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

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

Friday, April 11, 2008

BC Coalition for School Libraries & CWILL BC Blogs

The BC Coalition for School Libraries now has a blog. The purpose of the blog is to publish and discuss longer opinions and articles related to advocacy for BC school libraries.

The Children's Writers and Illustrators of BC (CWILL BC) also has a blog - CWILL BC Blog & News. All of your (and your students') favourite local children's writers and illustrators are contributing to and commenting on the blog articles.

Web In The Classroom

North Vancouver teacher-librarians have been working for some time on Web in the Classroom, and have recently developed a wiki in support of their Web in the Classroom workshops. Resources on the wiki include ideas, lessons, and links organized under topics such as plagiarism, research, Internet safety, and Web 2.0. Additional resources include bookmarks. Check out the great resources our colleagues in North Vancouver have assembled.

Join North Vancouver teacher-librarians Lesley Edwards (The WebFooted Booklady - and Hazel Clark for Elluminate Live! sessions through the Virtual School Society Online Learning Community. To join, log on at To view the recorded sessions, click on "Explorer" at the top of the page. Under "Discussions" in the tree, click on "Groups". Click on "ERAC LearnLink" and then "Recorded Elluminate Sessions". Enjoy learning about social bookmarking and Google Notebook from Lesley and Hazel!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Useful Distribution Lists and e-Newsletters

I signed up for two additional two e-newsletters today - Notes from the Horn Book, a free monthly compilation of news, recommendations, and interviews about books for children and youth from the editors of Horn Book magazine, and the Vancouver International Writers' Festival weekly newsletter, which provides information about author events in the Lower Mainland. The latter I discovered through Moira Ekdahl, our Liaison rep., who emailed me the latest issue which listed events such as Barbara Kingsolver at UBC on May 14th! These two e-newsletters are in addition to several others I receive, helping me keep up-to-date.

I also am a member of a number of distribution lists and listservs in addition to the BCTLA Forum. I find it incredibly useful to be on the various BCLA (BC Library Association) listservs. You can subscribe in one location to thirteen different lists, including the Main BCLA list, and the list for the BCLA's Young Adult and Children’s Services section (YAACS). Other library lists that I've joined include the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries (CCSL) Forum. You must apply to join the CCSL Forum, but they're more than happy to welcome teacher-librarians to the list.

Other lists that I've joined keep me appraised of what's happening in copyright (K-12) and curriculum. In terms of copyright, the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), maintain a K-12 copyright information site and often release bulletins. The latter have been more frequent of late, and you can keep up-to-date on CMEC's positions regarding copyright in the K-12 sphere by subscribing to InfoCMEC. Finally, the BC Ministry of Education has launched a Curriculum Information Updates listserv, which lets members know when new curriculum and other materials have been posted to the Ministry website. To subscribe, click here and scroll down to "Curriculum Information Updates".

Those are some of my favourite e-newsletters and distribution lists. Do you know of any others that are useful?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

IFLA Libraries Success Stories Database

IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) has set up the IFLA Libraries Success Stories Database, at The goal of the database is to showcase how libraries are making a difference with successful initiatives in the following areas:

  • Libraries as access point
  • Libraries as ICT learning centres
  • Libraries for continuing education
  • Libraries for specific needs
  • Libraries for cultural heritage

A sixth area, "Libraries for cultural diversity", is also referenced on some of the database pages.

The database can be used in two ways. To add a success story, you must be a member. This involves filling in a simple form, which can be found at To search through the success stories that have already been added, you will find that there are many searching options available, including search by project category, project field, continent, and country. To see what has already been added in the field of "School Libraries and Resource Centres", click on Project Field and find "School Libraries..." in the list (currently it's eleventh from the top). Next, click on search. I see that the California School Library Association has already added a success story. Hopefully, members of BCTLA will add the great things that are happening in B.C.'s school libraries to the database!

The BCTLA Executive will be considering a request for BCTLA to become a member of IFLA. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

ERAC Spring Supplemental Video Sale

ERAC has re-opened the 2007-08 supplemental video catalogue for the annual spring sale, running from April 1st to April 14th. The sale includes English, French, and Ministry-recommended videos and DVDs, many recommended through Fast Forward. For more information about the ERAC spring video sale, contact Sherry Kallergis at ERAC at or 604-713-5013, or talk to your ERAC District Video Contact. Keep up-to-date with ERAC news by subscribing to E-Update, ERAC's quarterly newsletter for schools. Older issues of E-Update and ERAC Link (a newsletter for senior district administrators) are available on the ERAC website.

The 2008 Fast Forward Educational Media Showcase, where videos and DVDs will be previewed for next year's ERAC video catalogue, will be held on April 30-May 1st at the Capilano College Sportsplex in North Vancouver. Numerous teacher-librarians will be attending, including Moira Ekdahl, BCTLA's Liaison Chair.