Thursday, 20 July 2017

#slanza17 - Unconference

Reading for Pleasure Presentation
#slanza17 - Monday
#slanza17 - Tuesday
#slanza17 - Wednesday

Yesterday was the last day of the School Library Association of New Zealand (SLANZA) 2017 conference.  As usual I had a fantastic time, met old friends and made new ones, and came away with a list of amazing ideas to try in my library.  I'm going to recap the highlights of the conference so I can make an attempt at working out my priorities for next term - one of the drawbacks of being around so many inspiring people is the quantity of ideas far outweighs the time available to implement them!

For a lot of us the conference began on Sunday, when there was an option to attend an unconference in the evening.  I arrived at the venue, King's College, late on Sunday afternoon, as the traffic on the way up from Hamilton had been very heavy all the way.  Note to self - don't forget that Sunday afternoons are when Aucklanders return from wherever they have been for the weekend!  

For the first time, I was staying onsite, in a boarding house.

King's College

A helpful way to remember your room!

The unconference started at 7.30pm.  For many the format was new, but luckily I've been to a few educamps so I knew what I was in for.  Well, mostly!  There was an interesting exercise where we were shown a few polarising statements and we had to stand in certain places of the room depending on how we felt about them.  Then a few passionate people from either side of the spectrum were invited up to share their viewpoints.  There was a statement about whether we need labels on books, and another on whether we need non-fiction collections for research anymore.  I do feel this could have gone terribly wrong!  Controversial icebreakers can create divisions and we had only just arrived.  Fortunately everyone was well-behaved.  

We also had a smackdown, where participants share their favourite tips and ideas.  Here's a link to the slides.  I think different things will have appealed to different people depending on their circumstances, here are the ideas I was particularly interested in:

  • 60-second bookshelf.  Mandy Ditzel from Garin College promotes new books or happenings at the library at her weekly assembly.  I do a very quick promo of books at our short, morning tea staff meetings.  I'm wondering whether I could pop into some of our team assemblies and do some quick book promos for our students there.  That way I could tailor the books to the right age level.  I might try and get to a different one each Monday - it doesn't help that they're all on the same day and start at the same time!
  • Sarah Toh from ACG Parnell College talked about her interactive space.  She has a new activity every three weeks and does things like origami, chess and blackout poetry.  We have regular chess players in our library so I was interested when she said that they do interactive chess - where each player has three turns and then a new player takes over.  I was also reminded that I should make our chess books prominent at lunchtimes.
  • Robin Achmad at Green Bay High School talked about creating a popular series clearfile with a list of the titles in order, and cover images.  I think a blurb about the series would be good too.  
  • I have our book club kids make their own Kahoots about books but it was suggested that a library orientation Kahoot works well.  Then I wondered whether I could incorporate one into one of my library skills sessions.
  • Joanna Ludbrook from Houghton Valley School does "What's-on-Wednesday" which is an event around books - like guests, Youtube videos, quizzes etc.  Student librarians help organise it.

We also had a couple of group discussions from topics people had suggested on a Padlet.  The first one I went to was on suitable books for primary kids.  Censorship has been quite a hot topic on the library listserv this year but for younger kids we do have to make book selection decisions based on their age, and there are no clear guidelines.  Among other things we discussed the fact that sex education does not start until Year 9. 

The second group I went to talked about good display ideas.  A simple one I liked was to use a fishing rod and say "Get hooked on a book".

Here are the tweets from the day:

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