Librarians are Gold!

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ETL401: Blog task #3

“Information literacy is more than a set of skills.”

Eisenberg (2008, p. 1) defines information literacy (IL) as “the set of skills and knowledge that allows us to find, evaluate and use the information we need… filter out the information we don’t need”. IL encompasses the lifelong learning skills taught in schools that are required for students to succeed in both the workplace and society (Herring, 2011, p. 33). I strongly believe IL is more than a set of skills, with a curriculum, learning needs and technology that is forever changing, IL skills encompass everything and anything that the students need to know in relation to organising information.

I agree with research findings from Herring and Bush (2011) indicating a need for developing a “culture of transfer” and “a common terminology for IL” across a school. In my school, the first thing I would do to assist the development of IL skills would be to play an active part in upskiling teaching staff about the meaning of IL and transferring IL skills. I would also instigate a professional staff discussion to agree on a common IL model to be used across the K-12 school, at present we have a number of IL models operating.

When working as a TL, in order to assist students develop their IL skills, I would collaboratively plan engaging, authentic learning tasks with classroom teachers for each unit of work. Research from Herring (2011) states “information fluency skills and strategies are an integral part of learning in any subject area. They can be most effectively taught by the librarian in collaboration with the classroom teacher, so that students are using these skills to learn essential content”.

When creating assessment tasks, the classroom teachers and I would focus on “The Australian and New Zealand information literacy framework” (Bundy, 2004). Then the team would discuss and plan which IL skills to teach and scaffold into each lesson. Followed by matching particular learning outcomes to the levels of performance in the form of an assessment rubric, displaying four levels of achievement and clear learning criteria for the assessment task (Mueller, 2005, p. 15).

We would also look closely at Toorak College Information Fluency Program, as a model for linking the ISTE Standards with the ACARA General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. This K-12 school has devised a framework outlining relevant skills, learning tasks and applications that reflect 21st century learning at each grade level (Luca, 2012). Other useful documents to assist with the development of an IL skills continuum and to create authentic tasks to benchmark the students learning are the YIS Technology and IL Standards and the NYC School Library continuum.

Bundy identifies IL skills as an essential element for lifelong learning, “communicating ideas and information is integral to information literacy” (2004, p. 5). Therefore I would suggest that TLs collaboratively plan with classroom teachers creative ways for the students to present their learned knowledge e.g. bio poems, time toast, edublogs, Photopeach, Edmodo, flickr. Allowing opportunities for the students to share their synthesized, newly acquired knowledge with their learning community.

IL is planning for and implementing the continuum of IL skills so that all students fully develop the essential skills 
at each grade level and build upon their skills each year. TLs play a key role in integrating IL skills throughout the curriculum by teaching research, inquiry, and technology skills to students and by providing professional development for teachers. IL is more than a set of skills and all teachers have a responsibility to guide students towards becoming information literate citizens 
in the 21st Century.


Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

Herring, J. E. (2011). Assumptions, information literacy and transfer in High Schools. Teacher Librarian. (38)3, pp. 32-36.

Herring, J. E. & Bush, S. J. (2011). Information literacy and transfer in schools: implications for teacher librarians. Australian Library Journal, 60(2), 123-132

Luca, J. (2012). Jenny Luca – ISTE San Diego. Retrieved from

Mueller, J. (2005). Authentic assessment in the classroom… and the library media center. Library Media Connection, 23(7), 14-18.

New York City School Library system information fluency continuum. (n.d.). Retrieved from

School Libraries and Information Literacy. (n.d.). NSW Department of Education and Training. Retrieved from

YIS Technology and Information Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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ETL401: Blog Task #2

The role of the TL with regard to implementing a Guided Inquiry (GI) approach.

“Guided inquiry equips students with abilities and competencies to address the challenges of an uncertain, changing world” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p. 18). The GI approach encourages students to gain an indepth understanding of a particular topic and become experts in their own field. Inquiry learning happens as part of a collaborative team and enables students to think, evaluate and learn at a higher level. The GI approach gives students the information literacy skills to assist them to succeed as 21st century learners.

Todd (2008) states that the role of the TL “must change to take on the instructional dimensions, ensuring that student learning is based on discovery, curiosity, inquiry, critical and reflective thinking so that students can construct deep knowledge” (pp. 23–24). Sheerman (2011, p. 24) suggests “the teacher librarian should advocate for change at a whole school level, even to the level of the school mission and goals, demonstrating that their practice in teaming to deliver authentic learning is backed by evidence”.

