Ramblings: National Education Summit 2019 Brisbane

National Education Summit – 2019 Brisbane

On the 31 of May and the 1 of June 2019, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2019 National Education Summit in Brisbane and the 2 day Capacity Building School Libraries conference. Thanks to my employer and leadership team for encouraging and funding my attendance. What a two days it was. So much knowledge and experience, so much to be inspired about. If you were unable to attend, read on for a quick summery of the speakers and the info shared. And if you are interested in future events, sign up to stay updated on the National Education Summit website.

Day 1 – Stream 1: Professional Standards

Session 1:

Dr Marcia Mardis, Professor and Associate Dean for Research from the Florida State University, USA, spoke about her journey and part in creating the American Association of School Librarians Standards. She spoke about the process of creating these standards, the two-year-long journey of research, stakeholder feedback and implementation and the importance of standards. Dr Marcia also shared about the Shared Foundation framework they devised, and the importance of school librarians aiding all learners (not just students, but also teachers, other staff members, leaders, parents and others in the wider school community).

Session 2:

Dr Kay Oddone, Lecturer for Teacher Librarianship at the Queensland University of Technology, spoke about her research into Personal Learning Networks and the important role those networks have in

  • linking teachers and teacher-librarians to other professionals and quick, real-time information
  • stretching to aid discovery, expansion of knowledge and curiosity for a broader perspective and updating practice.
  • and amplifying, which involves active contribution, creativity and knowledge formation.

Session 3:

In Session 3, Teacher Librarian Deb McGhee and Principal David McInnes, spoke together about their library programs and experiences working together. Sharing lots of practical tips, Deb illustrated meeting the Australian School Library Association teacher librarian standards and providing evidence. David spoke about the importance of school libraries and what principals want and expect from their school libraries, including promoting reading for pleasure, developing resources, creating a welcoming space, curating curriculum resources, assisting with research and collaborating with leadership.

Day 1. Stream 2: Engaging Spaces

Session 1:

With the absence of the prearranged speaker, Dr Marcia Mardis, Dr Kay Oddone, Dr Terry Byers and Deb Ponting formed a panel to discuss library spaces. Dr Marcia highlighted how the needs of library users are not much changed from a previous era, while Dr Terry and Deb Ponting provided a great insight into their two school libraries and the different approaches each had towards that space. Main takeaway: “library is what the classroom isn’t.”

Session 2:

Dr Terry Byers, Director of the library at Church Grammar School, spoke in depth about the process he and their school took when designing their new school library. He spoke about the importance of meeting school and student needs, and providing a space the regular classroom couldn’t. He provided practical tips, such as soundproofing light fittings and small group workspaces, as well as much evidence about the process and evidence of their planning and design.

Session 3:

Deb Ponting spoke about her experiences in redesigning a library space – movable shelves, small group “breakout” spaces, comfortable furniture and watching and planning for student needs.

Day 2: Stream 3: Designing Learning Experiences

Session 1:

Lori Korodaj, teacher librarian at a senior secondary college in Canberra, spoke about the information and digital literacy program they offer at their library and how they use technology, such as the Google Suite, to capture research and student engagement.

Session 2:

Jackie Child, teacher librarian, technology teacher and tinkeringchild.com, spoke in her session about the many ways technology can be used in the library session to expand on literature. Her passion was evident and she had so many practical ideas and examples of the fantastic work she and her teacher partner, Megan Daley, do in their school library.

Session 3:

Nelia Manansala, e-STEAM program leader at Chisholm Catholic College, gave an inspiring talk on the implementation of her learning program for gifted and twice-gifted students. She also spoke about the importance of engagement, flexibility, and the learning ecosystems, and how she incorporated things like the UN sustainable goals into the learning process.

Day 2: Stream 2: Collaborating with Parents

Session 1:

Holly Godfree, Teacher Librarian of the Year 2019 and Coordinator of the Students Need School Libraries campaign, spoke about the campaign and offered practical tips on how to get involved

Session 2:

In her engaging session, Helen Stower, Program Leader at Mt Alvernia College’s iCentre, spoke about the many program their library, in conjunction with another school library and local bookshop, run to work with parents and the wider community. She spoke about 5 key areas:

  1. social media (match the platform to the audience)
  2. extra-curricular activities (if sport has extra-curricular, why shouldn’t reading, including author events, Literary festivals and book launches)
  3.  I read too (parent-child book clubs, book chats, adult recommended reading lists)
  4. ask for help (library volunteers)
  5. share the story (in school meetings, newsletter articles, website and regular emails to parents

Session 3:

Megan Daley, author, blogger and teacher librarian, spoke about how she engages with the wider community in their school library through

  • mission statements
  • regular P&F meeting attendances
  • speaking at kindergarten and daycares
  • Mega book events, author visits and special events


There was so much to learn and takeaway from this year’s conference. A huge shoutout to Karen Bonnanno of KB Enterprises  for pulling together such an inspiring array of speakers. Here are some of the big and little things that I found really helpful

  • What is one thing you should start doing, one thing you should stop doing, and one thing you should keep doing? (Deb McGhee)
  • What news or emails do parents receive from the school library? Is it only overdue emails? (Helen Stower [I believe])
  • The importance of reporting the library’s role and effectiveness (various speakers)
  • Engagement and motivation is key to success (Nelia Manansala)
  • Libraries serve “learners” not just students (Dr Marcia Mardis)
  • Collaborating with leadership is vital (David McInnes)
  • Inspire – this conference served to inspire me. What inspires our learners? How can the library be a place of inspiration?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.