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ETL507 Portfolio

journeyThe Teacher Librarian is a Leader!

One of the important issues I’ve had to understand along my journey as a Teacher librarian (TL) is that of the TL being a leader.  My understanding has grown from the belief in the TL as a leader within the library to knowing the TL is a leader in the wider school community and librarian world. The subject ETL401 first exposed me to the idea of being a leader when I had to investigate the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School Libraries Association (ASLA) joint statement: Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians (2004). Leadership is explicitly mentioned in the Standard of Professional Commitment, 3.3 and is implicit in many of the other standards (1.2,1.4, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.4.)  To view the entire document click on the link below.

http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Prior to my study, I readily accepted the TL was a leader within the library.  They were responsible for budgets, resourcing the collection, managing library coworkers and students, as well as managing the physical environs of the library.  I had limited experience at this stage but I saw the TL was viewed as an authority and leader within the library. I approached my learning journey with this understanding in mind. The Standards though pointed to the TL being a leader within the wider school community and in library networks beyond the school. Absorbing this, my practice began to change. When I was employed for temporary library blocks I endeavoured to reach out beyond the library.  The most effective way to do this as a temporary TL was to email all teaching staff. I gave staff library information, new book titles, book award winners and welcomed them to the library to contribute their ideas for future purchases and display ideas. See below an example of one such email.

Untitled

If I had the opportunity, I contributed to the school newsletter making sure the library featured in the minds of the parents, students and staff. I also actively contributed to staff meetings and on two occasions attended and contributed to library network meetings.

These actions were conscious decisions made in response to the leadership question and the confidence given to me by gaining a clearer understanding of my role.  I doubt I would have spontaneously done this at such an early point in my TL career if I hadn’t felt it was part of my role.  I think up til then I was of the mindset that I was a beginner and learning, which meant I couldn’t yet be a leader.  I realised although true to a certain degree, I still had more knowledge than others in the school on librarian issues and potentially on issues of literacy and student outcomes.

At times I was confused about aspects of leadership in my role.  ETL504 Teacher Librarian as Leader exposed me to many leadership theories and I found myself wondering whether I was leading or simply ‘managing’.  John Kotter  asks us to consider the difference between these two aspects (‘Change Management vs. Change Leadership,’ 2011). In my blog post ETL504 Reflective Blog Task 1 (Eyre,2013a) found at,

 https://kitkayte.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/etl504/

I express this confusion and state that I’m second-guessing what is leadership and what is not.  I also comment on my confusion caused by the multiple theories of leadership.  I still experience difficulty in deciding what ‘leadership’ is and what type of leader I am. However what began with ETL401 and continued with ETL504 was my understanding that a TL is leader far beyond the library walls.

Viewing myself as a leader began to change other aspects of my librarian work.  I continued to email staff, produce newspaper excerpts and make announcements at staff meetings. In addition, I informed staff of developments in literacy and academic findings, relevant to schools and education in general.  I did this without waiting to be asked by the Principal or School Executive. I began to view myself as an information expert and that information was no longer limited to ‘book stuff’ (novels and authors) but extended to other issues of educational and social importance to the school. E.g. IPad usage and implementation in schools, Digital Citizenship, improved student outcomes.  I felt confident that my Masters level of education was keeping me up to date on many topical issues in education.

My belief in a TL as leader has been strengthened further as I’ve gained experience, further knowledge and confidence.

social media

The Gimmick of Social Networking!

One of the biggest changes to occur in my thinking and therefore practice over the duration of this course is regards to social networking. Prior to doing the course I did not use any form of social networking. I failed to see its usefulness for me socially and doubted its effectiveness professionally. It was partly due to this as well as a desire to learn something of it all that I chose to do the INF 506 elective- Social Networking for Information Professionals. I was curious but did not think I would learn much that could actually be useful to me as a TL. Studying the various uses and effectiveness of social networking in the business and library world, changed my mind. The use of social networking within the library also fits into the  Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians. In particular 1.2. and 1.4.(ASLA & ALIA, 2004). facebooktwitterlogo I reluctantly signed up for a Facebook account as it was a requirement of INF506 (Hay, 2012) I soon noted the usefulness of the site and learnt how to use many of its features. Towards the end of the subject I noted in a blog post (Eyre, 2013b) that I could now see the value of Facebook for libraries and would be encouraging its use. This post can be found at:

INF506 Evaluative Statement

I also noted that according to Cowling (2013) over half the Australian population was signed up to Facebook and therefore the platform was too large to ignore. So in the space of a few weeks I was a convert.

Since then, I have continued my belief in the potential of Facebook for professional reasons. My personal account has a ‘Library List’, showing various library related Facebook pages that I follow. The screenshot below shows them.

librarylist

These pages inform my professional development and I often follow the links to read current and topical stories related to Librarianship. In this way, Facebook directly impacts upon my librarian work.

Although unable at my current school to have a school Facebook account, I am curious how other schools manage Facebook. St. Andrews Cathedral School and Sceggs Darlinghurst use Facebook and during the study visits for ETL507 I made a point of asking how they use the medium.  At this stage I am collecting evidence and knowledge of how to introduce Facebook into my school environment, whilst certainly using my personal account to keep up to date with other libraries and events. My ready conversion to the possibilities of social networking for library use is revealed in another blog post of mine ‘Twitter! Twitter! Twitter!’ (Eyre, 2013c) found at

https://kitkayte.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/twitter-twitter-twitter-2/

 twitter

This post details my response to readings by Le Gac (2010), Stuart (2010) and Milstein (2009) which highlight the advantages of Twitter as a social media platform as well as what patrons of Web 2.0 technologies expect. I am enthusiastic in this post about the use of Twitter in libraries. I state that a Twitter account can reach current library users as well as those who may not have stepped into a library for some time, and this combines advocacy and promotion in one. The quick dissemination of information to a large audience,also saves valuable time and effort.

