National Week 2012

The time is now

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

With “Fake News” and media literacy so centrally on our minds, the time to collaborate is now!

The information landscape is so complex today that our students need our help learning how to navigate and thrive in the world of information abundance! More than ever, an inquiry based learning model is what our students need in schools to learn about and from information that is at our fingertips all the time. We can teach our students the content we know is important as determined by our national curriculum and standards through an inquiry approach. At the same time, we can meet our students in the middle by engaging their curiosities and interests making learning relevant and rigorous. Inquiry is the way we can accomplish both of these goals.

But don’t go it alone! Right in your very school and community you can find the supports you need to address these challenges for your students by using Guided Inquiry Design.

Have you heard the saying, none of us is as smart as all of us?
Or the amount we can do is based on the number of people we know?

Have a look at this diagram of social networks by DarwinPeacock, Maklaan [CC BY 3.0 (]

Imagine that you are one of the points in the diagram above. If it’s true that the amount we can do is based on the people we know, would you rather be the isolated dot way out in the outskirts? Or would you rather be in that deep blue center, where connecting to others is easy, and you can find people to answer your questions and help you accomplish things that are out of your own expertise or comfort zone? Today we have more opportunities to connect with more people through technology making this deep blue even more global and possible!

But you also don’t have to go too far. Your own school can be seen as a network of people with varying expertise. Often times our system of education is set up for teachers to stay in their own classrooms and teach their content in isolation, but we cannot afford to do that any more in the world of information abundance! We need more perspectives, varying expertise, and think partners to help us work through challenging ideas and issues to reach all of our students. We have a network of people right on our own campuses to support us. And the Guided Inquiry Design framework can help you to see the people in your school with a new lens.

Guided Inquiry Design has embedded teacher collaboration into our model. We have defined roles for the teacher, librarian and other members of your staff and community so that you have the support you need to address these difficult topics with your students.

The authors of Guided Inquiry Design value collaborations. Our team is a collaborative effort. The three authors bring three very different perspectives on education and research to the table. Dr Kuhlthau with her internationally renown research and expertise on the Information Search Process, Ann Caspari with her knowledge of informal learning environments, museum resources and education and my knowledge of literacy and curriculum and instruction, experience with coaching teachers and understanding of school administration. Without the three of us, Guided Inquiry Design would not be what it is. Without our three very different different perspectives, maybe it never would have been created at all. Because this is true, we also see how students benefit when teachers partner up to meet their learning needs through inquiry.

Partnering with your school librarian eases so many challenges that come when students are researching to construct new understandings! Librarians understand the research process, know the resources and can teach students mini-lessons on searching and information literacy, right at the point of need.

Partnering with another teacher is also an asset. We have examples in practice of how you can work together as a learning team using Guided Inquiry Design to reach higher level goals for your students through an inquiry approach.

Invite the folks you know who can help you become a better teacher in this age of information abundance- reach out to your fellow teachers, your school librarian and colleagues and join me for a deep dive workshop. Come together, and you will learn how Guided Inquiry Design is what your students need now in this information age to engage in the world today and be prepared for their bright but perhaps uncertain futures. You’ll leave with the tools to collaborate and design rich learning experiences for your students. I do hope to see you there!

Leslie Maniotes, NBCT, MEd, PhD

Author and Professional Developer for Guided Inquiry Design


Syba Signs Warehouse Sale

Friday, January 18, 2019

Calling all Sydney Metro Teacher Librarians

You’re invited to the Syba Signs Warehouse Sale. Grab some great clearance products at up to 70% off RRP! Posters, banners, vinyl lettering, bookmarks, acrylic book display, discontinued shelf dividers and more! If you are on a tight budget then this sale is not to be missed. There is even a freebie box so get in quick and RSVP.

When: Tuesday 29th January, 2019


Where: Gladesville, NSW

(address details will be confirmed by email once you RSVP)

RSVP essential! See form below to RSVP.

We hope to see you there!

See below for a selection of the great products included in our sale!


Students Need School Libraries Campaign Partnership

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This term we are thrilled to announce an exciting partnership between Syba Signs and the School Library Coalition on the all new Students Need School Libraries campaign.

Syba Signs is a massive supporter of school libraries so naturally we jumped at the opportunity to throw our support behind this campaign!

The Students Need School Libraries campaign is due to officially launch at 7.00pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 16th October, 2018! We urge you to get behind this campaign; mobilise your students, teachers, parents and your school and wider community. Every student deserves to experience learning supported by a qualified Teacher Librarian!

For a range of promotional materials to support the campaign visit

10% of all sales will be donated back to the campaign to further the work of the School Library Coalition on the Students Need School Libraries campaign!

For more information about this campaign we have asked Holly Godfree, Campaigner Coordinator, to share with you background to the campaign and a range of practical tips and calls to action!

