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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 4 months ago

Introduction: who am I?

I am a recent entry to teacher librarianship, having travelled an interesting journey to get to my current position. I began teaching as a Geography and History teacher and spent a long time teaching in secondary schools in South Western Victoria. Having interrupted my career for the best of reasons: producing four children, I began my search for a career change. I sought and obtained a teacher librarian job in a small p-12 school. I commenced my MEd (TL) at CSU at the end of my first year. In my second year at the school I was made redundant, but they offered me a new job: as a library technician! In other words my old job was downgraded and so was my salary. So I left and went into the classroom at another school. I decided to keep studying my course, although it was really hard doing the cataloguing subject while teaching full time! 8 years later my current job was advertised and it all became worthwhile.

I work in a small coed school with 2 campuses: ELC - 6 and 7-12. We have about 160 at the junior campus and I teach all of them for library. For most of the week I am at the senior campus, where I also teach a Year 10 Geography class. I have one part time assistant who basically covers the senior campus when I am at the junior and does one day of cataloguing at the junior. It's busy and we could do with more of us, but it is great! We are well off for resources and our IT support is fantastic.

I am into time and motion studies: I need to work out the most effective things for me to be doing for the staff and students who are my clientele. I am hoping to refine this into action research of some sort through my membership of this group.





Possibilities for research:

  1. Investigating the impact of physical space and changes to that space on the clientele. Does layout affect utilisation?
  2. Investigating the effect of my actions on the clientele and library usage. Which of my actions has the greatest effect?
  3. How do staffing decisions affect workload and impact of other teachers? (The actions here would be largely outside my control; is this worthwhile?)






Over the mid year holidays I reflected on my role, the expectations of TLs and the aspects where these issues intersect. There was an exchange of advocacy ideas on OZ_TL net and I looked at many of the links people were suggesting and saved many to a newly created folder for cartl. Once I am back at work I find the clarity vanishes and the daily routine starts to impinge on my thought processes.

I need to focus on what excites me: The ability to change something for the better and support the change with reasoning and research: i.e validate it.


Much of the work that I do is reactionary in the sense that I grab the opportunities that arise to work with teachers and students. While collecting relevant theory to support my practising I am also aware that opportunies will lead me to take action.


I have spent much time mulling over Dr Ross Todd's Intervention model and I am of the belief that this sums up the best way to function. In my position as a single teacher-librarian in my workplace it is fairly easy to intervene with students researching but quite difficult to work with staff. Most teachers book into the library using Book It and if I am lucky tell me what they are doing before their class arrives. In this model there is little opportunity to be effective with the teacher ans reduced effectiveness with the students. I have resolved to take action to address this in some way by adding myself to the Book It system as a bookable item. I am hoping that this will lead teachers to question why they might need to book me, and what could be gained by doing so.


I also believe that my most valuable work will come from assisting teachers, because then they will know how to use  information sources more effectively, and they can, in turn, intervene with their own students.


Action 1: (possibility 2)

Designing a tabular form of bibliography for students to fill in as they complete their assignments.

Action 2: (possibility 2)

Adding myself to Book It.

Action 3: (possibility 2)

Working collaboratively with a teacher from the start of a process. At last a golden opportunity has fallen into my lap! One of our Chinese teachers has worked with me on a topic for those in her year 9 class who do not intend to take Chinese next year. 7 unmotivated boys who do not want to be in the class! Nothing like a challenge!

I set up a task that these students could work on simultaneously with her "language" group. I used the SLAV publication "Researching Together" and sent the teacher the folder of work. This prompted her to come to a meeting with me to see how I presented the work, and told me she would like to prepare a topic on the Beijing Olympics next using the same type of presentation. She has decided that this assignment will be a good one to include in her VIT first year teacher portfolio (as part of obtaining her permanent registration). There are some inherent challenges here as I have to convince her that options can be built in to the same task for all her students, and that her language students do not need to work solely from their text books. This is set within the framework that there are two Chinese teachers, and the male teacher has the other year 9 class, which is more academic. The teacher I am working with is very worried about her class falling behind his. Diplomacy will be required!

