Friday, December 18, 2009

Literacy cut a costly error

Yes, it might seem silly reading a book to a newborn, a baby who cannot say any words and might not actually understand a thing you are saying. Get over it. Research has shown that talking, singing and reading to newborn babies helps their young brains develop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Metatexts For Kids

The digital age has prompted developments in children's literature consistent with the changing forms and formats, changing perspectives and changing boundaries that readers of all ages are experiencing. Described in terms of Radical Change theory by Dr. Eliza Dresang, a professor at the University of Washington, some of these changes within books are evident in the five picture books shortlisted for the 2009 Governor General's Award for children's literature (illustration).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christy Clark and the FSA: No propaganda mule

Christy Clark is a lively talk-show host, no doubt about it . . . especially when she turns her attention to education, a subject she knows well given her experience as education minister.

I missed her Friday show on CKNW when she interviewed Susan Lambert, vice-president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF), about the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA). She challenged Lambert to produce evidence to back the union's claim that standardized tests have damaged the B.C. education system. The tests have been around for 10 years, but B.C. students continue to perform well in national and international tests, Clark noted.

Lambert wasn't able to point to results showing diminished performance but said science teachers and teacher-librarians have produced evidence that standardized tests are" wreaking havoc" on schools. Furthermore, she said students might be doing even better on international tests, if not for those FSAs...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vavenby school to stay open

Vavenby Elementary School will not close.

Trustees of School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) made the decision last Monday evening during a school board meeting in Kamloops.

“It’s great,” said Carol Schaffer, a Vavenby resident who spearheaded a petition to keep the school open. “At least it’s open. When the economy turns around and people start moving in, we can get it back to Kindergarten to Grade 7. If it had closed, it likely would have closed for good.”

The trustees decided to limit Vavenby to just Kindergarten to Grade 3. There will be only one teacher and secretarial hours will be cut.

Of the other rural schools that were on the chopping block, Westwold will go to just Kindergarten to Grade 5.

Savona and Pinantan will have Kindergarten to Grade 7 but will do without a principal and a teacher-librarian, and will have reduced secretarial support.

Friday, November 27, 2009

BC First Graders Get Book Rejected as 'Racist' Elsewhere

Two maritime provinces declined to distribute a book to students saying it was racist and promotes stereotypes of First Nations people. British Columbia schools are giving the same book for free to students in Grade One.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Keep an eye on WatchKnow (YouTube meets Wikipedia?)

Launched in October after a year-long development period, WatchKnow is a wiki-style portal that gathers and organizes educational videos for students ages 3 to 18.  An age filter slider allows you to easily focus your search.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Author reading

Local author Tessa McGuiness, former Surrey School District teacher-librarian, will read from her first novel, Never See A Poor Day, on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at the White Rock Library, 15342 Buena Vista Ave.

An expatriate from Liverpool, England, McGuiness – who emigrated to Canada in 1957 – has drawn on her own wartime experiences to create the world of nine year-old Katie Byrne, forced to flee Liverpool with her family and take up residence in a gypsy caravan.

Registration is required. For information, call 604-541-2201.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Children's literature can and should go beyond feel-good fantasy

At this time of year, holiday celebrations and some quiet time for reflection beckon. Some long for the picture-book perfect holiday. Some look for the perfect picture book for a child's holiday reading.

For many years, before I taught at the University of B.C., I worked as a bookseller. Buyers hunting for "the perfect book for a bright child" wanted books solely for delight. They shied away from "serious reads."

Booksellers today see this, too. Books with a happy ending and popular series books such as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter or C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles or Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series are much in demand.

Yes, kids need these books, but for balance they also benefit from and can enjoy reading tough books that challenge and expand their view of the world, particularly the world of children less fortunate than themselves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

School libraries key in teaching information skills

When school media specialists and educators make an effort to become familiar with the social-networking web sites and technologies that today's students use each day, they can forge important learning connections with their students: That was one of the key messages to come out of the American Association of School Librarians' annual conference, held Nov. 5-8 in Charlotte, N.C.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Local Heroes get kudos

Five of Burnaby's Local Heroes were singled out at the Nov. 10 school board meeting for their contributions to the school district community.

