Tuesday, January 27, 2009

21st-Century Opportunities

BCTLA will have a display table at the BCTF's New Teachers' Conference (Richmond, February 27-28). In addition to the table, congratulations to two Vancouver teacher-librarians who will be presenting to new teachers at the conference. They will be leading a session that will "explore the nature of collaborative planning to create more dynamic and in-depth units and ultimately to reduce [teacher] workload. [They] will be looking at online resources... examples of collaborative projects using Web 2.0 [and] website evaluation projects...".

Another opportunity in February is the Transforming School Libraries with Web 2.0 Virtual Conference being organized by Dr. James Henri and Sandra Lee. From February 20 to March 1, join teacher-librarians from around the world who will be exploring and collaborating online. Several districts are organizing opportunities for teacher-librarians to participate though group registrations or in district face-to-face meetings to extend the learning online.

One of the presenters at the conference will be Coquitlam's Judith Comfort. Her amazing virtual library site includes a number of widgets created through Widgetbox. At her suggestion, I've created a widget for this blog which you can find by searching for "BCTLA" or "school library" on the Widgetbox site. Anyone can embed the "In Circulation" widget and get an enhanced feed of posts to this blog. There's a number of other useful school library widgets on the site.

Key Decisions from the BCTLA Executive Meeting

The BCTLA Executive met this past weekend in Richmond, on the evening of Friday, January 23rd, and all day Saturday, January 24th. Key decisions from the meeting include:
  1. The approval of the applications of ten BCTLA members to participate in the BCTLA Teacher Inquiry Project on evidence-based practice in school libraries. The applications of the ten individuals were fantastic. Congratulations to them all!
  2. The filling of several committee positions and need for BCTLA volunteers. The BCTLA display at the BCTF New Teachers' Conference on February 27-28, 2009, for example, will be staffed by Amanda Hufton, our Working and Learning Conditions Chair, and Val Hamilton, our BCTLA Webmaster, Archivist, and Publications Coordinator.
  3. Updates about BCTLA's liaison with other library and school library associations including the Canadian Association for School Libraries and International Association of School Librarianship.
  4. Updates on the 2009 and 2010 BCTLA conferences. The 2009 conference will be held in Richmond on October 23, 2009. The 2009 conference website is under construction. In 2010, the BCTLA conference will be held in Kelowna and planning is already underway!
  5. We heard about plans for the next two issues of The Bookmark which will be available in early February and June. Next year is the 50th anniversary of The Bookmark, and there are great plans underway in celebration! The year after is the 30th anniversary of The Working and Learning Conditions survey. This year's survey report is currently in production.
  6. We also heard about work to revise the BCTLA Constitution and by-laws, which will continue through the spring. Work also continues on a welcome kit for members and on a new website for BCTLA.
  7. BCTLA award nominations are now being accepted, with a deadline of April 1st. One of the motions that was carried at the BCTLA Executive meeting was to recommend to the BCTLA Spring Council (April 18 in Burnaby) the creation of a new award for "New Teacher-Librarian of the Year".
  8. Planning for the Spring Council and AGM is also now underway. We welcome members and Chapter Councilors to join us in Burnaby on April 18!

The BCTLA Executive is quite proud of our accomplishments to date this year, and we're excited about everything underway. Thanks to all of our members for your support!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BCTLA Membership Now At 504

As of this month, BCTLA has 504 members and subscribers! Thanks to everyone for their support! If anyone else is thinking of becoming a BCTLA member, the membership application form is available on the BCTF website. Mail the completed form to:

British Columbia Teachers' Federation
100 - 550 West 6th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
V5Z 4P2

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BCTLA Teacher Inquiry Group Invitation

I have the great pleasure of announcing that BCTLA has been selected as the recipient of one of three $7,500 grants for PSAs to engage in teacher inquiry through the BCTF’s Program for Quality Teaching (PQT). This has been made possible by a grant from the Province through the BC Ministry of Education. BCTF PQT facilitators and BCTF staff will facilitate the three PSA teacher inquiry groups which will meet five times during the year.

Teacher inquiry, “is a form of professional development that promotes deep, relevant personal learning within a community of teaching professionals. Its various process models support teachers’ growth through reflection, collaborative conversation, and investigation into teaching practice. Action research groups, study groups, book study circles, conversation models, and dialogue on student work are examples of teacher inquiry. Inquiry into a current teaching and learning question or dilemma underpins all models”.

The focus of the BCTLA teacher inquiry group is on evidence-based practice in B.C. school libraries. According to Dr. Ross Todd (Rutgers), research evidence on school libraries has traditionally included data about the infrastructure of school libraries -- the staffing, resources, technology, as well as curricular and literacies initiatives -- usually describing its informational role in schools. Ross notes that insights are needed from teacher-librarians about the nature of instructional activities undertaken in their programs. It is time to illuminate the formational (student learning, knowledge creation, use, production, sharing, and reading literacy) and transformational roles.

Todd’s key recommendations place the locus for action squarely on the shoulders of the teacher-librarians. The focus for change is on issues of professional practice and on building the spirit of continuous improvement for “ourselves”. His recommendations included building school library programs on a stronger foundation of evidence-based practice in order to show the ways school libraries contribute to learning. Todd challenges teacher-librarians: “If your local newspaper asked you, ‘We want to do a story on your school library and how it really helps students learn?’ -- What would you answer?” “If your school board asked ‘How does your school library impact students’? -- What would you answer?”

The BCTLA group will have 8-12 participants from around the province. The $7,500 will be used to cover all costs, including TOC time and travel/accommodation, for participants. For more information about the project and the group, please see
this description and/or the Statement of Interest form.

BCTLA members are invited to consider participating in the BCTLA teacher inquiry group. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the Statement of Interest form and return it to Heather Daly, psac49@bctf.ca, or via fax (to att’n H. Daly, 604-936-6129) by midnight on January 22, 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

BCTLA at the BC Library Conference

Lynn Turner, BCTLA's Continuing Education Chair, has just heard that our proposal for a session at the BC Library Conference has been accepted. Lynn, along with Julie Robinson and Michele Farquharson, teacher-librarians from West Vancouver and Vancouver respectively, and Moira Ekdahl, BCTLA's Liaison Chair, will be presenting at the conference on their work on the K-12 Information Literacy framework, tentatively titled "Reading, Resources, and Research".

The New 3 Rs in Education: Reading, Resources, and Research
Speaker(s): Lynn Turner, Michele Farquharson, Julie Robinson
Session Date: Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Session Time: 2:00-3:15 p.m.

Session Convenor: Moira Ekdahl

The BC Library Conference will be held April 16-18 at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown in Burnaby. "The New 3 Rs in Education: Reading, Resources, and Research" will be one of many fabulous sessions over the three days on the theme, "Be Curious: Think, Share, Discover".