I Love My Library

My Library is a big sunlit space full of possibility and promise – full of students playing, exploring, finding out and testing what they already know. It is an active place: people moving around, checking on how friends are working, sharing ideas, making things, drawing, talking, filming and thinking about what to do next. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is a IMG_4481place of challenges and of potential, a place to come to and see what new things you can add to what you already know, what new things you can make to show your learning, what new things you can OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcreate using your imagination and an iPad or cardboard and textas.





The space itself is old-fashioned; you would recognize it immediately as a Library from your past. Yet it is also a modern place – new ways of learning, through doing and showing and sharing and thinIMG_4477king; new ways of finding out – through Google and You Tube and Pinterest and Oliver; new ways of sharing – through blogs and websites and weeblies and smores; and new ways to read – IMG_0104through paper books and websites and e-books and apps. So much of what is new is invisible when you are physically in the Library – yet it is there to read and share and comment on and belong to.

IMG_4470Perhaps because you can’t see it you don’t know it’s there. But you belong to the library and you know – you see the blog, you share your thoughts, you look at your photos, you find your friend’s work, you find a book, you click a link, you seaIMG_4820rch a question, you post your video, you watch a You Tube clip, you comment, you interact, you learn. When you belong to your library you know what it does, what it can do and what it might do for you.

IMG_4843Because we belong in my Library – the students who know what they like to do, the students who are at a loose end, the students who want to share their Lego and the students who want to share their minecraft creations, the students who are readers and the students who are learning to read, the students who look at the pictures and the students who are writing and creating stories themseIMG_0092lves. They all belong – there is a place for them all in my Library.IMG_4827


We build this library together – when you ask “Do you have…?”. “Can we …?”, “Why don’t we …?”, “How about getting some ….?”, “Are we allowed to …?”, “I need to …” it opens possibilities and allows ideas to flourish and opens up newer ideas and things to find out about. Together we make our own way, making use of what we have, imagining what we might do next and hoping for better and more interesting and more wonderful.IMG_4847

I love my Library and I will miss it.


The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle

I will be using a Visible Thinking routine called Connect, Extend, Challenge to scaffold my reflection.


How were the ideas and information presented in INF506 connected to what you already knew?

I was able to connect straight into INF506 as I had a working knowledge of many of the web2.0 tools that were mentioned in Modules 1 and 2. I had enjoyed using web2.0 to grow a global network of learners as a classroom teacher and blogger. I used social networks to ask for and receive help, ideas, professional development and support as I learned alongside my students the benefits, responsibilities and joys in establishing global networks for learning.

I have always believed that school and learning is all about relationships, and I could connect with the idea that social networking is all about relationships too – relationships with customers, with colleagues, with information and with services. According to Mott (2012) it’s “the relationships you build, the ideas you share and the purpose and passion you bring” but I still needed to learn how to fully develop these relationships from an Information Professional viewpoint, but I knew that relationships were at the heart of providing essential services on behalf of Belmore South Public School (BSPS) library.



What new ideas did you get from INF506 that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?

The idea that connecting with users was much more than a one way street, that information, opinions, viewpoints and ideas came in as well as went out from the library and its online presence extended my thinking around the use of social media in my library. That together students, staff and school could build a learning place that brings in the combined knowledge and interests of participants as well as sending out new knowledge and interests made me sit up and think carefully about the ways I had been using my library blog. In an attempt to move my established classroom blog to a Library blog, I was simply providing content about what classes had been doing. Schrier (2011) warns against using social media merely to promote content and suggests that establishing trusting relationships with users should be the priority or purpose to using social media.

Schrier goes on to list five principles to use to plan for effective social media use: listening, participation, transparency, policy and planning.  I found these principles to be a useful list to start to think more deeply about the reasons to use social media, the people to connect with, the multiple ways to link authentically with customers, the need for explicit policies and planning for an integrated, thoughtful and focused move into social media use. The simple principles enabled me to start linking the (so far) disparate parts of social media into a useful whole.

My thinking and learning as a social networker was also extended by the many varied examples of libraries already using social media as integral components of their work. In the course modules example after example was given, showing ways in which blogs, wikis, Facebook, podcasting, and Twitter were being used to inform, educate, answer and entertain library users. I found this exciting and at times overwhelming as I realized that social media and social networking, whilst seen as still quite innovative and new in schools, is embraced as the norm outside of school.

To have models of practice available as demonstrations to scaffold my learning regarding the uses of social networking within the library  disrupted my current knowledge and forced me to take on board the fact that I still did not have a deep understanding of the principles and processes that a successful librarian2.0 needed. I had been quite comfortable using web2.0 tools and apps in my classroom, but I would definitely need to step up to live up to Librarian2.0!



What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?

