Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BCTLA's NSLD Legislative Visit

Sunday, October 25 - Dinner Meeting
A group of teacher-librarians met to share ideas regarding what messages we wanted to present to MLAs on National School Library Day. We considered topics such as staffing,
budget, the critical role of school library programs (e.g., technology integration, inquiry, etc.). We also discussed how school library program issues are connected to broader funding issues of public education in general. On top of this, we explored topics from Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley’s The Fourth Way: The Inspiring Future of Educational Change and Barbara Stripling’s Curriculum Connections Through The Library.

Monday, October 26 - Early Morning
Several MLAs supported DEAR by going to Greater Victoria elementary schools and reading with students. These MLAs included: Carole James (South Park Elementary), Robin Austin, Diane Thorne (James Bay Elementary), and Ida Chong (Braefoot Elementary, in the place of Margaret MacDiarmid who was apparently ill). Two members of the BCTLA team were in attendance for Carole James’ reading. Other members of the group met with Adrian Dix and Shane Simpson in the Opposition Caucus room and discussed with them substantive issues surrounding teacher-librarianship and public education.

Monday, October 26 - Late Morning
Pat met with MLA Richard Lee (Lib.) and showed him the
school library inquiry video created by the Vancouver Teacher-Librarians' Association inquiry group. Meanwhile, the other members of the group visited the Legislative Library. The library is spectacular, and still houses a card catalogue and microfiche for items that have not yet been added to an electronic database. The group worked to have a copy of the book, The Fourth Way, ordered which will be directed towards the MLAs we met with. Following this, at the appointed time in the day, the group participated in the DEAR Challenge in the beautiful surroundings of the Library Reading Room.

Mark Roberts (Cunningham Elementary, Vancouver) and Cheriee Weichel (Dickens Elementary, Vancouver) are reading at the Legislative Library at 11:15 am on October 26.

Monday, October 26 - Lunch
Members of the team met for lunch with Robin Austin, the Opposition Education Critic, and Diane Thorne, Deputy Education Critic. We discussed a wide range of issues around school libraries and education in general, including class size and composition (and the recent ruling), learning resources selection, support for Aboriginal learners, recent cuts affecting K-12, the overall lack of funding for K-12 including the trustees’ call to delay all-day Kindergarten, and the growing federation of all education stakeholders in support of renewed funding for the K-12 system.

Monday, October 26 - Afternoon
At 1:00 the entire group reconvened and picked up our reservation / seating passes, left our belongings at the security check and passed through the metal detector into the gallery. We made quick friends with the pages – ex-military or ex-police. Our team was introduced by MLA Ron Cantelon (Lib., Parksville/Qualicum). Pat was also introduced by MLA Richard Lee (Lib., Burnaby North). MLA Diane Thorne (NDP, Coquitlam/Maillardville) introduced Heather Daly and also recognized Karen Lindsay as this year’s recipient of the 2009 BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year – Diana Poole Memorial Award, to very great applause from both sides of the house.

Private members statements about National School Library Day were given by MLA Ron Cantelon and MLA Diane Thorne (Coquitlam/Maillardville). We were happy to hear that Ron Cantelon’s daughter-in-law is a teacher-librarian and that he supported DEAR. Diane’s speech presented a thorough understanding of the role of school library programs, mentioning inquiry and critical thinking.

The BCTLA team felt quite at home at the Legislature and used every resource in our lobby efforts. We think the BCTF was very well-served by letting a group of teacher-librarians loose on the Legislature building. The team proved very resourceful, one of many speciality-area-related capacities including also a propensity for information seeking and provision which was employed during the day. We were very happy to be able to bring our knowledge to the table in support of BCTF, BCTLA, and K-12 public education in general and thank the BCTF for supporting our lobbying visit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

National School Library Day

We hope everyone had a wonderful National School Library Day! Here are some photographs from BCTLA's Visit to the Legislature from earlier today (October 26, 2009):

(Top to Bottom) Kathy Inglis, Val Hamilton (BCTLA Web Steward), Geoff Orme, Heather Daly (BCTLA President), Michele Farquharson (BCTLA Continuing Education Co-Chair), Sandra Hedley, Karen Lindsay (sitting, BCTLA Vice-President Advocacy), Pat Parungao (sitting, former BCTLA President), Mark Roberts (former BCTLA President), Cheriee Weichel, Moira Ekdahl (BCTLA Liaison Chair)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

BC Books for BC Schools

As we prepare to celebrate National School Library Day, the 2009 BC Books for BC Schools and 2009 Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools catalogues are in the mail on their way to schools.

