Wednesday, August 13, 2008

IASL Conference

The International Association of School Librarianship Conference was held on the Clarke Kerr Campus of UC Berkeley from Sunday, August 3 through Thursday, August 7. The association's website gives more conference information and much more: School Libraries Online (
School Libraries Worldwide is the official professional and research journal of the International Association of School Librarianship.
International Children's Digital Library is an unbelievable resource for all students and should be highlighted in every school library. Facebook was demonstrated as a tool for collaborative student book clubs. Shelfari can be added to your Facebook page. Shelfari is the premier social network for people who love books. Create a virtual shelf to show off your books, see what your friends are reading and discover new books - all for free!

Our own CSLA Library 2.0 and Classroom 2.0 were presented to a full room.

Various research papers were presented.

Two participants made this summary:

IASL CONFERENCE NOTES – August 4-8 – Berkeley, CA

The conference was divided into themes: Digital Literacy, Building a community of readers; Building literacy skills in school libraries; supporting reading instruction; and the 12th annual international research forum. Five (5) Pre-conference workshops were well attended, with frequent interactions and much positive feedback. Papers from these sessions are in the conference Proceedings CD, and some aspects will be posted to the IASL website.
The Napa Valley winery tour was fully subscribed, and the pictures tell a thousand words. Opportunities to see the San Francisco Bridge and the Bay Bridge were thrown in for good measure.
Keynote Speakers
Stephen Krashen is at it again! He is examining the results of a variety of reading and literacy tests administered to fourth grade students in 40 countries. His analysis and observations shines a bright beacon on the role of quality school library programs and collections in predicting and maintaining reading schools in relative to poverty factors around the world. His presentation was absolutely inspiring.
As the Tuesday theme speaker, James Herring (Australia / Scotland) nibbled at the Achilles heel of most school library programs. His title was: Reading web sites - Assumptions, Problems & Potential Strategies. ". there appears to be little evidence of systematic approaches to teaching students how to read, as separate from using websites." He involved the audience in examining reading - texts on websites, graphics, photographs, visuals, and related resources to demonstrate his thesis and to show strategies to improve the situation.
Wednesday's theme speaker was Ann Carlson Weeks (USA). Her presentation was about the use of the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) as a full-text library of children's books from around the world that is freely available on the Internet through the University of Maryland This too was an outstanding view of how we can 'strengthen global understanding through children's books.

Sessions which were of particular interest included:

(1) Understanding S. L. Education in the International Context was a panel chaired by Dr. Jennifer Branch (Canada) which related the experiences and scope of programming around the world.
(2) Morning Reading for the Whole School by Karin Gaarsted (Denmark) dealt with the impact and phenomena of earlier morning sustained silent reading - competent and fast readers who understand that reading is key to their success in all other subjects.
(3) Researchers' Workshop: A New Approach for Literacy Learning in S. Ls gave Dr. Barbara McNeil (Canada) an opportunity to related four educational frameworks and to focus on the pedagogy of caring and nurturing learners over the long term in their learning activities.
(4) Reading Mandala: A Scalable Model for Developing Reading Habits in Children in Rural China allowed James Henri (China/Australia) to report on a developmental project with sponsors and workers in rural communities, and ways to measure the success of the investments.
(5) Exploring the new AASL Standards for the 21 st Century Learner involved an animated panel discussion where give various stakeholders and participants discussed student cognition, self-assessment and strategies to implement this new tool.
(6) Helping Students become Life-long Learners, by Dona Hartwich (Australia) focused attention on the priority role for all T-Ls - helping kids learn how to learn.
(7) The Net Generation: Tech-savvy or Lost in Virtual Space addressed the data in the second phase of Barbara Combes (Australia) research in West Australia. The results are critical for success in reaching this generation. Check out the Proceedings CD.
(8) Library Services for Students with Autism gave Lesley Farmer (US) an opportunity to appeal for library resources and settings to help these students in regular situations.
(9) Facebook: A S. Ln's Tool for Building a Community of Readers provided a palette for Paulette Stewart (Jamaica) to describe how this tool is being used effectively for social networking and direct learning.
(10) Libraries of the Ages: The Diglibs showed how one school in India, managed by
Madhu Bhargava (India) is addressing the 'cultural changes caused by digital learning' as the format changes but the content, use and needs remain constant.

A unique feature for this was a contribution of approximately 1000 bookmarks that had been created by students from across European school libraries for the ENSIL conference in Wels, Austria in February 2008. Helen Boelens co-ordinated the collection, and forward them to IASL to be displayed and sold at 5 for $ 1.00 which brought in about $ 250 for the LDF above. Thanks to our European colleagues for thinking of this idea, and tossing the challenge now to another association or country to provide bookmarks and/or pins for the 2009 event in Padua, Italy.