As it is Mental Health Awareness Week we thought we would share with you some transformational stories. Not only are libraries great places for Reading Engagement, they are safe inclusive environments where the hauora and well being needs of all our students, especially our diverse, vulnerable and struggling students, are met. Here's a story about how a New Zealand school library supported a student . . .
In our school we have a daily report system called "Check in-Check Out" or CICO. It is one of my jobs in the library. The students are referred to us through the Deans or Senior management. They come in the morning to pick up their form, I give a cherry morning greeting for them and send them on their way to class. In the afternoon they drop their form back off to me and we go through it together, and we chat about the day, what went well and what fell apart.
I get to know students that never would normally come into the library. I get to know our characters, our Year 10 boys who are pushing the boundaries and our students who just struggle even to be here. Is this on my job description? No! Do I love doing this? Yes.
Meet Michael. A Year 10 student on CICO - sent because he was wagging, missing classes and completely disengaged. He did not come in for his CICO form so for the first few days I had to hunt him down - good for the daily step tally. Eventually he realised I cared about him and his story and he started to pick the forms up and drop them off. He started to feel safe in our space and then one day, he did something that surprised me - he issued a book out.
I didn't say anything- incognito for a while I thought was best. The last thing a Year 10 needs is a nagging old lady librarian. Then he got another book out. He has taken out 5 this year, all nicely spaced out - so he is reading them. Not bad I think!
Michael has issues with his hearing and once he knew I would listen to him talk and talk so he could listen, he spent more time in the office. He started to do well on CICO, teachers started to give really positive comments and get off his case about the wrong shoes. Finally they saw he mattered more and that Michael was a creative, artsy, deep thinker. When he started to reveal himself, we all could see the depth of his mind and the beauty locked in it.
Michael started to flourish. He was no longer on CICO. He found new friends, safe ones, my library crew. And now he reads and we talk about it. His last book was "Frozen Charlotte" by Alex Bell. Michael has 30 Credits, and he will pass Level 1 NCEA. Last year we wondered if he would make it another week.
Michael smiles as I walk past him and the library crew who clutter the office every morning. And I smile because I know school libraries transform.
Two of the important services that school librarians provide for their students and school communities are readers advisory and collection management. What that means is that school librarians find and purchase the best books that will serve the needs of their users, and then they make sure they get into the hands of those that need them.
All students in Aotearoa need books containing te reo and written by Māori. Here is a collection of some of them.
Schools without libraries or librarians have more trouble making this happen.
We would like to acknowledge and thank Te Rōpū Whakahau for the gift of our School Libraries Transform translations into te reo.
Ka whakaihiihi te whare taonga a kura
Ka whakaihiihi te whare pukapuka a kura
Te Rōpū Whakahau is the leading national body that represents Māori engaged in Libraries, Culture, Knowledge, Information, Communication and Systems Technology in Aotearoa New Zealand. Te Rōpū Whakahau is a Māori association guided by the whakataukī waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa and is founded on four core values: Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga and Te Reo Māori. Te Rōpū Whakahau supports practitioners and their organisations to empower whānau, hapū and iwi by providing development opportunities, indigenous and multicultural partnerships, and championing best practice around services, cultural responsiveness and accountability within the profession.
Check out their great resources: https://trw.org.nz/resources/
Mā te kimi ka kite, Mā te kite ka mōhio, Mā te mōhio ka mārama
Seek and discover. Discover and know. Know and become enlightened. Learning is a journey.
It starts with a conscious effort to seek knowledge.
Upon seeking, you will surely discover a brand new thing or see a familiar object in a totally new light. Eventually, the things you know will lead you to become wise beyond your years.
Seek. Discover. Know. Be enlightened.
Students from Queenstown Primary School share their love
of their school library. We think that Queenstown Primary School is lucky to be one of the 35% of schools in New Zealand Aotearoa that has a school librarian. Thank you school librarian Julia Morum for providing such a wonderful asset for her students.
Children's author John Carr creates some carrtoons for our campaign
New Zealand author John Carr, who has written a whole mess of children's books, has been kind enough to create some Carrtoons in support of our School Libraries Transform campaign. Thank you John for supporting school libraries. We love authors and the books they write. And their humour!
Reading is the heart of education. We can’t afford to let that heart stop beating because the knowledge of almost everything we do, flows from it. Parents and teachers have a vital role in keeping reading as a central focus, especially in this digital age, where devices tend to be more popular than books. However, without modern, engaging books in well stocked school libraries, and librarians who help create this warm and welcoming place, encouraging children to lose themselves in the magic of books, then the reading heart will most certainly stop beating. A reading heart not beating, is a tragedy we must avoid at all costs.
A library may be the only real access to stories, information and technology that some of our more disadvantaged children have. Research shows the benefits that having a well run, updated library, full of engaging resources can have on reading and writing skills, the enjoyment of reading and the improvement of academic achievement.
If we want to ensure our children have a healthy, vibrant reading heart, then we need to feed and support the source that keeps it beating.
"A school library is like the Tardis - a safe haven, bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and perhaps most excitingly, the means of transportation to other countries, other times, other worlds and other lives that expand our own experience, knowledge and understanding. Who wouldn't want one in their school!!! School libraries change lives! They changed mine and I will forever be grateful." Melinda Szymanik.
SLANZA - School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa