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the long tail hat

Recently there was a request to a network I belong to seeking advice about placing a popular series of books on the shelves, a series that was one of several of its type which started as a successful movie franchise and forty years on remains as popular now as it was when it was first released.  In fact many who enjoyed it a children are now sharing it with their own children. There was a between-the-lines implication that because it was a movie tie-in it didn’t have literary merit and therefore didn’t have a place on the school library’s shelves.

In some respects, this was a view I held years ago when I first started reviewing books for the very young on my blog The Bottom Shelf. I was inundated with books relating to television characters and was reluctant to review them because I couldn’t relate to the characters and I didn’t want to encourage anymore screen-time than children already had.  But then one day in a chain store I saw a little one pounce on a book featuring a well-know show here and the delight she demonstrated and the nagging and pestering she did to own it, with no regard for the other toys on display, changed my mind entirely.  If a familiar character was going to be the “in” to reading for a three year old, then I would review them and let parents know about them. 

In hindsight, I don’t know why I objected so strongly because I certainly had a dedicated space in my school library for “Family Favourites” based on the familiar characters of preschool programs in the belief that seeing them would help with the transition from preschool to ‘big’ school, and my collection and display of the Goosebumps series was definitely the instigator of reading in so many young boys of the time.

Family Favourites

Family Favourites

The Long Tail is used in many fields to describe a statistical phenomenon that is best described with this diagram…

A pictorial example  of the "long tail" concept.

A pictorial example of the “long tail” concept.

 

In libraries, the term refers to all those potential patrons that a library has but who don’t use the facility because they don’t believe it has anything to offer them.  Whether they are non-readers or reluctant readers or accomplished readers who prefer a certain subject they perceive that the library is not somewhere that would cater for their needs and no amount of advertising the general collection (in whatever format) persuades them.  They might even be those who remember an unfriendly librarian, environment or experience from childhood and at that early stage decided there were better places to be.

The term Library 2.0 is also one that has been bandied about over the last decade and it refers to the changing model of the library to one that is user-centred rather than librarian-driven.  It encourages patrons to have a say in what they want and need in regards to both the collection and the services so that what is offered is relevant to those who are using them. 

But, regardless of the efforts made to change what is offered and how we offer it, there will still be the long tail who have the belief or attitude that they and libraries are not compatible.

No matter how hard we try, many of the services we offer are not being used by a majority of our population. It’s never been easy to reach this group with physical services, because libraries are constrained by space and money and cannot carry every item that every user desires. 

Casey, M.E. & Savistinuk, L.C., Library 2.0

I believe that we have a responsibility to reach out to these people, investigate what it is they are interested in  and seek to provide it if possible.  This is much easier in the school setting than the public library because the audience is somewhat “captive and contained” and we, as the person responsible for developing the collection and the services, should be pro-active in discovering needs and interests.  Don’t wait for them to come with requests – they won’t do that if they’ve developed an anti-library attitude.  This is particularly important if we are to satisfy the Students’ Bill of Rights  that underpins our professional practice.

The Australian School Library Association’s School Library Bill of Rights  lays down the basic tenets for collection development including 

 To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate to the users of the library.

 

So even if we would prefer all our offerings to have “literary merit” or being relevant to the curriculum or whatever other restraints we impose on it, we need to consider those whose library experiences needs to be a little less highbrow and a lot more enjoyable. 

As the Australian school year draws to a close and plans are being made for 2018, perhaps it is timely to consider how the long tail might be at the forefront of the strategic development plan including how their needs can be determined.  It is not enough to place a suggestions box on the circulation desk or conduct a survey of current library users because that will only lead to offering what we always have, doing what we’ve always done and marginalising those potential users even further.  It means thinking of who our target clientele might be, even if that’s a small, specific group to start with and then talking directly to them to discover how they believe the library could be more relevant to them.  It means looking at new ways of promoting new services and resources well beyond the library walls and demonstrating that we are listening and then acting on what we hear.

With advocacy for maintaining and expanding library services still being such a critical part of our role, explicitly focusing on the long tail and deliberately addressing their needs rather than hoping some sort of osmosis will bring them through the doors may be the key to giving your facility a new lease of life and a promising future.

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the scope-and-sequence hat

 

 

 

 

 

Not so long ago, certainly in my teaching lifetime, there used to be a “curriculum” commonly known as “library skills”.

The classroom teacher (occasionally a teacher librarian) would take their class to the library and teach them things like the layout of the library, the difference between fiction and non fiction, alphabetical order and Dewey classifications, the various types of reference books and how to use them, and other  similar skills so that the students could be ‘independent’ users of the facility, able to do their own ‘research’ and perhaps cite the source from which they had copied their information. Workbooks and worksheets abounded and the evidence of learning was based on their successful completion.

 

Then in the mid-90s as the phenomenon known as the Internet started to gain traction and access to it became more reliable, affordable and widespread, the walls of the traditional brick-and-mortar library began to break and patrons were able to source a wider range of information from a greater variety of sources beyond those immediately available on the library’s shelves.  With this came a realisation that there needed to be a scaffold to support learners in their selection, evaluation and interpretation of all that was now accessible to them and so models of developing information literacy were created and we became familiar with such devices as

and a host of others including my own expanded version of the NSW model.

The core of the NSW Information Search Process model

The core of the NSW Information Search Process model

Regardless of the model chosen or mandated, each one followed a similar pattern of skill development…

  1. A problem to be solved or a question to be answered generated a need for information.
  2. Locating the resources that would satisfy that information need
  3. Choosing the most appropriate information through analysis of its relation to the information need
  4. Sorting and organising the information from a variety of sources so it can be used effectively
  5. Using the information either personally or sharing it with others
  6. Considering the where-to-from-here either as a result of the new learning or as an information seeker

Whichever model was used, the development of information literacy became the specialist subject of the teacher librarian and was viewed as the focus of teaching in the library.

However, with the explosion of information as the development of Web 2.0 enabled Internet users to become creators and curators of information rather than just consumers, and the emergence of a plethora of devices which enabled anywhere, anytime access to what was online it became clear that the traditional once-a-week lesson would not be enough to ensure that students were information literate.

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information

ALA Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, 1989

Going right back to Piaget’s notion of assimilation and accommodation of new experiences being at the core of learning and with the burgeoning understanding of how humans learn based on work by those such as Marion Diamond, Bob Sylwester, Eric Jensen  and Geoffrey and Renate Caine , it was clear that developing the concepts and skills necessary to undertake research and investigations was clearly something that needed to be embedded across the curriculum and taught by all teachers within the context of their discipline.  The one-off, isolated lesson was not going to result in the sort of internalisation of skills and understanding that could readily be transferred to new situations. So what had been a set of discrete skills with the tag “library skills” and taught by the teacher librarian, often in isolation from anything happening in the students’ classroom, became the responsibility of all with the release of the Australian Curriculum documents and the Common Core Standards in the USA.

While this makes sound developmental, educational and pedagogical sense, many teacher librarians found it to be a very threatening situation – with no set curriculum, what would be their role in this emerging Information Age; how could they to remain relevant when “everything is on the Internet” and a growing, if fallacious perception that the more a school “went digital” the more modern and efficient it would appear to be.  Having a set curriculum like other faculties appeared to be the anchor on which many relied to demonstrate their contribution to the teaching and learning of the school, their raison d’être, even holding onto their job.

Yay or Nay

In a recent informal survey of TLs across a number of international forums, all but a few of the respondents said that they would prefer a scope and sequence chart directly related to their teaching in the library. The most common reason for having such a document was that it would guide their teaching “so nothing is missed” but other reasons included

  • ensuring instruction is systematic and cohesive across grades, departments and buildings
  • ensuring instruction is uniform across grades, departments and buildings
  • ensuring assessment is uniform across grades, departments and buildings
  • ensuring that students emerged from a grade/year level with a common body of skills so standards are maintained and that there is a defined starting point for the next academic year
  • providing a big-picture overview of the curriculum and what was required
  • providing “ticker boxes” for skills and outcomes, particularly those in the English curriculum
  • providing a framework for planning and a scaffold for teaching
  • providing a guideline for skills development across and through grades and year levels particularly for new TLs as well as those more experienced
  • providing a common language between the TL and the classroom-based teachers
  • providing cohesion for students particularly those who move schools frequently
  • providing an advocacy tool to demonstrate that there is a set curriculum and therefore there is a legitimate role for the TL within the school
  • assisting the development of rubrics for assessment
  • demonstrating to classroom-based teachers that TLs have skills to offer them to assist their teaching and give credibility to the TL’s suggestions
  • demonstrating to classroom-based teachers, executive and principals that the role of the TL has changed
  • demonstrating to parents that the TL has something to offer their students beyond the “right book”
  • providing a document for successors so there is consistency across time
  • providing a visual guide to what should be taught when
  • helping to satisfy the need for documentation of lesson planning and data collection from assessment strategies imposed by school and district administrations
  • holding students accountable for demonstrating previous learning when submitting assignments across all curriculum areas
  • identifying areas of professional learning that need attention
  • comparing what other schools and districts are doing
  • providing documentation for personal and school accreditation
  • supporting the TL’s teaching role by demonstrating it is based on a common document not a personal agenda

Those who did not view a scope and sequence chart as an essential document were primarily concerned with it

