Sunday, 29 July 2012

First rung - ETL401 - Blog task # 1

Assessing information literacy and inquiry learning in regard to the practice of Teacher Librarians

In 1974, Paul Zurkowski originally used the term ‘Information Literacy’ in a paper presented to the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, the paper illustrated information literacy as an ‘individual’s capacity to use information tools and primary sources to address problems’ (Bruce, 1997, p. 5).
Information literacy is, according to Lloyd, “to know when there is a need for information, access and evaluate information, to think about information, and to demonstrate and document the process of that thinking”, (Lloyd, 2007, p. 182).

With today’s hyper profusion of evolving data, quality information literacy must become a key focus of my teacher-librarianship, by imparting competencies in my students that provides for the application of critical thinking and inquiry learning. No traditional fifty minute instructional lesson on information seeking strategies can give students the awareness they need for the encounters of today's information environment (Manuel, 2007. p. 127).

Kahlthau states that ‘teacher-librarians play a vital role in creating inquiry learning’ through information literacy instruction programs (Thomas, Crow & Franklin, 2011. p. 167). My instructional methodology must create learning activities that assist students in discovering concepts and understanding information, rather than allowing them to rely on rote information in textbooks.
Information literacy must encompass all mediums that will be presented to students, and be entrenched into the institutions online learning framework to achieve results (Ferguson, 2009. p. 25), to be proficient in transliteracy, embracing the use of all the developing information Medias, not just skills in using journals and databases (Newman, 2010). However no matter what the source, students must be taught to work through a checklist of criteria such as accuracy, bias, and timeliness of a source, to ask meaningful questions in relation to the work they are critiquing.

This instructional methodology should give students the skills needed to become information literate, however, the ALIA/ASLA professional standard 2.4 Evaluation -  states that excellent teacher librarians: ‘evaluate student learning to provide evidence of progress in information literacy and reading’ (ALIA/ASLA, 2004).

Therefore as a diagnostic tool, assessment of information literacy learning must be used to evaluate programs in regard to student and programme effectiveness (Lupton, 2004. p. 19). This assessment must be implemented in order to avoid perpetuating a divide between information literacy and the curriculum.

The most successful assessment techniques are those that can be folded into the inquiry process without interrupting the process of learning (Kahlthu, Caspari & Maniotes, 2007, p, 131) the purpose of assessment is to identify if learning has taken place and where students need guidance and instruction.

As Callison (cited in Thomas, Crow & Franklin, 2011. p. 168) states, all teacher-librarians must aid students in developing metacognitive thinking in their transliterate world, take advantage of the relationship between critical thinking, information skills instruction and inquiry learning, to go beyond lessons that only supports the search and recall of ‘facts’, or correct answers that camouflage incorrect ideas (Burns, 2005).
In giving students the tools to think critically, evaluative and utilise information in order to apply, question and understand, I must as a teacher-librarian, together with teaching teams, empower students to be able to use these abilities in “lifelong learning”, assisting them to continue independently long after they have left the academic arena.

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School
Library Association (ASLA) (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, retrieved from

Bruce, C. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy. Blackwood, South
Australia: Auslib Press

Burns, M. (2005). Looking at How Students Reason. Educational Leadership, 63(3),
26. retrieved from EBSCOhost

Ferguson, A. (2009). Information literacy skills for undergraduates at Charles Sturt
University. University Libraries. InCite: News magazine of the Australian Library and Information Association 30(9), 24-25

Kahlthu, C. C., Caspari, A. K. & Maniotes, L. K. (2007). Assessment in guided
inquiry. In Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Lloyd, A. (2007), Learning to put out the red stuff; becoming information literate
through discursive practice. Library Quarterly, 77(2), pp. 181–198p. Retreved from

Lupton, M. (2004). The learning connection: Information literacy and the student
experience. Blackwood, South Australia: Auslib Press.

Manuel, K. (2007). Creating and using an information literacy toolkit for faculty. In
Clayton, S. J. (Ed.), Going the Distance: Library instruction for remote learners (pp. 125-138). London: Neal–Schuman Publishers.

Newman, B. L. (2010). The Role of Libraries in a Transliterate World.

Thomas, N.P., Crow S.R. & Franklin, L.L. (2011). Information literacy and
information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd Ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Thought of the day

'Teacher Librarians rock'. That reputation they have involving buns, sensible shoes and shushing people is merely a cunning ruse, developed over centuries, to conceal their real lives as radicals, subversives and providers of extreme helpfulness' (Howells, 2003).  

