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Vale Joan Brewer AM 1923-2017 Inaugural Patron of SLASA

    Photo: Lesley Brideson and Joan Brewer, 2012

The SLASA Joan Brewer Award was named in her honour and is awarded for outstanding service to teacher librarianship and/or school libraries in SA.

Joan inspired, influenced and impacted on the careers of teacher librarians over many years and was a passionate advocate for the profession.

Joan Brewer Award Winners

This award was named in honour of Joan Brewer AM, a former principal lecturer librarian at the Adelaide College of Advanced Education and an advocate for the profession.

The Joan Brewer Award is made to a person giving outstanding service to teacher librarianship and/or school libraries in South Australia.

Joan Brewer awardees

2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005

2016 - No award

2015 - Lesley Brideson and Sue Johnston

Lesley Brideson, 2015
Lesley Brideson, 2015

Lesley was nominated for the Joan Brewer Award by the library staff at Linden Park Primary School. Testimonials written by Lesley's peers and colleagues acknowledge her outstanding service to Teacher Librarianship, school libraries and her passion for education.

Lesley began her career as a teacher librarian at Gawler East in 1986, moving on to Craigburn Primary, Mitcham Primary and finally Linden Park Primary School. In all her schools Lesley has had a big impact on curriculum development, guided inquiry and the use of technology in schools to enhance learning. She worked collaboratively with staff to ensure that guided inquiry and research skills were taught to students at all levels. Throughout her career Lesley has been an outstanding leader, a strong advocate for teacher librarians, an exceptional educator and a mentor to many.

Lesley strongly believed we should give students the skills to be life long learners. She modeled to her student and colleagues, what she believed. Lesley took leave to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree and has kept up to date with trends in education, technology and libraries. She is an advocate for and has embraced new forms of technology. She has mentored many new teacher librarians and has encouraged, supported and challenged everyone she worked with to reflect on their practices and develop skills needed for 21st century learning.

Her colleagues from Linden Park Primary describe Lesley as 'an inspiring and collaborative leader and librarian who always makes people feel that they are valued and at the heart of all decisions and actions implemented at Linden Park Primary. Everyone feels that they make a difference to the success of our school and community when Lesley is guiding them'. Another colleague wrote, 'Lesley gives everything to the role of T.L. She is inspiring, encouraging, appreciative, fair, and knowledgeable' - sentiments echoed by those who have worked in various schools with Lesley and the committees she has led or participated in.

Lesley has a great love of literature and readily shared this with students. She introduced them to the best of fiction and was able to connect students to reading. She was excellent at matching children to books and extending readers by exploring their interests and skills. One colleague commented that 'There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a normally "chatty" class of students sitting in silence listening to and hanging onto every word of a good story read by Lesley. She is the spark for introducing reluctant readers to authors and illustrators who capture the imagination and interest of young children'.

Lesley ensured that the library was always a welcoming port of call for all the students and staff. They were made to feel confident that their interests, skills and needs would be fulfilled. She ensured the Library was at the forefront of student learning. At Mitcham Primary, Lesley was able to negotiate an extension to the library that enhanced access to the collection and workspace. At Linden Park Primary, Lesley oversaw the building and establishment of the new library when funding was provided by federal government grants. She willingly shared her ideas and hosted many teacher librarians to showcase what could be achieved in library design.

At local, state and national levels, Lesley has worked tirelessly to advocate for school libraries and teacher librarians. She has been an active participant in the following professional associations, the Resource Centre Teachers Association, CoSLA, SLASA and the ASLA. She was treasurer for RCTA, and for SLASA she has been the May Gibbs Liaison rep, CBC Liaison rep and IB Liaison rep as well as an ASLA councillor and UniSA representative. Lesley has played a leading role in professional developments groups providing professional development opportunities for teacher librarians and library staff. Lesley willingly took on leadership roles. She has been President of SLASA since 2009. As president she was a strong advocate for teacher librarians. Lesley was involved in the working group responsible for the joint AEU/SLASA policy on the Role of TLs, she worked with the AEU and ministers of education to promote the role of school libraries and teacher librarians and the educational benefits they bring to students. She has met with politicians and written articles and been interviewed by the media to raise the profile of libraries. She has worked with Uni SA students to gather survey data for SA.

Sue Johnston, Secretary of SLASA, wrote that SLASA 'has been fortunate to have Lesley at the helm for a number of years, steering the association forward and keeping school libraries thriving'. We thank Lesley for her outstanding contribution to education, school libraries and her tireless work for SLASA. Congratulations and on receiving this award. We wish you success in any venture you now take on.

Sue Johnston, 2015
Sue Johnston, 2015

Sue has dedicated most of her teaching career to service to school libraries and the teacher librarianship profession at both state and national level. She is the current SLASA secretary, a role she has carried out tirelessly for 25 years since her first city appointment as a teacher librarian in 1990.

Most people in the school library community in South Australia know Sue as the public face of SLASA through the slasanet listserv, posting notices and reminders about memberships and conferences. However there is much more that she does in her role as secretary that is less public, unsung and lower profile, but makes an even greater contribution to school libraries in SA. Sue carries the overarching knowledge of the SLASA at her fingertips. She quietly and unassumingly makes sure that the right things are done at the right time. She itemises agendas, liaises with administration officers and other organisations, coordinates and books venues, deals with caterers, vendors and presenters, deals with all membership inquiries, sorts out problems, and makes sure that deadlines are stuck to. Sue's forward planning and attention to detail enable the committee to fulfil its mission and administrative responsibilities to its members and to plan and deliver an effective PD program that addresses the needs of all members. As well as ensuring that SLASA maintains communication with all members and those connected to school libraries through slasanet, Sue has also been at the forefront of ensuring that SLASA responds to a changing world. She hosts and contributes to the SLASA Facebook page and Twitter feed, adding many thought provoking snips to keep us connected to future trends and issues.

As a SLASA committee member Sue has played a huge role in the professional learning of others in the South Australian school library community. She has been instrumental in organising scores of conferences and workshops, hosted many, and has presented at almost all. She lectures at the UniSA and TAFESA, and contributes to course development reviews in the librarianship field. Sue has been active in publicly advocating for the profession over many years. She not only willingly acts as a public voice to speak to the media on school library issues, but has raised critical issues in meetings with the Minister for Education and government officers, represented the voice of South Australia in the 2010 Senate inquiry into school libraries and worked with the Australian Education Union (SA branch) to revise and develop a staffing policy for school libraries and redefined teacher librarian role statement, now officially AEU policy in all DECD schools. Sue was also a member of the review panel for the review of Charles Sturt University's teacher librarian courses, and is currently a member of the DECD working party rewriting the DECD Selection and Using Resources for Educational Purposes policy and guidelines and has mentored many aspiring teacher librarians.

In between all of this she still has the time and passion to be an exemplary teacher librarian in the complex position of Manager of Marden Education Centre Library servicing Open Access College and Marden Senior College. The quality of her work was acknowledged in her selection as South Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year in 2008.

Sue's service to school libraries has extended beyond South Australia to the national scene through her role within the SLASA committee. For many years she acted as an ASLA councillor, representing South Australia on the national umbrella organization, convening ASLA subcommittees, conference organising committees and working parties, and fulfilling the role of secretary of ASLA for six years. Since 2011 she has represented South Australia as Director on the ASLA Board, chairing the Professional Learning Committee for the entire Australian school library community. Sue has been the lynchpin of SLASA for 25 years and has had an equally pivotal role in shaping and maintaining the peak national body ASLA.

It is fair to say that without Sue's individual and ongoing commitment, energy and effort, that the continuation and success of both of these organizations could be in question. Sue Johnston is an outstanding teacher librarian who thoroughly deserves this prestigious award.

2014 - No award

2013 - Carol Grantham and Silvana Jenkins

Carol Grantham, 2013
Carol Grantham, 2013

Carol is known at her work site and by her professional colleagues as a warm and friendly professional who is a passionate advocate for school libraries and teacher librarianship. She is always willing to listen and support others.

Carol has been employed as a teacher librarian mainly in the Catholic sector. She began her career at Cabra College in 1994, and then worked at St Paul's College, before moving to St Aloysius College in 2002, which is her present location. From the outset, she was keen to contribute to the sector. She became involved in the Catholic Education Secondary Teacher librarians' group, known as CASTL, attending the regular meetings and annual conference.

A colleague, Lois Taverner, writes that
"Carol has been a generous host of meetings at her schools, suggesting speakers that she knew of, and has contributed to discussions always willing to share her knowledge and expertise. She has been a member of the organizing group for the annual PD day since these days began and contributed significantly to their success. She has attended meetings to plan the days, has organised speakers and various segments of the days. Carol is always knowledgeable about new and future directions in teacher-librarianship and has been supportive of others in the CASTL group. She is highly valued by all in the group due to her friendly, warm manner and her ability to listen to others. Her pragmatic approach to her work means that her ideas and advice are always considered and applicable."

At St Aloysius College, Carol is committed to providing the best library service. She introduces and in-services the college staff in curriculum changes, such as Inquiry Learning and the Research Project. She is at the forefront of teacher librarianship in the digital age. Carol is the administrator and manager of the SAC library webpage and models and assists both staff and students in the use of current digital technologies. She has also shared the way she works with digital technology to a wider audience at conferences with presentations on using Moodle, wikis, e-books and other Web 2.0 technologies. She was involved in the development and monitoring of the first SLASA website.

