(Boys) Reading as a social activity

As I wander around my library during recess and lunchtime, before and after school, I realise more and more than reading is not the solitary quiet activity that it’s usually purported to be. I’ve taken to trying to capture this by photographing the communal reading that is going on – which takes me to an article that I’ve been reading that I think is quite important when thinking about boys’ literacy pursuits – “Morphing literacy: Boys reshaping their school-based literacy practices” (Blair & Sanford, 2004).




boys2 boys1









Who can relate to this in their school libraries?

  • A cluster of boys sitting around a boy with the Guinness Book of Records – pointing and chatting and oohing and aahing about some record or another, followed by a debate about if it has been surpassed, and grabbing the next years book?
  • Two or 3 boys sitting with a Minecraft or lego book trying to find out how to do something?
  • A couple of younger boys reading the same graphic novel (usually squish or lunch lady) and turning the pages at the same time or waiting to turn the page so they can read the same thing at the same time?
  • Requests for books that tell them how to progress in computer / online games
  • Needing books about the 2nd world war because their grandfather or great-grandfather fought in it?

Blair and Sanford (2004) relate boys’ reading to their need to acquire social-cultural capital – i.e. they read as long as it enhances their peers and their own view of themselves as “acceptable masculine beings” and creates connection, collaboration and camaraderie between themselves and their friends. The authors refer to “team-like literacy” involving participation and interaction that is purposeful.

In terms of the kinds of texts that engage and fulfil these needs, the “rules” are simple

  • action > relationships
  • excitement > unfolding characters
  • need to suit personal interests / fact finding / purpose / sharing information
  • humour and fun ++++ important

I would suggest that the literary market / publishing is NOT catering for these needs adequately or at all in fact. Let’s take “Jets” for example.  The current obsession of the Grade 1 / 2 students in my school at the moment. The available books we have are dumb. They’re not information rich enough and the publishers cater to their reading level rather than their interest level. They’re dated before they even hit the shelves. They want elaborate up to date images with lots of numbers and facts – never mind the silly narrative “here is a pilot” “this is the instrument console”.  Ditto Lego – I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again. There is nothing inbetween the little books “castles, towns, 101 things to make” and “Lego StarWars” that is so big and bulky and hard to take home.  Make each chapter into a book FFS. How much time do publishers even spend walking around school libraries and talking to boys? (or even librarians? or teachers? or parents?).

This type of article also explains why our “Blokes with Books” and “Readers’ Cup” clubs work so well at school. Connection, affinity, literacies growing out of relationships.

Now to make sure we leverage that in the classrooms and at home.


Blair, H. A., & Sanford, K. (2004). Morphing literacy: Boys reshaping their school-based literacy practices. Language Arts, 81(6), 452.


Tricky timetabling in the library

15029248516Back to school for my classes tomorrow after the long 8 week summer vacation.  Teachers have been back a week and it’s been a productive but quite busy week getting everything ready. Is one every really ready? Who knows what the year will bring. What combination of students and teachers and classes will evolve as the year progresses.

As a  (with the emphasis on the “oneness” of A) Teacher librarian the timetable is probably one of the most tricky aspects. We’re just small enough to be able to have a hybrid timetable, where I can squeeze in every class once a week for a 20 minute slot (40 minutes for my grades 5 & 6, who need more “taught” and hands on higher level information literacy). I also have bookable periods where I can teach in class or classes can come to the library.  Based on the mistakes, observations and learnings of last year I made a few changes this year.

  • Blocking time so I can attend co-planning sessions for each grade with the PYP coordinators – that was a big failing on my part last year, and as a result I was always one step behind trying to play catch-up, relying on what was formally documented rather than actually happening and not being in the loop if things evolved – as they should in an inquiry based program.  Also, I’ve noticed that I need to promote new and different books as our collection evolves, and that would probably be the best forum.
  • Blocking time for ELL and language B students.  I’m an absolute believer in the importance of literature and literacy in language learning, but my practice was not supporting my beliefs. Of course it’s possible in library time to say to students “borrow a mother tongue book” or “borrow a Chinese / French book” – but with such a limited library time, it was an after thought rather than structurally built into the program. Also the French teachers were very supportive of my presentation to students on creating a language PLN and COP to their students and wanted me to revisit that early on in the year.  The time in the library has me as an optional extra – it’s more the space they’re using, so I’m available for in classroom teaching when I’m not needed by the language teachers.  Same with the ELL students.  Library time is intimidating if you’re only able to read “baby books” and asking a swamped librarian for advice is not always easy. This way the interactions can be more leisurely, students can book-talk lower level books without shame and they can get recommendations from each other. We’ll watch this space to see if it makes a difference. Also it would allow me to go through some of the research tools more thoroughly with the students at a slower pace.
  • Our bilingual classes are going to alternate days over 2 weeks in English and Chinese, so one week we’ll have them for English library, and one week for Chinese library. That was a logistical challenge, (to understand what we needed to do, most of all), hopefully we can support them in this.
  • Trying to group grades by day – i.e. G5&6 on Monday, G2 & 4 on Tuesday G3 on Wednesday, G1 on Thursday, Kindergarten on Friday.  Last year was mentally very taxing as I switched from Kindergarten to G6 to G3 back to Kindergarten to G1 all within a few minutes or hours of each other.  I’d have moments of complete blackout trying to remember which group was doing what (even having picture books labeled ready to go at my door, and tabs open for each class on my computer for presentations didn’t always help). With the exception of running out of time that suited one class it’s worked out fine – and teachers were quite receptive to the idea.  I did ask each grade lead which day would best suit them, and actually this year setting the timetable was a little easier than last year.  Having only 3 new teachers on board definitely helped the process as well.
  • Setting aside time for parent, librarian, teacher and community collaboration.  Last year’s series of “Library Bytes” for parents was well received on both campuses, and started bearing fruit towards the end of the year as we received more sophisticated and directed requests from parents – both those who had attended the sessions and those who had heard about them and wanted to know more.  This year I want to continue with the momentum, and even present some sessions in Chinese (not by me!) for our Chinese community.  The library staff is also going to start keeping track of teacher / parent questions so that we can make sure that all front-desk staff can handle all the questions, and we have material on our Libguide for parents who can’t come to the session.
  • Setting aside time for librarian meetings – both within our library and also between the librarians of our two campuses.  We have a new TL on board in our other primary section and I can learn a lot from her – but we need to make space for that learning.

