Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Dreaded Stock Take and End of Year Reporting

Since I’ve been in the library at my school I’ve been working towards streamlining the stock take process here.

The first thing l did was relabel the entire library as the barcodes were inside the back cover of the books, meaning each book had to be taken off the shelf and opened to scan, what a waste of time! I used relabeling as an opportunity to look at the collection, weed and recover those in need, so it took me over a year to complete.

Secondly I looked at the timing of stocktake. I felt that if I could get the scanning out of the way sooner, I’d be able to work on reports and trying to find “missing” books. I had heard of school’s who did theirs during break between terms 2 and 3, but my EO wouldn’t allow this as the timing would effect the stock value. So, I have slowly worked back from Week 9 and this week completed in Week 5, phew this really takes the pressure off making- me a much happier and less stressed library manager.

Now because I am not rushed or stressed I have time to actually look at all the statistics my library programme can produce. What a wonderful resource. I just looked at borrowing by year level and by sex, then I worked out the average borrowed and found that the girls borrow 62% of all issues. This is interesting and leaves me with questions and the possibility of setting targets/goals around the information. There are stats to support me in many ways now that I have time to analyze them properly and I can share with departments in a positive way. Used strategically the results could increase support from teachers and promote the value of the library and it’s contribution to student achievement.

Next I am starting on my annual report to the BOT, without the rush. I try to make my reports relevant, informative and readable. The key is to make it as short as possible but to jam pack all the information I want to share and celebrate. I use graphs, photos and try and relate to schools goals and strategic plan. I want the BOT to see how relevant and worthwhile my work is and I want them to know that the investment they make in the library is paying off in many useful ways.

This year I did research on NZ school library reporting and there were two notable things I learned. Firstly don’t write a book, no one will read it. Boards are bogged down enough with important bits to read, if you want to make an impact make it short and to the point. Secondly, no matter what your school expects do not write a short breezy letter, take the time to report properly, never complain and try to relate your information to the school’s goals.

Enough from me, I’m off to impress my BOT and make them happy to have me looking after their library and using it to improve student achievement as much as I can.

Lisa Salter
Te Tai Tokerau National Executive Representative
Ruawai College Library Manager

Saturday, November 19, 2011

SLANZA Wellington Region Workshop Sept 2011

She has me fired up now!

This is the comment of one of the participants who attended our annual Saturday morning professional development in September. The themes were “Advocating for your school library” and E-learning. Forty seven people attended the workshop and went away with many new ideas for how to promote their libraries (Donna Watt and Miriam Tuohy) as well as issues around technology enhanced learning (Paul du Temple, Jason Murphy and Tom Avery).

Donna Watt as a keynote speaker was a definite drawcard. Donna is the communications person on the National Executive of SLANZA and has had many years experience in school libraries. Her message was appropriate to both primary and secondary school library staff and teachers. We recommend that she is invited to share her advocacy ideas to members around the country. Miriam Tuohy (Nat Exec member) ran a workshop after Donna’s keynote and reinforced the ideas, giving relevant and useful advice for untrained library staff who are just starting out in a primary school. Remember you are not alone in this work!

Here is some more feedback on the presentations.
  • Lots of ideas/approaches to investigate. Change my approach – accentuate the positive. Emphasis on how I work and what I do. 
  • So many practical ideas to take back to school. 
  • Great speaker, have gained some good ideas to work on. 
  • This was absolutely wonderful! 
  • Very inspiring. Really made me think how our library is perceived by others. 
  • Excellent speaker. Challenging. 
  • Practical ideas for e-books in the school library environment. 
  • Excellent. Helped a lot to understand how all this works. 
Thanks again to our presenters. Contact your local SLANZA regional rep to organize Donna Watt for a professional development meeting in 2012.

Michele Whiting
SLANZA National Executive representative
Wellington region

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Full report from SLANZA NE meeting 12 November 2011

Report from SLANZA NE
Meeting 12-13 November 2011

Good morning everyone. The following is feedback on the content covered at the meeting held in Auckland at the weekend. If you have questions please contact your local regional representative, whose contact details can be found on the SLANZA website.

