Friday, December 31, 2010

Fully Loaded: Outfitting a teacher librarian for the 21st century. Here's what it takes

What does it mean to be fully loaded?

I often consider the notion for my students. In fact, ever since I acquired the first apps for my iPhone, I’ve adopted the admittedly odd habit of pondering which apps I would “load” onto my students.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dozens of errors cited in Virginia textbook -

A panel of historians has found an "appalling" number of factual errors in a new fourth-grade history textbook used in many Virginia school districts, one of the experts said.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

19 notable sites added to ALSC's Great Websites for Kids

ALA: 2010 December 14

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

7 Amazing Libraries

Huffington Post: 2010 November 13

We've gathered together images of amazing libraries before and now we're back again. From Cornell University to a castle in France, here is a collection of 7 more outrageously beautiful libraries.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

School Librarians Continue to Help Students Achieve Standards: The Third Colorado Study ( November 2010)

School Librarians Continue to Help Students Achieve Standards: The Third Colorado Study (2010)
November 2010
Briana Hovendick Francis
Keith Curry Lance
Zeth Lietzau

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Photocopied Education

Confusion over what Canada's proposed new copyright bill would permit to be copied has left observers and stakeholders uncertain of its effects. The proposed change has provoked controversy on Parliament Hill -- where Bill C-32 recently passed second reading and is now before a legislative committee--and on school campuses, in boardrooms and in the offices of literary agents across the country.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why aren’t we teaching more of these books?

At many schools, the teacher librarian job has been phased out and replaced with technical staff who understand the Internet.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Teachers who shun social media left in the dark: expert

Vancouver Sun: 2010 November 25

Teachers who shun social media and aren't on Facebook are at risk of becoming irrelevant to the digital generation, a technology guru told a B.C. College of Teachers conference Thursday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Teachers' Conference 2011 information

At the Radisson Hotel in Richmond on Feb. 25 and 26, 2011, this is a professional development opportunity designed specifically for new teachers – those in their first five years of teaching, and for student teachers. The Call for Workshop Proposals is now open.

The Numbers Tell The Story 2010

Education’s shrinking share of the BC budget and GDP, enrolment projections, specialist teacher losses, and other information is available in easy-to-read graphs and tables in the BCTF’s latest publication on education funding.

B.C. librarian untangles tight knot of teen angst

Richmond secondary school librarian Wendy Phillips won the Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature Tuesday for her first novel, Fishtailing.

Boost Grade 4 Learning! OK, but How?

"We've lost 25 per cent of the teacher librarians in B.C. We've lost I think 20 per cent of the learning assistants; we've lost counselors, we've lost all those specialist non-enrolling teachers that used to provide interventions for children who are diagnosed with learning challenges. So we need to restore that capacity to the system," says Lambert.

"If you're not providing library services to students, they don't have access to literature and resources, then that's a skill that's not getting developed. That's a literacy skill that's not getting developed."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vancouver school district libraries 'cut to the bone'

Further cuts to school libraries in Vancouver could have a devastating effect on the education of students, according to Jo-Anne Roberts.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Copyright legislation in trouble

The federal government's proposal to make consumers liable for legal damages of up to $5,000 if they break digital locks to copy movies, video games and electronic books for their own personal use appears dead on arrival -- with all three opposition parties yesterday speaking out against this key provision of the Conservatives' copyright bill.

The reading revolution is starting to hit home

A few weeks ago, my father, my grandfather and I were chatting about e-readers. My dad pulled out his new iPad and showed us a version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Metro Minute at the public library

Metro News: 2010 October 25

If you’re wondering what to do today, try heading to your local library and losing yourself in a good book.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Drop Everything And Read Day

Mark your calendars, Monday, Oct. 25 is Drop Everything And Read Day (DEAR) across B.C. and Burnaby Public Library (BPL) is offering prizes to participants.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Youth is served by new chief librarian

As a librarian, Sandra Singh has never worked in a library that didn't have a computer, although as a page she once saw one that still had card catalogues.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Copying, A Right

California schoolchildren are obliged to copy ideas, and it was copyright lobbyists who put them up to it.

Since 2006, the school system of a state dependent on a profitable entertainment industry has made it mandatory for teachers to run their students through programs like "What's the Diff?" which has them role-play as different stakeholders in the unauthorized downloading of a movie: actors, directors, producers against a feckless, hard-drive-stuffing computer user.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Drop everything and read with Coquitlam Express

Monday will give kids the chance to drop everything and read with guys who usually start with a drop of a puck.
The Coquitlam Express junior A hockey club will mark National School Library Day on Monday with two events at the Coquitlam Public Library called the Drop Everything and Read Challenge.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saskatoon schools teach that cheating is acceptable

Saskatoon education authorities are taking an almost biblical "love the sinner, and maybe hate the sin" attitude toward this sort of thing. And they're defending it as a way of aiding kids to meet curriculum goals by putting the emphasis on learning rather than behaviour.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Downtown Eastside literary club seeks financial help

Good ideas and good intentions carry a price tag, as Amanda Grondahl has found out.

