Thursday, November 19, 2015

EARCOS Conference - Taiwan - Day 2

Photo taken by Jenny Luca.

The last post I wrote was about Day 1 of learning at the EARCOS Conference - Taipei, Taiwan. This post will be about Day 2.

Day 2 started with my own presentation on "Social Media and the School Library – another time sucker or a meaningful connection? " where I discussed how making a plan for use of social media in your library or school is an important part of making sure it is meaningful, relevant and not a time waster. The presentation will be the next blog post - so stay tuned.

Next up was Barbara and Tim Boyer from Shanghai America School Middle and high school libraries presenting "Genre’fying your Books…Are you crazy?" discussing how they are currently going about the process of Genre'fying the fiction collection of 15,000 books. They talked about using parent volunteers, issues with placing books in specific genres and how they came up with their genre names and labels.

Following on from Barbara and Tim were Katie day and Barbara Reid on "Social Reading Sites and the Library" where they discussed aspects of social reading and did a brief overview of what is available, public vs private, and age appropriateness. They shared how different OPACs have the capacity for users to leave reviews and asked the question how effective were they? Do we make full use of this capacity? They also discussed Biblionasium for primary aged students and the pros and cons.

Barbara introduced MyOn which states it "provides anytime, anywhere access to a library of more than 10,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time reporting and assessments and embedded close reading tools." It is certainly worth a look for those looking into digital resources for the primary / elementary level.

A short discussion on Goodreads for older students followed where Katie shared a research and presentation from the GAFE summit in Singapore. Shelfari, Librarything and other similar social sites were discussed.

They finished their presentation talking about Press Reader a powerful news feeder that "Connects People through News. All-you-can-read digital newsstand with thousands of the world's most popular newspapers and magazines." It also has a social aspect to it to share, comment, see popular trends and create public bookmarks. The conclusion was that all of these tools are only as good as the way people use them, and if you are to move forward with any of these social reading platforms it is about promotion and use that makes the difference.

During lunch a few people went into the basement of TAS to see the 'stacks' that had been created when more digital content was added to the library and the physical books were moved out... I was late, so I missed out on this little field trip.  Katie Day took more photos you can view on her Google Photos page. I think I heard there are 20,000 titles held in the stacks in the basement.

After lunch there was a job alike discussion on various topics across the room. 

To finish off the 2 days we were fortunate enough the listen to Jenny Luca talk about "Making Change Happen – How do we do it?" She shared so much and so many links. I have captured a few  gems and links below.

Photo taken by Michael from the TAS communications office
Some people hate change - they don't hate you (Seth Godin) Don't take take it personally. 
To be a change agent - make it possible for people to connect with you on a human level. 

I also learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect - Smart people underestimate themselves & ignorant people think they're intelligent... we see this often in the school setting.

Jenny encouraged us to watch the following TED talks she has been inspired by ...

Leaning in at the work place  Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
Start with the why ? Why is it important? Simon Sinek How great leaders inspire action
Develop your elevator pitch - 6 Elevator Pitches for the 21st Century

Jenny left us with a final thought ... Don't wait for someone else to take the leadership role - just do it.

The EARCOS mini conference workshop was a great learning experience. The sessions I attended resulted in excellent learning. There were other presentations I did not see (there was just not enough time!), these were : 

iPads in the Elementary Library by Barbara Middleton
Digital VS Analogue Reading by Pam Males & Angela Erickson
Embracing The Maker Movement in Your Library Jennifer Chapman
Library Laughter - Kimbra Power See Kimbra's blog post about it
Blogging and a Newbery Contender Book Club by Barbara Middleton
Writing Proposals that Work. Candace Aiani

All the presentations are available at the EARCOS blog page for a few more weeks.
Tweets are Storified here

Thanks so much to EARCOS, TAS, Candice, Barbara and Carol for organising a fantastic event.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

EARCOS Conference - Taipei, Taiwan. Day 1.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the EARCOS "The Tech-Integrated Library: Imagining the Future One Service at a Time" workshop held at the Taipei American School, in Taiwan. The TAS school librarians who were instrumental in organising the event were Dr Candace Aiani, Barbara Middleton and Carol Youssif who did an outstanding job of balancing presentations with networking time.

EARCOS Librarian Weekend Workshop from Taipei American School on Vimeo.