At our July meeting, we set up portfolios which relate to the specific areas of focus identified in the strategic plan : Advocacy, Communication and Professional Development. At this meeting we added another portfolio for Business, to cover the matters which do not neatly fit into the others. The following report will relate specifically to those areas of interest.

Communication – this portfolio is led by Donna Watt, and the others working within the portfolio are Miriam Tuohy and Bharathi Char, with support from Senga White in relation to Collected magazine. The matters reported and furthered within the portfolio include:
  • The most recent issue of Collected was published on Friday. You can read it here. The three issues to be published next year have been discussed, with the following themes selected – Issue #6 Content Curation, Issue #7 Evidence-based practice, linking to self-advocacy and promotion, Issue #8 Blue sky thinking – next steps, innovations, what now?
  • Miriam shared the test site for the website redevelopments she has been working on. We are all very excited as the new stage will see more interactive features, and a bigger resource section amongst other things. It will be ready to launch in the New Year.
  • We have developed a shared Google website for NE representative communication, and we reviewed its functionality, and agreed on a number of new pages to facilitate our work. This is providing a platform to ensure our work continues effectively between meetings.
  • All members of NE will be blogging more frequently, and permissions will be set up to facilitate that.
  • In other areas, we have been represented by Fiona at the Educational Leaders Forum, and by both Senga and Fiona at the LIANZA pre-conference forum – our presence at these meetings allows us to further develop new and existing networks and ensure the school library voice is heard.

Advocacy – this portfolio is led by Greig Daniels and he is supported by Jude Cosson and Michele Whiting. Their area of interest received wide discussion throughout the meeting, and they have significant workloads on which they are working, including:
  • A formal letter was drafted, to be sent to Principals and Boards implementing cuts to library services. This will be shared with NE members today, and after feedback, will be available for them to send out as the need arises.
  • A thirty-minute presentation is being developed, which will be delivered at regional School Principal's meetings by local reps.
  • Greig has been working with NZEI to establish stronger communication links with them, and is working hard to negotiate space in their publications for articles and information about school libraries, services, staffing.
  • Work continues on the advocacy kit for members, including reporting templates, letter templates.
Regional representatives will continue to respond directly to members (off-list) to support them, and refer them to other supporting agencies such as the NZEI, as necessary.

Advocacy workshops have and will continue to be available to regional networks as needed – Michele Whiting will be blogging with further information about these.

Professional development – this portfolio is led by Michele Ayers, and she is supported by Michele Whiting and Bharathi Char. Michele summarized PD events held or scheduled since the last meeting, thanks to the support of Warwick Ashton from Book Protection Products :
  • Wellington held a very successful workshop with the theme of advocating for your school library and eLearning. They will shortly have a session with Chris Szekely – Chief Librarian at Alexander Turnbull Library, who will be talking about his new picture book.
  • Aoraki held a session where members who received free registration to conference fed back on their learning, Desna Wallace shared her interest in book trailers, and Paul du Temple from Wheelers spoke about eBooks.
  • Te Tai Tokerau had Bob Docherty speaking about teen fiction and engaging teens in reading, and Hilary Greenebaum is scheduled to share her very successful conference presentation on relationships within the school.
  • WaikatoBoP have hosted Vince Collins sharing his skills in library display, and their upcoming event is a tour of local libraries.
  • Auckland had a half day workshop with four presenters who explored the topic 'Engaging learners: Learning and reading, and the day included Dylan Horrocks as a guest speaker. They have an upcoming visit scheduled with Stacy Gregg – author.
  • Otago's recent session involved conference feedback, and the planning for a two-day event next year is under way.
  • Southland held sessions on using Twitter, and note-taking skills for students. The last session for the year was a social event, and general sharing of best finds. Planning is under way to try and engage Nathan Mikare-Wallis to speak in the region early next year.
Larger events on the PD horizon include attempting to bring Dr Ross Todd to New Zealand next year to share his presentation on evidence-based practice (we have also decided on back-up plans if this is not successful). A full day of PD in conjunction with the AGM has been outlined in principle, and this will go ahead if the Todd event cannot be secured.

Wellington region shared progress on planning for the 2013 conference which is rapidly getting into gear. The contract with the conference organizer will be signed this week, a venue has been selected, and prospective keynotes are being evaluated. Seed funding was clarified at the NE meeting.

The new business portfolio is led by Lisa Salter, supported by Jude Cosson. The matters currently on their agenda are:
  • Reviewing the criteria for study grants to ensure consistency
  • Business membership – linking to conference sponsorships, and developing levels of membership, criteria and benefits. They will be liaising with business partners to get feedback.

In other matters, we advise that study grant applications are now with the committee. Decisions will be made and applicants notified by the end of November.

If you are aware that you may be changing schools, or your other contact details need to be updated, please let Frances Gibbons at know as soon as possible. She is working to update the member database for a busy time at the beginning of next year.

We reiterate our advice that regional representatives are here to support you, in good times and in bad, so please contact us if you are in need of support or advice. If you hear of threats to other school libraries, whose staff may not be SLANZA members, we would also appreciate hearing from you. We are working very hard at a number of levels, regionally and nationally, to support and advocate for school libraries.

Kind regards
Donna Watt
SLANZA Communications Leader

National Executive meeting last weekend

The National Executive met in Auckland on Saturday and Sunday. One of our key tasks was to work out ways we can support SLANZA members who are facing employment difficulties - reduced hours, restructuring, job losses etc. We will always contact the person involved, but please understand that as this is a horribly difficult situation for anyone to be faced with, we will not discuss or share it via the list-serv. If you are facing employment problems, please let your regional rep know as soon as you are able to, so you can receive the help and support we can offer you.

One important avenue of assistance is the NZEI union, but they cannot help you if you are not a member! For your own protection, join now, as you need to have been a member for at least three months to receive assistance with employment issues. The fee is calculated on how much you earn, and the online form will give you an idea of the cost. Once you join you are also covered by the collective employment agreement too - a new settlement has been reached with new pay scales. For more information on the Support Staff settlement and pay scales, go to

More details about what the National Executive has been working on and doing recently will be coming soon, so keep checking back. So you keep current with our postings, have you set up an RSS feed using an RSS reader? It is such an easy way to get the posts sent to you, instead of searching for the blog. is a very clear explanation, so give it a go!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday Star Times article

I hope you've all taken the opportunity to read the article School Libraries the Poor Relation published in the Sunday Star Times on Sept 11th.

This is a good follow up to last month's article in the PPTA News about school library budget concerns for New Zealand schools.

What can you do to keep the momentum going? Share this article with your school colleagues, principals, BOT's and encourage them to write in support of suitable and appropriate funding for school libraries and library staffing.

Write something yourself and send it to either the editor of the Sunday Star Times or Imogen Neale, the reporter who wrote the article at: or write to the editor of the PPTA News with your feedback.

We want this conversation to continue. If you would like to do something, but you're unsure what you'd like to say, then maybe you would find the Advocacy Template letter a useful start.

SLANZA would love your feedback on this. You can leave your coment here or you can email either myself at or our president Fiona Mackie at

There is no better time than now with the national elections looming. Let's make sure people outside of our own profession know just how passionate we are about libraries and learning.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Collected to be in the EBSCO publishing database

Kia ora

We have good news about Collected magazine.  We have been approached by EBSCO who were seeking to obtain an agreement to include our magazine in their database. It was very nice to be identified as an excellent fit for their databases,and we can take this as acknowledgement of the standards we have set, and the quality of writing from all of our contributors.

Fiona has just signed off the licensing agreement and the folk at EBSCO publishing are working through the preliminary steps for getting our content into the appropriate database.  This is a process which may take several months, so we will keep you informed as updates come to hand.

So now you have even more reason to consider writing for the magazine, and we look forward to being inundated with offers the next time we put out a call!  Well done to all who have contributed, assisted with editing and especially to Miriam for the work she does in making it look so digitally fine.

Donna Watt
SLANZA Communications Leader

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The wonderfulness of the National Executive

At the recent SLANZA conference, we farewelled several members of the National Executive who have been working for you and the regions, as well as giving up their time to be on the Executive. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Bridget Schaumann, Di Eastwood, Wendy Ballard, Kim Slack, Maree Pavletich, Cynthia Francombe, Sarah Fordyce and Joyce Richards, for all the work they've put in to the development of ways to communicate with and support you as members, as well as developing SLANZA as an organisation. Without their dedication and commitment, SLANZA would be poorer indeed.

