By Michelle Campbell
Member of the CSL Communications Committee
Treasure Mountain Canada is held every two years and it is an opportunity for teacher-librarians, school library support staff and administrators to reflect on the latest in school library learning commons research and best practice teaching artifacts.
Treasure Mountain Canada 2017 was held October 20-21st in Winnipeg, Manitoba in partnership with the Manitoba School Library Association (SAGE) PD Day on October 20th. The theme for SAGE this year was Truth in Our Stories: Seeking a Path to Reconciliation which fit seamlessly with the TMC theme of Culturally Relevant and Responsive School Library Learning Commons. Hosting the TMC conference on the heels of the SAGE conference was an ideal opportunity for TMC participants to partner with Manitoba school library staff and participate in their conference.
The focus for the SAGE conference was to educate our learning communities about Indigenous history, culture, spirituality, treaties, ways of knowing and their continuing cultural contributions to Canadian society. Highlights of the day included being welcomed by a local Indigenous elder, a drumming circle, a keynote speech from award-winning author Melanie Florence, and a series of breakout sessions featuring well-known leaders from the Indigenous community in Manitoba.
At lunch participants were treated to the sounds of the father and sons Métis fiddle group, Double the Trouble, and the sights of a seven year old Indigenous hoop dancer, Rylee Sandberg. After a thought provoking day at the SAGE conference we were given a private tour of the visually stunning Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Although our time was limited and we really just scratched the service of the interactive experience we all came away feeling revived and inspired to move forward in the hope of erasing barriers and creating meaningful, lasting change.
Our guest speaker for TMC’s Friday Kickoff Dinner, Karen Boyd, Assistant Superintendent River East Transcona School Division gave us an inspirational and upbeat presentation that set the tone for the conference and challenged us to continue our quest to be culturally relevant and responsive educators.
Later that evening a surprised Anita Brooks Kirkland was presented with the Angela Thacker Memorial Award to honour her years of leadership in the school library community in Canada and the instrumental role she played in the formation of Canadian School Libraries and its new website. CSL also recognized Dianne Oberg for being chosen as a lifetime IASL Ambassador.
Bright and early Saturday morning we welcomed our keynote speaker, Camille Callison, who is currently the Chair of the Indigenous Affairs Committee for the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB), and the Indigenous Services Librarian at University of Manitoba. Camille provided an overview of the work of the CFLA to advance reconciliation in libraries in Canada. Although libraries are not specifically mentioned in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the CFLA group has put forward ten overarching recommendations for the library community. You can read the CFLA’s full report here. TMC participants then worked together to brainstorm ways the school library learning commons could put the CFLA recommendations into action.
We were then led on an introspective journey by school library leader Dr. Dianne Oberg, who discussed theoretical frameworks and strategies around cultural responsiveness in educational and library pedagogy. She talked about how it is our moral purpose as educators and librarians in Canada to grow to understand the role of cultural responsiveness within the dimensions of instruction and embrace creating culturally relevant communities of practice. Study her full paper Theoretical Frameworks for Thinking about the Work Ahead and consider the challenges and suggested approaches for building an inclusive learning community.
As is tradition every paper writer in attendance was invited to host table talk sessions where they shared their work with small groups of participants who ask questions, added their perspectives and delved deeper into issues with writers.
Our TMC5 Table Talk Line-up
Jennifer Brown – Equity and Social Justice in The Library Learning Commons
Melanie Mulcaster –Visible Learning: Pedagogical Documentation in the Makerspace
Alanna King and Michelle Campbell – School libraries and eLearning: Answering the call for access and equity
Jo-Anne Gibson – Facilitating Reconciliation through the Library Learning Commons
Vivianne Fogarty – Weaving the Fabric of our Schools’ Cultures…
Pat Trottier – Working Together as a Learning Community
Monica Berra and Leona Prince – Why Taking your Seat at the Fire?
Diana Maliszewski – Founding Fathers Fighting to Toppling Tarnished Tributes – The Impact of Social Media, Primary Sources and Equity Education on A “Kids Guide to Canada” Prime Ministers Project
Two featured authors were unable to attend in person but were able to join us virtually for discussion of their work.
Leigh Cassell – Digital Human Library: Reimagining Library Collections in the 21st Century Michelle Brown – Picture Book Representations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer (LGBTQ) Families and Their Presence in School Libraries in Canada
We then put all our new knowledge together to work collaboratively on Think Tank challenges led by Carol Koechlin, Dr. David Loertscher and Anita Brooks Kirkland. They got the group brainstorming about how we can ignite a culturally relevant and responsive learning commons by moving from consumption to creation and encouraging participatory learning in our virtual learning commons.
Our culminating Big Think for the day centred around what we want others to know about Culturally Relevant and Responsive School Library Learning Commons in Canada and what actions can we take to turn our vision and new understandings into reality for our schools. Watch for the analysis of participant responses and next steps soon.
In typical TMC fashion we learned so much from our guests, the papers, table talks and challenges of the day but most of all we gained deep understandings from interactions with each other. We know this is just the beginning of our journey towards building Culturally Relevant and Responsive School Library Learning Commons, but we are on our way.
“When we know better, we do better.” Maya Angelou
A Photo Slideshow of TMC5
Links to more:
TMC5 participants explored the theme of Culturally Relevant and Responsive School Library Learning Common under four sub-themes. See TMC Blogposts:
- Taste of TMC5 Papers : Learning Environment
- Taste of TMC5 Papers : Instructional Approaches
- Taste of TMC5 Papers : Learning Partnerships
- Taste of TMC5 Papers : Leveraging Technology
Gaetan Hammond. Treasure Mountain Canada 5: Touching base with school librarians across Canada. The Medium, Fall 2017. Saskatchewan School Library Association.
You can find all the 2017 papers here and the archive of papers from every TMC on the new CSL Research Archive website.
Michelle Campbell is a Librarian who has been working at the Upper Grand District School Board in the role of Supervisor of Library & Media Services since 2007. She is a member of the Canadian School Libraries Communications Committee.