Sharon Freeman is a district teacher-librarian and advocate for literacy, who has served on the Burnaby Public Library board.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Copy fight: Cory Doctorow's struggle to make books free

Last Friday morning, the writer Cory Doctorow took the stage of the Royal Ontario Museum's Bronfman Hall and, over the course of 45 minutes, delivered a lecture entitled "How to Destroy the Book." He began his keynote address of the TD National Reading Summit with an elegy to our love affair with books, before launching a blistering attack on those trying to remake copyright laws to snuff out copy and sharing culture, which he sees as the lifeblood of books. Take e-books, for example. The convoluted fine print, which runs into the thousands of words, makes clear that the reader does not own this version of the book - with the ability to, say, sell it to a second-hand bookstore - but rather "licenses" it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

$400,000 dedicated for new books

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Yellowknife kids will have some new books to read this school year, as the territorial government has dedicated a $400,000 fund to fill out their school libraries, as well as others across the NWT.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Elementary school students make reading an Olympic sport

Shannon Lee pulled out a digital camera to show a shot of her pink pajama-clad daughter Megan Goodwin slumped on a couch while reading British author Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.

"This is how Megan survived the swine flu," Lee said with a laugh, adding, "While she was sick I read five novels to her."

Reading at home while recovering from the flu helped the Grade 2 student add to the books she's completed since the summer break--a number that now totals 251.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Activities Report now online

The BCTLA Executive has produced a summary report of activities.

Download file and read about the exciting projects completed or underway.

Monday, November 9, 2009

School libraries lacking

A strong school library program is the cornerstone of a healthy school, unfortunately schools do not have the money to support strong school libraries and students are suffering from it, according to California School Library Association.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

San Jose State Breaks with California Library Association Over Drexel Agreement

Charging that the California Library Association (CLA) had broken a promise by partnering with Drexel University Online, the San Jose State University (SJSU) School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) has severed its partnership with CLA, withdrawing from hosting the CALIX electronic mailing list and no longer purchasing several hundred memberships a year for its students.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Local heroes recognized for contributions

More than a dozen local residents were hailed for their civic efforts on Monday night in a jam-packed council meeting...

- Sharon Freeman: A teacher librarian who is considered a "tireless" advocate for literacy, Freeman has served on the Burnaby Public Library board from 2001 through 2006, and again in 2009.

California DOE Calls for Public Comment on First School Library Standards

California is developing statewide school library standards for the first time—and a draft document is available for public comment until December 18.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't leave students without librarians

Many schools have a room that they call a school library, but it may very well have no budget, no online databases, no teacher librarian and no new and engaging books. Its doors may even be closed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cuts force library to pare books and Sundays

There will be fewer books on library shelves and reduced Sunday hours as the Greater Victoria Public Library tries to deal with a 22 per cent cut in provincial government funding.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Feds renew commitment to B.C. books

B.C.'s book publishers were breathing a sigh of relief on Friday afternoon after the federal government announced its commitment to five years of full funding from Ottawa, totalling $2.35 million, for the beleaguered industry.

Just weeks after the provincial government cut funding for publishers, federal Labour Minister Rona Ambrose announced, on behalf of Heritage Minister James Moore, support for the Canada Book Fund, which until recently was known as the Book Publishing Industry Development Program.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kate Pullinger on the future of books

I've been to IFOA a few times before and each time I realize afresh what an incredibly vibrant and hospitable festival it is. This time I arrive as a finalist for the Governor General's Awards, with my novel The Mistress of Nothing on the fiction shortlist, and, consequently, am suffering from a fabulous combination of nerves, excitement, trepidation, and jet lag.

Books For Treats

We're excited that "Luann" comic strip author Greg Evans has created a special strip about Books For Treats which will run on 10/29/09.

Spry Health magazine mentions Books For Treats in October. This magazine is distributed to 9 million households in national newspapers.

Since Halloween 2001, we've given up to 6500 books each year to excited, costumed Willow Glen trick-or-treaters. Now-former Mayor Ron Gonzales, now-former Councilman Ken Yeager, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio joined us in greeting the kids and happy parents. We are supported by the Diabetes Association. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taking up the challenge

You could hear a pin drop at Silver Creek Elementary during the Drop Everything and Read challenge, Monday morning. Students, teachers and even the principal, headed out into the hallways for some silent reading. Austin Christopher, Lindsay Lemay, Lindsay Flexhaug, and Katie Talarico brought their new ball seats out of their classroom - making for a very comfortable read. The B.C. Teacher-Librarians’ Association (BCTLA) challenged everyone in the province to Drop Everything and Read for 20 minutes at exactly 11 a.m.. The Drop Everything and Read challenge began in Surrey in 2007 and became a province-wide event last year.
Simone Rolph

Monday, October 26, 2009

Library trustees association loses its executive director

The B.C. Library Trustees' Association says budget cuts have forced it to eliminate its executive-director position, leading to the resignation of Errin Morrison.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Schools drop everything and read

No matter what you’re doing Monday morning, librarians want you to drop everything and read.

As part of National School Library Day, an initiative to promote literacy, Drop Everything and Read hopes to get as many people reading at the same time, on the same day, as possible.

Gay Reversal Advocates Say School Libraries Banning Their 'Ex-Gay' Books - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News -

A story like this is only to be found on Fox News!