Now, hold thumbs that we don’t have too many new classes added (as soon as we have enough students they open a new class at my school) or that there’s a major shift in the timetable!

How do other schools do the timetabling? Does it work for you?  For your teachers?  Are people unhappy with aspects of it? What compromises do you have to make?


INF536: Assessment 4 – Part A: Applying spatial changes and design thinking to middle school reading– a three phase collaborative approach


There is a long history of research into the value of and elements contributing to the success of classroom libraries. They have an important role in ensuring accessibility of written works to promote fluency and skill in literacy and thereby contributing to academic achievement. But the literature appears to concentrate on elementary schools (Hopenwasser & Noel, 2014; James, 1923; Jones, 2006; Krarup, 1955; Powell, 1966; Sanacore & Palumbo, 2010; Todd, Gordon, & Lu, 2011; Worthy, 1996). Although partnership and collaboration with the school and/or public library and librarian is recommended, the literature often deals with the two spaces in isolation. Further, the problem of aliteracy in middle school – whereby students can read but don’t want to – is well documented (Kelley & Decker, 2009; Krashen, 2004; Lesesne, 1991; Sheldon & Davis, 2015; Worthy, 1996). This case report will show how the two environments library and classroom, can successfully be seen as extensions of each other through the principles of design and design thinking and explicit cooperation between the language humanities (Eng/Hum) teachers, literacy coach and school librarian in order to promote voluntary reading.

Case development

United World College South East Asia East (UWCSEA-East) is a K-12 international school located in Singapore. It commenced operations in 2008 and took occupancy of a purpose built campus in 2011. In this campus, the secondary school library initially served around 500 middle school students – see table 1. It now caters to three distinct communities, middle school, high school and the International Baccalaureate (IB) – see Table 2.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 11.27.14 am

Despite consultation with the librarian in the planning phase, certain spaces of the library were designated different functions than agreed upon and furnished accordingly by the architect and building manager. One such area was upstairs overlooking the main school plaza with purpose built magazine racks. The idea was it would be a well-frequented showcase area for magazine reading. In reality a number of factors prevented this from being realised:

  • The furniture design didn’t accommodate its purpose as it was not deep or high enough and the storage area didn’t fit back copies
  • The zoning of the library post occupancy meant that materials affording quick casual reading such as graphic novels and periodicals were better located in the “noisier” and fast turnover area which allowed food and beverages, i.e. downstairs.
  • The trend in libraries is to move away from physical magazines and periodicals towards online providers including online databases and aggregators such as PressReader that provide the same product at a lower cost and without delays and issues with cataloguing and maintenance.


The question of what to do with the space was resolved by noticing that as the secondary school reached post occupancy capacity the lowest students in the pecking order i.e. middle school students were increasingly marginalised with students of higher sections taking over the prime library real estate (students are visually distinct due to different coloured polo shirts for their uniforms). In addition, middle school students no longer had library visits planned into their schedule. Furthermore, the large influx of new students and teachers meant that reading books in the classrooms were unevenly distributed both in terms of volume and quality without any structured form of classroom library, which the students had become accustomed to in the primary section. Finally, Eng/Hum teachers were noticing a decline in voluntary reading as students moved up through middle school.


These issues were addressed initially through collaboration between the librarian and Eng/Hum teachers and more recently by the new literacy coach over a period of three years as follows:

  • The conversion of the magazine area into a middle school reading zone
  • The establishing of a core library for each of the three middle school grades (Day, 2013b)
  • The creation of middle school classroom libraries in a formal and structured manner with materials integrated into the library catalogue (Day, 2015d)
  • The integration of informational / nonfiction texts into both areas

This is an on-going process and worth a critical analysis to examine the choice process, latent or existing attitudes and assumptions, exterior pressures and design constraints and collaboration and communication.

