International School Library Conference

Brisbane River & Bridge


Early Bird registration offers significant savings and closes on 30 April, so don’t miss out!!

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From 27 September – 1 October this year, the Queensland School Library Association will be co-hosting the IASL International School Library conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre. This will be a truly cross-cultural event, and an incredible opportunity to network with experts and practicing teacher-librarians from all around the world. Presenters have now been confirmed from Australia, NZ, UK, US, Portugal, China, Canada, India, Malaysia, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa and Ireland.

The theme of the conference is  Diversity, Challenge, Resilience: School Libraries in Action and this theme will be reflected in the conference strands:  1. Developing curriculum,  2.  Delivering excellence through standards,  3.  Supporting the digital agenda and  4. Developing literate communities.

Pre-conference workshops and tours

A variety of exciting pre-conference options will be available on Monday 27 September, and you can choose from walking or bus tours, academic workshops or creative discovery sessions:

1. Dr. Marcia Mardis and Dr Nancy Everhart both lecture at Florida State University and they will run a workshop on Cooperative Inquiry and how it can enhance the leadership role of the teacher-librarian. Participants will develop a CI-based plan for approaching issues and challenges in their own schools.

2. Mal Lee is an educational consultant and author specializing in the development of digital schools. His workshop will explore how schools are ‘removing the traditional walls’ to become networked communities, and what the implications are for you as an information professional creating iCentres within your schools.

3.  Paul O’Neill, the manager for eLearning’s Library Services, (Edn Qld) and Mark Staines, the Senior Information Officer for Libraries with the eLearning Branch,(Edn Qld)  will conduct a hands-on workshop where participants will learn how to enhance the digital learning environment for their students, using readily-available software and freeware.

4.  Two school tours will be offered, and you will be able to choose one or both. Tour 1 is to the Grammar Schools libraries and a local bookshop and Tour 2 is to Greenslopes State School, Lourdes Hill College and a local bookshop.

5. Literary bus tours – on the Home tour with local author and illustrator Narelle Oliver, the tour group will be escorted to many of the locations featured in her picture book, while  Illustrators at work is a limited-numbers tour which will visit the studios of local picture book illustrators.

6.  For those who enjoy walking, a tour of the Cultural Precinct will include the State Library of Queensland, the Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Museum, incorporating the ScienceCentre.

Keynote speakers

John Marsden is an internationally acclaimed young adult writer, and his immensely popular novel, Tomorrow When the War Began, is currently being made into a movie, and this is due for release around the time of the conference.

Other keynote speakers are Dr Michael Hough AM, who presents and writes on the impact of ICT on organizations, and who will examine the impact on school libraries in particular; Dr Nancy Everhart, who will discuss successful and not-so-successful national school librarian involvement in government policy to infuse 21st century skills; and Professor Erica McWilliams who will look at how we can be educational players not pawns, and juggle the push to pedagogical innovation with the pull to performance standardisation.

Make sure you bring your laptop, because wireless internet access is included in the cost of the conference, and you will be able to blog about the sessions, add to the conference Twitter stream or post to the conference ning.

Social events

A breakfast with local authors and long, leisurely dinners will provide you with the perfect opportunity to make new contacts and cement friendships from around the world.

Trade exhibitors

40 trade exhibitors will showcase the latest technology and products to make your job as a teacher-librarian and educator easier, while booksellers will have the latest book releases available, as well as books by onsite authors and illustrators.

Travel and accomodation

All your travel and accomodation requirements are being handled by a very experienced company, OzAccom, and they are also offering tours of our beautiful south-east Queensland region.

Post-conference tours

Brisbane has some wonderful tourist attractions, so why not bring the family and come early or stay late to enjoy them:

1.  Brisbane Story Bridge day and night climbs

2. O’Reilly’s national park tree canopy walk and wine tasting

3.  Tangalooma Resort Moreton Island day cruise

4.  St Helena historic island tour

5.  Brisbane River kayaking

6. Fraser Island day tour

7. Australia Zoo (home of the late Steve Irwin)

Additionally the Gold Coast theme parks are less than an hour’s drive from Brisbane – Dreamworld, Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, Sea World, and the Outback Spectacular show.

Book through OzAccom to secure a great package deal

Receive regular conference updates by following us on Twitter, or visit the websites of the Queensland School Library Association or the International Association of School Libraries.

SLAQ Logo (KB new)


FreeRice and Helpuu


If you are looking for something useful as well as altruistic for your students to do, send them to test their knowledge at a site called FreeRice.   At this website, they can select from a variety of subject areas, then answer multiple choice questions to improve their knowledge. For every answer they get right, 10 grains of rice are donated to help alleviate world hunger (it was origianlly 20 grains – now it is 10). Advertising on the site covers the cost of the rice, which is mostly purchased in the developing countries to reduce costs, and boost farmers’ incomes.

