Cookies in the Library

Another discussion in the Winzenried (2010) book was the golden rule about no food in libraries even though bookshops are dedicating valuable floor space to coffee shops.

I then thought about this youtube clip about Cookie Monster visiting a Library and asking for a box of cookies. It occurs to me- how come the Librarian wasn’t trying to meet the needs of Cookie? He was not asking any probing questions, just repeating the line- we don’t have any cookies! is not meeting the information needs of this ‘client’.

I don’t allow food in my Library because it is school policy not to allow eating in teaching and learning spaces. I personally love to read with a hot cup of tea beside me and it is a mark of a good book if the tea goes cold because I am so absorbed in my reading.

so… the Librarian in the clip needs to consider how is he meeting the needs of his clients and that he should allow cookies in the library otherwise, what reason has Cookie Monster got for coming back to the Library in the future if his information needs are not being met?

What will Libraries in the 24th Century look like?

I have just finished reading the introduction to Arthur Winzenried’s book Visionary Leaders for Information. What struck me most was his discussion on the five keys to surviving and thriving into the future as a school library.  The five keys suggested by Winzenried (2010) are:

key_lock-animated 1. What is the moral purpose of the Library?

2. Do I have a clear plan for the Library?

3. Am I being responsive to the needs of my users?

4. Am I developing a working relationship with my users?

5. Have I developed a stronger product focus? Is there a reason for the user to come and use the Library again? (Pages 8-10)

Having been very unwell this past week and needing to ‘rest’ I decided to watch some Star Trek episodes. It has been years since I watched Star Trek Voyager- so I pulled season1 DVD off the shelf. Lo and behold- the episode titled “Prime Factors” the crew wanted to exchange the entire Federation Library of stories for technology to get them home. The some total of thousands of  alien races’ stories were stored on a few sticks of plastic that were downloaded from a database! No libraries here! This got me thinking- does the future envisioned by Star Trek have a place for a physical Library- how does this affect the planning I am doing now for the next three years of the library I manage?

I know that Libraries have featured in some Star Trek Episodes. I decided to ask my Professional Learning Network to see if they could list them- and this is what happened

Star Trek: Original Series “All Our Yesterdays” and the Librarian was called Mr Atoz (A to Z)

Star Trek: Original Series “The Lights of Zetar” the sum total of the Federation’s Knowledge stored in a facility called Memory Alpha

Star Trek: Innsurrection: Riker and Troi in the Ship’s Library (In the outtakes on the DVD- a female matronly Librarian is Shushhing them when they start to flirt)

There were also discussions about all the books that have appeared in Star Trek Episodes, the role of Shakespeare in the stories of Star Trek. The discussion then moved into how Libraries are represented in Science Fiction and then we were off again! People mentioned a Librarian in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, the very scary Library in Dr Who season 4 episode 8 “Silence in the Library” and its conclusion in episode 9 “Forest of the Dead”

Another of my colleages gave me this link to an article on Libraries in Science Fiction:

To top it all off- check out this video (and my first attempt at embedding things)!

Being a miracle worker in the Library

At the end of this week, I am being called a miracle worker by a particular faculty. Here is how I achieved that title…

I recently (12 weeks ago) learnt how to use the antiquated DOS- based system we have in my school library for managing the school library collection. I have found that the hands on and comprehensive nature of the workshop very empowering that I decided to tackle the large number of overdue items in our weekly loan report. You need to understand dear reader, that some items have been on our overdue report for years…

The first step was to use the overdue report to physically check the collection in case any overdue materials slipped back in without being returned properly- we found 3 overdue items this way- making progress!

The second step was to check to see if the students who had extremly overdue books were still enrolled at the school. In many cases, the student left years ago- so I had to artifically return the item, then mark it as missing in the status report. That dealt with a significant number of very overdue items (some items were more that 600 days overdue). Again- making progress!

The third step was to put the overdue slips into the roll call folders every 2 weeks. This helped to deal with any remaining students who had left the school as well as return a few items as well as a few enquiries-


How can I help you today?

I got this in roll call today

(taking slip) yes- do you have this textbook?

No, I returned it last year.

Are you sure?

Yes Miss

Why not have a really good look around at home especially under the things on the floor…

After 6 weeks of sending out slips every fornight, and once students had recieved 3 warnings- it was time to send out letters home to parents explaining how overdue the book was and how much it costs to replace. Most of those letters were for a textbook the Library manages on behalf of another faculty.

And now the miracle. After those letters went out, 6 very overdue textbooks came back into our returns chute in one day but to top it all off the same student came back with text book in hand…

Wow- you found it!

Yes Miss

Was it hiding under something on the floor?

