New Resource Available to Alberta Teachers and Students from the ORC

September 07, 2012 (0 Comments)

Posted by: ASLC

Great news! Visual Thesaurus is now available for FREE through Learn Alberta's Online Reference Centre (ORC).

Want to learn how to use this fantastic resource in your classroom? Why not join an upcoming Visual Thesaurus webinar session!

Webinar Description:

This webinar training is designed as a comprehensive introduction to Visual Thesaurus. We will discuss how to use Visual Thesaurus as both a dictionary and thesaurus, and actively explore word maps (dynamic visual displays of words, definitions and related words) and learn how they enhance student literacy development. We will also review educational resources available on the Visual Thesaurus website, including:

1) Lesson Plans
2) Worksheets
3) Vocabulary Building Activities

And finally, we will examine the effective use of additional tools provided for word list creation, custom spelling bees, and text previewing with the VocabGrabber.

September 18 at 3:30pm MST
October 2 at 3:30pm MST
October 23 at 3:30pm MST

Reserve your spot in one of these informative webinars today by emailing Ed Antoine at

These webinars will not be archived so be sure to join in!


Jamie Davis, ORC Coordinator
The Alberta Library
Together. One card. One click.
t: 780.414.0805 x229



Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go!

September 04, 2012 (1 Comments)

Posted by:

It’s that time again...September is here, back-to-school sales are abounding and you are (panicking) wondering what to do to get your library program up and running. Maybe you are considering doing something new, like a Learning Commons (click here to see our post about what a Learning Commons is), or maybe you simply want to change up a portion of your program. Well, Gentle Reader, you have come to the right place. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:


It is difficult to follow Thoreau’s advice and advance confidently in the direction of your dreams if you don’t have an overall vision of where you want to go. The best way to start your year is to dream. What is the vision you and your staff have for the library program? Create (or revisit) your library mission statement. The School Library Association has an outline for you to follow to write your library’s mission statement. If this is not enough inspiration for you, Gentle Reader, more examples of mission statements can be found here.
It is important that your mission statement aligns with your administration and staff’s goals and objectives. It will be much easier to change long standing practices if you can point to how the new ideas align with your school’s mission statement and learning goals. For example, moving from a fixed to a flexible schedule makes sense if your school’s mission/goals include inquiry learning and technology. You can point out that a flexible schedule allows you to work with all staff and students to develop inquiry projects and incorporate technology into teaching and learning.

Action Plans
Your vision and mission statement done, you now need to put the steps in place to ensure that the vision becomes a reality and that you are living your mission statement in your library daily. Post your vision and mission somewhere visual, both in your virtual and physical space. Consider creating a Wordle to post, like the Weslyan Library's: 

Then, develop an action plan based on your vision and mission. Look at the concrete ways your library program can best meet the needs of your stakeholders in terms of resources and collaborative teaching and learning. This will be easier if you have taken those needs into account in your vision. Evaluate your current program and decide which changes will be the biggest bang for your buck. Develop broad goals based on these changes. Remember to keep your focus on the vision, as that sets the direction you will take.


Look at your goals and develop small, simple, specific and achievable steps to implement them. Keep in mind what resources you have or will need. It is usually best to start small. If one of your goals is to work with every teacher on an inquiry project, begin with a teacher who is eager to try something new. Start with a simple inquiry project that is based on a curricular outcome. Build on your successes and soon you will have all teachers clamoring to work with you!
Once you have achieved a goal, take some time to congratulate yourself and your staff, and move on to the next.


Evidence-Based Practice
Gentle Reader, we often talk about advocacy in our field. Teacher-librarians are few and far between, and our FTE seems to shrink faster than a puddle on a hot day. We would suggest that the best advocacy for your job is a job well-done, and a job well-advertised. Evidenced-based practice is simply ensuring that your vision, mission and goals are based on research practices that show improved student achievement, carrying out your action plan, and then providing evidence to stakeholders that what you are doing is making a difference in the teaching and learning taking place in your school. (See this chart for some ideas from Ontario’s School Library Association) 
And, Gentle Reader, as we say in Language Arts, SHOW me, don’t tell me. Create an Animoto, PowerPoint, Slideshare or Google Presentation, and SHOW your teachers, administration, and parents what a fabulous difference your program is making in the achievement and engagement of students. 

Then SHARE! Share your triumphs with your PLN and with other TLs as well as your own stakeholders.

Do you have any other ideas for your library this year? Add a comment and share them with us and with the other Gentle Readers of our blog! 

Hi ho!

Kelly and Lissa



Making It Work! 2017 ASLC Conference April 8th

Join ASLC and Diana Rendina, Renovated Learning and Walking Together in exploring the excitement and potential of Makerspaces to impact student learning and learn how literature can help you create an Inclusive Learning Commons!

Location: Strathcona High School 10450 72 Avenue NW Edmonton, AB   T6E0Z6

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