Val Hamilton

Visit most public school libraries and you'll find an array of books that address the subject of homosexuality. Many include sexually explicit content, and some even include graphic images.

But if you're looking for a book that refers to the possibility that homosexuality can be "reversed," a Chicago-based group says your best bet is the banned books list.

Victorians offer dental help to Ugandans

Scroll down to Drop everything and read

The acronym is DEAR, short for Drop Everything and Read, and the B.C. Teacher-Librarians' Association and B.C. Teachers' Federation are hoping people all around the province take it to heart tomorrow.

Drop Everything and Read started in 2007 to help mark National School Library Day. The idea is to stop what you're doing at 11 a.m. and spend the next 20 minutes with your face in a book.

Drop Everything and Read . . .

Get ready for the Drop Everything and Read event Monday at 11 a.m.

The event is organized by the B.C. Teacher-Librarians' Association and celebrates International School Library Day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whistler writer hits mark with kids

Originally from Vancouver, Sara Leach has been coming to Whistler to ski since she was just three years old. She finally made the move to the community 15 years ago and now works as a part-time Grade 2 teacher-librarian at Spring Creek Community School.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The New Untouchables

Last summer I attended a talk by Michelle Rhee, the dynamic chancellor of public schools in Washington. Just before the session began, a man came up, introduced himself as Todd Martin and whispered to me that what Rhee was about to speak about — our struggling public schools — was actually a critical, but unspoken, reason for the Great Recession.

From academic obscurity to digital discovery

Once completed, theses and dissertations are often neglected. A new digitization project at UBC aims to make them more accessible.

Children’s books, parents, and discipline

Anxious parents—the midnight Googlers who repeatedly seek advice from experts—learn that there are many things they must never do to their willful young child: spank, scold, bestow frequent praise, criticize, plead, withhold affection, take away toys, “model” angry emotions, intimidate, bargain, nag. Increasingly, nearly all forms of discipline appear morally suspect.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Government reduces grant for Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC)

The Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium has confirmed that its government grant has been cut this year - to $500,000 from $1.2 million last year. That amounts to a 46.8 per cent cut in ERAC's total budget of $1,495,000, executive director Judy Dallas told me today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poet Lane wins Victoria book prize for debut novel

Victoria Times Colonist: 2009 October 15

Patrick Lane won the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Red Dog, Red Dog, the first major win for the poet's debut novel. Earlier, his book had been short-listed for such prestigious awards as the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Award, First Novel Award and the B.C. Book Prize.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending 2009 October 14

Kate Lambert recalls using her library card just once or twice throughout her childhood. Now, she uses it several times a month.

The lure? Electronic books she can download to her laptop. 

Where the Wild Things Are

TIME: 2009 October 14

The 338-word story of Max — last name unknown, emotional state tumultuous, willingness to obey dubious — has been a bedtime favorite of wild things everywhere (and their parents) since not long after its 1963 publication. That makes nearly five decades' worth of fans, many of whom have been harboring the disquieting fear that the universality of Maurice Sendak's Max, who so exquisitely embodies the inherent storminess of all small beings, would be marred by Spike Jonze's cinematic adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.

Levelling Books is Misguided

VESTA General Meeting endorses BC teacher-librarians' position the practice of levelling books is misguided

Literary newspaper near a loss for words

The Globe and Mail: 2009 October 14

At 11:21 a.m. yesterday, Alan Twigg sent an e-mail in which he asked for help.
B.C. BookWorld, the quarterly newspaper he founded 22 years ago, needs money.

He learned a week ago that the provincial government was cutting the paper's funding. This year, he got $31,000. Next year, he's getting $0. That's dollar sign, zero, decimal point.

Also known as zip and zilch.

Things That Keep Us Up at Night

The library, as we once knew it, may no longer be relevant. School librarians, as we once knew them, may no longer be relevant. And, yet, this is undoubtedly the most exciting time in history to be a librarian.

Canada Council for the Arts announces the finalists for the 2009 Governor General?s Literary Awards

The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the finalists for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Awards. The finalists include authors, illustrators and translators from ages 27 to 78. The English and French awards are in the categories of fiction, non‑fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation. In total, 70 books are shortlisted.  

Saturday, October 10, 2009

MA School Library Transforms into a New Learning Commons

Before there was the enormous LCD TV, coffeehouse, and scattered comfy couches, the library at Chelmsford High School in Massachusetts was a run down mess.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Parkland's librarian presents human books

Books don't often breathe and clear their throats, but that's just what they were doing yesterday in the Parkland Secondary School library.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

School board, teacher preach intolerance

I don't think there should be any religious clubs in a public school. That is what private schools and churches are for.

The School Act is clear that students should be protected from religious proselytizing, whatever the religion.

