by Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, will be made available on the Symposium website.

Since 2007, BCTLA has been involved in ongoing dialogue around “lifelong, lifewide” library services in the context of BC Libraries 2020. The recent acquisition of the multi-sector database bundle was the first example of how successful this collaboration can be. BCTLA was excited to be involved in another collaborative venture, the planning of the symposium, and to be part of the discussions that may provide a context for important and visionary multi-sector collaboration and consideration of the case for digitizing BC. There is a need for digitized resources for British Columbians, and in our case, for access to digitized resources that will connect young British Columbians more deeply to their own province’s history, geography, and culture.

Thank you to the BCTF's PSID Assistant Director Jane Turner and Larry Kuehn’s Research Division for their support of the Symposium and BCTLA's involvement with it, and to all of the other sponsors of the day. Future meetings of teacher representatives will consider directions for involvement and support. This was, for educators, a unique opportunity to think “big picture” about a new topic with new and unfamiliar partners and to consider questions of knowledge creation in BC, authority for knowledge about BC, as well as issues of information management and resource promotion, for British Columbians, over time.

Keynote Event: Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada


On the evening of December 1, participants were welcomed to the keynote event by Paige MacFarlane, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education. In Ian Wilson’s talk, we heard the call to move in and “settle” the new issues that are in front of us: how do we manage the “heritage business” to give Canadians the “knowledge advantage", particularly in respect to control of our own content, in the 21st-century? If we see that the task requires viewing the 21st-century as “belonging to the librarians", so vast is the task of managing the content, then we need also to see the importance of new partnerships, a made-in-Canada solution, and a Canadian digital information strategy. There are very large issues around standards, needs, rights, infrastructure, funding, and participation. Yet, optimally, we would build Canada’s knowledge base together.


For the youth of today, knowledge has become something that hangs around your neck on a string, Wilson suggested; they no longer memorize the facts but have a search strategy and expectations of access. While American content is readily available as authoritative source material, we need to expand this base in sustainable ways that are ours, that are reflective of Canadian goals and values, and that provide the tools and support to enable equitable access. How do we “converge", he asked, to work with each other and to teach people what they need to know. The national myth that our history is boring is being re-shaped as history is personalized, made first-person, and singular. And what is this doing to education in the schools?

We the assembled invitees, the archivists, librarians, curators, teachers, technologists, writers, historians, academics, aboriginal community leaders, genealogists, and educators, including Ministry of Education representatives, are the “stewards” and have common interests in what constitutes enduring knowledge here in Canada and in BC.

Thanks to Moira Ekdahl, BCTLA Liaison Chair and Teacher-Librarian Consultant for the Vancouver School Board, for all of her work in the planning of the Symposium and BCTLA's involvement with it. Thanks to Moira also for contributing the majority of the above report! Visit Moira's blog at http://tlspecial.blogspot.com/ for more.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Tri-Cities Libraries Featured in Report on Education

School libraries, and the Aboriginal Education Library, in School District #43, which serves the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody) area and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra, were featured in the BC Deputy Minister of Education's Report on Education from October 24, 2008 (pdf), along with the Tri-Cities public libraries. The article, "Library Month", which was written in celebration of the proclamation of Library Month in October, discusses successful collaboration and cooperation between School District #43 libraries and Coquitlam Public Library, Port Moody Public Library, and Terry Fox Library (a branch of the Fraser Valley Regional Library).

The "Library Month" article begins on page 1 of Report on Education. Additionally, on the last page, don't miss the note on the celebration of National School Library Day and Drop Everything and Read!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PSA Task Force Survey Preliminary Results (Part II)

43 BCTLA members responded to the PSA Task Force Survey in mid-October, representing 12.5% of the total respondents. Question 9 on the PSA Task Force Survey asked respondents to prioritize twenty activities that PSAs, including BCTLA, should be focusing on both in terms of now, and in the future. Choices included low, medium or high.

Activities that PSA members feel are of high priority for PSAs to undertake now:
  1. Providing Professional Development for teachers.
  2. Advocacy for professional issues.
  3. Providing PSA members with advice and information.
  4. Hosting an annual conference.
  5. Through the BCTF, providing the ministry with advice and information.
  6. Participation, through the BCTF, in ministry curriculum committees.
  7. Liaising with teacher training institutions regarding specialized training.
  8. Mentoring new teachers.
  9. Developing and supporting listservs and other technology for communication.
  10. Disseminating curriculum advice.
  11. Providing the BCTF with advice and information.
  12. Networking within PSAs.
  13. Advocacy for PSAs.
  14. Supporting teacher inquiry and other teacher-directed, collaborative, and collegial forms of PD.
  15. Providing advice to the BCTF Executive Committee on ministerial education policy issues.
  16. Supporting and expanding LSAs.
  17. Publishing an online journal.
  18. Liaison with provincial/national/international professional organizations.
  19. Publishing a hard-copy journal.
  20. Networking across PSAs.

