#L4FL18 Learning from others to innovate for learners: information literacy, fluency and the new world of learning

NSW DoE Libraries for Future Learners Conference October 19, 2018

This keynote was to be delivered by Dr Marcia Mardis, Florida State University based Library Specialist and academic, who had to cancel due to hurricane damage (sending her messages of good will from Australia!). So, June Wall, Library Coordinator for NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE), stepped in and delivered a stirring keynote that inspired and encouraged an audience of over 300 Teacher Librarians from a wide range of schools across NSW. Many of the audience had travelled long distances and it turned out the travel was well worth the effort.

My notes from June’s presentation have been fleshed out in this post and some links provided to other internet resources. This is a deep water keynote! You’re going to need more than swimmers and a towel! June has a way of presenting deep thinking in chewable chunks and she covered a LOT of ground in a relatively short presentation. I have only included images that I was sure about permissions for and knew the heritage of the graphic. I hope I have done credit to the clarity that June attempted to achieve.

The idea was to give an introduction to what has been achieved in recent times by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and an explanation of how they achieved their Future Ready Libraries focus. June’s intent was to begin the process of getting NSW Teacher Librarians(TL) to consider what we need to revisit, rewrite, reconfigure in our core policy in order to meet the challenges of future focused learning in NSW DoE schools.

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards document was developed using a process that may or may not be useful to us in NSW. However, it is a case study that we can certainly learn from.

They started by investigating their core beliefs, their shared history, their external influences and established their Shared Foundations (link).

  • Inquire
  • Collaborate
  • Explore
  • Include
  • Curate
  • Engage

These foundation statements may or may not apply to our circumstances.

They settled on a model of four domains as the core values and competencies being advanced through their work in the school library.

  • Think
  • Create
  • Share
  • Grow

For each of the Shared Foundations these domains provide a framework that goes with it.

A closer look at these frameworks will be possible once the resources from this conference are made available to conference attendees by June Wall in the coming weeks.

What the US have achieved within their Shared Foundations is to use the four domains, and for each of those domains, they’re taking it from the point of view of “what does the learner need to know?” i.e. What are the learner competencies required? What are the Teacher Librarian competencies required? How does the school library align with this framework?

For each of these areas they have applied the standards they have developed – a practical approach to the whole.

This approach really drills down to the student outcomes that we all want as the focus for our work as Teacher Librarians. If we want a student to be able to inquire well then our work has to help them to develop the information fluency they need. They need

  • the skills to formulate the questions they need to answer for their personal interest or curricular topic
  • to have access to their prior and context knowledge for the topic they are exploring and achieve new meaning
  • the information access skills to find the answers they seek.

The AASL framework is the core of what these student outcomes come from.

There’s not a difference in what we are trying to achieve here in NSW, those outcomes, but there is significant difference in how we are currently approaching it. There is also the direct link in the AASL framework to what it means to be a Future Ready Teacher Librarian.

For each of the AASL Shared Foundations, these domains explicitly go through what it looks like as student outcomes and how the Teacher Librarians can achieve that outcome.

This AASL framework starts with a very different approach to ours about what the Teacher Librarian role is in school libraries. Most of the states of the USA have taken this framework on board.

This is where the US have come to. It is apparently making a good impact in US schools. This AASL model talks about learning as the whole process – not subsetting it.

Should we be finding the value in this shift in thinking?NSW DoE ISP image

Our current NSW information process model – ISP (link) (Information Skills booklet)has been with us for over a decade. The Information Process has not changed since previous iterations of the ISP model. The colours may have changed but the process is the same.

What does this mean for teachers in classrooms? Are they explicitly using this model? Do they know it exists?

Does this model assist teachers who are working with information literacy in the NSW curriculum?


We need to start to think about Information Literacy differently. Have we been working at the Basic Skills area – are we teaching a specific skill that is being transferred from subject to subject? Do our students and teachers see themselves as information literate?

What we want to move to is to be Information Competent. This level not only has those skills but it has behaviours and abilities. Competence is being able to both do it and do it well. We are currently not operating mostly at a competence level – students rely on templates for even the basic bibliography in assessment tasks. They are not confident at even this level because we don’t provide them with the instruction and practice they need to achieve that confidence. It is not an embedded behaviour. We want them to move on from competence to literate/fluent.