There were over 70 in attendance with a number of excellent presentations on how technology is being integrated into library programs across the Asian region. Jenny Luca  (@jennyluca) from Melbourne, Australia started us off with her presentation on "Just What are we Preparing Our Students For?" where she shared with the fast pace of change in the workforce and what the students of today will be facing on graduation. Automation, globalisation and collaboration were the key takeaways from her presentation.

We then had an opportunity to use the app Klikaklu in supplied iPads in teams of three to explore the four (yes four) libraries of TAS. This app gives you visual clues that you need to find and match up. We had 15 clues to find throughout the libraries and it was quite engaging. Of course, we got sidetracked at all the fabulous things at in the TAS libraries. They have so much space, and I did not take nearly enough photographs, so I am hoping that others can share their links that I can share from here.
Klikaklu in action
The Chinese Library at TAS

The Lower School library - Just a beautiful space, this is only a portion of it.
The Middle School Library had a mini fair in it on this day,
so it was not in it's normal configuration.
The wow factor of the Upper school Library. Electonic RSS feed in the centre,
with touch screen ebook display on the sides.

iPad journals ready for reading, the quiet zone with the non fiction,
and a beautiful large space for the fiction.
After the Klikaklu tour, I chose to attend Candace's session on "eBook lending and Purchasing models" where she shared how she has moved into providing ebooks, journals and most of the collection for the senior students into a digital format. She uses Zinio For Libraries where students can access and download onto their own devices and also Zinio for Consumers and Newsstand  all accessible on iPads in the library.

Candace then explained to us the various models she uses to provide the resources for her students information requirements and the advantages and disadvantages offered by each. 

We then looked at providing access to these options through the online catalogue and other means. The overall conclusion was that offering access to students to digital resources is still very messy.

Next on my learning was Kate Brundage from Singapore American School "Using everyday data to promote student learning". Kate shared with us one lesson she developed where the students accessed their own school / reading log / borrowing records and reflect on it, with question prompts like ...

What do you notice about your history? 

What doesn't your history tell you?
How can you use this information?

Using the following process the students reflected and shared ...

  • Students login to the online catalog and access their history
  • Give them time to silently review their history and record their observations on sticky notes
  • Allow them to share their observations in a small group
  • Have each group report out to the whole class
  • Repeat these steps for observations, questions and next steps
  • Create a Blog entry reflecting on the learning
The student reflections on their own reading history were quite profound and led to some interesting discussion in the class and in our own learning environment.

The session participants then had an opportunity to examine the reading logs of two students and were asked to make comments on what we observed. The link to the responses are on padlet .
Kate's message was that we can use the data we have to help students see the journey they have been on, and move forward to become lifelong readers.

I then attended Candace & Katie Day's presentation on "Considering Libguides" where they showed us different ways that libraries across the region and beyond are using Libguides.
That evening a few of us headed into the Shilin night markets and had a grand time. Stay tuned for day 2. The storified tweets can be found here - Earcos Librarian @ TAS
The senior school student has similar behaviours the world over.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A photographic tale of 3 libraries

The month of October has been busy with travel, visiting schools and preparing workshops, hence the quiet blog but, so much learning and connecting has taken place in that time.

Todays post will be about sharing some of the great things I have seen in a number of libraries in my travels, all are IB schools.

First up - The Canadian International School of Singapore. A beautiful space that has nooks and crannies and large places all in the same very large room. Upstairs is the senior library, and downstairs the junior. The space and programme on this campus is managed by Annie Pyers with Lisa Miller. Captions are under the photos.

Student work is a feature of the library, all presented in a very professional way. The large Malaysian style throne chair on the top right sat in a complex shaped corner, but filled it beautifully ready for some partner reading. Bottom right photo shows the large classroom space in the senior library.

I loved the used of wicker baskets through out the library. It gave a lovely feel to the ambience. They are used as part of the limited use of plastic across the school to reduce exposure to toxins

These globes were just sitting on a shelf waiting to be looked at. I particularly liked the black one, very slick. The audio book stand was filled with Playaways within easy reach and eyesight of the teens they are serving.

The library is filled with beautiful orchids, which are lovingly looked after and again give the library an aura of peaceful and calm to the space. There was also use of portable signage to designate quiet spaces, which allowed for different places to be the quiet zones as the need arose.

The displays in the library range from the temporary seasonal displays, the beautifully elegant glass engraved signage and the digital display all show that making use of different formats caters for different needs.

The library provided a variety of seating for different purposes with different colours, shapes and heights. It all blended beautifully.


The International School of Singapore is moving campus soon, but that did not stop them purchasing some new furniture and shelving. The primary and middle library is a small space, about the size of two classrooms.

