Saturday, November 29, 2014

Come learn about Gaming & Gamification in Libraries - from professor Scott Nicholson

We have a short-notice opportunity coming up on Wed, Dec. 10th to hear about the possibilities of gaming in libraries and the gamification of information literacy.

Scott Nicholson is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and the director of the Because Play Matters game lab. He has written research papers on meaningful gamification, games in libraries, online education, and data mining.   He is the author of Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages (here is the NLB's copy) and the designer of two board games - Going, Going, GONE!, and Tulipmania 1637.  He also edited the Spring 2013 issue of Library Trends which focused on "The Impact of Gaming on Libraries."  If you have Project Muse, you can read the issue online -- click here.  Follow him on Twitter here: @snicholson

Updated 30-Nov: Chapter 3 of Scott's book is now available free:
The chapter presents a model of game experiences that he developed in order to bring together games of all types.  Instead of focusing on a game platform, it focuses on the experiences players have in the game.

Chapter 1 is free on the publisher's website:

Scott is coming to Singapore to do workshops on gamification with Singapore government entities -- and has time to come and talk to us (and have dinner afterwards, with any who are free) on Dec 10th.

I attended one of Scott's workshops on gaming in libraries at the annual ALA (American Library Association) conferences two years ago -- and it was very enlightening -- not to mention fun!

Linda Twitchett has offered her Senior Library at the Australian School as a venue -- 5:00 for a 5:30 pm start.  

If you are interested, please let us know via this Google Form (to know the right amount of wine and snacks).

NOTE:  Feel free to bring others along.  They don't have to be librarians.  While the talk will be aimed at gaming in libraries, Scott is an expert on gaming in general.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Red Dot selected books - looking back and looking forward

I just did a personal blog post on the Red Dot books, trying to highlight ones we considered, but didn't ultimately choose, because of the devil of the balancing act of just 8 books in 4 categories.  Read more here:

Other committee members are encouraged to write their own assessment of titles and the process -- which can be posted here.

Looking ahead, I've set up four Goodreads lists for collecting titles to consider for next year.  Please feel free to add whatever.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Red Dot 2014-2015 Posters & Stickers ready

Thanks to my very creative library assistant, Ernie, here are some posters for the four categories of the Red Dots, plus some shortlist stickers.  Go to the Red Dot Promotional Materials page to find them.

And if anyone makes any posters or promotional materials of their own, please let us know -- and I'll put them up on the Red Dot website.  The more, the merrier.

There's a good choice of professional development coming up....

Our Regional PD page just got some updates.
You can go to KL in January and brush up on your Destiny knowledge (with Jenna Emerson & co), as well as see the famous Kevin Hennah.  Or you stay home and attend a conference on creativity and children's literature.  Our own SAS is hosting four fabulous creators -- Candace Fleming & Susan Campbell Bartoletti, both known for their upper primary/middle school narrative non-fiction, and Eric Rohman & Todd Parr, authors and illustrators for the younger end. 

Then in early February you can go to Bangkok to hear Bob Stein, director of the utterly fascinating Institute for the Future of the Book and a specialist in electronic publishing, especially in the realm of education, at the Librarians Knowledge Sharing Workshop & Job-Alike.   Though that same weekend our campus, UWCSEA East is holding weekend workshops with book-loving consultants Penny Kittle and Dan Feigelson

Barb, Nadine, and I will be missing the next network meeting as we are off that afternoon to Hong Kong for the School Librarian Connection Fri/Sat conference, which looks to be great fun.

Is anyone planning to go to Hong Kong for the December 21st Century Learning conference?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Red Dot 2014-2015 - shortlists announced -- as well as process changes....

UPDATE:  Website is ready -- see

At last!  After a lot of reading and online discussion, we have some shortlists.

If anyone knows a book here and feels it is misplaced or misguided, please shout out right now.  Last chance to make another suggestion! If I don't hear any complaints by Tuesday, I will update the website -- for the world to see.