I believe that one important way for TLs to implement change at their school is to collaboratively plan and implement GI units for each grade. Teachers on their own do not have the expertise that TLs have in how to locate, evaluate and use relevant information for learning. This parallels the research findings from Kuhlthau et al. (as cited in Chu, Tse & Chow, 2011) for having a flexible three-member core team consisting of two subject teachers and a librarian for the implementation of GI projects. “This arrangement was effective in harnessing the domain knowledge of the subject teachers, as well as the information literacy skills of the librarian, thus promoting a more authentic inquiry experience for the students”.

Excellent TLs are part of collaborative teams who design learning tasks, rubrics, scaffolds and information literacy skills to create lifelong learners. GI is more than a personal interest project, it “is a way of learning that accomplishes the objectives of 21st century schools. It is the way to meet the many requirements of the curriculum through engaging, motivating and challenging learning” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p. 19).

Throughout my readings many innovative and motivating Web 2.0 tools to assist students research needs when implementing a GI approach. Some of these strategies are Pathfinders, wikis, blogs, word clouds, google docs. Scheffers (2008) also suggests class blogs and web quests as useful teaching strategies to engage students throughout their GI unit. At my current school I have observed Pathfinders in infants classes successfully being as a tool for assisting students who lack content knowledge of a specific topic.

The GI approach differs greatly from the old fashioned teaching method of searching for information to fill in the blanks on a photocopied sheet. Whilst reading Robins (2005), I enjoyed reminiscing back to the days of my first teaching practicum 18 years ago, when the style of teaching mentioned in the “Bird Unit” was the norm. Being an educator today in a GI context allows for a continuum of learning directed by the student curiosity, interested and inquisitiveness to take place.


Chu K. W. S., Tse S. K., & Chow K. (2011). Using collaborative teaching and inquiry project-based learning to help primary school students develop information literacy and information skills. Library & Information Science Research, 33(2), 132–143. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau C. (2010). Guided inquiry: school libraries in the 21st Century. School Libraries Worldwide 16(1). 17-28. Retrieved from

Robins, J. (2005). Beyond the bird unit. Teacher Librarian, 33(2), 8-19.

Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42.

Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.

Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and TL instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28.

Todd, R. J. (2009). School Librarianship and Evidence Based Practice: Progress, Perspectives, and Challenges. Evidence Based Library And Information Practice, 4(2), 78-96. Retrieved from

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ETL401: Assignment Item 5 Critical Reflection

Provide a critical synthesis of your reflection on how your view of the role of the teacher librarian (TL) may have changed during the subject.

Throughout ETL401 my view of the role of the TL has changed greatly because I have learnt more about the vital role a TL plays in educating students and meeting student outcomes. Prior to studying ETL401 I thought TLs spent most of their time returning books and ordering high quality resources. I now understand more about the ASLA Library standards of professional excellence and appreciate the critical role TLs play in assisting to implement guided inquiry (GI) and information literacy (IL) into the school curriculum.

TLs need to do more than let students borrow books, TLs need to be aware of The Australian School Library Association’s twelve standards which “represent the goals to which all Australian TLs should aspire, and provides inspiration for quality teaching and ongoing professional practice” (ASLA, as cited in Herring, 2007, p. 29).

“Successful collaboration is directly related to quality of relationships, goals and rewards” (Brown, 2004). When TLs collaboratively plan with teachers, participants feel ownership that their ideas and efforts are appreciated and hence a more collaborative atmosphere will be evident amongst staff in the school and the learning outcomes of students will be supported. As an instructional partner, the TL should participate in curriculum design and assessment, help teachers develop instructional activities and provide expertise in materials and technology.

Excellent TLs assist the implementation of a GI approach into schools. This would be an ideal opportunity for the TL to collaborate with teachers and offer his / her expertise into the research process. GI units give teachers the opportunity to work alongside TLs in creating inquiry units and also to work alongside students assisting them to move through the various stages of research. “GI tasks should be linked to the curriculum” where teachers and TLs guide students through an open ended task (FitzGerald, 2011).

Recent studies have indicated that GI is more effective in promoting learning outcomes such as deep thinking, the ability to apply knowledge, and reasoning skills. In the GI process, students actively research and seek out knowledge, and the TLs (along with the classroom teachers) are the facilitators of the students learning. Research shows that the combination of collaborative teaching and a GI approach contributes to the development of information literacy and IT skills (Chu et al., 2011, p. 12). It is widely held that projects related to guided inquiry help students develop content knowledge as well as information literacy skills (Thomas, 2011, p. 56). In guided inquiry “students are seen as active agents in their construction of their own personal topical comprehension” (Kuhlthau & Todd, as cited in Thomas, 2011, p. 54).

