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ASLA December 2021 E-Newsletter

ASLA December 2021 E-Newsletter


Dear Members,

As this is the final newsletter for 2021, the ASLA Board want to wish you and your family a very restful and safe Christmas. We hope that you will have the opportunity to travel to be with loved ones at this time. 

The Board met on November 27 for a whole day planning meeting. Our main focus was a review of the ASLA constitution and setting the budget for 2022. The planned changes to the constitution will be emailed to all members prior to our 2022 AGM where a vote will be held to adopt the changes. 

We recently welcomed Martha Itzcovitz from Pymble Ladies' College NSW as a casual Board member. Prior to the AGM early in 2022, we will advertise the number of board positions including those of office bearers. With some Board members completing their full term, there will be some positions that are required to be filled. 

The ASLA website will be undertaking some updates and changes during December/January. If you have any questions or need assistance during this time, please contact our Executive Officer Judy Thompson. 

We look forward to you joining us in February for our first webinar of 2022. 

Kind Regards

Natalie Otten

ASLA President

Introducing new Board member Martha Itzcovitz from NSW

I am very excited to join the ASLA Board this year. I so enjoyed meeting the members from all around Australia at my first board meeting and look forward to working with them and all of our ASLA members in 2022 and beyond! 

I have worked in both primary and secondary schools. Currently I am the Years 3-6 Junior School Teacher Librarian at Pymble Ladies’ College in Sydney and before that I was a Teacher Librarian in the Senior Library at St Aloysius’ College. Moving from an all-boys secondary school to an all-girls primary school was a big leap - I spent a lot of the first year catching up on my middle grade reading – but I love having that experience and I hope it helps me understand the needs of school libraries and library staff across all years.

Like most of us I came to Teacher Librarianship via a circuitous route. 

Back in the 90s I did the now non-existent undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Education in Teacher Librarianship simply because my mother the librarian suggested I add the librarianship to the education degree I was planning on doing. From there I took a ten-year detour through maths teaching, children, and a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology which got me thinking about school libraries again and brought me back full circle. I fell in love with school libraries and the unique role we play in students’ education and lives and within the whole school community.

The wellbeing role of school libraries is a particular interest of mine and I am passionate about supporting school libraries and letting everyone know how wonderful we are. 

Woodslane link

Competition Winners!

Thank you for your contributions to our Advocacy tips competition. A huge thank you to Woodslane for sponsoring these amazing prizes. 

Prize for best EC/Primary submission:

Winner: Amy Byrnes Torrens Primary ACT

A-Z of Australian Bush Creatures

Henry the Flying Emu

The O in the Snow

Prize for best Secondary submission:

Winner: Judith Wakeman

Don’t Doubt the Rainbow

The Rooftop

Upcoming Events

The ASLA Professional Learning team thank you for your attendance at our 2021 webinars. We look forward to you joining us in February for our first webinar for 2022. Don't forget that you can access the webinars and conference sessions in our online shop. 

IASL 2022

The International Association for School Librarianship, the University of South Carolina School of Information, the South Carolina Association of School Librarians, and the South Carolina Center for Community Literacy invite you to the 50th Annual IASL Hybrid Conference and the 25th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, an event dedicated to the advancement of theory and practice in school librarianship. Registration opens soon. In the meantime, download the Registration Fee Chart available at for details. Check the website often for updates and more details on all of the incredible events we are going to offer!

Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is open!

Details can be found on the conference website:

Who Attends IASL?

The IASL Annual Conference provides a space for school librarians, teachers, administrators, researchers, and all others who hold an interest in education and libraries to exchange ideas and practices, meet new colleagues, and reunite with friends.

Why Should I Attend?

This year’s program is packed with opportunities for practitioners and researchers to share and learn from each other as we exchange the creative and the unique ways that we tackle school librarianship challenges across the globe.

What Will I Experience?

Attendees will experience both in-person and virtual sessions, innovative workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, gorgeous musical performances, delicious southern US cuisine, and inspirational cultural exhibits. Join us in the “Soda City,” Columbia, South Carolina!

Hybrid Option

The 2022 Conference offers both an on-site and virtual attendance option.  Please explore the conference website for more details!

Joint Statement on School Libraries

Our last issue of ACCESS for 2021 is now available on the ASLA website. 

ASLA AGM information and nomination forms


Book Chats

This year I have come back into the TL role after two years on class at a new school. Advocacy was a huge priority for me and having just been on class at the school and working with teaching teams in that capacity I was familiar with the busy demands on classroom teachers and wanted a way to inform teachers of fantastic new books, support them with teaching resources and ideas and do it in a quick and fun way that didn’t impact too much on their time. 