Activities that PSA members feel will be of high priority for PSAs to undertake in the future:

  1. Providing Professional Development for teachers.
  2. Providing PSA members with advice and information.
  3. Advocacy for professional issues.
  4. Through the BCTF, providing the ministry with advice and information.
  5. Mentoring new teachers.
  6. Participation, through the BCTF, in ministry curriculum committees.
  7. Publishing an online journal.
  8. Hosting an annual conference.
  9. Liaising with teacher training institutions regarding specialized training.
  10. Developing and supporting listservs and other technology for communication.
  11. Providing the BCTF with advice and information.
  12. Networking within PSAs.
  13. Supporting teacher inquiry and other teacher-directed, collaborative, and collegial forms of PD.
  14. Advocacy for PSAs.
  15. Providing advice to the BCTF Executive Committee on ministerial education policy issues.
  16. Disseminating curriculum advice.
  17. Supporting and expanding LSAs.
  18. Liaison with provincial/national/international professional organizations.
  19. Networking across PSAs.
  20. Publishing a hard-copy journal.

The final survey results will be released with the report of the PSA Task Force later this year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

PSA Task Force Survey Preliminary Results (Part I)

In late October, members of the BCTF's 33 Provincial Specialist Associations (PSAs), including BCTLA, were asked to respond to the PSA Task Force Survey. Preliminary results were presented on Friday to PSA Council (PSAC). PSAC, which is composed of the Presidents of all of the PSAs, met all day on Friday and Saturday last week (the first of three regularly scheduled meetings in the year).

There were 345 responses to the survey, and I am happy to announce that 43 responses were from members of BCTLA! Thank you for responding in such great numbers. We were one of the most represented PSAs on the survey. Overall, more females than males responded to the survey, and the majority of respondents were older and had a great amount of teaching experience.

According to the preliminary results, over 50% of the survey respondents became a member of a PSA through a PSA conference. Another interesting note in terms of how one becomes a PSA member was the importance of teacher education programs, as a large number of survey respondents identified a teacher education program as the place where they first decided to become a PSA member.

In terms of what the PSA can provide to members, number one for survey respondents now and in the future was professional development. Least important to members, especially for the future, are print copies of PSA journals. Other themes of importance that emerged included involvement in curriculum development and implementation, advocacy, and the dissemination of information to PSA members.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bookmark Schedule and New Site

Here is the schedule for the next two issues of The Bookmark:

Winter Issue
January 16, 2009 - deadline for submissions
February 6, 2009 - published online

Spring/Summer Issue

May 29, 2009 - deadline for submissions
June 12, 2009 - published online


All of these dates are Fridays.

This link will be our future access point for publications:
http://psas.bctf.ca/bctla/pub/.

BCTLA invites submissions for publication in The Bookmark from B.C. and beyond. Please send submissions to:


Angie MacRitchie
BCTLA Senior Editor, The Bookmark
amacritchie@telus.net

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BCTLA Constitution Revision

This week, Bonnie McComb, Val Hamilton, and I began work on a revision of the BCTLA Constitution, By-Laws and Policies. We got a good start on the first section and will be looking at the Policies and Procedures before the winter break. Our hope to streamline the document (currently 26 pages) and to update it to make BCTLA more effective and responsive given current opportunities and challenges. The BCTLA Constitution, By-Laws and Policies was last updated in 2004.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Board of Education Trustee Elections

Elections for municipal and other positions, including Board of Education trustees, are coming up this week across B.C. One of the tools BCTLA produced this Fall for members was a list of "Possible Questions for Use at All-Candidates Meetings Involving Candidates for Board of Education Trustee Positions". Hopefully those who will be successful in this week's elections are interested in the role of school library programs and the importance of teacher-librarians! Thanks to Lynn Turner, BCTLA's Continuing Education Chair, for creating the questions.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

News from Québec

ABQLA, L'Association des bibliothécaires du Québec / Québec Library Association, has just launched their new website, which features web 2.0 tools such as blog capability. ABQLA's use of LibraryThing to share books that have been received for reviewing is quite interesting! ABQLA's School Library Division is one of two school library associations in Québec. The other is APSDS, the Association pour la promotion des services documentaires scolaires.

According to Mary Moroska, English Montreal School Board teacher-librarian, who is also on the Board of Directors for ABQLA, issues in Québec school libraries include the hiring of qualified personnel and job descriptions. In terms of hiring, the Québec Ministry of Education is continuing to allocate funds for the hiring of qualified personnel. Until 2019, the Ministry will be hiring approximately twenty MLIS graduates (who have finished the approved courses) per year.

In terms of job descriptions, the Ministry is working on job descriptions of the various personnel that work in school libraries. Currently, Québec has, "School Librarians (MLIS), Specialists in Education Methods (MLIS with a technology specialization) and Documentation Technicians (college level degree)" working in school libraries. According to Mary, the Québec Ministry of Education, "seems to be opting for the term 'Specialistes en documentation' for all the personnel that works in school libraries".

Monday, November 3, 2008

28th Annual Working and Learning Conditions Survey

The 28th annual Working and Learning Conditions survey of B.C. public school libraries is now underway! Teacher-librarians or staff representatives from all B.C. public schools are invited to submit their survey response online.

Survey results are compiled and made available each year. Last year's results, from the 27th annual survey, are available as an issue of The Bookmark (April 2008), and include quantitative and qualitative information.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michele Farquharson's Diane Poole Award Acceptance Speech

"BCTLA Executive and colleagues,

In anticipation of today, I wanted to put together something special that would show how grateful I am for this award. I read a lot of speeches! And I found some lines that I liked from a speech by Harrison Ford.
He said, 'I have written two speeches for today, a long one and a short one. My short speech is...thank you. And it looks like there might be enough time for the long one as well. Thank you...very much!'

Thank you very much for this incredible honour.