Last year the freelance writer and editor offered her services to organizations in the Downtown Eastside.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why are parents banning school books?

In the US more and more parents are pressing schools to withdraw books with bad language or sexual content. But should children's books be restricted in this way?

There is a battle being fought in America over books.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Check out the last page!


SL: School Libraries: A Plan for Improvement

Latest report from UK on SL: School Libraries: A Plan for Improvement. Based on submissions from stakeholders and survey amongst 17,000 students

The 21st century School Librarian

A couple of summers back a young school librarian, fresh out of library school, asked a very honest question at one of our state retreats:

We’re all doing different stuff. The other school librarians I know are not doing what I am doing. Some maintain Web sites and blogs; others do not. Some have seriously retooled; others have not. In the 21st century, what does a school librarian do?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The copy-and-paste generation

As students head back to school this fall, many teachers, professors and parents find themselves worrying about student honesty in a way that they never have before. Part of the a blame lies with a widely discussed recent article in the New York Times, which reported that 40% of university students admitted to copying work without acknowledgment and more than 70% thought that "copying from the Web" was not a serious form of academic dishonesty.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Critical thinking In the classroom

Microsoft has developed this critical thinking and web research curriculum with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 

Lesson plans include prerequisites, rationale, essential concepts, and descriptions of related National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) and are designed for beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels, aimed at middle school and secondary students.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today's technology can transform classrooms

'Personalized learning" was the topic of a recent speech to a group of B.C. school superintendents by deputy minister of education James Gorman. 

While it takes some doing to excite a large group of superintendents, Gorman pulled it off.

Internet may phase out printed Oxford Dictionary

It weighs in at more than 130 pounds, but the authoritative guide to the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary, may eventually slim down to nothing. Oxford University Press, the publisher, said Sunday so many people prefer to look up words using its online product that it's uncertain whether the 126-year-old dictionary's next edition will be printed on paper at all. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New website honours long-ignored Chinese who built the CPR

The launch of a new website changes all that today. The Ties That Bind: Building the CPR, Building a Place in Canada ( the seldom-told story of Chinese immigrants and their role in creating the Canada we share today. A project by the Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railroad Workers in Canada, the Multicultural History Society of Ontario and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the website provides a virtual exhibit that explores the history of Chinese-Canadians, the railroad workers and their long struggle to find equality.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Should Kids Get Ebooks in School?

Searching for information is NOT like trolling for fish. You know the saying: "Give a man a fish and you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you have fed him for life." Answer someone's question, and most likely they'll go away for today. Teach someone how to search for the answer, and they'll continually hunger for more.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kutapira bangs drums for culture, crowds

Val Dare, the program's founding co-ordinator, says it all began in the mid-1990s. Now retired, the former teacher/librarian for Britannia secondary and member of the arts advocacy committee for the Vancouver school board visited ArtsCan, an annual showcase for artists who want to perform in schools. There, Victoria-based band Marimba Mazuva had brought literature on how to build a marimba.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Win for Copyright Collectives

The introduction of long-awaited copyright reform legislation has generated considerable discussion among Canadians about whether the latest bill strikes the right balance. While concern over Bill C-32's digital lock rules has garnered the lion share of attention with expressions of concern from all opposition parties and a wide range of stakeholders, the other major issue in the bill is the extension of fair dealing -- Canada's version of fair use -- to cover education, parody, and satire. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plagiarism for Beginners

Welcome, class of 2014. You're about to enter post-secondary armed with your smartphone and laptop, and every campus is now wireless. This is a good time to think about the hazards of plagiarism.

E-books boost use of Lower Mainland libraries

The rising popularity of electronic books is boosting membership at libraries in the Lower Mainland, officials say. 

E-books can be downloaded to an electronic reader or to a personal computer and offer a feature that saves forgetful book borrowers those pesky late fees — they "return" themselves after three weeks by being automatically erased from the devices.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So-Called "Digital Natives" Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows

ReadWriteWeb: 2010 July 29

"In Google we trust." That may very well be the motto of today's young online users, a demographic group often dubbed the "digital natives" due their apparent tech-savvy. Having been born into a world where personal computers were not a revolution, but merely existed alongside air conditioning, microwaves and other appliances, there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hong Kong Book Fair Adds a New Element - Electronic Publishing

The Hong Kong Book Fair, which draws as many as 900,000 visitors annually, opened Wednesday with a new element: a section on electronic publishing. 

The weeklong event, the largest of its kind in the Chinese-speaking market, is still largely about selling print books, which are carted away in canvas sacks and rolling suitcases. But companies dealing in e-books and related media are trying to change that. 

Comic books offer boys a 'gateway' to literature: study

Teachers and school boards should embrace comic books and graphic novels as a "gateway" literature, helping children transition towards more complex narratives and helping boys catch up with girls in reading achievement, according to a new study.

The study, released Wednesday by the Canadian Council on Learning, reveals how comic books help develop a child's ability to follow a sequence of events, interpret symbols, predict what will happen next and connect narratives to the reader's own experiences. Moreover, comics and graphic novels can help bridge the learning gap between boys and girls.

Electronic reading devices are transforming the concept of a book

Emma Teitgen, 12, thought the chemistry book her teacher recommended would make perfect bedside reading. Perfect because it might help her fall asleep.

Then she downloaded "The Elements: A Visual Exploration" to her iPad. Instead of making her drowsy, it blossomed in her hands. The 118 chemical elements, from hydrogen to ununoctium, came alive in vivid images that could be rotated with a swipe of the finger.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Teen Reading Club on Chopping Block

Six years and nearly 6,000 users later, the Teen Reading Club will close in September.

In 2005, the B.C. Library Association launched TeenRC, an organization that let book-loving teens escape the summer doldrums by sharing their love of books with others their age. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Canadian children's book award nominees announced

Watching Jimmy, a young adult novel by Toronto's Nancy Hartry, and A Thousand Years of Pirates, a nonfiction book by William Gilkerson of Mahone Bay, N.S., have each earned two nominations for Canadian Children's Literature Awards.

Nominations of writers from across Canada in five categories were released on Thursday by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Medium Is the Medium

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New independent bookstore aims to fill gap left by Duthie

A new full-service independent bookstore is set to open in Vancouver, rising from the ashes of Duthie Books, which shut down in February after 52 years serving the reading community.

Ria Bleumer, former manager at Duthie, and business partner Karel Carnohan will be opening Sitka Books & Art Ltd. in August just two blocks from Duthie's last location on West Fourth Avenue.

'Virtual explosion' of cheating in classrooms across Canada

Hiding math formulas under a calculator or stealing a glance at a classmate's test paper are now ancient ways to cheat as students across the country admit they turn to the Internet in a "virtual explosion of classroom cheating," a study reveals.

The FSA tests and learning

Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid is right. The latest results from FSA tests assessing reading, writing and numeracy skills in Grades 4 and 7 show a need for improvement.

But it's disappointing that five years after the government committed to make B.C. "the best educated, most literate place in North America," the minister is not putting forward specific proposals or pilot projects to address the gaps revealed -- year after year -- by the tests.

Province must adequately fund school libraries across Ontario

Students and teachers at Campbellford's Kent Public School are all smiles recently after receiving word the school will have an extra $115,000 over the next three years to buy books and provide other literacy-related programming.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Libraries Fading As School Budget Crisis Deepens : NPR

Students who wished their school librarians a nice summer on the last day of school may be surprised this fall when they're no longer around to recommend a good book or help with homework.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

AskAway's untimely demise

Here's a quick question. Where do you turn to find an answer?

For the past four years, British Columbians have been able to get answers from a remarkable service known as AskAway. It pooled the efforts of public libraries across B.C., thanks to seed money from the provincial government, and put the collective reference desk at your fingertips six days a week.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

B.C. schools' skill assessment test results not meeting expectations

B.C.'s education minister says new approaches to learning are needed after Foundation Skills Assessment test results showed almost a fifth of students in Grades 4 and 7 are not meeting expectations.

Time for letters to the editor about the relationship between test scores and libraries!!

'AskAway' Library Service Quits Answering Questions

This is the day B.C.'s libraries pull the plug on the AskAway! Program, which let patrons from all over the province ask questions of librarians online, in real time, and receive an immediate answer. 

The provincial plan for libraries and literacy, set out in Gordon Campbell's 2004 strategic planning document Libraries Without Walls, was to bring the "world within the reach" of anyone with Internet access (and a card to a B.C. library).

Libraries Have a Novel Idea

Libraries are expanding e-book offerings with out-of-print editions, part of a broader effort to expand borrowing privileges in the Internet Age that could challenge traditional ideas about copyright. 

Starting Tuesday, a group of libraries led by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, are joining forces to create a one-stop website for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Importance of School Libraries

The California School Library Association (CSLA), with funding help from Follett Software Company, has released an audio journal to spotlight how the school librarian actively impacts student success.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New website is the future of historical research on B.C.

