Tag Archives: Information Literacy

Information Services to staff and students


Staff Information Needs

Three factors to take into consideration before providing information services to teachers

  • Time release for collaboration & planning
  • Willingness and cooperation of staff
  • ICT & information skill levels

Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki … (Valenza, 2010)

Valenza (2010) states that Wiki pathfinders allow you to link with ease and upload all forms of content but most importantly she maintains that they are collaborative documents that can be built and contributed to by all members of the learning & teaching community. Teachers can use pathfinders to set up groups, upload Assignment tasks and assessment guides, host or link to presentations and showcase student work. Students can share their work, thoughts or ideas.

5 Key areas of effective information services in order of importance

Looking at both SLASA & ASLA recommendations, I consider the following to be the most important areas of information services

  • to ensure that the library resource centre is multi-functional and a focal point for student learning
  • to select resources to support the information needs of the school community (learning/teaching needs)
  • to ensure the  maximum use and access of resources (Information literacy support / Promotion/Reference interview)
  • to manage the organization, storage and circulation of resources (Access)
  • to provide the availability and use of information and communication technology (ICT) (Access)

Student information needs

The more information a TL can gather about the school community the more effectively they are able to provide pertinent and purposeful information services. Clearly understanding your user/community needs is crucial to resource selection and collection development. I like the School Community Profile Template because it considers all areas of importance.


  • Characteristics – Age, gender, religion, language, interests
  • reading/cognitive level
  • social development level – individual needs
  • socio-economic background – ethnicity, ESL, Access to internet and technology/devices
  • Curriculum trends
  • Attitudes & skills of teachers

What methods can a TL use to provide students with reminders of the information skills process?

  • Posters on display such as, the information literacy model (followed by the school), website evaluation criteria, Boolean Operatives, Student friendly search engines
  • Provide a variety of Step by step instructional guides – Use Prezi or moviemaker, create podcasts or brochures to engage students as well as guide them to search the library catalogue or web, databases and directories, to create mind maps etc…

Valenza, J. (2010). Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki. Retrieved from http://informationfluency.wikispaces.com/Ten+reasons+why+your+next+pathfinder+should+be+a+wiki


Website evaluation


Why evaluate websites?

Anyone can publish something on the web, and anyone on the Internet can say they are an expert. Putting documents or pages on the web is easy, cheap or free and unregulated. Unlike printed publications there are no editors. Many websites can be deliberately misleading, hoax’s even. Students now need skills to determine authenticity and authority of information available to them on the web.

According to Herring  (2010 ,p. 36) teachers and teacher librarians need to be experts in evaluating web based resources and that effective website evaluation should be a core competency for teachers and TL’s. Herring also maintains that teachers & TL’s have a “professional and ethical responsibility to use the best available information” (2010, p. 37). Effective evaluation ensures that the websites used are” fit for purpose and enhance teaching and learning”.

There are many sets of website evaluation criteria … some suit the needs of teachers, some are more useful for students. TL’s can advise teachers of the best criteria to use:

  • Schrock (5 W’s)
  • University of QLD Library (or others)
  • Herring (E,R & T)

Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’ web use and information literacy: A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet.

Schrock, K. (2002). The ABC’s of website evaluation Classroom. In Classroom connect. Retrieved from http://kathyschrock.net/eval/pubs/weval.pdf 10/8/2012



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.

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.