Goodbye Mrs Gill Martin
You’ve been at CCGS since 1998, in your opinion what has changed the most in teaching and what remains the same?
In the Library teaching world, the ever-increasing emergence of new digital technologies has been the biggest change. Teacher Librarians have always guided students on best research skills but we had to quickly adapt to the way students researched once the world of information became available at their fingertips. Now we make sure they are not drowning in information and know how to find authorised and credible sources – it’s quite a mine field for them really.
There was always talk that books would die out but they have not! They are loved more than ever and students continue to enjoy borrowing as much as they did as when I first started working at CCGS.
What has been the highlight of your CCGS days?
Coming to work and seeing students patiently waiting outside the glass doors of the Library in the morning and the smiles they give as we open up for the day. It is a real treat to see students excited about coming into the Library as the Library staff work so hard to make it a vibrant, stimulating and welcoming environment that reflects our importance as a teaching and learning hub. Being able to interact with students and staff across all year levels and subject areas has been a unique and privileged part of my work. No two days have ever been the same, and the lovely conversations with our happy, thankful students and dedicated staff has kept me constantly motivated to manage the Library in the best possible way. I have worked in all types of Libraries since I left school and have loved being immersed in the wonderful world of literature but CCGS has been my favourite.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your students?
The big lesson I have learnt from my students is that to develop a lifelong love of reading, you need access to all types of books. It is an exciting journey and students need the right fuel for that journey; new books from all genres – fantasy, adventure, history, biography, non-fiction, to name a few. Finding the perfect book to read can make your day and allow your imagination to run wild. You then become hungry for the next adventure within the pages and develop skills in choosing your own books. Finally matching a reluctant reader with their perfect book has been immensely fulfilling.
Teacher Librarians promote books to students and open up their eyes to the world of literature. The work of selecting, purchasing, promoting and recommending books has been my favourite. I am thankful that we are always provided with the funding to build the Library’s collection. This acknowledgement by CCGS of the importance of reading, and in researching, in every student’s life was a huge motivator for me.
What do you think are the most important skills students learn from the Library today and why?
That the Library is an inclusive, comfortable, inspiring, safe and welcoming place to go to. The Library’s physical space is warm and inviting with lots of opportunities to make connections with others. Also knowing how to choose exciting, interesting and suitable fiction books to read and escape into, as well as research skills that allow them to gather accurate, relevant information and turn it in to knowledge.
What advice do you have for new Teacher Librarians?
There is actually a shortage of trained Teacher Librarians so I would congratulate them for pursuing a fantastic career that will be incredibly rewarding. It is a well kept secret that we have the best job in any school so they have entered our privileged world! I have loved the multi-faceted nature of my role – teaching across K -12, knowledge of the curriculum, teaching strategies and learning styles, combined with expertise in resource acquisitions and management, literature, information services and systems as well as leading a team of passionate Library staff is all in a day’s work.
Gone are the days when Librarians were stereotyped as fusty and only stamped and shelved books – it has been fun changing that terrible way of seeing the role of a Librarian! We do a lot more than just provide books and information; we provide a haven for everyone to think, create, share and grow. Bringing magic into the life of every student through the pages of a book is now our mission. On a daily basis, we cast a literary spell over students that changes the way they think and feel about themselves and their place in the world. I have enjoyed providing new innovations into the Library so we never remained static.
What will you miss most about CCGS?
I will miss the wonderful community spirit that has been my life for such a long time. My sons still talk about the time when they were at CCGS too and I feel lucky to have worked with them while they were students and growing up here. I think working with young people keeps you young and happy at heart so I will make sure I continue in this way!
I will miss our annual celebrations of Book Week where we take the theme set by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and go mad supporting it with displays, competitions, author visits and the annual Book Fair.
What does the ‘next chapter’ hold for you?
Well, it has always been my plan to travel overseas with my husband and live back in England where I was born for a while but COVID-19 has put the brakes on that for all of us but I look forward to still doing that soon. Not being able to travel far has allowed me to spend more time with my family and I realise now that I need to be able to keep doing this as my parents are in their 90s and I have a lovely granddaughter and a grandson on the way so I look forward to spending quality time with them.
I’m an avid reader so I look forward to actually having the time to read more. Many students think the Library staff have read each and every book but we just don’t have time to do that (we get very good at speed reading though so we can make recommendations). We are lucky as there are so many talented authors and I will be able to escape into all their glorious stories – bliss!!