Whilst two years later, my thoughts remain the same I have not been able on a practical level to use Twitter within my own school library environment – does this perhaps reveal that Twitter is less useable than I had expected? I don’t think so, however it does point to the conservatism within schools to adopt new technologies. As with Facebook, my use of Twitter is more for updates and links to professional development ideas than for the specific needs of my library.

pinterest

Pinterest is another form of social networking, which is well suited to libraries. After being exposed to Pinterest in INF506, I began ‘playing’ with the platform and investigating its uses. As with Facebook, initially I used my personal account to ‘follow’ other boards from similar school and public libraries, in order to see the uses they were making of the platform.

pinterestpersonal

Once I was in a school position I began a school library account. I use this account to follow HSC Discovery boards put together by other TL’s and English teachers. Additionally I have started to create my own boards.  Myself and one other person have access to these boards to create and add to.  As the boards become more detailed I will make them available to the whole school and public.

materpinterestfollow Following these boards.

materpinterestcreate Created these boards.

My use of Pinterest and Facebook is a long way from my initial confusion and reluctance at the use of Social Networking tools!

My belief in Social Networking within the library world was created through the subject INF506and my subsequent experimenting.  Another significant factor was the final assignment for INF506. I chose to study how public libraries were using social networking to communicate with their patrons. A pivotal moment  occurred as the results of this project showed the obvious success of the libraries that had active social networking sites. This convinced me of the value of these platforms and their vital importance to libraries in the 21st century.

it is clear that all libraries, regardless of type and location, are able to be successful innovators of social networking technologies and therefore successful 21st century communicators (Eyre, 2013d)

Click on the link below to download a copy of the assignment.

finalINF506

Currently in a job share position in a secondary high school and approaching the end of my Master’s, I feel happy with my current level of usage of social networking for the library.  I feel confident that usage will increase as schools in general move forward into the online and eLearning arena. I have moved from a novice and non-believer, to an accomplished user of several platforms and a strong advocate of schools and libraries incorporating social networking into their core business.

ongoingjourney

ONGOING AND CONTINUAL LEARNING OF THE TL ROLE.

As I near the end of my study, I have become aware that the role of TL is a diverse one dependant upon many factors. More importantly the role is a dynamic and fluid one, which much retain flexibility at its core. The TL must continually ‘refresh’ whilst striving to develop and maintain a relevant, dynamic, purposeful library. This has been the most important learning point of my degree. So how and when did this point become clear to me?

As I started my ‘requalifying’ to become a TL I was under the impression that I would study a series of subjects and during that time learn all there was about librarianship and come out the other side a fully-fledged expert- I was wrong. Almost 3 years later, hours of experience now under my belt as a TL and 7 of 8 subjects in my Master’s complete I am cognisant of how much I still need to learn. I have come a long way and know a lot but I’m still on a path of learning. The realisation that has slowly been dawning on me over the last few months is that this learning will continue throughout my career as a TL.

As early as week 4 of my first subject (ETL401, August – November 2012), I reflected on a sense of dissatisfaction at not being taught ‘how to be a TL’. I didn’t post this reflection to my blog but left it as a stand-alone document on my desktop.

 reflection

I understand now that there are many reasons why you can’t simply be taught how to be a teacher librarian. Different school systems (public, private, independent) all use different library management systems and so teaching detail of one system is not useful to everyone. For example during my different blocks I have used the Oasis system, Destiny, RFD and Millennium systems. Additionally, the role of a TL can and does vary dramatically from school to school. Each school system can have different expectations of a TL, the size of a school, the demographics of the student cohort, the size of the library itself and the number of staff working within it all effect and help mould the role of the TL. The support of the Principal and school executive, along with the library budget can also impact and finally the individual personality, age and experience of the TL heavily impacts upon the role. Even the most comprehensive university degree could not hope to teach for all the possible scenarios occurring.

Further evidence of the TL role being an ever changing and dynamic one comes from my current position.  I am in a job share role  in a school with an experienced and efficient TL.  Policies and procedures are current, and constantly updated, Information Literacy and Digital citizenship is taught and the library has a high profile within the school and support of the Principal.  If the TL role was a stagnant one, then coming in as a new TL fresh out of training, one would assume there was little for me to contribute to.  This has not been the case. Learning on the job at the same time as completing my Master’s, has meant that I have fresh ideas and am open to changing and adopting different practices. There have been several ways I’ve been able to effect  change in my role.  Firstly I noticed the desperate need for bag racks at the entrance to the library.  The existing ones were small and not adequate to hold the number of student bags outside the library during most of the day.

Before: bagsmater2                     bagsmater1

After: IMG_3378  IMG_3379

I sourced  new ones, took photos of the existing entrance, raised the issue within my library team and then the school principal.  January this year saw the installation of new bag racks. This is an example of a new set of eyes looking at a situation. It also shows how a TL can lead a push for change.

Another example of changes which can occur from having a flexible view of the role is a set of bookmarks I created and placed out at the circulation desk.  This had not been done previously by the TL and I thought it was a good way to promote particular novels and authors, whilst also raising the profile of the library.  The bookmarks also helped to ‘brand’ the school as they had the library and school logo on. The students were delighted and several of them expressed their surprise that they were ‘free’. Another simple example of a different TL with different experiences and personality bringing about change.  It’s important to note that as the junior job share person, I would not have been able to introduce any of these changes if the current TL had the attitude that she knew it all and had done it all in regards to her role.  The fact she has been willing to support, encourage and ultimately learn from these new ideas, shows that she too understands the nature of librarianship and flexible libraries. My ‘all staff’ emails which are reviews of books I’ve been reading, general library information as well as promoting new book purchases, are also something that had not previously been done.

BookreviewAllStaff

A final recognition of the continual journey of a TL is that of professional development. This forms part of our professional standards (1.1, 3.4). The school provides us with opportunities for Professional development and I believe being a recent student my information is quite up to date and relevant. I recognise though that I need to be proactive in seeking out opportunities to continually inform and improve my practice and knowledge. Recently I requested the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by Kevin Hennah called ‘Cultural Weeding‘ and supported by Syba Academy and SLANSW. An interesting, informative and highly practical workshop, I came away from it not only with a lot of new ideas and practices but also with a reinforced belief that my journey as TL, whilst started was no way near its end and that I would be continually adapting and evolving.

CulturalWeeding-01 New! Library culture, image, promotion & resources are all put under the spotlight, as Kevin poses his thought-provoking ideas on why libraries need to weed more than just print to remain relevant. http://www.kevinhennah.com.au

Flexibility in the role of TL is also required in terms of keeping up to date with changes in curriculum and learning theories which is necessary to fulfil the collaborative aspects of a TL’s role.  Subject teachers within a school often change at regular intervals and it is essential a TL develops and maintains ongoing relationships with teachers in the school. A flexible attitude is required for this. Additionally, a quick look at professional library associations websites, Facebook links, twitter feeds, also reveals how often ideas are changing, evidence being produced and general announcements being made which all require the TL to keep abreast of and potentially change their practices.

facebooknotifications

Weeding the Collection is Vital to a Good Collection.

weeding

Another point of learning for me was connected to Collection management.  The importance of weeding the library collection came as a surprise for me. On paper it appears an obvious and easy thing to do but there are difficulties associated with it. Dillon (2001) details many of these difficulties, whilst making it clear that weeding is as important to a strong collection as the selection of materials is.

At this point, I was working in a girls high school which had not had a permanent TL for over 12 months and the previous TL had been in the position  for a long time before eventually retiring. The collection was close to 100 years old and seemed not to have been culled in a long time.  As I realised the importance of culling and began to develop ideas for a collection development policy I began to critically evaluate the collection and then began an aggressive cull. Concentrating on fiction only,I removed a huge number of books. Initially I felt conflicted at removing so many but kept reminding myself the library was a library and not a museum or archive. As the culling proceeded I realised the collection was still going to be a large one, and I was able with a generous budget to continue to replenish it and so I relaxed. I began to formulate a policy on weeding and purchasing – not a complete collection development policy but a beginning for a school which had never had such a policy. The obvious need for this particular collection to be culled was seen when the permanent TL who came in after me, continued the cull and widened the parameters to include non-fiction.

My concern over weeding and its necessity continued in my next role but moved to nonfiction. Considering the internet and online resources the non-fiction section readily becomes irrelevant and dated. My budget at my new school was considerably less than at the previous school and I have to make careful choices about purchasing. An inspection of the non-fiction area revealed that it had been ‘on hold’ for several years.  No new purchases had been made but neither had any culling been done.  It had been in limbo as the effects of the internet were monitored. However, the attendance at the ‘Cultural Weeding’ workshop combined with my encouragement resulted in the decision to weed non-fiction.  Over 234 books were removed. Space has been cleared which gives us more flexibility to rearrange shelving and to provide flexible library spaces. None of the culled resources have been missed.

I found that my knowledge of weeding and its importance, directly and swiftly had an impact upon my work as a TL. Equally I was surprised that little weeding had been carried out over the years in the two libraries I was now familiar with. Reflecting on this makes it apparent that weeding is indeed as difficult in practice as it appeared to be in theory.

Finally-

There have been many learning moments along this journey and some of these have had more impact than others.  Whilst some of these stand out and have been apparent all along (and these are the ones which have formed the bulk of my portfolio), I have the distinct impression that some will reveal themselves as significant only at a later date in my career.

The synthesis which has occurred over time of much of my learning makes it difficult to separate ideas  in order to honestly reflect upon them. I believe this shows that the more successful the learning, the more complete the synthesis of ideas is. What were once individual ideas have now morphed into something completely different and I hope that ‘something’ is a qualified and knowledgeable Teacher Librarian. The key for me and my career as a Teacher Librarian is that I have the skills to continue to learn and investigate information and ideas as necessary. This in turns ensures  flexibility and adaptability remain vital components of my librarianship as we move further into the 21st century and the digital domain.

References:

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) & Australian School Libraries Association (ASLA) 2004, Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/TLstandards.pdf

Cowling, C. (2013). Social Media Statistics Australia – Dec 2012. Retrieved from        http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-december-2012/

Dillon, K. (2001). Maintaining collection viability. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds), Providing more with less:collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp.241-254) Wagga Wagga, NSW:Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Eyre, K. (2013a). ETL504 Reflective Blog Task April 8 [Blog Post] Retrieved from Kitkayte.wordpress.com

Eyre, K. (2013b). INF506 OLJ/Evaluative Statement Feb 7 [Blog Post] Retrieved from Kitkayte.wordpress.com

Eyre, K. (2013c). Twitter! Twitter! Twitter! Feb. 4 [Blog Post] Retrieved from Kitkayte.wordpress.com

Eyre, K. (2012). Blog Task 1, INF506 Assignment 1 Nov 19 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from                          Kitkayte.wordpress.com

Eyre, K. (2013d) Assignment 2 Social Networking Report. Unpublished Assignment Task.

Hay, L., (2012). INF506 – Social Networking for Information Professionals [Subject Outline]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:                                                       http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/eca97660-af9b-406f-003e-74438d836f96

Kotter, J. (2011). Change Management vs. Change Leadership — What’s the Difference? In Forbes. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from                                                                                                 http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2011/07/12/change-management-vs-change-leadership-whats-the-difference/

Le Gac, M. (2010), ‘Twittering Libraries: How and Why New Zealand Public Libraries Use Micro Blogging’. Retrieved from                                                          http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10063/1402/thesis.pdf?sequence=2

Milstein, S. (2009). Twitter for Libraries (and Librarians). In SCIS. Retieved January 20, 2013 from                                                                   http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/twitter_for_libraries_(and_librarians).html

Stuart, D. (2010). What are Libraries Doing on Twitter?  Expanded Academic ASAP. Available from,                                           http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/

Critical Reflection ETL504

Provide a critical reflection as a final post on your blog on what you have learnt as you examined leadership in depth during this subject. How has this subject extended your knowledge and understanding of the role of the teacher librarian as leader? Refer to your blog post in assessment task one. Compare your ideas to what you wrote in your assessment one blog post, your ongoing reflective journal posts and your participation in the ETL504 forums.