I realize that I have consistently seen the role of the library and the Teacher Librarian as one of providing services to students; neglecting to focus on the responsibility I have to the staff and school and providing for their needs as well. The challenge for me is to position the library at the centre of the learning that happens at BSPS; to move it from its current irrelevance to that of a partner in the learning and information needs of the school and staff (as well as the students).

I need to meet staff where they are, to demonstrate my knowledge and understanding of social media to make our school library visible and important to the functioning of the school. I need to position myself, in my use of social media and social networks, to be able to become a librarian2.0 to fully support and enhance the learning programmes offered by my school and staff.

This session I have learnt a lot about social media, but I have learnt more about myself as a learner and a social networker and Information Professional. I have some way to go but am confident that I am developing the skills and strategies I need to get there 🙂 .




Mott, E. (2012). 7 tips to take social to the next level. In iMedia Connection. Retrieved from http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/31346.asp

Schrier, R.A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: The digital library as conversation facilitator, D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8) July/August 2011. Retrieved from http://dlib.org/dlib/july11/schrier/07schrier.html


Image: ‘The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst+Castle
The Azure Blue Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle
Found on flickrcc.net



In learning about and working with social networking and social media it becomes abundantly clear that information literacies and digital literacies are of utmost importance. I had known, of course, about information literacy and digital literacy from a teaching viewpoint: I was now TL (Teacher Librarian) so had the responsibility for leading the school in teaching these literacies.

Jenkins’ paper “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” highlights that students are already using social media as a means of connecting in social groups and puts forward eleven new skills that shift “the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement” (Jenkins, 2006, p. 4).

The new skills are:

Play the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a from of problem solving
Performance the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery 
Simulation the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes 
Appropriation the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content 
Multitasking the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details 
Distributed Cognition  the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
Collective Intelligence  the ability  to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal
Judgement the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources 
Transmedia Navigation  the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
Networking the ability to search for, synthesise, and disseminate information 
Negotiation the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms


Of these skills, three are particularly relevant to a TL – Judgement, Transmedia Navigation and Networking. They relate to the location, gathering, synthesizing and presentation of information – traditionally the domain of the Information Process required of the TL.

The really interesting aspect is that students need to learn how to utilise these skills in a group and not just individually, which is the way that information skills have traditionally been approached. Because students are participating as a group, they need to be able to:

  •  Investigate the purposes, perspectives and veracity of the sources of information because information is coming from various people from various sources
  • Critically question the information gathered to order to synthesise large amounts of possibly conflicting information
  • Choose the most effective mode for purpose in the presentation of new learning
  • Be articulate in the language of and for multimodal representations
  • Use their skills to network across social communities to share and disperse their own products

My take from this paper is that students need to be working in groups solving real problems, in an on-line environment is a necessity today to ensure our students are learning with and through social networks to learn effective, efficient and ethical ways to manage their learning.



Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Available http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

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Librarian2.0 Essentials

Librarian2.0 is not so much defined by Abrams or Harvey as described by their uses of technology. Harvey (2009, p1) frames her ideas of Librarian2.0 with tools and technologies; and Abrams lists the tools, technologies and opportunities.

Laura Cohen (2006) and Buffy J Hamilton (2010) look at Librarian2.0 as actions, attitudes and attributes that move librarians actively, thoughtfully and positively to respond to the rapid changes in expectations, requirements, technologies, communication channels and social trends in the 21st century.

Here is my list of essential knowledge, skills and attributes of an information professional in a Web 2.0 world:

Know Your Customers and be where they are – connect using social networking sites, face to face, in real time and virtually. Work to gain a deep knowledge of their interests and goals, needs and wants in order to provide and plan appropriate services.

Be Fearless and Courageous in the commitment to providing the best possible library experience for all patrons by ensuring that the highest quality information is available to the Library community in the formats needed and required.

Be a Life Long Learner – open to discovering better ways to ensure the library delivers the best programs and facilities for the community it serves. Show your desire to find out, to explore, and to keep asking questions.

Respond Positively and thoughtfully when others are not ready to embrace new ways of thinking or doing. Be prepared to back up opinions and views with cohesive examples and research to continue conversations that develop understandings and insights and community.

Play with changeuse it as a chance to experiment, test out and try new ways. Accept change, being ready and able to see the positive and work to take advantage of new tools, apps, services and ways of approaching information collection, curation and communication.

Be an Active Participant within and outside of the Library – “walking the talk”  be highly visible through the use of technology, a voice on committees, by providing innovative learning experiences and sharing the story of the Library with the community.

Be Accountable for delivering authentic assessments of the effectiveness of services and programs to patrons. Be open and transparent in the collection of data and anecdotal evidence that shows and tells the story of the library



Abram, S. (2008). Social libraries – Web 2.0, library 2.0 and librarian 2.0: Preparing for the 2.0 world. Library Resources and Technical Services, 2(2). 19-22.