According to (a website which alerts you to hoaxes and scams), this site really does donate rice to the United Nations World Food Program, and was was initiated by a 49 year old American computer programmer, John Breen. He also created a rather confronting site called where you can see the names and images of people who have died during the last hour from hunger and poverty.

On the day that FreeRice was first set up in October 2007, 860 grains of rice were donated. This amount has since grown over the last 2 1/2 years to a total in January 2010 of  nearly 75 billion grains of rice.  Visit Wikipedia to see monthly totals of rice donated

According to the WFP site, “the first people to benefit from  FreeRice were 20,000 Myanmar refugees sheltering in Bangladesh. Since then pregnant women in Cambodia, shool kids in Uganda and hungry people across the globe recieve food thanks to the award-winning site. Find out more about where we deliver rice.”

Find  WFP on Facebook, Twitter (@wfp) and on YouTube.

On a similar theme is a search engine called Helpuu, which is powered by Google, but which donates money to charities every time someone uses it. Again, the money raised comes from advertising on the site, and from shop sales.

From their website: “Every person that sets their homepage as Helpuu during the course of a month, is equivalent to feeding a starving child for about 3 weeks. If only 5% of the US population were to use Helpuu, 1,000,000 hungry kids could be fed every single day.”

Get your students involved, and make a difference!

QR Codes and Libraries

Phone Reading QR Code

A couple of days ago I was quite interested to hear a local real estate agent interviewed on radio about the way he is currently using QR (Quick Response) codes, and it made me think again if there could be a use for them in a library. Many real estate agents use QR codes – they put them on For Sale signs in people’s yards and so that if someone is driving by, they can using their mobile phones to read the codes. This in turn takes them straight to the internet site advertising the property.

So, how can you get your mobile phone to do this? Firstly you need to download a QR Reader – a piece of software which will allow your phone to scan the barcode (as you take a photo).  iPhoneapps have released Matrix QR Reader for iPhones, and you can view a video demonstration of it here. Of course there are multiple other QR Readers available for downloading onto any other mobile phone.

Once you have downloaded your QR Reader, you can then use your phone to photograph (scan) any codes that you see, and this will convert the code to text or a web address. From the point of view of marketing, the hope, of course, is that you will then visit the website and purchase or interact with the product.

In order to generate your own QR codes, you need to use a QR Code Generator. Kaywa Code Generator is a simple version where you can type in text, a URL, phone number or SMS and your QR Code will automatically be generated. Then you can simply cut and paste it and use it wherever you want it.

QR codes have been around for a few years now, and over that time uses for them in education have been  proposed, but have never really taken off. This is most likely due to the fact that schools are already struggling with the whole idea of allowing mobile phones  – particularly with the steady increase in cyberbullying, sexting, videoing playground fights and other inappropriate uses of mobile phones.

Educause Learning Initiative in Feb 2009  published  7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes, and here they comment: “the challenge remains to find appropriate and effective pedagogical uses of QR codes.” The article outlines the advantages and disadvantages of them, and contains implications for teaching and learning.

From another perspective, Leonard Low says “Where I see QR Codes becoming obsolete is through the rapidly improving processing capabilities of mobile devices, which are on the cusp of becoming capable of reading and interpreting printed text. Once phones become able to recognise a printed URL, for example, the use of a QR Code to “represent” a URL becomes superfluous… an unnecessary (and non-human-readable) duplication of information. Text-recognition will also be far more flexible than QR Codes; potentially, semantic constructs could be used to allow the recognition of an infinite variety of different types of data, the same way that OCR currently works on desktop computers.” (Mobile Learning Blog)

Nevertheless, I do like the following ideas for libraries from Lex Rigby, a science and engineering librarian. She suggests:

“If  we started to use QR codes to label books, journals, audio/visual, offprints etc and a user wanted to see further information about that resource, all they’d need to do is scan the QR code. They’d be able to find descriptive information, images, useful URLs etc all at the touch of a button on their phone. And what if at that moment in time they have too many books out? Well, by saving the QR code as an image they’d have a record of the resource stored on their phone so they’d be able to easily find it when they’re ready to loan it….

…How about using QR codes on your promotional/marketing materials to link users directly to where information can be found on the Internet? Do you have a library weblog? Are you producing leaflets to inform readers where they can find it? Why not stick a QR code on there so that they’re able to link directly to you? Got some particularly good skills tutorials you want your users to know about? Stick a QR code on your promotional material and they’ll find it straight away! Got an extensive reading list you want your students to read? Why not put a QR code on there to link students directly to the library catalogue record or even the article itself!!”

Will I use them in my Library?  Probably not at the moment (because I’m too busy) but that doesn’t mean I won’t re-look at them in future – unless they’re obsolete by then!

Using QR Codes in Libraries (John Lang)

Will QR Codes Take Off in Education? (Kerrie Smith)

By the way, here is a very interesting site showing documented uses of/references to QR codes on a timeline.