Librarian Talk – Jason Saikaly – Barker College
What character in a book has influenced you the most?
Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Through his words and actions, he demonstrated to his kids what it means to be a person of character and integrity. He taught Jem and Scout to judge people for who they are, and what they do as opposed to what they look like. He is a class-act character!
Tell us about your library! What makes it unique?
It is a very large library. We actually have 3 libraries on campus and I reside in the senior library. One of the somewhat unique things we have tried to implement in the library is a traffic light system. We understand that the library can’t, and shouldn’t, always be a quiet place of study. As the heart of the campus, we want our patrons to come to study and also to socialise, rest, relax, unwind, interact and to explore, etc… It’s hard trying to please everyone, so we set up a traffic light system across 3 of the library floors. One of the floors is our RED floor. It is used for silent, dedicated study and reading. One of our floors is the ORANGE floor. It is used for quiet study, quiet group work and reading. The other floor is our GREEN floor. It is used for social interaction, watching TV, playing chess, reading the paper or magazines, listening to music (with headphones), watching YouTube or just being. The beauty of the system is that most students know, before entering the building, which floor they intend to be on. The senior library is open Monday – Saturday and is also open in the evenings.
What is a challenge that you faced in your library recently?
Remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the common challenge in 2020. The specific challenge was helping our community (2,000 students, 300+ teachers and parents) know how to easily access, and use, our online resources from their homes. We also teach a reading program, BookBites, to 32 English classes per fortnight and we wanted these to continue remotely.
How did Accessit Library help you solve this challenge?
We used the Accessit Web App and some of Accessit’s features to solve our challenges. On our library homepage we uploaded some training videos (recorded in Canvas Studio) for our patrons to access. They include how to videos on ClickView, accessing online databases, accessing Flipster, borrowing eBooks and audiobooks, etc… In addition, we also made great use of Accessit’s One Search to connect OPAC searches to books, newspapers, eBooks, audiobooks, online encyclopaedias, YouTube, the State and National Library, and selected educational websites. Accessit made it very easy for us to continue as close to ‘business as usual’ as we could.
How has your attitude changed towards the challenge you solved with Accessit Library, now that you’ve worked through it?
I think the greatest attitudinal change has been that now that we’ve come through the first wave of COVID-19, we’re confident that if the need arises again, we can manage another extended period of remote online teaching and learning. Another benefit was that we’ve had the chance to review some of our practices and traditional ways of doing certain things and identified areas for improvement, evolution or redundancy. It was a good chance to audit what we do and how we do it. A blessing in disguise!
What do you like the most about Accessit Library?
- It works seamlessly with our learning management system (Canvas) and our video database (ClickView).
- I love One Search. We have connected 9 external sites to the OPAC, so it has become in the majority of cases, a one-stop shop for the staff and students.
How does Accessit Library support the academic outcomes of your school?
For me, the greatest advantage is One Search and the fact that Accessit works with so many other educational sites and products. In many ways, it is the portal to the majority of the educational applications, services and resources available to our community of users.
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
John Haynes – Tyndale Christian School
Zarina Fleming – Shepparton High School