Critical analysis

Choice of process

The spatial change in the library was conceived and led by the teacher-librarian (TL) with the Eng/Hum teachers joining in the collaboration as the process evolved. Since the TL has experience in design thinking (Day, 2013a, 2015a, 2015c) the process followed the design thinking cycle of inspiration, ideation, iteration and getting to scale (Brown, 2008; IDEO, 2014).


This was achieved by:

  • Agreeing on a “core library” of 30 titles per grade for grades 6-8 which were prominently displayed
  • Adjusting shelving to accommodate front facing books
  • Relocating books of interest to this age group from the fiction collection
  • Using large posters to highlight the favourite books of middle school teachers in the library and class corridors and classroom walls
  • Ensuring multiple copies of books, by using class and literary circle sets
  • Adequate lighting, comfortable furniture and the creation of a private space


The above steps and final spatial design incorporated the elements that are recommended as enhancing school library spaces (Cha & Kim, 2015; Elliott-Burns, 2003; La Marca, 2008; A. McDonald, 2006; Serafini, 2011).


The design elements that contribute to successful classroom libraries are not dissimilar and include:

  • Sufficient space which is a focal area but partitioned and private
  • Comfortable furniture
  • Variety of material in range of complexity including different literary genres and informational texts
  • Category organisation and shelf labelling
  • Combination shelving allowing for quantity of books and display (front facing)
  • Advertising by means of posters and notices on whiteboards
  • Graphic organisation either thematic or by connections
  • Involvement of students in selection, organisation and maintenance (Fractor, Woodruff, Martinez, & Teale, 1993; Hopenwasser & Noel, 2014; Reutzel & Fawson, 2002, cited in Sanacore & Palumbo, 2010)

Discussion and research on the elements predominantly come from the elementary school environment, and the adoption to middle school requires some adjustments to account for the fact that students do not remain in one classroom, lessening the sense of ownership of a space on the part of students, and teachers needing to cater to multiple classes with different profiles and interests. Learning spaces are also typically smaller relative to the size of the students.


The creation of the library and classroom reading spaces and populating them with books is “necessary but not sufficient” (McGill-franzen, Allington, Yokoi, & Brooks, 1999). Other components of encouraging reading include training teachers to enhance their instructional routines to incorporate the material, and to ensure that teachers are familiar not only with their literary canon, but also the latest in good young adult fiction (Day, 2015b; McGill-franzen et al., 1999). The school has invested in training with Penny Kittle to assist in the instructional routines (Raisdana, 2015), while the librarian is working with the teachers on the latter.

Latent or existing attitudes and assumptions

An international school is blessed with diversity in cultures, languages and backgrounds both of their students and teachers. This results in a context of people coming from different systems with different attitudes, assumptions, beliefs and experiences around education, reading and libraries. In just the middle school, teachers come from Australia, United States, Philippines, Ireland, Canada and the United Kingdom, each with their own literary core. In addition, there are personal preferences and beliefs, for example around young adult literature (see Raisdana, 2014). Teachers may not be used to or have experience of collaboration with the TL, the benefits thereof, nor aware of the ways in which libraries have evolved (Gibbs, 2003; Montiel-Overall, 2006, 2008; Sullivan-Macdonald, 2015). And naturally there are assumptions around what constitutes an ideal learning or reading space and the balance between the two (Elliott-Burns, 2005). In a meta-review of access to print and educational outcomes, Lindsay (2010) concluded that limiting choices with a larger distribution interval led to more reading, particularly if it was accompanied by activities such as training and book talks. This is in contrast to the assumption that collections should be as large as possible. It also suggests that rotation of materials leads to better outcomes.

Exterior pressures and design constraints

The creation of the complementary spaces faced a number of constraints, design and otherwise. These included a small budget, limited time and variability in the reading level of students. In design thinking the presence of constraints is seen as a positive force that encourages creative solutions and exploring options that would not otherwise be considered, and this proved to be true in this case study (Brown & Katz, 2011; Hill, 1998; Ness, 2011).


Naturally budget was an important constraint that shaped the way in which the space was converted and books and furniture was acquired or moved and repurposed. As discussed earlier, the librarian was involved in the “fuzzy front end” (Sanders & Stappers, 2008, p. 6), of the secondary library design and once the space was completed it was not possible to change the space, only to adapt its purpose. In the classrooms the availability of furniture in the room to hold the books and the available space for the classroom library vis-à-vis other learning spaces determined how many books could effectively by stored and displayed. In this respect creative design thinking was deployed, for example by taking the doors off built-in cupboard space both in the classrooms and in the library, creating additional shelving. Comfortable furniture was either acquired by donations from the community or purchased to ensure equity between the classrooms.


Although the library and classes each have a budget for the acquisition of books, both wanted to ensure that existing resources were not wasted – for example the books already owned in multiple copies. However their repurposing had to be examined within the constraints of the reading level of the students and the curriculum themes for each grade.

Collaboration and communication

Collaboration and communication between the TL and teachers has received a lot of attention as has the ways in which spatial design and design thinking can enhance collaboration (Avallon & Schneider, 2013; Ferer, 2012; Gibbs, 2003; Knapp, 2014; Montiel-Overall, 2006; Williamson, Archibald, & McGregor, 2010). Enhancing collaboration between the TL and the Eng/Hum department has occurred on a number of fronts, both physical and virtual – such as book chat mornings to book talk new books, encouraging teachers and students to be involved with the selection of books for the Red Dot Awards (ISLN, 2015), processing and cataloguing the books, and the creation of a virtual space for the books (Day, 2015b).


