LBPSB Library Resources

A school librarian's toolbox

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School Library Culture or Teen Culture?

I wrote last spring about having been displaced from my post of many years (  After what seemed like the longest summer on record, numerous changes in decision-making led to several posts.  Now, I have the incredible good fortune to return to “my” school, “my” students, “my” library.  That means that I may evaluate our transformation towards a 21st century high-school library that began last year.

PCHS1Renovations have been completed.  New technology has been installed.  MakerSpace kits have been assembled.  Students no longer have to wait outside our doors in anticipation.

Plans are underway to celebrate with a “grand opening.”  It’s time to find out if the results meet the expectations of students and staff.  An informal survey was carried out to guide us through the transformation.  They asked for café seating, fresh colours and easily re-configurable furniture.  They asked for more sofas and more technology.  They wanted the opportunity to “do” more – not just to read more.PCHS2

Judging by the numbers of teenagers using the space on their own time and the increased number of class bookings, it appears that we have a winner!

Is that because of our particular school’s culture?  We are lucky to have students from many cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.  Is it because our school offers diverse academic programs to suit our students’ needs?  Many schools fit that description.  Or is it simply that we value getting to know our community and include them in our planning?  It’s important to learn what distinguishes one community from another.  It’s equally important to learn what we have in common to encourage that sense of community.

21st century libraries belong with 21st century learning.  Today’s cellphone-carrying, social-media-obsessed, tech-savvy teens have much in common with one another.  They look forward to the chance to share their 21st century ideas.  Let’s remember to include them in the planning.

Submitted by C.-A. Case, Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School



Can’t afford a 3D Printer right now? Invite one to come and visit your Library!

3dprinterAt our excellent professional development day on March 17, I was inspired by Joanne de Groot’s presentation of the makerspace at the Edmonton Public Library. In particular, I was fascinated by 3D printing, which is something I had not yet seen in action.

Some research revealed that $2,900 required to purchase a MakerBot replicator were not available to me, but there was a brand-new store in the nearby Pincourt mall, called MatterThings 3D, which offered a 3D printing service. This store is the first in Canada to do so!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I approached the owners to propose that they come and do a presentation at Westwood Senior, and they were more than happy to oblige.

Last Thursday, the presenter arrived with three MakerBots, and set up in the library to make a presentation to Business & Entrepreneurship, as well as science students. The rest of the community was invited to come and check out the printers during the lunch hour.

All students in attendance, as well as their teachers, were fascinated by the presentation, which was not only on MakerBots, but also on the many applications of 3D printing currently in existence or in development (e.g. printing of vital organs).   During the presentation the printers were busy printing cellphone stands, which students got to take home.

Smitten by the idea of having something 3D printed for me, I have commissioned replacement game pieces for “Planet Earth Monopoly” from MatterThings and cannot wait to receive them.

MatterThings 3D is keen to do more school visits in the Montreal area to introduce the technology to staff and students. If you would like to find out more, check out their website, To see pictures of the visit at Westwood, check out .

Submitted by U. Wilkinson, Westwood Sr., Hudson

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Our School Libraries in Action

Our school libraries are thriving destinations with so much going on.  When I started to receive all the pictures from the different schools to the powerpoint presentation, I was overwhelmed by the amount that is being done in our school libraries.  It is important to get the word out that we do make a difference and have a huge impact on student learning.  If we do not speak up for ourselves, who will?  So get out there and tell your school community what you are doing!!!

Here is what we are doing at LBPSB Libraries – SLIDESHOW FINAL:

school librariesSubmitted by Kathy Conroy from Westwood Jr and Mount Pleasant Elementary

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School Library Renovations and Innovations: St. Anthony School

photo 4

photo 3Our librarian (library technician) at St. Anthony School, Suzanne Halton-Thom, has been very busy reorganizing and upgrading the collection of books in the library while construction crews are coming and going.  A new library/computer centre is being created over the next few months.  Principal, Joanne Malowany, has been doing a lot of research and is spearheading this project.  The students at this school are fortunate to have such a supportive principal who wants to maximize the multitude of benefits that a great library carries in the school.

The new centre will be  connected to the computer lab to become a new and exciting space.  In addition to a collection of wonderful books it will feature upgraded computers, iPads, Chromebooks, creative games, comfy seating and Kobo Readers.

photo 2What will it be called?  That is the question.  It will be a learning centre, maker-space, research and information centre and reading nook all rolled in one!  Any suggestions?

A new Smartboard has been installed.  The wall between the two rooms was removed last week.  New flooring, new paint colours for the walls and some new furnishings are in the works.  Mrs. Thom is very excited about this project and is busy planning different activities for the students when they will have their weekly visits next fall.

photo 1In the meantime, the books and computers are being moved right to left and back again as the work crews come and go.   The current set up is temporary, but in the interim, the students have had very little time away from library.  Things are happening and changing every week.  Stay tuned!

