Interesting reading this week:


Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Online life is real life, aleph-nought in a series. A good reminder that this whole online vs real life is an artificial construct. There is just life. Some of it you will spend online. Some of it you will not. And goes towards the point I tried to make at an ICT steering committee meeting – we need to teach our guys about being “good men” in all contexts, and not just inside the school gates. (Shared by John Scalzi on Twitter.)

Why are we still ignoring @SirKenRobinson? Because New Zealand government policy demands us too? Or because our educational leaders are not brave enough to run their schools in ways that meet policy demand but are not driven by them? Either way, it’s pretty much why I left classroom teaching. (Shared by Richard Wells on Twitter.)

No benefit to single-sex education, Australian Psychological Congress to be told. Aargh! As a feminist, I have such angst at working at a boys’ school. This did not help! But I found it a really interesting read as this is the main thrust of the marketing our school runs. Should I put the cat among the pigeons and share it with our SMT? (Shared by Stuart Kelly on Twitter.)

Genre readers have less empathy? I’m not feeling that. A few weeks ago I shared a post about how literary fiction makes us better humans, so it seemed only fair to share Val McDermid’s response. And what a response! Pithy, funny, and throws some shade. Read what you like, people! (Shared by Rachel van Riel on Twitter.)


That moment when you realise…


Recently I have been weeding our fiction section. And I have been quite brutal.

I began by carefully removing the books that had not been read for a while according to neatly printed borrowing statistics. Then I moved on to throwing out the items that looked like they were about to fall apart. Getting caught up in a weeding frenzy, I next began to remove the books that still had handwritten spine labels (because these began to be printed at least eight years ago). These were soon followed by books that just did not look that great anymore.

Soon I had a table covered in stacks of books and that is when it hit me. I am part of the problem.

While I can blame the large number of books sitting on that table that had never been read on the purchasing choices of previous librarians; after six years, I can no longer pretend that the choices that I make do not matter. Next year, some of the books that come off the shelves will be books I have bought. Tax payer dollars that I have spent, trying  to encourage the students at my school to read. So why is this a problem?

Recently, two Year 10 boys, who had been sent over to find something to read, made the comment that there are too many books in our library. I found this an interesting comment and one I could not ignore. Now these two boys have only been at our school for about 18 months, so they do not know that when I started there were actually about 4,000 more books in our collection – roughly a third bigger than it is now. Yet, in their eyes, it is still “too big”. There is too much choice for them and it makes it difficult for them to find the titles or authors that they are looking for.

While I have worked hard to reduce the number of physical items on our shelves, I am still part of the problem because I am responsible for what is being brought in. Part of why I chose to become a school librarian is that I love books. And the opportunity to buy them with someone else’s money? Well, that was just too good to ignore!

Unfortunately, I get a little too excited when faced with boxes of new titles. When our local bookseller comes to see me with a load of new books, I get carried away in the moment and don’t always make the best buying decisions. I am better with the national book reps I see, I am able to make cold, rational decisions about what will actually be used by the students. But when it is our local seller, we both get caught up in the excitement of talking books and soon I find myself cataloguing books, shaking my head, with thoughts of “What was I thinking?”. So, yeah, I am part of the problem.

To remedy this I have created a flow chart to help clarify what I should be bringing in to our fiction collection. I want to make sure that I am buying the books that will be read, enjoyed or found useful. I want to make sure that I am using the money I am given wisely. And I want to make sure that, in five years time, the books that are being weeded have at least been read once and do not represent money down the drain. I want it to be hard to see these books leave the collection – just as it was hard for them to get in.


Now, let me at the non-fiction collection!

Interesting reading this week:


Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

You are not a digital native: Privacy in the age of the internet.  A really interesting post about how companies are getting away with invading privacy by saying “but the kids are digital natives so they know what they’re signing up for”. I love Doctorow’s definition of privacy, ‘[it] doesn’t mean that no one in the world knows about your business. It means that you get to choose who knows about your business.’ (Shared by Cory Doctorow on Tumblr.)

How to be mediocre and be happy with yourself. In praise of being average! Who knew that this was even a field of study?! The message here is learn to embrace your mediocrity. I’m entirely comfortable with mine! (Shared by a teacher, FF, at school and leading to another post by Mark Manson.)

4 creative PowerPoint uses you probably haven’t tried. Don’t hate on PowerPoint – use it more effectively! (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Using PowerPoint as a design tool. And this post from Ned Potter shares some more PowerPoint goodness. Am now feeling the need to redo every slideshow I’ve ever made…(Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:


Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Why ‘medalling’ and ‘summering’ are so annoying. An interesting and entertaining look at the “verbing of nouns” in the English language. Made me snort and nod my head. But not simultaneously, that would just be weird. (Shared by an English teacher, FF, at school.)

Privacy – important even if you have nothing to hide. A great post on digital citizenship, discussing how we might not have that much privacy even if we think we are doing all the right things. Lots of interesting links are shared. Will definitely be spending more time with this post. (Shared by Carole Gardiner on Twitter.)

The privacy problem. Speaking of privacy…an interesting discussion was had on the NZ schoollib listserv recently about our duty to protect student privacy. Many of us break this privacy (without even thinking about it) when we deal with overdue books and borrowing statistics. A good reminder to have some policies in place dealing with this issue! (Shared by Karen Clarke on the schoollib listserv.)

On white fragility.  If you’re not aware of the whole #WeNeedDiverseBooks thing you should probably get out more. This is an excellent post on why white people hate talking about race and a thoughtful reflection on why this author has decided she will no longer write books with a PoC main character. If you only ever click on one link that I share, make it this one. (Shared by Justine Larbalestier on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:


Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Screw digital natives: Behaviour not age, is what matters. As an educator, I hate the term “digital natives” and this post pretty much sums up why. Lots of our students think they are really awesome online, but actually their skills are pretty limited or limiting. And maybe so are some of the tasks we set. (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Millenials as digital natives: Myths and realities. Another interesting read on the “digital native” myth that appeared on my timeline. I particularly love the last two paragraphs in the section titled “How Being a Digital Native Does Influence Behavior” – which is certainly the behaviour that I observe at school! (Shared by Trish Webster, I can’t remember where!)

Literary fiction helps us ‘read’ others. Just in case you know someone who needs convincing that reading is good for us. Or who perhaps needs encouragement to read a “literary” novel in between all the crime fiction. It’s not being a book snob, it’s encouraging being a better human! (Shared by Rachel van Riel on Twitter.)

5 tips for helping a student find the right book. Some good reminders here about how we can help our students find “the” book. Time to find a book is one of my favourite strategies – and something I need to remind our busy teachers about! (Shared by Rebeca Zuniga on Twitter.)