I am very grateful and humbled at being the recipient of the Diana Poole Award. I truly feel that I am accepting this award on behalf all members of the BCTLA, because collectively, we support and foster each other to be exemplary teacher-librarians.

A perfect example of this is Vancouver’s Teacher-Librarian Consultant, Moira Ekdahl, who, I would like to say encourages us to become involved, but for those who know Moira, a more appropriate word is pushes us to be involved, at all levels of professionalism. Pat Parungao, Liz Austrom, and Ken Haycock have helped raise the bar and assist us so that we can be the very best we can.
Throughout B.C., we all know 'the' Moiras, and 'the' Pats, and 'the' Kens, many that are here today, that encourage and push us to be our very best. Aren’t we lucky!

What better job could there be—where you work collaboratively with other professionals, learning from each other, to give children tools, skills, processes that allow and encourage them become critical thinkers and future learners. At the same time we instill in them, a love of reading and learning.

As teachers we are innovators. You know we all have those eight or nine lessons that we love to teach. I love showing the male pregnancy website and the follow-up YouTube to teach critical evaluation of the Internet. I enjoy using swamp slugs for the younger grades, but my all time favourite is the urine test, and use it whenever I can—works for secondary and elementary. When I use it I always feel innovative and creative.

However, a teacher that I was working with, was truly the innovator. We had forty-five Grade 7s that were studying archaeology and investigating the various tests that people would do at an archaeology site. Mark and I had planned to do the urine test. He was going to bring in the doctored specimen bottle, filled with the yellow food colouring and water and I would demonstrate the taste test. As the students were finishing up the various tests on rocks and fossils, I motioned to Mark to hand me the specimen bottle. He hits his forehead and runs out of the library. I think he’s forgotten it and carry on explaining to the students that some of the tests that archaeologists do, like carbon dating, use elaborate machinery, but sometimes the best tests are the simple ones. For example, think of diabetes. Does anyone know what diabetes is? Someone gave the answer that it is when we have too much sugar. Mark wasn’t back, so we did a think, pair and share for the tests we could do for diabetes. Sure enough, they came up with check the sugar content in blood and the urine and I suggest that we could taste the urine to determine how much sugar there might be in it. Almost on cue Mark walks in. Then as if in slow motion he handed me the container. I saw it wasn’t clear the way food colouring and water should be and as it reached my hand—it was warm. But with the urine test you actually stir with your index finger but lick the middle finger and continue until one of the students spots it. The punch line is: the most important thing you need for any test or science experiment, is a keen sense of observation.

I was washing up my hands as the students left and Mark rushed over and said, 'I’m sorry, Michele, I forgot the sample and couldn’t find food colouring so I rushed to the staffroom and used mustard powder and hot water'.

Our role as teacher-librarian requires us to be innovative and to be advocates for what we do. I am fortunate to have a long standing affiliation with the journal Teacher-Librarian. Recently, each member of the advisory board was asked to write a report on support for the role of teacher-librarians. It is heartening to review the research that so clearly supports quality library programs. It is interesting to note the emphasis that is being placed on technology. Keith Curry Lance and others have conducted dozens of studies in various states and concludes that when library conditions are optimal, which includes being adequately staffed, stocked and funded, and CPPT is happening and the library program embraces networked information technology, reading scores can improve by 10-18%. Similar findings in Canada are supported by the Haycock Report and the OLA research in 2006.

I am now re-reading Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat which talks about globalization and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. It was a wake-up call for me and what I should do as a teacher-librarian. It made me appreciate my job and how we are enabling our students. I think now, more than ever before, we must be lateral thinkers and innovators. I like this quote from Edward de Bono.

'You cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction'.

These are exciting times. They call on us to once again take a leadership role, be lateral thinkers and innovators.
Thank you again for this wonderful award. I would like to read and leave you with this story that I think illustrates how teacher-librarians are lateral thinkers.

A Vancouver teacher-librarian, who was going to teach in Japan for a year, walks into a bank in the heart of downtown Vancouver and asks for a $100 loan. She offers her car as collateral and the bank manager approves the loan. A year later, the TL comes back, repays the loan and the 10% interest and is ready to collect her car. Finally, the puzzled bank manager dares to ask her: 'Excuse me, madam, could you tell me: did you really need that $100 so badly? In order to get the money, you left your luxury car with us for a whole year!' The TL replied, 'That's simple; where else in Vancouver can I find such a great parking spot for just $10 a year?'"

Michele Farquharson, Teacher-Librarian, Kerrisdale Elementary, Vancouver
2008 Diana Poole Award of Merit

Monday, October 27, 2008

Did You "Drop Everything And Read"?

We would love to know who dropped everything to read on Monday, October 27! Please post a comment on the "Send Us Your Numbers" post on the DEAR Blog. Include your school name, district, and DEAR count!

Visit the DEAR blog to see newspaper articles, press releases and endorsements of the very successful 2008 Drop Everything and Read Challenge!

Friday, October 24, 2008

2008 Diana Poole Memorial Award of Merit

Diana Poole was an exemplary teacher-librarian, teacher-librarian educator, leader, mentor, colleague, and friend. The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association's highest honour was named in her memory. In honouring in turn a phenomenal teacher-librarian every year, we honour all teacher-librarians, who make such a difference in the lives of B.C.'s learners, every day.

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association would like to congratulate the amazing Michele Farquharson, teacher-librarian at Kerrisdale Elementary School in Vancouver, who was today awarded the 2008 Diana Poole Memorial Award of Merit in Victoria at the 2008 BCTLA Conference.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What A Busy Fall!