 

To include a subject on leadership as part of the Master in Teacher Librarianship is a clever move. Do I think all teacher librarians (TL’s) are leaders? No I don’t. Do I think they need to be? Yes I do.  Are they given the opportunities to be leaders in their schools?  Well I think that one comes down to many variables, one of which is if the TL sees themself as a leader and if they are in a supportive school environment.  And so, including a subject about leadership for budding TL’s is vital if we are to lead any change in our school libraries. A pity we couldn’t make it a compulsory subject for school Principals and politicians to take as well!

 

I began this subject overwhelmed at the leadership theories and seemingly endless characteristics of effective leaders (Eyre, 2013).  I found the idea of management not being the same as leadership (Kotter, n.d) both scary as well as amazingly simple.  Yes I can clearly see how the two are quite different and yet I find it scary to think of the many real life examples I have of the two being merged into one, unable to be distinguished from each other.  I feel this is particularly the case in big faceless organisations where people are required to tow the company line.  This is true too of the public education system, which is of course a bureaucratic organization.  

The question is then, how can a TL who works in a bureaucracy lead and not just manage?  Or is it possible and often necessary to do both? Manage the day-to-day running of the library but lead when change is required?  Does leading only occur when change is necessary or can we lead within the status quo?

 

In my blog post ‘Leadership Confusion’ I seem excited by the idea of understanding leadership from the point of the follower.  I find this interesting, as so often leadership is thought of in terms of the leader and the task, which needs to be achieved. This was a seemingly obvious point to consider and yet it had not crossed my mind until the module reading. (Lewis, 2011)

 

 

As I look over my last couple of blog posts I see they are filled with many rhetorical questions (Eyre, 2013a; Eyre, 2013b). It appears my study of leadership this semester has created more questions than answers. Whilst reading the module readings I enjoyed the theorizing and the insight into leadership styles, but I seem to have found it hard to synthesise my thoughts into a simplistic idea of what leadership is. Perhaps there is no simple answer – no one size fits all.  Perhaps the readings have been telling me that leadership is complex and varied.  That it is determined my many factors, some of which we can control and some we can’t. I think this is quite apparent in my posts.

My understanding of leadership is that it can take many forms and must be flexible to the situation.  A good leader can recognise the situation and use skills appropriate to the situation. I think this is what many of the module readings reveal (Kotter, n.d: Tapscott).  I question in ‘Leadership Confusion’ if studying leadership theory aids us in becoming better leaders, and in fact if it helps us to gain leadership positions (Eyre, 2013 a). I question if we can become better followers by understanding the theories of leadership. Certainly we cannot all be leaders all of the time.

 

As I complete this subject I have a head full of ideas about leadership. I have ideas about the type of leader I wish to be and indeed the type of leader I probably am.  In conjunction with completing Assignment 2 for this subject I can also clearly see how I can lead a library.  I think the stumbling block for me is that leadership is not what I think; it is what I do.  What I do is inherently linked to me a person and my personality.  So I believe leadership to be primarily defined by personality and can be tweaked with an understanding and study of leadership theory.

 

References

 

Eyre, K. (2013). Blog Task 1, ETL504 Blog Task 1  ‘My Understanding and practice of leadership in a school library’. Apr 8 [Blog Post]. Retrieved May 18, 2013 from,

https://kitkayte.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/etl504/

 

Eyre, K. (2013a). Blog Task 2, ETL504  ‘Leadership Confusion’. May 19 [Blog Post]. Retrieved May 20, 2013 from,

https://kitkayte.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/etl504/

 

Eyre, K. (2013b). Blog Task 3, ETL504 ‘How does a leader lead?’. May 19 [Blog Post]. Retrieved May 20, 2013 from,

https://kitkayte.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/etl504/

 

Kotter, J. (n.d.). Change Management vs. Change Leadership — What’s the Difference? – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2011/07/12/change-management-vs-change-leadership-whats-the-difference/

 

Lewis, L. K. (2011). Communication approaches and strategies. Organizational change creating change through strategic communication (pp. 144-176). Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.

 

Shearouse, S. H. (2011). Reaching agreement: a solution seeking model. Conflict 101 a manager’s guide to resolving problems so everyone can get back to work (pp. 195-214). New York: American Management Association.

 

How does a leader lead?

Reading about transformational and transactional leadership made me consider some of the leaders I have known over time. Some have been good. Good at leading, getting the job done and allowing me to get my job done.  Others have been terrible.  The one thing all the leaders have had in common is a higher authority restricts them and their actions.  Whether that is a superior above them, a profit and loss balance sheet or simply a time frame, they all have to account to another force and this impacts directly upon their leadership. 

So I wonder if any leader truly gets the freedom to ‘lead’ as they wish.  Or is leadership actually adapting and dealing with the higher pressures and accountabilities without it impacting upon your leadership style?

In any organisation there can be many levels of leaders, and many people who take on leadership opportunities as they arise.  Do all these positions require compromise and adaptability?

 

References:

 

Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T. J. (2009, September 14). Leadership: Current Theories, Research, and Future Directions. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1036&context=managementfacpub

 

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ;.Retrieved 27 January, 2013 from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

ETL 504 – Leadership Confusion

Evaluating leadership and leadership theory is an interesting task.  Not only are there many theories of leadership and many styles but there are also many definitions. Often they seem to be only slightly different to one another. However, coming to grips with leadership theories is only half the battle. A deeper investigation into leadership, reveals we need to have an understanding of the type of organisation the leader leads as well as an understanding of the types of ‘followers’ that are expect to be led. A complex and complicated task!

 

I ask myself how this knowledge and understanding helps us in the world outside of academia? Does this knowledge and understanding help us as Teacher Librarians; does it help us to be more successful and effective players in the world of education? Drilling these questions down further reveals more questions.

 

Does a study of leadership enhance our ability to be a leader? Does it improve our skill and success as a leader? Does it in fact increase our chances of becoming a leader? Or to flip the issue around – does a study of leadership and knowledge of different types of leaders, make us better able to ‘follow’? As not all people will become leaders it must be assumed we then take on the role of followers in an organisation’s structure. Is being a good follower as important or perhaps more important than being a good leader. Finally consideration must be given to what we do when we have ‘bad’, ineffective or resistant followers? What do we do when we have leaders who can’t lead?

 

I hope to be able to answer some of these questions not only through a further study of leadership but also through more practical and hands on ways as a Teacher Librarian. 

ETL504

ETL504 REFLECTIVE BLOG TASK

‘My understanding and practice of leadership in a school library.’

Prior to my study of ETL 504 I had not really considered the question of leadership in any sense at all. So to consider how leadership operates in a school and more specifically in a school library has been an interesting thought process.
My brain is overwhelmed with the theories – the absolute multitude of theories on leadership. I had previously thought leadership was a relatively simple thing to define, and you either had leadership abilities or you didn’t. It was more or less a case of ‘being born with it’. Of course now I know it’s not such a simple thing. There are many learned skills and styles of being a leader, however there does seem to be a some particular essence of ‘being a leader’, which may or may not be a ‘learned skill’.

At the forefront of my mind when considering leadership is John Kotter’s explanation that management and leadership are not the same thing (Kotter, 2012). This leaves me second-guessing everything I consider about leadership, to ensure it really is leadership and not management.

So to the school library and leadership. Most teacher-librarians are the only ones in the school; they do not have the luxury of working with other teacher librarians or in a team. Opportunities exist for them to display leadership qualities in other ways though. A teacher librarian in a secondary school can take the lead in initiating team teaching and inquiry learning projects. They can offer professional development along the same lines as well. They could ensure they become part of the literacy team or a team designed to improve student outcomes. This provides opportunities to disseminate some of the powerful information a teacher librarian has.

A teacher librarian in a primary school can do many of the above things as well. However the current trend of using library classes for RFF means there are fewer opportunities for team teaching. A teacher librarian in a primary school can lead a group of library monitors. They can also take the lead in book week celebrations and promoting reading events such as the Premier’s Reading Challenge. Often a primary school library also has a group of parent helpers who come in and do a range of jobs in the library. These people need to be guided and led and the teacher librarian is the obvious person to do this.

There is also opportunity for teacher librarians to lead at their network or peer meetings. They can take leading roles in the library world by publishing papers or posting to a blog. The well-know teacher librarian and blogger, Joyce Valenza is a fine example of this.

Clearly a teacher librarian can fulfil a leadership role in many different ways. Although the teacher librarian is often viewed as being on their own and removed from the general school environment they are able to present themselves as leaders in the school in a variety of ways, thus increasing their visibility and profile.

References:

Kotter, J. (n.d.). Change Management vs. Change Leadership — What’s the Difference? – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2011/07/12/change-management-vs-change-leadership-whats-the-difference/

INF506 OLJ/Evaluative Statement

Part A: EVALUATIVE STATEMENT

A reading of the learning objectives for this subject is both reassuring and daunting. Reassuring as I feel I have met each of them and daunting as I feel there is still so much to learn and I’m still so much of a beginner. At least I’m on the road!

For this evaluation I have used the following three posts:

1.         Critical Evaluation of the 4C’s

2.         Twitter! Twitter! Twitter!

3.         School Libraries and Social Networking in 21st Century

Critical Evaluation of the 4C’s:

This post allowed me to study closely ASU’s library channel and its use of SN. Drawing conclusions about the success of the library to initiate conversations via Facebook and Twitter demonstrates my understanding of the broader needs of users of social networking (SN) technologies as well as one of the underpinning ideas of SN – that of interaction (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007) Evaluating both Facebook and Twitter against the principles of the 4C’s shows an understanding of SN technologies as well as some of the concepts behind Library 2.0. Acknowledgement of the community building which occurs with the ASU’s 1-minute videos further reveals my understanding of SN and libraries, as community building is seen as an essential element of both (Gunton, Davis, 2012).

Twitter! Twitter! Twitter!

This post was completed towards the end of the subject. It goes beyond showing my knowledge of Twitter as an SN platform and reveals both my excitement about Twitter and my thoughts about its suitability for library use. This in turn shows my level of confidence, having enough information and knowledge to make conclusions. This demonstrates learning objectives 1,3 and 4. Discussing the advantages of the search feature and how it allows libraries to reach out and start conversations with people further demonstrates this. Conversations and relationships are essential to Twitter success (Chapman, 2009) (Maiers 2010). Describing the uses and types of Tweets a library could post also shows outcome 3, which is examining features and functions of SN tools. I also considered possible inhibitors to Twitter’s use in libraries and this meant understanding educational and technical management issues (Outcome 5).

School Libraries and Social Networking in 21st Century

In this post I wonder at the different issues facing public libraries compared to school libraries.  I acknowledge SN in school libraries faces particular problems from the student body but also from the school management and governmental policies.  This is evidence of outcome 5.  I also explain that libraries need to be on the Web 2.0 track, more specifically SN track to survive in a meaningful way in the 21st century.

This was my final post before completing this evaluation and I think that it demonstrates the culmination of learning throughout the subject. Whilst separating this post into different objectives may be tricky, it demonstrates that I am moving beyond being instructed and guided and moving into developing my own questions and conclusions about the topic. Still a beginner, but one who is proactive as opposed to just receiving and digesting information.  I pose a broader question at the end of this post, asking how school libraries can adopt Web 2.0 strategies while managing practical issues and school concerns. This demonstrates my development as an information professional and shows an understanding of the technical management issues as well as social and educational concerns (outcome 5).