Given time constraints and curriculum pressures, additional moments for collaboration and communication have had to be designed into the process. For example teachers can book the reading zone space to conduct lessons, and invite the TL to book talk new or noteworthy books. In addition the library receives supervision assistance from teachers during lunch, recess times and after school. The Eng/Hum teachers have first priority in requesting this duty, creating the opportunity for the important “casual conversations” that result in informal learning and information exchange (Oblinger, 2006; Somerville & Brown-Sica, 2011).


The process can neither be criticized for its efficacy nor results. Teachers, students and the librarian have largely viewed the change positively. Due to making small iterative changes to the spaces, starting with a small budget and a limited number of books in the first year, and subsequently adapting the choice of books, the selection and weeding process based on experience and feedback, the combined library / class library spaces appear to have grown organically despite a lot of “behind the scenes” work on book processing, cataloguing and making books classroom / shelf ready.

There are five main recommendations arising from the analysis of this case study, all which can be tackled through employing design thinking rather than further changes to the current spatial design:

  • Balance the contradictory forces of novelty and familiarity through how books are selected, displayed and rotated
  • Focus efforts on the most efficacious element of encouraging reading – book talks
  • Expand the space to include the home environment, particularly in the case of bilingual students
  • Increase involvement of students in the spatial design and change process
  • Quantify the benefits of this spatial / design thinking collaboration through evidence based research.

These will be elaborated in the next section.


Balance novelty and familiarity

Students like and respond to novelty in display and a constant supply of “new” titles, they would also possibly benefit from choice limitation (Iyengar, 2011). This can be achieved by a rotation of titles between spine and front facing, and through a rotation between the books in the various classes (Lindsay, 2010). At present the core and class libraries are refreshed annually and the class libraries are not rotated between classes or teachers. It is recommended this be considered to prevent staleness. The class library placement of books in bins rather than shelves with a mixture of front and spine facing, allowing changes is display is not best practise, nor is having all books available simultaneously (Fractor et al., 1993; Lindsay, 2010; Sanacore, 2000; Sanacore & Palumbo, 2010).

Book talks

The importance of teachers’, librarians’, students’ and the community’s increasing exposure of diverse books in all genres by book talking can’t be overstated (Bentheim, 2013; Gallo, 2001; L. McDonald, 2013; Serafini, 2011). But, as examined in the analysis, a number of barriers stand in the way of regular book talks. In addition, requiring reading related tasks from students runs the risk of resulting in unfavourable associations with reading and further reluctance (Eriksson, 2002; Gallo, 2001; Miller, 2009).


Many practioners have described how digital innovation and the creation of virtual spaces can enhance and augment traditional book talks as well as expand transliteracy skills of students (Dreon, Kerper, & Landis, 2011; Gogan & Marcus, 2013; Gunter & Kenny, 2008; Ragan, 2012). It is recommended that students be given ownership of exploring the potentials of the digital realm in this respect as a guided design thinking exercise.

Mother tongue material and the home environment

Access to mother tongue materials continues to be a weakness in the library and even more so in the classroom library. There are logistical and financial constraints including the wide spread of languages, the undervaluation of low status languages, and misinformation and misunderstanding on the value of reading in the mother tongue amongst students and parents (Bailey, 2014a, 2014b, 2015; Boelens, Cherek, Tilke, & Bailey, 2015). This is an area that would benefit greatly from increased collaboration between the college and parent body where previously “unknowable” resources could be tapped into through utilizing the analytical and process skills of design thinking (IDEO, 2014; Landis, Umolu, & Mancha, 2010; McIntosh, 2015).

Student involvement

While literature indicates collaboration by all stakeholders is essential for acceptance, particularly in learning environments (Hamilton, 2013; Jones, 2006; Sanders & Stappers, 2008), this has largely been a librarian / teacher initiative with some student involvement in book selection. Moving forward, the virtual or digital sphere is an area where students can also be encouraged to carve out a presence and take ownership with teachers taking on an enabler role as use of all seven learning spaces are maximised (Grisham & Wolsey, 2006; McIntosh, 2010; Thornburg, 2007; Wilson & Randall, 2012).

Quantify the benefits

Despite numerous hurdles in providing data and making analysis founded on circulation figures or student attainment records, there is considerable value in documenting and providing evidence for practises – not the least that it supports budget requests.


Circulation records do not provide a complete record or necessarily correlate with reading because:

  • Books may be read in library / class without being checked out
  • In affluent multi-cultural communities, students may have access to large personal libraries, including books in their mother tongue
  • Students may be borrowing books from the public library

Despite this, circulation is still the best proxy for reading. The decentralised nature of the class libraries results in less control over book checkout. Even in the library, that has no exit barriers, at the end of 2014/5 academic year roughly 20% of returned books had not been checked out of the system. While this can be lauded as an indication of the high moral and ethical standards of the students, it does pose difficulties in creating any evidence based data on the actual impact of either separating part of the library or decentralising the collection to class libraries in terms of increases in circulation.


