SCIS is more

By Ben Chadwick

Updates and news from the School Catalogue Information Service (SCIS).

I hereby launch the 100th edition of Connections magazine!

Connections celebrates all the superheroes that work in school libraries. Like superheroes, they possess special powers that are admired by their colleagues. They work alone — or in small teams — but are known to constructively negotiate with the powers-that-be. Iron Man has the latest technology at his disposal, She-Hulk has nothing but her bare fists and drive. They sometimes face daunting odds and may feel under-appreciated, but ultimately their passion, dedication, and altruism has a powerful positive impact. Unfortunately, unlike superheroes, that impact is rarely explosive and public, but subtle, incremental, and often hard to quantify.

Like all good superheroes, school library professionals need to refine and discipline their substantial powers. And like Superman juggling the daily grind at the Daily Planet, they need to engage in continuous collaboration with their classroom-bound colleagues. In this issue we are fortunate to have fantastic contributions by Jennie Bales and Lucas Maxwell on the fundamental topics of professional learning and collaboration. We’ve also harnessed the powers of ex-SCIS manager and Connections founder Lance Deveson to peer into the past.

Talking about superheroes, it is with regret that we say goodbye to a few SCIS stalwarts. Mary Gough, our cataloguer in Queensland, is retiring. So too is Chris Swadling, a long-standing SCIS partner at ALS in Adelaide. Mary and Chris have been working with us for many years and their retirement is a loss not only for SCIS, but for the Australia and New Zealand cataloguing community, to which both have contributed substantially over the years. We wish you well, super-cataloguers. We’ll continue our very fruitful relationship with ALS and, in Queensland, we welcome back a former SCIS cataloguer, the very qualified Frances Todd.

Connections editor Nicole Richardson, ESA CEO Susan Mann (retired) and SCIS manager Ben Chadwick standing together for a photo

Connections editor Nicole Richardson, ESA CEO Susan Mann (retired) and SCIS manager Ben Chadwick

Also retiring is the incredible Sue Mann, CEO here at Education Services Australia (ESA). Sue has been CEO at ESA, and its predecessor Curriculum Corporation, since 2005. Sue has been a strong advocate and promoter of SCIS, and has a long history with us, dating back to 2001. On a personal level, I am grateful to Sue for her support and encouragement, and her retirement will leave a big space in Australian education that will be felt in all sectors and at the federal and state levels. Enjoy the good life, Sue.

But Connections 100 is also about looking to the future. We take a speculative journey with friend of SCIS and former Charles Sturt University academic James Herring. Like something from an X-Men storyline, he poses the fascinating questions: are the robots coming, and should we be worried?

In 2017, SCIS is moving forward with some exciting additions to our team at ESA. Doreen Sullivan, formerly one of our cataloguers, is now overseeing our very capable and experienced cataloguing team — both our network around the region and our Melbourne team of Mavis, Julie and Natasha. We’ve also just welcomed Deb Cady to the Melbourne team, who comes to us with extensive experience cataloguing in Australia, New Zealand and the US. Gojko Skoro is overseeing our technical infrastructure. Nicole continues to edit Connections and run the ELR project. Our customer service team, Helen and Sarah, will continue to support you this year. We also welcome back Ruilin Shi, previously one of our customer service staff, who will be working to support the team as we develop SCIS services as the next decade looms.

There are too many exciting things happening for SCIS in 2017 to adequately broach here. We’ll be talking about them at conferences including ALIA Online, SLANZA and ASLA. I would like to mention one smallish project — to coincide with this 100th edition, we’re looking to digitise all back issues of Connections. The early issues represent valuable documentation of the history and culture of school libraries, so we look forward to making them available to the world.

We’ll be running webinars and workshops to keep you up to date on how SCIS is improving its services to better meet the changing needs of school libraries big, small, and in-between — and the superheroes that work in them.

Enjoy this very special edition of Connections, and stay in touch in 2017.

Ben Chadwick

Ben Chadwick

Manager, SCIS

Education Services Australia