An unexpected, delightful side effect of illustrating picture books is that I get to go and visit schools all around the country speaking to students about illustration and visual narratives, which involves a lot of telling bad jokes and drawing strange pictures. I'm usually invited to visit by the Teacher Librarian - a rare breed of human who dedicates lots of time and energy to fostering a real love of reading in their students. The buzz that they generate around books and learning is really something to behold, and I'm constantly amazed by the creativity with which they approach their job. So I thought it might be nice to shine the spotlight on some teacher librarians - they deserve some applause!

So, my first victims are:

Mrs Tennant and Mr Summers from Lakeside Grammar

The Lakeview Grammar kids told me to draw an acrobatic Spidersaurus attacking a hippo while breathing fire. Of course. 

The Lakeview Grammar kids told me to draw an acrobatic Spidersaurus attacking a hippo while breathing fire. Of course. 

(questions answered by Mr Summers)

Why are Teacher-Librarians important to a school?

Teacher Librarians are the resource hub of the school. They are information specialists who can teach / support students in looking for resources as well as teaching students lifelong learning skills through research. They are aware of the current trends in literature and help students by promoting a love of reading for pleasure.

Tell us about a library event/activity/lesson that has worked really well.

During Information Skills with Year 5, I displayed some photos from the Holtemann Collection in the NSW State Library. Students also viewed paintings from Bourke St Melbourne prior to 1851 and post 1871. Can you guess the topic they were studying? It was great to see the empathy discussed in some of the paintings i.e. Aboriginal’s point of view (in the painting). Also, it was a great way to observe students noticing details and discussing post-colonial life in Australia whilst making links with their own lives.

 Which books are the most fun to read with students? Name your top 5!

  1. Just Disgusting (Andy Griffiths)
  2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) 
  3. ‘Story Treehouse’ series (Andy Griffiths)
  4. Are we there Yet? (Alison Lester)
  5. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly (Pam Adams)

Describe your ideal school library

A library where students have access to rich resources and is a stimulating and nurturing environment fostering the love of reading together with informational knowledge.

What's the best thing about your job?

It is never boring! Meeting all the students and seeing their faces when they can be independent researchers / locators. Just being able to help people. It is a really people person’s job!

What are you reading at the moment?

Jaws by Peter Benchley…I am a big horror fan. My favourite author is Stephen King!

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