Vancouver Sun: 2010 June 24

If, as poet Gary Geddes argued on The Vancouver Sun's oped page, history is the deep mirror in which we discover who we are, British Columbians gained another opportunity for reflection this week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teen books with gay themes take off

At his Kentucky elementary school, kids taunted Brent on the playground about being gay, whatever that was. By eighth grade, he realized what they meant and came out to a friend — and vice versa.

She was an avid writer, he a voracious reader. They headed to their school library in search of stories that spoke to their lives: gay, gay in the South, gay and fearing stereotypes like "disgusting" and "worthless."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A library without books?

The question is a vital one. Indeed it wouldn't be too dramatic to say the question relates ultimately to your continued employment.

When you do a concerted analysis, you'll find there is a dramatic difference between a 'school library' and an information services unit, a difference that has to do with both perception and the actual situation, which sees one disappearing and the other continuing to play a significant role in the education of the young.

BER library-building spree exposes teacher shortage

THE rush by schools to use Building the Education Revolution funds to build or upgrade libraries has highlighted an estimated shortage of teacher librarians of between 2500 and 3000, according to the Australian School Library Association. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

iPad Love and the Future of Book Publishing at Untethered 2010

“Despite what you may have read,” said PublicAffairs founder Peter Osnos, moderator of the Future of Book publishing panel at Untethered, New York’s newest digital publishing conference, “ book publishing is not in deep crisis. We haven’t lost advertisers or subscribers because we never had them.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big stink at Ottawa elementary school over 'Sir Fartsalot' reading

A book reading at an Ottawa elementary school by children's author Kevin Bolger was cut short Tuesday when the principal objected to its language, says Sean Wilson, artistic director of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the organization behind the event.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Librarian in Every School..

This spring, within a week’s time, two things happened that made me angry. The first was the release of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that showed African American 4th graders in Wisconsin (most of whom live in Milwaukee) had the lowest reading scores in the nation. Despite the limitations of such tests, the results confirmed what many educators already knew: Way too many Milwaukee children are not reading at an acceptable level.
The second was the district’s announcement of major cuts to local school budgets for next year.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mom's the word: The book on supporting school libraries

More than words.

That's what libraries mean to me: the library in my elementary school that was so air-conditioned you needed a sweater to read there; the public library in Alhambra I walked my nephews to every day most

summers (the novelty of renting videos back then!); and of course, the city libraries my kids and I visit these days for their fun and free events - from "Star Wars" parties to pajama storytimes - in Arcadia, Duarte and Pasadena to Glendora and Azusa.

Libraries grow readers and a foundation for a lifetime of success. Literally.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Don't be fooled: Librarians are 'true revolutionaries'

Re: Getting Over Easy Rider, Lorne Gunter, June 2. 

I was enjoying Lorne Gunter’s analysis of Easy Rider in my morning National Post when I was caught short by this sentence: “The teens who were prompted by its anti-establishment message to pledge themselves to change the world are today school librarians and public broadcasting technicians living in suburban bungalows, looking around the next bend at pensionability and wondering whether to open a B&B in Niagara.” 

Yikes! Now there’s a sweeping stereotype! I know he was trying to humorously make a point about becoming the essence of establishment self-focus. But clearly, he has not met many school librarians, nor does he fully appreciate what they do every day 

As a writer of children’s literature, I have had the great privilege of spending time with hundreds of school librarians across North America — from Nunavut to New Brunswick, from the Jane-Finch Corridor in the GTA to Lima, Peru.

Virtually every single one of the people I met are still honouring that pledge to change the world.

Don’t be fooled by the prim reading-glasses-on-chains cartoon image.

Teacher-librarians are true revolutionaries, trying to change and improve society by empowering the most vulnerable members of society: children. School librarians are professionally committed to freedom of thought and speech, and to the notion that teaching kids how to learn is the root of all education. If that’s not progressive, I don’t know what is.
Helaine Becker, Toronto. 

Like Lorne Gunter, I have always been unimpressed with the self-righteous inanity of Easy Rider. However, “the teens who were inspired to change the world” actually did contribute greatly to a decrease in racism and sexism in our society, as well as being instrumental in bringing an insane war to an end.

If some of them are now school librarians and public broadcasting technicians, are those professions less valuable to our society than, say, print journalism?
Kurt Weinheimer, Toronto.

Friday, June 4, 2010

CLA Passing Grade to New Copyright Legislation

User Rights Still Tempered by Digital Locks

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA) finds much to applaud in the government’s newly announced copyright legislation, Bill C-32.