I'd also like to say a huge thank you to our immediate Past President, Senga White. Senga has led the Executive for two years and represented SLANZA on a number of committees across the library sector, as well as managing a Y7-8 library and a Y9-13 library on two sites, and in her spare time persuading me to stand for President Elect! I'm very fortunate to still have Senga on the Executive and really appreciate her support, knowledge and experience, which continues to benefit all of us.

A very warm welcome to the new members on the Executive - Greig Daniels (Otago), Jude Cosson (Waikato/Bay of Plenty) and Bharathi Char (Auckland). I'm looking forward to working with everyone on the Executive as we look to the future of SLANZA and school librarianship in New Zealand. Joyce Valenza and Judy O'Connell gave all of us a very clear message at the recent conference - we cannot afford to be complacent about our role, services or environment, and I know the Executive is very mindful of that too.

The fabulous Donna Watt and Miriam Tuohy are working away at putting the next edition of Collected together, which will focus on conference and share lots of what went on and of course some very interesting photos... Midnight feasts in the hostel, lots of laughter and dancing at the dinner, catching up with friends and making new ones, celebrating achievements, being amazed and inspired by our keynotes and presenters - we had a great time!

Ka kite ano,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Library Life Article on Multiliteracy and Transliteracy

Hi everyone
Hope you all did something you love to do during your term break and that you're happy to be back amongst all the bright, shiny faces today.
In case you missed it, I wanted to draw your attention to the article published in the latest LIANZA Library Life about Multiliteracy and Transliteracy by our own Donna Watt.
She is in a unique position of now working in the public sector with a wealth of experience in the schools sector and can see opportunities for collaboration between them. Definitely a way forward to consider.
Some of you were fortunate enough to attend at least one of her presentations at our fantastic SLANZA 11 Conference in Auckland in the first week of the school holidays. For those of you who couldn't join us and want to find out about them, plus heaps more besides, you can do this at:
Our upcoming Collected magazine will be chock-full of some of the highlights from a truly memorable conference.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

How does the library profession help to grow the skills of a 21st century workforce?

I am following Howard Rheingold's Infotention and the following is a series of posts discussing the skills needed within a 21st century workforce.  There are five short posts, outlining two skills in each, and a quick read will get you thinking about how much influence we have, as a profession, in building many of those skills. 
I have listed the headings below, and you can read the full posts here

1. Sense Making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
2. Social Intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
3. Novel and Adaptive Thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
4. Cross-Cultural Competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings
5. Computational Thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
6. New-Media Literacy: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.
7. Transdisciplinarity: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
8. Design Mindset: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
9. Cognitive Load Management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work proactively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

The work that we do in information literacy, critical literacy, and the diversity of resources to which we lead our clientele are crucial in building these skills.  But it looks like a big job, when you put it like this, doesn't it?  How many people in your professional sphere understand what you have to offer?

Have a great Friday - it was nice driving to work this morning and kidding myself that the days already seem longer!

Donna Watt

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An idea to use old books and collaborate with your Art Department

If you're anything like me, you're very pleased today is the last day of a very long first term! Here's a creative idea orginally posted on the OZTL_NET about how to use old books to create fantastic art! This would be a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with art teachers and/or students. Check out #2 - the painted book sculptures. I'd love to know what you think of this very novel (like the pun!!??) idea. I hope everyone has a well-deserved break to do what you like to do when you're not at work :-) Senga

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting better work stories!

We can all get bogged down in the day to day-ness of life as a school librarian ..... so smile when you picture me in my library last Friday afternoon .....

It was directly after our busy lunch break (an oxymoron in my world, where I NEVER get to eat lunch during lunchtime!) I had a plumber in my office investigating a problem with our hot water dispenser. I had just heated my lunch and was attempting to eat while the dozen or so senior students working at our computer pods were busily beavering away at the keyboards. Peace ..... or so I thought momentarily.

