Thursday, 20 July 2017

#slanza17 - Monday

Sunday - Unconference
#slanza17 - Tuesday
#slanza17 - Wednesday

On Monday, we started with a lovely powhiri and welcome in the chapel.  The first keynote speaker was the amazingly awesome Rachel Van Riel.  Other tweeters did a great job of taking photos of slides and recording key points from her session, so do have a look at the tweets from the day (below).  Also, she did a session in the afternoon, "Putting Readers First - A New Approach to Book Promotion", that I couldn't go to because I had to do my own session at that time (sigh!), so it's good to see the tweets from that too.  Here are my notes from Rachel's keynote:
  • It can be hard to find stimulus in libraries, even though they are filled with riches.
  • If you say that others have to understand our system then this is not friendly, it's functional.  Retail is friendly.
  • We shouldn't be saying "it's always been like that" we should be reviewing and changing space.
  • We need to check what the message is on the outside of the library when the door's shut
  • There is too much clutter, too many notices.
  • We need to organise the books as invisibly as we can - the organisational system is for us not our students.
  • Students need to be able to see into the library, so there's something to go in for.
  • Putting a cloth on a table feminises it.
  • Books are better in the middle of the library not around the edge.
  • The clearer the better, don't clutter.
  • Watch where people go, where they spend their time in the library.
  • Don't put all the tables together, integrate them with shelves - it breaks up the noise.
  • If your shelves make corridors Rachel calls these "corridors of faith".  You have to have a reason to go down them.  Instead use a discovery layout to entice children into areas.
  • Your eyes go first and your feet follow.
  • Don't go with a multi-coloured scheme.  Plan for a colour scheme - a designed environment has a different feel to it.
  • Teachers shouldn't be teaching the same kind of lesson as in classrooms - it should be a different learning experience.
  • Seating and books should be close together.
  • Vary the heights of seating.
  • Always have books in the eyeline.
  • The "sale" is not made at the desk - can you make it smaller?
  • Only one in five patrons goes to the desk for help - it requires a certain level of confidence and commitment. 
  • How do you provide a service to those who don't come to the desk?  You need to come to them.  The librarian should be out on the floor.
  • Choice is difficult so offer a lot of smaller choices that are varied and changing.
  • Metal shelving is unattractive!  We are not a warehouse anymore.
  • Not having face-out books makes choosing difficult.
  • Drop the props from book displays.
  • Don't let posters overwhelm books below.
  • Mix different kinds of books to open up reading choices.
  • Let the covers of the books shine.
  • Change libraries from control and process.

Her book is well worth a read

The next session I went to was "Coding Stories and More in the Library and Beyond - Scratch Junior" by Felicity McKay.

We did the above activity using Scratch Junior.  It was quite intuitive and a lot of fun.  I've had Scratch Junior on my iPad for a while but have never made the time to explore.  I'm going to introduce this app to our school's Digital Leaders next week, and see if they can make something book-ish.

The next session was Anne-Marie Hartley's "Library Advocacy: What I Learnt from a Turtle".  I actually went to primary school with Anne-Marie, but have only recently reconnected with her.  I liked the way she talked about the fact that a turtle makes progress only when he sticks out his neck.  A message to us all to be brave!  Here's some more notes on what she said:

  • It is important to connect with teachers, students and parents - they can be your advocates.
  • She is available after parent/teacher conferences to talk to parents on how to support literacy
  • Encourage students to write to authors (I think they could tweet too!)
  • Actively solicit feedback from parents about the library.
  • In her book club (which is large), a different student is nominated each week to introduce a book, show book/film trailers about it, give author info and activities related to it.  This is very popular.

My own session on "Reading for Pleasure - Ideas from the UK" was at 2pm.  I shared the slides here.  I was nervous, as expected, and my laptop crashed four times just before the session but everything went reasonably smoothly after that and I was happy to have it done and dusted so I could enjoy the rest of the conference without worrying about it.

Next up, Rosemary Tisdall and Jo Buchan were presenting a session called "Creating a School where all Staff are Readers".  We did a quick game where we had to guess the children's book title from synonyms of it (e.g. instead of "Hunger Games" you have "Famine Amusement").  I think that would be a fun book club activity.  Jo shared some slides - I was gratified to see that I was not the only person talking about Professor Teresa Cremin's work.  She also shared research showing, among other things, that only 22-24% of NZ students get the opportunity to talk about the things they read in class.  Then Rosemary showed us her wonderful selection of books and made us all want to read them!  I've added some to my wishlist.  One other note I have from this session is to look into this site, which involves using visual strategies to address literacy development.

 The SLANZA awards followed and Kids' Lit Quiz guru, and fellow Hamiltonian, Julie Huggins was one of the worthy recipients honoured.

After dinner was the Quiz night, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Fortunately I found myself in a team with librarians who knew a lot more about the classics than I do!  There were some great categories e.g. literary couples, literary history, literary geography.  We came second equal and I picked up a book to take home for the library.  Thanks team!

Here are the tweets from the day:

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