Action 4: (possibility 1)

Planning and requesting a makeover. After attending a local teacher-librarians meeting, seeing a makeover, and hearing Kevin Hennah speak I arranged for a Raeco representative to visit. She was wonderful. She spent most of a day with us, visiting both campuses and making a wide range of suggestions. I presented her quotes to the business manager along with relevant images from brochures etc so that he would know what I was talking about. I asked him to attend a meeting in the library so that he could see what was being suggested and where it would go. He was very enthusiastic but expressed some concerns about the Junior Campus suggestions. There were several options and he was worried about them fitting the space available.

This week we had the Raeco representative back and he attended the meeting. Fortunately for me he has a background in a furniture store as one of his past working lives. He and Vera got the tape measure out and discussed options. He asked for more than I had originally requested and she is looking into a deal. It seems highly possible that the whole package on both campuses will happen, possibly for the start of next year. Purely by chance I have chosen a good time in the college's economic scenario. I think my preparation using images also assisted. His stance is "if we spend the money we need to do the job properly."

I am celebrating the fact that I will be able to asses the effect of pyhsical environment in a much bigger way much sooner that I would have believed possible.




Effects of Action 1:

Approached by the Grade 5 and 6 teachers to assist them to teach Bibliographies to their students I designed a simplified table form of the Harvard system which our school has traditionally used. Trialling this with the students I found that it worked well, and I adapted the table to suit what is required at year 7 & 8. (This ties in with our approach to teaching students from 5-9 as middle years students). This was tabled at the Middle Years meeting and the templates stored in the College intranet. A copy of the 7 & 8 sheet was incorporated into the Chinese assignment with a year 9 header. Students seem to accept the concept as easier than keeping their own bibliography record.

The Year 7 PE teacher asked me to adapt it for her assignment for which she wanted them to use books and websites.

The Year 8 students have all completed one sheet with their History teacher also. In that case I did not know why she had booked the Library and only found out when I heard her addressing the classes and introducing the task. This activity has been a very successful starting point for some basic CPT (a new concept to the teachers with whom I work).

Much academic discussion has followed with the teachers and students who have used the templates: "How do I know who published? What does imprint mean? I can't find the book, can I get the details from the Library catalogue? How do you know if an encyclopedia article has an author? etc."

It is now a couple of months since the bibliography sheet was published. Imagine my delight when I was in a classroom this week when I saw a copy of one of my sheet s lying on the table.

Effects of action 2:

I announced to the staff that I was now a bookable resource on Book It. They laughed! However a number of them approached me afterwards and said that they thought it was a good idea. So far I have had one booking in the two days that have followed. That booking ties in to action 3.

Two weeks after becoming a bookable resource and have had had two replacement classes (extras, covers) with consultation as there was comment that I needed to note that I had been booked.

The Director of Studies has booked me for next week with a request that I teach her class how to hyperlink pages when using word. She wants them to create a type of webquest.

Effects of action 3:

It is now a week since the Chinese assignment was introduced. The teacher has made a similar assignment for her language group incorporating all the information literacy steps that I had put in to the culture sheet that I presented her. Her mentor teacher had taken the lesson on how to use a concept map (with the whole class) as a demonstration lesson.

I then worked with the class in the library. After one week the students were filling in the data sheet. The unmotivated boys were realising that the preliminary work was actually going to assist them to complete the task. 5 of the 7 were very engaged. 2 were still struggling. The language students approached me about the best way for them to work to complete the task  and we decided together that they fill in the data grid backwards: inserting the words they knew first and then finding images etc to suit. They also had completed the concept maps therefore having something positive to work from.

Next time I see them I will get the culture group boys to fill in the second SLIM toolkit questionnaire. Needless to say their response to the first one was rather negative!

