February 12 2014

2014 – a new challenge!

So, last year passed in a blur, and I barely had time to breathe, let alone blog! In a nutshell, in case you were wondering, my wonderful year group faced the challenges of their HSC year, dealt with formal and graduation, HSC marking, moving, coordinating our school anniversary celebrations, and then all that other stuff that goes along with life – you know, teaching, taxiing children around, etc. It was full on, and I felt an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment at the close of the year, but also a sense of bewilderment too.

I’ve been a year advisor almost as long as I’ve been a teacher. How do I “do” work without that role? Without that connection with the welfare of students? I did, in a fit of madness, put my hand up for a fill in YA roll at the end of the year, but thankfully it was given to someone else … which left me feeling a bit flat, to be honest, but was probably for the best! Because, not long after that I was approached by the boss and asked if I’d be interested in running our Library this year. Me, in charge of a building full of books? Is that a rhetorical question? My head was buzzing with the possibilities, but also I was concerned about leaving my classroom, which I adore. So, a few conversations ensued, and I negotiated holding on to one of my classes – the yr12 advanced group, who I started teaching last year for Premin and I adore.

So, this is my new home. It doesn’t look like this now – a few changes, which aren’t dramatic enough for me yet, but others are noticing the difference already, so that’s a good sign I guess.


Library - before
Library – before

I know what I want this place to feel like – I loved the library when I was growing up, it was my sanctuary. I want people to be able to walk in the doors and feel a sense of warmth, and connection. I want them to fall in love with the culture of books, and be open to the idea of trying something new, and meeting someone special between those pages. I want them to get excited about unfamiliar stories, and embrace old favourites like friends. And I only have 10 more months to accomplish this. That’s not too big a feat, now, is it?

So, I’m posting this, and will be tweeting and facebooking the crap out of the link, to ask for your help. Did/ do you like going to the library? What makes it a special adventure for you? What would help your children develop a love for the space?Do you have an idea about what’s already on my VERY long to-do list – we are painting, and making it visually a bit more appealing. New posters, artwork displays which incorporate stories from the diverse range of cultures that make up our wonderful school community. There’s a couch downstairs now, with a few cushions, and I’ll be adding another couch soon, plus a whole lot more cushions for that giant staired seating area. Fingers crossed for some new furniture, and that drab office space is well on the way to being converted into a senior study room, complete with student designed and painted murals. (Keep an eye out in a couple of weeks for photos of that, it’s going to be awesome!)I’ve got a list of games and books the kids have requested. We’re thinking about options for lunchtime activities – probably on a fortnightly basis. Whovian Society, where we watch an episode of our favourite Doctor and perhaps enjoy???? fish fingers and custard. Minecraft Mondays. Gaming challenges. Reading circle.So, that’s my challenge for the year – any ideas on what I can do to make it a bit more fantabulous and amazeballs? I’d love to hear them!

Step 1 - a bit of a cosmetic lift.
Step 1 – a bit of a cosmetic lift.

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Posted February 12, 2014 by Tamara Rodgers in category Library Life

About the Author

NSWPRC Officer, Teacher Librarian, English teacher and social media advocate. I've been teaching in Western Sydney for my entire teaching career, and love my job more than I love Neil Gaiman. (That's a lot, in case you're wondering!) I stalk authors (but always politely), fangirl over books, and drink coffee. And one of my guilty prides about my children is that they all have favourite authors. #winning!

5 thoughts on “2014 – a new challenge!

  1. Chris Comerford

    Three important factors that personally contributed to me having a great time at the library:

    – Friendly staff (and not those who sound like they’re doing it out of sufferance)
    – Student artwork (it was nice seeing actual, legit paintings and framed things throughout, but I got more satisfaction seeing the occasional thing put up by my peers – felt like it was a little more “our” place, if that makes sense. Sounds like you’ve got that remit covered though)
    – COLOURS (our library started off with bright chairs, paintings and book arrangement so that the space felt vibrant. So that was nice)

    Whovian Society sounds awesome enough for me to want to skip back to 7th grade.

    Maybe also board games as well as video games? I think we had a ratty copy of Monopoly or something like that, might’ve been Trouble? Early years we had fun with that. Board games never go out of style.

  2. Sarah

    Hi Tamara,

    One addition we found helpful was a table with a 1000 piece puzzle. Students walk past it, put in a few pieces and move on. It becomes a collaborative project.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your adventure. I’d love to redo both libraries at SAC. Many ideas, just to find the funds!

  3. carlaleeb

    Hi Tamara .
    Wow what a Year you have planned 🙂
    As the library is in or Faculty, I too have been pondering this to discuss.
    Ours is also used as a Learning Centre since last year- to support not only struggling learners but for enrichment too. Staff are rostered to support our LAST. With this in mind and trying to promote reading and the idea of a cultural hub e.g Books, Art,Film and Research, I have been thinking about
    – Library FB or Blog moderated but coordinated by students
    – Reading and writing groups, performance poetry or story sharing
    -Tackling the idea of promoting more student reviews for peer interaction -maybe Good Reads idea or Edmodo library connection with PS students and yes , good old QR codes
    – Research – asking KLAs to help create a Library Diigo, Delicious,School branded Symbaloo or other book marking tool to promote skills and digitise research . LT sessions on skills
    – FanFiction Club
    – HS orientated bookweek type idea with activities and Genres for Reading and Writing -maybe with SRC assistance
    – Music catalogues
    – Student art displays not just from class but from hobbies
    – Kindle Nook esp for Graphic novels or iPads for student support
    -Read-a-thons with a variety of reading experiences
    -Film festivals connected to “Have you Read the Book”
    -Storytelling hour at Lunch or Recess , even inviting PS students to share or hear.

    There are so many diverse ways the library is or can be used as a Cultural Hub. I have no idea if these ideas will progress in the scheme of the year but I will be keepng an eye on your fab year for inspiration because if anyone can make their Library rock, I’m sure it’s you 🙂


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