It is recommended that both current and longitudinal research be carried out to see if there is any correlation between increased access to text, the amount of reading / circulation and other objective measures of attainment such as the annual PISA or TIMS tests. This will take the initiative beyond transformative individual anecdotal stories to evidence based research. The CLEP (Classroom Literacy Environmental Profile) (McGill-franzen et al., 1999; Wolfersberger, Reutzel, Sudweeks, & Fawson, 2004) and more recently the TEX-IN3 (Hoffman, Sailors, Duffy, & Beretvas, 2004) tools have successfully been used in the evaluation of elementary school class libraries and could be adapted for the middle school environment.


The recent inclusion of informational (nonfiction) texts in both the middle school zone and the classroom libraries is also one worth further investigation. Whether the expansion of the collections has impacted on the space, the ability to choose, and the completion of summative assessments in the individual subjects can be investigated in the light of the existing literature on the matter (Hopenwasser & Noel, 2014; Ness, 2011; Sanacore & Palumbo, 2010; Young & Moss, 2006; Young, Moss, & Cornwell, 2007).


Avallon, J., & Schneider, A. (2013). Building collaboration into workspace design. Facility Management Journal, (September / October), 34–38. Retrieved from http://cdn.ifma.org/sfcdn/fmj-supporting-documents/building-collaboration-into-workspace-design-fmj-sep-oct-2013.pdf?sfvrsn=0

Bailey, N. (2014a, November 12). Building a LOTE collection at an international school [Web Log]. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from http://informativeflights.blogspot.sg/2014/11/building-lote-collection-at.html

Bailey, N. (2014b, November 12). Research summary on language [Web Log]. Retrieved November 12, 2014, from http://informativeflights.blogspot.sg/2014/11/research-summary-on-language.html

Bailey, N. (2015). Digital language learning ecology. Singapore: iBooks. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/digital-language-learning/id1000588637?ls=1&mt=11

Bentheim, C. A. (2013). Continuing the transition work from traditional library to learning commons. Teacher Librarian, 41(2), 29–36. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=92991111&site=ehost-live

Boelens, H., Cherek, J., Tilke, A., & Bailey, N. (2015). Communicating across cultures: cultural identity issues and the role of the multicultural, multilingual school library within the school community. Presented at the “The school library rocks” IASL 2015, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Brown, T. (2008). Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, 86(6), 84–92. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=heh&AN=32108052&site=ehost-live

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design: Change by Design. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381–383. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x

Cha, S. H., & Kim, T. W. (2015). What matters for students’ use of physical library space? The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(3), 274–279. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.03.014

Day, K. (2013a, January 14). Carol Kuhlthau meets Tim Brown: Guided Inquiry {Design} Thinking [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.thelibrarianedge.com/libedge/2013/01/carol-kuhlthau-meets-tim-brown-guided.html?rq=design%20thinking

Day, K. (2013b, November). Liberate your book cupboards and create a more true “bookstore” model in your school library [Web Log]. Retrieved August 2, 2015, from http://www.thelibrarianedge.com/libedge/2013/11/liberate-your-book-cupboards-and-create.html

Day, K. (2015a, August 30). Expert learning in the library…. and classroom [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.thelibrarianedge.com/libedge/2015/8/30/a-sociologist-who-loves-the-research-process?rq=

Day, K. (2015b, September 3). Professional learning for teachers who read books students might read [Library Guide]. Retrieved September 6, 2015, from http://research.uwcsea.edu.sg/eastlibsec/classlibs

Day, K. (2015c, September 5). Design thinking for the research process (e.g., the IBO Extended Essay) [Web Log]. Retrieved September 6, 2015, from http://www.thelibrarianedge.com/libedge/2015/8/30/design-thinking-for-the-research-process

Day, K. (2015d, September 28). Center and satellite collections: connections between classrooms and the library [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.thelibrarianedge.com/libedge/2015/9/26/middle-school-classroom-libraries-and-the-central-library

Dreon, O., Kerper, R. M., & Landis, J. (2011). Digital storytelling: A tool for teaching and learning in the YouTube generation. Middle School Journal, 42(5), 4–9.

Elliott-Burns, R. (2003). Space, place, design and the school library. Journal of the Australian School Library Association, 17(2).

Elliott-Burns, R. (2005). Designing spaces for learning and living in schools: perspectives of a flaneuse. Presented at the Australian Curriculum Studies Association Biennial Conference, Queensland, Australia: University of the Sunshine Coast. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/4345/1/4345.pdf

Eriksson, K. (2002). Booktalk dilemmas: Teachers’ organisation of pupils’ reading. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 46(4), 391–408. http://doi.org/10.1080/0031383022000024570

Ferer, E. (2012). Working together: library and writing center collaboration. Reference Services Review, 40(4), 543–557. http://doi.org/10.1108/00907321211277350

Fractor, J. S., Woodruff, M. C., Martinez, M. G., & Teale, W. H. (1993). Let’s not miss opportunities to promote voluntary reading: Classroom libraries in the elementary school. The Reading Teacher, 46(6), 476–484. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20201114

Gallo, D. R. (2001). How classics create an aliterate society. The English Journal, 90(3), 33–39. Retrieved from http://moormangb.ced.appstate.edu/5730_f11_h/unit1/Gallo.pdf

Gibbs, R. (2003). Reframing the role of the teacher-librarian : the case for collaboration and flexibility. Scan, 22(3), 4–7. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=129538;res=AEIPT

Gogan, B., & Marcus, A. (2013). Lost in transliteracy – how to expand student learning across a variety of platforms. Knowledge Quest, 41(5), 40–45.

