Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheriee Weichel Receives the 2010 Ken Haycock Professional Development Grant

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is pleased to announce that Cheriee Weichel is the 2010 recipient of the Ken Haycock Professional Development Grant.

Cheriee is the teacher-librarian at Charles Dickens Elementary School in Vancouver. She is an active member of the VTLA and of the BCTLA. She has served on the Executive of the VTLA for several years and is currently Member-At-Large. Cheriee recently participated in a teacher inquiry in Vancouver promoting teacher-librarianship and school libraries. As part of the inquiry, she was instrumental in making a video of Vancouver school library programs in action, which was shown to the VSB trustees, among others. In October 2009, Cheriee participated in BCTLA's Visit to the Legislature. In April 2010, she had an article, "Non-Enrolling Teachers – Endangered List", published in Teacher Newsmagazine.

With support from the Ken Haycock Professional Development Grant, Cheriee will be auditing a course at the University of Minnesota taught by Dr. Jack Zipes, renowned fairy tales and folklore scholar. Dr. Zipes recently was the Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor at UBC. While in Vancouver, Dr. Zipes visited Charles Dickens Elementary School. He spoke of the Neighbourhood Bridges project, a literacy program that uses, "storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives". Cheriee is interested in learning more from Dr. Zipes and about the possibilities of bringing the program to British Columbia.

The BCTLA was pleased to recognize Cheriee Weichel as the 2010 recipient of the BCTLA Ken Haycock Professional Development Grant at the 2010 BCTLA AGM on April 17 in Vancouver.

Canadian Library Association Alarmed At Cuts

The Canadian Library Association and Canadian Association for School Libraries today issued a news release that expresses their dismay and alarm at the underfunding of the B.C. public education system. The erosion of funding is, "pushing districts into making cutbacks to personnel and programs to balance their budgets, resulting in the elimination of professional teacher-librarians in many schools in British Columbia.

Parents in BC have to ask some hard questions. Do they want to abandon libraries and literacy programs in public schools, or do they urge the British Columbia government to recognize the importance of literacy education, school libraries and the essential role of teacher librarians in preparing B.C. students to be lifelong learners?

John Teskey, President of the CLA, urges the BC government to reconsider these cutbacks and to fund school library programs and hire qualified teacher-librarians".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bonnie McComb Receives the 2010 Alan Knight Memorial Award

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association and the Editorial Board of The Bookmark recognize the contribution to communication in teacher-librarianship made by the submission of outstanding articles to The Bookmark. Each year an award committee is formed in one of B.C.’s school districts. This committee selects the most outstanding article in The Bookmark for that year and the Alan Knight Memorial Award goes to the contributor(s).

For 2010, the award recipient is Bonnie McComb, teacher-librarian at Parkland Secondary School in Saanich, B.C.

Bonnie contributed two articles to the 50th anniversary issue of The Bookmark. Both articles were submitted from Australia while Bonnie was there on teacher exchange. Bonnie has received the Alan Knight Memorial Award for the article "Creating a Culture of Reading in High Schools: Engaging Staff in Professional Book Clubs". The article has already had a significant impact in terms of the contribution it represents to the professional growth of teacher-librarians.

On behalf of the BCTLA I would like to congratulate Bonnie McComb for her outstanding work in The Bookmark!

Angie MacRitchie
Senior Editor, The Bookmark

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Doug Ibbott Recieves the 2010 Distinguished Service Award

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is pleased to announce that Doug Ibbott is the recipient of the 2010 BCTLA Distinguished Service Award.

Doug is a retired educator from Burnaby School District. In nominating Doug for the award, the Burnaby Teacher-Librarians' Association wrote that, "his work as District Principal, responsible for school libraries, is key to Burnaby's recognition throughout the province for its quality school library programs. Although Doug retired in June 2008, his major project of automating all school libraries in the district has finally come to fruition with its completion in September 2009. He played a primary role in moving Burnaby school libraries from 19th-Century card catalogues to the digital age of the 21st-Century.

