Saturday, October 10, 2009

Active and engaging learning

This weekend I have had the privilege to attend an IB continuum workshop for school librarians. So far the presenters have been working hard to keep us engaged and the learning has been good, but the best part has been meeting and chatting with people outside the sessions as we discuss problems, solutions and share our knowledge and experiences with each other. Many are from from far away places, and tell the stories of how to develop a “culturally diverse” collection in a country where diversity is not embraced, the problems of working in a for profit school where libraries are seen as bottomless pits of a money sucking vortex’, and the constant dilemma of having not enough space to accommodate the student population in the library.

As much as twitter, facebook, blogging, skype, email, listserves, help to keep us all connected in this maddening busy world, there is nothing like bringing a bunch of school librarians together for an intensive workshop to accelerate the sharing and learning through animated discussion on their solutions to the same problems you have, and share their own dilemmas for a different perspective on a resolution.

Face to face professional development is costly and time consuming but it produces an amazing result in widening your personal network, learning through others and giving you an appreciation for what you have and that you do have something to offer - not just to your school, but to others development as well. It may just be a small comment, or it may be a larger contribution. Professional development is an opportunity for sharing, and we all have something to offer. So, next time you have the opportunity to be with others discussing library stuff - don’t be a leech and just take everyone else’s ideas - make sure you contribute with your own experiences and solutions - it just may make a difference in the life of someone else.

(Image from State Library of NSW - you do need to visit this resource for Historic Photographs / Media / Manuscripts of NSW and Australia - just fabulous! -

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