This morning, I had a meeting with Katrina Drew-Young, a Facilitator for the National Library, services to Schools division at the Home Cafe at the National Library. I fell in love with the idea that a National Library has involvement with school libraries from while I was creating my Fulbright application! National Library! Come on, that is very impressive!! They are even listed in my objectives section: "....Identify how the Services to Schools division of the National Library of New Zealand supports and guides school libraries."
I was very fortunate meet Katrina at a library conference on South Island! Even though she works ten minutes away from me, I am so happy that my first introduction was in a more relaxed setting. It makes it so much easier to connect later on in terms of feeling comfortable talking to someone. We talked about making an appointment for the school holiday time, (which is now in its second and last week). She was kind enough to reschedule me, as I got a last minute invite to GAFESummit Wellington on our appointment day yesterday!
As a Fulbrighter, I am able to feel relaxed before a meeting because I get to plan my schedule for the day. This means, that people who are work, are carving time out of their busy day to talk to me, so it's important to remember that they are in work mode and have other things to do as well. I wish it were different...I wish the amazing people I meet had hours and hours, but this is not always practical or possible. In the case of Katrina, I could listen to her speak about library service for hours. She is a former library manager and knows what it is like to work in a school library so she is ideally suited for her role in this agency.
Keeping in mind that schools have libraries staffed with people from a variety of backgrounds (if they are staffed at all), Katrina and other team members see many opportunities to provide schools with information and resources that can help them to positively impact their school community. In her work within the National Library Services to Schools, she and other team members assist schools in various ways depending on the need, plan professional development (in person, and online), participate in partnerships with other agencies that can support school literacy, and more. As an example of a program to support literacy from the National Library Services to Schools, here is an example of a beautiful program called "Reading Together" ( to teach families how to nurture literacy through spending time with their children, encouraging and bonding with them). http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/creating-readers/community-readers/reading-together-programme
National Library Services to Schools reminds me a lot of the awesome Educational Media Dept in my school district--they do many things at once...they provide new ideas and resources to us, they are a sounding board for library staff and principals alike, they provide information to the other district offices about the expected role of the teacher librarian and how an effective TL can help create a positive impact on student achievement, they talk with the Curriculum and Instruction Department about ways the TLs can specifically support the curriculum, and the list goes on and on. Many people do not know all of the different roles the Ed Media department plays behind the scenes.
If you are ever in Wellington, please come to the Home Cafe at the National Library on Molesworth, near the Parliament building (railway bus stop). You will fall in love with this MOST amazing public space that you can sit and relax in while having your treats from the cafe, or you can sit and enjoy the cafe which is adjacent to the library. If you have any 3D print files, bring them with you. There are staff appointed to assist with getting things printed and the price is very reasonable...I think it is $3.00 per print but then might incur an hourly charge for big prints.
Sometimes you just never know what you are going to be doing the next day. Yesterday I turned on Facebook to notice something that looked suspiciously like a GAFESummit in a nearby school. Needless to say I was shocked. How could I, @staffdevjnkie have missed this?! It could be that I am on information overload--Maybe I once knew and forgot!
I checked the bus schedule and realized that the first bus of the morning 7:03 am would get me there on time and drop me off practically across from the beautiful host school, Ambesbury. This school was built in 2012 is a Modern Learning Environment (MLE) school which boasts flexible, collaborative spaces. This is a bright, purpose built school that clearly has students in mind. Everything from the variety, size, shape, and color of the furniture, to the cute, kid height sinks in the open spaces outside the classrooms shout "This place is good for kids" and "We love kids and they love us."
It was amazing to be able to hug one of the top ten sweetest guys on the plant, Ken Shelton, who is here on tour with EdTechTeam, the group that delivers high quality, relevant professional development every time! I was so happy that Ken welcomed me to DAY 2 of the Summit. He did a remarkable job in the opening keynote --After going through some digital nightmares that people have created for themselves, he said "There are no digital footprints, there are digital tattoos." We all gasped as we realized how true this is as he reminded us how many people take screen shots of deleted content. Tattoos..they are there forever and will take severe scrubbing and even then will not be completely gone. This is such a great point, I am kind of sorry I never thought of this before.
It was a great all around day! Everyone was super friendly, the food was plentiful and delicious, and the presenters were amazing! I had a blast in the session by Kimberly Hall @kehall16 -It was like she was reading my mind. She gave all of these situations and I was like "that's me, that's me"- She is very cute and hilarious to watch and listen to. She has just enough humor to keep you laughing but has no trouble sticking to what it is she plans on talking about.
I spent a good deal of time with Greg O'Connor and Barbara Landsberg from TextHelp--Long story short, if you have struggling readers, the stuff he can show you does much more than read the screen so give him a shoutout @texthelp if you want some help finding a way to create some sane solutions!
I met many new people and saw some people I met in other classes or conferences. There is a significant group of "conference goers" just like in the US so it is not uncommon for me to see people I know at different events! It's really a lot of fun when that happens! Another great professional learning day in the books. Thanks for an awesome day #EdTechTeam!
Sue is a teacher and school librarian living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She was in NZ as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher from Feb-June 2016.