Peace was shattered by the sound of heavy, teenage-boy feet running into the library and loud teenage-boy voice in full volume, sounding very angry. I had only just looked up in response when I heard the yelping of a dog! Yes, a dog! You might be wondering what a dog was doing in my library! So was I. Unfortunately this young man had chased the dog into the library and was proceeding to "teach it a lesson it wouldn't forget". Fortunately I was able to diffuse the situation and refer said "angry young man" to one of our guidance staff.

On returning to my office, I stood in the doorway (glass doorway)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New National Librarian appointed

This today on the NZLibs listserv from Sue Sutherland:

Kia ora

The Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs, Brendon Boyle, has today announced the new National Librarian. He is Bill Macnaught, currently manager of New Plymouth's Puke Ariki.  Bill is very well known to our sector and has a strong understanding of the opportunities and issues facing libraries and the wider sector.  The National Library leadership team joins with me in congratulating Bill on his appointment and we look forward to welcoming him to the National Library on 2 May.

Nga mihi nui ki a Bill.  Nau mai ki Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

Supplied biography:

William (Bill) Macnaught is the present Manager of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, a position held since 2005. Before coming to New Zealand, he was the Director, Libraries and Arts and later Head of Cultural Development at Gateshead Council in the north of England. He was awarded a CBE in the UK for services to public libraries and cultural life. He was Chair of the UK Advisory Council on Libraries and was a visiting Professor (Librarianship) at the University of Northumbria

In his five years in New Zealand Bill Macnaught has led a multidisciplinary team at Puke Ariki – the flagship library, museum and visitor information centre in Taranaki.

Since 2006 he has been a Commissioner on the Library and Information and Advisory Commission (LIAC) advising the Minister for the National Library. He is the 2010/11 Chair of the Association of Public Library Managers and the Deputy Chair of Museums Aotearoa.

Bill Macnaught is a founder member of the Governance Group for the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa programme which was inspired by a UK project in which he was involved. He initiated the discussions that led to the National Library supporting the current Kotui project, designed to deliver better value for public libraries through the collective procurement of library management IT services

Donna Watt
Communications Leader, SLANZA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake - Part 2

This is a wonderful piece of trans-tasman solidarity in the aftermath of the Christchurch Earthquake and has been posted on the OZTL_NET listeserve yesterday:

It is one week since the devastating earthquake that has shattered Christchurch and its people and there would be few schools in Australia that do not have a student or a staff member with a Kiwi connection.

Psychologists say that the trauma can be intensified by a feeling of wanting to help but being unable to do so, so to help overcome this a group of Kiwi teacher librarians teaching in Australia is proposing

We are suggesting that on March 22, 2011 students be allowed to wear all black instead of their regular school uniform and pay a gold coin for the privilege.

If school regulations demand students remain in uniform, then an alternative could be to create a coin trail over the words ANZAC, Aotearoa, Christchurch, or Otautahi (Maori for Christchurch).

Any other form of fundraising would also be welcome. If you have ideas, please share them with us to share with everybody.

The money raised will then by donated to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal through whatever financial procedures schools have to follow to do this.

Amounts raised would then be reported to a state co-ordinator who will tally them so we can determine the total contribution of Australian schools and share this with participants. We are planning to establish a Facebook page so state and national totals are available and even photos of students participating can be posted.

We need you to
· publicise this event as widely as possible, sending it to any network you belong to
· consider volunteering to be your state co-ordinator which will just involve receiving emails from schools with their tallies and sending the total to a central co-ordinator. We already have co-ordinators for NSW and Queensland, but no doubt they would appreciate help.
· spread the word about your school’s activities with any media connections you have


Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
Together, we learn from each other

Monday, February 28, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

We at SLANZA are deeply concerned for our colleagues affected in so many ways by the terrible events last week. You are constantly in our thoughts, and we extend our deepest sympathies to those who have been bereaved, or are still waiting to hear news of friends and loved ones. There are fundraising efforts going on all around the country, and people everywhere are doing what they can to support the people who have been bereaved, displaced and are suffering in so many ways. What many of us feel, however, is a sense of helplessness and guilt as our lives continue on with relative normality.

As we observe two minutes of silence today, we honour the memory of those lost, and the suffering and discomfort of those left to clean up and carry on with their lives as best they can. We are with you in spirit, and you know that our collegial support network will do its utmost to help you in the coming days, weeks and months.

Kia kaha