Teacher Librarians’ Conference a success for another year

 

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Attendees at the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery.

 

The seventh annual Teachers Librarian Conference hosted by Abbotsleigh and organised by the staff of the Betty Archdale Library took place on our school grounds on Monday 1 August.

Attracting 75 teachers of both primary and secondary schools, sessions at the event included presentations from the Stella Prize Panel, Scholastic Australia, Learning Difficulties Australia, UTS and Room to Read.

‘The Conference combined the two main strands of our roles: literature and technology,’ said Senior School Head of Library, Bronwyn Foxall. ‘We were challenged by the Stella Foundation to address the underrepresentation of women Australian authors in our schools and in the media. Mihiri Udabage championed the cause of Room to Read, a charitable organisation providing books and libraries in developing countries. Paul Macdonald, Proprietor of The Childrens’ Bookshop in Beecroft, spoke about emerging trends in book publishing inspiring everyone with an overview of the latest publications, while Murray Hawkins, Head of Sales from Scholastic Australia, addressed ways to encourage children to read. We took a different turn with a stimulating and confronting talk by Dr Belinda Tiffen, the Director of the Library Resources Unit at UTS, talking about the challenges of facilitating access to high quality library resources. Four schools demonstrated their library websites, vendors showed their products and Laurens Derks provided a hands-on look at virtual reality.’

  

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L-R: Amanda Foster, Kinross Wolorai School; Bronwyn Foxall, Abbotsleigh and Marita Thomson, The Kings' School.                 

         

After a day of learning sessions in our Peter Duly Concert Hall, the group finished their conference at the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery for a viewing of illustrator Shaun Tan’s ‘The Art of Story’ exhibition that is running at the school until 18 August in conjunction with the Abbotsleigh Literary Festival.

‘I found it more personable this year with more time to explore,’ said Caroline Walton from Loretto Normanhurst Primary. ‘I attended the learning difficulties session by Learning Difficulties Australia with Alison McMurtrie about low end level readers and catering for them and providing books of low level but of high interest. It’s good to have them accessing other books too such as the latest Harry Potter, but having “decodable’ books, that’s my focus now, for kids that might be falling through the gaps.’

  

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L-R: Elena Martin, St Pius X College and Caroline Walton, Loretto Normahurst Primary.       

            

Elena Martin from St Pius X College said the conference had provided her with a reminder about some of the fundamentals of reading.
‘I attended the Scholastic Australia book talk about Australian Kids and Family Reading Report which really brings you back to the basics about reading out aloud to the students – it’s so important. I’m focussing on getting them to come in and reading to them and to get their feedback,’ said Elena.

 

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L-R: Ann Hall, St John The Baptist and Tanya Taylor, Wadalba Community School.

Aside from the learning, attendees spoke of the welcomed opportunity to mingle and network with other school librarians at the event.
‘The content is always so relevant – it’s my second year attending but I’m starting to come every year now,’ said Tanya Taylor, Wadalba Community School.

  

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