Doug began his teaching career in Burnaby as an intermediate teacher in January 1975 and then became helping teacher for the Gifted and Talented Program from 1984 to 1986. He became an elementary principal in September 1987. As an administrator, he believed that the library was the 'heart' of the school. He fully understood the important role school libraries play in the delivery of curriculum and in the lives of children. He was always supportive of the teacher-librarian and the library program. He advocated for extra funds for the school's library collection. Doug was an active participant in literacy programs and events and loved to read to the students. With this passion for literacy and libraries, he was the appropriate person to serve as the administrators' representative to the District Library Committee.

Doug Ibbott was District Principal from July 2003 to July 2008. Two of his many responsibilities were school library programs and the District Library Resource Centre. When he became District Principal, Doug drafted the proposal to automate all school libraries—8 secondary and 40 elementary—in Burnaby. From this proposal, he developed a five-year business plan that was accepted by the Board of Education. As part of the plan, he hired a team of library assistants and district support personnel solely for the project. During his tenure, he was always supportive of the individual and collective endeavours of teacher-librarians. He demonstrated this by visiting school libraries throughout the district. He always made his responsibilities to Burnaby's school library programs a priority. He attended all sub-committee meetings related to school libraries, even the Call Number Classification Review Committee!

Doug's leadership style was collegial and collaborative; he was mindful and respectful of the professionalism of teacher-librarians. Before decisions were made, he considered and acknowledged our expertise. Setting school library programs as a priority, he increased staffing and budgets for libraries. He also encouraged several individual teachers to pursue their dream of becoming teacher-librarians".

The following commend from a Burnaby teacher-librarian echoes the sentiments of the Burnaby Teacher-Librarians' Association as to why Doug Ibbott should be honoured with the BCTLA Distinguished Service Award: "When Doug was District Principal, library support was top notch, but I think the personal support is what makes Doug the truly unique individual that he is. Doug did not just care about our libraries and what we were doing in them. He cared for us as individuals, was always approachable, willing to listen to see how he could help us, and always had a word of encouragement for us. He trusted us to do what was right for our students and our schools, and believed in us. He advocated for us and for what we felt we needed in our schools. At the district level, he always gave a positive report concerning who we are and what we are doing".

The BCTLA was pleased to recognize Doug Ibbott as the 2010 recipient of the BCTLA Distinguished Service Award at the 2010 BCTLA AGM on April 17 in Vancouver.

Coquitlam District Revises Budget Recommendations

On Tuesday, April 20, School District #43 (Coquitlam)'s district leadership team presented revised 2010-11 budget recommendations that no longer included the reduction of teacher-librarian and other learning specialist teacher staffing.

According to Diane Stranberg in The Tri-City News, "The district had planned to lay off three elementary school youth workers and cut nine non-enrolling teachers who work in libraries, skill development, ESL and counselling to save $975,000. Now, the district proposes to remove $900,000 in surplus premiums and has forecasted increased revenue from higher enrolment from online education and will also pick up some funding for students who landed in local public schools after the private Greybrook Academy in Pitt Meadows was closed".

The Coquitlam Now's Jennifer McFee quotes Board of Education Chair Melissa Hyndes as saying that presentations made to the Board at public input meetings, "made an's heartbreaking to the board anytime there's a reduction in staff, especially when you look at youth workers in elementary schools and custodians and clerical and non-enrolling teachers,' she said. 'After hearing all those presentations to the board from our staff members in those jobs, it puts a face to the print on the paper and you really feel for them. They're passionate about their jobs and, obviously, they want to keep them. It's tough'."

Friday, April 23, 2010

"We Love Our Library" in Vancouver

Vancouver students, parents, teachers, and trustees rally on
West Broadway in front of Education Minister Margaret
MacDiarmid's office on April 21, 2010.