When I took over a school library the first part I weeded was the religion section.

I removed the Bible stories (in one school it was several dozen) and replaced them with a large selection of books explaining the various religions in the world. I wanted all students to feel valued and welcomed in my library.

Not having a range of books in a school library supporting gays is a message to the gay students that they are not valued.

Val Hamilton, Vancouver

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

To ban a book, to "erase history"

Since its instant success in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird, the story of racial injustice in the American South told from the point of view of a little white girl, has courted controversy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

B.C. a world library leader

More than 4,000 libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are catching up to British Columbia -- and might make the public libraries in this province a model for their next leap forward.

Drop Everything and Read

A challenge has been issued to Drop Everything and Read by the teacher-librarians of B.C.

On Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. everyone is asked to pick up a newspaper, book or magazine and read for 20 minutes.

In its third year, the B.C. teacher-librarians are inviting businesses, students, adults, even the Legislature to participate.

Last year, the premier, MLA Shirley Bond and several other MLAs participated in the challenge and the invitation is extended to everyone in the province.

Organizer Karen Lindsay’s dream is to have everyone in B.C. put down their work, turn off their computer screens, pick up a book, magazine or newspaper, and read. Picture offices where calls go to voice mail just for those few minutes.

"You have reached L & G Real Estate. We are dropping everything to read until 11:20. If this is an emergency, please call (a designated cell number). Otherwise, why don't you read along with us?"

The event was a huge success last year. Dozens of schools representing thousands of students participated in the DEAR Challenge. Many schools across B.C. organized special events. Local celebrities, athletes, firefighters, police officers, politicians, parents came in to read. Big kids read to little ones, and group read-ins were held on playing fields.

B.C. teacher-librarians want to draw attention to the importance of reading in the development of a successful human being. People know the more you read the better you get at it, and the ability to read with understanding is vitally important to success in the world.

Reading improves vocabulary, increases general knowledge about the world, improves one's writing, and is a great way to relax. Not so obvious is its ability to increase the reader's capacity for empathy, stimulate imagination and create new connections in the brain.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drop Everything and Read

October 26 is National School Library Day and the third anniversary of the BC Drop Everything and Read Challenge.

DEAR started as a small challenge between B.C. school libraries in 2007 and has since grown by leaps and bounds. The simple but powerful idea is to promote the importance of literacy by having as many students and adults as possible read at the same time on the same day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

There is nothing quite as stimulating as a book to delve into the fascinating world of history, knowledge or fiction. As we celebrate Canadian Library Month, let us give ourselves over to this wonderful adventure.

Libraries open the door to new books and old favourites; they keep us informed with the most up-to-date resources. They are places of encounters and cultural exchange; places of learning that offer leading edge technology to meet the needs of members and the demands of the time. Accessible to all citizens, these bastions of knowledge play an essential role in our society. Veritable treasure troves, libraries bring us happiness and the means with which to thrive.

I warmly applaud the staff and volunteers planning activities and special projects throughout the month of October and wish each and every one of you many long, enchanting hours spent with a good book.

October 2009

Human rights tribunal denies Christian teacher's complaint

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint by a University Hill secondary teacher alleging discrimination on the basis of her religion--a decision applauded by school board chair Patti Bacchus but decried as "lopsided" by Po Yu Emmy Chiang, the Christian teacher who lodged the complaint.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

South African Children Push for Better Schools


Thousands of children marched to City Hall this week in sensible black shoes, a stream of boys and girls from township schools across this seaside city that extended for blocks, passing in a blur of pleated skirts, blazers and rep ties. Their polite demand: Give us libraries and librarians.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book keepers

As overall book sales fall, novels for young adults fly off the shelves thanks to Harry Potter and the Internet.  But are kids really reading more?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Librarian's discrimination complaint dismissed

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a Vancouver school librarian's complaint that she was discriminated against on religious grounds for not putting up gay-straight alliance stickers or stocking gay-friendly books in her library.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What they should read


As September rolls in and class is back in session, The Afterword has asked several Canadian authors to answer this question: If you could add one book to the high school curriculum-- a book that students couldn't graduate without having read -- what would it be, and why?

A long overdue ode to Robert Munsch

This is a fan letter of sorts.
Not just any fan letter, but a fan letter to a Canadian treasure, to a man whose gift of storytelling has turned generations of children into readers, whose legacy of literacy has become an integral part of so many families.

YouTube - Did You Know 4.0

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Internet filters urged in libraries

A Conservative member of the Ontario legislature wants a new law that would require the installation of Internet filtering software on all computers in provincial public libraries and schools.

Vancouver: The Word On The Street

Sunday, September 27, 2009

11:00 to 5:00

Once upon a time, there was Kidsbooks . . .