We’ve had that aim… underneath syllabus outcomes and assessment requirements… but we don’t currently have a framework within which we can achieve information literacy at the levels required as entry level skills in the new NSW Stage 6 syllabi. We are not preparing students for the academic rigour now being required.

As professionals we all need to become information fluent and we need to model that in a way that students and teachers will exhibit their information literacy as a matter of course… assumed knowledge, assumed skill level, assumed assessment task requirement.

Most NSW DoE teachers are information fluent in a wide range of skill sets and areas of expertise for their subject knowledge. They do it but they don’t have the language and terminology around it. We need to get to the point where we can assume information is accessed appropriately in all of the modes and forms that it is available to our staff and students.

June Wall indicated that she also thinks we need to “overlay” the 3 core areas of

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity and innovation

These come out of a range of different skill sets but we see this requirement in the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum. These are core needs of our community and have been identified as such through our curriculum development processes.

Looking ahead

“Where can the Teacher Librarian plug the hole that is missing in schools?” Not as an enhancement but as a point of difference. The Teacher Librarian has a different expertise and we need to be explicit in how this skill set can best be utilised by individual schools.

This can be completely different in individual schools. We need to think differently about information fluency and use the Teacher Librarian to champion that learning in schools. This term “information fluency” encompasses every media form (including digital literacy) – not just books but everything that our students do that involves information.

June suggested some questions that need answers… a beginning to this journey into a changed model of information fluency in NSW DoE schools:

  1. What are your common beliefs? What is valuable to external stakeholders? What does the TL community value?
  2. What are your shared foundations?
  3. What are the areas of learning needed for future young Australians?
  4. How should a future focused model look, feel, sound?

These questions require us to collaborate on the answers, connect and share our thoughts, lead our colleagues into a new phase of information fluency in NSW DoE schools.

This journey has only just begun…

Edmodo, school libraries and promoting ethical online behaviour

In 2007, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) developed Standards for the 21st-Century Learner that include skills, dispositions, and responsibilities essential for today’s digital citizens (AASL, 2007). The first set of these standards states that teenagers must be given opportunities to learn to access and evaluate the information found on social networks.

  • Standard 1.1.5: Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
  • Standard 4.1.7: Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
  • Standard 4.4.4: Interpret new information based on cultural and social context.
  • Standard 2.3.3: Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions.

Within these standards, AASL also addressed ethical and legal behaviour on social networks and supports the provision of opportunities for teens to follow legal regulations and demonstrate ethical behaviour that is associated with conducting themselves appropriately on social networks.

  • Standard 1.3.3: Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.
  • Standard 3.1.6: Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.
  • Standard 3.1.2: Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
  • Standard 3.2.2: Show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations and by contributing questions and ideas during group discussions.
  • Standard 4.3.1: Participate in social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.
  • Standard 4.3.4: Practice safe and ethical behaviours in personal electronic communication and interaction.

School libraries have an opportunity to address these standards by incorporating appropriate social networking platforms in their library teaching programs (Agosto and Abbas, 2011). An example of such a platform is edmodo.

Edmodo new

Edmodo is specifically designed for schools and allows teacher librarians to create groups, upload resources, provide an ongoing connection with the library to promote learning and publicise events, and stimulate community by providing students with an opportunity to develop appropriate skills in a social networking site which is supervised, age appropriate and readily accessible.

Edmodo also has the capability of providing a connection to school families if the parent account provision is utilised.

Students have lots of opportunities to engage in social networking but not a lot of chances to develop their social networking skills in a supervised forum with the aid of a trained professional – their teacher librarian.


Agosto, D. E. & Abbas, J. (eds) (2011) Teens, libraries, and social networking – what librarians need to know. Santa Barbara, Calif : Libraries Unlimited.

American Association of School Librarians (AASL) (2007) Standards for the 21st-century learner. [online] Available at: www.ala.org/aasl/standards

Reflecting on Joyce’s Manifesto (2010)

At Edutech in Brisbane in 2015, I had the amazing good fortune to attend the Masterclass conducted by Joyce Valenza and Shannon Miller. At the end of the day I took the opportunity to mention to Joyce that we had used her Manifesto in ETL401. Her immediate response was… “But I need to revise that! I must get around to doing that!”