Many thanks to the people on the ISLN committee:  Kate Brundage (SAS), Barb Reid (UWC East), Pam Males (UWC Dover), Linda Twitchett (AISS), Meg Johnston (AISS), Anamika Bhati (Eton House), Susanne Clower (UWC East), Angie Erickson (UWC Dover), and Kim Klein (SAIS).  And Ben Farr (TTS) for being an unofficial member....

As the process took longer than we'd hoped, the committee would like to propose that VOTING be extended this year (every year?).  We usually have it open for one week in early March, after which schools know their own voting results and we publish a country-wide tally.  The Readers Cup list is usually announced shortly thereafter, whereby 4-6 of the 8 shortlist titles are chosen for the students to study and compete on.

In 2015 we suggest the Red Dot voting run from 1 March to 1 May -- so schools can vote at their convenience -- and the Singapore overall winners will be announced on May 3.  We also suggest that the Readers Cup committee announce their subsets of the Red Dot shortlists earlier, e.g., Dec. 1st. 

We also intend to shift our timing to announce the NEXT shortlist on June 1st every year, from now on.  The longlist for next year has already been started, thanks to so many great titles considered for this year.

If anyone has any comments on these changes or would like to be on next year's committee, please let us know either in the Comments to this blog post or directly to the Executive Committee by emailing

Friday, October 3, 2014

Social learning... tonight, next week, and in November.....

Tonight is our monthly social (6pm onwards).  The venue -- appropriately called "The Library" -- is a new one for us.  And it does sound interesting.  A review of it on TimeOut Singapore says you need a password to swing the bookshelves open -- to reveal a dimly lit bar with playful cocktails!  I can't attend, but look forward to hearing how it is.

The Library at 47 Keong Saik Road

47 Keong Saik Road089151
Nearby Stations: Outram Park
Bus Lines: 61, 80, 145, 166, 197
Telephone 6221 8338

Next Thursday there's another opportunity for us to get together -- in a bigger group -- for digital learning at the Teach-Meet, Thursday, Oct. 9th at Zsofi Tapas Bar, 68 Dunlop Street (Little India) -- 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

Go to to register -- especially if you want to present.  The format is a series of Nano-presentations lasting 2 mins or Micro-presentations lasting 7 mins -- by local/international teachers.

I have registered to attend and just got a notification saying these are the presentations lined up for next week:
  • Learning Group Leader
  • Learning blogs and standards
  • Blended PD For staff
  • Spreadsheets are the calculators of the 21st Century
  • Creativity
  • Tell Me with a Graphic
  • Lo Mo Learner profile
  • Using Time Lapse in the Classroom
  • Using online math tools to rethink the way we teach 
Next time maybe I'll get around to signing up to present something.  This time I'll sit back and enjoy.

Fri-Sat, November 21-22 is a two-day School Librarian Connection collaborative initiative in Hong Kong, which I'm helping Dianne McKenzie organize.  As for the Teach-Meets, you can choose the mode and duration of whatever you want to share, if anything.  Mini, macro, nano, or even just a digital post presentation.

Click here to see the programme so far.  It's reasonably priced at SGD$130.  And less if you only want to attend one day.

Monday, September 15, 2014

For new members in Singapore....

As promised, relatively easy instructions on how to join our private Google Group -- in order to receive notices of upcoming meetings, agendas, queries, etc.

As always, don't hesitate to let us know if this is not helpful or accurate!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Professional Development for Librarians: looking ahead in this new academic year

Last weekend there was an International Baccalaureate (IBO) Continuum workshop on libraries held at Tanglin Trust School, led by Dianne McKenzie and Gary Green -- which several ISLN members attended.

You can see the IBO - Asia Pacific workshop planning calendar here -- to look for future ones.  NB:  my IB coordinator, Guy Roberts, says there will be a big regional IB job-alike on a Saturday in May at our campus, and we will definitely have a librarian strand.

