Friday, 2 October 2015

#Awesome: A Review of Day One, SLANZA 2015 Conference

Earlier this week I attended the SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) 2015 Conference.  I had such a wonderful time learning new things but the best bit was meeting people I only knew from Twitter, catching up with librarians I only see at conferences, and being surrounded by people who love what I love.

Here's a review of day one of my experiences at the conference (and here is day two and day three):
  • The first keynote is from Roger Dennis - "Digital Acceleration - the world's changing faster than you think".  
    • Roger talks about paradigm shifts and how easy it is to miss them if you are focussing on what you do and not noticing what is going on in the world around you.  It is important to notice what is happening in other industries as it might impact on what you do.
    • He prints a 3D bolt while speaking, and I'm impressed when he says they're 3D printing houses in China!
    • He talks about future jobs and how anything based on rules will be taken over by computers.
    • He suggests subscribing to Wired magazine to keep up with how people relate to technology. I've followed them on Twitter - @wired.
  • Workshop 1 for me is "Selfies in the library: using social media in school libraries" with Lorna Smith and Julia de Ruiter.  
    • They remind us that we need to be aware of what platforms our users are using, share their excellent blog and a video that has certain people "hashtagging" throughout the rest of the conference #hashtagsrule!
    • Somebody in the session mentions they have a library cat that has it's own Twitter account.  How cool is that?!  Perhaps our bookclub minion mascot could have one....
    • They mention book "shelfies" and posts where they "ask the librarian" unusual questions about their lives (e.g. would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?!).
    • They give permission for us to e-stalk if we're not ready to contribute yet.  But when we do start, have a strategy and make consistent and regular posts.
    • And "always default to cat videos" is great social media advice, complete with a good example!

  • Workshop 2 is "Don't Panic! The Hitch-hikers Guide to....Book Week! with the lovely Cathy Kennedy, one of the organising team for the conference.
    • About a year earlier Cathy decides on a theme and then gathers resources and books that fit it.
    • Cathy is a teacher and I am impressed with her approach to Book Week that takes into account the teachers' workloads and ways to keep them manageable.
    • She schedules Book Week so that it doesn't clash with busy school activities, rather than coinciding it with national or international book/library celebrations.
    • She provides teachers with a Teachers' Resource Booklet to get buy in for Book Week.  It outlines events and competitions, has lesson plans and summaries of books that fit the theme.
    • She uses Graphic Leftovers Stock Images on her posters and I may just have been persuaded to shell out a few dollars for images because her promotional material is so classy!
    • She takes the opportunity to introduce students and teachers to new technology by incorporating it into her Book Week competitions - clever!
    • She does a Battle of the Books book quiz using a Livebinder.
    • She invites performers to attend as she has had great success with them.  She tells them her theme and often they tailor their performances for her.
    • She does bookmarks, photo booths, scavenger hunts, staff competitions (so they don't feel left out), and ads to promote Book Week using Animoto.
    • To decorate the library she uses party decorations, and she always decorates her doors (they look amazing!).

  • The second keynote speaker is Mark Osborne - "Innovative Library Environments". 
    • Like Roger Dennis he touches on jobs changing in the future and the fact that any job that can be routined is rapidly being off-shored or automated.
    • He says that knowledge is a commodity that's free like air or water so it's not what you know but what you can do with what you know.
    • He says an important skill will be the ability to solve real world, authentic, challenging problems together.
    • He sees the library as moving away from being a storehouse of books and towards being a service centre, community space, gallery and storehouse of specialist equipment.
    • He asks what we think the modern school library should be.  Here are the results.
  • My final workshop for the day is "Building reading warriors: Engaging boys in reading" with David Riley.
    • David starts by saying how much he enjoyed "The Magic Faraway Tree" as a child, and then describes his enthusiasm for Barry Crump's books, which had characters he could relate to.
    • He describes the inspirational story of Dr Ben Carson, an African American living in poverty who was struggling at school before his mother made him read.  He tells his class "There was a doctor in that guy, the least guy you would have thought of".  And they all clamour to get a book.
    • David talks about why boys aren't reading:
      • Lack of connections to the library and library staff
      • Reading not seen as connected to aspirations and real life
      • Insufficient guidance in choosing what to read and reading strategies
      • Discouraging certain kinds of literature: graphic novels/manga, magazines, Guinness Book of Records.
    • He suggests giving boys a choice about what books to buy and then having a box opening celebration - making a big deal that the books have arrived.
    • He talks about tapping into pop culture trends, using students' interests, planning father and son events and giving students competitions e.g. Rugby League Reads.
    • David approaches well-known male achievers who read and asks them to come to his school, to make reading look cool and connect it to real life.
    • I have David Riley's books and they are great. He wrote them because he couldn't find any sports books at the right level for his students.  I am so impressed with David as a reading mentor and would highly recommend getting him in to speak to your boys (David is a drama teacher based in Otara, Auckland).
  • Next the SLANZA awards are given out to some very deserving librarians and then it is time for our Twitter dinner. We are a mixed bunch - primary, secondary, co-ed, single sex, public, librarians and a teacher. And yet there is no shortage of conversation and it is great to get to know people that I have connected with on Twitter.
    • I text my husband with a photo of my food.  I've never done this before but have recently received a bunch of photos from when he was away and feel he needs payback.  This is what I get in return!

  • I get back to my room and go through my presentation one last time. I am pleased it is on before morning tea the next day so that I can get it over and done with and relax again!


  1. Thanks MIchelle, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation - got a lot of ideas from it. Know what you mean about getting it done and dusted so you can relax. Mine was on Monday.
    I've taken what I learned from the first two keynotes and put them into a blog post @ called The Seer's Hat

  2. Barbara, I've just read your blog and I'm glad I didn't know you were coming to my presentation as I would have been intimidated! Thank you for sharing your insightful post with me.