A Barbarian in the Reading room

Welcome to my blog

 

Why this title? Well in my last school job I had a reading (as in reading a book) room and this was used on Open Days by the Learning Support Department. At one such event they put up a notice saying Leaning Support and I said "Oh I suppose this is the Reading (as in UK town to the west of London) Room now." They retorted by naming me the Barbarian and it has sort of stuck.

 

Sadly, this blog does not include much about Reading (as in the UK town to the west of London) or barbarians but will contain my thoughts on issues in the library and information world and also detail some of the events I have attended, places I have visited and courses I have run. Enjoy!

By sjpavey, Nov 1 2015 07:15PM

The start of October was marred by sleep deprivation from attending a folk festival in my other life!


The Access-It training continued at a steady rate this month with a variety of schools. It is so good to see people getting started and the system helping them to get books and resources out to the students. Some staff I train are not familiar with libraries which is a reflection on the type of recruitment being adopted by schools desperate to cut costs. But my trainees are always enthusiastic and it is nice to have an opportunity on the back of the catalogue sessions to point them in the direction of qualifications and support networks. I just wonder how many others are out there with no real idea of how to manage their library and no idea of where to get help.


Surrey SLA engaged me to run a twilight session at Guildford High School for Girls on visual literacy and we also had a chance to play with the talking products (some from TTS) and have a go with the Create an Essay jigsaw puzzles. It was a fun evening and good participation from the 30 who attended,


Next stop training wise was a course on Writing Skills for Creative Education in Birmingham. I love running this course because we get to indulge in creative play. It was an interesting scenario beginning the night before when the hotel car park was full save for one impossible space. A knight in shining armour appeared and offered to attempt to squeeze my car in for me but alas he didn’t have any luck either. Finally a hotel knight in shining armour appeared and allowed me to park in a disabled space – phew! However first man drove my car to the said space and I was a bit alarmed to see my car disappearing with me chasing after with my case and the man’s case too. All ended well. The next day one delegate was ill and one did not turn up so I just had one trainee. We agreed to do a one to one when suddenly the other delegate appeared – he had forgotten he had a training course and had gone to school where his colleagues reminded him! So it was a good day after all and lots of creative learning.

My AET course continued throughout the month and all the assignments are now safely in. I just have the microteach to do in November and then it’s time to submit my portfolio. It has been a useful course and has certainly honed my skills in preparation for sessions. Some of it is more directed towards adult education on an ongoing course run by an institution which is not so relevant to me but it has given me an understanding of pedagogy, andragogy, inclusivity and diversity, assessment and feedback.


The focus this month has been on writing and seeing the fruits of my labours! The SLA Cataloguing course will be live imminently, the Independent Thinking Press’s book “There is another way” is published officially on 2nd November and we have been working hard on the second edition of “The Innovative School Librarian” now putting in the final touches before it is delivered to Sharon Markless for an edit and thence to Facet for an estimated publication date of May 2016. It has been an almost complete rewrite and we had no idea that so much had changed since we wrote the original in 2009.


The final involvement to report is with Teen Tech. We have now completed the set of information sheets (ably compiled and designed by Rebecca Jones of ILG and overseen by Jane Secker). I am really looking forward to attending Maggie Philbin’s seminar on 12th November.


By sjpavey, Nov 1 2015 12:45PM

After a pleasant summer break in France where somehow we managed to avoid the monsoons in both England and further south from Normandy it was back to work fairly pronto for the Barbarian.


Before the end of August I was invited to return to Box Hill School to run a couple of induction sessions on information skills for the Summer School international students. We had good fun with game based learning including building Lego houses and the feedback was good.


Access-It training continued apace with the start of term in September and several clients new to the system as well as guiding existing users on the rather wonderful new OPAC. This allows you to create your own dashboard and save searches and resources that are your favourites. It also refines the One Search facility allowing cross searching against the catalogue and specified other databases or search engines eg EBSCO or Google Scholar etc. Then students can also create bibliographical records and citations from the resources they have chosen at the touch of a button and all this for free with the start-up package.


I returned to Roedean to meet their Headmaster and to discuss further the plans for developing the Library with him and the librarian. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome next year!


The main excitement of September though was enrolling on and beginning my AET Level 3 course at NESCOT. There are 12 of us all together with an interesting range of backgrounds from hairdressing and personal trainers to teachers from NESCOT. I managed to get the first of the three assignments in on time ….but will I sustain this ???