Coming up soon, there is the annual Google Apps for Education Summit held at the Singapore American School.  This year it is on the weekend of September 6th and 7th.  See website here.  The cost is approximately S $375 and it's a wonderful chance to catch up on developments in the Google Apps world -- and general digital literacy.  Barb Reid and I are attending from UWCSEA East -- and I expect to see a few others there as well.

At the end of September, Barb and I are traveling to Queensland, Australia, for the first International Library Symposium, held in conjunction with SLAQ.

Learning 2.0 this year is being held October 2-4 at the New International School of Thailand (NIST) in Bangkok.  Doug Johnson of Blue Skunk blog is one of the presenters -- and libraries are one of his specialties.

On November 21-22 [!!!! moved a week later from originally announced Nov. 14-15] (a Fri/Sat) in Hong Kong there's the School Librarian Connection, a two-day collaborative initiative.  Participants can share their expertise on a hot topic in a variety of ways:  Mini presentation (20 min), Micro (10 min), Nano (3-5 min), or simply via a Digital Post (a link to a slideshow or video).  Anyone going over from Singapore should consider touring some international school libraries while there.

Also in Hong Kong, on December 11-13,  is the 7th annual 21st Century Learning Conference, which always has a good number of library and research-related workshop offerings.

On February 6-7, there will be the 3rd annual Librarians Knowledge Sharing Workshop (LKSW) in Bangkok, hosted by Kim Beeman at Shrewsbury International SchoolClick here to register your interest via a Google Form.  See last year's LKSW website here.

Added 24-Aug-14:  Watch for the regular Singapore Teach-Meets -- held at Lowercase, a cafe/bar Lasalle College of the Arts -- the next one is October 9th, 5:30-8pm.

If anyone knows of any regional PD that should be added to our blog page -- see REGIONAL PD here -- please let me know and I will add the details.

Back after the long break -- and a Red Dot update

Those of us on the northern hemisphere academic schedule are slowly starting up again after the long break.

We look forward to seeing each other at our upcoming meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 10th in the Primary Library at the German European School (GESS), 300 Jalan Jurong Kechil, Singapore, 598668 -- 4:00 pm for a 4:30 pm start.  An agenda will be forthcoming, via the Google Group.

Ranita Smart, our host, says while parking is available, no one is allowed to drive into the campus between 4:00-4:20 pm, as the school buses leave at that time -- so plan to arrive before or after that 20-minute window, if you are driving.

There should be several new faces in the crowd.  Not only do we have a few new schools (e.g., GEMS World Academy and Dulwich College), but also the replacements of our former colleagues, e.g., at the Canadian school (Lisa and Isabel), the German school (Ruth), Eton House (Carla), OFS (Jeroen), UWCSEA East (Debbie), SAS (John Johnson), etc. 

NB:  New school librarians in Singapore:  you as an individual are free to attend our general meetings.  Just come along.  The benefits of having your school join as a paying member are outlined here -- and relate to professional development opportunities that we provide.   We do recommend you join our Google Group in order to receive email updates re meetings and blog updates.  The only requirement is that you sign up with a valid Google Account email.

Re Red Dots:  New people should read the write-up I did of the history and evolution of the Red Dot Book Awards (here).  All schools are encouraged to participate every year.  And all ISLN members are welcome to be on the committee which sets the 8 titles for each of the 4 categories of readers.  Read the May blog post on the longlists here

I notice that only 3 of us have signed up to be on the Red Dot committee so far.  Link to Google Doc here.  I'm going to consider this document open for the next week -- and then we will try to settle subcommittee meeting times for Early/Young Readers and Older/Mature Readers before the Sept. 10th meeting.  We have to get going on it.

The goal is to announce the sets of Red Dot titles by the end of September -- and it's always a stretch, time-wise.  October is a no-go month for our network -- because of differing holiday schedules -- so sometimes we don't manage it until the end of October. Yet we know schools need to be ordering the books -- as the voting takes place in early March.