To that end I started “Book Chats”. I sent an email inviting teams (K-3 and a separate chat for Yr 4- 6 teams) to a quick meeting to share books that I thought would link well with inquiry, literacy and SEL units of work. I provided a shared google doc 

with the list of books (title, author/illustrator info and front cover pictures), relevant curriculum links, teacher notes and my activity ideas/suggestions for the books I was sharing. I also provided snacks!

This was hugely successful in that many of the books and resources were used, but it also demonstrated the support and experience a TL can provide to classroom teachers and after those Book Chats, staff much more regularly sought me out for my advice and suggestions and I received fantastic feedback from staff and executive teachers. At the Book Chat I had all the books on display, spent some time talking about the different books and ideas and facilitated some discussion. I kept the meeting to 30 minutes.

The timing of these Book Chats were important and I made sure to schedule after reports were finished in Term 2. Further “Book Chats” were scheduled for Term 3/4 but were impacted by cohorts and COVID restrictions. 

Staff Room Resource Table 

I have also had a “Staff Room Resource” table set up throughout the year in our staffroom. On this table I display a range of books that can be used in teaching and learning, each with a cover note of the book and suggestions for use. Some include teaching notes (such as those from Reading Australia). I regularly change the books on display or include ones that relate to special celebrations/days/themes. This is another way to get books in front of busy teachers who don’t always have time to come to the library and browse. They can take straight from the staff room after writing their name of the cover note and popping in my pigeon hole.



I am into my third year investigating the link between YA Fiction and Adolescent Wellbeing and I feel that this is an area that is neglected when it comes to advocating for library programs in secondary schools.

By way of a definition...

Developmental Bibliotherapy combines quality young adult literature with reading programs designed to promote self reflection, conducted by trusted adults in informal settings in order to promote normal development and self-actualisation.

Everything points to developmental bibliotherapy being a preventative strategy, promoting wellbeing in young people and mitigating the effects of mental illness. Reading fiction helps in developing a personal narrative, the formation of a theory of mind, promoting empathy, enhancing wellbeing literacy, providing vicarious learning opportunities, promoting intuition and insight, nurturing a sense of self, stimulating memories, promoting moral reasoning, introducing language, providing information, stimulating conversation, nurturing creativity, breaking down barriers, addressing fears, identifying goals and values, and by providing role models that offer glimpses into diverse, inclusive and flexible character attributes that generate a growth mindset that includes hope, optimism, resilience and efficacy in readers.

While Developmental Bibliotherapy may not enhance the wellbeing of every student, it must enhance the wellbeing of some students - just like music, art, drama and sport enhance the lives of some students.  And yet music, art, drama and sport have timetabled allocations with dedicated teachers in most secondary schools. I believe that Developmental Bibliotherapy offers a compelling reason for Library Lessons to have a timetabled allocation with dedicated teachers in all secondary schools as well.

My research is at together with references, activities and links to videos, or for a quick introduction I have uploaded two short audio clips - an introduction to Developmental Bibliotherapy and using Cli-Fi to reframe YA responses to Climate Change - at

ASLA Membership Bundle FAQs 

Q: What is a bundle? 

A: A bundle is a collection of members who are linked together and managed by one of their members – the bundle administrator.  

Bundle members share the same renewal date, status, and membership level. The entire bundle is charged a single membership fee, which is paid by the bundle administrator.  

At ASLA, we have two bundle options: 

Small school (1-3 library staff) 

Large school (4-6 library staff) 

Q: How do I set up a bundle for my school? 

A: you can do this when you apply for membership, or ASLA can help you via email or phone. 

Q: How do I add members to a bundle? 

A: the bundle administrator can view and manage bundle members from within the bundle administrator's profile when they log in to the ASLA website. 

Bundle administrators can add to their bundle any non-member contact whose email address is not already in the ASLA database. 

To add a new member to the bundle, the bundle administrator clicks the Add member button. 

Alternatively, bundle administrators can email or phone ASLA to request updates and additions to bundles. 

Q: Who do I contact for any questions or problems? 

A: Contact ASLA for all questions and problems via:  


Phone: 0439 358 607 (within Australia) or +61 439 358 607 (international) 


Social media: Twitter



Renew your membership here!

Copyright  2021  ASLA, All rights reserved.


Coming Events

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Membership renewal and NEW details about membership for 2022.

The ASLA board have listened to feedback from members and are excited to announce that we will be introducing rolling memberships for all new memberships effective immediately. This means that when you pay for membership, your renewal date will be the anniversary of your join date. If you have any questions about rolling membership, please contact our EO Judy who is more than happy to help. 

We have also received a number of requests for student or retiree membership. In order to access this special membership rate, you will need to provide documentation that reflects your student or retiree status and receive the discounted rate of $95 per year membership.

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