By sjpavey, Aug 3 2015 12:11AM

I can't believe it's been a year since I quit my full time job at Box Hill School to set off on my own. It's been a great year and full of surprises but a lovely blend of music and professional library work and a bit of an expansion into training teachers. I've met some amazing people and seen some wonderful places and libraries. All I can hope for is that next year is as good!


July started with the first of 4 courses for Creative Education - Effective School Librarian, Getting Boys into Reading, Online Safeguarding and Developing Writing Skills all in London. They were all good courses and all the delegates engaged well with the exercises and gave good feedback - in fact on two seperate courses I had the comment that it was the best INSET they had ever had!


I also did a double two half days sessions at Heaths for groups of Librarians - Harris Academies and Lambeth School Libraries. The theme was reading for pleasure and reading for information. I covered information about the act of reading and what we meant by reading before launching into ways in which we can engage the reader. This was a new format for Heaths but successful as the attendees also had plenty of time to look around the showroom.


On 13th July I ventured into Kent to speak at the CILIP Kent Day at Canterbury University. Due to a mix up I was actualy on earlier than expected and was the warm up act for the rest of a very interesting day on independent learning and the transition from 6th Form to Higher Education. There were some very interesting talks particularly about the expectations at University and the services offered by the public library service in Kent. In the afternoon I was engaged as part of a panel and we had lots of questions to answer. Overall a very good day and a lot of hard work particularly from Caroline Roche.


July was also the month that two of my Chartership Mentees finished off their portfolios. We all struggled to make sense of the VLE and getting everything in the right order and format. The good news for my next mentees is that I am now much more confident in what to do!


The other hard work was on the revised edition of the Innovative School Librarian book. We sent a whole day going through some more chapters and we are now on the final leg and hope to have the whole thing done by October.


So the Barbarian is now looking forward to a good holiday ...and writing a new online course for the SLA on cataloguing amongst other things!

By sjpavey, Aug 2 2015 11:40PM

June kicked off with some consultancy at Caterham School getting their cataloguing system ready for the new update and this was followed by running a cataloguing course for librarians and library assistants at Fortismere School and schools local to them. It was a fun session and everyone joined in the tasks with lots of enthusiasm. In fact June was quite a bit of a cataloguing based month as I also delivered some Access-It training to Epsom College.


The LISSEE meeting this term was held at Ardingly College and had an excellent agenda with interesting talks on independent learning projects and graphic novels. I learned a lot about the different types of Manga which was all new to me. After lunch I had the opportunity to run a hand on session on the talking products and managed to select a few willing volunteers to be filmed for TTS commenting on some of the toys.


On 10th June I attended the Librarians as Teachers Conference at Aston University . Amazingly I was awake enough to deliver my session - I'd been playing for a gig for Mars Chocolate in Surrey the night before until late and then had to drive up to Warwick to stay the night. Trying to find the right car park at Aston was a challenge but I succeded just in time. The talk on visual literacyt went down well with the audience of about 80 mostly from universities. Adam Lancaster was the other schools speaker and we also had presentations from the health sector and Jane Secker gave an outline of ANCIL and Andrew Walsh gave us some more gaming ideas. It was a great day and well worth the trip.


June was also the month I decided to enrol for September in the City & Guilds Education & Training Course (formerly PTLLS ) at NESCOT. I had an interview and received an unconditional offer ...so on Monday evenings in the Autumn Term it will be back to school for me! Really looking forward to it.


June continued with some mpre consultancy work at Roedean looking at possibilities for the recdevelopment of their library. It's an exciting project with plenty of options to consider.


Next stop was down to Southampton to run the Developing Writing Skills course for Creative Education. This was a new course for me but it all went very well. The amusing part was that I had got up at the crack of dawn to get to Southampton and avoid the traffic and then it transpired so had my two delegates who worked in a school 5 miles from my house. Still we agreed it was nice to have a day at the seaside!


Then it was back to London for the Haileybury Group meeting at Highgate School. They have a lovely refurbished library and I was able to pass on some tips to Roedean. I gave a talk on Visual Literacy combined with a play on the talking gadgets which provoked a lot of interest and comment. Unfortunately I could only snatch a quick lunch as I had to rush to the ISLG meeting in the afternoon at The Institute of Education Library. It was good to hear my friend Sally Perry tell us about the library which was fascinating and I hope to use the free pass to have a more detailed look around later in the year.