Drop Everything and Read! (DEAR) Challenge
· BCTF
created a poster and sent a School Staff Alert
· BC School Trustees' Association mentioned DEAR in
Educational Leader
· DEAR has been added as an event on the Canadian Library Month website
· Electronic copy of DEAR poster provided to Public Library Services Branch
· Notice sent to
public library trustees by the BC Library Trustees' Association
· DEAR information and poster added to school district websites
· Interviews with several newspapers
· DEAR Blog and DEAR Facebook event created
·
DEAR resources, including a press release, posters, etc. created
· Mentioned in a special edition of Linda Hof’s
Webbits
· Mentioned on the CASL and CCSL email distribution lists

Digital Initiatives and Publications
· New BCTLA website in final stages of development
·
Fall Issue of The Bookmark published online

Collaboration
· Canadian Library Month posters were sent to all schools in the province with the help of the
Public Library Services Branch
· Continuing discussions are being held through the
Library 2020 initiative around how public, post-secondary, school and special libraries can provide the best of library service to all British Columbians -- a consultant is now working on examining models for moving forwards
· BCTLA is a partner in preparing the
West Beyond the West: B.C. Digitization Symposium (Dec. 1-2); several meetings have been held
· BCTLA is a partner in the CASL-Provincial Advisory Committee; one meeting has been held

Communications
· Helped staff a table at
Word on the Street
· Chapter Councilor Handbook updated

· Regular communication with Chapter Councilors
· Frequent BCTLA News, BCTLA News from the BCTF and other blog posts

Awards
· Proposed that the Lieutenant Governor create an award for B.C. Aboriginal Children’s Literature
· Prepared draft Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award criteria and nomination form

Working and Learning Conditions
· 28th annual Survey prepared

Continuing Education and Conference
· K-12 Committee working towards completion of the K-12 framework
· Proposed sessions for the
BC Library Conference (formerly BCLA Conference), being held April 16-18, 2009
· “Mission: Literacy: Teachers and Teacher-Librarians: Not-So-Secret Agents of Change conference and conference blog

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Issue of The Bookmark Published!

The Fall issue of The Bookmark, "International School Libraries: Summer Conferences" has been published online on the BCTLA website. Check out the Fall issue today!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor to Visit School Library

The BC Coalition For School Libraries has organized a wonderful event on October 27 in celebration of National School Library Day. The BC Coalition is excited that B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Steven L. Point, will be visiting a secondary school in North Vancouver on the day. He will be visiting the school library and will be hearing about the school library's role in enhancing Aboriginal literacy. Thank you to the Coalition, and particularly, Pam Withers, Mary Locke, and Kathy Shoemaker, for what will truly be a special event.

School Staff Alert - DEAR and School Libraries!

The following School Staff Alert has been sent to all public schools in B.C.:

"October 14, 2008

Drop Everything and Read!


The British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association is marking National School Library Day by urging everyone to participate in the Drop Everything and Read! challenge.

On Monday, October 27, between 11:00 a.m. and 11:20 a.m., people young and old across BC will stop to read for 20 minutes in celebration of the joy reading can bring.

Studies show that daily silent reading is a very effective way of improving reading comprehension, increasing vocabulary, improving spelling, and broadening understanding of others. “Let students choose what they want to read from a well-stocked school library or from home, and then give them the time and space in which to read—away from the threat of tests and questions,” says Karen Lindsay, vice-president of the BCTLA, who would like to see the DEAR challenge grow to include other provinces.

Groups and schools who decide to participate should contact their local media and highlight the importance of libraries, books, and adults as role models in encouraging children to read.

The BCTLA has created a Facebook page to allow people to make their reading count. Point your browser to
http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=38741982688 or search for “Drop Everything and Read!” at www.facebook.com.

Join with children, parents, trustees, administrators, and politicians in highlighting the need to maintain and reinstate library services in schools.

The Canadian Coalition for School Libraries is unequivocal, “School library programs are being drastically reduced across the country as school boards confront funding shortfalls. But cuts are occurring when researchers abroad have determined that well-stocked, professionally staffed school libraries which remain open during the day are linked to student achievement, reading, information literacy skills, and success at the post-secondary level.”

Source: BCTF, http://bctf.ca/publications/SchoolStaffAlert.aspx?id=16580

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Next Issue of The Bookmark

The next issue of The Bookmark, the journal of the BCTLA, will be published online on October 17, 2008. Be sure to check out previous issues of The Bookmark and its interactive virtual component, The Virtual Bookmark.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Drop Everything and Read Resources

Thank you to the BCTF, which has produced a fantastic Drop Everything and Read poster which also celebrates School Library Day. Large copies have also been distributed by the BCTF to all schools in the province! This poster is in addition to a number of resources, including other posters, that have been created to support DEAR on October 27. There is also the DEAR blog and the Facebook event to help with planning for the day. Do you have a resource that would be useful to others? Email it to Val Hamilton to be added to the DEAR resource directory.

