Monthly Archives: April 2012

More thoughts on information literacy


Firstly, although I find the reading interesting, I am  quite overwhelmed by the amount of writing and data available on the topic. Many theories make sense and many of the models would be useful. Which one do you choose? I agree with Herring (2006, p. 6), that schools need to clarify their views on information literacy, but what a difficult task when there are so many theories, definitions, processes, and models to consider. Like Herring I believe that information literacy, once there is a common understanding, should be developed across the school. There should be an information literacy policy that is regularly consulted, continually updated and applied across curriculum.

I am constantly trying to keep up with technology and what it means to be literate in the 21st century. I understand that to be literate today incorporates multiple literacies (digital/ICT, social, information, critical thinking). As a 21st century learner, one needs to be transliterate. Ipri (2010) describes transliteracy as having “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media …” i.e. pen/paper, print, film/video, sound/audio, social media/web 2.0. [drawing, writing, signing, speaking, texting, typing, filming, recording]

At times I feel I have so much to learn about technology to keep up. Yet, I  find Lorenzo’s statistics fascinating – only confirming that ‘NetGeners’ are excellent users of technology but in terms of learning, generally don’t try to understand, think or care about where the information comes from.  I know that I have the advantage there and can see that one of my roles is to guide students to better understanding and use of the information available to them.

Guided Inquiry


I really like Kuhlthau’s approach to teaching 21st century learners through guided inquiry, particularly the instructional team approach. Including and making the most of all the expertise in the school community enriches and adds value  to the teaching and learning process. Working in an IB school, I see this practice occurring to a degree.  Teamwork and collaboration is encouraged between teachers and curriculum coordinators, parents and community members when working on given units of inquiry. Unfortunately, these instructional teams don’t always include library staff, but when they do there is great success. Each year, in one school, librarians work with year 7, 8 & 10 teachers on, what Eisenberg would call “Big Juicies”, information rich research projects.

Although the idea of extended teams assisting students with guided inquiry is excellent, I can see how the practical application can be fraught with issues e.g., clashing time tables, time poor teaching staff, under staffed and under resourced,  if collaborative practice isn’t supported or endorsed by the school.

Kulthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) really resonates with me particularly as I feel I am “living the experience” doing this course. I know how I feel at the beginning of an assignment, how daunting all the information is, how overwhelming it can be and I can understand how some students would, like me, want to give up or lose interest. It is important to have a scaffold to guide you through the learning process and it is encouraging to know that feelings and thoughts experienced are normal. I feel I have consolidated my understanding of the learning process. Learning is individual and personal, we construct knowledge at our own pace and we go through highs and lows in the process. As a novice teacher, I am beginning to realise the importance of capturing students during these moments or stages, to guide and get them back on track. I like the approach of regular intervention, continual self assessment and evaluation and can see great value in the implementation of the SLIM survey toolkit.


Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Learning as a process. In Seeking meaning: a process approach to
library and information services (2nd ed.) (pp. 13-27). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2012). Information Search Process. In Carol Collier Kuhlthau. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C.C & Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building guided inquiry teams for 21st-century learners. School Library Monthly, 5, 18-21


Information Literacy … the many definitions


It appears that the term ” information literacy” is quite ambiguous and somewhat inconclusive. There are varied explanations deriving from many different schools of thought.

Langford (1998) provides an excellent overview of the”multiplicity” of definitions. Is “information literacy” a concept or is it a process? Is it a set of skills, behaviors or attitudes, is it critical thinking or a new form of basic  literacy?

I tend to agree with Doyle’s (1996) definition that information literacy is a set of personal attributes, the “ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of resources, to recognise when information is needed, and to know how to learn”. Information literacy is an applied concept which relies on a process to attain skills for using information to learn and continue life long learning. The process being information literacy skill building and the outcome being an information literate society, enriched with empowered life long learners. (Doyle, Candy). I also like Owen’s (1996) idea that information literacy is demonstrated by the capacity to critically appraise information and ideas due to the ability to access and use information confidently and effectively and that this outcome applies to all areas of life, school, work, business or leisure.

In education, I believe that information literacy should be synonymous with other essential learning areas e.g. literacy & numeracy in terms of importance and necessity. It is the responsibility of ALL educators to incorporate information literacy into curriculum and everyday classroom practice to develop information literate students/communities.

Doyle, C. (1994). Information literacy in an information society: A concept for the information age. Retrieved from CSU Library Catalogue.

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. Retrieved from

Gently, gently…


What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum?

I’ve spent some time pondering this question and believe the opportunity to make the” ideal” situation “reality” will vary from school to school. After reading the literature, the forum posts, other experiences and my own, I keep coming back to the notion of “mutual trust, respect and appreciation”. If collaboration is to succeed, then this understanding must exist between all parties involved in the curriculum planning and development process (principal, curriculum leaders, teachers, ICT staff and teacher librarians). For some this may be a long road to travel where advocacy, promotion and leadership are the leading steps along the way. In some posts it has been mentioned that approaching teachers who have already shown interest or have established positive relationships with the TL is a good place to start – small steps.

When the teaching & learning environment is supportive, conducive & open to sharing, then, I believe TL’s can effectively collaborate in planning & developing curriculum. TL’s work with teachers to plan research projects by sharing skills and expertise (Barbara Combes, 2012) – sharing their knowledge of resources, selection/evaluation and access. TL’s integrate information literacy skills into the program at the planning stage, work with teachers to design structured/scaffold learning activities to develop higher order thinking skills in students. Activities that will teach students to manage, evaluate & cite information located. TL’s work with teachers (& ICT) to plan teaching strategies or design & incorporate activities that use technology to supplement the learning program e.g.  brainstorming, note taking, communication and presentation tools. TL’s can further support the collaborative process by working with teachers and students in the classroom at certain stages of the program or outside the classroom to guide students further in their research or learning. Another vital way in which TL’s can share skills and expertise is by working with teacher’s to develop quality literature programs and provide access to the most appropriate tools and resources.

What benefits can a school obtain from active involvement?

Improvement in student learning experiences and outcomes. Positive relationships between all curriculum  team members. More emphasis on the process of learning and building of knowledge than merely just regurgitation of content.


Combes, B. (2012). The learning and teaching context of information resource provision [ETL501 Module 1.1]. Retrieved August 12, 2012, from Charles Sturt University website: