CLA Forum 2016

CLA-Forum-logo_Im-AttendingI’m attending the Canadian Library Association National Forum this week, an event of some historic significance. Indeed, CLA describes the event as a “watershed gathering”.

From the CLA News:

This will not be another conference of talking heads and uncertain outcomes. Instead, we are hosting a forum centered on a key set of library issues of national importance.

Participate with colleagues from across Canada and around the world in focused dialogues and help craft outcomes that will advance the state of libraries and the emerging Federation. In sessions designed to inform and engage, those attending will consider some of the most critical challenges facing libraries in Canada.

This is an action oriented policy and advocacy forum. You will be challenged through discussion and debate, and your contributions will advance libraries in Canada.

We will celebrate the legacy of CLA and we will stimulate a new era of engagement, focus, vitality, and impact. As a community we are embarking on a new path. Help chart the way.

It promises to be an interesting, and perhaps a bit wistful three days. The Twitter hashtag is #CLAOtt16 if you care to follow along.

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The Virtual Library Learning Commons

I’m speaking today!

York Catholic District School Board
May 30, 2016

The Virtual Library Learning Commons

Library Space & LearningSchool libraries are reinventing themselves as learning commons and lively hubs of a collaborative learning culture. The virtual library learning commons extends resource access and active learning into online spaces. With a shared vision and collaboration across schools, the YCDSB has a unique opportunity for creating a rich and vibrant library learning commons, with streamlined access to common resources and customized for the needs of each school. Join us as we explore the possibilities, and imagine your new virtual library learning commons.

Connect to session materials here.


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Halifax Libraries: Contexts & Possibilities

Halifax Central Library

Halifax Central Library

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, to speak at a professional learning event for library support specialists in the Halifax Regional School Board. Our topic was the school library as a learning commons.

Schools in the Halifax area can draw great inspiration from the public library’s new central branch. Great libraries understand their mission in helping their constituent communities realize their aspirations. When libraries do this well they also open people’s eyes, minds and spirits to greater potential.

Halifax Central Library

Connected to the heart of the community.

The Halifax Central Library, developed with extensive community consultation and the most innovative thinking in librarianship and architecture, epitomizes this phenomenon. Mid-afternoon on a weekday, the library was very busy, but felt as relaxed and comfortable as my living room. Children, teens, adults, students – all were pursuing their interests individually or collaboratively in this great public space, dedicated to the free exploration of ideas and creativity.

Schools Can Take Inspiration

Leading Learning

Leading Learning: A vision for Canada’s school libraries.

The Halifax Public Library understands its role in developing the community it serves. Do schools in the area understand the potential of their own libraries for leading new ways of learning?

The free exploration of ideas is a foundational value of libraries – an approach that has huge potential for supporting inquiry, discovery and creativity. Many area schools are making great strides in developing a learning commons approach, and library support specialists are deepening their understanding of the unique value proposition of the library in realizing larger goals for learning. Our workshop focused on how to use the national standards document, Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada to frame program growth.

Differentiated Spaces

Halifax Central Library Teen Space and First Nations Circle.

Many thanks to my host, Halifax Regional School Board library consultant Donna Gillespie, and to Halifax Public Library children’s services librarian Heather Doepner for taking us on a marvellous tour of the central library.

HRSB library support specialists are eager to capture the imagination of the community of educators in the same way that the public library has inspired the greater community. How fortunate Halifax educators are to have such an inspiring example of the possibilities right there in the heart of this great city.

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