  • isolating, or at best, marginalising, the TL’s knowledge and skills to discrete lessons that do not reflect or relate to what is happening in the classroom
  • promoting a belief by both staff and students that information literacy is “bizniz bilong library” taught only by the ‘expert’ TL  rather than something that should be an across-curriculum perspective that can be taught by all
  • sidelining the TL from the teaching roles in the schools, putting them back into the role of the resource provider
  • becoming a tick-a-box document that is inflexible and which has little relevance to student needs, interests and abilities
  • suggesting that the development of concepts and skills and the use of scaffolds is linear rather than recursive
  • becoming more important than the students’ learning so differentiation becomes minimal
  • limiting the integration of information literacy into the curriculum as a whole so students do not build their own scaffolds for learning something new
  • limiting the opportunities for students to grow their own understanding at their own rate because of a lock-step approach that might not allow Kindergarten students to use a digital camera, for example
  • suggesting that information literacy is a skills-based continuum that can be measured and reported on rather than a spiral curriculum that leads to a greater ability to assess, interpret and use information as an adult
  • becoming prescriptive, restrictive and conclusive rather than needs-based, responsive and flexible
  • becoming a set-in-concrete document that is a blueprint for a significant period
  • promoting a one-size-fits-all approach with all schools and all students having the same profile and needs
  • promoting the perception that information literacy is a discrete set of skills that can be taught and learned in isolation
  • limiting the conversations and collaboration between TL and classroom-based teachers as the latter consider the TL has a syllabus to teach and should just get on with it
  • preventing the opportunities for serendipitous learning or going off on student-directed tangents because of the need to “follow the curriculum”

The scope

Before the issue of yay or nay can be decided, it is necessary to consider what such a document might contain.  The fundamental element of a scope and sequence document is its scope and fundamental to that is its focus.  Being a fan of Stephen Covey’s habit of “Begin with  the end in mind” and Simon Sinek‘s “Start with why”, identifying the purpose of the document is essential in order to not only determine its focus but also to make sure that all that is done (and the workload is substantial) is aligned to the vision so it is on target, relevant and meaningful. So what would be the purpose of the document – a flexible guide for planning teaching or a tick-a-box assessment of learning? Being a fan of Stephen Covey’s habit of “Begin with  the end in mind” and Simon Sinek‘s “Start with why”, identifying the purpose of the document is essential  What would be its key focus? What should be the overarching driving force?

  • Information Literacy?
  • Critical Thinking?
  • Creative Thinking?
  • Digital technologies proficiency?
  • Digital Citizenship?
  • Media Literacy?
  • Inquiry skills?
  • Inquiry pedagogy?
  • Visual Literacy?
  • Cyber safety and security?
  • Cultural and social understanding?
  • Knowledge Building?

In a presentation to local teacher librarians in February 2017, Dr Mandy Lupton demonstrated that all of these, and many more, were elements of a wide range of models that could be associated with information literacy and be considered the realm of the TL.

Using Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers

UNESCO has been developing a Media and Information Literacy program to provide “access to an international, multimedia and multi-language media and information literacy (MIL) teaching resources tool for educators, researchers and individuals….[to facilitate] intercultural/interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding through MIL.”

Media and Information Literacy recognizes the primary role of information and media in our everyday lives. It lies at the core of freedom of expression and information – since it empowers citizens to understand the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions as users and producer of information and media content.

This covers the elements in this diagram.

 
UNESCO Media & Information Literacy

UNESCO Media & Information Literacy

One has to wonder if it would be useful, let alone feasible to produce a document that covered all these elements let alone any other add-ons such as the General Capabilities of the current Australian Curriculum.

Having decided on a definition and the parameters, there are still questions to ask and decisions to be made.

  • Will the document be one that describes outcomes, skills or standards?
  • Given that some aspects of information literacy are the same for Kindergarten as they are for year 12, just at a different degree of sophistication, will the document be driven by big-picture ideas for lifelong learning such as “Students will learn to use ideas, information and images ethically” or will it be more piecemeal such as “Students will learn to cite sources using title and author”? 
  • Will it be enough to troll the key curriculum document looking for appropriate outcomes and indicators or should other ancillary documents such as the ISTE Standards be incorporated?
  • How will the “21st century skills” be incorporated and addressed?

  • How will differing needs and circumstances be addressed such as access to reliable, robust and affordable Internet access?
  • In her analysis of the current Australian curriculum, Mandy Lupton found that even within what is supposed to be a national document, those writing each subject strand did not use the same language for the same concept so how will this be addressed so there is common language and understanding?

The sequence

Perhaps is would seem easier to identify the sequence of skills to be learned. But again, there are many aspects that need to be considered…

  • In Inquiry Skills in the Australian Curriculum Lupton found that there was not consistency across the subject strands as to when a particular concept was introduced.  What might come in Year 3 in one area did not appear till Year 9 in another.  There seemed to have been few or no common conversations about what should come when and at what level of sophistication.
  • In the case of the Australian Curriculum, it is always changing (Lupton’s matrix of 2012 is now out of date) and states have adapted it or overlaid their own requirements on top so it becomes more ‘personalised’. Thus the purpose of establishing a common body of knowledge is blemished.
  • While all schools are expected to follow the Australian Curriculum, different approaches to addressing it are taken, including the International Baccalaureate  so delivery and expectations are shaped by these.
  • Many schools see the library and the teacher librarian as part of the English faculty yet, in the Australian Curriculum, there are few English strand outcomes that directly focus on the development of information literacy
  • The role of the TL within the school is unique to that school – some provide cover for teacher preparation and planning; others co-operate with teachers to run a parallel program; some collaborate in both planning and teaching; some are directed by teachers or executive to provide specific instruction of discrete units of work; some are so micro-managed that they can only read aloud to students for fun every second week; some are autonomous in their programming; some see students daily, some once a week, some for a term or semester a year, some only when the teacher or student comes to the library with a specific purpose – so adherence to and completion of a set document would be problematic
  • The development of information literacy and inquiry skills are not linear – it is a recursive practice as information seekers go back and forth according to purpose and need – yet a traditional matrix would not reflect this. While an experienced TL might be able to factor this in, it might be confusing for a new TL or a principal expecting to see boxes ticked as taught.
  • Learning is a spiral that is unique to the individual learner so how would the concepts of “introduction, consolidation, mastery” (or similar terms) be addressed and depicted?
  • Mastery of a concept is demonstrated when its associated skills are transferred to new, unrelated situations and the learner can explain what they have done and teach others but this might not ever be apparent if the TL is working in isolation and it may not ever occur within the students’ time in formal education. There is not necessarily an endpoint to becoming information literate.
  • While the original intention may be different, many scope-and-sequence documents become a tick-a-box checklist particularly in the current climate of testing, testing, testing and data collection so what happens to those for whom learning is not easy or very easy and who have the right to have their needs met?
  • In a time of differentiation, does imposing a lock-step curriculum take us back to the outdated, fallacious notion that one size fits all?

Maybe UNESCO has provided the beginning of the answer.  They  have attempted to bring together the fields of information literacy and media literacy into a combined set of knowledge, skills and attitudes required for living and working in the 21st century by identifying the Five Laws of Information and Media Literacy.   

Returning to the big-picture view perspectives of Covey and Sinek, even McTighe and Williams’ Understanding by Design which place the end result at the beginning, these laws could be a sound foundation for any scope-and-sequence document.  If we believe Law 5 which begins “Media and information literacy is not acquired at once. It is a lived and dynamic experience and process” then it may be possible to take the other four laws and ask what each might look like at each year level; what knowledge, understandings, skills, attitudes and values are appropriate for this law at this level for these students so that any document that is produced has a common direction and cohesion using the curriculum outcomes you are obliged to address while acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all as the tick-a-box testers would like. 

Creating a scope-and-sequence document is easier to say than do.  There are many arguments, both conceptual and practical, for and against its creation and its use.  Conversations with colleagues and social media messages suggest that there is a desire for such a document to provide direction and clarification but I suspect that this post has created more questions than answers!

 

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the reader support hat

 

 

Ask any teacher librarian what their core business is and somewhere in a relatively short list will be a phrase relating to enabling and supporting students to be effective, efficient, independent readers.  Whether that be preschool, primary, secondary or tertiary and referring to reading for pleasure or reading for research, the development of reading is at the heart of what we believe and at the heart of what is expected by our communities.

If there were a magic bullet to enable everyone to achieve the goal, then it would have been discovered by now and the continual arguments about phonics versus whole language would be silent; politicians would be basking in the glory of having a 100% literate community and publishers would be providing resources that meet the criteria. The teacher librarian’s role would be easy – just provide the resources to meet the students’ interests.  Needs or abilities would not be a concern.

But the simple truth is that, like everything, there is no one way.  We are individuals and the way our brains are wired and the way we learn to read are as individual as our DNA and our fingerprints.  So why then, does learning to read and then developing and honing the skill have to be such a competition?  While the “finishing line” is reasonably clear, why do we demand that all cross the line at the same time?  Instead of paving the way for a smooth and safe journey, why do we pepper it with obstacles to climb over or manoeuvre around?

As the new school years looms in Australia and New Zealand – back-to-school advertising starts the day after Christmas – and mid-year assessments and reports are gearing up in northern hemisphere schools, there seems to be a rise in the need to be able to show that students have improved (or will improve) as the result of programs and practices and that the only way to demonstrate this is through quantitative data and comparison with other students. 

