Information Literacy

Here are some definitions of Information Literacy:

Langford (1998,p.59): information literacy is a type of literacy that has been transformed to work with the technologies of the time.

My comment: Literacy is active and changing and as the types, sources, reliability and access to information change and develop through the use of the internet and web2.0 applications,  students must be able to make sense of this information.

Abilock (2004, p. 1): information literacy is a transformational process where information is taken and used.

My comment:  This is an active sort of definition – information literacy is a process or strategy to work with information in a purposeful way.

Herring & Tartar (2006, p. 3): list of things information literate students will be able to do. 

 My comment: Add the idea of reflecting on the way the information was used to serve an identified purpose.


All of the authors added extra dimensions and  aspects to my understandings of information literacy.

Langford’s references to information literacy complementing technology is very relevant as students are dealing with many types of information in many formats and from varied sources. They need strategies and skills in identifying, deciphering and evaluating the information they come into contact with.

Abilock’s idea of using information for personal, social and global purposes support both constructivist and connectivist thinking where students are learning for an authentic purpose and audience.

Herring & Tartar identify actions that students are able to do with information in a step by step manner.

It seems to me that information literacy is a process to help students “help themselves” learn. So much about learning is not just content related facts. Students need to be able to collect, sort and use information in many ways to make meaning from what they read, view and hear. Information literacy is both a process and strategies to help them do this.


Herring, J. and Tartar, A. (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. School Libraries in View, 23, 23-27


What Sort of Library?

'blocks blocks blocks' photo (c) 2011, samantha celera - license:


I have been reading about the roles of the TL for Assignment 1 and am excited about the active and purposeful ways that the TL can impact on the learning of the students, staff and school. I have read about some wonderful ways in which the TL can share her expertise in technology, information and literature with the staff to achieve outcomes and develop school priorities.

This has got me thinking about the type of library I want to develop with my school, and I have used my on-line friends’ examples and shared stories to allow me to see what a great library can be like. Each of the people or library blogs I follow shares an aspect, idea, environment or view that I admire and want to try and utilise or adapt to my setting.

A great library environment is:

  • welcoming
  • challenging
  • interesting
  • familiar, owned by students
  • a working place
  • a sharing and collaborating place
  • a finding out, inquiring place
  • an active, busy and purposeful place
  • a reflective and calm place as well!
A great library is a centre of learning, where we can:
  • wonder
  • wander
  • imagine
  • inquire
  • check
  • explore
  • create
  • transform
  • transfer
  • make or have an impact
Now to work with students and staff to translate these aspects into my own cohesive, meaningful and manageable programs to make our library a real centre of learning and thinking. Bring it on!


'Gargoyle Supporting An Ornamental Pillar At 575 Seventh Street, NW (Washington, DC)' photo (c) 2007, takomabibelot - license: there is a strong vision and plan for a school, which has been discussed and negotiated with the school community and actively embraced by the staff,  all staff are able to proceed in their roles with confidence. When this process is led by the Principal who encourages teacher leadership at all levels, having and using this school plan is very important in providing the structures and scaffolds necessary for the freedom entrusted to staff.

Oberg (2006, p.13) suggests that the Principal’s contributions in terms of ” vision building, evolutionary planning, empowering others, resource mobilization, and problem coping and monitoring” are critical in implementing change in schools. Having the support of the Principal, and through her/him the school plan means that the investment of money, time, effort, resources, planning,  and collaborating must have a real pay off in terms of student learning.

For the teacher librarian to have the support of the Principal means that the work done in and through the Library programmes is visible, validated and contributes to the learning outcomes of the whole school.The Principal’s expectations evidenced in the support (in various forms including time for collaborating, focus, prominence of information literacy programs) offers the TL (teacher librarian) opportunities to affect learning in many areas across the school:

  • students
  • classrooms
  • Teacher Professional Learning
  • resourcing
  • committees
  • special interest groups – both Teacher or Student
There are many down sides and difficulties in trying to work effectively as aTL without the active support of the Principal, but I know of  downsides and difficulties in trying to work with TLs who have the support of the Principal but who do not work actively to enhance and support school programs and vision. In the happiest of all worlds, the TL and the Principal would be a formidable team capable of envisioning and enacting change across the school. Bring it on!
Oberg, D. (2006) Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian 33(3). pp. 13-18


Thinking about roles of the Teacher Librarian

'Teach' photo (c) 2012, Susana Fernandez - license:


After reading a number of articles about the roles of the Teacher Librarian, I had plenty to think about, the number of tasks mentioned was over whelming – I honestly had given little thought to the documented myriad roles of the TL beyond vaguely “being in the Library”.

In order to undertake the various roles successfully prioritizing according to the school’s and student’s needs at a particular time is vitally important (Herring, 2007,p. 31). Priority areas would ideally be fluid across the year allowing for the TL to be effective and strategic in her workings with colleagues.

Within the roles put forward in my reading, three common areas stood out for me: the TL as teacher was over-arching and enhanced by innovator, leader and specialist. My ideas are explained in this table:























  • teacher
  • designing challenging learning opportunities for students
  • supporting  teachers – curriculum or tech based
  • leading by example
  • developing active learning using resources/materials used by 21st century students
  • collaborator

Pro-active in keeping Library products, services, experiences and successes visible and mainstream within the school community.





“Making a difference in the way teachers teach and students learn.” Purcell, 2010, p. 30







Contributing to a higher standard of student learning and performance

  •  teacher
  • creating & implementing curriculum
  • designing authentic learning experiences which integrate information skills
  • assessment, goal setting and planning
  • teacher
  • in information literacy – transliteracy
  • in information systems
  • collection management
  • ensuring Library services, products and programs are visible and explicit

Teaching is where Teacher Librarians get to “walk the talk” – they are in the position of not only advocating, leading and specialising in integrating technology – they are also in the classroom showing what it all means in action.


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

Lamb, A. and Johnson, L., (2008) School library media specialist 2.0: a dynamic collaborator, teacher, and technologist. Teacher Librarian 36(2), pp. 74-78.

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