Cohen, L. (2006, November 9). A librarian’s 2.0 manifesto . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZblrRs3fkSU&feature=player_embedded  Accessed 5.5.13

Hamilton, B. J. (2010). It’s in the way that you use it: what library 2.0 means to me. In The Unquiet Librarian. Retrieved from

http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/its-in-the-way-that-you-use-it-what-library-2-0-means-to-me/ Accessed 5.5.13

Harvey, M. (2009). What does it mean to be a Science Librarian 2.0? Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (Summer). DOI:10.5062/F4M906KW

Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html

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Looking, seeing, visioning

I am currently procrastinating on an assignment that asks me to articulate a vision for my school library. It is a pretty exciting assignment because I am gathering (far too much) information on what a library can be, what it can provide and how it can position itself as the hub of the school.

I have pages of quotes and examples of what I want my library to be and this is the reason I am procrastinating – how to meld all of the ideas, suggestions and scenarios into a succinct, cohesive and do-able vision for the next three years.

As a very new TL in training (I still haven’t been in the library for a full year yet or completed my TL course) I am finding it a tad overwhelming trying to sort out and deal with the number of roles the literature expects me to fulfill.

I am beginning to see, however, that this assignment is helping me to pare down these expectations and take hold of the aspects that are important for the students and school community at my school in the next little while. This is a great chance for me to really focus in on the roles and functions that I can best undertake to move us from where we are now.

It doesn’t matter what we should have been doing, where we should have been working, how we should have been learning – we have the power and the ability to move forward confidently in a way that is authentic and purposeful and relevant to US.

This is truly exhilarating and scary as well. Yet, through the structuring and direction of my learning so far, I know that I can do this, I have to do this, it is my responsibility to do this – with the strategies and skills I am developing as I am learning.

Articulating my vision will help to tie up the many stems of my learning: it will enable me to really develop learning experiences around what is important, it will help me to provide learning opportunities for all students and it will  enable me to collect evidence that supports and celebrates the learning occurring throughout the library and school.

If I could just finish this assignment and start putting it all into action …….


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52193570@N04/5774680570

ETL401 Assignment 2 Reflection Post

My teacher-librarian (TL) learning journey started with me deliberately and defiantly staying exactly where I was! In starting this course I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information I was processing from the readings, and trying to cope with running the library at my school for the first time ever, that I concluded that the primary and over arching role of the TL was that of a teacher.

I now know, through a Kuhlthau reading that I was doing what George Kelly called “forming new constructs and reconstructing old ones” (Kuhlthau, 2004, p. 17). Having been a classroom teacher for over twenty years I needed to keep the pattern or frame of reference of what I knew when confronted with new experiences. I felt that teaching students and staff, contributing to student outcomes and making a difference in the way teaches taught and students learnt was the role that a TL was expected to play. Ideas and thoughts firmly rooted in my classroom teacher perspective.

Contributing to the Topic 3 Forum on “TL and the Curriculum” I was beginning to look at a bigger picture view of what the TL offered to the staff and students in a school. From planning with staff across the school and for various stage groups of students, through sharing expertise and knowledge of the curriculum K-6, to what I, as the TL, would add to the planning, I was beginning to see that the TL role encompassed more specialized knowledge and skills particularly in the are of information specialist.

The Kuhlthau reading from Module 4: Information Literacy really grabbed my attention, and impacted on my understanding of the role of the TL as information specialist (Kuhlthau, 2004). I had positioned myself in my “What sort of library?” post as aiming for an active, learner-centered library. This reading walked me through constructivist theory, which gave me confidence and background information about learning.

The exploration of information literacy and the various models, processes and definitions opened my eyes to the ways in which the TL worked with information to develop the skills and competencies in students so that learning could take place. The TL role in providing multiple perspectives, formats and types of information to both students and staff was also made clear and reflected on in my Information Literacy and The Constructive Process posts

Reading the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner document really tied up all of the aspects of the TL role neatly for me. In the Topic 4 Forum I shared how this document really positioned the learner at the centre of their learning and demonstrated how learners needed to be very proactive in their own learning.

This document also brought home to me the importance of ethical and moral use of information. Once again it was a case of a reading tying up my ideas neatly, and then enlarging or expanding my thinking and knowledge. The linking of information literacy and technology was made in a Forum 4 posting and I began thinking of how my role of TL was about “enabling [students] to make informed and positive choices in the future, [so that] we are doing what we can to ensure that whatever technologies come our way we and our students have the skills and knowledge to work with them.”

