Working on a Library Report

I read Joyce’s library report and thought, “Now that’s intimidating!”  Although I know she’s been doing this awhile now and wouldn’t mean to frighten anyone.  After the intimidation, I thought, “I need one of those”.  So I wrote my own library report.

Brevoort Park School Library Report 2008-2009

Highlights

Willow Launch 2008

January Book Clubs 2009

Freedom to Read 2009

Replaced rolling computer desks with furniture

Added YA spinner

Added First Reader section in baskets

Improved front entry display

Added magazine rack and newspaper rack

Curriculum Highlights

Kindergarten and Grade One classes came throughout the year for weekly read alouds and borrowing with the Teacher Librarian.  We enjoyed reading the Willow Books together and learning to make critical judgments about what makes a good book.  Grade Ones also received instruction on the Dewey Decimal system and received assistance in their Writer’s Club.  Grade Three Social Studies studied the City and did a research project on a world destination.  They were working to use critical thinking to assess the ability of a city to contribute to the inhabitants’ happiness.  Grade Three/Four studied the Willows books and co-authored blog postings reviewing the books.  They were involved in beginning a classroom blog writing about the activities in their classroom.  Grade Four prepared for their Fort Carlton trip and studied some of the events which make Fort Carlton important to Saskatchewan’s history.  They used critical thinking strategies to assess the time period and events of photographs and produced tableaux to demonstrate their learning.  Grade Four/Five completed a Genre study and developed their ability to categorize a book using evidence.  They studied famous Canadians and researched them to produce a PowerPoint slide and written paragraphs.  They learned to make judgments about the heroic nature of people.  Grade Six/Seven were involved in beginning stages of blog writing.  Grade Seven/Eight studied and researched Canadian Immigrants.  They were answering the question, “How are the identities of these immigrant groups and their stories, similar or different from my own identity and story?”  They were encouraged to use a variety of sources and to expand their use of good search terms.

Class Visits and Usage

Kindergarten, Grade One, Grade Two/Three came for weekly book exchanges.  Grade Three/Four used drop in book exchange and sporadically held group exchanges.

Grade Four/Five worked fairly intensively with the teacher librarian throughout the year, often meeting twice a week.   Grades Six/Seven/Eight made use of the library predominately without the assistance of the teacher librarian.

Circulation Statistics

Library Materials By Homeroom

K – 588

1 – 1 577

2/3- 1 458

3/4 – 1 676

4/5 – 2 011

6/7 – 932

7/8 – 520

Library Materials by Faculty

K – unquantifable

1 – 191

2/3 – 165

3/4 – 723

4/5 – 165

6/7 – 116

7/8 – 122

The picture of circulation statistics by classroom illustrates the need for some time and effort into the reading habits and needs of the grades 6, 7 and 8 students.  Both the students and the teachers within these classrooms have lower borrowing rates.  Students in the grade three/four classroom had a large number of books available to them within the classroom throughout the year.  The grade four/five classroom were avid personal borrowers.  The Kindergarten classroom only appears to have low statistics as the class size was significantly smaller then others.

Staff and Hours

Our library is staffed by Susan Funk, teacher librarian, and, library technician.  A number of volunteers help to keep things running.  Student helpers work to assist with book exchanges and __________ works on shelving and mac-tacing new materials.  A SIAST student, _______, interned for several weeks in the spring jointly supervised by, Susan Funk and in our partner school, Wildwood.  The library is open with full services Monday through Thursday.  Friday we are not staffed, teachers may use the space and student helpers can be made available for check out on Friday.  Monday and Wednesday morning recess during the winter months, the library was available for senior students as a commons’ room.  On severe weather days, the library is home to a variety of grades for break times.

Additional Activities – Community and beyond

Many school and community events occur in the library space.  Once a month on Thursdays, the Zoo Club has visits from the Saskatoon Zoo.  Reading Buddies is held weekly from September to May on Wednesday at noon.  PreSchool Story time, hosted by our principal, occurs weekly as well as borrowing for the children in Creative Care.  Monthly School Community Council (SCC) meetings take place in the library.  As well as the community events organized by the SCC on topics such as, math curriculum, family literacy and bully prevention.