“Canadians will appreciate the expansion of fair dealing to include parody, satire, and education,” says CLA President John Teskey, “and with some important modifications to the provisions on digital locks, this bill addresses a number of the concerns brought forward by librarians across the country.”

CLA is heartened that Bill C-32 gives  users some new rights, but is disappointed that longstanding rights, the heart of copyright’s balance, as well as the new rights, are all tempered by the over-reach of digital locks.

In essence, the bill protects digital locks so they cannot be circumvented for legal uses.  The government has, perhaps unwittingly, placed a barrier to the bill’s achievement of its objective to promote innovation and support culture, by prohibiting Canadians from exercising their legitimate, statutory rights to copy material for research, study and education.  Fortunately, this can be corrected by simply allowing circumvention for legal purposes.

CLA is pleased that Canadians with perceptual disabilities will have use of material in accessible formats imported from other jurisdictions. The bill clarified that importation of such materials would not constitute infringement.

“While the additional fair dealing uses, limitations on liability, and the ability to import accessible formats give CLA reason for initial optimism,” adds Teskey, “we will review the bill thoroughly and formulate a detailed response.”

As well, the bill’s attempt to be technologically neutral appears to be incomplete, leaving parts of the Copyright Act still based on various media. 

CLA will be looking for format neutral language to facilitate the library’s role in providing access and in preserving Canada’s cultural heritage.

CLA is also mindful that in previous rounds of copyright reform, user rights became significantly eroded as the bill went through the committee review process. The library community will be vigilant and engaged in the process to ensure that the gains to Canadian users will not be undermined and derailed as the bill moves through its review.

Pat Parungao is Follett International 2010 Teacher Librarian of the Year

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce
Pat Parungao, Teacher-Librarian, Gladstone Secondary School, Vancouver, B.C. as the 2010 recipient of the Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award


The Canadian Association for School Libraries honours, through this award, 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.

Pat has been a teacher-librarian since 1982 and is recognized as an outstanding teacher-librarian, consultant, writer, professor, and advocate for school libraries and learning in her district and province. She works collaboratively with a wide variety of teachers at Gladstone Secondary School to create teaching units and projects around assessment for learning, literacy, and curriculum. Her colleagues, supervisors, and administrators (in K-12 and post-secondary) praise her highly for her work.

Throughout her career, Pat has demonstrated her passion for libraries and learning and she “believes strongly that students benefit when they have teacher-librarians who develop school library programs and who are qualified in teacher-librarianship”.  Within her district, Pat has worked as a teacher-librarian in both elementary and secondary school libraries, as a Teacher-Librarian Consultant, and as a Cooperative Program Planning and Teaching Resource teacher (ESL emphasis).

In the K-12 division, Pat has contributed to key initiatives in the province of British Columbia from information and technology skills development, critical thinking, cultural diversity and bibliography publications such as, Canada’s Year of Asia Pacific Multicultural Bibliography. She has written many articles in professional publications and she has co-presented at various workshops, including the BCTF Program Against Racism workshops, Cultural Diversities – Literary Gifts based on the annotated bibliography.

At the post-secondary level, she has written, designed, and taught courses at the University of British Columbia online and face-to-face which includes the UBC Information Literacy Project for teacher candidates in the Faculty of Education.

As a teacher-librarian, educator and advocate, Pat has been a dedicated, active member in professional associations such as VTLA (Vancouver), BCTLA (British Columbia), CASL (Canadian Association for School Libraries), BC Library Association and BC Coalition for School Libraries. She is also a recipient of a provincial award.

Pat Parungao is an exemplary teacher-librarian, who is very deserving of the 2010 Follett International Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award.

Media Contact: Dianne Leong-Fortier, CASL Councillor, Awards Chair, Selection Committee

Monday, May 31, 2010

Authors tell story of Canada's illustrated children's books

Writer Roy MacSkimming chronicled this country's publishing history in his much-lauded book The Perilous Trade (2003), but until now no in-depth study of children's publishing in Canada has existed. Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman explore this often-fascinating industry in a new book, Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children's Illustrated Books and Publishing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Guardian children's fiction prize shows wealth of literature for under-10s

After years of domination by teen fiction, a resurgence in quality writing for younger children has packed the line-up for this year's Guardian children's fiction prize with stories for the under-10s, full of ogres, wolves and mysterious Green Men.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Funding cuts leave trained school librarians on the shelf

ACT schools are using the increasing popularity of the internet as an excuse to wind back funding and staffing for school libraries, a parliamentary inquiry heard yesterday.

Toronto author's 2nd mystery wins top prize

  • Best juvenile: Barbara Haworth-Attard, Haunted.

