Colour blind!

At one of my past schools, the Principal kept suggesting that I abandon the Dewey Decimal System and create some colour-coded Key Learning Areas (KLAs) in the Teacher Reference section of the school library. Some teachers would complain that they “didn’t understand Dewey” or “couldn’t ever find anything.” This were the bad ol’ days of drawers crammed full of catalogue cards, but I never really understood the problem. My counter argument was always that Dewey is essentially in KLAs anyway, and so many books are useful for numerous KLAs. I was gone from the position for a year and the change to shelving in the TR section was done in my absence. I came back for a few visits: the colours chosen were definitely not good for a colour blind person. Lime, orange, red and green all side by side! And blue next to purple. Torture!

Speedminton Fun Speeder
What shuttlecock?

Interfiling TR with the main collection is a great idea for many items. A high school I visited during my initial retraining was creating a brand new library collection with no separate TR section. Almost everything was being interfiled with the main collection. Certainly, in a high school, many items hidden away in TR could be very useful in student assignments. A few years ago, at mu current school, I moved a lot of neglected art books (written for children but stored in TR and seemingly ignored/forgotten/overlooked by most teachers) into regular non fiction, where they are used more frequently by students. When I took over in the library, one of my first major reorganising jobs was to disband (barely-used) reading boxes that had been colour-coded with small, self-adhesive dots. When people came in asking for a particular set of coded colours, I would be beyond frustration trying to find the correct ones, usually having to open the lid of every box.

Actually, our non fiction resources now have little, square, spine stickers representing their ten broad Dewey categories – we use the exact colours of Syba Signs’ shelf labels, after my SASS person saw the system working well in another school. It was mainly to assist the library monitors with sorting and reshelving the NF section more efficiently, but the stickers are quite useless to me, colour blind as I am. (Luckily the PRC stickers colours are quite distinguishable.)

When I worked at Ryde State Office of the NSW DEC, I was often called in to look at various curriculum units’ website designs, and help them pick onscreen colours that worked better for red/green colour blind people.

Please consider that the alterations you make to your library shelves (and web pages) can have repercussions for those who come after you!

Four routes to Australia

In their HSIE unit, British colonisation of Australia, Stage 2 students are investigating four different travel routes to Australia from Britain:

Plymouth (August 1768), rounded Cape Horn, Tahiti (observe transit of Venus), Pacific Islands of Huahine, Borabora and Raiatea (all claimed for Britain), unsuccessfully attempted to land at Rurutu, then New Zealand, then Botany Bay, then north along Australian east coast, then Batavia in Dutch East Indies, rounded Cape of Good Hope, then arriving at Deal in Britain (July 1771, almost three years later).

The first voyage of James Cook

Route to Australia - Cook

Portsmouth (May 1787), Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, through Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay (January 1788), then Sydney Cove, Port Jackson.

First Fleet – Behind the news

Route to Australia - Phillip and First Fleet

Britain, Port Said (in Egypt), Port Aden (in Yemen), Colombo (Ceylon, now Sri Lanka), Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney.

Suez Canal time lapse mp.4

Route to Australia - via Suez Canal

In 1935, the route from London to Brisbane had taken 12.5 days, which included a rail trip between Paris and Brindisi. QANTAS first flew the route in 1947, from Sydney to London, with stopovers in Darwin, Singapore (overnight), Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo (overnight) and Tripoli. Return fare was £585 = 130 weeks x average wage.

In 1960, fastest trip was 34 h 30 min with eight stops. In 1989, QANTAS set a world distance record for commercial jets when a Boeing 747-400 flew non-stop, London to Sydney, in just over 20 hours. From 2012, all QANTAS services began making Sydney-London stopovers in Dubai.

The longest hop – Qantas’ Kangaroo Route

Route to Australia - Qantas Kangaroo