I agree with Kuhlthau who states “school librarians are primary agents in schools for 21st century learners. School libraries are dynamic learning centres in information age schools” (2010, p. 17). GI is learner centred and combines well with IL skills that are focused on individual, lifelong learning. The presence of the TL and teacher at each stage of the GI project to intervene, plan and offer expertise, both in planned and unplanned ways (FitzGerald, 2011, p. 28).

It was interesting to note that the American Association School Librarians (AASL) Standards for the 21st Century Learner have expanded their professional standards to incorprate GI. However, the Australian School Library Association’s (ASLA) Library standards of professional excellence for TLs don’t mention the word inquiry. This to me says that inquiry based learning plays a greater part in the role of the TL in the American education system than the Australia education system.

The New York School Library Continuum (n.d.) states ”librarians play a key role in integrating independent learning skills throughout the curriculum by teaching research, inquiry, and technology skills to students and by providing professional development for teachers”. 21st century school libraries remain the backbone of schools, libraries are changing – reflecting our world and our values. (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 32). The unique work of the TL focuses on student learning and literacy, however it is excellent TLs who are lifelong learners and collaborative planners.

The school and the TL are an integral part of the school learning community. TLs support students learning outcomes by “ensuring that their programs are responsive to the needs of learners in the school community” (ASLA, 2004, p. 3). TLs extend what has been taught in the classroom by teaching students to develop information skills and then integrate the skills taught with classroom teaching.


AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Australian School Library Association. (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for TLs. Retrieved from

Brown, C. (2004). America’s most wanted: teachers who collaborate. TL, 32(1), 13-18.

Chu Kai Wah S., Tse S.K., & Chow K. (2011). Using collaborative teaching and inquiry project-based learning to help primary school students develop information literacy and information skills. Library & Information Science Research, 33(2), 132–143. Retrieved from

de Groot, J., & Branch, J. L. (2011). Looking Toward the Future: Competences for 21st-Century Teacher-Librarians. Alberta Journal Of Educational Research, 57(3), 288-297.

FitzGerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of guided inquiry: guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41. Retrieved from;dn=187248;res=AEIPT

Hay, L. & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: the conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42. Retrieved from;dn=183676;res=AEIPT

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

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2010). Guided inquiry: school libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28. Retrieved from

New York City School Library system information fluency continuum. (n.d.) Retrieved from:

Thomas, N. P., Crow, S. R., & Franklin, L. L. (2011). Chapter 3: The Information Search Process: Kuhlthau’s legacy. In Information literacy and information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd ed., pp. 33-58). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from

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ET401: Blog Task #1

The role of the Teacher Librarian with regard to Principal support.

Morris (2007, p. 23) suggests that the principal support is the key to successful collaboration between classroom teachers and Teacher Librarians (TLs) in schools.

Support from a school principal enables school librarians and hence school libraries to thrive (Everhart, 2006, p. 38). Similarly, a lack of principal support can have a devastatingly disastrous effect on the school library. TLs need to “make clear to principals their unique and collaborative contributions to students’ success” (Farmer, 2007, p. 56). TLs are experienced practitioners who hold both a recognised teaching qualification and qualifications in librarianship. Their role is crucial in advocating programs that implement the school vision and hence contribute to the development of lifelong learners.

All principals need to be interested in and show a genuine interest and care for library programs. TLs can serve as collaborative coaches and mentors for classroom teachers. Sharing their expertise with other staff members allows TLs an opportunity to plan, connect and collaborate with classroom teachers on units of work for the term and offer his / her expertise in creating information literacy lessons with rich learning tasks (Kappan, 2007, p. 301).

In my experience from working in schools both in Australia and the UK, a supportive relationship and collaboration between the TL and the principal has a positive effect on all aspects of student learning and therefore student achievement rises. At my current school, all TLs are treated professionally and with respect. The TLs meet with the principal each week demonstrating and modelling collaborative practice to other staff. Scheduled planning meetings for classroom teachers and TLs held regularly enable the TL to be incorporated into all areas of the school curriculum. These meetings create a collaborative supportive environment within the school and allows classroom teachers to gain a greater understanding of the way curriculum knowledge and pedagogy are combined with library and information management knowledge and skills (ASLA, 2004).