The Readers Cup competition (which is based on a subset of the Red Dot titles) takes place in late May.  We will be asking for a new committee to organize this at the Sept. 10th general meeting.  After last year's event, there were several discussions about how to improve it -- both in content and organization.  I feel if we are going to introduce changes, people need to know by our November meeting.  So if you are interested in the organization of the Readers Cup, be prepared to raise your hand in September!

Looking forward to seeing you all on Sept. 10th -- and to seeing my Red Dot Committee spreadsheet fill up a bit.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Red Dot longlists - via LibraryThing

Okay, the Goodreads Listopia lists are still there for the public to add to, but I'm going to suggest that we librarians shift over to LibraryThing for our insider voting -- in order to escape the outsiders who have put some not appropriate books on the list.  So this will be a parallel universe of sorts.

One of the advantages of the LibraryThing list feature is you can "VOTE DOWN" titles that other people have put on (just in case we get intruders).  In Goodreads you can only vote up titles.

2014-2015 LibraryThing Longlists for Red Dot

Early Years:

Younger Readers:

Older Readers:

Mature Readers:

NB:  When you get to these lists in LibraryThing (via the links above) and you are logged into your own LibraryThing account, on the right-hand side, opt to "Add to favourites".

That way, when you are on your Home page and click on "Lists" on the left, the Red Dot lists will show up under "Favorites".

Please add to these lists -- and vote on books already there.  (HINT, HINT: The Early Years and Younger Readers lists are pretty bare....)

Remember:  only books from 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014.  And if you have any doubt about which category to put it in, put it in two.

In the end we only need 8 books per category, but given we have a 4-year window to work with, long lists of good titles will never go to waste.  You can use this for your summer reading suggestions!

If you don't feel up to dealing with another bibliographic tool, I understand.  I will watch the Goodreads Listopia lists and try to keep the two in parallel, but for discussion purposes come August, we'll be looking at the books via LibraryThing.

My sincere apologies that in copying books over from Goodreads to LibraryThing, I won't have transferred any comments you might have made as to WHY you chose the book.  

Most importantly, if anyone is interested in being on the Red Dot Committee, please add your name and relevant information to this Google Doc:  CLICK HERE.  The commitment means in-person meetings in August and September -- and maybe October (though maybe we will master Google Hangouts better).  And lots of reading!

Happy reading over the long break.....

-- Katie

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Readers Cup Winners 2014!

The annual Readers Cup competition was well-attended and enjoyed by everyone on Thursday, May 22, at the Canadian International School - Lakeside.

This year we experimented with running the three competitions simultaneously, in order to keep the time frame between 4 and 6 pm -- and it worked very well, with everyone together in the auditorium for the opening remarks, and then at the end for the announcement of the winners in each category.

And the winners were:

Younger Readers category:

1st place:  Singapore American School (SAS)
2nd place:  Stamford American International School (SAIS)
3rd place:  Canadian International School -- Tanjong Katong (CIS-TK)

Older Readers category:

1st place:  Singapore American School (SAS)
2nd place:  Stamford American International School (SAIS)
3rd place:  United World College of Southeast Asia (UWCSEA) - East

Mature Readers category:

1st place:  United World College of Southeast Asia (UWCSEA) - Dover
2nd place:  St. Joseph's Institution - International (SJII)
3rd place:  Australian International School (AIS)

Congratulations to the winners -- and to all the participants!

Each winning team member in each category received a personal book coupon for $20 and the winning schools in each category received a book coupon worth $1,000 -- all from the sponsor of this event, Bookaburra Books, represented by the owner, Cheryle Hum.

In case you're interested, here are the questions and answers used in the three categories -- as well as the Multiple Choice quizzes for each.
Many thanks to Lisa Patton, Head of Libraries at Canadian International School - Lakeside, and her colleagues for all their work in hosting the event -- and to all the people who volunteered to be judges.  Thanks also to the support of our ISLN network members who participated and ran teams this year.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Register your Readers Cup teams by Fri, May 16

The annual Readers Cup competition will be held Thursday, May 22, at the Canadian International School, Lakeside.

