Saturday, 22 July 2017

#slanza17 - Tuesday

Reading for Pleasure Presentation
#slanza17 - Unconference
#slanza17 - Monday
#slanza17 - Wednesday

Day Two of the conference, Tuesday, started with an author breakfast.  Those of us staying on-site were lucky enough to be able to hear from Stacy Gregg.  Stacy is a popular author at my school, however because I considered her to be a "horsey" writer I hadn't read her books myself.  After hearing her speak I can't wait to read her books!  The details behind each of her stories were fascinating.  For example, she wrote a letter to Princess Haya, daughter of the King of Jordan, asking if she could please write her story, and ended up travelling to Jordan to meet her.   

A lot of Stacy's stories involve embellishing real life events to make them fiction, she likes to write strong women role-models and she loves to write books about places she wants to visit (so she can go there to do research!).  I am very keen to ask Stacy to speak at my school one day.

The keynote was by Hamish Curry, from design thinking firm NoTosh.

Here are some of his key points:
  • It is important to take the time to really understand our problems before trying to solve them.
  • Sitting by a window is an incredibly powerful way to allow yourself to relax and slow down 
  • To see how students are using a space, at three different times during the day put a dot on a floor plan to show where students are 
  • We need to have visible learning and model the same practises we want students to do - Hamish suggested doing this in a bunker room in the library
  • You need to work out patterns and what they mean, make connections
  • Use 'hexagonal thinking' as a tool for thinking, ask good questions to connect concepts together
  • When you are prototyping you need to be open to feedback on how you can make something better
  • Management is about problem solving, leadership should be about problem finding, pattern finding
  • Don't start analysing in a secret laptop, do it in an open, visible way
  • There is a difference between space and place - place has belonging, character, community
  • Get the students to speak to search - once they start asking a device a question, they'll ask more because it's easy
  • We should be inspiration service providers
  • When you want to share an idea you don't need an hour, ask for ten minutes - everyone has ten minutes
  • Put things on ceilings and floors to surprise people
  • How do we create space to slow people down so they can relax and enjoy - e.g. corners, windows.

A bunker room with visible learning

This was for a local history unit.  The teacher buried a suitcase on the grounds for the students to find.  They were totally engaged and the teachers enjoyed the unit more too.

There is more from the keynote in the tweets from the day (below).

Following the keynote, I attended Georgi de Stigter's session "Digital Technologies #FTW (For the win)".  Here is a link to her slides.  It turned out to be mainly on Google Forms which I have used before, but I did learn some more tips:

  • Use a linear scale so students can choose from 1 to 5
  • Use humour in the choices e.g. 'never, ever, ever' or 'you are the best'
  • Use sections to take students to different questions depending on if they answer yes or no
  • Ask open-ended questions e.g. 'why do you think...?'
  • Ask students and staff how effective you are e.g. 'On a scale of 1-5 how helpful do you find the library staff?' and 'What can we do better?'

Next up was Rachel Van Riel's workshop "Improving your Library Environment without Spending a lot of Money".  Here are my notes:

  • Angle bookshelves to face the door
  • There is a difference between destination and impulse.  Impulse is not planned, whereas people will ask for a destination e.g. toilet, reserved books, photocopier, OPAC.  Keep your impulse items in the best places as people will search for the destination ones.
  • We should learn from retail.
  • Paco Underhill - "Why we buy: the science of shopping" (I've reserved this)
  • We need a rest for the eye - don't fill up every wall with posters
  • Trial different locations for things and see what works
  • There shouldn't be a visual clash with books e.g. posters.  It is better to focus on the books
  • Use smaller Dewey signs to be less intrusive
  • Bay ends are rests for the eye, don't cover them with posters or books
  • Put face out books amongst the shelves, sometimes in the middle, sometimes to the left or right
  • Let the book jackets do the talking
  • People will go through a space e.g. doorway, when there's more space around it (so don't narrow the space with trolleys etc nearby)
  • Don't shut yourself away, get out on the library floor as much as possible
  • Let pillars and staircases sing - don't cover them with posters
  • If you have glass display cases put them in the foyer as they're transient areas
  • Bookshelves should always be more than 70% full, preferably completely full, otherwise people will think that the best has gone
  • Empty shelves signal that you don't have enough books

Participants in this session had been invited to send in photos of their libraries so that Rachel could give suggestions.  I'd been too busy working on my presentation to send mine through, but I did manage to catch up with her on Wednesday and she generously went through some of my library photos too (she did say in her email to participants that she would be around on Wednesday for free advice, so I wasn't stalking her!).  I'm going to do another post about the advice she gave me and show some before and after photos as I put it into practice.  

After lunch was Hamish Curry's workshop "Designing Library Discoveries".  Hamish talked about how children don't learn how to work AS a group, they're just asked to work IN a group.  They need to learn what collaboration looks like.  He said we need to spend as much time analysing a problem as solving it.  We are answer rich, question poor.

Hamish asked us to write down on post-it notes two challenges and two opportunities that had come out of the conference.  We put them up on the whiteboard and then they were grouped into common themes.

Next he showed us "the squid".  We picked a topic and then came up with three questions, then switched into answer mode.  The idea is to switch from question mode to answer mode, not work through each thread separately.  Then we had to circle the two best questions and two best answers (we hadn't got far enough through so we circled "future answers" in the expectation that some good ones would have been generated if we had gone further!).

I found some more free tools and resources from NoTosh.

My final workshop was with Joanna Ludbrook - "Ka-boom! Working with Primary Classes, Creating Solid Foundations for Life-long Learning".  Here are my notes:

  • Good site for list of topics covered during library classes -
  • A Google a Day challenge -
  • Recommended books:
    • 'How to read a story' - Kate Messner
    • 'The children who loved books' - Peter Carnavas
    • 'Keys' - Sacha Cotter*  Joanna had a set of keys that she uses to prompt children to create their own stories with.  That sounds like fun so I'll be giving it a go at our school.
    • 'Chester & Gil' - Carol Faulkner*  Joanna asks children to define the qualities of Chester and Gil and it promotes good discussions.
    • 'The three bears (sort of)', and 'Little red riding hood, not quite'  - both by Yvonne Morrison. These books are great to encourage children to question what they read.
    • 'Mr Archimedes' Bath' - Pamela Allen.  Joanna uses this book alongside Aesop's fable 'The Crow and the Pitcher' to illustrate the scientific theory of displacement.
  • Make jars of physical things to represent a book.
  • Include volunteer hours and duties in your library reports
  • "What's-on-Wednesday" - shared at the unconference
*These two books were the only two I didn't have and are both out-of-print! I managed to pick up copies on Trademe.

I was able to catch up with Rachel Van Riel at the end of day to get her opinion about how adding reading for pleasure to the curriculum has impacted reading and libraries in England (for my NZEI scholarship).  We talked for an hour and a half - she is so generous with her time, and such a lovely, knowledgable lady to speak with.  I walked her back to her room, which was in the same boarding house as mine, however I still managed to get lost trying to back to my room!  Fortunately there were helpful librarians to point me in the right direction!

The day ended with the conference dinner.  The entertainment was great but hard to describe so here's a link to the conference Facebook page with photos and videos of the evening.

Here are the tweets from the day:


  1. Has your head not exploded with all this amazing inspiration? Julie Huggins has shown me her notebook and is ready to pounce on me with all her thoughts!!!! So exciting!

    1. Definitely exciting, the challenging part will be carving out the time to do it. I've started slowly, by replacing our new book display with a display of books that can actually be borrowed :)