BC School Trustees Association and DEAR

The BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) makes issues of their publication the Education Leader available on their website. The October 2008 issue of Education Leader mentions the BCTLA's Drop Everything and Read! challenge on page 8, in an article entitled, "Drop Everything and Read Day". The article gives wonderful recognition to the Surrey Teacher-Librarians' Association for starting the DEAR initiative last year as a way to promote literacy and School Library Day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vancouver School Library Circulation Increases

In 2007-2008, the Vancouver School Board's 109 school libraries circulated 1,846,862 million items from September to June! This was up from 1,826,876 in 2006-2007. According to Maryann Kempthorne, the VSB's amazing Systems and Media Librarian, circulation has greatly increased since the completion of the automation of Vancouver's school libraries.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saskatchewan TL Professional Opportunities

In addition to the new Saskatchewan School Library Association website, the SSLA has for a limited time made issues of their journal, The Medium, available to all. The latest issue of The Medium, Fall 2008, has just been posted to the SSLA website. Check it out!

In addition to the new issue of The Medium, the SSLA has arranged a virtual three-part professional development opportunity on Fostering Reading Comprehension with author Sharon Grimes. The session dates are October 14, January 12, and March 2.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good News from New Westminster

Congratulations to Ruby Sihota, teacher-librarian and longtime BCTLA Chapter Councilor and President of the New Westminster Teacher-Librarians' Association! Ruby has been hired into the position of District Librarian (0.2) for New Westminster. The position had once existed, disappeared for a while, and is now back, which is great news!

New School Library Tools Launched in Alberta

The Alberta School Library Council has launched some new communication and collaboration tools. Join ASLC online at the:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Library Month Proclamation

On behalf of the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association, I would sincerely like to thank our Minister of Education, Shirley Bond, for the wonderful recognition of our association in today's announcement of the proclamation of October as "Library Month" in British Columbia. We would like to thank the Ministry of Education for their investment in literacy strategies and libraries in B.C. through initiatives such as funding of the multi-sector database bundle which will enable universal access to information for all British Columbians through B.C. school, public, and academic libraries.

In turn, the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association would also like to extend our congratulations and thanks to our fellow B.C. library associations and all of the library professionals that they represent. We salute our own members, B.C.'s teacher-librarians, and the exemplary school library programs and services that they develop and implement which play such an integral role within schools, school districts, and within communities. B.C.'s teacher-librarians remain committed to the goal of B.C. being the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent and look forward to celebrating Library Month all through October. Join in the celebration on October 27th as we celebrate National School Library Day and Drop Everything and Read!

News from Manitoba

Check out the fabulous Manitoba School Library Association website, launched today, just in time for National School Library Day, which has been officially proclaimed in Manitoba by the Minister of Education, Peter Bjornson. The November 28th MSLA conference features as keynote speaker author Kenneth Oppel (Darkwing). All this in celebration of the Manitoba School Library Association's 70th anniversary in 2008-2009!

DEAR Blog

Val has created another blog - to support Drop Everything and Read! on October 27. There is also a Facebook event, in the hopes of "viral marketing" of DEAR. We hope these sites help you in preparing for Drop Everything and Read! We want to hear from you--do you have any DEAR stories? Let us know on the DEAR blog or Facebook site.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Upcoming Opportunities in the Lower Mainland

If you are in the Lower Mainland, here are some upcoming professional opportunities that you may be interested in (in addition to the BCTLA Conference):

October 3 & 4 and October 8: Megan McDonald and Graeme Base visit Kidsbooks
This October, Kidsbooks presents Megan McDonald (Judy Moody series) and Graeme Base. For more information, visit the Kidsbooks events page.

October 5: "Fall Book Harvest"
The BC Coalition for School Libraries (BCCSL), Vancouver Public Library, Kidsbooks, and the Children's Writers and Illustrators of BC (CWILL) present Fall Book Harvest on Sunday, October 5th in the Alice MacKay Room at the Central Branch, Vancouver Public Library from 1-3 p.m. Visit with your favourite B.C. author/illustrator! Win a free author/illustrator visit for your school library! For more information, click to view the Fall Book Harvest poster (opens in pdf).

October 21-26: "Vancouver International Writer's Festival"
This year's festival is the 21st, and will present over 100 writers over six days. For more information, visit the 2008 Festival website. Also, keep up-to-date on author news and events by subscribing to Book News, a weekly emailed newsletter.

October 25: "Annual Illustrator's Breakfast"
The Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR) features award-winning author and illustrator Shaun Tan speaking at the Annual Illustrators' Breakfast. Click for more information.

November 21: "The Big6: Teaching Information Literacy Skills"
The Surrey School District and Surrey Teacher-Librarians' Association present Mike Eisenberg and Laura Robinson on "The Big6" in Surrey on November 21. For more information, or to register to attend the all-day event, go to the Surrey Focus Day site (scroll down).

December 1-2: West Beyond the West: BC Digitization Symposium
Due to space limitations, a limited number of interested individuals will be able to attend a digitization symposium on December 1-2 at UBC, featuring keynote speaker Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. The West Beyond the West website, however, features digital content that can be used in the classroom, as does the BC History Digital Collections, from UBC, which indexes all digital B.C. historical collections available online.

Getting the Word Out and a Few More Blogs...

Thank you to teacher-librarians Val Hamilton (retired) and Annette Caspar (Coquitlam) who volunteered their time manning the BCTF table at Word on the Street this past weekend. According to these wonderful women, spending the day at Word on the Street was a great experience and the blue "Kids Matter, Teachers Care" BCTF rulers were a hit!

Val, our incredible Web Steward/Publications Coordinator/Archivist, has created a blog for the BCTLA Conference. It's amazing, as usual. Be sure to check out the blog during and after the conference. Have you registered for the BCTLA Conference (October 23-24, Spectrum Community School, Victoria) yet? If you haven't already registered, go to the conference information page to choose your sessions online!