BC teacher-librarians have been blessed for years to receive these publications from the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia. The two catalogues are invaluable to teacher-librarians who use them to aid in the selection British Columbian and Canadian literature for inclusion in school library collections for the benefit of teachers and students, and in particular, for the benefit of Aboriginal learners. BC BookWorld is also an invaluable guide, as are the efforts of BC's magazine publishers.

BCTLA is very saddened to hear of funding cuts to the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers, and BC BookWorld. These cuts are in addition to the 2001 elimination of the Library Book Purchase Plan which provided a catalogue and a $150 to each school in BC to purchase books from BC publishers. In the loss of teacher-librarian positions throughout BC, the elimination of the Library Book Purchase Plan, cuts to the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC) and now the possibility of the further loss of review publications such as BC Books for BC Schools and BC BookWorld, who is going to ensure that British Columbian and Canadian literature is selected and made available for students and what resources and tools are they going to use to accomplish this?

The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, the British Columbia Association of Magazine Publishers, and BC BookWorld have formed the Coalition for the Defense of Writing and Publishing in British Columbia. The Coalition is asking that letters be sent to MLAs and that copies be forwarded to the two associations and to BC BookWorld. In addition, BC BookWorld is asking that individuals consider subscribing to BC BookWorld for $25 to show their support.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

From the 2009 BCTLA Conference

Thank you to the Richmond Teacher-Librarians' Association (RTLA) and Richmond Secondary School for hosting an amazing 2009 BCTLA Conference! "Champions of Literacy" welcomed approximately 340 teacher-librarians and the feedback was excellent.

Everyone loved touring the Richmond Olympic Oval on Thursday night and meeting the Vancouver 2010 mascots! Some conference photos have been posted online. Check out BCTLA Web Steward Val Hamilton's photographs of the fun at the Olympic Oval!

In addition, two awards were presented. Congratulations to Karen Lindsay, the 2009 recipient of the BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year – Diana Poole Memorial Award.

Karen is an amazing example of what a teacher-librarian should strive to be. Her hard work, dedication, and spirit have made the Reynolds library a major part of the school community. Not only does Karen work to perfect her school library community, she also dedicates herself to working with Greater Victoria district’s school libraries. Karen presents at many professional development workshops as well as being on many committees in and around the district. She is Second Vice-President, Advocacy, for the BCTLA and is the President of the GVTLA. Her Drop Everything and Read campaign across the province saw thousands of children, teachers, community members and politicians drop everything and read. It was a huge undertaking and Karen managed the whole campaign with grace and amazing spirit. Karen’s past awards include CASL’s Chancellor Group Conference Grant and Angela Thacker Memorial Award, and the CLA/ACB Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship. She is an exemplary teacher-librarian and a wonderful colleague!

Congratulations to Judith Kootte, the 2009 and first-ever recipient of the Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award.

Judith’s contributions to school libraries and teacher-librarianship include over fifteen years of commitment to our profession at the school, district, provincial, and national level. Recently retired from the position of Coordinator of Technology and Information Services for Richmond School District, Judith is a Past President of the BCTLA and the Canadian School Library Association. Judith is renowned provincially as an expert in the selection and provision of learning resources for teachers to use in expanding and improving student learning and she has shaped learning resources policy in B.C. She was instrumental in Richmond School District being the first district in B.C. to adopt Follett’s Destiny Library Manager. She is a frequent author and contributor of articles related to school libraries, learning resources and educational technology. Judith has also contributed to the development of teacher-librarianship throughout Canada through her contribution to national-level documents including Students' Information Literacy Needs in the 21st Century: Competencies for Teacher-Librarians.

BCTLA’s other awards were presented at the BCTLA AGM in April. Congratulations to all of our 2009 BCTLA award winners and grant recipients!

We look forward to the 2010 BCTLA conference, in Kelowna, hosted by the Central Okanagan Teacher-Librarians' Association (COTLA). Check out the conference planning underway on the Kelowna 2010 website.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

50th Anniversary of The Bookmark!

Congratulations to the BCTLA's journal, The Bookmark, on it's 50th anniversary! The anniversary issue is now available for download on the BCTLA website. It features submissions from B.C. teacher-librarians abroad in the U.A.E. and Australia and a gallery of articles from BCTLA's Chapters. All BCTLA members and subscribers will be receiving a printed copy that will be mailed to their homes this Fall!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BCTLA To Visit the BC Legislature

BCTLA will be visiting the BC Legislature in celebration of National School Library Day on Monday, October 26th! The trip is sponsored by the BCTF and we thank the BCTF for their support.

