Good news stories

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New story added 7 October 2021:
From Rachael Hind, Radford College, Canberra: 

‘Unlock’ the Bookshelves During Break Times: Changing Your Mindset About Holiday Borrowing

For many years, in my role as Teacher Librarian, I ceased loaning books in the last week of school each term. This enabled students to return all their library books in Week 10 and gave me time to chase up overdue books. It was my experience that many ‘lost’ books were often misplaced during the holiday period, literally left at holiday locations and never to be seen again. Additionally, in Term 4, I would recall all library resources across the school community, as it was timely for me to do Stocktake, or at the very least, return all the books and shelve them before the end of school for the year. This was the way I was taught to run a school library; these were the processes I inherited from other Teacher Librarians. I was concerned about the frequent loss of our school library resources, which are often expensive and hard to replace, and felt I was ‘protecting’ the collection.

In 2019 I was fortunate to become one of two Teacher Librarians at Radford College Junior School Library. We have over 840 students in our Junior School and are very proud of the strong reading culture that has been cultivated in our community. Our students borrow books from both the Junior and Secondary Libraries EVERY WEEK OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. They can borrow before school, at lunchtime and after school as well as during their timetabled Library lessons. In the Junior School Library, we allow students a borrowing limit based on their grade (with some exceptions of course) and in the Secondary School Library there are no borrowing limits. In fact, our students are encouraged to borrow more books than they usually do at the end of each term, particularly before the summer holidays, often up to 10 or 20 books or even more. Our students get excited about holiday borrowing and even bring extra bags in to school to carry their books home in.

I’ve got to admit that I was confronted by these practices, and it took me a while to get my head around it. But now I am converted! Why have books on our shelves when they can be in our families’ homes during times where they have more time to read? I understand that simply borrowing a book doesn’t necessarily equate to a book being read, but I do assert that a book that has been taken home has a significantly higher chance of being read compared to the books locked away in our libraries over break times.

We are very lucky at Radford to have highly efficient Library Assistants and Library Technicians to enable us to circulate high amounts of borrowing each day of the school year. Not everyone is in this fortunate situation, so here are some practical ways that may help you enable holiday borrowing:

  •  Do a rolling stocktake throughout the year, so it is not a huge job left for the end of Term 4. A Rolling Stocktake means you can stocktake sections of your library during the year but may only complete the entire stocktake over a period of 2-5 years.
  • Allow students to do holiday borrowing if they do not have any overdue books, you then create a culture of ‘reading as a reward.’
  • Conduct a Summer Reading Challenge – build up enthusiasm and incentives to read more books over the summer break. These can include Rainbow Reading, Book Bingo, Alphabet Book Challenge, 20 Book Challenge, Genre Challenge, Most Minutes Spent Reading, Most Pages Read, so many ideas to challenge your students to read over the summer holidays. Follow up on the summer reading challenge when you return to school. Rewards and prizes can be helpful in creating a culture of excitement around reading.
  • Build up some assistance in your library through volunteers and/or library monitors.
  • Share with the students after every break what books you enjoyed and would recommend to others and allow them time to do likewise.

It is our core business as Teacher Librarians to ensure our students are engaged in regularly reading for pleasure. It has been my experience that encouraging holiday borrowing can have a huge impact on a school’s reading culture.

In the words of Donalyn Miller, of Book Whisperer fame, “Providing greater book access to students who may not read much over the summer far outweighs the cost of replacing any lost books.” (2014, p. 93)


Miller, D & Kelley, S 2014, Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.


New story added 25 August 2021 
From Ann Blakey, Merici College, Canberra:

"This is the fun side of being in a library.

As the library is the safe place for so many, a central hub, I wanted to keep the library and Book Week Festivities going during lockdown. It’s only the second week of lockdown and I wanted to show a bit of fun and help lift the community spirits in a feel good way. So many in the community are not only in lockdown but also in quarantine, so that feeling of disconnect will start to show by students not engaging.

To kick off  Book Week I created the TikTok with each transition a dress up of the different theme, Old World, New World, Other World. Each morning a Book related Quiz has been sent to each Pastoral Care group so staff and students can work together to answer the questions. We’ve asked students to send in old Book Week Dress ups from their younger years, Pastoral Care groups have created favourite book collages, favourite characters or quotes. A cake decorating competition (Bake a Book) will be open for the week, students have been sending in photos. On Thursday we are continuing with our dress up day – encouraging everyone in our community to share a photo of their costume.

All of the photos from the activities, and results from quizzes are shared with the school community through our Book Week Teams Channel. Some through the school social media pages. Students and staff have been engaging with all these activities, whether it be a like, a love heart, or a laugh emoji. Everything we do brightens someone’s day and it is worth the effort."

New story added 28 June, 2021

Congratulations to the six inaugural recipients in the Round 1 Teacher Librarianship Scholarship Program from the ACT Education Directorate. This program will see up to 25 newly trained Teacher Librarians in ACT Directorate schools over the next 5 years. ASLA has made contact with the recipients to provide mentoring and support.

In the challenging times brought about by school closures during the COVID-19 period, all schools' staff are facing major changes. How are school libraries involved? ASLA invites you to share your good news story and tell us how your library is supporting teachers and parents. We will publish these stories here on our website and on the ASLA Facebook page.

We will also publish stories of how Teacher Librarians are advocation for our profession.

Send us your story. Include images if possible but please ensure appropriate permissions are in place for publication in these spaces.

Send your contributions to ASLA Board Member, Natalie Otten. Watch this space to the good oil.

Supporting teachers to become qualified teacher librarians

Natalie Otten, Teacher Librarian at Evelyn Scott School, Canberra, faced the media in Canberra on 1 February, 2021, proudly supporting the ACT initiative of awarding scholarships for the training of teacher librarians. Natalie was indeed a great ambassador for ASLA and the teacher librarian profession.

'It's a crucial role': Teacher librarians push to boost their numbers in schools

Kerry Pope, Head of Library Services at Toongabbie Christian College, NSW, is among the association of teacher librarians calling for higher staff numbers in schools. Kerry believes the heart of a school library - both a student wellbeing space and central information hub - is its teacher librarian.

This article was published in  The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November, 2020

West Moreton Anglican College, Karrabin, Queensland.

Contributed by Tehani Croft, Knowledge and Learning Resource Manager

We started preparing early in our library. In our fortnight library classes from Year 3 to Year 9, we introduced or revisited  all our online services and how to access them from home or school.

St. Peter's College, Clyde North Campus | Cranbourne Campus, Victoria

Contributed by Joyce Sendecky, Head of Library, Digital Technologies Teacher

There and back again: ‘Flipping’ the Reading Program to remote mode
In 2019, St. Peter’s Catholic College embarked on an intensive reading program for our year 7 & 8 students to achieve one of the key college goals of achieving accelerated growth in literacy.

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