June 8

Cataloging Indigenous Resources: Alternatives to Dewey

Dewey unveiled his cataloguing system in 1876 and although it has seen many modifications over the years it still reflects the influences of it’s designer in a number of areas.

The ‘correct’ placement of resources that support the weaving of Aboriginal content in our new B.C. curriculum appeared limiting and somewhat divisive. In short, I would struggle to direct an Aboriginal student, curious about their living culture, to the 971 history section, sandwiched and segregated, somewhere between World War II and the Aztecs. Optics matter.

Despite my efforts at sorting and labelling, placing Indigenous Creation Stories next to Little Red Riding Hood in 398.2 Folklore and Fairytales seemed equally as jarring.

After consultation with Surrey colleagues Kim Perry; Teacher, Lynne Powell; Helping Teacher, Lise Tilden; Aboriginal Education, and helpful direction from Heidi Wood; Aboriginal Helping Teacher, I rearranged and re-catalogued to reflect what seems to be more respectful placements whilst still preserving the integrity of a workable comprehensive library.

Here are the highlights:

Creation Stories

These are considered to be non-fiction. When I am asked for a Space unit, I am pulling How the Raven Stole the Sun as well, so 523.7 is a logical choice. Similarly, How The Robin got it’s Red Breast goes in the bird section, Cloudwalker on the environment shelf, Mayuk with the bears.

Elder Stories

Includes stories that reflect true events or story of an Elder or the author. I have included here traditional stories as well as more contemporary works. The contemporary First Nations titles pictured below were designated Dewey 970 History of North America. I have placed them in Courage 179 and Wisdom 170.

 Fiction

Stories that are for entertainment or a teaching have been placed in Fiction. Some of the Txamsen Stories for example. However, some of these were not in a format or reading level that would work at our school in the picture book section. They are now in 813 Fiction.

 The labels are not ideal but they are easily identifiable. Titles that are not First Nations but are Metis or Inuit have a solid red label. Students are able to find these at a glance. Eventually,  I will have these labels only on authentic Aboriginal texts. I am still working through these.

The 970s

The biggest shift was the exodus out of the history section and involved moving all the non-fiction two shelves over. It seemed to me that even a book delineated as describing past traditions was, in fact, describing current traditions. It wasn’t history. I evaluated every book, weeded a few, and placed the rest in 305.897.

The 305s  – my favourite section – ‘Groups of People’ – the section we all fit in, in one way or another.

I am sure as we use this system, it will morph and evolve, resulting in an organization that perhaps more accurately reflects the community the collection serves.

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January 3

A Learning Community

We began the leap from a traditional library model to a library learning commons in September 2012. Here’s a top 10 list of some of the most striking benefits of a Learning Commons that we have observed:

1. Physical  LC: The space is open and inviting with no divisive stacks. There is space to create, to read, to build and to collaborate. Check out our transformation here.

2. Virtual LC: We use social media and digital student portfolios to share work and maintain a website that directs staff and students to the virtual learning commons. Continue reading

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February 16

Increase the Cool Factor

At Vanier, an ever growing number of students bring a personal device to school. In the Learning Commons we use those digital devices to increase the circulation of books, particularly among upper intermediate students.

Continue reading

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October 17

Finding the Book that’s Just Right

Reluctant readers are able to read, they may just have trouble settling in to a good book. Finding your child’s  ‘just right’ book can sometimes be tricky. These common traits of books that appeal to all kinds of learners might help guide your young reader’s choices. One might just be the perfect book to hook your child into becoming a life long reader. Continue reading

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February 20

Woo Hoo! Easier Access to the Intermediate Fiction

Students in the Learning Commons now have a new way to more easily find the books they love. Instead of organizing the intermediate fiction by author, the books are now arranged by genre – like in a book store.

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The books have brightly coloured labels which makes them easy to identify and are grouped together. So if you like books about ghouls and zombies take a look at our SUPERNATURAL section.

Here’s a list of our new categories. Come check out our books about:

ADVENTURE: danger and challenges

ANIMALS: dogs, cats, elephants and gorillas

HISTORICAL: wars, ninjas and sinking ships

HUMOUR: diaries, laughs and giggles

REALISTIC: relationships, home and school, joy and sadness

SCI-FI and FANTASY: monsters, myths, mermaids and magic

SPORTS: pucks, balls and bats

SUSPENSE: mysteries and surprise endings

SUPERNATURAL: ghosts and vampires

Students can also use an iPad to electronically search the library catalogue to find their perfect book.

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May 13

Division 8 iMovies – Natural Disasters Club

This year the ‘Natural Disasters Club’ meet over a three month period in the Georges Vanier Learning Commons. Three classes, about 75 students, participated from grades 3 – 5. The goal was to encourage reading using a high interest topic using fiction and non-fiction sources. Students blogged their ideas, created digital art, showed their learning through a variety of apps and web based programs, tweeted their progress and read, read, read. Students designed and created T Shirts to reflect on their learning and each made an iMovie Trailer to bring together the many facets of the project. We are appreciative of the My Class Needs and Fuel Your School programs for the support for this project.

Div 8 iMovies Natural Disasters Club from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

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October 13

Uh Oh!

This week in the Learning Commons students celebrated some of our great books. We used Pic Collage App to create posters and then blogged our favourite book covers. We are thankful for the wide variety of materials we have available to us and are proud of the quality of our resources.

Unfortunately, every year, we loose a significant number of books due to damage and loss. The biggest problem is leaking water bottles and sticky lunches. Wet pages turn mouldy and the books cannot be salvaged. Please make sure lids are on tight. Vanier students know not to draw in books but younger siblings or cousins should be supervised.

Families may be asked for full or partial replacement costs of damaged books. Accidents happen, and if you are unable to contribute towards a book’s replacement please let Ms. Crosland know.image

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