Friday, September 26, 2014

The voices of information literacy. ECIS librarian conference

This is my second experience of an ECIS librarian conference and it is just as transformational as the first. Every session has been relevant to my work. I have been inspired by my conversations with my colleagues. I bought a great book. I presented a workshop. It has been exhausting and stimulating.

I have been taking notes in every session on Evernote and then tweeting the link to the notes on the conference hashtag #ecislib2014 

While so much of the conference has had practical applications I have enjoyed the thought provoking sessions. This afternoon Veronica Cunningham of St John's school here in Waterloo gave her session - 7 voices of information literacy. She us completing her PHD thesis exploring how an international school community defines and understands information literacy? The 7 voices were students, teachers, parents, librarians, IT, leadership and administrative staff. 

Veronica's research invited these groups to meet and discuss their views of information context and information literacy. The first conversation was in homogeneous groups. All discussions were recorded. The second conversation was in mixed groups. This was the first time these people had been gathered together to talk together. It was in the listening that new appreciations and understandings were formed. These groups did not get together usually and it was the first time they had been able to hear each other's views, fears, frustrations and ideas.

The transcripts revealed similarities among the 7  voices. The emphasis on technology was a strong similarity. Other factors shared across many groups was a feeling of being overwhelmed by the number of technical tools, platforms and the flood of information. 

I find this research inspirational. I wonder how I can achieve this in our school with our New Literacy curriculum review and feedback? I am waiting with anticipation for this research to be published.

One keynote address, five workshops, exhibitor booths and buying a book - it has been a great day. 


Provocative and practical - ECIS librarians pre conference workshop

First day of the ECIS triennial Librarians' conference at St John's School Waterloo, Belgium. I attended the day long workshop presented by Kevin Hennah, a retail consultant to school and public libraries.

We spent the whole day sitting and listening to him present. There was some discussion but he showed us more than 600 slides and spoke for more than 5 hours. If I get nothing else from this conference (and I know I will) it would have been worthwhile coming for this day alone.

He was provocative. Many times I felt myself squirming in reaction to one of his statements because I realised that my library was not as effective as it could be.

"Librarians are forward thinking. They are early adopters of new things. They do, however, hang on to the old as well."

So I need to adopt the new and discard the old. This applies to books as much as it does to technology. Kevin went on later to say that we should buy a book and get rid of an old book, one in and one out. 

Some of Kevin's ideas about shelving and painting and furnishings will cost money. Something that costs next to nothing is to weed the entire collection ruthlessly and make space for face out displays. Face out displays allow the customers to see the books. Print will sell itself with great covers if the students and staff can see them.  Watch this space for some before and after photos.

Kevin challenged us to think of three big messages we would give our principals when we return home. I am fortunate to have a principal who would have been agreeing with everything Kevin had to say - the three things I know that will make her eyes light up....

1. I want an amazing sign outside our library doors that say "Library" - clean letters, great colour.

2. I want to develop a library brand and learn how to use it effectively across both campuses.

3. I will be asking for some library furniture this budget round - ottomans (very appropriate for Istanbul)  easy chairs and slat boards and perspex for face out displays.

I am very fortunate because I work for a Head of School who has great passion for and understanding of interior design. I understand about the merchandise and together we can work on the visual merchandising of our books. 

I can't wait to get back to school to try out these ideas....

I am tweeting from conference #ECISlib2014 see you tomorrow with the next conference blog post.