I did have some difficulty in connecting online at Setúbal, and I’m a bit behind in things here. I’m back, slept for most of 18 hours to recover, and it still seems to have left a residue of tiredness.
I nearly ended up not going. Phillipa was rushed to hospital with appendicitis and it was only after she was out, and the op went well, and my family had rallied round that I felt I could go. This was still not the best.
Arrived to what they described as cold weather. Setúbal is 50 km south of Lisbon. It was only after a few more conversations with Bev and João the final bits of this rather unusual enterprise fell into place: what on earth were we actually here for??
On Friday we drove 4 hours to Oporto, north from Setúbal.
The venue was not all that friendly. Hard echoey floors, not a lot of space. But a fine group of positive and optimistic librarian-leaders. Half way though a one year leadership role. There were 4 groups, roughly . . .
Tema A. Biblioteca Escolar, tecnologias da informação e Web 2.0
Animadores [School Libraries – information technologies and Web2.0]:
Oficina 1. Angelina Pereira (THEKA), Susanne Nyrop (Dinamarca)
Oficina 2. Helena Paz dos Reis (THEKA), Shirley Williams (University of Reading, Reino Unido), João Dias (Banco Santander, Portugal)
Tema B. Biblioteca Escolar, professor-bibliotecário, equipas e identidade profissional
Animadores [School Libraries – librarian, teams and professional identity]:
Oficina 3. Lucília Santos (THEKA), Patrícia Arnold (Munich University of Applied Sciences, Alemanha), Nancy White (EUA)
Oficina 4. Maria José Carvalho (THEKA), Derek Chirnside (University of Canterbury, Nova Zelândia)
Tema C. Biblioteca Escolar e desenvolvimento de aprendizagem
Animadores [School Libraries and learning development]:
Oficina 5. José Saro (THEKA), Marc Coenders (Network Learning Architecture, Holanda), Maarten de Laat (Department of Education, Exeter University, Reino Unido)
Oficina 6. Maria José Malo (THEKA), Andy Roberts (PajamaNation.com, Reino Unido), Bill Williams (Instituo Politécnico de Setúbal / Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, Portugal)
Tema D. Biblioteca Escolar e produção de sentidos na e com a Comunidade
Animadores [School Libraries and sense-making in and with a community]:
Oficina 7. Carminda Correia (THEKA), Bronwyn Stuckey (Innovative Educational Ideas, Austrália), Alasdair Honeyman (Reino Unido)
Oficina 8. Luís Mourão (THEKA), John Smith (EUA), Ueli Scheuermeier (Suíça)
Where we did some of our preparation:
It was at this stage I could trot out a whole lot of buzz words. We were there to “empower, lead, facilitate, assist, train . . . ” – the aim being for these wonderful leaders to devise and lead a workshop for the next day for quite a few more librarians who were giving up their Saturday. Friday was in English/Portuguese, Saturday in Portuguese. In fact it was a wonderful time of working together with a high level of cross cultural synergy.
We did it – after a breathless session, we had a plan for Saturday.
Aside: A night out and a visit to a market . . .
We stayed in on of Oporto’s nice areas, in a cheap hotel. Lots of participants were also there, and we met up for tea in a cafe, where we also sang revolutionary songs from the 50’s, danced a bit, and learned that some of the leaders were burning the midnight oil to further plan for Saturday.
The market . . .
The workshop: a little taste.
Who are you as a librarian? What are the issues, thoughts, challenges you face?
We wrote on postit’s, gathered the stories, and grouped in themes.
Then: “Maria is now entering her training as a librarian. In five years time she is starting here first day, in an ideal world, and ideal environment. On that day and as she starts her new career, imagine what she is thinking and facing: who does she interact with? What does she think about? What are the critical relationships . . . .
Draw a picture to represent this.
Lunch . . .
Then the hard part: What do we need to be doing NOW to see this future become a reality?
This whole day was a bold and audacious undertaking. The backdrop was Etienne’s presentation on communities of practice, a wonderful high vision of a social structure to support change and support the community. The catalyst of course was Bev, with the leaders in THEKA who grasped the nettle. The project is looking ahead long term. It has a good chance of succeeding, if those I met were any indication.
I am reminded of a quote from somewhere: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.