Submitted by:  Suzanne H-T from St. Anthony School

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We are all pressed for time and may even have varying degrees of stage fright when it comes to book talking. What if you could share the work and encourage collaboration with other staff members in the process? Nicholas Warren, a school librarian at EMSB, shared this great idea devised by Alexander Kulczyk and The Team at Focus High School; teacher Tya Collins was also on board.

Staff members come together at the library or in class to present 1 to 3 of their favourite books to students (could be 1 Fiction, 1 Non-Fiction, 1 Book of Poetry etc.). Ideally, the books are ones which really made an impact on the staff member’s life. For example, Nicholas did a presentation at Focus and chose “The Fellowship of the Ring” – by J.R.R. Tolkien (which deeply affected him as a child and affects him still to this day), “Fast Food Nation” – by Eric Schlosser (which opened his mind to healthy eating and the evils of fast food during college), and “A Monster Calls” – by Patrick Ness (a recent YA novel which touched him to the core).

Students are or can be encouraged to do their own presentations based on the staff members’ shining examples. Teachers and/or staff coming together (including library techs, childcare workers, secretaries, caretakers, specialists, etc.) to share their favourite reads is a bonding experience and shows students that the staff values reading – not just the English teacher (or Librarian).

You can start small and make this a regular event. Why not have school administration, your local commissioner, a classroom teacher (on a library visit) or a library volunteer share their must-reads with your students?

 Nicholas strongly encourages you to try this — it’s much more fun than it is work after all!

 A Suggested Format for the Book Talk

  • What is the title? Who is the author? Is it a series of books?

  • Give a BRIEF outline of the plot (NO SPOILERS!)   J

  • Why is this book important to you?

  • When did you realize you liked this book?

  • Who should read this book?

  • Talk about your favourite part!

Submitted by Suzanne Nesbitt from ESD. Thanks to our colleagues at EMSB for sharing , Annette MacIntyre and Nicholas Warren  in particular!

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Upcoming Webinars

I received my monthly newsletter from LMC in a Flash (Library Media & Technology Specialists) which had among other things a list of upcoming webinars that may be of interest to our community.  Here are the blurbs and the links:

You Need It: Reading Promotional Programming That Really Works
Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 4pm EST
Learn the why, how-to, and what-to-expect about Reading Promotional Programming (RPP). It’s supported by research and encouraged by the experts and this webinar will focus on this critical topic in detail, to help you develop students’ leisure reading. Learn from examples of collaboration between home and school literacy programming and explore how to build a reading community at your school.
Presenter: Nancy Baumann has been an elementary classroom teacher and a librarian at the elementary and middle school levels and has worked in the University of Missouri’s School of Information Sciences and Learning Technologies.
Register here

Inquiry Circles: Collaborative Learning in Guided Inquiry
Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 4pm EST
Collaboration is an essential skill for college and workforce readiness. How are we engaging students to collaborate meaningfully through inquiry? Learn how important student collaboration is to deepen learning through inquiry, see a model for implementing Inquiry Circles, and explore strategies for assessing collaboration to improve your teaching and learning.
Presenter: Leslie Kuhlthau Maniotes, NBCT, MEd, PhD, is an international consultant focused on inquiry learning and curriculum design.
Register here

Submitted by Kathy Conroy from WWJR and Mount Pleasant Elementary

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Teenagers in the School Library

ca1I consider myself extremely fortunate. I work in a public high school populated by teens. It’s a well-used library in an open-concept building that is infused by light provided by skylights. By open-concept, I should add that it is directly above our cafeteria space. Silence does not reign here.

ca2During their free time, breaks and lunch period, students may choose where to spend their precious time. A great many choose the library. No one is forcing them to be here. In fact, students were recently offered three options during the free time in exam-week: go to the cafeteria, go to the gym or go to the library. Again, the emphasis was on choice and no option was obligatory. Again the library was packed.

The library is moving toward a 21st century model with Library Learning Commons concepts. Plans are underway to renovate before the end of this school year. So it came as quite a surprise to me to learn that not everyone supports this shift. In a school? Full of teens? Recently, the teacher on lunch duty escorted from the library all those students making use of their own computers, phones and games. “They should be reading or studying.” I was stunned. “Comfortable seating only makes them want to play.”

That’s when I realized why a key component of the 21st century library, along with collaboration and creativity, is communication. While we expect students to use the library to communicate with one another about their learning, we must ensure that everyone is on the same page. A clear plan should be made available to all those concerned. The library’s clearly defined mission could be built into the school’s over-all success plan. We also need consistency in rules and implementation. Do I have to work on that? Who tells the various groups with the school community? I must find out!

I strongly believe that teens need the library for both the quiet space and for group learning. Perceptions of the library are changing. As our libraries continue to re-define themselves, let’s be sure that everyone involved remains well-informed about the nature of libraries and the role of the school librarian.

You might like these too!   (yes, that should read “libraries”)

Submitted by CA Case from PCHS