Grisham, D. L., & Wolsey, T. D. (2006). Recentering the middle school classroom as a vibrant learning community: Students, literacy, and technology intersect. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(8), 648–660. http://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.49.8.2

Gunter, G. A., & Kenny, R. F. (2008). Digital booktalk: Digital media for reluctant readers. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(1), 84–99.

Hamilton, B. (2013, November 14). A visit to the Lovett School story studio: Redesigning learning spaces, rewriting narratives of learning [Web Log]. Retrieved August 8, 2015, from https://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/a-visit-to-the-lovett-school-story-studio-redesigning-learning-spaces-rewriting-narratives-of-learning/

Hill, A. M. (1998). Problem solving in real-life contexts: An alternative for design in technology education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 8, 203–220.

Hoffman, J., Sailors, M., Duffy, G., & Beretvas, S. N. (2004). The effective elementary classroom literacy environment: Examining the validity of the TEX-IN3 observation system. Journal of Literacy Research, 36(3), 303–334. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15548430jlr3603_3

Hopenwasser, C. B., & Noel, A. M. (2014). Tackling text complexity with your classroom library. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 50(2), 81–84. http://doi.org/10.1080/00228958.2014.900851

IDEO. (2014). Design thinking for libraries – a toolkit for patron-centered design (p. 121). IDEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved from www.designthinkingforlibraries.com

ISLN. (2015). Red Dot Book Awards 2015-2016 [Google Site]. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from https://sites.google.com/site/reddotbookawards20152016/

Iyengar, S. (2011, November). How to make choosing easier [Video file]. Retrieved October 8, 2015, from https://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_choosing_what_to_choose

James, M. E. (1923). Use of classroom libraries to stimulate interest and speed in reading. The Elementary School Journal, 23(8), 601–608. http://doi.org/10.2307/994550

Jones, J. A. (2006). Student-involved classroom libraries. The Reading Teacher, 59(6), 576–580. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/203284680?accountid=10344

Kelley, M. J., & Decker, E. O. (2009). The Current State of Motivation to Read Among Middle School Students. Reading Psychology, 30(5), 466–485. http://doi.org/10.1080/02702710902733535

Knapp, J. (2014, May 1). Google Ventures: your design team needs a war room. Here’s how to set one up. Retrieved August 8, 2015, from http://www.fastcodesign.com/3028471/google-ventures-your-design-team-needs-a-war-room-heres-how-to-set-one-up

Krarup, A. (1955). Classroom libraries are not enough. The Reading Teacher, 8(4), 215–219. http://doi.org/10.2307/20196863

Krashen, S. D. (2004). The power of reading: insights from the research. Westport, Conn.; Portsmouth, N.H.: Libraries Unlimited ; Heinemann.

La Marca, S. (2008). Reading spaces (pp. 1–12). Presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship, Padua, Italy: International Association of School Librarianship. Retrieved from http://www.kzneducation.gov.za/Portals/0/ELITS%20website%20Homepage/IASL%202008/professional%20papers/lamarcaspacespp.pdf

Landis, D., Umolu, J., & Mancha, S. (2010). The power of language experience for cross-cultural reading and writing. The Reading Teacher, 63(7), 580–589. http://doi.org/10.1598/RT.63.7.5

Lesesne, T. S. (1991). Developing lifetime readers: Suggestions from fifty years of research. English Journal, 80(6), 61. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/237285282?accountid=10344

Lindsay, J. (2010). Children’s access to print material and education-related outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates. Retrieved from http://rif.org/documents/us/RIFandLearningPointMeta-FullReport.pdf

McDonald, A. (2006). The ten commandments revisited: the qualities of good library space. LIBER Quarterly, 16(2). Retrieved from http://liber.library.uu.nl/index.php/lq/article/view/7840/8010

McDonald, L. (2013). Literature for children and young adolescents. In A literature companion for teachers (pp. 1–7). Newtown, Australia: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

McGill-franzen, A., Allington, R. L., Yokoi, L., & Brooks, G. (1999). Putting books in the classroom seems necessary but not sufficient. The Journal of Educational Research, 93(2), 67–74. http://doi.org/10.1080/00220679909597631

McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks & Bricks: When digital, learning and physical space meet. Educational Facility Planner, 45(1&2), 33–38. Retrieved from http://media.cefpi.org/efp/EFP45-1and2McIntosh.pdf

McIntosh, E. (2015, July). The unknown unknowns – test out your ideas [Web Log]. Retrieved July 19, 2015, from http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2015/07/the-unknown-unknowns-test-out-your-ideas.html

Miller, D. (2009). The book whisperer: awakening the inner reader in every child (1st ed). San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2006). Teacher and teacher-librarian collaboration: moving toward integration. Teacher Librarian, 34(2), 28–33. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224885770?accountid=10344

Montiel-Overall, P. (2008). Teacher and librarian collaboration: A qualitative study. Library & Information Science Research, 30(2), 145–155. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2007.06.008

Ness, M. (2011). Teachers’ Use of and Attitudes Toward Informational Text in K-5 Classrooms. Reading Psychology, 32(1), 28–53. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=57420253&site=ehost-live

Oblinger, D. (2006). Learning spaces. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE.