More broadly speaking, the learning outcomes of the subject have also been demonstrated throughout the Inf506 OLJ Blog as a whole.  Individual entries may reveal certain outcomes but the change in tone, level of expression and even the punctuation use (exclamation marks) combined with the content reflects a learning curve and a confidence that has come about from reaching the subject outcomes. This is more implicit than explicit.

I now know what SN is, how it is used, why it is used and by whom.  I understand its relevance in the library world and have a clearer idea of terminology such as Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Facebook wall, Direct Messaging and #Hash tag to name a few. I’ve been able to evaluate the use of SN and make decisions as to the appropriateness of several of its platforms in different situations and with different communities.  I feel confident that my personal learning objectives as detailed in my first OLJ entry (Eyre, 2012) have also been met and my journey to become an information professional has begun. 

References:

Chapman, C. (2009). Social network design: Examples and best practices. Smashing Magazine, (13 July). Retrieved 10 January, 2013 from CSU website,

http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/84cf677e-ec91-4f08-8080-0f7dd953df21

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007) Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLS membership. Dublin, Ohio:OCLC. [eBook]. Retrieved Dec 5 2012 from,

http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Eyre, K. (2012). Blog Task 1, INF506 Assignment 1 Nov 19 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

Gunton, L., Davis, L., (2012), ‘Beyond Broadcasting: Customer service, community and information experience in the Twittersphere’ Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 Iss: 2, p 224-227

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00907321211228282

Maiers, Angela, (2010), 26 Keys to Twitter Success. In Social Media Explorer. Retrieved January 20, 2013 from,

http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/26-twitter-strategy-tips/

Part B: REFLECTIVE STATEMENT

Prior to this course my social networking (SN) was done with email, SMS texts and of course face to face.  A previous subject (ETL401) introduced me to blogging and using RSS feeds but I was very much a non-social networker, a beginner when this course started – a beginner and a sceptic. With limited knowledge and experience of SN I failed to see its use generally and more importantly its application in the library sphere. So how have I developed as a social networker and how will this development impact upon my professional life and learning?

FACEBOOK:

Having resisted the infiltration of Facebook into our society and concerned about privacy issues I was understandably hesitant to create an account. However I was curious to see what the fuss was all about. I thought I’d dip into Facebook, check it out and then depart.  How surprising then that I ended up using Facebook the most of all the technologies I was introduced to.  This is due in part to it being the main form of interaction for the subject (Hay, 2012.)

Facebook is a handy avenue for many types of discussions and threads. Learning how to use the file tab to see the list of files was important as it streamlined the process of reading and responding to posts.  Arguably more important though was the fact I learnt this from asking on the Facebook page and receiving an answer.  Timid requests for information were soon replaced by posts with links to various articles and images, responses to ongoing conversations and right to the end a frantic request about screenshots on a Mac computer.

Whilst still a novice at Facebook, I can at least navigate the pages and more importantly can see a real value in the use of Facebook for myself and also for libraries. I would definitely be encouraging the use of Facebook in both school and public libraries in my capacity as an information professional. With over half the Australian population signed up to Facebook (Cowling, 2013) it is hard to ignore the platform and its potential.

TWITTER:

My SN development is clear with Twitter. From a SN beginner I now feel, I have a favourite form of SN which is of course Twitter which I think has great potential in the library sphere. Virtually all things that can be achieved with a library Facebook page can achieved with a Twitter account. I love that you don’t need to be a ‘friend’ as with Facebook.  Tweets are public and by following someone or searching certain topics you can access the Tweets.  A wonderful way to disseminate information, build community and encourage dialogue (Milstein, 2009). My personal use of Twitter was more timid than that of Facebook.  I tweeted a couple of times throughout the subject but used it mainly to follow others and receive regular Twitter updates about the people I was following. I also spent a great deal of time reading case studies and looking at how libraries are using Twitter.  This has filled me with excitement about this type of SN. I understand that using Twitter in a school library may be difficult but certainly there is great potential for public libraries.  Looking at Twitter has also moved me along the path of understanding SN and why people are so drawn to it.  The immediacy, the reach and the interaction are vital components of SN (Aharony, 2012).

FLICKR AND PINTEREST:

These are interesting and popular platforms.  Initially I wondered at people posting images to these sites but soon began to see advantages and now can see the value of these sites in our increasingly visual world. I dipped into each of these at times during the semester and would be interested in spending more time playing with the features of each.  As an information professional I’m not sure I would support the use of both platforms however I’m still not experienced enough in either to promote one over the other.

At the conclusion of this semester’s study I count myself a ‘convert’ to SN.  I was a non-player before and a sceptic, however I was also open to being shown the opportunities available (evidenced by choosing the subject as my elective).  Now I can certainly see the value of SN. Value to myself personally and professionally, value to libraries and in fact value to most industries in todays world.  I have not completely let go of my concerns over privacy issues and believe these still need to be addressed. As my journey has progressed I’ve had to loosen my hold on texting and emailing.  I still use these predominantly but am making room for Facebook and Twitter.  I also believe one day email will become an archaic form of interaction going the way of letter writing and Indian smoke signals.

As a result of studying INF506 I would say my development as a social networker has just begun.   Best described as being on the first rung of a long and crooked ladder, I’m far enough off the ground to see some distance, meaning some change and development has occurred and yet when looking up I can only see many, many more rungs – evidence of the future path I must traverse!

