Current Projects

It’s been a very busy fall, between teaching Teacher Librarian Additional Qualifications (AQ) courses at OISE, presentations and association work. Here’s a quick run-down of what I’m up to these days.

Teaching AQ

RH Steele LLC

Preparing teachers as learning leaders in the library learning commons. Image: Risk to Learn/RH Steele (CC)

I’m in my fourth year of teaching  online AQ courses, currently partnering with Cindy van Wonderen. Our fall term is coming to a close December 15, and we are preparing for Winter term. I’ll be leading Teacher Librarian Part 2 and Part 3, Specialist.

Cindy and I are also preparing a blended learning version of the Part 1 course, to commence in the summer of 2017.

Ontario Library Association Mentoring Committee

I joined the OLA Mentoring Committee almost a year ago, and have found this most gratifying. This committee is action-oriented, running the very successful career centre at Super Conference and developing several career-focused sessions in the larger conference. The committee also works with library schools to offer local customized career centre outreach events.

OLA MentorMatchWe are very pleased to be launching OLA MentorMatch! In the past, the committee has run a service to match experienced mentors with people new to the profession. Mentor Match provides online software that facilitates the matching process, and supports participants as they develop the mentor – mentee relationship. During December’s soft launch we are particularly interested in building our bank of mentors, in preparation for the official launch at Super Conference 2017. Learn more about OLA MentorMatch.

Canadian School Libraries

Canadian School Libraries (CSL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to professional research and development in the field of the school library learning commons in Canada. CSL connects school library practitioners and educators across Canada in the collaborative pursuit of delivering exemplary practices reflective of current professional school library learning commons standards.

I have been very involved in this organization since its inception as a member of the Working Group.

Through and extensive consultative process, the working group has:

  • Established the vision, mission, guiding principles and purposes and activities for the new organization.
  • Established a governance structure best suited to achieving those goals.
  • Established a communications structure for informing researchers and practitioners across the country of our activities, and for soliciting feedback.
  • Conducted a successful fundraising campaign to cover start-up costs, such as legal consultation, fees for incorporation, and technical infrastructure costs such as web hosting and domain registration fees.
  • Engaged legal counsel to take us through the process of incorporation as a non-profit organization and the application for charitable status.
  • Successfully negotiated with the Canadian Library Association for the transfer of intellectual property rights to Leading Learning and School Libraries in Canada to the new organization, as well as stewardship of the Angela Thacker Award.
  • Created a website for the new organization, as well as a subscription email newsletter, and rebranded existing social media channels to further strengthen channels for communication.
  • Created a website for Leading Learning, realizing the vision of the standards as a living document.
  • Begun the process of putting the translated version of Leading Learning, L’apprentissage en tête : Principes relatifs à la transition de la bibliothèque scolaire vers le carrefour d’apprentissage au Canada, online.
  • Begun the process of establishing a new online journal for school library learning commons research and practice.

OLA Super Conference 2017

OLA SC 2017I am presenting at Super Conference again this year. Here are my session descriptions.

Soapbox 3.0: Action Advocacy for School Libraries

Once upon a time advocacy came from the soapbox: you know, the “You’d better like us because we’re good for you” approach. We’ve since learned that advocacy means demonstrating value, with clear evidence of the school library program’s impact on student learning. Action advocacy for school libraries, “Soapbox 3.0”, takes us a step further, with powerful and practical strategies for demonstrating program value, cultivating relationships to extend our influence, and positioning school libraries to lead learning for the future. Value, Influence, Positioning (VIP) moves from telling to participating, and to connecting with peers, influencers and decision-makers. In this session we’ll explore resources and tools to make connections at every level, starting at your school. Action advocacy is hands on, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves and collaborate on practical strategies to make the action advocacy VIP connection.