School Library Cuts in the Central Okanagan

Given that the School District 23 (Central Okanagan)'s goals and objectives as outlined in the Board's Achievement Contract are likely to continue to include the existing Literacy goal that "the School District will continue its endeavour to improve literacy skills for all students with detailed specific objectives" and that the following points are included in "the underlying principles for all budget decisions":

  • "The students come first.
  • Every budget allocation will be aligned to meet the District's Mission, Vision and Values and the objectives of the District as outlined in the Board's Achievement Contract..."

and "that as part of the process in developing the budget, each of the District's partner groups as well as members of the management team and the general public were asked to provide input" and that the input does include calls for increased school library services, School District 23 (Central Okanagan)'s preliminary 2010-11 budget (recommended to the Board for approval) inconceivably contains the following cuts to school libraries:

  • Elimination of CUPE illness replacement for library clerks.
  • Reduction in financial support to Central Okanagan local specialist associations including the Central Okanagan Teacher-Librarians' Association*.
  • On a school-by-school basis, reduction of an average of 1.7% of elementary school budgets, 2.0% of middle school budgets and 3.3% of secondary school budgets through a combination of approaches including the reduction of spending on library materials and teacher-librarian staffing.

*The Central Okanagan Teacher-Librarians' Association provides support and services including annually organizing an author visit program in celebration of Education Week. Past authors have included David Bouchard and Kenneth Oppel.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teacher-Librarian Cuts in Richmond

On April 19, 2010, the Richmond Board of Education approved:

  • Reduction/restructuring of 8.4 FTE teacher-librarian positions.
  • This reduction/restructuring, with a budget impact of an estimated $498,000, is the fourth largest FTE reduction within the budget recommendations.

According to Nelson Bennett writing in the Richmond News, teacher-librarian Karen Shigeno (Steveston-London Secondary) said at the April 19, 2010 budget meeting that the "cuts will mean [secondary] school students will only have access to a [teacher-]librarian one morning every second day...last year, she said 664 classes used her library. Now, thanks to the cuts, she said 'I would only be able to teach information literacy skills to 249 of those 664 classes'."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Proposed Library Cuts in Saanich School District

Saanich School District has proposed cuts to teacher-librarian staffing in the district's recent 2010-11 Budget Reduction Options.

The Saanich Teacher-Librarians' Association has printed 2,000 bookmarks and are distributing them to local libraries and public places. Members of the association attended the budget meeting, have written letters to government officials, and are putting an ad in the local paper.


Contact for more information.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Elimination of Teacher-Librarian Staffing

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association is appalled at recent proposed budget recommendations made in Vancouver and Coquitlam School Districts for reduced teacher-librarian staffing.

Vancouver Board of Education
  • Reduction of 43.0 FTE teachers including resource teachers (ESL and Special Education), learning assistance/skills development teachers, secondary school counsellors and teacher-librarians.
  • This proposed reduction of learning specialist teachers including teacher-librarians, with a budget impact of $2,911,530, is the largest single proposed cut within the budget recommendations.
  • Elimination of the 1.0 FTE Teacher-Librarian Consultant position with the subsequent addition of a 0.4 FTE Teacher-Librarian Mentor.
  • Elimination of 0.4 FTE additional librarian time at Britannia Elementary, with 0.2 eliminated in 2010-11 and the remaining 0.2 eliminated in 2011-12.

School District #43 (Coquitlam)

  • Reduction of 9.0 FTE non-enrolling teachers including teacher-librarians.
  • This proposed reduction, with a budget impact of $810,000, is the largest single proposed cut within the budget recommendations.
  • Update (April 25): after considering feedback provided at public meetings, School District #43 (Coquitlam) issued a second set of budget reduction recommendations that did not include the reduction of non-enrolling teacher positions.

The BC Teacher-Librarians' Association calls upon Board of Education trustees to preserve critical school library services for students by rejecting proposed recommendations for the reduction of teacher-librarian staffing.