Wednesday, 28 November 2012


As this course draws to a close, I breathe a sigh of relief. I made it!  I had the mindset that the course would be dealing mainly with physical access to the library. I had never heard of MARC records along with a lot of the terminology. I have developed a newfound appreciation for those who create these records and am very thankful my district has full, centralized cataloguing.  
This course enabled me to have a better understanding of the role “behind the scenes so to speak” of the teacher-librarian.  It provided me with important questions to explore and challenged me to rethink how a school library should be organized both physical and virtual.
I must admit it was intimidating being one of the few non teacher-librarians in the course.   I think my participation was good as I posted in both the discussion forum and my blog each week, read every comment and contributed when I could.  I found it difficult making comments with no library experience.  Many seemed to draw on their experiences in their own school library.  However,  their comments helped me make sense of the lessons and confirm my understanding.  It was reassuring to know there were people online to help.  The online discussions also provided me with a glimpse of what is going on in other school libraries and I came away with insightful ideas to keep in mind for when I am in the position of teacher-librarian. 
I had never really considered digital access in terms of the school library before.  Through the lessons, I developed a better understanding of why this is important.
Looking back on my posts, I see how my views and vision have changed from someone who was skeptical about the need for digital access in the library to someone who recognizes that in this day and age, this is key in supporting information literacy and helping students access resources independently.  Creating a Library website doesn't seem such a daunting task,  too.
While I am still in the classroom, I believe I can better serve my students as I now have the knowledge to successfully navigate the school’s online catalogue.  I  feel more confident in exploring with the students the district’s online databases along with searching successfully and safely on the Internet.  Once in the position of teacher-librarian,  I can hopefully share my knowledge with the wider school community. 
In terms of the physical access to the library, having a more in-depth look at our school library has allowed me to see where improvements to access could be made. I have a deeper understanding of how things such as signage, displays, and shelving affect access to resources.
While there is still much to learn,  I am excited about the prospect of one day working in a school library and putting into practice the knowledge I have gained through this course. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Library Website

This week made me realize the benefits of having a library webpage. I came into this course as someone who would ask the teacher-librarian help finding resources on a particular topic or author, having no idea I could access the online catalogue.  I imagine a school library website with a wealth of information including access to the school's online catalogue.  Now, I am able to access so much more information on my own and I think my students have benefited from it.  Just this week, we were looking at World Book in French for info on the provinces and territories.
I enjoyed and found it informative viewing other school library websites.  I think the key to having a successful website,which is utilized by both staff and students, is to integrate it as much as possible into your daily work life.  By this I mean, having links to your school's OPAC, online databases your district subscribes to, grade level websites and webpages, etc... making it so most information you need for your lessons are at your fingertips.  Collaborating with teachers would be a good start so they can see first hand the benefits of the site and can help promote the site, too. Students need to interact with the site, too.  They need to be accessing better Internet sites and digital resources and what better way then starting in the library.  This really hit home for me last night when my sixteen year-old daughter said to me she didn't know why I had chosen to do a PREZI for my assignment.  She had looked at the PREZI site with a group for a class and they had decided it was too confusing.  I think she would have been far less intimidated with the site if she had been given some instruction and a chance to explore the site in class.  It took me a little work going through the tutorials, help feature and doing a practice PREZI first. Back to the website.  You need to get the word out as well. One of my run colleagues who is also a teacher didn't realize she could access the school's online catalogue from home.  It will take some time to set up but I do also see the school library website has something that can be a timesaving tool for the teacher-librarian.  Once the school community is familiar with the workings of the site and are able to access more resources on their own, this would hopefully free the teacher-librarian to concentrate on other areas.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Library Catalogue

I enjoyed exploring our District's online catalogue this week.  I realized there is so much to learn and discover with Destiny.  The posts this week help me with exploring different options available.
I thought the online catalogue was user friendly and with some guidance, even primary students can meet with success.  Of benefit, is the fact the online catalogue can be access from anywhere.  Presently, there are no computers in our library but this does not need to stop the students from accessing the catalogue in their classroom.  They can come to the library with printouts of books they would like to take out for instance.
As a mentioned in the discussion form, I was happy to see you could access the catalogue in French but it was more limiting than in English.  At times, English results appeared instead of the French.  This could be confusing and frustrating for students learning another language.  I imagine you could have a conversation with the district library helping teacher about this.  This shows another good example of the importance of networking with other teacher-librarians.
I did get the admin password from our teacher-librarian and did some exploring of the site.  I wasn't too sure of a few things so consulted the district's library manual for guidance.  I didn't find this particularly useful and recognized the importance of spending the time and asking questions about the system.  Perhaps getting the teacher-librarian to sit down with me and show the site as someone in the discussion forum had done.  My district does also offer training for TOC's on Destiny so I imagine this is available for new teacher-librarian,too?
Before this week, I really hadn't accessed the online catalogue much. I was excited to see some of the options it offers and how it could help me and my students in the classroom.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cataloguing and Processing

Luckily, in our school district we have centralized cataloguing.  Honestly, I don't know how teacher-librarians would cope without it as they provide prep time to students from K to 4.  Our library is busy. Where would they find the time?  As our teacher-librarian would say, we are in the business of teaching. I got a little sidetracked this week, thinking of how to easily acquire French books without paying a fortune.  I do think if I were to give up teaching I could perhaps become a library book jobber specializing in French books!
I am in a school that seems to have a wealth of money for the library so it never crossed my mind about lending out books even if they were not processed.  I did interview another teacher-librarian for another course who had limited funds and I could see myself hesitating lending books out as I wouldn't have the funds to replace them should they not return.
Our teacher-librarian always seems one step ahead with ordering books.  She has books put aside in June for the following year just waiting for the fall budget to come in.  She knows some of the district's library technicians and rarely waits more than two weeks for books.  This week, I got a more in-depth glimpse into the ins and outs of ordering books and will take these insights with me when I do get a teacher-librarian job of my own.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Dewey or don't we classify?

I do believe the DDC system is necessary in the school library.  A lot of work and thought has gone into the system with numerous revisions.  I think, if taught probably, students can navigate the school library collection with success.  As mentioned in this week's article, "Dewey or don't we classify?", good signage is key along with instruction of how the use the system.  At our school, the teacher- librarian places the books out on the carpet for the Kindergarten students to select and therefore do not actually browse the books on the shelves. As they get older, they independently search for books, asking the teacher-librarian for assistance when needed.  
As there is only one computer in the library that is located behind the circulation desk, it is common for teachers to ask the teacher-librarian where a book is located in the library and not search for the book themselves.  It seems to not be problematic, as the teacher-librarian is full time at the school and available to help in your search for books.  I could see this as being an issue if the teacher-librarian is part-time or not available and the teacher is wanting to find a book in the library on their own.  Providing opportunities for them (teachers and students alike) to learn the Dewey Decimal Classification system, I believe will serve students well as they progress through the educational system and make them feel more comfortable using the library.