Register your teams by Friday, May 16th.

More detailed information about the day will then be emailed to you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Add to the Long Lists for Red Dots 2014-2015 via Goodreads

It's time to start thinking of the next round of Red Dots.

As you think of good potential titles, please put them on these GoodReads Listopia lists.  The lists are handy as sources of summer reading suggestions for your students.

These GoodReads Listopia lists are open to anyone in the world (with a GoodReads account) to contribute to - and/or vote on.

Criteria in choosing books for the longlist:
  • Published (in English) within the last 4 years -- so 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014
  • The shortlists will consist of 8 books at each level
  • Preferably only #1 if in a series
  • Preferably no repeat of an author from previous years
  • Think of accessibility -- easy to purchase from major vendor? is it available in paperback?
Overall considerations when generating the shortlist:
  • Mix of genres, e.g., fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic format
  • Balance of male/female main characters
  • Balance of cultures or countries of origin
  • Preferably including a book from Singapore or the region
 HUGE WARNING: Because the lists are open to the world, some really weird things can be put on it -- and, even though our ISLN Goodreads account created the lists, we can't delete things off it (at least I can't figure out how to do that). Right now a guy called Jonathan:
has added several titles, which are not appropriate.  One is a nonfiction book about health care for adults.  E.g.,
Please ignore them.  The Red Dot committee surely will.  And if anyone has a better idea of how to suggest titles, let me know.  We could just go with the Goodreads group shelf, but it's a bit more of a hassle to put books on a shelf.

The four SHORT LISTS will be announced by the Red Dot ISLN committee in September.

(Alternatively, click here to join our Red Dot Nominations Group in GoodReads and put books on the Group bookshelves.  Some of us will then put the group suggestions on the next year's LONG LISTS.)
See you all at the Readers Cup competition on May 22nd at CIS Lakeside.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Upcoming AGM and general meeting on Monday, April 28th -- plus a plug for the AFCC in May/June

Don't forget the upcoming ISLN meeting in the secondary school library at UWCSEA East.  That's Tampines (not the Dover campus).  Tampines St. 73 is very short -- you can't miss the building and there's only one entrance.  Yes, there's parking.  We're just off Tampines Avenue 10 -- not far from IKEA.  That's Monday, Apr 28th, 4:00 for 4:00pm start. 

Besides the Annual General Meeting business, we've got Denise Tan from Closetful of Books coming with a display of books, especially regional ones, for us to browse.  She'll undoubtedly have books by many of the authors that you'll get a chance to hear at the AFCC at the end of May (see details further on) -- as Denise is coordinating school visits for the AFCC authors.

There is also going to be a short presentation by Geraldine Reilly, head of sales at Twig, an Australian educational company: 
Tigtag is the one-stop resource with over 600 outstanding films, lesson plans and classroom activities to support your science teaching and inspire students.
If you want to start a free trial of the product before the meeting, contact her via email: .

Other information to be imparted includes an update on the Readers Cup competition in May and an outline of the process of determining shortlists for next year's Red Dot Book Awards.

A reminder about the AFCC (the Asian Festival of Children's Content), May 31-June 3.  Registration is open.  The cost for the Writers & Illustrators Conference, June 1-3, is $350, but we usually get a 10% discount -- which would make it $315.  You can also get a one-day ticket for $200.

See their website:  and this PDF brochure: .

The country focus this year is India.

The children's literature lecture will be given on the evening of Monday, June 1, by Fatima Sharafeddine.
Our distinguished speaker is Fatima Sharafeddine, an award-winning Lebanese writer twice been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. A writer and translator of children’s books, Fatima has published over 100 books including Grandpa's Donkey (Arab Thought Foundation Award, 2012), The Book of Laughter and Crying (Anna Lindh Foundation Regional Award, 2011), and Princesses of the World (IBBY Translator Honor List, 2012). She lives between Belgium and Lebanon, and participates in several international book fairs as well as offers workshops in writing for children. Most of her books are published in Arabic, and several have been translated to various European languages, among which are Dutch, Danish, Spanish, French, German, and English.
See the full list of speakers here:

I note under the "Book and Product Launches" that they have collected essays based on last year's AFCC -- with its focus on Malaysia -- into a book called "One Big Story" edited by Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

And the Red Dot winners for 2013-2014 are......