 The picture books have the shelving units on the left which were custom made to ensure all titles were front facing. The old shelving along the window are not on wheels, but all the new shelving is on wheels as can be seen in the bottom photograph.

 Some of the new seating that Grahame purchased for the space, making use of the narrow window/ walkway space as well. 

The new tables from Furnware (in NZ) that were purchased. The round table flips to make room for larger groups, or to be used somewhere else in the library or school.


The last library to be featured is at the Prem Tinsulanonda International School, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

One of the first things you see when you enter the library is this large  decorated bamboo cage which has been constructed to create a listening centre with cushions, books and audio books on CD with a multi listening post. It is apparently very popular.

 They also had some community projects / dynamic pin boards under construction. The one on the left was featured on a very long wall, and every person on the school community drew a self portrait to be included on the board. The colourful board featured on the right was a board featuring quotes and messages about what the students could say to people who were bullying them or others. It was student contributed and made for some good reading.

The rickshaw on the left was recently donated and restored to its former glory, it is now in the cooler months an outdoor  reading nook for a few children at a time. The chairs in the library are getting a face lift and the community are being asked for their opinion how comfortable the prototype is. The picture on the bottom right shows a magazine book rack which I had not seen before, and seemed to be quite effective in displaying the contents without taking up much space.

Three very different libraries with dedicated staff all trying their best to cater to for their school community needs. Thank you to Annie and Lisa, Grahame and Krissy for taking the time to show me around their libraries  and talk to me about what they have been doing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

School Libraries in Pakistan

Last week I posted about my general perception of Pakistan after my visit there, this week I want to focus on what I learned about the status of school libraries and librarians in Pakistan from the people I was working with.

Firstly, it is quite rare for school librarians to have any training in librarianship. From my brief research I found that there were only two universities in Pakistan that offered such courses. The University of Karachi and the University of the Punjab. There is also a 6 month course at the  Alama Iqbal Open University. It appears there are about 200 spots a year in offered in total, and, of course the cost would be something that needs to be considered by possible applicants and if the cost is offset by increased future earnings.

This situation leads to school librarians not really knowing what they are doing with regard to systems, policies & procedures and then having to work out their own based on what they already know, what they can find out, or what the school dictates. This sometimes leads to some organisational elements being over complicated (or insufficient) such as processes including cataloguing and shelving.  Many of the schools are for profit schools, so books are treated as assets and usually cannot be weeded without a struggle. Collection development can be based on 'reading practice' style books and resources, with limited wider leisure reading of good literature. In school systems with large numbers of schools, the collection purchasing could be done by someone in a main office, with no input from the school librarians, and the budget could also be managed by the main office, again with little input from the individual school librarians. 

Most school libraries do not use an automated library system, and many not have any system to allow students to search the resources in any capacity (not even a card catalogue). Browsing the shelves is the only method to know what is in the library (or going through the accession records). Pakistan suffers from regular daily power outages even in the cities, so not being reliant on computers maybe a good thing, and in places the internet is very inconsistent. The physical space of the school library tends to be very traditional based on the old British model, and what has always been done.

The procuring of books from other countries can be difficult due to the cost of both the books and shipping, (some vendors will not ship to Pakistan and if they do, it is very expensive), possible censorship by the school governance, and some books disappearing from the boxes on route. There have been instances of customs not releasing books until the appropriate 'tax' is payed. Local publishing in Pakistan is limited, even in the Urdu language. The cost of imported books is the same price as the retail price in the USA - ie $10 -$20+ USD per title, but when parents are paying between $100 - $300USD a month for school fees, the percentage of spending on books to create a decent library collection is very high at these prices. The cost of authentic titles and the lack of local publishing has led to a lucrative trade in pirated photocopied books, which are a fraction of the cost of the original and tend to be what school collections are based on.

With these limitations for physical books, many school librarians are looking to supplement their collections with e-resources, but again the costs are prohibitive for e-books and the supporting platforms. The distribution rights for Pakistan are also limited due to the high piracy rate in the country. Platforms such as Project Gutenberg, and Google Books have recently provided Pakistan with far greater opportunities than physical books have.  The well known and established online databases are also very expensive for even the richest private schools in Pakistan.  There is also the issue of slow internet access and power outages that again limits access, however, many people have a smartphone with 3G access. 

The status in government schools is even more grim, and it is recognised as being a problem - this quote from the Pakistan Libraries project.
"Happily, a majority of middle and high schools under control of the Pakistani Ministry of Education do have some sort of library. However, these libraries are often not effectively used to enhancing education and broaden students’ frame of reference. Most of these libraries contain old and outdated collections, and the librarians are not well trained to manage the libraries or to develop reading habits in students and teachers. Furthermore, there are generally no internet or computer facilities in middle and high schools to provide access to online resources and knowledge exchange activities. PLP plans to upgrade these libraries curricula, train librarians, and establish IT facilities to strengthen libraries in middle and high schools in rural Pakistan."  
This page from an 2012 IFLA report "Libraries in the early 21st century, volume 2: An international perspective" Libraries and Impact of Information and communication developments in Pakistan" by Kanwal Ameen outline some of the issues surrounding school libraries in Pakistan. He states that in the 1990's out of 171,000 schools, 481 had libraries, and only 30 of these had librarians. The National Education policy (1998-2010) targeted school libraries as a focus, but according to the report, not much has happened for a variety of reasons.

The internet is not censored by Pakistani authorities, only Youtube has  been blocked for the past 3 years due to a disagreement between Google and the Pakistan government over blasphemous videos that are available on the site. There is a  movement afoot in an effort to lift this ban. 

There is also some perception that the school library is just a store house for resources, and the school librarian is there just to take care of the books, this too is based on an old British model and hasn't changed very much due to the limitations of training   There are some great programs happening such as the Teachers and Children's Literature Festival held annually. There are also special projects such as the Pakistan Libraries Project working with government schools and Pakistani Academics writing about it (Revisioning School Libraries as Learning Hubs by Nooruddin Merchant. 
Also see this article by Rubina Bhatti on the historical context.)

At the three day IB Librarian Continuum workshop I led we started with the participants designing their perfect library. I use this activity as a diagnostic tool to see where the participants are in terms of thinking about the library.  Nearly all of the plans focused on the physical 'plan' of their library which supports what is stated by Kanwal Ameen, that the libraries are collection focused rather than user focused. I am glad to say that after three days of workshopping, and then re-evaluating what their plans were at the beginning there were significant shifts in thinking with a real sense of motivation to start right away.

I asked the participants if they would like to contribute to this post to tell the world what they are doing in their school libraries from what they learned in the workshop ... this is from Hasina.

"The school I joined has just started the IBDP program.  I have a small Library and only 10 IB1 students so far. I found though the students who were enrolled in IBDP program had no clue how to use a Library. Not one of them knew what a Library Catalogue was or any idea of shelf arrangement.

"I gave a Library Orientation workshop to the IB students and some teachers also attended. The students had the old idea of a room full of books. We talked about the changing role of Libraries - the nature of a Library program today in a school setting, the role of a Teacher Librarian in a School Library and making effective connections with, and use of the Library and Librarian. I touched on Information Literacy and we broke them into the skills necessary to become quote “effective users of information". We also talked about Library citizenship.

This has led to the following - the students are designing a layout of the Library.  Leaving the fixed fixtures and furniture in place I gave them freedom to plan out their library into areas which came out of our discussion.  For example casual area, group work area, audio visual access etc. We shall have 2 sets of design by the 8th of October.  The layout of the Library will follow the best of the two.
Then they will help me make the signage and we will discuss what to adorn the walls with. This will give them owner ship and I am sure the Library usage will increase.

The second task the students are going to do is form Library Rules Regulations and Procedures. These we will share with the management and barring the non-negotiable ones, according to school policies, we shall adopt these rules and regulations for our IB Library. Meanwhile I have asked for 4-6 slots in the next couple of months to teach the children the basics of location of resources, reading the shelves and a brief introduction to DDC.

I have already arranged for a presentation about Plagiarism by an outside expert and will carry it through together with the Extended essay coordinator to teach them Academic Honesty, research and writing skills and use of Turnitin.

The next on agenda is teaching the students access to e-resources and citation.

Thanks to Dianne I gained fresh perspectives and the will to start building. I hope to have a good library program in place by the end of my tenure.

Exciting stuff Hasina. It is great to see you have taken on a new role with the support from your administration, teachers and students. You are making a difference.

The most sustainable way for Pakistan to move forward in all respects is through education and improving literacy throughout the nation. Research has shown that libraries with qualified staff play an important role in improving literacy in young people, however Pakistan faces some unique challenges to succeed in this area. I am thankful I had the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and eager school librarians wanting to make a difference in their schools and with the young people they work with, and am looking forward to further opportunities to do so. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Single stories can be changed

The Badshahi Mosque from Lahore Fort.

This blog has been somewhat quiet over the past month as I have had the opportunity to travel to and work in India and Pakistan where I led three International Baccalaureate in school and regional workshops. These workshops had been booked months in advance and they were fantastic opportunities to meet and work with new people in these countries.

The opportunity to travel & work to Pakistan was an interesting one. When I received the invitation to do so, I went through a mixture of feelings - should I go? what will it be like? will I be safe as a woman travelling alone? I started seeking out non Pakistani's who had lived in Pakistan to ask them about these issues. They were quite positive and gave me some tips. I have one friend whose mission is to travel to every country (he has 50 left to vist), who recently visited Afghanistan and who said do not take much notice of the travel warnings as long as I am sensible. I decided to go, planning my wardrobe with appropriate clothing to cover my arms and legs so as not to garner too much attention beyond being a foreigner.

My perceptions of Pakistan before I visited were : 
  • All women wore burqas in dark colours
  • Women were treated somewhat poorly by males
  • Foreigners are treated with suspicion and as possible kidnapping fodder
  • It was dangerous with Taliban extremists running around everywhere
  • Bombs may randomly be set off in crowded places
  • English was not spoken very well
  • Infrastructure was poor
  • The population is poor
  • There was animosity toward India & America particularly
  • Religion is a major influence on life in Pakistan 

I was well aware of the Danger of the Single story - those who write the stories are the ones in power, I was going with an open mind.

I spent a week in Pakistan - 5 days in Lahore, then travelled 200 kms by car to Faisalabad for another 2 days. The time in Lahore was spent with 6 other workshop leaders, 5 of them women who had travelled to Pakistan from Mauritius, Tanzania, Indonesia, Canada, England and Beijing. The IB rep had travelled from Singapore and our workshop field rep was a school principal from Karachi. We were treated with the utmost hospitality by the local people everywhere we went. We had a designated driver and van to take us around to some of the historic sites, we were taken to lovely restaurants to experience the wonderful Pakistan cuisine, we were invited into peoples homes for dinner. The workshop participants were all keen learners and hungry for new understandings. English was the medium of instruction and no one had problems with this. 

The Librarians I worked with in Lahore
The women wore Kurta's of different styles and wonderful colours in the most beautiful fabrics and designs. Yes there were still burqa's and hajibs, but nowhere as many as my expectations had been. I went shopping and bought a few of these beautiful garments. We had men and women working together and having what I would consider normal healthy working relationships with each other. Many men were dressed in regular business attire, with some wearing the traditional Pakistani Shalwar KameezAll were acceptable forms of dress.

In Faisalabad I found the same hospitality. One of the male staff members even travelled 2.5 hours with a driver to pick me up from Lahore to take me to Faisalabad, and then did the same thing for my return to Lahore to ensure I was delivered safely to the right place as the drivers english was very basic. The road we travelled on would match any tollway / motorway in the USA, Australia or Europe.

Security was tight at the hotel, and everywhere we went we had to pass through metal detectors. The schools had guards with big guns.  These measures were in place to reduce the possibility of unseen problems by people who want to cause trouble. The area of Punjab is renowned for being a safe state with the Pakistan Rangers playing a major role in the security with one of the headquarters based there. The Pakistani people are sick of the random acts of terror in their country by those who feel the need to act this way. 

There was no animosity by the people I spoke to toward any other country, even India with which it shares a common heritage but also a common conflict of politics. Everyone I spoke to, and plenty of people on the street and at the historic sites approached us to speak with us, were interested to find out where we were from and to share their information about what they knew about our home country. In many cases they had relatives living there. They were so open and welcoming.

There is a large divide in Pakistan between the haves and the have nots. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics the average annual income is $1,513USD. However, there are some very rich people in Pakistan worth billions of US dollars. The cost of schooling is also a divider. Private schools charge from 150 - 330USD a month. Private schools are for profit schools. The average monthly salary for a teacher is $530USD depending on experience and qualifications. 

The staff from the school I visited in Faisalabad
Literacy of Pakistan is at 58%. Pakistan Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate is 79.1% for males and 61.5% for females. Each new generation of Pakistanis is more literate than its predecessors:

Over 55 years 30% literate
45-55 years 40%
35-45 years 50%
25-35 years 60%
15-25 years 70%

English was the official language of Pakistan until just recently, and Urdu the national language. In the private schools English is the medium of instruction and 49% of Pakistani's have a command of the english language, making it the third largest English speaking country, behind the US and India. Education is seen as a way to improve the situation of the Pakistan people.