Twelve teacher-librarians, including
four secondary, six elementary, and two district teacher-librarians, will make the journey to Victoria for the day. Of the team, five teacher-librarians are currently members of the BCTLA Executive and two are Past Presidents of BCTLA.

The schedule for the day includes meetings with MLAs and part of the afternoon observing Question Period, during which it is expected that two MLAs will read Private Members' Statements regarding B.C. school libraries. In addition, four MLAs will be participating in Drop Everything and Read events in elementary schools throughout Greater Victoria in the morning!

2009-10 BCTLA Chapter Grants Awarded

At the 2009 BCTLA AGM, a new Chapter Grant Program was approved such that, "as of May 1, 2009, a Chapter Grant fund of no less than $4000 each year be created and made available through an application process to BCTLA Chapters for teacher-librarian initiatives and professional development that have the potential of positive impacts at the district level and that have the potential of enabling the BCTLA to meet our goals".

BCTLA is excited to announce that two BCTLA Chapters have been awarded Chapter Grants of $2000 each for the 2009-10 school year! Congratulations to the New Westminster Teacher-Librarians' Association and to the Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians Association!

New Westminster Teacher-Librarians' Association
District School Library Handbook and Provincial Template Project
Chapter Contact: Ruby Sihota; BCTLA Executive Contact: Moira Ekdahl

The New Westminster Teacher-Librarians' Association's Chapter Grant project is to develop a school library handbook for use in SD40 and to contribute to the development of a school library handbook template that can be used by other districts.

New Westminster is currently experiencing many positive changes in terms of school libraries. As of this fall, Ruby Sihota is now the 0.4 New Westminster District Teacher-Librarian, the district has agreed to implement centralized cataloguing, library clerks are now in place in schools to assist teacher-librarians, and school libraries will be migrating this winter to the Destiny Library Manager system. As new protocols and processes are established, the timing couldn't be better to develop a school library handbook and to contribute to a provincial school library handbook template.

The NWTLA would like to express their thanks to the BCTLA Executive. Members of the Chapter feel honoured to have been given this privilege and look forward to creating a quality document that can be of use to all teacher-librarians in B.C.

Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians' Association
Connecting Teacher-Librarians Through Technology Project
Chapter Contact: Jeff Yasinchuk; BCTLA Executive Contact: Al Smith.

School District #8, Kootenay Lake, is a geographically large school district serving centres such as Salmo, Kaslo, Creston, Nelson, and Slocan. Increasingly, the Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians' Association members see a need for technological methods that can be used to connect teacher-librarians in a community of practice. They see the project as being larger than their district and they would eventually like to share their learning with other districts, especially those with similarly rural and isolated schools.

To this end, the Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians' Association's Chapter Grant project is to use technological tools such as Elluminate and Ning in order to bring together rural and geographically isolated teacher-librarians in a strong and even more cohesive community. To this end, since receiving news of their successful BCTLA Chapter Grant request, the Association has requested Elluminate training and has created the SD8 Teacher-Librarians Ning. In addition, the Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians' Association has applied to and received additional funding for this project from the Nelson and District Teachers' Association. BCTLA would like to thank the NDTA for their support of the project!

Congratulations again to the New Westminster Teacher-Librarians' Association and the Kootenay Lake Teacher-Librarians' Association!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

UBC National School Library Day Colloquium

This National School Library Day special event has been sponsored by UBC's School of Library Archival and Information Studies in collaboration with the UBC Education Library and Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Videogames, Virtual Worlds and Real Learning

October 26, 2009, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC

* Sylvia Zubke, First Vice-President, BCTLA
* Mary Locke, VTLA (Vancouver Teacher-Librarians' Association)

Panel Speakers:
* Eric Meyers, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, UBC
* Dr. Kathy Sanford, Associate Dean of Teacher Education, UVic
* Liz Merkel, Doctoral Candidate, UVic

Every day millions of children and youth login to virtual environments where they play, socialize, create and explore a digital landscape as avatars or "virtual characters". By the end of 2011, researchers estimate that 80% of active Internet users will be using virtual worlds. While virtual worlds are undeniably popular among children and youth, they have attracted the attention of anxious adults, teachers and librarians. Parents and child advocates suggest that videogames are dangerously addictive and even toxic to real-life pro-social development. Others decry the blatant commercialism and commodification of childhood experience.

Researchers Dr. Kathy Sanford and Liz Merkel from the University of Victoria and Dr. Eric Meyers from UBC will share what they have learned about the nature of videogaming and virtual worlds. Dr. Sanford has focused her research on the videogaming of adolescent boys while Dr. Meyers as a participant and observer has explored the virtual play spaces popular with children and designed for home use, such as Club Penguin, WebKinz, Woogi World, Panwapa, Millsberry, Second life, BarbieGirls, Pixie Hollow, HandiPoints, and Sifaka World. Virtual worlds are not just playspaces, but the focal point of a great deal of information work. The implications for school and library professionals are worthy of our attention especially as we celebrate learning and National School Library Day.

A live webcast of the panel presenation will be available.

5 minutes prior the event, or any time during the event, go to:

Username: SLAIS
Password: mediasite

Please log in a few minutes early to familiarize yourself with the interactive links on the web viewer. You may be asked to install "Silverlight" on your preferred web browser - a brief installation taking 20-30 seconds after your acknowledgement which is only required once.

To submit questions to the event moderator, select the speech balloon to view the "ask" text box. Your question may be answered during the live event if appropriate. To view the video or slides full screen, select the box with arrow icon found above each display panel you wish to see.

For more information about this event, contact Jo-Anne Naslund,, or 604-822-0940, or, Simon Neame,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Your School Library #3 -- $99 for BCTLA Members!

The third "Your School Library" virtual conference for teacher-is starts on October 23 and runs through to November 15.

BCTLA has arranged a very special registration price of $99 CDN for members!

Topics and speakers include:

School Design
Stephen Heppell, Juliette Heppell, Kenn Fisher

School Library Design
Barbara Braxton, Anne Robinson, David DiGregorio, Rolf Erikson,
Kevin Hennah, Elizabeth Greef

Designing Learning
David Loertscher, Daniel Churchill, Sy-ying Lee, Jan Jackowicz-Korczynski, Arthur Winzenried, Sally Todd and colleagues, Linda Gibson-Langford

2020 Scenarios
Stephen Heppell, Mal Lee, Steven Baule, Dave Cormier

Register at:

For more information, email, or visit

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CASL Recognition for BCTLA Members

A belated congratulations to the following BCTLA members honoured last spring by the Canadian Association for School Libraries!

Follett International Teacher-Librarian of the Year
This award is presented to a school-based teacher-librarian who has made an outstanding contribution to school librarianship within Canada through planning and implementing school library programs, based on a collaborative model which integrates library and classroom programs.

The 2009 Follett International Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award was presented to: Michele Farquharson.

Angela Thacker Memorial Award
This Award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or information literacy.

The 2009 Angela Thacker Memorial Award was presented to: Heather Daly, Sylvia Zubke, Karen Lindsay, Bonnie McComb, Angie MacRitchie, Moira Ekdahl, Amanda Hufton, Bonnie Chapman, Al Smith, Val Hamilton, Halia Hirniak, Lauren Craze, and Lynn Turner.

Congratulations to all!

2010 BC Library Conference Proposals

The 2010 BC Library Conference will be held April 22-24, 2010 in Penticton, B.C. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. This year's conference theme is "Seriously Entertaining: Learning through Fun and Games".

From Heather Compeau, BC Library 2010 Conference Chair:
"When you are passionate and love something it is fun! Introduce, inspire, or challenge someone with what you love to do!! The BC Library Conference Program Committee invites those working or interested in the fields of librarianship, archives or education to submit program proposals for the 2010 annual BC Library Conference which is sponsored by the BC Library Association, the BC Library Trustees’ Association, and the Health Librarians’ Association of BC.

We are looking for proposals that complement this year's theme; however, the Program Committee will consider all proposals. We encourage submissions from practitioners, academics, trustees, vendors and students. Vendors are encouraged to partner with practitioners to increase the likelihood of proposal acceptance.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, October 26th, 2009. Program selection will be done by November 5th, 2009 and speakers notified by the week of November 9, 2009. To submit proposals please go to this link:".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

DEAR and CLM Posters

In support of Drop Everything and Read, the BCTLA Executive worked with the BCTF to develop and distribute an English-language DEAR poster. Printed by the BCTF, one copy was included in the September BCTF mailing of posters and other materials to all public schools in the province. Subsequently, a French-language poster was developed and posted online with the English-language poster on BCTLA's DEAR resources page.

We have been receiving reports that a number of teacher-librarians did not receive the printed poster. This is unfortunate and is something that we will definitely address for next year's Drop Everything and Read challenge. For this year, we invite interested DEAR participants who did not receive a printed poster to visit the DEAR resources page to download a copy of the English and/or French-language posters.