Thus schools, teachers and ultimately TLs are looking for ways to measure this improvement whether it be through schemes that require students to have gained a certain number of points by responding to their reading; demonstrating that they have read a certain number of books or for a certain number of minutes; or moved through certain, arbitrary levels of achievement as though reading is a road with clearly defined bus stops on the way; or some other method that brings in an element of competition with other students.  (And don’t be fooled – kindergarten kids know about good, better, best.)

The educational buzzword of the moment is “accountability” and my recent experience back in a primary school showed that teachers are spending more time teaching to a test so they can collect data than they do celebrating the joy of learning – the cry of “there’s no fun anymore” was common amongst experienced teachers like myself; less-experienced teachers were bemoaning that the job they did and they job they believed they should be doing were poles apart; and students were learning that school was all about jumping through hoops and being tested to prove you could jump as high as the next person.  That it was all a huge competition that you had to win to succeed and if you didn’t you may as well tattoo ‘failure’ on your forehead.

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that we need to monitor students’ progress but in a way that enables us to support their individual development by providing support or extension where it is appropriate.  In regards to reading, back in the 70s when I began my initial teacher education in New Zealand, Dr Marie Clay was examining the reading behaviours of the very young and amongst a lot of other ground-breaking stuff, introduced the concept of running records which meant the teacher noted the child’s strategies as they read aloud and was able to make decisions about what support the child needed to become more independent. a running record enable the teacher to see what strategies the child had already internalised so these were not taught over and over unnecessarily, with the instructional focus falling on those strategies that needed refining.  It was about improving teaching not measuring learning.

In her book, Reading in the Wild Donalyn Miller found that by Year 6 the majority of students viewed reading as a means to an academic end, not a source of pleasure in and of itself.  Given that the five-year-old goes to school with the firm belief that they will be reading by the end of the first day what is it that we, as their educators do, that changes them in six or seven short years? What have we done to kill the joy of the printed word and the things it can teach us and the places it can take us?

So what role does the teacher librarian have in ensuring that that core business of assisting students to be independent readers, able to access, understand, interpret and manipulate text? Recent conversations on and in professional forums suggest that there are two camps when it comes to wearing the reader support hat,

The first camp comprises those who believe that their role is to be guided by teaching staff who see the library’s role as purely an adjunct to their teaching programs and support mandates that students should only borrow books that are at their reading level; that they should be able to read everything they borrow; that books must be of a certain type, format or length; that they should support a particular topic or focus within the classroom. They believe that students should choose from a pre-selected range, particularly restricting younger ones to picture books or those with plenty of photos, regardless of whether the child might share their choice with a parent or sibling and often agree to label or shelve the books, supposedly to make choice easier but in effect proclaiming the child’s ability or lack of it to peers. This is despite the mounting evidence that reading levels are inaccurate, vary according to the measure used for the exact piece of text, and the means for establishing a child’s reading level are also problematic.

Three Myths about Reading Levels ..and why you shouldn’t fall for them

Reading is an interactive process, so the difficulty or ease with which a particular reader can read a particular text depends in part on his or her prior knowledge related to the text and motivation for reading it.  

In other words, a student’s reading choices are not independent, free, interest-driven and satisfying the need of the moment.

The second camp comprises those who believe in free voluntary choice so that students can be in control of their own reading journey and be empowered by and positive about having that control. They can shape their own reading journey; learn what they like and dislike; learn how to discard what doesn’t appeal for whatever reason; acknowledge that they will find some books easy and others more difficult (as happens in real life depending on our experience with the topic); explore a whole variety of worlds, characters, situations and opinions so their horizons are broadened in ways that only reading can do; challenge themselves to take new paths and detours; be challenged and perhaps changed by what they encounter and thus become better informed; become independent, critical, discriminating readers reflecting the real-world experience rather than some artificial domain. They can choose to extend themselves to read more challenging materials about unfamiliar topics or they can seek comfort in something that offers them support in a time of need. They can walk out with the thickest book in the library because that bolsters their self-esteem and image amongst their peers and regardless of whether it can or will be read, keeps a positive message about the joy and wonder of reading flowing.

Perhaps it is time to re-visit our core beliefs about what teaching and learning are and how those beliefs feed our programs and practices and how our programs and practices reflect those beliefs, while also examining our vision statement and what we believe a best-practice, top-shelf library looks like.  As well as being the reader leader  we must also be the reader support.

Are we in a school where there has very much a one-size-fits-all  philosophy where students read class novels as a whole and move forward in a lock-step fashion?

Are we in a school where students are expected to read only within their “level” and where our collections are shelved according to those levels?

Are we in a school where reading is measured in the number of books read, minutes spent reading or points gained and rewards are offered on the basis of that?

Are we in a school where reading is seen as an academic competition where only the best will ever succeed because success is only measured by an academic score?

Are we in a school where the TL’s role is seen as the reading instructor rather than the reading facilitator, the “sage on the stage” instead of the “guide on the side”, to quote Jamie McKenzie

If we are, what are we as TLs who supposedly have the big picture in the frame, doing to change the environment so that the running track becomes more level and every child has the chance to cross the finish line at their own pace?

Have we reflected on our professional beliefs and practices and articulated what we believe the school library’s role in supporting literacy to be?

Are we in a school that values individual difference and the importance of literacy?

Have we read Donalyn Miller’s books, or Readicide by Kelly Gallagher or the writing of Stephen Krashen so that our personal professional learning and understanding is up to date?

Are we aware of the research about the value of independent reading and the school’s role in this such as the Kids & Family Reading Report AND are we sharing this with our colleagues, executive and parents?

Are we encouraging students to set their own personal goals relating to reading so their journey becomes their own, one which they are in charge of and for which they can make their own decisions? Are we rewarding them in a way they feel is appropriate when they achieve their goal?

Are we supporting them through open-ended challenges such as Dr Booklove’s Reading Challenges, Joy Millam’s Challenge or that from Naomi Bates?

If students are required to respond formally to some of the titles they have read, are we offering a variety of ways that they can do this?

Do our circulation policies and practices support children’s choosing and choices as well as frequent, regular access to a wide range of resources?

Are we sensitive to and supportive of the needs of our clients, including those in different family structures, those for whom English is not their first language, those who are exploring their gender orientation, those who have learning difficulties generally and so on?

Are we sharing information about learning to read with the parent community as well as suggestions for the sorts of books they could investigate for their children?

If, through that reflection we find there is a mis-match between our personal beliefs and our professional environment then we need to ask ourselves hard questions about our choices of staying, challenging and changing or finding ourselves a position more in tune with those beliefs.

But in the meantime, with the current climate of testing and assessment and accountability and so on, which is only likely to increase sadly because of the associated high-stakes outcomes like funding, I don’t know how we can get the powers-that-be to rethink what they are doing and what they require of us, if we are required to do a formal assessment on what we cover in the library on the literature side of things, perhaps this may be a strategy that can be adopted and adapted as necessary.  

I believe that if we are to encourage students to be lifelong readers, we have a responsibility to engage the kids in the love of story, the magic of words, the rhythms of the language and so on that we can and be as inventive as possible in our assessment tasks so they are hands-on, developmentally appropriate demonstrations of what students have learned.  Not just endless worksheets and book reviews.

One way of managing the data collection is to identify the outcomes you need to address and choose a range of stories that will enable you to do this.  Share these stories over a number of sessions but instead of trying to assess every student on every story, just target a few for each session.

Have in mind those students and monitor their participation in the discussions and if they are not participating (perhaps they are swamped by those more vocal) then ask them a question directly that will help you mentally assess their capability.  If possible, make notes about the target students at the end of the session so you don’t forget what you learned. 

If you have a collection of stories then you can introduce the concepts you are focusing on cumulatively with each one by saying something like, “Remember when we read… we thought about how being in a thunderstorm made us feel.  Well, our story today is set in the dead of night so I want you to think about how that might make you feel. And how it might change the way the characters in the story think and feel and act.”  If you start your assessments with the kids you know will pick the concepts up quickly, this cumulative, spiral reinforcement will give those not-so-confident students time to build up their own mindset so when they become your target group for the session they have been set for success.  And in the meantime you’ve helped them all engage more with the story, increased their understanding of the sorts of techniques authors and illustrators use and kept them engage with story and reading as a whole.

Use your curriculum and talk with the teachers to identify those things that you will focus on during your time with the students so they are then free to focus on other elements. This not only creates a partnership between you but explicitly demonstrates how you can assist them in lessening their workload. It is unlikely that the PTB will pull back from what the curriculum currently demands – it’s as though those who write the curricula are in competition with each other to see who can get their students doing things faster, regardless of any developmental considerations or long-term interest in keeping them reading –  because that will be seen as dumbing down the curriculum and they won’t wear that.

There are so many ways we as teacher librarians can support our students’ reading so that it becomes a choice rather than a competition and we need to be their loudest voice so that each of them has the right to be a winner in whatever way that looks for them.

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the professional learning hat

hat_prof_lrng

 

At the core of our mandate as teacher librarians is enabling our students to become lifelong learners.

Through teaching them about the information literacy process we give them a scaffold they can use in any area that allows them to know how to find out what they want or need to know whether it’s solving a complex mathematical problem or learning how to start a motor mower. As teacher librarians, we pride ourselves on being lifelong learners – but are we?