The 2013-2014 Red Dot Book Awards - with over 6,000 votes from 13 schools cast in total over the four categories.  Below are the Singapore-wide winners.
Early Years:
  • 1st place:  Extra Yarn
  • 2nd place:  99 Tadpoles
  • 3rd place:  Too Many Elephants
Younger Readers:
  • 1st place: Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong
  • 2nd place:  Fortunately the Milk
  • 3rd place: Zita the Spacegirl
Older Readers:
  • 1st place:  Itch
  • 2nd place:  Flora & Ulysses
  • 3rd place:  The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas
Mature Readers:
  • 1st place:  172 Hours on the Moon
  • 2nd place:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • 3rd place:  Boxers and Saints
For schools that had students submit votes via the online voting form, I have sent you each an email telling you what the top three books in each category were for your school.  (Those of you who submitted only block votes to me for tallying already know your own winners.)

The Readers Cup competition (based on a subset of the Red Dot shortlists) will be held May 22nd at the Canadian International School, Lakeside Campus.  The competition booklists will be announced within the next few days.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red Dot: Short promo videos of book covers for each category

I just put up 4 YouTube videos -- just 40 seconds each -- showing the book covers in each category -- in a playlist. 

I also put the videos on the category homepages on the Red Dot Book Awards site, replacing the previous Picasa Slideshows (as I realized that I couldn't easily re-use those slideshows, e.g., to send out to my English teachers in the run-up to voting).  YouTube videos are much more easily shared and spread.  (My apologies if you don't like the background music I chose for each.  The mute button is always an option.)

Anyway, here is the playlist.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Red Dot Voting - poster

I just put up a new poster for advertising Red Dot book voting, March 5-12, on the Red Dot site.

Here it is:

You should be able to right-click on it and download.  And it should print out fine at A3 size.  If not, let me know.

Reminder: Ongoing professional learning....

Just a reminder, we have two links off the top of this blog related to professional development.
There is also a page for Supplier Information -- which is a Google Spreadsheet anyone can edit, with tabs for different categories, e.g., furniture, signage, magazines, etc.

Photo source: Phil Bradley / Flickr

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Red Dot / Readers Cup update

The Readers Cup competition will be held Thursday, May 22, 2014, at the Canadian International School, Lakeside campus.

The list of books won't be announced until Red Dot voting is finished on March 12th -- as only 5 out of the 8 books in a category are used for questions.  This is to encourage reading of ALL the Red Dot titles, not just the ones in the competition.

See the Readers Cup page on the website for more info.

If you are interested in being part of the working group developing questions for Readers Cup, contact Katie Day (

Red Dot voting starts in less than a month!  From Wednesday March 5 through Wednesday March 12.

Hope your schools are enjoying the Red Dot books....

Did you see how two of our Older Reader titles won awards from the recent American Library Association (ALA)?
  • Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery, and Doll Bones by Holly Black won a Newbery Honor

AFCC Author Visits via Closetful of Books -- Denise Tan

Denise Tan, formerly of Bookaburra, has started her own business called Closetful of Books.

She's arranging authors visits to schools for the upcoming AFCC (Asian Festival of Children's Literature) in May.  See list of authors (PDF) here -- they're available May 26-30 and June 4-6.

Minutes of last meeting: Feb. 6, 2014

Click here to read the minutes of the general meeting on February 6, 2014, at Tanglin Trust School in the junior library.

Jacqui Makselon gave a detailed presentation on their three-year project to improve professional development opportunities for library support staff at Tanglin Trust.

The next meeting is at UWCSEA East (Tampines) in the secondary library.  4:00 for 4:30pm start.  This will be our Annual General Meeting (AGM).