Twenty-six years ago, before technology and teenage vampires ruled the world, a Vancouver librarian by the name of Phyllis Simon decided to open a children's bookstore in Kitsilano.

Monday, September 14, 2009

FLP - Closing

All Free Library of Philadelphia Customers,
We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009.

Want to fight illiteracy? Support your local library librarians in some districts might have only one day a week to service hundreds of students.

"For kids," said Heather Daly, president of the B.C. Teacher-Librarians Association and district librarian for Coquitlam schools, "it means a library that's closed, the lights off, four days a week."

For many school libraries in B.C., said Daly, Raise-a-Reader grants are helping to keep those lights burning.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Raising a reader, 13 years on

'Literacy is the critical skill in our society, dwarfing all others in the contribution it makes to our lives as private citizens, as working people and in our public duties in this information age."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

B.C. schools face cuts to libraries, lunch programs

Funds for hungry school kids, classroom computers and schoolyard jungle gyms are being cut this year in B.C., even as the province's education minister maintained yesterday the province's public school system is “well-funded.”
Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Feed children homegrown books

What is the state of Canadian literature? For many readers and authors, the answer is "flourishing and rich." For others, it's "floundering and forgettable." In a week-long series, National Post contributors are considering our national book scene and giving their own takes
Shared via AddThis

Libraries, wisely, were spared deep cuts

Today is International Literacy Day, a celebration of the benefits that come from being able to read and write.
Shared via AddThis

International Literacy Day

On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Authors get Googled

The Globe and Mail: 2009 September 7
Authors are accustomed to deadlines, but the one imposed on Canadian writers by Google Inc. was disconcerting, to say the least.
Shared via AddThis

Sunday, September 6, 2009

As Goes California: A Flawed Initiative Could Become a Fabulous Opportunity

School Library Journal: 2009 September 9

For school librarians, digital textbooks represent a big opportunity. Just imagine how you could customize your school’s textbooks, building in deep links to an array of content—from database articles to streaming media to books (both “e” and print) to open-source content from resources like the Library of Congress (see page 73). Librarians, of course, are experts at collecting the best content, free or for a fee, and a move to open-source textbooks might even free up funds to create stronger digital collections.

Shared via

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Literary bigwigs out in full force this fall

Vancouver Sun: 2009 September 6

Dan Brown's 2003 theological thriller, The Da Vinci Code, may not have had lasting literary merit, but its impact was huge, with more than 80 million copies sold.

Shared via AddThis

Friday, September 4, 2009

CNN and me on the Future of Libraries (and Librarians)

NeverEndingSearch - Blog on School Library Journal: 2009 September 4

Think of the change as a Library 2.0 revolution -- a mirror of what's happened on the Web.

Finally, a mainstream piece that (in my mind) nearly gets the shift right. CNN's John Sutter describes
The future of libraries, with or without books.

Shared via AddThis

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Writers slam proposed Google deal

Vancouver Sun: 2009 September 3

Facing a deadline on Friday, several Canadian authors are urging writers to reject a Google settlement offer for copyright infringement for producing digital copies of books...

..."What purpose will libraries with shelves of books have if absolutely everything that has been written or is being written can be downloaded?" she asked. "I think what Google is doing threatens their very future."

Shared via AddThis

Amazon joins opposition to Google book deal

Vancouver Sun: 2009 September 3 Inc. joined the opposition to Google Inc.'s plan to digitize millions of books, saying that the proposed deal would fundamentally change copyright law and violate antitrust law.

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Books for Babies axed as province cuts funds

Peace Arch News: 2009 September 2

...the province has revealed some details of the cuts, and services getting the axe include Askaway, a collaborative reference service provided by BC Libraries; technology grants; Books for BC Babies; and provincial purchasing of core electronic services.

Shared via AddThis

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Library signs up literature's k.d. lang

Vancouver Sun: 2009 August 8

"Ivan E. Coyote, who has been called the k.d. lang of Canadian literature, will be the Vancouver Public Library's 2009 writer in residence.

Starting next month, she will spend four months giving writers one-on-one help, leading memoir-writing sessions for seniors and teaching storytelling to parent/child and grandparent/grandchild pairs."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Copyright: Let's take ownership

Globe and Mail: 2009 August 4

"Canada is badly in need of copyright law reform. It is an issue that Canadians should care about deeply, and in which we should be engaged."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Budget cuts leave Marin's school librarians in the lurch 2009 August 1

"This fall, school librarian Jane Ritter will guide a group of fourth- and fifth-graders through a Web site devoted to the preservation of the endangered Pacific Northwest tree octopus.

The site is well-crafted, with ample links to scientific and environmental groups, photos and descriptions of tree octopus sightings, and posters and cartoons detailing the creature's history."