Powell, W. R. (1966). Classroom libraries: their frequency of use. Elementary English, 43(4), 395–397. http://doi.org/10.2307/41387579

Ragan, M. (2012). Inspired technology, inspired readers – How book trailers foster a passion for reading. Access, March, 8–13.

Raisdana, J. (2014, March 10). Well-versed In books [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.jabizraisdana.com/blog/well-versed-in-books/

Raisdana, J. (2015, February 9). Leave with a suggestion [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.jabizraisdana.com/blog/leave-with-a-suggestion/

Sanacore, J. (2000). Promoting the lifetime reading habit in middle school students. The Clearing House, 73(3), 157–161. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/196889420?accountid=10344

Sanacore, J., & Palumbo, A. (2010). Middle school students need more opportunities to read across the curriculum. The Clearing House, 83(5), 180–185. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/744358835?accountid=10344

Sanders, E. B.-N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. CoDesign, 4(1), 5–18. http://doi.org/10.1080/15710880701875068

Serafini, F. (2011). Creating space for children’s literature. The Reading Teacher, 65(1), 30–34. http://doi.org/10.1598/RT.65.1.4

Sheldon, S., B., & Davis, M., H. (2015). “I wish everyone had a library like this” (The Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project No. Year 2 Report). Baltimore, USA. Retrieved from http://baltimore-berc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ALibraryLikeThisJune2015.pdf

Somerville, M. M., & Brown-Sica, M. (2011). Library space planning: a participatory action research approach. The Electronic Library, 29(5), 669–681. http://doi.org/10.1108/02640471111177099

Sullivan-Macdonald, D. (2015, October 1). Teach more, librarian less, say SLJ leadership summit panelists [Web Log]. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from http://www.slj.com/2015/10/schools/teach-more-librarian-less-becoming-essential-panel-at-the-slj-leadership-summit/

Thornburg, D. (2007, October). Campfires in cyberspace: Primordial metaphors for learning in the 21st Century. TCPD. Retrieved from http://tcpd.org/Thornburg/Handouts/Campfires.pdf

Todd, R. J., Gordon, C. A., & Lu, Y.-L. (2011). One common goal: Student learning (Report of Findings and Recommendations of the New Jersey School Library Survey Phase 2). New Jersey, USA: New Jersey Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.njasl.info/wp-content/NJ_study/2011_Phase2Report.pdf

Williamson, K., Archibald, A., & McGregor, J. (2010). Shared vision: A key to successful collaboration? School Libraries Worldwide, 16(2), 16–30. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=55415805&site=ehost-live

Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology, 20(2), 1–17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=86214889&site=ehost-live

Wolfersberger, M., Reutzel, D. R., Sudweeks, R., & Fawson, P. (2004). Developing and validating the Classroom Literacy Environmental Profile (CLEP): A tool for examining the “print richness” of early childhood and elementary classrooms. Journal of Literacy Research, 36(2), 211–272. http://doi.org/10.1207/s15548430jlr3602_4

Worthy, J. (1996). Removing barriers to voluntary reading for reluctant readers: The role of school and classroom libraries. Language Arts, 73(7), 483–492. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/196851690?accountid=10344

Young, T. A., & Moss, B. (2006). Nonfiction in the classroom library: A literacy necessity. Childhood Education, 82(4), 207–212. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/210392168?accountid=10344

Young, T. A., Moss, B., & Cornwell, L. (2007). The classroom library: A place for nonfiction, nonfiction in its place. Reading Horizons, 48(1), 1–18. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/236486012?accountid=10344



Are we there yet? No … and this is why – an appeal to database owners and academic libraries

I’m about to write another assignment.  This must be about my 40th serious assignment of over 1,500 words requiring academic research, looking for good peer-reviewed studies, reading through 1,000’s of pages to try and distill exactly what is being said, whether it is of relevance (directly or tangentially), and once I’m finished that to pause and think and think and think and try to come up with some new insights, some different ways of applying the theory, some critiques that go beyond the obvious.

As I’ve written before, (unfair advantage, / how I used to write) the true work isn’t in the procuring of the articles, it’s in discerning their relevance, it’s in rejection rather than reading.

So why am I, Anno Domino / Common Era  2015 STILL spending so much time on the library database doing silly work. Honestly, those who lead academic libraries and who run academic databases please tell me why this isn’t easier, faster, more streamlined?  Is it me? Am I doing something fundamentally wrong?

Yes I know how far we’ve come and how much easier this is than 10-15-20 years ago. Yes I also studied in the days of micro-fiche where you didn’t even bother finding articles because it just went into the box of “too hard”.  But we do have the tools now and we have progressed further so there should be no excuse as to why the “stupid” work is taking up so much of my time.