Joyce Valenza

Joyce Valenza

Apart from revealing her self-effacing approach to the world of library celebrity… this response reminds me that Libraries are organisms – changing and responding to patterns of usage – so we, too, must adapt, morph, change. So, given that this manifesto was written in 2010 in the USA, how do we respond to it with regard to the section on reading? Let’s have a look… I have copied the relevant section here and have been thinking about what it looks like for my library as we face 2016…


  • You explore new ways to promote and celebrate reading. You are piloting/equipping learners with both traditional, new, and emerging book formats–downloadable audio books, Playaways, Kindles, iPads, Nooks.

While my library does have a small group of iPads, they are not easily used to access books in various formats for students in my library. Our budget has not yet afforded us access to an eBook format but we have provided access to our local council libraries via our library management system. Our students, in 2016, have still not indicated a huge interest in having books delivered electronically and many of them are very protective of the paper format of books.

  • You share ebook apps with students for their iPhones, droids, and iPads and other mobile devices (Check out Gale’s AccessMyLibrary, School Edition)

Similarly, while we use lots of different apps for learning in our library, we do not have ebook apps available on our iPads. This is again connected to budget but also to do with the process of managing iPads for shared use in schools. iPads were not designed as multi-user devices and they come with some specific management challenges. Top of the list… how does a school pay for the apps and how do we audit that process? It is easy to dismiss these sorts of organisational hurdles and to be perfectly honest… I have resorted on a number of occasions to simply paying for apps myself rather than wrestle with school administration over how to get money into the iTunes accounts of our iPads. Ridiculous but true…

  • You market, and your students share, books using social networking tools like Shelfari, Good Reads, or LibraryThing.

Managing a social networking presence that complies with my employers Social Media Policy as well as being a manageable maintenance load for the variety of sites that my role as Teacher Librarian requires… costs a huge amount of time. Achieving an appropriate percentage of time allocated is challenging. While I have a presence on Goodreads, I currently do not share this with my students. This is one I’ll have to think about. Besides… currently completing the MEd has drastically interfered with the amount of fiction I get to read and record on Goodreads.

  • Your students blog or tweet or network in some way communicate and reflect about what they are reading

Nope… not doing this either… while my library does have a twitter account, I currently do not use this with my students. Might have to think deeper about this one and figure out what this could look like.

  • Your desktop screensavers promote great reads, not Dell or Apple or HP.

Nope… we don’t have desktop screensavers, user security means students must logout of their profiles and it resolves back to the signin page… no screensavers. Maybe this would be a good reason to instal a screen at the circulation desk… hmmm… good idea.

  • You link to available free ebook collections using such tools as Google Books, International Children’s Digital Library (See our own ebook pathfinder.)

No… not currently… I wonder if this can be achieved in our new Library Management System(LMS)? I’ve just had a response from Softlink to explain how I can turn on Google Reviews so I might look at this next.

  • You review and promote books in your own blogs and wikis and other websites.

Hmmm… I don’t currently have a book review website and probably should! Our LMS does have the capacity for students to upload reviews of books they have read but they have not yet engaged with the new system. This needs to be promoted for 2016.

  • You embed ebooks on your websites to encourage reading and support learning.

Hmmm… no I don’t… but I do now have access to the school website… it might be time to do this!

  • You work together with learners to create and share digital booktalks or book trailers.

And this one is a NO as well. In my high school library I currently have very limited access to learners during class time. Changing the model for our library has been a slow process and promises made have been reneged. For 2016 I have wangled my way into getting access to Year 7 for 1 lesson per cycle for Term 1… book trailers is part of the plan for this time.

Well… that’s quite revealing. Although we are a very busy library we do not meet the criteria that Joyce listed in 2010. This is very interesting… and much food for thought.


Valenza, J. (2010, December 2). A revised manifesto. In School LIbrary Journal. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/.

Picture credit:
Used with permission

why is the study of literature important for children? ETL402 reflection

Attempting to reflect on a heavy reading load and two very challenging pieces of assessment, I find two significant ideas in particular will remain with me from this summer semester course, ETL402 Literature Across the Curriculum:

  1. the power of stories
  2. the importance of the transaction between reader and text

Haven’s (2007) evidence for the importance of story, story reading, and storytelling and its impact on the brain development and education of children, reinforced for me the imperative that the role of the Teacher Librarian in schools must be maintained and embellished. Story is an essential element of education – narrative structure is a powerful inquiry that opens up an important relationship between the role of the Teacher Librarian and the students within their school, and the possibilities of significant collaborations with teaching staff from all key learning areas – based around quality literature.

