Librarian Talk – Lynn Swannell – Mount Eliza Secondary College
I am the Librarian (and only library staff member) at MESC where I have worked for 32 years. During this time I have seen many changes within not only my library, but also school libraries in general. I work with a wonderful group of staff within the college who fully support the library. I also have a volunteer student library team who help promote reading and the library by setting up displays and contributing to library news each day.
My role involves being the VASS Administrator, and I am also the SLAV Convenor for my local network and a member of the SLAV Council, as well as Administrator of the ClickView Exchange Google Group.
At home I enjoy pottering about in my small garden and watching it grow, cooking and especially sharing brownies with my student library team, together with walking and exploring new trails with friends. Last year I spent 8 weeks travelling through the UK and Europe catching up with family and friends. I particularly love reminiscing about these memories during this current climate of being at home. A real highlight of the trip was a Rod Stewart concert I attended.
What character in a book has influenced you the most?
Mary Poppins. She is sensible and firm when needed and always caring about others and ready to have fun.
Tell us about your library! What makes it unique?
Our library is open every day from 8.00am to 4.00pm and whilst we do not have a large space, we certainly try to fill it with lots of colour and spaces for all to enjoy. Students love seeing our displays put together by the student library team and our annual ‘Book Lovers’ week to start the year is always a highlight. Classes are booked in on a regular basis and this enables me to talk about new resources, conduct ‘academic honesty’ sessions, and generally assist with research tasks. I love having this interaction with classes and at both recess and lunchtimes I try to spend time talking to students and ensuring it is a space they enjoy visiting.
What is a challenge that you faced in your library recently?
Giving students access to our library catalogue and online resources outside of the library had become important however funding was not available until this year. We had been using the same system for nearly 20 years and it was certainly not ‘user friendly’ anymore. I was also looking for a way to engage students when searching for resources and a library management system that would integrate a variety of online resources as well.
How did Accessit Library help you solve this challenge?
We migrated to Accessit Library in April 2020 during our first ‘remote learning’ phase, and I was able to coordinate this and the online training with help and guidance of both David and Cynthia at Accessit. This has now made our whole collection accessible whether in school or at home. Being able to customise the Web App and provide links via ‘One Search’ has also opened a whole new library world for our students.
How has your attitude changed towards the challenge you solved with Accessit Library, now that you’ve worked through it?
I’m so glad that the migration was done earlier than planned and that I was lucky enough to be able to showcase our Web App to students and staff when they returned to school last term (just in time as well before going back to remote learning again this term). This has meant they now have access to a lot more resources and as I was also able to fit in a quick stock take of the main library collection I know that our catalogue is now accurate and up-to-date for our users to search.
What do you like the most about Accessit Library?
I love how easy it is to use, both at a manager and a user level. Being able to easily update the Web App ensures student engagement – check out our ‘Pawsome Reads’ by students and their pets – really the sky’s the limit on your imagination with this. Whilst I still have work to do on this (it is only 4 months old) I really enjoy looking at other Accessit Library Web Apps, together with learning and sharing ideas via the Facebook group. The Knowledge Base video tutorials are fantastic and the ALeC tutorials have enabled me to learn so much about the system in a very short time.
Each librarian has their own unique perspective of life in the library and how they use library software to manage their library systems.
Here are stories from other school librarians in Australia making the most of their library management system that may be of interest to you:
Lynn Swannell – Mount Eliza Secondary College
Leisa Westerhof – Norwood Morialta High School
Jason Saikaly – Barker College
John Haynes – Tyndale Christian School
Zarina Fleming – Shepparton High School