 

How many of us walk across the stage at graduation, accept that piece of paper that states we are now qualified to teach in this specialist area, and think, “That’s it.  No more study for me”? Or believe that the only way to grow our learning is through TL-specific courses and conferences? Or look at the requirements for progressing our careers and think that they are all focused on the sphere of the classroom-based teacher and therefore irrelevant?  From the messages I read on the various TL networks I belong to, it would seem that all too often this is the case.

Over the last few years, education in Australia  has changed significantly with the establishment of AITSL – Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership – and all teachers are now required to be formally accredited and to log a minimum of 20 hours professional learning each year (100 hours over five years in NSW).  This is because AITSL believes that a great education system is based on its teachers, that the best educators are the best learners and

the best systems make sure that teachers and school leaders can become great as they progress through their profession because people naturally want to grow, develop, and be successful

And for this to be achieved there need to be opportunities and commitment for learning with diverse forms of support that meet the needs, abilities and preferences of the teachers.  In other words, we do for ourselves that which we do for our students. 

 

 

Most education jurisdictions now require the annual logging and formal evaluation of professional learning based on a formal professional learning plan that has stated personal and corporate goals that identify the why, when, where and how of achievement.

For some reason, this seems to pose problems for many TLs who can’t seem to move themselves beyond TL-focused professional learning and nebulous statements such as having children loving reading (which cannot be measured) or improving circulation stats (which prove nothing beyond the number of times a resource is checked out).  Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely – and the best way to formulate is to consult any formal documentation you can such as the professional standards and the Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians and identify the areas where you personally need to improve your knowledge, practice and/or commitment.  For Australian TLs, ALIA Schools Group have mapped the AITSL standards to TL professional practice in Teacher Librarian Practice for the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Examine your library’s vision statement, mission statement and strategic plan to identify what you want the library to be like in three years and from that identify what professional learning you need to be able to get it there.   If it is not readily available then approach your professional network to see if there is a demand for it and whether they can supply it.  Don’t limit yourself to face-to-face delivery at conferences and meetings but look for webinars and other online opportunities, reading books and articles and so forth.

Even if you have been in the position for many years there is always something new to learn but it may be worthwhile to stop, draw breath, and reflect on what you believe and value and develop manifestos to encapsulate this to help you draw together all you have learned and achieved already and provide a benchmark from which to go forward.  Such an exercise will ensure your plans are true to your beliefs, will help you take them to a higher level and ensure you are invested in the outcomes.  Your plan will be more than a tick-a-box-for-authority document.

If a plan is to be achieved successfully it cannot be overwhelming so three goals relating to the domains of professional knowledge, professional practice and professional commitment should be sufficient but carefully chosen. Ask yourself…

  • How will achieving this goal contribute to
    • my personal professional growth?
    • the design and delivery of the curriculum for teachers and students?
    • the achievement of the library’s vision and mission statements and strategic plan?
    • the school’s plan for progress?
    • the perception of the role of the TL within this learning community?

Explicitly identify the elements for each goal so success is even more likely.  So a PLP could look like 

PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE
GOAL PURPOSE STANDARDS ADDRESSED RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOOL PRIORITIES
Strategy Actions Timeframe Resources Evidence of Achievement
Identify each strategy to be undertaken to achieve the goal  What you need to do to satisfy the strategy  Short.medium.long term human, financial, physical, time 

Performance indicators

Include milestones for long term goals  

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
GOAL PURPOSE STANDARDS ADDRESSED RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOOL PRIORITIES
Strategy Actions Timeframe Resources Evidence of Achievement
PROFESSIONAL COMMITMENT
GOAL PURPOSE STANDARDS ADDRESSED RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOOL PRIORITIES
Strategy Actions Timeframe Resources Evidence of Achievement

 

By explicitly articulating the goal, the reason you are focusing on it, and the professional standard it is addressing you are demonstrating your understanding of your need for professional growth and your commitment to it. You are showing that you are taking the process seriously and professionally and not only does this underline the TL’s role in the teaching and learning process but it is more likely to get you the resources – human, financial, physical and time – you need to achieve it. Even if you are required to use a common pro forma, knowing why you have chosen a particular goal and so forth can be added as an extra and addressed in your formal conversation with your line manager. 

In her presentation Revisioning the School Library Program Anne Weaver states, “Teacher librarians must provide cutting edge library programs, using evidence based practice, that focus on goals directly connected to school leadership priorities…” She argues that if we do not do deliver programs that keep the school leadership satisfied that their investment in our salaries is justified then we put our positions at risk. 

In its publication Global trends in professional learning and performance & development AITSL examined the features of innovative professional learning and performance & development…

Features of innovative professional learning and performance & development

Features of innovative
professional learning
and performance &
development

From: Global trends in professional learning and performance & development

 

Their analysis showed that while there is a trend for individuals undertaking professional learning that is based online, collaborative, self-directed and informal and that this has value for the individual participant, it is not the best way for the organisation to leverage the results and grow as a whole.  The most effective combinations for both the individual and the organisation were opportunities that were

  • individual – participants take part alone
  • self-directed – participants choose the focus, pace and outcomes…and monitor and evaluate their own progress and achievement
  • personalised – learning focuses on the needs of the participant
  • situated – learning is within and geared to the goals of the organisation
  • offered – opportunities are made available to the participants
  • incentivised – learning is highly valued by the organisation and participants are given incentives to take part

If one of the purposes of the professional learning is to build the knowledge capital within the school, then specialist teachers like TLs need to be part of the big picture. Sometimes it is difficult to see how matches can be made between the specialist role and the school generally.  How do school goals about a greater focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fit with the TL role that is traditionally associated with English and possibly History?

Such an apparent ‘mis-match’ just needs some new thinking, the putting on of a new hat and some homework using that information literacy scaffold.  

  • Ask yourself…
    • How can I view this goal with a TL lens? What leadership and/or support can I give teachers and students? What resources are required?
    • What do I already know, do, and have that can provide that support or offer leadership?
    • What do I, as an individual need to learn or do so I can provide what is required to the school as a whole?
    • How can I shape that learning into a personal goal using both the professional standards and the Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians?
    • Where can I get the learning/training that I need to achieve that goal and deliver what is expected? What resources will I need to access it?
    • How can I demonstrate my learning as an individual and its contribution to the school’s growth?
    • How can I build on what I have learned to strengthen the school’s position in this area and to take it even further forward?
  • Develop a detailed plan to share with your school’s executive which not only demonstrates how your professional learning is in alignment with theirs but will also show that the TL’s role is integral to their success.
  • Put the plan into practice, document it, seek evidence that it is having an impact and share this as part of your formal PL discussions with your executive.

While the focus of the professional learning in a school can be driven from the top-down and for many, remains a passive process of attendance, listening and note-taking, by taking the opportunity to make it a personal action plan that we are committed to, it can have meaning and momentum that really contributes to the big picture.  

If we are to encourage and enable lifelong learning, then we must be lifelong learners ourselves. Putting on our professional learning hat and ensuring it is a snug fit is one way of doing that.

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the bridge-builder’s hat

hat_bridge_builder

 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

John Donne

 

 

Yet, within the school setting, the library is often seen as an island, apart from the main rather than a part of it. 

The physical isolation imposed by the nature of the space, and the professional isolation of usually being the only TL within the school and not part of a particular team or faculty can mean that, at the very least, a moat separates the facility from the school mainstream.   In the past, some TLs have been guilty of not only building the moat but also pulling up the drawbridge and it is this perception of exclusiveness and remoteness that is often only a childhod memory, that drives the modern-day perception and stereotype – a bit like that of a library being a quiet space where people are continually told to shoosh.  

Thus the work we do is often invisible to other staff and students and therefore the value we add to the teaching and learning of our community is often overlooked. Just today, there is yet another discussion about the role of the teacher librarian within the school on a state listserv as a TL finds her professional knowledge and responsibilities eroded by those who don’t understand them, and sadly, responses show that there is little, if anything, official to back up what it is we must and can do. Even though, individually and collectively, teacher librarians have been promoting their role -even instigating a formal Federal Government inquiry in Australia- it appears that advocacy is a hat we will continue to wear. We wear it for ourselves, for others and for those who are yet to come. 

The moat must go and it is the TL who is in the best position to remove it.

Building bridges builds influence

It is widely accepted that the library, with a qualified teacher librarian at the helm, should be the hub of teaching and learning within the school and its associated community. Building influence enables a broad base of people to understand our role and accept that it is valid, valued and valuable thus enabling us to be a leader of the teaching and learning – our core business as TEACHER librarians.

If we were to reflect and represent our current sphere of influence,  would it look like this…

broken_bridgeOr this?

interchange

If a bridge is defined as a structure, real or metaphorical, which spans a gap or a barrier, then there is the implication that a bridge connects two points.  One end of the connection is the library, but where could its other end be?  We need to answer these questions…

With whom can we make connections? How can we make those connections?

Let’s look through the people lens …

Networks People
  • local physical TL networks
  • state, national and global online TL networks
  • social networking groups such as iCentre, Three Rs, ALIA, CBCA, OZTL
  • professional associations
  • networks of other library professionals
  • networks of other educators, local, state, national and global
  • P&C and other parent organisations
  • children’s services organisations and providers
  • local public and specialist libraries
  • personal learning networks, physical and virtual
  • profession leaders on Twitter
  • local schools including those in other sectors
  • student networks
  • principals, peers, pre-service teachers
  • students and student leaders
  • executive staff
  • administrative staff
  • other library staff and volunteers
  • classroom-based teachers across KLA and year levels
  • parents, including pre-school parents and grandparents
  • people whom students admire and regard as role models
  • community leaders and experts
  • politicians- local, state and national
  • other teacher librarians
  • publishers, authors and illustrators
  • the ‘long tail’ – those who believe the library has nothing relevant to their needs, interests and abilities
  • media

We need to ask…

Who do we already have strong connections with?