Effects of action 4:

Surveys will be prepared before work commences. Survey monkey has proven a winner with everyone I have shown it to. Easy to use as well. A paper format will also be required for those who just wont use Internet based things. I may even get my committee members to take photographs around and note comments. The same photgraphs could be used for before and after shots. I will have to learn how to get into my statistics for Oliver too, as they should also indicate changes in usage rates.

Visit July 08:

Long time between visits. Life has been very busy and CARTL has had to go onto the backburner. Year 12 has been a huge intellectual challenge but I am feeling more or less on top of it. I have spent my holidays catching up with my inner TL, doing an online course set up by SLAV about web 2 and thinking about where thingsa are at in the library. I hope to continue my research here in the very near future.




Comments (28)

Anonymous said

at 4:06 pm on Jun 11, 2007

Good to hear from you Margaret - if you are as tenacious as you sound and steafast in your resolve, then I know you will be successful in the journey. Start really looking at literature that defines this area of interest and see where that takes you....

Anonymous said

at 6:48 pm on Jun 12, 2007

Hi Linda. Sometimes I feel as though I am looking for things, but not actually doing them. I have been reading heaps of TL material as it was so long since I had been in a TL position. I have started working on some aspects of what I have read; sometimes keeping on working at them is a real issue. It is a jack of all trades position, but I would like to feel that I am mastering something properly.

Anonymous said

at 7:43 pm on Jul 18, 2007

Damn, I just wrote a bit of text about my ideas and uploaded a photo of my library. The photo replaced all the text. Back to square one!

Anonymous said

at 10:08 pm on Jul 18, 2007

Ok just write in word and copy and paste so this doesn't happen again. What topics interest you? Throw a few ideas around. What have you been reading? Check the pages in the index - we have been adding things that might channel some ideas for you.

Anonymous said

at 7:28 pm on Jul 22, 2007

Thanks to Di for bailing me out of trouble. I don't know what I did differently last time but this time it kept the text. I thought it would help me to focus my thinking if I had the image of my workplace on my page!

Anonymous said

at 7:47 pm on Jul 22, 2007

Don't forget to share your newfound wiki expertise with your colleagues! Your page is looking great Margaret and filled with great ideas. I know exactly what you mean about getting back to work and the day-to-day grind dictates all you do. I think that's why the ancient Roman idea of working until lunch and then spending the rest of the day at the baths talking and thinking was so productive. Is the modern equivalent work til lunchtime and then go to the pub? Sounds good to me. Is there a chance you can come to the Research Retreat to talk and think?

Anonymous said

at 7:51 pm on Jul 22, 2007

Just looking at your research possibilities... the first is very manageable, but the fact that you're showing an interest in the advocacy side of things suggests this is where your heart might lie. Keep reading (in those spare moments!) and see if there is anything that really fires you up.

Anonymous said

at 7:53 pm on Jul 28, 2007

I don't think I can manage to come to NSW in October this year. My youngest is doing year 12 and that is when it all kicks off! I will however pencil in next year with Ross Todd. I have heard him speak in March this year and have just opened a CD from SLAV about his zones of intervention and want to adapt that to my work. Perhaps I research something manageable this year (point one on my page) and look at the advocacy things next year.
Time might be an issue but it is all exciting!

Anonymous said

at 7:31 pm on Aug 12, 2007

Hi Margaret. I just read your comment about the difficulties of Book It. I have been finding the same thing. I much preferred the old booking system where teachers visited or rang to book so that we got a chance for the reference interview. I think putting yourself on Book It is a great idea. Will be keen to see how it goes.

Anonymous said

at 9:57 pm on Aug 17, 2007

Hi Marita, the system I inherited was a no booking system so at least with Book It I know who is intending to turn up, although I don't know why. I have made it an unwritten rule that if they don't talk to me first I don't go out of my way to assist them. As a one person operation I have to be conscious of all the other jobs that need doing other than CPT. I figure if they don't CP I shouldn't have to T! Sometimes I can't help myself and I go out and get involved, especially if there is an obvious opportunity to open a zone of intervention with either the teacher or one or more students. I am also hoping that if they can see how much of my time is scheduled outside the senior campus library that there may be a groundswell of demands for more TL time across the College. I live in hope! I have also been careful to permanently book myself a couple of key periods during the fortnight. I'll keep updating the effects of my action on my page! Thanks for posting a comment.