In addition to the DEAR poster, for the second year, BCTLA, in partnership with the Public Library Services Branch (PLSB), sent Canadian Library Month 2009 posters and bookmarks to all public schools in the province. Canadian Library Month celebrates all libraries in Canada and this year's theme is, "Your Library, Your World Now More Than Ever". Thank you to the PLSB and to school district staff across the province for their assistance with delivery of the posters. Additional Canadian Library Month posters are available for download in the Gallery on the Canadian Library Month 2009 website.

National Day on Writing Challenge

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 has been declared the National Day on Writing in the U.S. For more, visit

The NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) has listed “libraries” as the number one place for National Day of Writing celebrations at In recognition of this, Dr. Judi Moreillon, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman's University, has proposed the following:

On October 20, teacher-librarians and school library media specialists from around the world are encouraged to tweet a description of the writing that's happening in school libraries on that day. Better yet, include a link that shows students, teachers, and librarians writing together, the actual writing produced, and/or the prompts and assignments that inspired students to write.
Organize tweets with this hashtag: #ndwlibraries. The purpose is to share the contribution that school libraries make to students' proficiency in and love of writing.

If you have a Twitter account and get a chance, it would be great if B.C. was represented!

Friday, October 16, 2009

BCTLA Conference & Awards Ceremony

There's only one week left! Have you registered for the annual BCTLA conference? We'd love to see you there!

"Champions of Literacy"
October 22-23, 2009 in the Olympic Venue City of Richmond, BC

We're proud to present our keynote speaker; none other than Roch Carrier; a national treasure and a champion of Canadian culture. As a Canadian writer, he touched our hearts with books like The Hockey Sweater and La Guerre, Yes Sir! He was a director of the Canadian Council for the Arts from 1994 to 1997 and served as National Librarian of Canada from 1997 to 2004. Carrier is an ardent supporter of libraries and children's literacy.

The Thursday night wine and cheese will be at the Legacy Suite of the spectacular Richmond Olympic Oval. Come and catch the Olympic excitement! Take a tour of this inspiring and innovative building and meet the Olympic Mascots! On the conference website, click on Venues to get more details. The main conference is being hosted by Richmond Secondary School, located at 7171 Minoru Blvd., Richmond BC, V6Y1Z3.

There'll be exciting workshops, inspiring speakers and great literacy displays from a variety of vendors. The morning opening will also feature the presentation of the 2009 BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year-Diana Poole Memorial Award to Karen Lindsay and the 2009 Val Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award to Judith Kootte.

Reserve October 22nd and 23rd of 2009 for your BCTLA Annual Conference Experience! Register online at at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BC Teacher-Librarians Challenge British Columbians to Drop Everything and Read!

October 26, 2009 is National School Library Day and the third anniversary of the BC Drop Everything and Read Challenge. DEAR started as a small challenge between BC school libraries in 2007 and has since grown by leaps and bounds. The simple but powerful idea is to promote the importance of literacy by having as many students and adults as possible read at the same time on the same day.

Organizer Karen Lindsay’s dream is to have everyone in BC put down their work, turn off their computer screens, pick up a book, magazine or newspaper, and read quietly for 20 minutes on October 26, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Picture offices where calls go to voice mail just for those few minutes. "You have reached L & G Real Estate. We are Dropping Everything to Read until 11:20. If this is an emergency, please call (a designee’s cell number). Otherwise, why don't you read along with us?"

The event was a huge success last year. Dozens of schools representing thousands of students participated in the DEAR Challenge. Many schools across BC organized special events. Local celebrities - athletes, firefighters, police officers, politicians, parents - came in to read, "big" kids read to little ones, and group read-ins were held on playing fields. The response was uniformly positive, so positive that several schools decided to make silent, free-choice reading part of their weekly routines. Reynolds Secondary School in Victoria has had daily silent reading in their timetable for six years. On DEAR Challenge day, they read twice!

BC teacher-librarians want to draw attention to the importance of reading in the development of a successful human being. People know that the more you read the better you get at it, and that the ability to read with understanding is vitally important to success in the world. Reading improves vocabulary, increases general knowledge about the world, improves one's writing, and is a great way to relax. Not so obvious is its ability to increase the reader's capacity for empathy, stimulate imagination and create new connections in the brain. No wonder reading is so closely linked with economic and social success in adult life – and the Internet has only increased our need to interact with text!

That is why the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is so committed to this Challenge. It gives kids across the province not only the chance to relax with books of their own choosing, but the opportunity to see the grown-ups around them model how important reading is in their lives.

Want to participate? This year's blog is at On Facebook, visit On Twitter, search BCTLADEAR.
Looking for resources? For DEAR posters (English and French) and other resources, visit BCTLA Publications and Downloads at For press kits, click here.