Which connections could be strengthened or renewed?

Who could we reach out to, to make new connections?

How could  one set of connections be used to build a new set?

Even if the TL is in the fortunate position of being in a positive, well-supported environment, there are always new connections that can be made that will help to spread the influence of the library further and cement its place as an integral, vital part of the community.

The Networked TL

The Networked TL

While connections are all about  people, there are unique aspects about our job that we can employ to allow us to make existing connections stronger and also reach out to a wider audience to make new ones. 

Processes Spaces Resources
  • knowing the curriculum across the strands and year levels
  • collaborative planning and teaching
  • recognising our unique position within the school and being prepared to take on a leadership role
  • being visionary, knowing what the best 21st century library looks like, plan and deliver that environment
  • collection, analysis and presentation of evidence of our contribution to teaching and learning
  • initiation, promotion and publication of library events
  • broad-based promotion through traditional and social media of what the library offers – reaching the “long tail”
  • development of tutorials so users can operate independently
  • making the sorts of services we can offer known to our clients (see Information Needs Audit)
  • staying up to date with personal professional learning including knowing the critical research which shapes our programs and practices
  • being up-to-date with research in other areas which can be shared with colleagues
  • developing a contemporary collection based on the needs, interests and abilities of its users
  • participating in a range of committees where library input would enhance outcomes
  • delivering or facilitating professional learning for teaching staff, especially about library-related matters such as Guided Inquiry, information literacy, the role of recreational reading, using ICT tools.
  • being visible at and contributing to staff and faculty meetings
  • contributing to school communications
  • establishing an evolving online presence so that the library’s resources are available anytime, anywhere
  • actively seeking and listening to user input
  • encouraging a gaming culture in learning
  • offering scheduled and just-in-time learning opportunities
  • using technology to reach and expand the knowledge of library users
  • maintaining lines of communication particularly with the principal, executive and administration staff
  • providing opportunities for student participation and leadership
  • being open to new ideas and opportunities
  • having the policies, programs and procedures which will take the library into the future
  • sharing research and resources for and with all
  • developing strong parental support through communication
  • offering parent participation programs
  • inviting volunteers to participate
  • beyond the walls – anytime, anywhere
  • physical and virtual
  • attractive, comfortable, welcoming, imaginative, collaborative, flexible, interactive and safe
  • quiet as well as more boisterous ares
  • makerspaces
  • the domain of everyone not just the library staff
  • a place where the students want to be
  • a place where users can operate independently
  • meeting special needs so services and resources are accessible to all
  • liaising with public institutions such as libraries, galleries and museums
  • being where the community’s children and youth are
  • contemporary collection which meets the needs, interest and abilities of its users
  • opportunities for user input into collection development to help reach the ‘long tail’
  • ‘own’ vs’ acquire’ vs ‘access’
  • acknowledge need for both physical and virtual resources
  • create and build on local community resources
  • identify, collect, annotate and curate resources
  • inter-library loans
  • research and resources which support teachers’ professional learning
  • open access vs locked-down
  • support a variety of learning styles
  • seek support from networks for new resources
  • keep abreast of new publications and tools
  • collection is kept relevant through continual evaluation, analysis and weeding
  • promote new resources through traditional and social media
  • support parents and parenting
  • efficient and effective online connections through working hardware, appropriate software and robust internet connectivity

 

None of these lists is exhaustive – there are many additions that could be made.  But they might offer a starting point for putting on the visionary’s hat  and then identifying a specific focus for your future planning.  

Begin with the end in mind by defining the need by identifying a particular area for development that relates to your situation. Put on the hat of your clients and consider how bridges could be built between their needs and the library’s services, remembering that we are one and they are many. Rather than telling people what is on offer from the library’s perspective, view the issue from the angle of “What does this group expect/require of the library in order for it to be relevant and useful to them?” 

What sort of bridge should you build?

What sort of bridge should you build?

Market research using something such as the Information Needs Audit modified to meet the shape of its audience is always a valuable foundation because it provides the evidence that your practices are targeted, required and likely to be valued.

Then use an inquiry approach beginning with posing questions such as

How might we use the Australian Curriculum to lead teaching and learning in the school?

How might we use social media to reach our clientele and to offer anywhere, anytime access?

How might we collaborate with other child-centred community organisations to extend what we offer teachers, students and parents?

How might we develop a collection which meets the needs, interests and abilities of its users?

How might we develop tools that will help the user use the library, its collection and services more independently?

How might we promote the physical space of the library as a teaching and learning centre?

How might we use the expertise and experience of other members of the staff and student body to build better connections?

Using a question format and wording it so that it offers the possibility of collaborative solutions that invite a range of creative possibilities that may or may not be adopted demonstrates a willingness to work with others to explore a variety of options to negotiate and implement solutions that can be woven together to form a strong, sustained and sustainable connection.  Having the ‘big-picture’ question then allows for its detailed analysis as solutions are sought, explored, and prioritised.  

For example, in a recent workshop one group focusing on raising the profile and identity of the TL and knowing that the teachers in their schools were struggling with the implementation of a new required curriculum that spanned eacj key learning area, proposed, “How might we use the Australian Curriculum to lead teaching and learning in the school?” Rather than the more nebulous question of “How might we raise the profile of the teacher librarian in the school?” it was turned into a more practical and productive question that, through its solutions, would directly address clients’ needs while also working towards achieving that ultimate goal of raising the TL’s profile. 

A brief brainstorming session identified that this could be addressed by

  • knowing the curriculum across all strands and year levels, acknowledging that often the TL is one of just a handful in the school with this sort of overview
  • delivering or facilitating professional learning to support new initiatives embedded in the curriculum such as an inquiry-based approach or the introduction of a new perspective such as a greater emphaisis on indigenous issues
  • being pro-active in collaborative planning and teaching by seeking and suggesting opportunities where our specialist knowledge can enrich and enhance teaching and learning
  • having an online presence which allowed anytime, anywhere access to the collection for staff and students
  • building a relevant contemporary collection

Some of these were well-established concepts, others were more novel. A longer timeframe may well have elicited a greater range of ideas. Within the group, pairs then further brainstormed just one of those aspects identifying what they currently had and what they eventually wanted, and then started to build the a bridge between the two by identifying what needed to be done to achieve the goal. Having narrowed  the big statement Building bridges builds influence into a specific, manageable, achievable, relevant and timely goal, these ideas then provided the practical foundation for the library’s immediate strategic planning. Apart from the direct connections that would be made during its achievement, it was clear that there would be a number of others, each of which would contribute to the influence of the library and a greater understanding of its contribution to teaching and learning.

An image search of the Internet for “bridges” brings up an amazing array of these structures built in the greatest geographical extremes and using what appear to be the flimsiest of materials, created by people who had a need to span the gap regardless of the obstacles it posed.  TLs must adopt a similar can-do attitude by being open to new ideas, looking for opportunities, stretching beyond the traditional anchor points (such as English and Social Studies) and be willing to tackle the deepest of chasms or the broadest of floodplains. As we advocate for our positions which seem to be becoming more and more tenuous as new staffing models are developed, the roads to and from the library need to be broad, strong and well-populated, rather than beings seen as just a single lane only wide enough for us to push our own career barrows. Rather than a rickety, one lane bridge built to take the minimal traffic of a previous generation, there must be a network of connections leading in many directions providing the super-highway to and for 21st century education.

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the builder’s hat

hat_builder

 

 

 

This hat is based on creating a strategic plan for building an Information Literate School Community. While the school at its focus is hypothetical, the plan’s purpose is to provide a model for how this might be done but it needs to be adapted to suit each particular set of circumstances.

 

 

 Towards an Information Literate School Community

A strategic plan for Alpine Waters Primary School

 

Preamble

This sets the scene and provides the reasons for change.

Alpine Waters is a government K-6 primary school committed to enabling each student to become an independent lifelong learner through excellence in teaching based on the principles of high expectations, social justice, community participation, future orientation and accountability. However, a formal school review and external measures such as NAPLAN results suggest that it is not meeting its goals.  Preparation for the introduction of the national curriculum in 2014 provides a timely opportunity to examine philosophies, policies, programs, practices and priorities to shape the school’s future.

Purpose

Identifying the purpose for the plan informs those stakeholders of its parameters so all decisions are based on achieving the outcomes.

The purpose of the plan is to provide the blueprint for developing an information literate school community which

  • is dedicated to mastering information literacy so staff and students can
    • identify their need for information
    • locate appropriate information and evaluate, interpret and use it to satisfy the particular needs of the situation
    • understand what forms of information are valid, valuable and valued within a particular context
    • interpret and align those sources which confirm, challenge or change what is already known to reach a new understanding and construct new information
    • use and communicate what has been learned so it can be implemented, and, in turn, built on
    • is based on constructivism, constructionism, collaboration and communication
    • has information literacy and the use of digital technologies and resources embedded as across-curriculum perspectives
    • provides authentic tasks and assessment to enable the development of information literacy within meaningful contexts
    • understands and values the role of the teacher librarian
    • has policies and practices addressing
      • access to and use of information including intellectual freedom, intellectual property and ethical use
      • access to and use of digital technologies
      • school library resource development and managemen
    • acknowledges that each community member is a teacher and learner at the same time
    • supports the professional learning of staff

People

Identifying the stakeholders and their roles sets the tone for the language of the plan and the sphere in which it is to be used.