From the Syba Team

Students Need School Libraries Campaign: Get on Board!

As you may be acutely aware, most school libraries in Australia (and around the world) have been on a downward trajectory for about 20 years. This means large numbers of the general public, students, teachers and principals have never experienced what a school library can and should be like.

Why, for many of us, does this situation warrant such deep distress and passionate desire to reverse it? Because we know that a strong school library run by a qualified team of staff is a huge part of the actual, practical answer to many of the entrenched problems facing young people and education systems today.

Why are School Libraries so Important?

  • Teaching ‘21st Century’ Skills for an Increasingly Competitive and Automated Future
    Many schools have students just using technology. Teacher librarians teach them to use it well.

  • Strengthening Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
    To research effectively is to be a critical and creative thinker. It is an exercise in problem solving. School libraries services are all about supporting research.

  • Reversing Declining Results in NAPLAN and PISA tests
    Strong school library services have a positive impact on every student and every teacher in every lesson every day.
    When people say the school library is the heart of the school, that is more than a cliche. What kind of difference would it make to teaching and learning to have that heart robust and healthy or sick and starved?

  • Reducing Teacher Workload
    Too many teachers are finding their own teaching resources for every lesson, every term, every year. A strong school library provides the best, current resources to be at your fingertips. This saves teachers time and energy that they can then spend focussing on pedagogy and other valuable areas.
    Teacher librarians also plan and teach collaboratively with classroom teachers, helping them with their core responsibilities and improving learning outcomes for students.

  • Individualising and Differentiating Teaching and Assessment
    The brief of school libraries is to personalise services to the school community as a whole and to the individuals within it.

We are about to enter a new phase in the history of school libraries, and, yes, you

guessed it, YOU, as an individual, have a stake in our success or failure.

Hundreds of interested individuals have been working for more than a year to create a national campaign called Students Need School Libraries. This campaign will target the general public, with a special emphasis on parents. Our ultimate goal is that all states and territories will require a teacher librarian and qualified library support staff for all schools.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Connect with us via Facebook, Twitter and our website, and subscribe to our newsletter).

  • Add momentum to our Twitterstorm launch on 16 Oct at 7:00 pm (AEDT).

  • Direct interested people to our website which will be filled with tools to support them to take action in their local communities.

  • Tell everyone you can about our campaign. We are targeting the general public. Most people have no idea about how important school libraries are for students’ lives (now and into the future). They also have no idea that most school libraries are not going well. To help engage them, view and share our 17 short documentary films about school libraries (the first nine of which will go public with the launch).

  • Talking Points about the Campaign: We must unify our message.

    Please see the FAQ on our website for more!

    Our campaign is focussing on the following areas of school library services (in priority order):

    • Priority 1 = Digital Literacy Skills
      If you have a person’s attention for 30 seconds and can only get out one idea, let that be “website evaluation”: Identifying trustworthy information and dealing with fake news and alternative facts. THIS is what will get people’s attention. THIS is the biggest concern parents have.
      If you have 60 seconds, also talk about helping students manipulate Google to get the best information quickly.

    • Priority 2 = Resourcing
      Saving teachers’ and students’ time and energy by having the best physical and digital resources at their fingertips. By reducing classroom teacher workload, we give them more time to create excellent, engaging lessons. By helping students keep organised and save time, they can put more energy into higher order thinking.

    • Priority 3 = Reading
      This is not our TOP priority because, whilst incredibly important, it does not get traction with most people. But, you can talk about the positive impact of reading on all learning; about developing empathy, compassion and a wider world view; about having a vibrant collection of new literature that will lure students away from flitting from site to site on screens.

    • Priority 4 = Relationships
      This resonates deeply with parents. We care. We provide a safe refuge for those who are struggling. We get to know individuals. We have a different kind of relationship with students than any other adult in the school.

    Making our Dream a Reality

    There are four practical components for this campaign idea to succeed in practice:

    • Choose the Right Person
      People in a strong school library are smart, motivated and very approachable.

    • Qualifications are Essential
      NOTE: studying on the job is fine. Right now, there are not enough qualified library staff to fulfill our mission. This is an opportunity. We’ll have a whole new generation of eager new professionals.

    • The Library Must Have a Team
      A teacher librarian on their own will not reach their potential. Qualified support staff are essential to keep ‘the wheels turning’ whilst the teacher librarian focuses on supporting teaching and learning.

    • Strong Services Take Time
      An amount of flexible timetabling is essential for collaborating with teachers and students and adequate administrative time is required to resource the curriculum.

    All of us in this campaign are people just like you. With your help, this can become a genuine grassroots movement creating meaningful change.

    Holly Godfree

    Campaign Coordinator

    Students Need School Libraries

    Follow us on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


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