Monday, July 27, 2009

By the book

National Post: 2009 July 27

"Dan Clancy makes librarians nervous. When the Google Books engineering director participated in a panel discussion at the Boston Public Library last week, his opening remarks focused on the search engine’s efforts to enable access for “every kid in Arkansas” to Harvardsize digital libraries. But soon afterward, he was hearing from librarians on the panel that they felt “queasy” about Google Books."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Copyright Consultations

"The Government of Canada is hosting a nationwide consultation on copyright modernization."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

AASL's Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

NeverEndingSearch - Blog on School Library Journal: 2009 July 17

"One of the most exciting revelations at ALA last week was the Sunday panel that unveiled the inaugural AASL's Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. (If there was a Newbery kinda ceremony for the techie in many of us, this was it!)"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

100 Best Blogs for School Librarians

Online College: 2009 July 7

"School librarians, whether they work small college libraries, large research universities and departments, or elementary schools, need to stay current on the latest in technology innovation, reading lists, the publishing world, ebook trends, special project and lesson ideas, and a lot more. Luckily, you don’t have to think of everything all by yourself. These 100 bloggers serve as excellent reference resources for learning about everything from library technology to young adult fiction."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alan Gibbons, Philip Pullman Urge British Government to Mandate School Libraries

School Library Journal: 2009 July 6

"Alan Gibbons, the two time Carnegie Medal nominee, is urging the British government to give kids the same rights as prison inmates—the right to have a library in schools."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

City of Vancouver Archives - Moving Images Online

City of Vancouver Archives - Search

"The Archives' moving image holdings include films created by City departments and bodies such as Engineering, Park Board and Fire and Rescue; home movies of Vancouver events and social life; and documentaries. Here you can search all our film and video holdings and view all the moving images we can make available online."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Higher photocopy fees for Canadian schools - Report Card

Vancouver Sun - Report Card: 2009 June 30

"Photocopying will be more expensive in schools across Canada as a result of a decision this month by the Copyright Board of Canada.

I haven't found any newspaper stories on this so I am drawing my information entirely from a news release today from the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), which says it's reviewing the decision."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New technologies could bring an end to books -- or save them

Vancouver Sun: 2009 June 27

"If a book could talk, it might well repeat the old Mark Twain line 'The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.'

Certainly, there have been many such reports -- obituaries, really -- about books. And this is not a recent phenomenon: In 1894, Scribner's Magazine published an article titled The End of Books, in which a man named Arthur Blackcross predicted that books would be replaced by new technologies."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gordon Stubbs

Gordon died at Vancouver General Hospital on June 11, 2009 at the age of 91. Born in Stretford, England, Gordon was the youngest child of James and Mabel Stubbs, and was predeceased by his parents, wife Betty, sisters Eileen and Kitty, and brother Denis. He is survived by his daughter Susan and son-in-law Douglas Courtemanche, and his grandchildren Sarah, Thomas, Ian and Rebecca, as well as his niece and nephews and their families.

Gordon graduated from the University of Manchester with a Degree in Music and a Teacher's Diploma. After immigrating to Canada he taught at Como Lake High School where he met Betty, who was Vice Principal. He completed a Bachelor of Library Science and a Masters Degree at UBC, where he taught for a number of years, and after retirement was honoured as a Professor Emeritus.

Gordon was coauthor of Only Connect, Readings on Children's Literature. A highlight of his career was his involvement with a CIDA project to train librarians in developing countries, particularly in Fiji. Throughout his life he enjoyed entertaining friends with a piano recital. Gordon was a quiet, gracious, thoughtful man, whose presence will be missed. The family wishes to thank Mariesil and Amelita, and the caring staff of South Granville Park Lodge and the Vancouver General Hospital.

A donation in Gordon's memory may be made to the Library at VanDusen Gardens.

Published in the Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on 6/20/2009

The daring young publishers

Vancouver Sun: 2009 June 20

"Hundreds of thousands of children's picture books have been published. Innumerable topics have been explored and paired with artistry of every description. Library and bookstore shelves are crowded with the results, while the number of titles that can be ordered online seems practically infinite."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why I'm not worried about the rise of the digital book

Vancouver Sun: 2009 June 16

"Your lead opinion piece on June 11 -- 'It's far too soon to terminate books,' by Ceri Radford -- had the same self-righteous tone as those prognosticators of the early 1900s who claimed that if people were meant to fly, God would have given them wings."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Newsmakers: Brandon Pike 2009 June 22

"A heated email exchange between N.B. Education Minister Kelly Lamrock and Brandon Pike, a middle-schooler with a bone to pick, was made public last week after it turned up on Facebook and was later published on the CBC’s website."