In case you missed it, Val also created a blog for the VSB Summer Institute (August 25-26) with James Henri and Sandra Lee. The presentations (PowerPoint) and photographs from the Institute are available on the site.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gibson Elementary School Library Featured

The Gibson Elementary Library is being featured on the home page for Delta School District! Congratulations to teacher-librarian Roberta MacQuarrie. It sounds like a fantastic school library program!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Canadian Library Month Posters and Bookmarks

BCTLA, in partnership with the Public Library Services Branch (PLSB), has sent Canadian Library Month 2008 posters and bookmarks to all public schools in the province. BCTLA and PLSB, along with the BC Library Association, are the B.C. Canadian Library Month partners. We wish to thank the PLSB for their assistance with delivery of the posters.

Canadian Library Month celebrates all libraries in Canada. For more information and for resources, visit the Canadian Library Month 2008 site. This year's theme is, "Your Library, Your World".

Along with the posters, districts received a letter from BCTLA about Canadian Library Month, and about the "Drop Everything and Read!" challenge. Look for your school's poster and bookmark in the mail beginning this week. We hope that you celebrate Canadian Library Month and National School Library Day, and everything that you do!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CLA Copyright Briefing Note on Bill C-61 Released

The Canadian Library Association today released Unlocking the Public Interest: The views of the Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques on Bill C-61, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act. Although Bill C-61 died on the order paper when the election was called, the Briefing Note provides an analysis of the proposed legislation.

The Briefing Note makes comment on what were proposed special educational exemptions in the Act. The Note points out flaws in the proposed exemptions, in particular "counter-limitations and requirements". The Note calls on the government to review the special educational exemptions "in light of" the concerns raised, and calls for the "issues [to] be addressed as part of a broad reaching public consultation".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preparing for School Library Day (October 27th)

On behalf of the BCTF, President Irene Lanzinger has sent a letter to the Premier requesting that Monday, October 27th be proclaimed, "Provincial School Library Day". The letter also requests support of "Drop Everything and Read!" on October 27th.

The theme of this year's International School Library Month (October) is, "Literacy and Learning at Your School Library". Resources have been made available online to support the day at http://www.iasl-online.org/events/islm/islm-resources.htm. Rick Mulholland (Surrey) is the International School Library Month Coordinator for IASL (International Association of School Librarianship). IASL has also created the IASL Meeting Place ning (http://iaslonline.ning.com/) which hosts the International School Library Month group at http://iaslonline.ning.com/group/internationalschoollibrarymonth.

Province-wide challenge: Drop Everything and Read!

Province-wide challenge: Drop Everything and Read!

Victoria September 2, 2008 -- The British Columbia Teacher-Librarians' Association has dropped the gauntlet. They are challenging the Premier, members of the legislature, and people across BC to "Drop Everything and Read" for 20 minutes on Monday, October 27.

Teacher-librarians strongly support Premier Campbell's goal of making BC the most literate province in Canada and know the impact that good modeling has on children. Seeing our provincial leaders put aside business for a few minutes to let pleasure reading be their priority will send a powerful message to students and families.

BC teacher-librarians are encouraging not only the Legislature, but all British Columbians to participate in the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Challenge. The BCTLA hopes people will organize their workplaces to Drop Everything and Read on the 27th as well. In most schools, the event is held between 11:00 am and 11:20 a.m., but the timing is not as important as involvement. Groups who decide to participate should contact local media so that young people can witness adults modeling the importance of reading.

For many years, teacher-librarians have organized special school events to mark National School Library Day (NSLD) on the fourth Monday in October. This is the first year they are taking their celebration to the general public. "I'd love to see the DEAR campaign grow so that in the next few years other provinces take up the challenge as well," said Karen Lindsay, Vice-president of the BCTLA. "Given a few years' practice, I think BC could beat the whole country in a DEAR challenge." Studies indicate that daily silent reading is a very effective way of improving reading comprehension, increasing vocabulary, improving spelling, and broadening understanding of others. "It's very simple, really," asserts Lindsay. "You let students choose what they want to read from a well-stocked school library or from home, and then give them the time and space in which to read -- away from the threat of tests and questions. Even twenty minutes a day of independent reading can make a difference."

Originally the brainchild of Surrey teacher-librarian Bonnie Chapman, the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Challenge was tested in many schools across the province on National School Library Day last year. Hundreds of BC students engaged in silent reading from 11:00 to 11:20 a.m. that day, and the response was terrific. "You could hear a pin drop!" "Kids didn't want to stop after 20 minutes."

The BCTLA has created a Facebook page to allow people to make their reading count. Point your browser to http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=38741982688 or search for "Drop Everything and Read" at www.facebook.com

For further information, please contact Karen Lindsay at klindsay52@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Free Online Access to K-2 Software (Bailey's Book House, etc.) in B.C.

Bailey's Book House, Millie's Math House, Sammy's Science House, and Trudy's Time & Place House, all software for students in pre-K, K, 1, and 2, are now freely available online in B.C. through ERAC. Each program can be used at school or at home. To access, go to http://www.learnnowbc.ca/learningcentre/. Descriptions of each program, lesson plans, and a teacher's guide are available by clicking on "Learning Resources" under each image on http://www.learnnowbc.ca/learningcentre/.

Teacher-Librarian "Word on the Street" Volunteers?