Babes in bookland

Picturing Canada seeks to clean up the reputation of this country's 'Kiddie Litter'

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Librarian closes chapter on four-decade career

There were no computers in public libraries when Vancouver city librarian Paul Whitney began his career in Burnaby in 1974. Visitors and staff searched for items in card catalogue. One branch didn't know what was in the collection of another branch.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reconsider school counsellor cuts, Surrey teachers urge

A handful of school librarians travelled to Victoria to meet with MLAs Thursday to draw attention to planned cuts to teacher-librarian positions.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marian the Cybrarian

For all the concern expressed about the imminent demise of the college library, there may never have been a time when librarians seemed more vital, forward-thinking—even edgy—than they do now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The day the Queen came to call

Each year in B.C., children in Grades 4 to 7 vote for their favourite books from a list of nominated titles.

This year's fiction winner, recently announced, is Christina Kilbourne's Dear Jo, a novel in which a girl confides to her diary about her best friend having been abducted by an online predator.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teacher librarians’ work valuable, trustees told

Whistler Question: 2010 May 19

Budget discussions continued at last week’s Sea to Sky School Board meeting, with Chair Rick Price announcing that “it’s not going to be difficult for us to achieve a balanced budget, but not a happy budget. We are not able to provide all the services we wish for our students.”

After having announced on April 14 that staffing levels and wages would be frozen as a result of belt tightening at the provincial level, Price last Wednesday (May 12) said about future budgets, “The most effective advocate to get more money for public education is through parents at the B.C. Schools Trustees Association.”

After the recent cuts in hours, representatives of the Teacher Librarian Association made a presentation to the board at its meeting at Whistler Secondary School titled “Schools without libraries are at risk of becoming irrelevant.”

British Columbia Public, School Libraries Offer First E-Book Collection - 5/19/2010 - School Library Journal

Public and school libraries across British Columbia, Canada, are for the first time offering an e-book collection made up of nonfiction works by local publishers.

The project started in 2007, when a consortium of library organizations and publishers launched BC Books Online to provide the entire province with a digital collection of books published in British Columbia.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Library for Every School Document

A Library for Every School Document (IASL)
International Association of School Librarians (IASL), has a newly published document on the importance of school libraries. Attached is an international proclamation for the establishment of school libraries entitled 'A Library For Every School': (see also

You may wish to adapt and use it in your own jurisdictions. The proclamation is intended to help others around the world to advocate school libraries. The word version can be used to sign yourself and send it to whomever you think needs to read this.

Related Files
“A LIBRARY FOR EVERY SCHOOL!” Word Documents (Microsoft Word Document)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reading and writing: the golden ticket

Take a typical classroom of 25 pupils, anywhere in Canada. At the back, seven boys and girls slouch in their seats, unable to understand most of what they read, or to express their thoughts in writing. The problem of poor literacy skills is a scandal in plain view.

At some point the schools have to say, Enough. Enough pretending that poor readers are actually benefiting from social studies or novel studies or even science or mathematics. Enough of this charade of teaching and learning.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Inner Demons: Robert Munsch's struggle with cocaine use

Canadian bestselling children's author Robert Munsch admits to a history of cocaine abuse to dull the effects of his bipolar disorder in a Global television interview scheduled to air on Saturday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Budget cuts hurt school kids


While the 2010/2011 budget for the school district is not official, it is apparent that deep cuts have had to be made in order to present a balanced budget to the ministry. All over the district, teachers are reeling at the impact these cuts will have in the classroom, and they are wondering how it can be “business as usual” next September.

Several programs and services will not be available to students next year. Adapted physical education classes for special needs students are gone completely. Primary guided reading classes have been cut from some schools. 

Teacher librarian time in the secondary schools has been cut by 50 per cent, and in elementary schools, the time has also been reduced. Choir and music programs are either cut completely or reduced in schools. Special education time has been significantly reduced in most schools. In secondary schools, some elective classes have been cut, such as French 12 and Calculus 12.

Parents should be asking the administrators at their child’s school which services and programs will remain for next year. They may be very surprised with the answer.

Jenny Garrels
President, SC Teachers’ Association

Librarians rally to save independent bookstores

Vancouver Courier: 2010 May 14

The closure of three independent Vancouver bookstores in three months has teacher-librarians worried.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The best children's books ever

Increasing numbers of children are starting school without having been read to. But which are the books to get them – and keep them – hooked? Lucy Mangan introduces our guide to the best. So whether it's to fight the White Witch or snuggle up with the Moomins, make yourself comfy . . .