Teacher Librarians quite often feel undervalued and their experience, hard work and qualifications go unnoticed. TLs are professionally isolated, unrecognised and constantly asking to justify their existence as school administrators look for greater economies (“School libraries 21st century Australia”, 2011, p. 86).  A supportive Principal will ensure and insist that their school has an understanding and appreciation of what actually do. TLs need to be viewed by their colleagues as support resources rather than just a person who borrows books out. A clearer understanding of the TLs role within the school community will lead to the TLs feeling less isolated and more valued and respected.

Oberg (2007) states “gaining the respect and support of school administrators is the number one challenge facing school library professionals in the 21st century. Research has shown that although teacher-librarians generally view principal support as being critical to the success of the library program, they often have low expectations of principal support and rarely engage in the kind of activities that would increase their principals’ understanding and support”.  In a number of primary schools that I have worked in over the years, I have witnessed principals being 100 per cent supportive and a keen participant in all TL initiated library activities. For example the annual book character parade, author visits held out of school hours, whole staff meetings held to plan for the introduction of the K-12 transliteracy framework for the National Curriculum and book swaps held to raise money for charity.

According to the Softlink Australian School Library Survey results 2012, some of the ongoing challenges for school libraries are “finding a balance between the physical and digital collection, collaboration with teaching staff and the recognition of Teacher Librarian’s skills and their evolving role” (Softlink, 2012). Mobile technology is becoming more of the norm in schools as students use devices such as tablets, ipods and mobile phones schools to enhance their learning. Digital books and eBooks are being introduced into many schools. As a result, this technological change is impacting on and contributing greatly to the changing role of the school librarian. Principals need to be aware of this technological change and offer continual ongoing support to TLs by encouraging them to trial new approaches to teaching and learning.

Principal support and recognition of TLs qualifications and skills is the answer to creating a collaborative platform between TLs and classroom teachers in all schools. Principal’s supporting TLs and modelling this support will create in a more collegial workplace and hence result in higher student achievement.


Australian School Library Association (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from:

Everhart, N. (2006). Principals’ evaluation of school librarians: A study of strategic and nonstrategic evidence-based approaches. School Libraries Worldwide, 12(2), 38-51.

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment. (2011). School libraries and teacher librarians in 21st century Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Kaplan, A. G. (2007). Is your school librarian ‘highly qualified’? Phi Delta Kappan, 89(4), 300-303.

Morris, B.J. (2007). Principal support for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 23-24.

Oberg, D. (2007). Taking the library out of the library into the school. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(2), i-ii.

Softlink. (2012). Australian Schools Survey. Australian School Library Survey. Retrieved from

The Fab Lab in the Free Library in Fayetteville N.Y.

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ETL401: Topic 1 & 2 Reflection

I completed my initial Primary Teaching degree many years ago and therefore found the videos and links in the Topic 1 Module great refresher tools to remind me of effective ways to access research information.

The Primo demo video was very clear and once I had viewed the clip I was able to navigate easily around the CSU library site. There were also many useful and specific online journal articles relating to the changing role of Teacher Librarians. The Primo database contains a huge number of resources, it is very user friendly and easy to navigate. I searched ‘Teacher Librarian’ and 25,701 results came up! Even after narrowing my search to ‘Teacher Librarian + Role’ 10,615 results appeared!

I used Primo to search ‘Teacher Librarian + Collaboration’ and 3,265 results came up. Along withe the articles that I have read, the large number of results containing these words prove that collaboration is as very important aspect of the TLs role.

After watching the online tutorials I found that the EBSOCO database and the Informit database were also fairly easy to use. I learnt what the term ‘truncation’ means and trialled examples of this.

I have decided to use Word Press as the blogging site for setting up my online learning journal and to reflect on my learning. The school I am teaching at is introducing Word Press as a tool for student ePortfolios in 2013. Up until now, we have been using iWeb for students to evaluate and reflection upon their learning. I have always encouraged students in my Year5 classes to blog and now it is time for me to get on board too!

Other TL blogs that I have read (both past and current students) are are very thought provoking and inspiring. I am finding that by reading other student blogs and making note of their recommended journal articles, this is also adding to my ongoing bank of knowledge.

I am interested in the changing role of the TL and have enjoyed reading many online articles about this innovative topic. I agree that TLs are specialist teachers who are working in partnership with classroom teachers to collaboratively plan and deliver lessons preparing students to be lifelong learners. Worldwide “studies also identified collaboration or partnering between classroom teachers and teacher-librarians as an effective method for improving student learning.” (Haycock, 2007, p. 75)

Research in the library

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Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

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