The following request is from Geoff Peters at BCTF…looking for teacher-librarians to volunteer at Word on the Street in Vancouver on Sept. 28th. If you are interested in volunteering to help man BCTF’s table at Word on the Street, please contact Geoff at gpeters@bctf.ca or 604-871-1872.

"BCTF sponsors Word on the Street events, such as adopting an author. We also have a table where we show our presence, have stuff to give out, and talk to the participants. We like to have teachers at our table to be ‘the face’ of the Federation. I would like to know if you could assist in finding us some teacher-librarians to staff our table on Sunday Sept 28. Word on the Street runs from 11:00 to 5:00 at the Downtown Vancouver Library. Volunteers would have their auto mileage, parking, or transit expense and lunch covered (assuming they stayed over for that part of the day). Duties: sit at a table for a few hours with another teacher (team of two or three), hand out trinkets, talk to passersby, give their dog a biscuit, and have a chance to take in the activities and events going on at WOTS".

ERAC Video Sale Coming Soon!

From Jennifer Gray-Grant, Communications, ERAC

"From Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC) is set to hold its annual sale of supplementary videos this fall. Videos included in the ERAC collection, which is available at http://www.bcerac.ca/Catalogue2008/ERAC2008Catalogue.aspx, come with discounted prices, free shipping and handling, and complimentary MARC records.

The videos in the catalogue are selected by BC specialist teachers and teacher-librarians, who receive training from ERAC and then follow a list of criteria to review videos in their area of specialty. Typically, ERAC evaluators review more than 2,000 videos, recommending only about 15 percent for inclusion in the catalogue. This means that teachers and teacher-librarians can order the supplementary videos with confidence, knowing they likely won’t be disappointed with their selections and have to waste time returning them and looking for different options. ERAC released the catalogue in June and will accept orders October 6-24. Teachers may place their orders online, at www.bcerac.ca. The videos should arrive in districts by Christmas. If you have any questions, please contact Sherry Kallergis at skallergis@bcerac.ca or 604-713-5013.

ERAC is a consortium of BC public school districts and independent schools that work together to cooperate on software, textbook, video and learning resource evaluations and purchases, in order to realize process efficiencies to generate financial savings. Every BC public school district belongs to ERAC."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BCTLA Conference Registration Now Available!

Registration for the October 24, 2008 BCTLA Conference in Victoria at Spectrum Community School is now available at http://www.sd61.bc.ca/gvtla/registration.htm. We hope to see you in Victoria!



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Are The Neighbours Up To?

I had the privilege of meeting Heather Daly, your BCTLA President, at the Canadian Association for School Libraries meeting in Vancouver this past week. She was excited to learn about what is happening in Alberta and has invited me to share on her blog. What a vibrant leader you have!

We have had a significant year in Alberta in school librarianship.

In November, the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) passed the following resolution. "That ASBA urge Alberta Education to adopt the standards for school library programs that are outlined in Achieving Information Literacy: Standards for School Library Programs in Canada, edited by Asselin,M., Branch,J., and Oberg,D., and fund jurisdictions appropriately, with the goal of reaching the exemplary standard in all Alberta schools by 2015".

ASLC was able to work with the trustees in providing background information, stories and research to support such a motion. It was the building of relationships with school trustees which gave ASLC networks to bring about advocacy for school libraries from other educational stakeholders.

In April, I had the opportunity to participate in the Canadian Ministers of Education Council (CMEC) Pan-Canadian Literacy Forum, which was held across Canada. Four out of every ten Albertans are considered functionally illiterate, despite our high achievements on international academic tests.
ASLC is seeking to work with other community groups and educational institutes to examine how libraries may address the Learn Canada 2020 initiative by CMEC. We will be encouraging our members to participate in the BC Literacy Forum discussions online. We would love to meet some of you there virtually!

In May 2008, Alberta Education hired Judith Sykes as a Library Resource Manager to revise the 1984 standards, policy and guidelines for school libraries in conjunction with an examination of the Achieving Information Literacy (2003) standards. ASLC has been invited to provide input and consultation regarding the development of these new standards. Judith will also oversee the development of a supporting document for Focus on Inquiry, which will focus on deepening students' understanding. ASLC will act as a focus group to provide feedback on the development of this document. This is very significant news. Alberta Education has had no one individual in charge of school libraries for 17 years! Needless to say, this has brought great hope to our surviving teacher-librarians. We are finding that we are now faced with the dilemma of wanting to hire teacher-librarians, but do not have people trained or applying for positions.

Our newly appointed Minister of Education, Dave Hancock, attended the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) in Calgary. He invited members of the ATA to address him about issues in Education where two of our executive members had an opportunity to speak to the minister about school libraries, which he responded positively towards. We are eager to continue our positive dialogue with our new minister, who has an extensive understanding of educational issues.

ASLC has had an increase in its membership with the ATA offering free membership for all teachers to one specialist council of their choice. We will be reorganizing into North/South regionals. The manner in which we provide PD will change to better meet the needs of our membership who are dispersed across the province. We will implement the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as video-conferencing, webinars, wikis, etc. to facilitate PD between members. We will be watching how other provinces use Web 2.0 and hopefully, learn to communicate in new ways with one another, as well as our students.

