IBSC Ideas Lab

Professional Conversations for School Librarians in Boys' Schools

IBSC Ideas LabStarting March 27, 2023


IBSC Ideas Lab invites school librarians in member schools to connect virtually using the free online tool Zoom. Limited to 12 participants plus the facilitator, this IBSC Ideas Lab includes three one-hour sessions for participants to discuss relevant topics.

Designed as an interactive exchange among colleagues, IBSC Ideas Lab engages dedicated educators who learn and grow together. Before each session, participants watch a 10-minute introduction from a global guest to jumpstart a facilitated conversation on the topic. Together we surface fresh ideas and build mutual support structures and enduring professional friendships.

Available exclusively to IBSC member schools, first-time participants who can commit to joining all three sessions get preference in registration to support the success of each small group.

Who Should Attend?

School librarians in IBSC member schools


IBSC Ideas Lab attendees participate in three scheduled one-hour calls using Zoom. Pooja Mathur, teacher librarian at The King’s School (Australia), facilitates each session with thought-provoking input from guest presenters who contextualize each topic. 

Conversation Topics


Conversation 1
Practitioner Research in the School Library 
Guest Presenter: Jenna Spiering, Assistant Professor, School of Information Science, University of South Carolina
Monday, March 27, 4:00 PM EDT, 9:00 PM BST, 10:00 PM SAST 
Tuesday, March 28, 7:00 AM AEDT, 9:00 AM NZDT
Check the event time in your time zone.

This discussion will focus on the value and use of practitioner research in the school library environment.

In a research study into teacher librarians as evidence-based practitioners, Gillespie and Hughes (2014) suggest that, “teacher librarians need to provide sound data to demonstrate how they impact on teaching and learning, student achievement, and the social and cultural aspects of the school community” (p.31). In a global climate of budget-cutting and the devaluing of school libraries, this call to arms for school librarians to “prove their worth” is as much an imperative as it was seven years ago; perhaps even more so. This conversation will provide a valuable forum for the discussion of strategies through which evidence of practice in school libraries can be collected and communicated.

Gillespie, A. & Hughes, H. (2014). Snapshots of teacher librarians as evidence-based practitioners. Access, September, 26-40. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265786959_Snapshots_of_teacher_librarians_as_evidence-based_practitioners


Conversation 2
Reading for Learning: Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity Through the Library Collection 
Guest Presenter: Mary Ann Harlan,
Assistant Professor, San Jose State University, School of Information 
Monday, April 3, 5:00 PM EDT, 10:00 PM BST, 11:00 PM SAST 
Tuesday, April 4, 7:00 AM AEST, 9:00 AM NZST
Check the event time in your time zone.

Some 30 years ago, Rudine Sims Bishop (1990) noted that:

When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.

According to Bishop, however, providing books as “mirrors” in which children can see themselves is only one facet of having children understand their world. Children also need books as “windows” that allow them to see and “sliding doors” through which they can enter the multicultural world in which they live.

Thirty years on, Bishop’s metaphor of mirrors, windows, and sliding doors continues to hold validity regarding the need for school library collections to be diverse and inclusive. The current global spotlight on issues around race, gender, and disability, for example, offers learning moments not to be overlooked by school libraries. This conversation will consider ways in which school librarians can promote diversity and inclusivity through the library collection and will also explore the associated celebrations and challenges. 

Bishop, R.S. (1990). Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors. https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf 


Conversation 3 
Boys’ Reading in the Digital Environment 
Guest Presenter: Michael Dezuanni, Professor, Faculty of CI, Education, and Social Justice, School of Communication, Queensland University of Technology 
Monday, April 17, 5:00 PM EDT, 10:00 PM BST, 11:00 PM SAST 
Tuesday, April 18, 7:00 AM AEST, 9:00 AM NZST
Check the event time in your time zone.

Media attention given to literacy and literary learning signals a worldwide concern that young people, especially boys, are not reading at previous levels. Because digital media and reading do not oppose each other, digital technologies can be used to support reading programs in boys’ schools. Young people are engaging in rich conversations about books, storytelling, and reading in online spaces. To explore how the digital environment can support boys’ reading habits, we will focus on two central questions: 

  1. What are the implications of the impact of digital media on boys’ reading for school libraries?
  2. How can we leverage digital media to encourage boys’ reading?

Read more about the presenters.


IBSC member rate: US $150

This IBSC Ideas Lab has reached capacity. Please contact Bruce Collins at collins@theibsc.org to add your name to the waitlist. Thank you.

Refund Policy

IBSC will refund 90% of registration fees if a written request is received two weeks prior to the class. No refunds will be made for cancellations received after this time. Schools seeking to register an alternate to replace a participant unable to attend should contact IBSC@theibsc.org.

Please note: Participants will receive detailed call information and meeting invitations after registration closes.