Right now I’m looking for good literature on “Classroom Libraries” as opposed to “libraries” in the use of space and resources.  I put in a federated search. At the same time, I search Google Scholar.  I open tabs of dozens of potential articles, reject many, decide to proceed with some.

As you all know by now I’m a huge fan of Evernote.  I put my entire life, but particularly my academic life into Evernote.  And as I stuff it full of articles, I also at the same time put the citations straight into Zotero, (my citation manager of choice – yes I know there are other new ones like RefMe that everyone is raving about, but Zotero has served me well and they’re very responsive to comments and suggestions).  But WHY oh WHY is it still such a pain to get an article in a PDF format, a citation into a RIS format and both tucked up securely into the bedding of choice?

Time for some pictures … follow the captions for what I’m trying to say

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.46.32 am

Primo Search – CSU Libraries



Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.20.22 am

Google Scholar (with the addition of the CSU library link)

Google Scholar (with the addition of the CSU library link) makes things much easier – I confess I’d rather click on a dubious link than the library link because it will take me straight to the article / pdf. It does make citation a bit more of a pain without the citation tools, but at least I can accept or discard it more quickly. On the other hand – there are way too few limiters for Google Scholar … as a distance learner, I don’t usually want books that I cannot access or where no eBook is available

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.20.34 amThe open tabs in my browser once I get searching for articles … and that’s on a slow day

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.21.21 am

delivery.ris? out? blah blah, how about downloading me some meaningful names?

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.19.52 am

When I click on an article, if I’m lucky I get something nice and neat and tidy like this

But it’s only after a year or so of using databases that I built up experience in knowing which would get me the article most efficiently and with the least number of clicks and doubts

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.20.03 am

If I’m not so lucky I get this –

Did you see all those tabs open on my browser – I don’t even have any idea what on earth is article was, so I just stab for my favourite database and hope for the best. If it goes wrong and I need to do an advanced search … expletive time

 Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.20.52 am

So I ask you nicely for the pdf. But then it just opens in a new browser window and I STILL have to click “print” and then “print to pdf” and then if I’m lucky it will retain the title or author as file name, and if not it will be “out/pdf” or “23489038” or “gobblydy gook got you there” or even worse “something.html”.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.22.07 am

The extra steps in getting a pdf onto your desktop and then into Evernote, don’t press “SAVE” because then you get an HTML file which is pretty useless!

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.20.59 am

Such a short life, so many choices. And so many of them don’t actually provide what you think’s on offer. Cite? Sounds good – no that just means you copy and paste the citation into your document. Which makes it “dumb” data – You actually need “export” and then you need to click through a couple of times until you get the RIS file in your downloads

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.21.08 am

Riddle me, Riddle me Rhy,
which of these options should I try?

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 11.21.36 am

Zotero – Yes I do want to import, otherwise I wouldn’t have clicked on the RIS file in the first place – why make a one click step into a 2 click process. (But don’t fret too much you’re not the worst of the redundant click club)

Files waiting for transfer

Files waiting for transfer

Phew … A subselection of files, tabbed and colour-coded waiting to be put into the correct notebook in Evernote.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.28.01 pm Just drag and drop and then the real work starts – roughly an hour or so for 10-15 articles and their citations … if you don’t get sidetracked by writing a blog post on the whole process!

NOW … If I ran the circus …

Let’s be completely impractical and totally utopian. See the top photo in the top left column?  I’d add two buttons to each entry:

* One click *.pdf download (with tagging allowed)
* One click *.ris download

because you see, as long as I can get the article, I don’t give a &*^*&^ (insert expletive of choice) which database it comes from. Just give the me the pdf.  With a sensible name like the title. And believe me, I don’t have the time or patiences or hard-drive to keep articles that are of no use for me, so I read the abstract and  delete.

Another circus I’d like to run – those learning modules.  I’ve been around the block a bit, and I’ve seen inside libraries.  A certain academic library that shall not be named in a town that shall not be named has a whole department dedicated to copying articles for coursework for their students who then get a bundle. Hard copies. Trees dying.

At CSU we judiciously just add links to the articles in primo, which the student then has to click on and go through the whole rigamarole highlighted above. Oh for heaven sake, just stop the pretence and put the articles into subject reserve in pdf form.  Who are we kidding that this is meaningful work or adding to knowledge? And then the links that don’t work, and instead of everyone going off and sleuthing how to find the article and thereby actually learning something, there is just a host of complaints on the boards that the article isn’t there.  Finding coursework articles that have been pre-selected by a lecturer does not a good student make. And we’re foolish to pretend it is so.  The success is in the seeking out of related material from other fields and dimensions that may not be thought of, in finding links and relationships, and then seeking those articles and selection and casting aside and applying that to the task at hand or real life that is the mark of the better student.

So now I’ll get back to the boring work.  And just as an aside mention – the databases that do it half ok?  ScienceDirect I always like – clean and easy and good with recommendations on related articles.  Proquest isn’t bad, and I like their little sidebar extras like seeing how many articles in which years / decades so you can see the rise and fall of fads.  EBSCO and JSTOR you’re ugly and clunky and too-many clicky and I avoid you as much as possible.

And here’s an open invitation – if all this is my own  stupid fault because I have nary a clue what I’m doing, please comment and tell me so and let all of us know a better way.