For Kids: Stian Hole's unique view of childhood

Six years ago, Stian Hole saw a look of fear in his son Odd-Olav’s eyes at the prospect of starting school, and remembered feeling such anxiety himself as a child.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

YAACS sends letter in support of the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association

The Young Adults and Children’s Section of the British Columbia Library Association (YAACS) would like to add its voice in support of the BC Teacher-Librarians' Association’s call to school boards to reconsider reductions of learning specialists  including teacher librarians in many British Columbia school districts.

Read the rest of the letter (html) (pdf)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Google bookstore plan could be boon to Canadian industry

Google is turning its massive store of digital information into an online bookstore to rival Apple and Amazon – and in the process further transform Canada’s book market.

Unlike its competitors, Google is opting to allow a host of smaller booksellers to join its online store, something industry experts say could be a boon to the Canadian industry and consumers.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Faithful few left to keep Dewey alive in a download world

A national inquiry into school libraries heard evidence last week to suggest that teacher-librarians are a dying breed. While the Rudd Government is building thousands of libraries as part of the $16 billion ''building the education revolution'', experts warn there will be no one to staff them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teacher librarian numbers in 'death spriral'

A Parliamentary Committee hearing in Hobart has been told there are just 29 qualified teacher librarians across Tasmania's 215 primary and secondary schools.
That figure is down from 109, 15 years ago.

Public education in jeopardy in Vancouver 2010 April 29

Out of the more than 69 teaching positions recommended for elimination, 21.2 are held by non-enrolling teachers. These include English-as-a-second-language teachers who work with children of immigrant families, and secondary-school counsellors who deal with students in distress.

Teacher librarians are also included in the 43 positions that may be cut. It is for this reason that Carrie Bercic and her daughter Sarah attended the rally. Bercic is the chair of the parent advisory council at Eric Hamber secondary school, where Sarah is in Grade 8.

School board stalls budget pending provincial review

On Tuesday, the district presented its revised preliminary budget proposal based on comments and lobbying from the public, staff, student and parent groups. The proposal reflects the additional $1.79 million from the adjusted budget shortfall, which dropped from $18.12 to $16.33 million. 

It reduced the proposed teacher cuts by 25.9 full-time equivalent positions. Most are under the non-enrolling teacher category, which includes librarians, counsellors, ESL and special education teachers. "This is still a management budget, our senior management recommendations to us based on feedback and some input from us," Bacchus explained.

School board votes to cut 10 days from school calendar

"I think we'll have to see how this unfolds. But it may mean that the school library will be able to stay open, or a special ed teacher will be there when a kid needs them."

School libraries in danger

We have taken for granted that a school library is a place to borrow books and to learn how to access information. In some schools in Chilliwack, and across the province, this will not be the case come September, if the provincial government has its way.

CLA Alarmed at BC Government’s Recent Cuts to Education Funding

CLA/CASL News: 2010 April 29

April 29, 2010, (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Library Association (CLA) and its school library division, the Canadian Association for School Libraries (CASL), has expressed dismay and alarm at the erosion of funding for education in British Columbia. This erosion is pushing districts into making cutbacks to personnel and programs to balance their budgets, resulting in the elimination of professional teacher-librarians in many schools in British Columbia. Teacher-librarians are those professional teachers who teach curriculum based information literacy skills to students at the elementary and secondary level.

Linda Shantz-Keresztes, President of CASL asks, “How can basic literacies and the essential new literacies of our digital world be achieved without qualified teacher-librarians in BC schools?”

Studies across North America for the last fifteen years have consistently demonstrated that students in schools with effective school library programs supported by teacher-librarians experience greater academic success than those in schools with no such programs and professional teaching.

In 2008 the Minister of Education in British Columbia stated at the Pan Canadian Literacy Forum in Vancouver that: “I am personally proud that British Columbia is the lead jurisdiction for literacy in our country.”

Parents in BC have to ask some hard questions. Do they want to abandon libraries and literacy programs in public schools, or do they urge the British Columbia government to recognize the importance of literacy education, school libraries and the essential role of teacher librarians in preparing B.C. students to be lifelong learners.

John Teskey, President of the CLA, urges the BC government to reconsider these cutbacks and to fund school library programs and hire qualified teacher librarians.

Minister's comment laughable

Prince George Citizen: 2010 April 29

I read with interest the education minister’s letter published on this page recently.

Amusingly, she characterized her letter as a clarification of an earlier letter and defended her government’s current funding of our public schools. As an exercise in political spin it was the same tired stuff parents have been hearing from a succession of ministers denying responsibility for their actions in degrading our schools.

Here is some advice to the minister. Given your government’s lack of credibility around your pre-election budget and the deceptive introduction of the HST no one is buying what you are spinning on the education front.