This revelation was then deepened by an exploration into the values of children’s literature:

  • literature develops social awareness – it can highlight important social and moral concerns (Harris, 1990)
  • literature offers vicarious experiences – it helps children deal with their problems
  • literature reinforces the narrative as a way of thinking (Huck, Hepler, Hickman, & Kiefer, 1976)
  • literature develops the imagination (Gaiman, 2013)
  • literature reveals literary and artistic preferences – picturebooks develop visual literacy – the power of the postmodern picturebook
  • literature provides reading for background knowledge in curricular areas
  • literature develops thinking skills

The power behind this understanding is that stories are a better (more effective and efficient) way to teach and to communicate (Haven, 2007). The bottom line here is that stories are remembered – they are a more efficient and more accurate way to support and sustain learning with a higher accuracy in recall (Haven, 2007). Better than any other way! This transaction between reader and text provides a new and powerful experience in life (Rosenblatt, 1956).

Returning to the blog posts that I have written in this course:

reminds me of just how much work is involved in getting to know our library collection and using it to support learning in my school through collaboration with classroom teachers. This is an ongoing challenge and requires diligent effort.

Also, an assumption hidden in the Marcoux and Loertscher reading (Marcoux & Loertscher, 2009) that “all Pre-K-12 classroom teachers are knowledgeable in building reading skills” made me pause for consideration. It is my view that many faculty areas do not actively participate in engaging students in reading and are unaware of the missed opportunity that lies hidden within the focus of the second assignment – the power of literary learning. The continued preoccupation with marching through a content dense curriculum without a focus on powerful and engaging literature, in a wide variety of formats and delivery methods, is a significant missed opportunity for engagement with our students.

I found the readings on Digital Literature of particular interest as we begin the 2016 school year. Budget decisions as we juggle the provision of literature in print and digital formats must be patron driven, and I continue to question the cost vs benefit of establishing eBook platforms. The challenge also continues to clarify the role of the Teacher Librarian in the acquisition of new literacies particular to the networked, hyperlinked and interactive model of communication and information transmission, and the trends in interactive media (Friedlander, 2013).

Looking forward into the 2016 school year and beyond, another challenge emerges as this course concludes… convincing staff from all curriculums that the literature we invest in has significant potential for learning in their key learning area, and student engagement, support of adolescent reading skills, development of thinking skills, use of technology for learning… and so much more… can be incorporated into literary learning if they are willing to give it a try.



Friedlander, A. (November 26, 2013) Ten trends in interactive media for children from dust or Magic, Retrieved from http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/ten-trends-in-interactive-media-for-children-from-dust-or-magic/

Gaiman, N. (2013, Oct 16). Why our futures depend on libraries, reading, and imagination. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

Harris, V.J. (1990) Benefits of Children’s Literature. In The Journal of Negro Education. Vol. 59, No. 4 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 538-539

Haven, K. F. (2007). Story proof: the science behind the startling power of story. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from EBook Library

Hogg, D. (2015a) Who will be the drivers of change? [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/11/10/who-will-be-the-drivers-of-change/

Hogg, D. (2015b) Key elements of children’s literature. [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2015/11/29/key-elements-of-childrens-literature/

Hogg, D. (2015c)  Evaluating the quality of children’s literature. [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2016/01/10/evaluating-the-quality-of-childrens-literature/

Hogg, D. (2015d) Digging deep into the picturebook collection. [online] Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/debhoggoz/2016/01/20/digging-deep-into-the-picturebook-collection/

Huck, C. S., Hepler, S. I., Hickman, J., & Kiefer, B. Z. (1976). Children’s literature in the elementary world. Harcourt: Brace, Jovanovich.

Marcoux, E., & Loertscher, D. V. (2009). The role of a school library in a school’s reading program. Teacher Librarian, 37(1), 8–14,84.

Rosenblatt, L.M. (1956) “The Acid Test for Literature Teaching.” English Journal Vol. 45 No.2 (1956), pp. 66–74.