June was rounded off with speaking at the Capita Conference about the New KS3 English Curriculum by kind invitation of TTS. It was an audience of about 80 teachers who seemed surprised to have a librarian speaking and who asked lots of questions both at the end of my talk and also when i was on the panel in the afternoon. What was sad, was the number who did not have a librarian or a library in school - about a third of thise present. Many were using Accelerated Reader as a substitute for having a library which rather endorses the current trend for school libraries to be seen as an adjunct of the English Department and having the sole remit of reading for pleasure. In my opinion this is not doing any favours for professional librarians and may be part of the reason why head teachers are letting qualified staff go and replacing them with unqualified part timers and even volunteers. So many librarian jobs at present have abyssmal salaries, ask for no qualifications, and are often combined with other jobs such as exams officer, receptionist and reprographics technician. The cross curricular nature of the job and the teaching of information literacy (so important now ICT has been replaced by Computing) seems to have been lost just when it is needed most by young people.



By sjpavey, Jun 9 2015 03:56PM

May was certainly as busy as it promised to be with a lot of travelling around the country and meeting some great new groups of people and renewing old friendships.


First slot of the month was a Creative Education course on Personal Management that included time management and managing stress. I was a bit stressed myself as it was a new course for me and I had a diverse bunch of delegates but I need not have worried as all went very well. I decided to abandon the rather dry representations of the human body in the handbook in favour of some 3D wooden models where delegates could stick notes depicting areas where stress might manifest physically. The time management game with big balls and little beads went down well too.


Westminster School was the location for the Librarians of the Rugby Group's meeting and here I delivered the presentation on using visual literacy skills to explain the thinking behind information literacy and the interpretation of text. I also had time to show some of the interactive educational toys from TTS . Unfortunately I was unable to take up the lunch offer as we had a full day meeting for the finalised first 4 chapters in our revised Innovative School Librarian that afternoon.


Another Creative Education course in London beckoned next on Being an Effective Mentor. This was another new course for me but the feedback was good and the 3D wooden men came into action again. The course focussed on the role of Learning Mentors and was very detailed and evokes a lot of debate from the delegates and a lot of sharing of ideas


The Heaths course on IB to A Level Perfect Essay drew a crowd from home and abroad. This one is a regular for me and has proved successful. It was here I met Helen Jones from Malvern College and when I mentioned I was heading to Ledbury later in the month she invited me to call in.


Then it was north to Nottingham. The weather was awful unfortunatley which meant I did not see Rufford Park the training venue at its best. There was a good crowd for this annual training session for librarians in the Nottingham area run by Nottinghamshire ELS. The session concentrated on how the library could integrate with teaching and learning and we covered a lot of ground during the day. Again there was some time to look at the TTS products and other lo-tech toys.


The evening after Nottingham I enjoyed a "Zen drive" through the Peak District to Macclesfied to stay with my library pal Janet in advance of the SLA Manchester course in Altrincham the next day. This session looked at how librarians could use SMART targets to improve collaborative lesson planning and everyone came up with some great ideas for lessons and learned to understand more about differentiation.


May finished off with a trip over to Malven. It was lovely to meet Helen on a glorious day weather wise at the College and to meet her deputy head line manager. Her library is very impressive with lots of space and lots of ideas on how it could be developed. I took her advice for a drive through the Malvern Hills before arrriving at the hotel for Independent Thinking's Big Day Out in a Primary School at Ledbury. We were honoured to have the presence of Sir Al Aynsley Green at drinks and dinner and it was fascinating to hear about his time as Children's Commissioner and his plans for his presedential term at the BMA. He is a man passionate about education and who finds little good in the current system endorsed by the Government. Other entertainment that evening included Dave Keeling introducing me to Frixion Pens via a magic trick - I now have a set of them including highlighters.


The day at Ledbury was amazing from the magical start of the assembly by candlelight and time to reflect to the wonders of the playpod (a kind of scapheap challenge) in the playground where the new equipment lay untouched in favour of upcycling the scrap and making camps. Also present doing sessions in the school with the children was Andy Salmon who owns Think a Link - a great idea for memory and being able to work things out. The session with Simon on engaging with writing was also excellent and I think it could be adapted to be a practical demonstration of referencing for 6th formers. Basically it centred on brainstorming ideas within your own team and then collecting ideas from other teams - all done under a time pressure with music. My session was about innovative libraries based on no money, some money and loadsamoney. I found some great ideas such as story tents and using dairy crates as lampshades to share. It was also wonderful to meet Jenny who is a professional librarian working at Ledbury Primary School and who has worked wonders in their library.


June is looking equally full on for me so more to report back then!

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