Professional Activities

I have read carefully the newly produced School Library Support Document.  This document outlines the roles and responsibilities of the various administrators, teachers and technicians working with the libraries in Saskatoon Public Schools.  I was involved with the Middle Years Professional Inquiry Cycle, both as a personal journey but also as a supporting partner for, in her first year at this grade level.  We were exploring the issues around teaching reading strategies and cultivating readers.  Our work in exploring genre was well-received by colleagues and is being distributed for wider use.  I attended the Kaleidoscope conference in Calgary with a number of teacher librarian colleagues.  This was a tremendously enriching experience which introduced me to new authors and illustrators.  I was able to purchase some of their work to add to the collection and would be delighted to add more in the coming year. In addition, I attended the Technology in Learning conference organized by the Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit. This two day conference highlighted some of the technological applications and activities which can be used to improve and enhance student learning.  I attended this conference with two colleagues from Brevoort Park.

Committees and Networks

I was a member of the Teacher Librarian Committee (TLC).  I attended monthly meetings on Tuesday after school.  I also attended the teacher librarian networking meetings (four annually).  I had a teacher librarian mentor whom I met on two occasions, once in the fall and once at year end.  I hope to meet more regularly in the coming year.

Issues

Many students routinely use Google as a ‘source’ without recognizing Google as a search tool and not a source.  They do not reference the materials they find and they cut and paste copyrighted materials without the knowledge or concern that this is an illegal practice.  They need to learn better search strategies, better sources of information and how to use Creative Commons materials when producing work.  These behaviours are particularly evident in the middle year’s students.  Some of them take the teacher librarian assistance and improve their practice, more often; they use what they like when they are not supervised.

We had several incidents of student use of materials which were blatantly false or racist.  In the case of the racist materials, the information was blocked at school, so the student used it from home.  The student did not question the site being blocked at school as many sites are blocked at school.  Unfortunately, no time was given for the appropriate follow up.  The false information was caught at the end of the student’s project.  The teacher followed up with excellent teaching about site validity and using critical thinking when finding information on the internet.

Senior students are making use of library materials without signing them out.  It is difficult to track this behaviour.  A possible contributing factor is unsupervised use of the library on Fridays.  As there is not always an adult in the library when the students are making use of it, they may not bother to check out the books.  In addition, when there is no one to open the circulation desk, they may be unable to sign out materials even if they would like to.

Access to computers continues to be a struggle for all in the building.  The computers in the lab are old, broken and slow.  Often groups need to divide between the good computers in the library and the poor computers in the computer lab leaving the teacher trying to supervise in two locations.  This is not at all ideal for managing access to materials and facilitating appropriate use.

Goals

Drop in borrowing – I would like to see regular drop in borrowing by students in all classrooms.  I would like to staff the circulation desk all mornings from 9:00-9:30 and all afternoons from 12:50-1:20.  I would like to reduce the number of classes coming for group borrowing.  Students need to come for books as they need them rather than coming as a group when some need books and others do not.

Lending to Classrooms – I would like to continue to supplement classroom libraries with school library materials.  This allows students to access more non-fiction titles and better quality fiction titles.

Selling books to Middle Years – I would like to improve student participation in leisure reading.  I believe teaching students about blogs and RSS is one way to hook students into reading.  I would like to work at using student reviewers to pass books along and recommend to their peers.

Inquiry and Research – I would like to work with each class during the coming year on a research topic.  I want to improve all students’ ability to ask questions, find information, assess its validity and share their findings.

Technology – I want to teach the middle years students about the appropriate use policy (aup) at the beginning of the year and work at improving their understanding and compliance with it.  I want to develop a continuum of skills working from grade 2/3 up, in order to teach good habits for searching and using online materials and tools.  I will advocate for a laptop cart and wireless hub, as well as headsets and microphones to be purchased for the school.  Integration of technology into the ongoing learning of a classroom allows teachers to improve instruction and enhance student learning.

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