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 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 ( which hosts the International School Library Month group at

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 or search for "Drop Everything and Read" at

For further information, please contact Karen Lindsay at

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 Descriptions of each program, lesson plans, and a teacher's guide are available by clicking on "Learning Resources" under each image on

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 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, 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 The videos should arrive in districts by Christmas. If you have any questions, please contact Sherry Kallergis at 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."