Anonymous said

at 6:01 pm on Aug 18, 2007

Hi Marg. Looks like you've got a lot on your plate. It's great to see some wonderful opportunities for working with teachers arising. Of course my next question is how are going to collect some data to evaluate the effectiveness of your actions? If you're looking to conduct a survey, you might have a look at Zoomerang.com. This is site that allows you to create an online survey using open and closed questions. To get the best use out of it you would need to subscribe, but there is also the facility to use the free service. Zommerang collates and analyses data and presents it in a number of ways. The restriction on the free option is that the results are available for about 3 weeks and you can't download the raw data (but you can download the analysis). Have a look at it... I can see lots of ways TLs might use Zoomerang to help evaluate what they do.

Anonymous said

at 6:28 am on Aug 24, 2007

Went to a workshop yesterday and there was a lot of talk about Survey Monkey... same sort of online survey creator as Zoomerang (but cheaper). Do you know anything about it?

Anonymous said

at 9:06 pm on Aug 24, 2007

Hi Di, I can't say I've heard of Survey Monkey although I have done zoomerang surveys for a variety of people. I will see what I can find out. My use of the SLIM tool kit survey so far has found some limitations especially as I am in a school where many people just give global mark and the assignment is seen as the only thing, not part of an information skills process. Our teachers generally do not teach their student how to locate information or present it, I think they assume that it is all known. I don't think this is unusual either. In my last three placements I have been alone in using rubrics but I can see a couple of others doing so now.
I might construct something to use at the start of next term with teachers on the PD day (where I have a one hour session allocated).

Anonymous said

at 9:24 pm on Aug 24, 2007

Hi Di, a google search got me to this site: http://www.surveymonkey.com/ where it seems you can join up for free or pay a little bit or a bit more to create surveys. I guess you would have to try both to see which is better/cheaper etc. Might think about that as a way to go. Even adapting the SLIM tool kit to online might appeal more to the year 9 Chinese students I am working with.

Anonymous said

at 11:42 am on Aug 27, 2007

Even if you didn't use the formal structure of the SLIM toolkit, you could certainly create online reflection opportunities for students to complete during their research. Perhaps, as we've been discussing back on Linda's and my page in the comments section, there's an opportunity here for blogs or wikis to be used.

Anonymous said

at 11:47 am on Aug 27, 2007

By the way, following on from your comments on the value of online communities, I though you might be interested in the article at http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2007/07/virtual_communities_as_a_canva_1.php

The fact that I've posted this link here makes me wonder whether we should have a CAR-TL del.icio.us account or whether we could just ask CAR-TL members to share their accounts with each other.Your thoughts? I think this might be my next little project here on the wiki!

Anonymous said

at 7:42 pm on Sep 2, 2007

I have heard of del.icio.us but have no experience with it. What does it do that this doesn't? Since last week I have signed up to survey monkey free account and started making a survey. It seems easy to use and looks good. The year 9 boys thought they would prefer it to a paper based survey. I haven't had time to finish yet.

Anonymous said

at 9:06 pm on Sep 4, 2007

I've created a page on del.icio.us. Hope it explains all.
How funny about your boys preferring a paper-based survey! A student in a class i am working with has just used survey monkey... she found it really easy to use. I have signed up.. now just need to find a reason to use it.

Anonymous said

at 10:07 am on Sep 15, 2007

Book a TL - what a wonderful idea! We have a booking system for our library as there are 6 teaching spaces for different purposes within the library building. I'm just thinking of how I can organise our staff to be included n this and still have enough freedom to jump in "just in time" when teachers need us for emergency support. I'll work on it. Thanks.