Yes Miss

Thanks so much for bringing it back.

I took the pile of textbooks back to the faculty where they gave me the title of miracle worker since they have been trying for 2 terms to get the textbooks back and these textbooks are no longer in print.

I can’t wait to check the returns chute on Monday because I have a feeling that many of the students are cleaning their room this weekend when their parent’s saw how much the books cost to replace.

Reflecting on the role of the Teacher Librarian

Purcell (2010) and Williams (2011) made the excellent point that the classroom teachers of today don’t really know what a Teacher Librarian does. As a former classroom teacher and subject specialist, I didn’t truly understand or appreciate the role a Teacher Librarian plays within a secondary school when I decided to retrain. All I saw of the role of the Teacher Librarian was a teacher who borrowed books out, returned books in, helped students to find books and information for an assignment and showed me how to use the Library photocopier/ printer. I also had no idea that the Teacher Librarian was available to collaborate with me to develop my lessons and incorporate information literacy skills.

 I now have a better idea of what a Teacher Librarian is, Purcell (2010) described the role as leader, program administrator, information specialist, instructional partner and teacher but I would also add from my own experience, the roles of interior designer, technology designer and help desk, functions manager, and recreational activities facilitator to name just a few. In order to highlight these roles to the whole school community, Williams (2011) described in an online forum comment that a 21st century Teacher Librarian must be “active in self promotion of him/herself as well as the library”.

 The area that has most shaped my expanded view of the role of the TL in my school has been using the power of evidence based practice and collaboration with the community of schools that my school is part of, to affect change in the schools’ learning goals (Todd , 2002). I had no idea that a Teacher Librarian could make such a large impact not only in one school but through collaboration the impact would be felt in three schools. Our community of schools identified the need to develop a common metalanguage and iconography of information literacy across the primary school and the high school to help with the transition of information literacy skills from primary school to high school. It was my role as the Teacher Librarian to develop the common iconography and resources for use in both the Primary schools and the high school.

 Another demanding aspect to my role of Teacher Librarian in a combined selective/ comprehensive school has been the process of challenging the assumptions of teachers regarding the role that information literacy plays in the whole school not just half of the school. The assumption is that these students, because they have been identified as ‘gifted’ already know the information literacy process. Dr Liz Lamb, in an article on Information Literacy and Gifted Students (2003) discussed whether the explicit teaching of the NSW model of Information Literacy had a positive impact on the education of gifted students. The result of that research showed that the gifted student’s ability to analyse their task, use a broader range of sources as well as evaluating the information they were using all improved after explicit and extended instruction in information literacy skills. To this end, the common resources I developed for the information literacy program all have higher order thinking questions built in to challenge the gifted and talented students as well as the comprehensive students of my school. 

 Purcell (2010) described the role of the Teacher Librarian/ Media Specialist as “constantly changing and they must be able to accept new tasks in order to perform their duties successfully” nothing makes this clearer than as summed up by Wundersitz (2011). As described by Wundersitz, today’s definition of the role of the Teacher Librarian is a photograph of how our libraries meet the needs of our learning community and our role in our schools today, but the role the Teacher Librarian and the school library will be completely different within a few years’ time as the way information is processed and accessed, the role technology will play in everyday small tasks and the way that pedagogy are all in a constant state of evolution. If the Teacher Librarian does not adapt to this evolution, then the role of the Teacher Librarian plays now will become irrelevant and extinct.

So- what do I do now? My first step is to lead the teaching staff of my school through professional learning on the role of the Teacher Librarian so that they know what the role of Teacher Librarian means. I need to demonstrate to the teaching staff that “Teacher Librarians have a vital role in helping teachers find their way through the rich and complex online environment and meeting students’ information needs” (Karen Bonanno quoted in Australian Educator 2011 p. 25). My second step is to work with the Teacher Mentor and the practicum coordinator so that there are ongoing sessions for new staff, early career teachers and practicum teachers (Southern Cross University Library, 2011) on what is a Teacher Librarian and developing ongoing professional learning on integrating Information Literacy into the curriculum.


Lamb, L. (2003). Information Literacy and Gifted Students. Scan, 22(2), 29-34. Retrieved from:;dn=127444;res=AEIPT

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Rance, C. (2011). Brought to Book. Australian Educator, Autumn(69), 24-25.