'Assistants' are the only workers in libraries

Telegraph Journal, NB: 2009 June 15

"The government of New Brunswick has decided to eliminate a number of school library positions throughout the province. This letter is meant to clarify certain key points regarding our duties and responsibilities."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Annual Report on (Ontario) Schools

People for Education: 2009 June

"School libraries have an impact on students’ reading habits,
enjoyment and skill."

Online dictionary is lexicography's answer to the Swiss Army knife

Vancouver Sun: 2009 June 12

"In what's predicted to become the Google of digital dictionaries, a new website marries the definitions of 1.7 million words with relevant information, images and multimedia plumbed from Web 2.0."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Database widgets are here: My dream comes true

NeverEndingSearch - Blog on School Library Journal: 2009 June 9

"I am in love with the convenience of widgets and I have been not-so-quietly lobbying our database vendors to provide them. I want to put little database options in the faces of my students and teachers wherever they go online. I want my lovely databases to be as easy to get to and as handy as Google."

ALA | ALSC announces exceptional Web sites for children

ALA: 2009 June 8

"The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has added more recommended Web sites to Great Web Sites for Kids (, its online resource containing hundreds of links to commendable Web sites for children."

Washington School District Eliminates Middle, High School Librarians

School Library Journal: 2009 June 8

"The Bellevue School District in Medina, WA—home to Bill Gates and other affluent families—is saying good-bye to all middle and high school librarians, yet another result of the ongoing recession."

Monday, June 8, 2009

In Grade 6? Chances are you don't like to read

Provincial data show a steep decline in kids' desire to pick up a book 2009 June 8

"Less than half of Ontario's Grade 6 students say they like to read – a number that has dropped dramatically over the last decade.

Even among younger students in Grade 3, just 59 per cent enjoy reading, down from 76 per cent over the same period, according to provincial data."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Michele Farquharson, Recipient of the Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award (2009)

Kerrisdale Elementary Newsletter: 2009 June 4

We are very proud to announce that Ms.
Farquharson has received this award
that is presented to a school based
teacher librarian annually. It is awarded
to a teacher librarian who has made an
outstanding contribution to school
librarianship within Canada through
planning and implementing school library
programs, based on a collaborative model
which integrates library and classroom
programs. Congratulations Ms. F. we are
all very proud of you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Literacies, Learning, and Libraries

"The first issue of Literacies, Learning, and Libraries is now available. Literacies, Learning, and Libraries is the new name for the ASLC journal, which was previously called Teacher Librarian Today."

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It must be the heat. I just sent a post to the Forum instead of my personal blog.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

CLA/ACB 2009 National Conference and Trade Show

School Libraries in Canada: Spring 2009

"The CLA/ACB 2009 National Conference and Trade Show is just concluding as this issue of School Libraries in Canada is being released. The many sessions directed towards a school library audience were well attended and very well received by both CASL members and delegates from the wider library community."

Monday, June 1, 2009

School Libraries 21C

School Libraries 21C

"Welcome to the School libraries 21C, a moderated discussion blog hosted by School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit. We invite your considered contributions. We look forward to engaging with a diverse range of perspectives, and working towards a common vision.

Discussion starts 1 June 2009, and concludes 26 June 2009."


Try out Microsoft's new search engine

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ALA | American Libraries - Education Reform Won't Spare Washington's School Librarians

ALA American Libraries: 2009 May 28

"Basic education reform came to the state of Washington May 19 with the signing by Gov. Christine Gregoire of a bill (PDF file) that adds a credentialed, but not necessarily funded, teacher-librarian in every K–12 school to the definition of what constitutes a basic education."

netvibes enhanced!

NeverEndingSearch: 2009 May 28

"I must admit, I've been a longtime fan of iGoogle and PageFlakes for organizing my own information life and for helping me to guide students in doing the same. Netvibes is now a far more serious contender for my personal portal app love."

Monday, May 25, 2009

District, Two Schools Nab NSLMPY Awards

School Library Journal: 2009 May 25

"A district in western New York and schools in the suburbs of Kansas City and Chicago are this year’s winners of the National School Library Media Program of the Year (NSLMPY) award, which recognizes library programs that are fully integrated into the curriculum and ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

WV schools face budget cutbacks

North Shore News: 2009 May 24

"FACING a budget shortfall, the West Vancouver School District has cut $1.8 million from its budget.

The Board of Education voted Tuesday to adopt the budget for the next school year, which for the first time in almost a decade contained significant cutbacks.

...teacher-librarian time at elementary schools..."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Changing Canada's Copyright Legislation - add your suggestions!

Public Policy Wiki - The Globe and Mail - The Dominion Institute : Download Decade

"At some point over the last 10 years, copyright became a sexy topic. An issue that was once purely the domain of lawyers, politicians and record industry executives has seeped into the consciousness of everyday Canadians — people who feel that something just isn't quite right about the way copyright works in this country.