The target group is the staff, teaching and non-teaching, of Alpine Waters School and, through them, the students and the wider community. Initial leadership will be provided by the principal and teacher librarian but this will devolve to interested parties as their expertise develops.

Positives

Examining the current situation identifies the benchmarks from which growth will occur as well as the platform on which changes can be set.

  • The principal is anxious for change and will commit staffing, money and time to enable it, providing overt support to the teacher librarian.
  • The teacher librarian has the experience and expertise to guide the development of an ILSC.
  • Two teachers have indicated they are looking for alternative pedagogies to improve student outcomes.
  • Access to some digital technologies has improved and the Internet is now accessible, reliable and affordable.
  • The introduction of the national curriculum provides a solid reason for change.
  • Staffing is stable so change is likely to be sustained.

Problems

Examining the current situation identifies issues which need to be addressed and helps establish priorities.

  • Current teaching practices are ingrained despite evidence that they lack effectiveness, so staff may be resistant to change and defensive.
  • Need to convince staff of the value of the new approach so that it is not seen as another new fad adding to their workload.
  • Collaborative planning between teachers and teacher librarian is rare.
  • Lack of understanding of the role of the teacher librarian in the 21st century.
  • Resistance to embedding ICT in pedagogy because of inexperience and no critical mass of hardware available at the point of need.

 

Period

Setting a time period based on identifiable markers ensures that progress is sustained and measured.

It is acknowledged that sustainable change will take time.  However NSW is committed to implementing the national curriculum in 2014 and so the plan will be implemented over 2012-2014. In Term 4, 2011, the teacher librarian and a committee comprising the principal and interested staff members will be formed to initiate the change so it can be introduced on the first Staff Development Day (SDD), 2012.

Plan

Preparation of a plan means goals, performance indicators, responsibilities and timeframes are clearly identified and therefore change is likely to be achieved.

A detailed plan has been prepared encompassing

  • a timeline of development
  • the key strategies for development employing a variety of design and delivery methods which model those strategies in practice
  • scheduled review and reflection
  • a range of groupings including whole staff, small groups and 1:1 mentoring relationships
  • opportunities for leadership
  • indicators of success.

It is designed to enable participants to understand the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of the changes and encouraging them to take ownership of these through their own planning, programs and practices.

Although it is a map to the destination of an ILSC, it is acknowledged that this concept changes according to the circumstances of its community and therefore the map should also be seen as just a guideline able to be changed to meet change.

Performance Indicators

Providing milestones ensures that goals can be achieved in incremental steps  and their efficacy measured and adjusted as necessary. Including the anticipated outcomes of the plan provides a specific, measurable goal on which all decisions should  be based.

By 2014, the staff of Alpine Waters should be in a position to implement the national curriculum on a solid foundation of the known and accepted philosophy, pedagogy, programming and practices of an information literate school community.  Students will be engaged with their learning and demonstrating their confidence and competence with information literacy at an appropriate level. Internal and external benchmarking will show improvement.  The teacher librarian will be an integral part of the teaching and learning culture working on a flexible schedule in a collaborative planning and teaching environment and the library will be the valued hub of the learning community.

Towards an Information Literate School Community at Alpine Waters School – Strategic Plan
Timeframe Strategy Responsibility Performance Indicators
Term 4, 2011 Development of draft plan Teacher Librarian, Principal Draft plan available for discussion
Establishment of committee to consider draft plan Teacher Librarian, Principal, Interested staff Draft plan edited and approvedSDD planned and resources prepared
Familiarisation with new concepts through professional learning Teacher Librarian Committee familiar with Information Literacy Process (ILP) and Guided Inquiry (GI)
SDD, Term 1, 2012 Introduction to Australian Curriculum and its implications for pedagogy Principal Staff made aware of the key changes imposed by theAustralian Curriculum and their responsibilities to address these.
Staff engage in practical exercise to plan a perfect holiday Committee Members Staff understand that learning is constructed on personal experience and perception and need for more individualised approach
Overview and explanation of ILP using slideshow, Eisenberg podcast and handout Teacher Librarian Staff introduced to common strategic structure to scaffold student learning – discussion of Eisenberg’s contention that “information literacy is the most basic of basics”
Staff engage in chocolate-sharing exercise Committee Members Staff employ ILP and understand its application as an across-curriculum perspective
Using current school-wide unit based on values, staff brainstorm outcomes Teacher Librarian, Staff Identification of desired knowledge, understandings, attitudes and skills as a result of a School Values unit and evidence of achievement
In year level groups, staff plan Values unit using ILP scaffold Staff, Teacher Librarian Ready-to-use unit based on information literacy and GI principles
 Term 1, 2012 Teacher Librarian works with year-level groups to collaboratively plan and implement first COGS unit based on ILP and GI in scheduled planning sessions Staff, Teacher Librarian Collaborative planning between teachers and teacher librarianUnits of work demonstrate understanding of ILP and GI”Library lessons” closely connected to class program
Appraisal of current collection to ensure it supports current and intended curriculum Teacher Librarian Collection weeded and new resources identified and acquired
Relevant professional readings distributed and discussed and support materials developed during staff meetings Teacher Librariam, principal, committee members, staff Professional learning expanded
Review of progress and identification of needs and directions All stakeholders Preparation of units and support materials and review of progress encourage staff to take ownership of changes
SDD, Term 2, 2013 Introduction to Guided Inquiry Guest speaker Staff provided with pedadogy and practical strategies for planning and implementing units
Planning of T2 units based on GI Speaker, staff, Teacher Librarian Units reflect constructivist apporach based on GI
Term 2, 2012 Continued collaborative planning between teams and Teacher Librarian during scheduled sessions Teacher Librarian, Staff GI principles and ILP evidenct in COGs unit planning
Development of repository of digital resources to support curriculum Teacher Librarian Resources added to OPAC; development of hotlists, learning paths; email alerts to staff etc
Review of progress and identification of needs and directions All stakeholders Evidence of commitment to philosophy and pedagogy by teachers
SDD, Term 3, 2012 Exploration of how ICT can be embedded in curriuclum beyond “typing stories” District ICT co-ordinatior, Teacher Librarian, competent staff Exploration of a range of tools including OPAC, wikis, blogs, and resources available through the National Learning Digital Resources Network
Identification of needs/strengths and establishment of mentor partnerships All stakeholders Partnerships established to encourage exploration and embedding of ICT into the curriculum
Term 3, 2012 Continued collaboration between teams and techer librarian in scheduled planning sessions with emphasis on embeddingICt Teacher Librarian, staff GI and ILP strategies consolidated
Scheduled, rostered “show-and-share” sessions at staff meetings Staff Staff demonstrate their adoption of and competence with ICT in a particular context and share and discuss ideas
Review of the use of ICT in school-based administrative duties and communications Principal, admin staff, teachers Identification of professional learning needs, hardware, software and so forth to support the embedding of ICT into school administration, including the use of social networking to communicate with parents
Review of progress and identification of needs and directions All stakeholders Identification of professional learning needs, hardware, software and so forth to support the embedding of ICT into the classroom program and class-based administrative tasks
SDD, Term 4, 2012 Development of a formal policy embedding GI and the ILP as the foundation principles for planning and pedagogy at Alpine Waters School All stakeholders Policy development and implementation
Term 4, 2012 Continued collaboration between teacher librarian and staff Teacher Librarian , staff Use of GI and ILP consolidated
Review of progress and identification of needs including the restructuring of the teacher librarian’s role to a flexible schedule to be available at the point of need. All staff Reflection of changes to pedagogy; discussion of issues and possible solutions; identification of targets and performance indicators for 2013 based on identified needs and priorities
 2013 The program for 2013 will depend on the progress made in 2012.  However it is anticpated it will encompass

  • departmental requirements for professional learning based on the implentation of the new NSW syllabi based on the Australian Curriculum at regional and school levels
  • continued collaborative practice based on the principles of GI and the ILP
  • establishement of leadership groups based on expertise, experience and interest to extend planning to all areas of the curriculum
  • a financial commitment to ensure the current collection meets and supports the teaching and learning of the school according to the Collection Policy priorities
  • the establishment of a digital repository of resources which support the curriculum and 24/7 access to these through the provision of apporpriate hardware and an online presence
  • the restructuring of both staffing and timetabling to enable the teacher librarian’s role to become one which enables and supports collaborative planning and teaching to ensure GI and ILP are embedded across the curriculum
  • support for any new staff members to develop their professinal knowledge and practice of GI and the ILP
  • a practice of greater use of social networking tools for communicating with all stakeholders
  • a movement towards embedding ICT into all facets of the school’s administrative practices
  • monitoring student progress to identify evidence of improvement in knowledge, understanding, and skills
  • continued review and reflection to identify needs, priorities and directions for the future

 

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the information literacy hat

hat_infolit

 

 

 

 

Information Literacy is the teacher librarian’s specialist subject, but it is a whole school responsibility.