We see class size going up, services to kids being cut, librarians disappearing and you being misleading about your role in properly funding one of the most vital public services we can provide to our children.

A doctor such as yourself should remember your oath: first do no harm.

Joanne Hapke
Prince George

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ALA | Rhode Island school librarian testifies before Senate committee

Jamie Greene, a school librarian at Hugh Cole Elementary School in Warren, RI, and president of the Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA), testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) today in a hearing titled, “ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student.”


Monday, April 26, 2010

School library websites Part 1: a tour of high school practice

Here's what I believe:

A teacher librarian should be his or her school's instructional CIO. 

Especially as more of our schools move to one-to-one, a virtual library is an essential component of school library practice, and of a school's learning culture.

MPs to hear school library concerns

THE national supply of professional librarians in schools is diminishing and the concern will be raised in Sydney tomorrow at the first hearing of a national inquiry into how school libraries are staffed.

Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has directed the House of Representatives committee on education and training to report on ''role, adequacy and resourcing'' of school libraries and teacher librarians in public and private schools.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

B.C. authors honoured in Victoria

Carrie Mac, who writes for teenagers and is also a paramedic, won the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize for The Gryphon Project.

Dean Griffiths, Duncan-based illustrator of the picture book Maggie Can't Wait, accepted the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for himself and author Frieda Wishinsky, who lives in Toronto.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quebec school boards remove book over offensive French stereotypes

At least two school boards in Quebec say they are pulling from the shelves of primary school libraries a French book that describes Quebecers as poutine-eating square-dancers who like nothing better than to use religiously inspired swear words. The book, Kathryn, Sebastien et Virginie vivent au Canada (Kathryn, Sebastien and Virginie Live in Canada), is part of a series dedicated to instructing youngsters about how other children live elsewhere on the planet. "We're withdrawing [the books], but they could be the topic of a class lecture in which a teacher instructs students [about] how they have to be careful about stereotypes," said Jean-Francois Parent, spokesman for the Quebec City-area Premieres-Seigneuries School Board.

School Libraries are Invaluable

The sound you hear is the closing doors of school libraries around B.C. School libraries are the one resource available to every child in public schools. They are stocked with good books to entice children to read and resources that match the curriculum. These resources aren't just in print, but include online databases, such as encyclopedias.

In a good education system, these resources are bought and managed by a trained teacher-librarian who can guide students to the best books and the most accurate information.

The Internet is a wilderness full of wonderful and stupid information. Porn and pedophiles lurk around the corner. Students need to be taught how to find their way and how to judge the information they want to use.

Why are there no provincial standards any more? How long is your child's library going to be open next year? Who is running it -- a parent? A clerk? No one? I thought we were going to be the most literate place on Earth?

Val Hamilton, Vancouver

Friday, April 16, 2010

Well-stocked bookshelves give children learning edge

Parents wondering how far their children will go in school need only gaze into their home libraries.

In a groundbreaking study of more than 73,000 people in 27 nations, researchers found that children with at least 500 books -- whether Shakespeare or Seuss -- went an average 3.2 years further in school than kids in similar homes that had only a few books.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Freeze-n-Read 4 Libraries... 4.17.10 @ 4pm everywhere

If you think so, too...
on Saturday, April 17th at 4:00pm!
Set your alarm now to Freeze wherever you are and chill with a good book in support of libraries!

Radical right-wingers ignore inconvenient facts as they try to rewrite American history

Vancouver Sun: 2010 April 15

This story illustrates just why we need libraries and librarians in our society.

The right is rewriting history.

The most ballyhooed effort is under way in Texas, where conservatives have pushed the state school board to rewrite guidelines, downplaying Thomas Jefferson in one high school course, playing up such conservatives as Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation, and challenging the idea that the Founding Fathers wanted to separate church and state.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eliminating school boards a good first step

Province: 2010 April 14

...But he said the new curriculum for the generation of "digital kids" is improving rapidly.

He pointed out there have been many studies showing that online learning is at least as effective as what's now in place. "And not only that, it really does allow kids to progress at their own rate," he said.

Player questioned why there needed to be so many school libraries...

Saturday, April 10, 2010



I have created this blog so we can share obituaries of B.C. teacher-librarians and those who have won our awards.  Please forward any that I might have missed, especially from community newspapers.

Val Hamilton

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BC teacher-librarians 'appalled' by cuts in Vancouver, Coquitlam :: The Hook

British Columbia's teacher-librarians were among the first groups to protest school board budget cuts in Vancouver and Coquitlam.

On the blog of Heather Daly, president of the BCTLA, a new post reported that "The B.C. Teacher-Librarians' Association is appalled at recent proposed budget recommendations made in Vancouver and Coquitlam