Firstly, I should tell you all that this is the final entry for this blog in its present format. I retire from CSU and the academic life tomorrow (31st January 2012). The blog will continue but will not always feature comment on something of an educational nature, which is relevant to TLs and SLs around the world. However, it may still be ‘educational’ in the wider sense of the word. The photographic content will continue. I have been involved with school libraries for 40 years this year and the vast majority of these years has been in the role of educator. Are school libraries as recognisable as they were in the early 1970s? To some extent they are, given that the space they occupy is still about the same in most schools, and that a range of bookshelves is still one of the dominant features. The addition of ICT hardware has changed the look of school libraries in most parts of the world, where schools can afford such equipment. Are teacher librarians or school librarians different? This is an intriguing question. It might be argued that the knowledge base of todays TLs and SLs is different, given the developments in ICT. The language used by today’s TLs and SLs would have been, to a great extent, unrecognisable to those of 40 years ago. On the other hand, the desire to actively contribute to learning and teaching in the school remains the same. Also, over the years, the most effective TLs and SLs have been able to be innovators in their schools, particularly in the areas of information literacy. So the terminology may be different but the mindset may still be the same. The look of school libraries is about to change over the next few years – printed books and journals will disappear for the most part in most school libraries – but the purpose of the school library/learning commons/i-centre/e-centre will remain the same. I’m intending to write soem articles about this in the near future and will expand on these points.
At the weekend, my marathon/half-marathon/10K running wife and I were down at the border town of Berwick to watch a cross country race, in which the runners crossed Spittal Beach before climbing up a ridge, running on track and returning via the same route. One of the features of Berwick – Berwick Upon Tweed to give the town its full name – is the viaduct which was built to enable the railway to cross over the estuary. Known as The Royal Border Bridge, this magnificent piece of engineering an architecture was designed by Robert Stephenson and opened by Queen Victoria in 1850. As the photo below shows, it has certainly stood the test of time, and if you are on the train going north or south through Berwick, you get superb views along the river and the estuary.