 

In the K-12 education sector, information literacy is a double-edged concept. There is the workplace culture that Henri (1995) calls the ‘information literate school community’ (ILSC) and which he describes as “a philosophy as well as a place; it is a way of being as well as a working model.  It is a mindset as well as a map,” (Henri, 2005, p11). There is also the pedagogical platform of a skillset based on the definition that to be information literate means “being able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” (American Library Association, 1989, para 3).

Many, such as Eisenberg (2009), argue information literacy underpins all other literacies and is the foundation of lifelong learning defined as “the systematic acquisition, renewal, upgrading and completion of knowledge, skills and attitudes made necessary by the constantly changing conditions in which people now live.” (Candy, cited in O’Sullivan, 2002). While the ability to locate, evaluate, interpret, select, organise and use information has always been a skill required of students – indeed, the population generally- it was the development of the Internet that has had the most significant impact.  Internet usage is now so widespread that over 34% of the world’s population has access, an increase of more than 566.4%  since 2000 (World Internet Usage Statistics, 2012). It is estimated that by 2015, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia alone will add 610 million users (Boston Consulting Group, 2010).

While it took 1850 years for all that was known in the time of Jesus Christ to double, in 2002 and prior to Web 2.0 technologies, it was estimated that, spanning the four storage systems of print, film, magnetic and optical and the information conduits of telephone, television, radio, and the Internet, five exabytes (1018) of information) were produced that year – about 800MB per person on the planet. (Lyman & Varian, 2003). In addition, researchers suggest that, in 2008, Americans alone consumed “information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totalled 3.6 zettabytes [1021] and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day.” (Global Information Industry Center, 2009).

From this burgeoning, incessant production has arisen a new paradigm – information literacy, a term first coined by Zurkowski (1974) who used it to refer to workers who had mastered using information tools as well as their primary materials to solve work-based issues and which, by 2005, was identified as “a basic human right in the digital world” enabling individuals “in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals”  by the Alexandria Proclamation

alexandria_procolamation

The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the 21st Century acknowledged this right when it stated,

Australia’s future depends upon each citizen having the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and values for a productive and rewarding life in an educated, just and open society … when students leave schools they should have the capacity for, and skills in analysis and problem solving and the ability to communicate ideas and information, to plan and organise activities and to collaborate with others.

Students will need to be able to survive and thrive in an information-saturated and technology-rich environment, and be independent, creative thinkers, making informed decisions based on careful evaluation and interpretation of available information, developing expertise through experience, and be lifelong learners. They need to be information literate. And as the ability to be able to access whatever, whenever, wherever becomes the norm, we, as teacher librarians, need to change our thinking so that rather than being the source or the gatekeepers of the information (as we were in a print-dominated society) we need to see ourselves as the filter. While the front end of the information literacy process involving location, selection and organisation remains important, it is the back end such as validation, synthesis, leverage, communication, collaboration and problem-solving with information that are the critical elements of information literacy in the 21st century. The what and the why are summarised in this clip which was created as a summary of the ASB Unplugged Conference in Mumbai, India 2010. It compiles thoughts from leaders in technology education and explores the big topics of conversation around what the 21st century classroom looks like. It demonstrates that these skills need to be an across-curriculum perspective, spear-headed by the teacher librarian but not limited by artificial boundaries such as physical location, job description and so forth.

Therefore, even though information literacy is the specialist subject of the teacher librarian, the creation of an information literate school community cannot rest on one pair of shoulders.

An ILSC is one that “places a high priority (policy, benchmarking, funding and  evaluation) on the pursuit of teacher and student mastery of the processes of being informed,”   (Henri, 2005, p12).  The community (which comprises all stakeholders including the principal, the teacher librarian, teachers and ancillary staff, students and parents) is built on collaboration, constructivism and constructionism with each member having a clear focus and responsibility so the synergy of the parts ensures the success of the whole. 

Rather than being an individual experience, learning becomes a collaborative and co-operative interaction dependent on its particular context to give it value and determine its application and communication. Learners are “engaged, enabled, enriched and embodied by social, procedural and physical information” (Lloyd, 2010, p30). A successful ILSC is driven by the staff led by the principal and teacher librarian, who, as the information specialist in the school, can enable classroom-based teachers to shape their teaching so it sits on a solid information literacy platform.  It requires a sustained commitment by willing partners who are prepared to evaluate, initiate and change philosophies, policies, programs, practices and priorities and invest time, money and effort in achieving the goal.

However, despite the demonstrated need for information literacy beyond the formal education period, and the evidence from numerous studies (summarised in Kachel, 2011) that “quality school library programs impact student achievement” (Kachel, 2011, p4) information literacy is still seen by many practitioners as “library skills” focusing on and confined to students’ use of print materials in the library and taught while they have their preparation and planning time. There is no broader vision that values and validates information literacy as an across-curriculum perspective with purpose and application in all spheres of life.

Thus, it becomes the TL’s job to drive the change towards an ILSC.

But if change is to be successful, it will have to explicitly demonstrate that it will improve quantitative student outcomes, rather than just making a more meaningful learning experience, as regular external testing is now used to measure a school’s ‘success’. It will require a clear blueprint that demonstrates the transition to an ILSC is not just a fad that will add to teachers’ workload.  Critical elements of that blueprint are

    • The principal’s support is imperative for success and there must be an expectation that the TL will take a leadership role and that staff will be required to make the requisite changes
    • Staff will need to understand the concept of and the need for an ILSC, and be actively involved in the changes to policies, programs, practices and priorities enabling them to invest in and take ownership of the new philosophy
    • If learning is to be successful it must engage students by meeting their needs and interests based on a constructivist, problem-solving approach
    • The depth and breadth of the TL’s role in the 21st century needs to be clear and accepted and thus the  TL must be part of a collaborative team involved in planning, preparation and assessment practices so that information skills are taught in context not isolation.
    • The library, its programs and its collection need to be viewed as the hub of the teaching and learning in the school community.
    • Parents need to be informed of and active participants in changes of philosophy, pedagogy and practice.
    • The transition to an ILSC will need to be gradual as such significant change needs to be planned and supported so concepts become culture as community members embrace and take ownership of a new era in education for the students at this school.

Thus there needs to be a plan in place and for that the TL will have to put on the planner’s hat.

Links

Information skills in the school: engaging learners in constructing knowledge (NSW Department of Education)

School Libraries & Information Literacy  (NSW Department of Education)

Beacons of the Information Society: The Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning, 2005

Information Literacy: the most basic of basics (Mike Eisenberg)

Information Literacy models (a summary of some of the models as well as a graphic)

ILSC rubric Adapted from Henri, J., Hay, L. and Oberg, D. (2002). The School Library-Principal Relationship: Guidelines for Research and Practice. [International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Professional Report]. The Hague, Netherlands: IFLA Headquarters, p.90.

Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything

Pinterest boards

Unlinked References

Henri, J. (1995). The information literate school community: exploring a fuzzy concept. Scan (14)3: 25-28

Henri, J. (2005). Understanding the information literate school community. In J. Henri & M. Asselin. (Eds.). The information literate school community 2: Issues of leadership. (pp. 11-26) Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia: Centre for Information Studies

Lloyd, A. (2010) Learning from the workplace: Theorizing an architecture for understanding information literacy as practice. In Lloyd, A & Talja, S (Eds.) Practising information literacy: Bringing together theories and information literacy practice  (p29-49) Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

O’Sullivan, C. (2002). Is information literacy relevant for the real world. Reference Services Review, 30(1): 7-14.

Zurkowski, P. (1974). The information service environment: Relationships and Priorities. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, Washington DC, ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, ED 100391.

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the visionary’s hat

hat_visionary

Libraries have been part of society’s culture since man first began to convey information by etching images on the walls of caves. School libraries have been part of the Australian education system since well-meaning people in London sent religious texts to recently-established Sydney so the children of the convicts would learn to read the scriptures, learn from them and become better people than their parents. But libraries, like society, change so they can meet the needs of their users and remain relevant in the context in which they sit. Digital technoliges have replaced markings on cave walls, and school libraries have evolved to be much more than a repository of religious readings.

These changes have not happened because Tinkerbell sprinkled fairy dust.  They’ve been inspired by visionaries in the profession – those who have the ability to see around corners and over hills; who see obstacles as opportunites; who aspire and inspire and lead change which others are compelled to emulate.

With the introduction and implementation of a national curriculum in Australian schools, and the rollout of the Common Core Standards in US schools, and other significant changes being made as the developments in technology roll inexorably on, this is a time for great change and great opportunities in school libraries – change that can be directly linked to mandated requirements and supported by evidence that makes its acceptance and resourcing more likely.

But for change to be successful and sustainable, it needs to be planned and supported. In my very first post on this blog I explained my adherence to Covey’s mantra of “Begin with the end in mind”, and this is essential to the change process. 

To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction … how different our lives are when we really know what is important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.

Covey, S. (1989) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Melbourne: Information Australia

To have a vision of the destination so your journey continually leads towards that is essential. Encapsulating the dream in a precise and succinct statement provides the focus and foundation on which to develop a strategic plan  incorporating goals, policies, strategies, performance indicators, and a timeframe that will lead to its achievement.

the vision statement

Creating a vision statement is a complex task.

Firstly, you need to know what you want to achieve so you need to know

  • What does a best-practice library look like?
  • What does a best-practice teacher librarian do?

