Time 4 Le@rning…

Time 4 Le@rning
And the ellipsis (…) is extremely important!

Last week, I finally had the time (ho ho ho) to put up the last major installation in our new BER school library: the “newsroom” clocks with various world time zones represented. This is, essentially, my original vision for the previous library’s back wall, but the beautiful, proposed, professional signage (with purple lettering on a large, clear perspex rectangle, to show the green-painted wall behind) was way out of my meagre, less-than-shoestring, budget at the time. In the old library, I ended up making do with a simple, laminated sign, designed rather crudely in Word, and enlarged on the photocopier on green A3 paper.

It was a recent, chance discovery of the chain store Typo (in Parramatta, but now also in Centrepoint in the CBD) that secured me the lettering I decided I wanted to do the job properly, and they were pre-painted, and on special! The new library even comes with a ledge – at the right height – for the letters to stand upon, secured lightly to the painted wall with Velcro dots. The ellipsis was an afterthought… While placing the letters last Monday, I had to move a few and the very last Velcro dot removed a tiny bit of paint off the wall, so… I raced back to Typo on Thursday night to get three matching full stops (at 95 cents each). Luckily for me, the first full stop sits over the offending paint glitch. As if it was always meant to be there… (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone I ruined the new wall!)

The black clock (easily recognisable as the local time) doesn’t show up as clearly on dark blue as it once did on pale green, so I superglued a thin, green satin ribbon around its edge, and that helps the rim show up.

What's the time in Penrith?
What’s the time in Penrith?

During the rebuilding of our BER, I happened upon some very cool, extra clocks in the shape of Superman‘s insignia and a Doctor Who Dalek, and accumulated those, too, to join the “Time 4 Le@rning” clocks. While in Typo, I also found a very nice, cubic, digital clock for my office (scroll down to final photo); as close to a “Star Trek” stardate clock as I can get at the moment. The “Superman” clock is numberless and the Dalek clock is deliberately “one handed” – and they can be challenging to interpret, but bound to be discussion starters, like so much else in this new library. Almost every artifact has an anecdote and the stimulating environment is getting conversations between students really buzzing.

The day I was putting everything up, I realised that six clocks in a row defeats the pun in the signage, so I found new locations for my new, novelty clocks, leaving the “newsroom” part of the library with a more serious tone.

What's the time on Krypton?
What’s the time on Krypton?

Frames & clocks

What's the time on Gallifrey?
What’s the time on Gallifrey?

The clock with the mouse represents “Hickory Dickory Dock”, of course, and dates back to when the newsroom clocks in the old library began to run down on their first batteries. It took me a while to work out that “Auckland” didn’t need constant repairing and resetting, just a new battery. This old clock, from the original library office, had never kept good time, so now it sits permanently at one o’clock, complete with mouse:

What's the time in Nursery Rhyme Land?
What’s the time in Nursery Rhyme Land?

Digital clock
My office clock from Typo. (With Nicholas Ickle’s elephant!)

A meeting of the Supermen? PRC 2010


Only a few days after hanging up the framed Premier’s Reading Challenge poster of our students in our new BER school library (our students were selected this year’s Challenge “poster kids”, below), and opening the library to its first timetabled week of visitors, I was off to represent us at the annual reception. This year, the PRC celebrated another successful year at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.


My official job this year was to be the minder for football heroes, Mario Fenech and Hazem El Masri (that’s Hazem in the background of the first pic, behind those two handsome superheroes). Mario and Hazem had a great rapport with the students attending the event, and slipped in plenty of references to the value of reading, as each group wound its way through short, meet ‘n’ greet activities – with a host of popular children’s authors and illustrators, including Duncan Ball with Selby the Talking Dog (who stayed mute), and Kim Gamble sketching yet another “Tashi” masterpiece as we watched, gobsmacked.

Kim Gamble draws Tashi
Kim Gamble draws “Tashi”.

Snow White was also there, making balloon animals, and there was a very gregarious Superman, who, at the event’s close, did additional duties – as Selby’s minder and Grug’s wrangler!

Yes, Grug is back! Remember that shaggy caveman creature from the 1980s, in Ted Prior’s hugely popular little picture books? Well, Grug is back in print, and many of the younger students found their own little stuffed Grug in their goody bags (look out for them in bookstores this Christmas!) Several of the adults noticed, just before the Premier’s car was due, that a huge blue vinyl bag had arrived in the foyer. Normally, such an occurrence may have caused a security alert, but we were abuzz with “It’s Grug! Grug’s in that bag! What else is that shape like that? That’ll be Grug!” (Well, we had noticed his name on the guest list, which helped immensely.)

Grug undercover
Grug arrives undercover!

Grug uncovered
Grug unleased!

Selby has left the building
Selby unleashed!

PRC GoH Kristina Keneally
Premier of NSW, Kristina Keneally, spoke passionately about the joy of reading, and the many rewards that books can bring.

PRC GoH Andrew Daddo
Children’s author Andrew Daddo sums up. Boori “Monty” Pryor is in front of me!

Superman is asked to round up the overheated Grug and Selby.

Superman escorts

Grug has left the building
Grug has left the building!