A Voice for Canadian School Libraries, with Carol Koechlin and Jo-Anne Gibson

CSLCanadian School Libraries (CSL) is a new organization dedicated to fostering the growth of the school library learning commons in Canada. While its formation was triggered by the dissolution of the CLA, CSL envisions its larger mission as an incubator for the growth of the
school library learning commons in Canada through fostering research and professional knowledge, and strengthening the network of practitioners, scholars and supporters across the country. Join us as we share plans
for extending the influence of Leading Learning: Standards of Practice
for School Library Learning Commons in Canada (CLA 2014), rejuvenating
the online journal School Libraries in Canada, fostering research with
the Treasure Mountain Canada symposium, and developing strategic
relationships for realizing the capacity of school libraries to lead
learning for the future.

Career CentreI will also be involved in the Super Conference Career Centre and following career-focused sessions at the conference.

See you at the conference!

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Library Learning Commons at Edifide 2016

EdifideEdifide Convention
October 27-28, 2016

Session 2.23: Thursday October 27, 1:45 – 3:15 pm

Leading Learning from the Library Learning Commons

Presenter: Anita Brooks Kirkland

Technology is driving change across society, profoundly altering the way we work, play and learn. As we address this challenge, educators across Canada and around the world are re-imagining the potential of the library to be a true learning commons: the physical and virtual collaborative hub within a whole-school approach to participatory learning. In this session we’ll delve into the learning commons approach. We’ll explore strategies for leveraging the library program to engage learners through inquiry, inspire creativity and critical thinking, and build knowledge collaboratively, so that students emerge with the skills they need not only to survive, but to thrive in our increasingly networked world.

Connect to session resources

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Flip Your Library Orientation!

Back to School 2016: With the start of the school year imminent, the timing is perfect to share some workshop materials  from last year, prepared with my colleague Carlo Fusco (@MrFusco).

Flip Your Library Orientation!

Basic library skills are perfect subjects for short, engaging online videos, available at the point of learning, be that in the library, the classroom or at home. Having a bank of these videos has the added benefit of freeing up face-to-face time for deeper collaborative learning experiences. Let’s learn how to flip your library orientation!

Why Flip?

Getting Started:

  • Focus on short lessons that you find yourself repeating frequently.
  • Repurpose and modify existing content: PowerPoint slides saved as images can be transformed into a video.
  • Try different styles of video for different purposes: video tours, “talking head” videos, animations and screen capture tutorials are a few of the possibilities.
  • Keep your videos short. Better to have three short and purposeful videos on different aspects of a skill than expect students to stick with a long and complex lesson.
  • Be a learner yourself. Give yourself permission to tinker, experiment, fail and learn as you start your flipped library project.
  • Collaborate within the community of teacher-librarians in your district to create videos for everyone, and share them out.
  • Partner with teachers on procedural writing, and have students create videos to teach basic library tasks.
  • Once you are more confident, start using a flipped approach for more specific topics and customized to meet the needs of a particular course or group of students.

Tools, Techniques & Examples

Put Your Slides Online: Repurpose your existing slide presentations and make them more visible online. Upload PPT slides to SlideShare or create presentations with Google Slides. Embed the presentation in your website to make it immediately visible.

Example: Google Slide presentation on instructional design, as embedded into an online Knowledge-Building Centre (created with Google Sites) by Anita Brooks Kirkland

Animate Your Slides:

  • Record and narrate your animations in PowerPoint and save as video (Windows only) or in Pages for Mac
  • Use Office Mix, a free PowerPoint add-on (Windows only) to animate slides, create quizzes, etc., and create a shareable video file
  • Save slides as JPEG files and animate in video editing software like iMovie or MovieMaker
  • Get some help from the Seneca Sandbox’s Creating Educational Videos website

Example: Video for GECDSB Flipped Library Workshop by Anita BK

Use Screen Capture:
Create short “how-to” videos for standard procedures using screen capture software like Jing, Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify

Example: WCI Library Learning Commons – Logging In to Your Library Learning Commons Account

Live Video & Video Editing Software: Shoot live video with your phone or camera.

