I was undercoating a large wall of the school library today, and it was hard work. The undercoat is a high quality, very thick type, made to cover tricky porous stuff such as the wood panelling with which this portable library is lined. Hungry, hungry wood, and the oil base of the undercoat means that cleanup is going to be messy and, umm, turpsy. I was up on the ladder most of the day, using a brush rather than risk clogging up the roller I need for tomorrow’s two paint coats, so I had lots of time to ponder things.
I had a steady stream of observers, several of whom wanted to ask if I’d heard the news that “Kevin Rudd is giving out library upgrades” – and therefore was all my shoestring renovating for naught?
“Aha!” I said, several times. “That’s why I secured all my MDF letters on the walls with nails, not glue!” If the collection is moving to a new venue somedaysoon, then my renovations are coming too.
Another colleague asked tonight, on Facebook if spending in education should mean more teachers, not buildings?
Mmmmm. I suggested that if she could see the irreparable leaks in the cramped portable library I work in, and its threadbare green carpet, and rickety shelves (that tremble when I hurry to answer the telephone), maybe she’d vote “new building”, not more teachers?
We do some amazing work in this library, but a purpose-built venue, with modern fittings would be even more amazing. With or without my current renovation enhancements. This type of stuff – ie. earmarking tied government grants – always needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Not everyone needs the same things. In any case, if the Federal goverment suddenly gave my school extra teachers, we’d have nowhere to put them, or their classes!
So yes, I’d say “I’ll take the new library!”… If one is ever offered.
Similary, another colleage wondered why many Australian schools don’t have a web page for their library, even when the school itself has an Internet presence.
I created our school’s website in 2002 and 2003, or rather, I headed the committee to decide what needed to be on it, and did the HTML that made the site work. But this was before I was the school’s teacher-librarian. We ended up putting in some images of Book Week displays on a library page, but not much else. The school web site is quite extensive, but desperately in need of updating.
Since moving into the library in 2007, I’ve also created a school library wiki site, where we publish jointly constructed texts created during library sessions, but I simply haven’t had the time to brainstorm an actual library web page.
When I’ve talked to my teacher and student library users over the years, they’ve described access to OASIS Library as the most valued aspect – and, since the end of 2007, all NSW DET OASIS schools can access their library’s catalogue online, via the teacher portal or Kidspace, and can even do so at home.
So there’s still never been much of a burning need to create a dedicated “web page” for the school library. I guess we could add opening hours, etc. When our interactive whiteboard (IWB) arrives in a few weeks I can imagine other urgent uses for one. But this blog site usually has the links I use with students on any given day. Not to mention my shoestring makeover progress reports.
But yes, maybe I do need a “library web page”… But first, I have to stir this can of green paint. At least it’ll match our fraying carpet.