Something interesting I did discover is that there is no specific teacher training in Pakistan. Teachers become teachers by having a degree in something, and then applying to a school for a job as a teacher without any background in pedagogy. This means they generally teach the way they have been taught, which is usually through lectures and text books. This is a challenge as the IB format of inquiry learning and teaching moves into Pakistan, requiring a very steep learning curve for administrators, teachers, students and parents. This 2011 article from the Express Tribune outlines some of the issues encountered.

My perceptions of Pakistan after my visit were:
  • The women wear beautiful clothing and are free to dress as they wish. There are expectations of modesty.
  • Relationships between males and females is one of mutual respect
  • Pakistani's are delighted to meet and converse with foreigners, being very hospitable 
  • Security is everywhere to prevent disruption to the normal peoples lives. The Taliban are disliked in Pakistan for their violent ways.
  • Generally the infrastructure in  Pakistan cities is good and the roads across the country are good. There are a variety of transport options - cars, trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles, bicycles, donkey and horse carts.
  • English is widely spoken
  • There are many poor people in Pakistan, but many middle and high earners as well. Pakistan has a growing & bustling economy.
  • Regular Pakistani's do not hold any animosity toward anyone
  • Religion is important in Pakistan, and, it is understood that everyone is at a different level of understanding and growth. I had many wonderful religious based conversations in my time there, with the people I spoke to open to questions and sharing of their beliefs. They were also interested in mine.
  • The people of Pakistan are just like everyone else, wanting a good family life with opportunities.
  • Eating good food is very important in Pakistan. 

I am fully aware that my experience was based on being an invited guest in two cities that have more opportunities than the rest of the country. If I had visited by myself without the complete hospitality of my hosts, I may have a different experience, but for now, this is my story of Pakistan as I saw it. It also brought to my mind why we need to be careful of the information that we pass onto or encourage students to use in their research. We need to be critical of who is telling the story and why. We need to be aware of the single story. I am also very grateful to be given these opportunities as an IB educator to both expand my knowledge and understanding of the world, and to meet people from very different cultures to mine.

I have shared a few photographs from my trip on here, but if you wish to see all 500+ more, please visit my Smugmug account. Many of them were taken from a moving vehicle as we travelled to and from the workshop. I was there to work!

Visiting Pakistan was one of the best things I have ever done in my life, and I will return at the next opportunity I have. 

Edit : Watch this TEDx Talk - about the stories that Pakistan needs to be telling. 
How we become the stories we tell | Nadine Murtaza

The clock tower in Faisalabad
Preparations for Eid well underway.
Donkey carts - a sustainable form of transport
Bicycles were designed to carry many things
The outside walls of Lahore Fort
The Badshahi Mosque, Lahore
My tour guides in Faisalabad

The clocktower in Faisalabad
Sunset over Pakistan

Monday, August 31, 2015

Making sense of Manga

A small image of Amy's Poster - the original can be seen here 

If you are anything like me you will find the whole Manga scene a little bewildering ... where to start? What series goes with what, and what should I buy?

At the ALA conference in July, I attended a poster session by Amy Pell Seipke who works at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Amy did a quite massive research project into Manga to make sense of it and put it altogether in the poster above.

Her research was was impressive as she needed to unpack how the Manga story is constructed, the language, the characters and the audience of Manga and the difference between Anime & Manga. 

One of the most interesting aspects I learned about Manga from Amy's presentation is that Manga stories are written with a particular audience in mind, and Manga is classified by the audience for which it is written.

It is also constructed differently to western literature. She created a visual below to explain it better - this is also on her poster.

Image taken from Amy Pell Seipke's poster 

Amy has created an extensive Bibliography of Manga titles that you can download. It is entitled Essential Manga : An annotated bibliography (also available on screen on her blog) - You really have to see it to believe it. So much research and time has gone into this, and I would probably say she is as as much an expert on Manga that you will ever meet or read. She has also authored another bibliography entitled Graphic Novel Bibliography with Beth Walker. Again a very useful resource.

Amy created a blog to record her journey in her research into this medium which has much background information that could not be placed in the poster or the bibliography.  These bibliographies will go a long way to help you in your understandings and collection development of Manga and graphic novels. It could also be useful resource to supporting spilling Manga into the curriculum....