References:

Aharony, N. (2012), ‘Facebook use in Libraries: an exploratory analysis’, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 64 Iss: 4 p. 358-372. Retrieved January 15, 2013 from, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00012531211244725

Cowling, C. (2013), ‘Social Media in Australia – 2012 Year in Review’. Retrieved January 16, 2013 from,

http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-in-australia-2012-year-in-review/

Hay, L., (2012). INF506 – Social Networking for Information Professionals- Subject Outline, Retrieved December 22 from CSU website,

http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/eca97660-af9b-406f-003e-74438d836f96

Milstein, Sarah, (2009), Twitter for Libraries (and Librarians). In SCIS. Retrieved January 20, 2013 from,

http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/twitter_for_libraries_(and_librarians).html

 

Schools Libraries and Social Networking in 21st Century

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I’ve just completed my project, which was studying public libraries use Social networking platforms to communicate with their patrons.  Whilst I developed some ‘Best Practice’ guidelines for public libraries, I feel that two things have stood out for me.  One; public libraries are different to school libraries and I wonder at the issues around them in particular regard to social networking.  Two; that libraries that are not on the Web 2.0 track (and therefore Social Networking track) will not survive in any meaningful way into the 21st century.

The two points are connected.  The need for libraries to adopt Web 2.0 strategies is because traditionally libraries have fulfilled an information role.  Libraries were the focal point for information storing and dissemination.  In today’s world information is readily available at the click of a mouse, from virtually anywhere in the world and often instantaneously. So patrons need to have a reason for coming into and using a library.  They also need to know the library is cutting edge when it comes to information and that it provides something not readily available elsewhere i.e. by searching Google.  So let’s accept that libraries need Web 2.0 technologies to remain vibrant and relevant centres of information. Where then does that leave school libraries?  Social networking platforms are often banned, not available or not supported by the Internet and computers at a school. The advent of the laptop for every student in Australia government initiative also means students have their own access to a computer and information to be searched from it.  The high numbers of smartphones now available also increases this access.  These points make it harder for school libraries to provide students with relevant and immediate access to information and to do it in a form students want.  As a high school teacher I can also see the issues related to use of social networking tools, such as Facebook, during the school day and can understand why schools may ban access.

I believe the question that schools, governments and librarians must look to answer in the near future, is how to allow school libraries to adopt Web 2.0 strategies, thus remaining relevant and vibrant, whilst also managing the practical applications and concerns of some of the social networking technologies.

INF506

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ACTIVITY

Identify a website of a library or information agency you are familiar with (as either an employee or user) that is utilising one or more Web 2.0 technologies to provide information services and/or learning support.

Based on your reading of Mathews (2009), Lazaris (2009), McBurnie (2007) and Governor et al (2009):

1.Develop your own set of criteria (up to 10 criterion) with regard to effective library website design; and

2.Evaluate the effectiveness of the selected library website based on your set of criteria, and identify aspects of this website that could be improved using Web 2.0 technologies.

Write up your findings as a post (of no more than 400 words in your OLJ).

WEBSITE CRITERIA:

The following is a checklist to be considered when developing an effective library website.  The first 4 points are placed in hierarchic order, whilst the remaining 4 could all be considered as equal in importance.

  1. Up to date AND updated
  2. A Homepage, which is easy to understand and only needs a quick glance to find what is needed.
  3. One or more social networking tools used, including a consideration of apps for mobile use of the library.
  4. User friendly for desired patrons, including search box on each page.
  5. The appropriate tone is depicted through colour, font and general style.
  6. The Website reflects the library – it’s needs, ambience, style and purpose.
  7. The website caters for what the patrons want and need, NOT what the library thinks they want and need.
  8. The ability to easily comment and receive and provide feedback.

 In addition to the above, the 4C’s – collaboration, conversation, community and content creation, should be the principles underpinning the creation of the website as a whole.

(Hay, 2012; Lazaris, 2009; Matthews, 2009)

CSU LIBRARY WEBSITE EVALUATION:

So how does the CSU library stand up to scrutiny?

The site certainly has a homepage, which is easy to navigate with detail to allow the patron to find and click on the desired information. The tone of the website is also in keeping with the academic nature of the library. The style is consistent with that of the main CSU website which allows for familiarity for the patrons.

I believe the website reflects the library quite accurately.  It is professional and serious in style whilst also being quite detailed and modern.  It offers a variety of services and a multitude of social networking tools (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, QR codes and blogs). These tools are used to encourage conversation, community and collaboration- not simply disseminate information.  The site also offers live chat, online tutorials and a mobile app.

The use of social networking tools and particularly the mobile app shows the website is up to date with technologies and as recently at Jan 6 had been updated with the latest library news.

Feedback is also encouraged and invited.

The website does all of this while still adhering to it’s ‘core business’ of providing academic resources to students and staff.

The CSU Library appears to have a successful website which encompasses the many needs of its patrons.  The 4 C’s of Library 2.0 are easily achieved within it as well.

 

Charles Sturt University Library. (2013). Retrieved 5 January, 2013, from http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/index.html

Hay, L. (2012). Social Networking for Information Professionals [INF506 201290 Module 3]. Retrieved  5 January, 2013, from CSU website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201290_W_D/page/84cf677e-ec91-4f08-8080-0f7dd953df21

Lazaris, L. (2009). Designing websites for kids: Trends and best practices, Smashing Magazine, (27 November). Retrieved 5 January, 2013, from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/

Mathews, B. (2009). Web design matters: Ten essentials for any library site. Library Journal, (15 February). Retrieved  5 January, 2013, from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6634712.html?industryid=47126

 

INF506 Assignment 1 Nov 19

A) DEFINE WHAT SOCIAL NETWORKING IS (IN YOUR OWN WORDS)

Social networking is using the Internet -specifically WEB2.0- and all its myriad of apps, sites and programs to interact. The interaction can be between individual users, between businesses, between users and businesses. It is about building networks. The networks come together either due to similar interests and or needs.

A misconception of social networking is that it only serves a purpose for social reasons. Despite its name, this is not the case. Whilst it does also do this, social networking encompasses many needs beyond that. Businesses and governments using social networking sites can inform and even influence many people quickly and easily. Conversely individuals can effectively place pressure on businesses and governments to change policy and procedures through social networking sites (e.g. the recent Alan Jones online petition).