During the digital-media revolution — what we're calling The Download Decade — copyright issues moved from the boardroom to the living room, as interpretations of these laws began to have a tangible impact on the way we consumed music, movies and television."

What do kids love most? Their parents reading to them

Vancouver Sun: 2009 May 23

"Almost two-thirds of children want their parents to spend more time reading to them before bed, and most prefer Mom's storytelling to Dad's, researchers said on Friday.

They conducted a study that showed younger children aged three to four were most hungry for more stories, with more than three-quarters saying they wished their parents read to them more often."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Facebook’s Book Clubs Gets Kids Excited About Reading

School Library Journal: 2009 May 21

"What better way to get kids talking about books than on one of their favorite pastimes—Facebook.

Book Clubs is a new application on the hugely popular social networking site, offering students a free and convenient place to share ideas about books, authors, and related interests. Facebook members can instantly create or join a reading group devoted to any category, region, interest, or author."

CASL Announces the Winner of the 2009 Angela Thacker Memorial Award

CLA: 2009 May 20

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce
British ColumbiaTeacher Librarians’ Association Executive
as the 2009 recipient of the
Canadian Association for School Libraries/Angela Thacker Memorial Award
This award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or information literacy.

The British Columbia Teacher Librarians’ Association Executive has worked collaboratively with the British Columbia Public Library Services Branch in support of a range of provincial initiatives on cross-sector collaboration, database licensing, digitization, and literacy. The BCTLA Executive and its members encouraged and challenged people across the province of British Columbia to “Drop Everything and Read” for 20 minutes on October 27, 2008 to recognize National School Library Day. Also, the BCTLA Executive has been funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education to support a teacher inquiry project looking at evidence-based practice in order to show the ways in which BC school libraries contribute to learning.

The work of the BCTLA Executive with British Columbia Public Library Services Branch exemplifies the far-reaching and positive effects of collaborative work. They are to be congratulated for their excellent contribution to professionalism within school libraries.

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is a division of the CLA/ACB. The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

Canadian Association for School Libraries/Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award

CLA: 2009 May 20

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce
Michele Farquharson
as the 2009 recipient of the
Canadian Association for School Libraries/Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award

This award is presented to a school-based teacher-librarian who has made an outstanding contribution to school librarianship within Canada through planning and implementing school library programs, based on a collaborative model which integrates library and classroom programs. The award is generously sponsored by Follett International.

Throughout her career as a teacher-librarian with the Vancouver School Board, Michele has engaged in many of the exemplary practices of teacher-librarianship of the 21st century. From the earliest days of her career as a teacher/teacher-librarian, nearly 30 years ago to now, she has been steadfast in providing leadership within the profession. She is highly respected by her school community and professional networks for being a tireless, dedicated, visionary, and collaborative individual.

Michele completed her Masters of Education with a Library concentration at UBC in 1985. In the 1990’s, she was the Managing Editor for Emergency Librarian (since renamed Teacher Librarian). She continues to serve as a Canadian member of the Advisory Board for this publication. She has also been the editor of the BCTLA professional journal, The Bookmark. She has written and co-authored a number of documents for the Vancouver School Board (VSB), the Critical Thinking Consortium, and VSB’s Knowledge Framework (ESL).

Michele developed her leadership role early in her career as one of four Area Teacher-librarians in the VSB,modeling the practices of cooperative program planning and teaching (CPPT) and technology integration required to build strong library programs. Presently, on a once-a-month basis, teacher-librarians and teachers in the Vancouver School District convene in a “sandbox session” at Michele’s library where she guides TLs as they explore new Web 2.0 tools and consider ways these can be applied to teaching and learning in school library programs.

Michele is regularly invited to work at UBC with the Information Literacy Project , in which the annual intake of about 300 teacher candidates are shown collaborative planning and teaching and how to teach information literacy though first hand experiences with teacher librarians. Recently, Michele co-developed a video/DVD entitled “Guided reading and literature circles in the intermediate grades” for the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC. She has also developed a videocast as part of the initiative to demonstrate how to integrate information literacy into curriculum areas.

In her role as teacher-librarian at Kerrisdale Elementary School, Michele is highly valued for her work in the library resource centre. She goes above and beyond expectations with passion and energy by consistently working with teachers to develop units of study that integrate information literacy and information technology into the various curriculum areas. She continually grows in her own professional development while providing in-service to teachers and teacher-librarians, focusing on the development of students who are independent information consumers as well as information producers for the 21st century.

Michele is an outstanding teacher-librarian in a myriad of ways, a well-deserving winner of the Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award.

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is a division of the CLA/ACB. The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.