Southern Cross University Library (Producer). (2011). How all public libraries can help you [YouTube]. Australia: Independent Productions. Retrieved from

Todd, R. (2002). Evidence based practice II: getting into the action. Scan, 21(2). Retrieved from

Williams, J. (2011, March 9). My ever-changing thoughts on the role of a TL [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

Wundersitz, E. (2011, March 8). Initial thoughts on Purcell reading [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http:

Selecting Resouces for a School Library

One of the hardest things I have to do is select new materials for the school library. Until recently my poor desk was drowning under suppliers’ flyers, catalogues, unopened envelopes etc. These are called selection aids. Now that I have a filing cabinet, I can see my desk again and I now have ready access to the selection aids.

I have just been reading about selection criteria for new resources using selection aids including the unsolicited mail. Part of my reading for the Librarianship course involved looking at the Selection Policy of the Western Australian Department of Education. (I am in NSW)

It is very interesting to see how explicit the WA selection policy is. I wonder how practical it is in implementation.

Now I need to see if 1. NSW has a selection policy. 2. How explicit it is in comparison to the NSW model.

Word of the Day: Realia

What is Realia? I came across it while working through my Librarianship studies as an area of the Library collection. A library houses many different things other than books including videos, posters, manuscripts and a thing called Realia.

According to Wikipedia:

“In library classification systems, the term realia refers to three-dimensional objects from real life such as coins, tools, and textiles, that do not easily fit into the orderly categories of printed material.”

Using Adobe Acrobat Security to Protect copyrighted documents

Today I learned how to access the Library at Charles Sturt University as I spotted a reading in my course outline that sounded relevant to my first assignment and that it was an ebook format so I could have it straight away through download.

I started reading and I wanted to highlight information. All the commenting tools were disabled and I noticed a padlock symbol above the normal bookmark symbol. Clicking on it, I discovered the security features you can put on PDF documents. This got me thinking about the e-resources I have in the school collection that I want students to access and use if I can make sure that they don’t make illegal copies. Here is what the security settings look like:

These are the security settings for an ebook from uni. Note commenting is turned off but copying is turned on.
These are the security settings for an ebook from uni. Note commenting is turned off but copying is turned on.

I want to do more research on these settings- I am really interested in being able to get our e-resources out to students.

Becoming a Teacher Librarian

In the last few days, my Teacher Librarian Course has started to come online. I have downloaded my course outlines and I am using Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 to highlight and comment things I need to do or things that I have already done including creating this blog!

The blue star is a collapsed comment and I have used highlighting
The blue star is a collapsed comment and I have used highlighting

What are my thoughts on going back to uni- at the moment I am a bit panicked as I don’t know how I am going to fit all this into my schedule at school. I have so many whole school programs I have to organise as well as teach History to Yr 8 and 10 not to mention training a new school assistant.

Playing with an iPad

Just this week I went to a Get to know your iPad workshop at the Apple Store in Sydney. If I apply KWL (what I Know, what I Want to know, and what I Learned) this is what happened:

K- I already know what the home screen is and the home button since I own an iPhone. I already know what the iPod app is for. There was no differentiation there between people who have just turned the iPad on for the first time and those who have been playing for a while and have come to get the most out of it.

W- I wanted to know how to get rid of the ‘permanent’ apps on screen such as contacts and lock the apps in place so students cannot delete any apps. The Apple store’s ‘facilitator’ said you can’t but all the demo models on the tables had apps locked so you can’t move or delete them. I need to do more research on this.

I also wanted to learn how to add books to the iBooks app. Apparently the school iPad needs a software upgrade so that pdf ebooks can be directly downloaded from the internet

L- I have learned that you can download an app called ‘pages’ part of the iWork collection. It behaves just like Word- that would be a good app for students. I also learned that you can group apps in folders by dragging one app on top of another. You can even rename the folders eg Maths games.

I spent my travel time on the train reading a very interesting ebook ‘From the Creative Minds of 21st Century Librarians’ problem was that I could not download it directly to the iBooks app so I could not bookmark it. The book contains wonderful library lesson plans linked to the Information Literacy standards in America but those standards are very close to our own Australian Information Literacy standards.

Point is that I have been reading this ebook on the iPad. I found it very easy to read and I could change the text size from small to very big by ‘pinching’ or ‘pushing out’ the screen


Miss H

Outfitting a teacher librarian for the 21st century. Here’s what it takes.

Today thanks to my Professional Learning Network I have found a wonderful site that outlines what Web 2.0 tools I should know about to be an effective TL in my school community. I am already using most of the tools in my teaching practice (I have been teaching Middle School History in the last 12 months) but I was not sure how I could apply these tools to the library operations. Here is the site:

I have been thinking about how I can overtly and covertly teach Information Skills to both students and staff. So far my covert ideas are bookmarks with a search engine tip on each side and index cards with tips displayed on the windows near the computers. Once I come up with some designs I shall post some photos. The idea is that students and staff will notice them casually (unless I point them out).

Miss H

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