Anonymous said

at 6:39 pm on Sep 15, 2007

Margaret, I have enjoyed reading your plans and experiences. I have been using survey monkey and have a few technical questions - where do people put their name on the survey? does it always return to the survey monkey page when participants have submitted survey, is there another option? is there a limit to the number of participants? have you found the email link the best way to send the survey? I would appreciate your thoughts - it seems such a great tool
Thanks, Margo

Anonymous said

at 4:16 pm on Sep 19, 2007

Hi Margo,
We designed one recently for our staff to use and we asked them as the last question: what is your name? We made it a compulsory question. That allowed us to then open each respondent's answer so we could see who was volunteering their time and expertise. I couldn't see any other way of getting a name! It does seem to revert to the survey monkey page. I haven't found any limit to users/participants but we are quite small. I guess many of these features are customisable if you pay!

Anonymous said

at 5:38 pm on Sep 22, 2007

Margaret, I have found that you can select a type of question at the beginning of the survey, I think it's called Demographics which then asks participants to enter their name - seems to work well. Still finishes with Survey Monkey, I am asking staff to complete survey this week so it will be interesting - thanks for introducing me to this tool, Margo

Anonymous said

at 7:12 pm on Sep 30, 2007

Thanks Margo, I think we are experiencing the learning benefits of a wiki! I will add that type of question into my next effort.

Anonymous said

at 11:50 am on Oct 6, 2007

Thanks Margaret and Margo for all your hints on Survey Minkey. I'm also planning to use it next term to follow up a survey we did in 2005 on our Boys and Books program. Anything that can make all the tabulation and paper shuffling that was involved in that earlier survey has to be an improvement. I also like the idea that participants are prompted to complete any missed answers. It's always disappointing to get a survey back and realise that the participant missed some questions because they forgot to turn the page and complete the questions on the back.

Anonymous said

at 11:52 am on Oct 6, 2007

Fantastic to hear about the progress with your refurbishment Margaret. You've certainly shown how important it is to be well prepared when asking "please Sir, can I have some more?" I'm looking forward to hearing how it all goes.

Anonymous said

at 8:05 pm on Nov 17, 2007

I'm exhausted reading about all this Margaret. You've sure got a few things on the boil. Have you thought about asking class teachers who have yet to use your referencing template if you could look at their students' reference lists/ bibliographies before working with it and then after using it to guage its success?

Anonymous said

at 9:09 pm on Nov 18, 2007

Hi Everyone, I am exhausted by the doing! Last week both campus libraries were refitted with bayend panels, relocated shelving, etc. Things began to move out on Friday at about 10 am and move in on Monday at about 11.30. By Thursday everything bar the Senior Campus ciruclation desk was installed and in use. (It has to wait until the students finish as we need to disconnect electricity). Talk about generating a high level of interest among students and staff! I have made sure mention has been in the last couple of newsletters, so community members have been asking how it is going. On top of it all, the boss featured the importance of reading in the last newsletter!
Also, I will be Head of History next year as well as Head of Information Services. I put my hand up on the condition that a .5 TL was appointed. My new assistant TL has a background in children's librarianship plus a teaching qualification. She has been working with me on a voluntary basis for a few weeks prior to the job being advertised, so the scenario has been perfect. Inn addition, some of my teachign time will be covered by an English teacher who is very interested in all things library. Apart from learning the necessary information to teach Year 12 History of Revolutions (Russia and China) things are looking up! I hope to be able to measure the effects of all these changes.

Anonymous said

at 6:59 am on Jul 9, 2008

Hi Margaret. I think we have all had CARTL on the backburner for a while. Linda and I are still overseas (in different parts of the world) after attending the International Boys' Schools Coalition conference a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. I'm co-ordinating the IBSC's action research team and Linda is on the 2008-2009 team. We have talked about the need to put our energy back into playing with the other ducks and we'll certainly be in touch when we both get back to Aus. We've got the research day with Ross Todd coming up in October, so we need to get our wings flapping. It was great to see you back online. Cheers for now.

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