Take a tour, conduct an interview, be a ‘talking head’ – as simple as uploading directly from your phone! Increase its sophistication (and likely its impact) with better camera and sound equipment, varied shooting techniques and locations, and incorporating titles, graphics and animations using video editing software. Your options?

  • Desktop applications like iMovie or MovieMaker
  • Tablet apps like iMovie and Explain Everything
  • Online video editing in YouTube or WeVideo

Example: Combine techniques. This video combines “talking head” segments with animations created with PPT slides saved as images.

Explain Everything:
Use tablet apps like Explain Everything

Example: Introduction to TPL staff workshops by AnitaBK on using iPads with school-age children.

LearningOnDemandAnimation: Use online animation software like Powtoon to add a bit of humour to your lessons.

Example: Our session introduction! (Scroll to top of this page)


LL StandardExtension: Use video to connect to other teachers. Focus on student learning and the unique value proposition of the teacher-librarian and the school library learning commons.

Example: Preston High School (WRDSB) Library Promo by teacher-librarian Jane Mitchinson-Schwartz

Make It Visible!

It’s all fine and well to create videos, but your students and teachers need to see them, at the point of learning.

Visit the Waterloo Collegiate Library YouTube Channel

Consider these ideas:

  • Create your own YouTube (or other) channel, complete with playlists for different topics
  • Be sure to feature videos prominently on the SLLC and the school websites
  • Embed videos into webpages or course pages in your course management system:
    • a link sends people away from your website, but
    • an embedded presentation is visually appealing, and stays connected to other resources on the webpage
  • Share the video wherever it might be useful – embedded into an online course, a subject pathfinder, another department’s webspace
  • Make the videos visible in the physical environment of the library: show videos on a large monitor / make signs to direct students to ‘how-to’ videos in the space where they might need them.
  • Consider accessibility. Captioning and other accessibility options make your videos useful for all students. Have a look at Seneca College Library’s accessibility testing for its online video tutorials.

Need to find out how to embed a video? Here’s how:

Some Considerations

As you create and share videos, please consider:

Copyright: Do you have permission to use the images and music in your video? Are you modelling good digital citizenship to your students and fellow teachers?

Copyright-Friendly Sources (Be sure to read each site’s Terms of Service!)

  • Internet Archive: Provides access to huge collection of digitized archival materials.
  • Flickr, The Commons: A vast archive of historical images, mostly in the public domain, shared by a large group of museums, libraries and archives.
  • Flickr, Creative Commons: Images shared under Creative Commons licensing by Flickr users. Be sure to check the permissions for each individual image.
  • Pixabay: High quality images shared under Creative Commons CC0 licensing – released into the public domain.
  • Incompetech Music: Royalty-free music files.
  • SoundBible: Sound clips, sound bites and sound effects. (Read the terms for each file.)

Student Privacy: If you are shooting video of students, using their work as examples, or having students create videos, make yourself aware of student privacy policies in your school district. Consult with your school’s principal about creating permission/release forms, if appropriate and in compliance with board policy.

Video Sharing Platforms: YouTube is generally the default platform for sharing online video. If YouTube is blocked in your school district, investigate using Vimeo or SchoolTube.

Additional Resources

Flip Your Library Orientation! School Libraries in Canada, Volume 33, Issue 1 (2015)

Flipped Learning Network: A great starting point for finding resources about and examples of flipped learning.

Lights, Camera, Action, Teach! Better Online Courses Through Video, by Rick Brunson, MediaShift, April 2016

Seneca Sandbox: The Seneca College Library has vested heavily in using online videos to support learning. Check out the Create section of their Seneca Sandbox website for very practical advice and resources about creating effective instructional videos.

eLearning in Libraries Symposium: A free professional learning opportunity for librarians interested in creating online learning opportunities for their library’s learning program. Check out the rich resources from previous symposia.

Hot Off the Press!

Canadian Copyright in Schools and School Libraries: A Primer, by John Tooth. Canadian Library Association, 2016. Available from The Library Marketplace

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