Thursday, 26 July 2012

First rung - ETL401 - forum post

Are school librarians an endangered species?”  - Maybe all librarians are on the endangered list.

Definitely the cardigan wearing, glasses on the end of the nose, running around telling people shhhh, hair in a bun type that sit amongst their collection waiting for clients to come to them are undeniably on the short list to extinction (this excludes Batgirl who we must remember was a librarian).
The future of the librarian, TL’s and others depend on their ability to adjust to the information environments that are emerging and the speed in which they can adapt their activities to accommodate these environments,. This highlights the importance of diversifying the skills of library staff to include a wide variety of technologies and strategies for providing the services of teacher, reference librarian and web specialist that students and faculty now require (Hunter & Ward, 2011), not just be linked solely and evermore to physical texts.
According to Moorefield-Lang, TLs must put up their hand and prove that they are essential for information learning. TL’s must maintain their relevance in an online digital age by embracing new technology, redefine their role, acquire and exploit in their role as information literacy leaders, a working knowledge of the social media platforms their ‘digital native’ clients use.

Hunter, G. & Ward, D. (2011). Students research the library: Using student-led
ethnographic research to examine the changing role of campus libraries. College & Research Libraries News. 72(5), 264-268. Retreved from

First rung - ETL401 Teacher librarianship

This post is a reply to a thread titled -
'We need to rock the boat!' -  Principal support and good communication

Library staff, all library staff, not only schools, are sometimes their own worst enemy, over the years I’ve noticed that we don’t push or even highlight what we can provide beyond the initial ‘library orientation' lesson, (a 15 minute walk and talk in nowhere near enough).
I don’t work in a school, but because of the nature of our funding and staff cuts, TAFE libraries have had to redefine themselves and highlight our relevance, not only to the students (which is hard enough), but also to prove the value of what are doing and what we can offer (if they let us) to the teaching staff and our managers and directors (we have more levels of management than schools do, unfortunately).
This year we have, because of our new library manager, been able to organize set times for library staff to work on a full information literacy program with each class, helps the students and provides a service the teachers don't have time to do in as much depth as is needed.

I believe that we must push ourselves into the spotlight, because it's not going to shine it on us unless we put our hand up, as Brophy states ‘libraries should demonstrate that they are providing viable services, based on improving and supporting teaching, learning and research, because the fact is that that much of what libraries actually achieve is intangible to management’ (Brophy, 2001 p. 9).

Brophy, P. (2001). The library in the twenty–first century: new services for the information age. London: Library Association publishing

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Still on the ground 2

Welcome to those who climb the library ladder of learning.

This blog was created as an online learning journal reflecting my evolving perception of Teacher Librarianship as I progress through my Master of Education – Teacher Librarian course. The learning curve will be steep… actually, the more information I gain the more it feels like a climbing a ladder than a stroll up a gentle curve… However I do believe that the view from the top of the ladder will be quite different from what I see now and well worth the climb.

I have worked in TAFE libraries for the last 20 years, I remember filing cards for a ‘Browne’ index system, got excited when ‘microfiche’ was the innovation of the century and had to struggle along with my ‘older’ colleagues to master the many stages and intricacies of computers. And now I enter another phase of my lifelong learning.
I know from experience that the ‘library’ is an evolving concept, as the fifth law of Ranganathan’s five laws of library science states, “The Library Is a Growing Organism” constantly adapting to new social conditions, technological developments, and the changing needs of our clientele (Mitchell, 2007).
If I intend to guide my students and fellow staff members into the information century I had better catch up first and then ‘evolve’ along with them.  

  • Trivia spot – Did you know that the library profession is a ‘graying’ profession. Those who work in libraries are, as a group, significantly older than those in other professions, 67 percent of librarians are over 40 years of age, and only 7 percent of librarians fit in the 20-29 year age range (Lynch, M. J. (2002). Age of Librarians. American Library Association), this is in contrast to the age groups of the majority of their ‘digital native’ clients who know no other world than the one that encompasses a world of smart phones, I-pads, Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, I-technologies, QR codes, emails and forums and insist on instant access to information in work, study and social activities (Oakley, S. & Vaughan, J. (2007), Higher education libraries. In Ferguson, S. (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information services).  

Monday, 9 July 2012

Still on the ground

This blog is the beginning of my climb from Library Technician to Librarian via a Masters in Teacher Librarian (TL) (hence the title of my blog – ‘climbing the library ladder’). The goal is to create an online learning journal that reflects a ‘climb’ through uninformed knowledge to emerging with an insight of the role of the TL... it should be fun and scary at the same time, just like a ride at Dream World, I hope everybody enjoys the ride.