Social networking is the voluntary interaction of people, groups of people, businesses and governments due to similar interests and /or needs. Social networking achieves this by using the Internet and WEB2.0 tools.

B) WHAT SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES DO YOU USE?

Prior to beginning my Masters earlier in the year, I was pretty much avoiding the use of social networking sites. I occasionally ventured onto Flickr if a friend posted me the link to their photos and allowed me access; this is the same with Facebook. I relied primarily upon texting and emailing as my form of social interaction which did not happen face to face. Online voucher sites (Scoopon, Cudo) were also subscribed to.
ETL401 got me using Delicious, RSS feeds and a blog. Somewhere along the way I became aware of Google Docs.
Now, INF506 has got me having twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr accounts in addition to my blog and Delicious accounts.

C) DESCRIBE WHAT YOU EXPECT TO LEARN AFTER COMPLETING INF506.

I hope to learn how to use the social networking sites I’ve now subscribed to in an effective and useful way. I hope to learn how to use the sites within the school, library and educational contexts.

Assignment 2 Part B Critical Reflection

Provide a critical synthesis of your reflection on how your view of the role of the teacher librarian may have changed during the subject.

This should include examples captured from your three compulsory blog tasks, other personal reflections posted on your blog, and from participation in the ETL401 forums. Since this a university assignment, you should also include in-text references and a Reference list at the end of the blog post using the APA referencing format.

Word count: 750 words +/- 10%

 

 

 

Reflecting back over the last couple of months of study has been an interesting experience. It has proven helpful as an acknowledgement of how much I’ve learnt and how much I didn’t know at the beginning.

 

Initially I found I was in awe of the ‘fullness’ of the role of the TL – the potential for what the role could entail.  I like so many others had little idea of what exactly an excellent TL could accomplish.  Although these were initial understandings, they have remained with me unchanged since then.  They fill me with terror as well as pride.  Terror at the precedent set by all the hard working TL’s in the world and pride at the thought that I was to be joining their ranks and might one day be increasing student learning outcomes throughout an entire school.

 

Misconceptions of the TL role are a recurrent theme throughout my semester of study, first appearing in ‘Where to Now – teacher librarians?’ (Eyre, 2012). I discuss the misconceptions and how TL’s can counteract them.  I mention the online discussion via NSW TL listserv into proving a TL’s worth and the necessity felt by these TL’s to get their message out. My tone (an important indicator in reflecting feelings) at this stage was one of ‘professional observation’. These ideas were new to me and I was absorbing them with very little personal investment.  Blog Task 1 (Eyre, 2012a) saw the theme continue with direct quotes form sources AASL and the Australian House of Representatives report into School Libraries and Librarians in the 21 century.  The task also introduced the idea that technology has changed the TL role, as well as the importance of the school principal to the role.

 

With regards to technology my view has developed into a more measured and detailed one and I no longer believe technology is the catalyst for the role changing. This change in view started to become apparent in ‘Teacher Librarian priorities for the 21st century’ (Eyre, 2012b) where I explain the TL’s priorities haven’t really changed over the previous 60 or so years. The tools (digital technology) used and physical environment in which a TL works have changed but not the priorities. Eyre, 2012b also reveals a shift in tone. The use of capitalization and exclamation marks for emphasis reveals a greater investment in the topic.

 

Principal support was a major part of the Blog Task 1.  I quoted from required readings, newspaper articles and the NSW Principal’s Association to prove that Principals often overlook the library when it comes to funding as well as not fully understanding the role of the TL. These ideas are reiterated in ‘Feelings at the end of Subject 1’ (Eyre, 2012c). The tone of Blog Task 1 is one of cautious optimism. ‘Teacher Librarians should embrace this time, ‘step up to the mark’ and be a part of the race towards better student outcomes’ (Eyre, 2012c, final paragraph)

Another theme to be found in my writings is that of TL responsibility. In Eyre 2012b, I state that if all TL’s had been following the basic priorities, then perhaps there wouldn’t be such a conversation happening around their role and worth today. I make a call to ensure that TL’s are performing at their peak and adhering to core values.  My tone was starting to reflect a level of frustration with members of the profession. TL responsibility is continued in Eyre, 2012d; Eyre, 2012f and Eyre, 2012g. I question whether TL’s are doing enough to support the continuation of their roles.  I discuss the necessity of using Guided Inquiry (GI) and wonder at the employment of unqualified people into the roles of TL.

 

Another source of frustration revealed in several blog posts is directed at governments, education authorities and also teacher’s unions (Eyre, 2012c; Eyre, 2012e; Eyre, 2012f).  I recognise the irony that the solution to many of the concerns about TL’s and their role is the education of the very bodies (governmental, educational) that are in the business of educating our students.  As the semester progresses the tone of my posts starts to reflect my apprehension about the future role of TL.

 

Forum posts generally reflect the same however a feeling of security does come about when I’m quoting research which explicitly shows correlations between well-funded library programs and literacy levels and/or student learning outcomes.

 

So how will these reflections inform my future practice?

Firstly I will ensure that decisions are made upon the premise that increased student learning outcomes are the main objective.  Using a proven model of Inquiry Learning and involving the wider school community will achieve this whilst also helping to provide evidence of the worth of the TL and the library. Essential to this is ensuring a strong and vibrant interaction with the student body.  A strong and vibrant working relationship with the school principal is also required.  A positive and strong attitude will be needed in order to achieve these goals and the process will be an ongoing one with challenges and successes.

 

 

REFERENCES

Eyre, K. (2012). Where to Now? – Teacher Librarians? [Blog Post].  Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012a). Blog Task 1, The Role of the Teacher Librarian and Principal Support. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012b). Priorities of the TL in the 21st Century. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012c). Feelings end Subject 1. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012d). Super-Librarians- New Breed. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012e). Thoughts after Topic 2 readings. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com

 

Eyre, K. (2012f). Evidence Governments Can’t Ignore! [Blog Post]. Retrieved from,

Kitkayte.wordpress.com