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ACCESS - Editorial

ACCESS - Current Edition - Editorial

Access, Vol. 35, Issue 1, 2021, pp.3-4.

Lee FitzGerald, Editor

Welcome to the March issue of ACCESS and my first as your editor. I have big shoes to fill, and I’d like to thank Rachel Hoare for all the work she’s done as ACCESS editor. She has ensured that the journal has grown with the times to meet the needs of the particular audience of teacher librarians (TLs) across Australia with the signature brand of academic and practitioner literature characteristic of the journal. I also wanted to thank her personally for helping me in every possible way to be ready to take up the ACCESS reins with this issue. I also want to thank Deb Wilkes, graphic designer, of Little Design Farm, for helping me work through a learning curve on editing the journal.

My background is as a TL in primary and secondary schools, both government and independent, and as a teaching academic in the TL subjects in the MEd (TL) degree. I have a passion for inquiry learning, particularly Guided Inquiry.

I think the TL role is complex, necessary and misunderstood – but its two strong pillars are information literacy – helping students be critical users of information; and literacy – helping students to embrace reading as a lifetime habit.

In this issue you will find all you need to know about the upcoming ASLA/SLASA Virtual Conference, Keys to Learning, to happen 12-13th April, plus information about the International Association of School Librarians (IASL), whose marvellous conferences can take you to very exciting parts of the world (perhaps not this year!). Also, find out the details you need about the Australian TL of the Year Award – nominations for which close on 12th March.

There’s a refereed article from Dr Kasey Garrison and myself about research into the nature and level of collaboration between teachers and TLs engaged in inquiry learning. Its title – Once in a blue moon hints at the major finding of this study - that top level collaboration is an infrequent practice. It was very heartening, however, to find so many TLs involved in inquiry learning, and to gather their descriptions of practice during the planning, implementation and assessment of inquiry units. (Please note: the refereeing process was complete before I started as Editor!)

There are no less than three articles on ways to encourage reading for pleasure. All of these arose from presentations at the November, 2020, Literacy Research Summit. Read evidence- based practice articles from Gabrielle Mace and Merrilyn Lean from Queenwood school in Mosman, Sydney, and from Claire Gibson from St. Joseph’s College, Echuca. Both of these articles are linked with Margaret Merga’s sustained research into, and support of, the role of TLs in developing life-long readers. The third article – Reading or Reader? – by Tracey Grice, literacy coach and creator of the Writers read by Litracey podcast is a philosophical piece, asking readers to distinguish between reading competence and loving reading.

This issue of ACCESS features the voices of CSU students, who are undertaking the capstone subject in the MEd(TL) degree, ETL507, reflecting on what they’ve learnt from their studies and how they are applying this learning in their libraries. It’s very special for me that I can highlight these wonderful graduating students. This issue features primary TLs; next issue will feature secondary TLs. All of these students juggle study, school library and family life, not to mention Covid-19 and its impact on life and are indeed to be celebrated. They are an inspiring bunch!

The last article in this issue is from Liz Derouet, featuring her blog Still talking about books. Liz is a lecturer to the TL program at CSU and is passionate about books and reading. The phrase she used to me to describe her relationship with reading was this: I read a lot, it is like breathing, I have to do it. I hope to follow on with short articles about other literary bloggers in later issues of ACCESS.

My contacts in TL-Land are heavily NSW-based, I must confess. I will make sure the voice of other states is represented equally. I’d really appreciate your help in this, by suggesting potential writers and contacts from states other then NSW for me. If you have some ideas, please email me.

Lastly, I am beyond delighted to be in this role! It feels like the icing on the TL cake to me…

Lee FitzGerald

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