Tag Archives: ETL401

Joyce Valenza, an inspiration! Is it really possible to do ALL of that?


So I don’t forget!!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/17247140″>What librarians make. Or Why Should I be More than a Librarian?</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user17765316″>joyce valenza</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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 http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

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 http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

What do TL’s teach?


 I love this poster by Joyce Valenza.  It really captures and affirms the role of teacher librarian as information literacy leader/specialist/teacher. The poster however, reminds me that teaching information literacy, although important, fits only some of the role statements (SLASA, 2003) or Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (ASLA, 2004) in relation to teaching and learning. Where does teaching literacy and literature promotion fit into “what do TL’s teach”? According to ASLA’s standards, excellent teacher librarians should also “foster an environment where learners are encouraged and empowered to read, view, listen and respond for understanding andenjoyment“. SLASA’s Role Statement clearly outlines that Literature promotion is also a key role of the teacher librarian. Exposing students to a range of genres, fostering a love of reading for leisure, promoting quality literature and collaborating with teacher’s to develop literature based reading programs is also an important role of the TL.

Australian School Library Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.htm

School Library Association of South Australia. (2008). Teacher librarian role statement. Retrieved from http://www.slasa.asn.au/Advocacy/rolestatement.html

“All librarians do is check out books, right?” (Purcell,2010)


After spending (what seems like days) reading about the many, multifaceted roles of the Teacher Librarian, I can only agree with the statement that effective implementation of the TL role (or any one aspect of the role) cannot be  performed without the support of others and that “Differing perceptions between librarians, principals, and teachers about the role of the school library media specialist can be a significant barrier to implementing change” (Purcell, 2010).

How is it possible to perform any number of the following roles : teacher leader, technologist, collaborator (Lamb & Johnson, 2008); leader, information specialist, teacher, program administrator, instructional partner (Purcell, 2010); librarian, teacher, information services manager, information literacy leader, curriculum leader, information specialist, instructional partner, website developer, budget manager, staff manager (Herring, 2007) if you: are only employed part time, are not a qualified TL, have no administrative support, have no regular PD, have little RFF, are not included in curriculum development/planning, not available to attend staff meetings or are given a limited budget? From my own experience and from reading many of the forum comments, I can only surmise that the aforementioned “barriers”  are a result of principals, school board members, heads of learning, parents and teachers not knowing or understanding the multifaceted role of the teacher librarian.

It has become startlingly apparent that advocacy, leadership and evidence based practice are key to getting the message out there.

Feeling quite overwhelmed and pondering the long road ahead.

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries
in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga
Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010). The school library media specialist. In Library media program: accountability. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/accountability.html

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.