Carol is keen to foster and support teachers in training to work in school libraries. She commits time to preparing submissions for project funding and, as a result, was able to work with Silvana Jenkins in developing the now nationally used Harvard Online Referencing Generator. This development has been widely acclaimed as a tool that is vital in schools, as it is easy to use and comprehensive. Carol and Silvana spent countless hour in developing the generator and deserve acknowledgement for their effort, skill and commitment.

Carol has written articles for professional journals. She has been an active member of SLASA and other professional groups and school librarian associations for many years. Within SLASA she has accepted many roles CEASA representative, Minutes Secretary, conference committee member and presenter to mention some.

Carol's contribution to school libraries and teacher librarianship is considerable and she is a worthy recipient of the Joan Brewer Award for 2013.

Silvana Jenkins, 2013
Silvana Jenkins, 2013

Silvana is well known to everyone because of her friendliness and very active contribution to education with a particular focus on libraries.

Silvana began her career teaching Home Economics at Peterborough High School. While on leave to raise her family, she studied teacher librarianship and began work in that role in 1983 at Underdale High School. Appointments followed at the Library of Languages and Multicultural Centre, various DECS schools and then Thomas More College and Annesley College before being appointed to the position of Library Coordinator at Eynesbury Senior College in 2004, where she still works today. Classroom teaching has always been a part of Silvana's role. She currently teaches Year 10 as well as her Year 12 mentor group for the Research Project. Silvana has also held various year level coordination roles over the years.

It is difficult to sum up Silvana's extensive, tireless and professional dedication to the School Libraries Associations. One of her major roles, requiring up to date skills and endless patience, has been as Editor of the SLASA Newsletter.

Silvana has also held numerous important roles that are often left to the truly dedicated. In 1998 and 1999 she was President of SLASA and was Vice President for several years before that. She has been an ASLA Councillor, as well as on the Professional Assistance Program. She has worked with the ASLA Board of Publications and SLASA Publications Team and the Training and Professional Development and Publicity groups. Silvana was involved with EdNA and, through her commitment and expertise, was part of the reference group for revising the Learning for the Future document for at least four years. The list goes on - adding the communications group, strategic plan and joining the Awards team in 2005. It was probably an unusual feeling when she had to print her own award certificate this year!

Silvana has hosted Library Tours and Web 2.0 workshops; worked on conference planning committees as well as presenting at conferences and SACE Literature evenings. She is always willing to share her up to date insights and knowledge with a smile and a friendly manner. One of the most recent was a shared presentation at Council of Educational Associations of South Australia of her wonderful work with Carol Grantham in ICT in developing the Harvard Online Referencing Generator for students, which is now in great demand in Australian schools. The audience at CEASA was most impressed with their achievements!

Silvana's current Principal, John Warren, wrote of her:
"Silvana is an outstanding Teacher Librarian – a person of considerable gifts in terms of her abilities to engage with people with warmth and genuine care. Silvana is the staff member that every school needs – she not only recognises where and when tasks need to be done, but she turns her hand to doing them. She is driven by a wonderful and self-deprecating humour, and an equally developed sense of self. Silvana is an unbelievably hard worker, a team player in the best sense of the term - she deserves every award to come her way. After so many years of commitment and giving, it seems more than appropriate that she receives this wonderful acknowledgement."

Silvana is, indeed, a very worth recipient of the Joan Brewer Award.

Lois Taverner and Joan Brewer, 2012
Lois Taverner and Joan Brewer, 2012

2012 - Lois Taverner

Jeanette Ramsey and Pauline Annear, 2011
Jeanette Ramsey and Pauline Annear, 2011

2011 - Jeanette Ramsey and Pauline Annear

Susan Spence, 2010
Susan Spence, 2010

2010 - Beryl Siemionow and Susan Spence

2009 - Thelma Harvey and Nola Uzzell

Judy Woods and Alle Goldsworthy, 2009
Judy Woods and Alle Goldsworthy, 2008

2008 - Alle Goldsworthy

2007 - Margaret Nunn

Helen Richter

2006 - Helen Richter

Thelma Harvey, SLASA President, Jill Day, Joan Brewer and Rose Mawby
Thelma Harvey, SLASA President, Jill Day,
Joan Brewer and Rose Mawby

2005 - Jill Day and Rose Mawby

Joan Brewer was born in Adelaide and completed her initial teacher training at Adelaide Teacher's College and The University of Adelaide. After teaching at Naracoorte High School, she became a Librarian, firstly with the Barr Smith Library at The University of Adelaide, and later in London. In 1957 Joan returned to Adelaide and to the newly established Wattle Park Teacher's College, as Lecturer Librarian. In 1964, with her dual qualifications, Joan established the first full time course for Teachers to become Teacher Librarians at the newly established Western Teacher's College. 1970 saw Joan appointed as Senior Lecturer Librarian of the Department of School Librarianship at Adelaide College of Advanced Education. Joan retired from her position as Principal Lecturer in 1984 and was awarded an AM in January 1985.

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