For those of you who love children's literature, we invite you to join us for Kaleidoscope 9, which is held only every 4 years and is sponsored by ASLC. Registration is now open. Go to www.kaleidoscopeconference.ca. The conference takes place on November 6-8 in Calgary, Alberta. We have an extensive list of authors and illustrators coming to share their craft around Story: Building Bridges. Come be a bridge to your colleagues in Alberta!

Fern Reirson, President
Alberta School Library Council
Alberta Teachers' Association

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Bookmark Book Club Challenge

A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink, recommended by Bonnie Chapman, BCTLA Conference Chair. Read this....wow!

I just finished it and was so stimulated and affirmed about my own teaching practices. His thesis is not new but poignantly reviewed with some tangible examples and anecdotes.

I CHALLENGE all teacher-librarians to read this book and post a comment on The Virtual Bookmark.

http://virtualbookmark.typepad.com/the_virtual_bookmark/the-bookmark-book-club.html#pink

http://virtualbookmark.typepad.com

Al Smith
BCTLA Recording Secretary

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

BCTLA Spring Council/AGM Photos!

The annual BCTLA Spring Council Meeting and Annual General Meeting was held on April 26. Thanks to all of the Chapter Councilors and Executive members who attended.

Here's a photo of nearly everyone at the table:


Our Working and Learning Conditions Chair, Amanda Hufton, explaining this year's data:

Here's the BCTLA Executive (2007-08 and 2008-09):

Back row (L to R): Karen Lindsay, Val Hamilton, Sylvia Zubke, Heather Daly, Amanda Hufton, Bonnie Chapman, Al Smith. Front row (L to R): Lynn Turner, Evelyn LeRose, Angie MacRitchie, Bonnie McComb, Halia Hirniak, Daphne Elwick. Missing: Moira Ekdahl, Lauren Craze.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

TL Projects & Initiatives (BC Literacy Forum)

Last week, our wonderful Web Steward, Val Hamilton, was asked by the moderator of the British Columbia Literacy Forum site to host and moderate a forum on the site for teacher-librarians. The BC Literacy Forum site was created in support of the CMEC Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum (April 14-15) but also is a resource through which to continue the conversation about literacy in B.C. BCTLA is very excited to be involved as a literacy partner.

The "TL Projects & Initiatives" discussion is moderated by Val. We're thrilled that so many teacher-librarians have joined in the discussion! The discussion was also promoted through the CASL (Canadian Association for School Libraries) listserv, and subsequently, teacher-librarians from across Canada joined in. In addition to "TL Projects & Initiatives", Val has created a discussion just for BC teacher-librarians, "BC Teacher Librarians and Literacy". You will also find a link to BCTLA's Literacy links page from the Resources page of the BC Literacy Forum.

In addition to discussions and links, the BC Literacy Forum also enables the contribution of video and images and supports the addition of events and music. There are blogging and messaging tools available and once someone is a member they can invite others to join the Forum. The BC Literacy Forum is actually a ning social networking site. Another ning site that you may be interested in is the Teacher-Librarian Network. If you belong to both sites, you can click on your name in the top right-hand corner to go back and forth between the two sites (when logged in).

Before I forget, please click on the hyperlinked text to join us on "TL Projects & Initatives" and please also join us on "BC Teacher Librarians and Literacy"!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mission: Literacy

Congratulations to the Greater Victoria Teacher-Librarians' Association (GVTLA) on what is sure to be an exciting BCTLA Conference in 2008! On October 23-24, join GVTLA and BCTLA at Spectrum Community School in Victoria for "Mission: Literacy -- Teachers and Teacher-Librarians: Not-So-Secret Agents of Change". Session, registration, and venue information will be posted at http://www.sd61.bc.ca/gvtla/.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BC Library 2020 Draft Vision

The Library 2020 draft vision has been posted. Teacher-librarians including Heather Daly, Moira Ekdahl, Judith Kootte, and Judith Comfort submitted ideas and suggestions. The draft was specifically created to be a discussion document. What do you think of the vision?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

BCTLA at the CMEC Pan Canadian Literacy Forum

From my perspective, the forum was very impressive. The quality and thoughtfulness of the speakers was inspiring. They included the elegant and intelligent Adrienne Clarkson who discussed cultural literacy for new Canadians, the very funny Linwood Barklay who suggested that we give a $500.00 tax break to every citizen with a library card and get rid of all taxes on books, the inspiring citizenship of David Asper and the Raise a Reader project, and the brilliant Dr. Fraser Mustard whose early childhood research tells us that Grade 1 is too late. The days were long and exhausting (6:45 AM to 9:00 pm), but the content, the technology and the concept were worth every sore muscle.

The focus of the forum was on preschool literacy and adult literacy. What I took away from this forum is that for the very first time Canadian leaders have put aside their titles, regions, interest groups, and differences to say that literacy is a goal that transcends all of these divisions. One of the ideas is that we should not have a Ministry of Education but a Ministry of Human Development (from birth do death) that is concerned with learning and training for all Canadians.

What about school libraries? What about schools? Several speakers such as Adrienne Clarkson and Linwood Barclay talked about the importance of supporting the public school system, but beyond that we weren't directly included. I don't think this is a slight. At this point, I think the focus is on helping adult immigrants become literate and helping support families and pre-school children. These are the two groups where support is needed. I do think this is an opportunity to advocate for good school libraries to support the middle of the continuum.

I hope, as Dr. Fraser Mustard suggested, that this forum is the beginning of a national concern with literacy and that we have another forum in two years to continue the work.

Bonnie McComb
BCTLA Co-President