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 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!

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.

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"!