Principal support in a 21C library

The core business of a School Principal is to maximise the positive effect on student learning outcomes. To this end, the effective use of school resources – human, physical and technological – must combine to optimise the opportunities for students to engage and learn. Within this framework, the utilisation of the Teacher Librarian is key to the knowledge economy of the school.

Collaboration quoteFor a Teacher Librarian(TL) in a NSW DEC High School, both Head Teacher and Principal support are crucial to the efficient execution of the TL role. A supportive Principal will incorporate the Teacher Librarian’s participation in the School Plan; raise the profile and importance of the role of the TL and the library within the school; and model, support and enable collaboration between the TL and classroom teachers (Oberg, 2006). Without the support of the Senior School Executive, the library will be relegated to under-funded and ineffectual and have little impact on the learning outcomes of the school community.

This support from the Principal is manifested in a number of ways. It is important to recognise that the physical isolation of the library can be the Teacher Librarian’s biggest hurdle to overcome in terms of being a vital participant in the school’s learning community (Lamb, 2011, p14).  Lamb (2011) posits that such isolation can lead to “occupational invisibility” for the Teacher Librarian, and goes on to suggest that supportive principals will provide an outline of their expectations for library use and the classroom teachers’ participation in the library program (p. 14). TL’s have a vast arsenal of ICT tools that can be utilised to overcome these issues of isolation and build bridges to empower other teachers to utilise collaboration mechanisms. Supportive principals also communicate an understanding of the value of the library program and make information literacy an agenda item in school planning.

Support from the Principal becomes evident when they create the “context and structures” that enable the Classroom Teacher and the Teacher Librarian to work collaboratively, allowing some opportunities for flexible scheduling which ensures the library program is integrated into planning and evaluation structures. A supportive principal will also encourage the TL’s personal and professional development (Oberg, 2006, pp. 8 & 15).

An appropriate role for the TL in curriculum planning and development includes being a facilitator in ICT, educating staff on new technologies and programs, and resourcing the curriculum. Teacher librarians should collaborate with classroom teachers “to combine knowledge of the curriculum, knowledge of individual learners’ needs and competencies and knowledge of information sources, resources and technologies” (ASLA, 2009). Without the support of the principal of your school, none of this is possible.

Mattesich et al (2001) write that the arrangement between the Principal and the TL should “include(s) a commitment to mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards” (in Haycock, 2007). This is not going to be achieved quickly and easily, and requires effort from both the Principal and the Teacher Librarian to establish and maintain common goals for student learning outcomes in their school.

Lastly, Bush (2003) adds that professional satisfaction derives from collaboration with colleagues. This desire to practice a collaborative approach and insert the TL role as a support mechanism for classroom teachers, has the added benefit of developing the collaborative skill set of all involved… including the Principal.


Bush, G. (2003). Do your collaboration homework. Teacher Librarian, 31(1), 15-18.

Haycock, K. (2007)  Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning.  School Libraries Worldwide, Vol. 13, No. 1, p.26

Lamb, A. (2011).  Bursting with Potential:  Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette.  TechTrends Vol 55: 4.

Oberg, D. (2006) Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.




Copyright 4 Educators

Once again this year, the National Copyright Unit will be conducting the Copyright 4 Educators course via P2PU (www.p2pu.org). Having completed this online course last year – I highly recommended it for all educators… Beginning through to Highly Accomplished.

P2PUcourseThe course runs for seven weeks and covers a great deal of content regarding the complicated world of copyright, Creative Commons and Open Education Resources.

“The Copyright 4 Educators course is not taught; the course leaders facilitate it. The course is student participation focused. Students are divided into small groups in which they organise their online communications/discussions (via email, Google docs, Skype, tokbox etc) and jointly submit answers to each week’s task.” For communication in this course last year, my group and I set up a Google+ community so that we could share our learning and connect and collaborate about the materials and content involved in the course.

With this style of presentation, this course gives participants an opportunity to both learn the material and also apply new skills to achieve the learning, with a group of like minded educators. It is an excellent example of a 21st Century approach to skill acquisition in an important area of knowledge construction.

“Enrolments for the course will open on April 27 and will remain open for one week or until the course reaches 60 enrolments. In the last cycle of the course, enrolments filled in three days.”

For more information and to enrol in the course… Smartcopying.edu.au