by Dr. Lesley Farmer, VP Association Relations
What happens when almost three hundred school librarians, library educators, and vendors from 48 countries gather in Qatar? Lots! From discussions about global literature to puppets, from technology slams to bookmaking for children, from author presentations and branding to online community building, from henna painting to sword dancing.
The 41st annual conference and and 1th research forum of the IASL was held in Doha, Qatar, November 12-15, 2012. Attendees included public and private schools (a surprisingly strong contingency of international school librarians), library researchers and educators, as well as authors and vendors. Almost a quarter of attendees came from Qatar. Out-of-country participants were greeted at the airport, and whisked to their hotels. Even before the conference officially began, some folks enjoyed local landmarks such as the National Museum of Islamic Art, or shopped at the local high-end shopping mall. On subsequent days, buses transported attendees to the conference center in Education City, going early to escape rush hour traffic.
The opening day brought greetings from local dignitaries, including past IFLA President Claudia Lux, who is now in charge of creating Qatar’s national library. Featured keynoter Eppo van Nispen shared his enthusiasm for creativity and innovation in libraries as he ran through hundreds of slides, even capturing opening activities. He spearheaded the effots to create an internationally acclaimed innovative Dutch public library with no rules. Qatari child dancing groups also graced the stage.
The following days also began with riviting keynote speakers. Joyce Valenza showed how emerging technologies could deepen the library experience and collaboration. Stephen Krashen shared several studies as he emphasized the need for free reading and well stocked libraries, particularly as an effective and equitable way to insure literacy. Iranian Dr. Mahran Kamrava reviewed research processes, and emphasized its international aspects. The last day also featured a fascinating panel of authors and ilustrators, moderated by Laurie H. Anderson. All of these top-notch speakers presented at additional sessions, so attendees were able to interact with them on several occasions.
Over fify concurrent sessions filled the rest of the days. While most presentations were given in English, an Arabic strand was also offered. Several themes emerged from the talks:
• Cross-cultural issues: global and digital citizenship, bilingual programs, the use of Arablish (txting in ersatz Arabic using Roman letters and numerals)
• Librarian roles: as change agents, advocates, models of happiness, writing supporters, leaders, and other reimagined roles
• Information literacy: as it is addressed in International Baccalaureate schools, building collaborative learning communities, using TRAILS, impact of library space. Web 1.0, InfoLit India, ICT skills, college readiness
• Reading motivation: meeting boys’ needs, using blogs, bookmaking, book shows, storytelling, personalized literacy programs, imagining history, trickster tales and the GiggleIT project
• Research: evaluating IASL conference attendance patterns, next generation school libraries, perceptions about ideal tehcnology learning spaces, U.S. school library advocacy literature, school library environment assessment in international schools, ontological models of school librarianship, children’s reading experiences, global case studies on literacies and libraries, a training toolkit for school libraries in developing countries, teacher librarian program information needs, collecting data about school libraries internationally, use of web 2.0 to support student inquiry
• Technology: QR codes, wikis, elearning, audio programs and zines, social networks, infographics, Zotero, Google sites, digital reading, mind mapping tools. Joyce Valenza’s technology slam gave the audience the opportunity to share their favorite websites.
The general business meeting include officer reports, and the election of new officers. In addition, lunch meetings enables SIG members and regions to talk about current activities and issues. The Research SIG’s definition of school libraries, and a new research agenda, were a featured topic. Groups had ideas for improving the IASL website, identifying liaisons and partners, increasing advocacy, and expanding training opportunities.
About a dozen vendors shared their wares throughout the conference; several gave demonstrations about their products. Some sponsored authors, who were a big hit – especially Chris Bradford in his samurai costume complete with sword. Conference attendees also had a chance to visit two international schools’ libraries, and chat with authors in the process.
All of these learning experiences about school librarianship were balanced with bountiful meals, often featuring Middle Eastern cuisine. An open-air cultural evening enabled attendees to enjoy more dancing, live music, regional food, and local crafts. Of course, the bidding was lively after the annual conference dinner at the live auction. Throughout these events, librarians networked actively, a sure sign of a successful conference.
As is the case with all IASL conferences, new friends were made, great ideas were shared, a renewed sense of commitment to the school community and the profession was evident. More than a third of attendees were first-timers, and many of them are already making their plans to attend the 2013 IASL conference in Bali.
Dr. Lesley Farmer, VP Association Relations
California State University Long Beach
Librarianship Program/ Dept. of ASEC
Following a suspenseful few weeks, the 2012 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award was given to La saison des pluies written by Mario Brassard and illustrated by Suana Verelst. The author and illustrator were presented with a $25,000 prize at the eighth annual awards ceremony held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on November 6, 2012. The event was co-organized by TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC).
The jury was won over by this moving tale of a seven-year-old boy dealing with the death of his father. The book tackles the issue of death and ends with a glimmer of hope. From the very the first page, the reader is caught up in the drama that upends the main character's life. The grieving process in the book is expressed through the child's own words, to a heart-breaking effect. The accompanying illustrations expressively depict his confusion and despair.
"Reading ignites the imaginations of young readers while fostering their personal development. Supporting and encouraging quality children's literature is to invest in our youth, who are the future of our society," said Christine Marchildon, Senior Vice-President, Branch Banking and Chair, Quebec Market TD Bank Group. "This poignant work tackles a complex and delicate subject in a heartfelt and straightforward way."
La saison des pluies was selected from among the following finalists:
L'amélanchier, written by Denis Côté and illustrated by Anne Sol (published by Planète Rebelle).
Lapin-Chagrin et les jours d'Elko, written by Sylvie Nicolas and illustrated by Marion Arbona ( published by Éditions du Phoenix, initial publication at Éditions Trampoline).
