Each year, the School Library Association of New South Wales (SLANSW) recognises, through the conferring of awards, the professional leadership, vision, innovation, publications, research and collaboration of its members and those whose work influences the development of literacy, and in particular, information, digital, critical and creative literacy.
The Associations 2019 awards were presented at the State Library Conference Reach out Through Reading on March 7, 2020 and our very own founder and director Phyl Coath (Williamson) was Awarded the SLANSW John Hirst Award. The John Hirst Award honours the memory of the Association’s founder, who had a vision and a passionate drive to establish the primary place of libraries in every NSW school.
As a former teacher librarian, Phyl well understands the professional learning needs of teacher librarians and the importance of creating relevant, supportive, and interesting library environments. In 1998, she founded Syba Signs and developed a wide range of student-centred signage that, over the years, has helped create modern, functional, and stimulating learning spaces that have enhanced the library experiences of students across Australia and internationally.
In 2006, Phyl extended her support of school libraries by designing professional learning for teacher librarians that was based on evidence-based practice and research. In 2013, what was then known as Syba Seminars received endorsement from NESA as an accredited provider of professional learning, which facilitated not only the expansion of professional learning opportunities for teacher librarians and other educators, especially into the digital realm, but also prompted a name change to Syba Academy. Today, Syba Academy continues to be a leading provider of professional learning for teacher librarians in areas such as literacy and inquiry learning.
Phyl also supports school libraries through professional partnerships with various advocacy campaigns and literacy programs. Currently
Syba Signs is partnered with the Australia-wide Students Need School Libraries campaign
and the Children’s Book Council of Australia Annual Book Awards.
Phyl is pictured above with fellow award recipients Prof. Alyson Simpson (L), recipient of the Maurice Saxby Award and Lizzie Martin (R), recipient of the SLANSW Teacher Librarian of the Year for 2019.
To read more about the award winners for 2019 visit the School Library Association website.
Congratulations Phyl on a well deserved honour.
From The Syba Team!
P.S If you would like to send your congratulations to Phyl please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.