There are many models on which you can base your ideas – my favourite is the Springfield Township High School Library developed under the guidance of Joyce Valenza – and the Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians statement developed by ASLA is an essential guide to the sort of professional knowledge, practice and commitment a top-shelf TL has.

Regardless of the model (or combinations of models) you use, your vision must be in alignment with your own beliefs or it will never sit well or be a good fit.  Go back to The Teacher’s Hat  and revisit your beliefs about being both a teacher and a teacher librarian and create a new manifesto based on what you believe a top-shelf library should look like including the elements which drive your

  • literacy and literature programs and collections
  • research and information literacy programs and collections
  • services you offer your clients
  • environment in which you and they work

Articulating your beliefs in such a way takes them out of the world of the airy-fairy and into a tangible document that can be used to shape goals and defend decisions.

However, you need to keep in mind the practicalities of your particular situation. Consideration must be given to any requirements, restrictions or expectations put on your vision by your school and only you can decide if these are important enough to embrace as an enhancement of your beliefs, adapt so they fit with your beliefs or try to change through evidence of better practice   To set impossible goals based on someone else’s ideality rather than your reality only leads to despair and despondency as it looks like failure.  

The first step is to craft a mission statement so the purpose of the library and its place within the school’s philosophy, ethos and educational programs are explicit.  It is based on those beliefs, values and principles that are at your inner core, be they personal or corporate.  It needs to be clear and concise and should answer the questions

  • What is this library about?
  • What does it stand for?
  • How do we demonstrate these?

It is  the basis for all decisions made regarding policy, procedures and practice and sets the guidelines and parameters for the services you offer

A sample mission statement can be found here

However, it is essential to understand the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement – the former defines your purpose, your reason for being; whereas a vision statement identifies your future direction.

The second step involves several key elements

  • reading and research identifying what is, what needs to be and what could be for the three key hats that the teacher librarian wears – curriculum specialist, information specialist and information services manager
  • identifying specific areas of focus to develop policies, programs, procedures, practices and priorities
  • drawing on the perceptions and needs of the stakeholders so that the vision is shared and they feel they have ownership of it and can make a contribution towards its success.

identifying what is

Establishing the current state of the library’s programs, services and environment is essential because it identifies its strengths and its needs, as well as establishing a benchmark against which future progress can be measured. It identifies whether what is currently on offer is valid, valued and valuable.

There are several ways that this can be done – the most common being a SWOT analysis. Rather than trying to assess everything in one analysis, it may be more practical to identify the key factors that make up what you offer and on both the educational and resourcing sides of the coin and analyse them individually, then combining them into a summary.

SWOT Analysis diagram

SWOT Analysis

A STEEP analysis is another option or you might consider purchasing Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide and Workbook, 2nd Edition which has a whole section on assessing the current situation including

  • preparing a history and descriptive profile of operations
  • articulating previous and current strategies
  • gathering information from internal and external stakeholders
  • gathering information from documents and other sources
  • summarising the information into a situational assessment

identifying what needs to be

School library programs and services and the environment in which they sit are subject to outside influences such as mandated curriculum, identified school priorities and the needs, interests and abilities of their clientele so establishing and articulating what these are and how they shape what is delivered is essential.  As well as pinpointing what the essential elements are, they also provide evidence to support any proposed changes enhancing the likelihood of the vision being accepted and resourced.

identifying what could be

Start by examining the Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians and identifying some personal professional goals that will guide your professional learning and practice and may lead to innovation and initiatives that have not been considered.

Identify leaders in the field such as Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, Judy O’Connell, Doug Johnson and Lyn Hay and follow their blogs and other social media communications to see what’s happening at the leading edges and how you might be able to adapt it to your situation.  Look for Facebook groups such as iCentre and Evidence-based Practice for School Libraries and for Pinterest boards and so forth which share photos and links that can provide inspiration.

Standing on the shoulders of giants is a great way to become a giant yourself and instead of following the pack, you become a leader of it.

Create surveys for your clients that give them input into what they would like the library to provide and go out of your way to find out the needs of the long tail -those whose needs and interests are not met by the common, the popular or the overtly-on-offer and who do not use the library’s services becasue of this.

 

Writing the vision statement

The final step in this process is writing the vision statement. Visions statements need to be precise and concise stating what the library and its services (educational, resourcing and environemntal) will be like at the end of the time period (usually three years or in line with the school’s development plan.) They are aspirational using superlative language that inspires others to want to be part of the process. 

The vision statement for my current school library is

An excellent 21st century library which supports the teaching and learning at xxxx Primary School.

 

Having identified where you are going and where you want to be it is time to put on your leader’s hat but that is another post for another day.

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the student advocate’s hat

hat_student_advocate

 

Drilling down to what I believe my role as a TL should be is becoming more complex than I first thought – it’s like peeling the layers of an onion.

Firstly, I thought I would find the answer by identifying my beliefs and philosophies about education, which I did in An Unexpected Party but I found that wasn’t sufficient. It certainly helped me clarify my thinking but it didn’t go far enough.

Then, in The Shape of the Head I thought that the role of the TL could be determined by the role of the school library which had to be determined by the school community, yet that still wasn’t enough.

And so I found myself delving even deeper, down to the core of the purpose of the school – the education of the students. I asked

    • What is it that students have a right to within the school that is sacred regardless of who is at the helm?
    • What should they expect to experience as the absolute intellectual, social, emotional, physical, cultural, ethical, pedagogical and environmental basics of their school experience?
    • Should there be a Bill of Rights for Students?

If we believe education should be truly student-centred, then surely a formal statement that sets out students’ rights is appropriate.

Because each school is unique because its clientele is unique such a statement would have to be developed within each learning community, but there are some seminal documents which would need to be considered…

Even though I am no longer in a school, I can’t challenge you to do something that I’m not prepared to try so I’ve developed a draft statement which might serve as an inspiration for you to start the conversation with your learning community. I have to stress that it has been created without input from anyone but me, which is its first fault, but I’m a great believer in not being able to edit a blank page so offer it in that spirit. You can find it as a separate page of this blog.

Perhaps now I’m in a position to consider just what it is the TL can contribute to the teaching and learning of the students in our care…

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the teacher’s hat

hat_tchrThe first and foremost role of the teacher librarian is that of teacher, so having understood the learners and answered the questions, it is essential to consider what that means for me as a teacher.  

Explicitly examining and articulating what shapes my knowledge, understanding, attitudes and values allows me to reflect on my beliefs and use these to build a solid platform on which to build my future teaching. It enables me to know that what I offer and do is built on firm foundations of best-practice pedagogy and practice and it can be offered with authority and competence. This is my educational philosophy…

 

As a teacher I believe..
Our brains grow and change from conception to death
Intelligence is not fixed so we can all learn new things
Learning is easy when-
we want to learn
we need to learn
it is connected to our lives
it starts from a place we know
it’s real
it helps me understand the world around me
Learners need
a purpose for learning
demonstrations
immersion and practice
feedback
to have ownership of their learning
It is my responsibility to make sure I make learning easy for students by
accepting each student for who they are and where they are at
providing a safe and secure environment so students can learn in peace and in confidence
identifying what I want students to know, do, understand, appreciate and value as a result of my teaching
connecting what they already know to what they are about to learn
determining their level of achievement so I can offer appropriate feedback
enabling each student to have ownership of their learning
demonstrating the purpose and relevance of their learning to their world
encouraging each student to take responsibility for their learning
creating opportunities for each student to reach their potential
 

     

From this I have developed a manifesto which explicitly states who I am as a teacher librarian and ensures that all the philosophies, pedagogies, programs and practices I adopt are in alignment with both my beliefs and my goals. 

As a teacher librarian I will
know understand and value the needs of teachers in designing, developing  and delivering the curriculum
know, understand and value the needs, interests and abilities of the students and design, develop and deliver information and resources in a variety of formats to meet those needs
support teaching and learning by providing access to ideas, information and resources which enrich and enhance the curriculum
support lifelong learning by providing intellectual, physical and digital access to ideas, information and resources
recognise and understand that the information landscape is changing and provides ideas, information and resources in a format that users want need and expect
understand and use the power of Web 2.0 technologies to support teaching and learning  
enable staff and students to understand and use the power of Web 2.0 technologies to enrich and enhance their teaching and learning
understand and use user’s suggestions and feedback to continuously evaluate what is offered and make changes based on their needs and my professional knowledge
understand and provide access to the ideas, information and resources that are valuable to and valued by this community
seek opportunities to consult and collaborate with staff, students and colleagues to ensure services and resources are user-centred and user-driven
understand that today’s users are information creators as well as information consumers and support their endeavours to do this
embed inquiry learning, information literacy and digital technologies across the curriculum
create and contribute to a community of learners based on conversation, consultation, collaboration and co-operation
seek new, effective and efficient ways of delivering information, resources and services and embrace evidence-based changes to established practices
advocate and validate the role of the teacher librarian through my attitudes, attributes and actions
create connections between the library’s users and the people and things they want. need and expect to know
change the concept of the library from bricks-and-mortar to brick-and-click by embedding the digital world into the collection
embrace and demonstrate the teacher librarian’s joint roles of curriculum leader, information specialist and information services manager 
strive to demonstrate and uphold the Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians and the School Library Bill of Rights 

Beginning with the end in mind by focusing on my beliefs and goals is essential for it means  no matter how attractive the hat, if it is a poor fit and doesn’t suit my style I won’t wear it and it will languish in my wardrobe.

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