Le monde de Théo, written by Louis Émond and illustrated by Philippe Béha (published by Éditions Hurtubise).
Mots doux pour endormir la nuit, written by Jacques Pasquet and illustrated by Marion Arbona (published by Planète Rebelle).
"The quality of the works submitted is undeniable. We would like to congratulate all of the finalists and applaud La saison des pluies for winning the 2012 Canadian Children's Literature Award," said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director of the Canadian Children's Book Centre. "This touching work, which also won the Prix jeunesse des libraires 2012, leaves no one unmoved and deals with a difficult subject exceptionally well."
The jury's selection criteria included the quality of the writing and illustrations, the overall literary contribution and the work's impact on young readers. To be eligible, works must be original French Canadian publications in any genre, for youth aged 0 to 12 years old. A $25,000 prize will also be presented to an English Canadian work to be announced at the awards ceremony on November 21, 2012.
This year, the prestigious jury was made up of Michel Clément, Education Consultant; Danièle Courchesne, teacher; Rosette d'Aragon, Children's Literature Program Developer; Susane Duchesne, Book Seller and President of Ibby Canada; and Claude Simard, retired professor.
About the author
Mario Brassard was born in the town of Sainte-Flore in the Mauricie region of Quebec. After completing his literary studies, he embarked on a professional writing career. A born poet, his first two volumes were met with critical acclaim and won a number of awards. As he continued to hone his poetic skills, he made his entry into the field of children's literature, releasing two novels published by Soulières Éditeur, including La saison des pluies. He now devotes himself to writing full-time at his home in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes.
About the illustrator
Suana Verelst was born in Belgium and studied drawing and painting before settling in Canada. She studied art history, fine arts and graphic design in Montreal. She has illustrated various children's books in Quebec, the United States, Belgium and France and has received many awards for her outstanding work. A number of her illustrations have been featured in leading exhibitions.
About the Canadian Children's Book Centre
The Canadian Children's Book Centre is a national non-profit organization and registered charity founded in 1976 to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens. With book collections and extensive resources in five cities across Canada, the CCBC is a treasure trove for anyone interested in Canadian books for young readers. For further information, please visit http://www.bookcentre.ca/programmes.
Your great books of 2012 have been revealed. The 14 winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced today by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Council funds and administers the GGs, the most significant literary award program in Canada, providing close to $ 450,000 in prize money. They are awarded in both English and French in seven categories: fiction, poetry, drama, non‑fiction, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.
“The verdict is in, and it’s another great year for Canadian literature,” s aid Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council. “The winning titles offer a wealth of reading options for Canadians of all ages, and demonstrate once again that Canada punches beyond its weight in the literary arena.”
Some highlights from this year’s announcement:
Ten out of 14 winners of the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Awards are women.
Nigel Spencer wins for the third time, each time for the translation of a book by Marie-Claire Blais.
Normand Chaurette wins for the second year in a row, his fourth GG overall.
“Everyone involved in the creation of a book—including writers, illustrators, translators and publishers—has a story to tell,” said His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. “The Governor General’s Literary Awards is not only a chance to honour our very best books, but it is also a chance to pay tribute to Canadians who are rising stars in the world of literature. I congratulate all the winners who have worked hard to add their tale to our collective memories.”
The names of the winners and titles of their works are listed below, together with peer assessment committee members’ comments for each work. Biographical information and downloadable photos of the winners and book covers are posted on the Canada Council’s website . Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GG2012. Follow @CanadaCouncil and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates.
Children’s Literature — Text
Susin Nielsen, Vancouver, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
(Tundra Books, an imprint of Random House of Canada; distributed by the publisher)
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen is an engaging grief story. Thought‑provoking and relevant, it addresses the effects of bullying in a realistic, compelling and compassionate way, exemplifying the adage, “There are two sides to every story.” Henry’s journey is moving and weirdly, wildly funny.
Aline Apostolska , Montréal, Un été d’amour et de cendres
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Socadis)
With Un été d’amour et de cendres, Aline Apostolska takes readers into the chaotic socio-political context of a Tibetan enclave in northern India, with the only references being the dramatic tale of first love. A powerful novel in sensitive, spare and uncompromising language.
Children’s Literature — Illustration
Isabelle Arsenault, Montréal, Virginia Wolf , text by Kyo Maclear
( Kids Can Press ; distributed by University of Toronto Press )
Isabelle Arsenault’s Virginia Wolf is an imaginative journey into the world of children’s dreams and creativity. This delightfully whimsical and tactile book has the feeling of children’s sidewalk drawings. Through her unique style, the illustrator merges fantasy, emotions and inspiration.
Élise Gravel , Montréal, La clé à molette, text by Élise Gravel
(Éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel until December 31, and by Messageries de Presse Benjamin thereafter)
In a style that resembles a retro advertising design, Élise Gravel questions consumer culture by creating a story and characters that are simple, fun and lively. Filled with absurd objects and sly criticisms, La clé à molette is colourful, coherent and original.
At the last ALSC Annual General Meeting, a new ASLC executive was chosen. That means the ASLC now has a new webmaster and membership coordinator. We'd like to introduce ourselves, and invite you to contact us should you have any news, events or ideas that would be of interest to ASLC members.
Terri Hayes is a teacher with the Calgary Board of Education, and is currently completing her Master of Education (Teacher-Librarianship) at the University of Alberta. Although she doesn't have any previous webmaster experience, she's willing to give anything a try (at least once) and looks forward to working with the membership to ensure that our website is relevant and up-to-date.
Nancy Prentice is the teacher-librarian at Forest Lawn High School in Calgary, and is also working towards her Master of Education (Teacher-Librarianship) at the University of Alberta. She's excited about working with Terri to provide mentorship and membership services to ASLC members.
We hope you'll contact us:
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