Jasna Held
Professional Storyteller (Croatia)

Jasna Held was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia. She discovered the power of telling stories during the war in Croatia when she had been telling fairy-tales to her children and others sheltering from the bombing of her hometown of Dubrovnik. From that moment on, Jasna changed her path in life and now travels all over the country reciting fairy-tales in schools, kindergartens, orphanages, homes for the aged, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, clubs, theatres, pubs, bookstores, and on other different story-telling events. Even though she is mainly performing in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina, she shared her stories with audiences in Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain as well. Besides storytelling, Jasna Held is giving seminars and lectures about the importance of traditional stories in education and their healing forces.

Keynote, Monday, October 21
Power of Fairy-Tales – Bliss in the Eyes, Smiling Faces, Recognizing Those Worlds to Which We All Belong and to Which We Want to Return

“As a mother of three young children during the war in my country, I used to tell fairy tales to my children and others who were sheltered in a little room.  I realized the magical warmth and strength of dreaming and living in fairy-tales. In a biggest fear, suffering and dark reality which was surrounding us, I find out that while one is telling and listening to fairy-tales, one could feel the warmth and light of another world, which is one other reality which belongs to all of us… Two years later when the war was still raging on I met a storyteller from Germany, and with her support, I became an accomplished story-teller. From that time on I changed my life path and I travelled around to tell fairy tales to all who wanted to listen. At the end of each fairy-tale, everywhere and every time I experience the same feelings and often I say: ‘Bliss in the eyes, smiling faces, recognizing that world to which we all belong to and which we want to return to.’”

Ivanka Stričević
Vice-Rector of University of Zadar, Department of Information (Croatia)

Ivanka Stričević is a professor at the University of Zadar, Croatia, Department of Information Sciences, the researcher and the Vice-Rector for research and information infrastructure of the University since 2015. She holds a master’s degree in pedagogy and librarianship and a Ph.D. in information science. She teaches at the pre-graduate, graduate and doctoral studies courses related to information systems in education, library services for youth, school libraries, pedagogy of reading, information literacy and human information needs and behavior. She was the Chair of the IFLA Libraries for Children and Young Adults Section, the Chair of IFLA’s Literacy and Reading Section and is currently a member of the School Libraries Section. So far, she has published more than 70 scientific and professional papers, coauthored 10 studies and books and edited numerous publications on information users, reading, literacy, and librarianship.

Vanja Jurilj
President of the Croatian Association of School Librarians (Croatia)

Vanja Jurilj is a school librarian at Antun Mihanović Primary School in Zagreb, President of the Croatian Association of School Librarians, Head of the European branch of the International Association of School Librarianship.

During her tenure as the school librarian, she has used her knowledge and enthusiasm to turn a small school library into vibrant, modern learning and a resource centre and the heart of the school. As a President of the CASL, she has energetically intensified activities meant to position school libraries as respectable partners in professional development and enhancement. She has avidly and vividly presented the Croatian library story at various National and International Conferences of School Librarianship.

Keynote, Tuesday, October 22
School Libraries and Librarians: Wild Waters and an Anchor

A modern school library is a space for learning and a centre of knowledge acquisition, while the school librarian is the person who assists in the process of knowledge creation within a rich informational environment. It is indisputable – as some studies have confirmed – that students in schools with a qualified librarian have better academic achievements and that school librarians contribute directly to the attainment of the contemporary educational goals. The biggest, current challenge for school libraries is to ensure their stability in an ever-changing environment. For the school librarians to succeed in their role, in addition to their qualifications, many conditions must be met, from the legal framework to the perception of their role in curriculum development.

Darryl Toerien
Head of Library and Archives at Oakham School (England/UK)

Darryl Toerien has been Head of Library and Archives at Oakham School (England | UK) since 2008. He serves on the National Committee of the School Libraries Group (SLG) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the Board of the School Library Association (SLA), the Section Standing Committee for School Libraries of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA).

Darryl is the originator of the FOSIL Group, a growing community of education professionals who are striving to become more effective at enabling students to learn by finding out for themselves.

He believes that an education in which the classroom does not lead inevitably and essentially to the library, as Norman Beswick put it, is impoverished. This is not because the library is more important than the classroom, but that this represents an educational reality in which we – teachers and librarians working together – have enabled our children to learn anything by finding out for themselves. Only then will we have prepared them for a future that we have made more challenging and less certain.

Keynote, Wednesday, October 23
An Unfolding Story/Song About Trying to Locate Learning in the Space Between the Classroom and the Library

The principal lesson that school teaches is the need to be taught: Between two epistemological paradigms.

Ivan Illich argued that the principal lesson School teaches is the need to be ‘taught’.

While ‘this’ lesson may not be intentional, it is almost inevitable in an educational paradigm that is centred on ‘teaching’ rather than learning (instructionism). It is also a lesson that increasingly fails to prepare our students for the world unfolding around them.

What might an educational paradigm that is centred on ‘learning’ look like (constructionism), and what might it require of us, particularly in School?

Norman Beswick, writing about the Library-College movement that reached its apotheosis in the late 1960s, points us in the right direction – it is not the library that ‘supports’ the classroom, but the classroom that leads (or should lead) inevitably and essentially to the library. This is not to say that the library is more important than the classroom, but that the complex reality in which students have actually been positioned to find what they need to know when they need to know it (Seymour Papert) is the consequence of deliberate and effective collaboration between the classroom and the library, between teachers and librarians.

A community is the stories that it tells and the songs that it sings (Leonard Sweet). This is ‘an’ unfolding story/song about trying to locate learning in the space ‘between’ the classroom and the library.

Dr. Ross Todd
Associate professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University (USA)

Dr. Ross Todd is an associate professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is Director of the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL), at Rutgers University.  CISSL fosters the transformative role of school libraries in 21st-century schools, their integral role in the learning fabric of schools, and their role in ongoing school improvement and reform.  His scholarly work primarily focuses on the engagement of people and their information worlds and understanding how this engagement can facilitate professional action and change, and make a difference to individuals, organizations, societies, and nations. Current teaching and research interests center on adolescent information seeking and use, with emphasis on the digital environment. The research is multi-faceted and includes: understanding how children learn and build new knowledge from information, how school librarians and classroom teachers can more effectively empower student learning; how the development of information and critical literacies through guided inquiry and constructivist learning approaches lead to deep knowledge and deep understanding.

Keynote, Thursday, October 24
Young People Living Safe Lives: Convergence, Challenges, and Chances

Whitney Houston’s memorable song ‘Greatest Love of All’ (with music written by Michael Masser and lyrics by Linda Creed) frames the central focus of this address: ‘I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.’ This address will present some of the current thinking, theorizing challenges, and research findings in relation to young people and safety in online environments. With safety emerging as a global concern, it will address how LIS professionals can support and empower the agency of young people in online environments, and enact their safety through collective mindfulness, and their development of resilience, adaptability and wellbeing.