Want to get inspired – listen to Erica McWilliam

(This post exists on Storify, but it seems impossible to embed it here on this WordPress blog, so I’ve copied most of it here. To see it on Storify, follow the link.)

Below is my Twitter stream while I was listening to keynote speaker, Erica McWilliam, present at the SLAV conference here in Melbourne last Friday. The theme of the conference was ‘Creating collaborative learning spaces: Future school library scenarios’. Erica’s talk was entitled, The e-shift: What does it mean for 21st century literacy and learning?
Erica is a woman worth listening to – if you ever get the opportunity, leap at it.

So refreshing to hear a learned woman speak at a conference, given the fact that so many keynotes are delivered by men.

Lyn Hay, from Charles Sturt University, also presented a thought provoking presentation about the role of Teacher-Librarians and libraries as physical spaces as we move into an increasingly digital world. Lyn’s presentation has been uploaded to Slideshare and I’d encourage you to take a look at it.

On the day, there were very few of us using Twitter to push the ideas out to the wider world. In fact, most were taking notes using the pen and paper model. Hardly a laptop or iPad in sight. Maybe people were using their phones, but I didn’t see much of anything like that happening around me. In 2011, I’d expect a Teacher-Librarian audience to be wired up and sharing ideas in collaborative spaces. If we are to respond to the ideas presented by Erica, then we better see our profession rise to the challenges of our age. We need more networked Teacher-Librarians to model for our staff and students how we self direct our own learning, and how we can seek out opportunities to make the learning experiences in our schools today reflective of the connected era we are living in.

Influence and the John Ward Award

Can you pinpoint the moment in your life when you decided on your career direction? For me, I can’t pinpoint it to the exact date, but I can identify the time of my life.

Once there was a little girl who went to a Primary School. She was the little chubby kid who had a brain in her head and who discovered a place in the school where she mattered. It was the school library. Unusually, it was run by two men, one of whom took an interest in her and encouraged her. He gave her responsibility and helped foster the love of reading that had been established early in life by her mother.  He pushed her to read widely, even when it was Paul Zindel’s, ‘My Darling, My Hamburger’, and she had to go back to school and kindly inform him that really, this book wasn’t suitable for someone in Grade 5.  He gave her ‘The Nargun and the Stars’ for her work as a Library Monitor, and even though she didn’t really like the book, she kept it on her bookshelf for years; it followed her from house to house through her married life and still occupies a place to this day.  The man’s name was Wayne Hassett, and to this day, he has no idea of the influence he had on this young girl’s life. He helped her to love libraries and harbour the desire to be a Librarian when she got older.

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That little girl was me, and yes, I did become a Teacher-Librarian. Last Friday, I stood on a stage in the Clemenger Theatre at the National Gallery of Victoria and accepted the John Ward Award from the School Library Association of Victoria. The award is given to a recipient who demonstrates an outstanding contribution to learning and teaching at their school and raises the profile of the profession through their role as Teacher Librarian.  It was one of my life’s proudest moments, and in my speech I paid homage to the Teacher-Librarian who all those years ago influenced a little girl to pursue a career where she could encourage others to experience the joy that comes from reading and acquiring knowledge.

So, all of you out there. Do your job well. Do it well so that you can motivate others, spark a desire within them to reach for their dreams. You never know who it is that you are influencing, who out there is remembering the kind word, the encouraging comment, the friendly smile, the nudge to extend themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. It’s probably the most important thing we can do.

*SLAV’s blog, Bright Ideas, have posted about the award – thanks very much to Judith Way for writing such kind words about me. Judith, herself, was a well deserving recipient of the innovator’s award last Friday at the ceremony. Congratulations Judith!