Over the ETL401 course, my knowledge and understandings about the role of the TL have grown and developed along side my knowledge and understandings of the power and pervasiveness of information. Although I am in no way ready to call myself an information specialist, I can see that this is one area that a TL must have deep knowledge and understanding in. In this information age it is necessary to ensure that all students have the skills, strategies and mindsets to be able to critically, competently and confidently navigate with information to make informed decisions. This is one of the most important roles of the TL and the one that has made the most impact on me over the semester.


Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004). Learning as a process, in Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services, Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.


To Do List #1

'To Do's' photo (c) 2011, Courtney Dirks - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I need to share what I am learning in this module with staff to help build up a common picture of what Information Literacy, Information Skills and Guided Inquiry are, and the benefits to students.

I need to address the “what” and “why” before we can move on to the “how” and “when”.

I need to look at best practice examples of Guided Inquiry , have opportunities to learn from these examples and then look at ways to support each other as we work together to apply this model in the school.

I need to make a great case for taking the trouble to plan and work together collaboratively, when most of the staff are used to working autonomously in their classrooms, formulating and driving their investigations in Key Learning Areas. It will be quite a challenge for some staff to see the point of information literacy skills and guided inquiries and letting go of being the sole leader in their room.

Hmmm – this is an important step in moving forward ……

Learning As A Process

'I am Here for the Learning Revolution' photo (c) 2008, Wesley Fryer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Kuhlthaus’ “Learning as a Process”chapter was an important reading for me professionally.

I articulated in a recent post “What sort of library?” the aspects of the learning environment I was striving for – and then I read this chapter! The learning environment I am aiming for is constructivist, where the learning is active and dynamic.

It was enlightening and exciting to read and understand the theories explained by Kuhlthau in this chapter. I had lots of “a-ha” moments and “so that’s why!” and “I’ve seen that too” thoughts.

I will scaffold my thoughts and responses using a Visible Thinking routine called “Connect, Extend, Challenge”:

CONNECT: How are the ideas and information presented 
CONNECTED to what you already knew?
  •  learning is active and dynamic
  • students are “constructing their own personal worlds”
  • students construct their own knowledge from the information they collect
  • information seeking to broaden their understanding of the world
  • thinking and reflecting go hand in hand with learning by doing -> higher order thinking skills and metacognitive thinking. Visible thinking routines can be used to scaffold student thinking and reflection.
  • the idea that the “Problem and solution stand out completely at the same time” (Dewey quoted in Kuhlthau, 2004, p.16). Often we can see the solution to a problem at the very same time as the problem itself becomes clear, this is especially the case when researching – clarity and a sense of “a – ha” that’s the answer happens at exactly the time that you understand or “get” the problem that you were struggling with.
EXTEND:                   What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?
  • to provide useful and appropriate scaffolding that will support students to take control of the process. Students need to be able to confidently be able to use routines and scaffolds that they know will help them organise their thinking.
  • knowing how to learn – empowering and enabling students to have the responsibility = skills, strategies and processes
  • working towards deep understanding and being able to transfer it to other situations. In the rush of the classroom we have to have strong convictions to give over the time to support and promote learning experiences that contribute to deep understanding. It can be done, and very rewarding when it is done.
CHALLENGE:             What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?
  • Making inferences  – jumping from the known and beyond the given information is the aim of learning and what the students I teach find very difficult to do. I’m not sure if it lack of opportunity to do this, lack of scaffolding or something else? Is  it because they haven’t gone through the entire phases of reflective thinking – maybe they are stuck on conceptualizing the problem and are therefore unable to make the jump to tentative interpretation/ hypothesis making.

The Constructive Process

In her work on inquiry learning, Carol Kuhlthau is heralded as being the first person to incorporate feelings into a model of the  inquiry learning process. Upon reflection, there is a lot more to incorporating thinking, feeling and acting in learning than just identifying the feelings students are having at particular times in the process. Kuhlthau’s model has let me know where in the inquiry learning process my students are most likely to have uncomfortable and negative feelings, and be ready to give up. But more importantly, she has matched these feelings with what the students are doing cognitively at this time.

This will enable me to provide scaffolds, organisers and learning experiences to support my students in their cognitive tasks at these points in the process.

By electing to use these scaffolds, organisers and learning experiences students should be able to reflect, infer, predict or see patterns in their information and therefore technically be in a better, more supported/confident/aware and positive position to make the jump to the next step in the inquiry learning process.

So my role is to have on hand a selection of learning experiences, scaffolds and routines for students to use at various times in the learning process, but especially at those times when their feelings are low and negative.

My learning of and about the inquiry learning process is deepening my understandings of what is involved in the information process and will hopefully lead me to be able to transfer this knowledge in practical and meaningful ways across age groups, grade levels and Key Learning Areas.


Image: “Icelandic Faces”

Icelandic Faces