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.