INF506 Evaluative report – how deep was the learning?

INF506 Evaluative Statement:

Evidence of meeting the learning objectives…

How effectively we build and maintain relationships determines the success we experience in our roles as Information Professionals. Without those relationships – there is no work. Social networking provides a virtual world in which we can deepen those connections, work on those relationships, be more available as information professionals. The learning modules of INF506 are designed to develop an understanding of social networking technologies, policy and procedures, and how to critically assess their usage to connect, communicate, collaborate and create.

To demonstrate my deepening understanding of social networking technologies and examine their features and functionality, I have immersed myself in a range of those technologies and used my online learning journal (OLJ) to explore the issues surrounding facebook for schools, promoting ethical behaviour online through edmodo, and using twitter analytics to understand networks.

In my OLJ post titled Edmodo, school libraries and promoting ethical online behaviour (Hogg, 2016a), I used the American Association of School Librarians’ “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” to explore the learning opportunities of Edmodo newusing the social networking platform, edmodo. School libraries have an opportunity to address these standards by incorporating appropriate social networking platforms in their library teaching programs (Agosto and Abbas, 2011) and I have subsequently established edmodo groups for a range of purposes within my school library.

Edmodo is a safe online platform to provide students with the opportunity to explore the social networking practices of posting and liking within group and subgroup membership. With supervision provided by the owner of group, a teacher or teacher librarian, can nurture the skill set of writing and responding to online conversation threads. Edmodo also has many integrated features and embedded applications that give students the opportunity to develop their information and communication technology skill set.

To understand the theory and practice of Library 2.0 and participatory library service I have researched and analysed the work of State Library NSW and State Library Victoria and written about these libraries in my OLJ post Social media and Web 2.0 Libraries (Hogg, 2016c).

Both of these libraries have a strong presence across a range of social media platforms and are great examples of how the use of social media can enhance their core business.

  1. Both libraries have strong brand connections that are maintained on these platforms.
  2. They promote the library’s resources, services and events and provide key information direct to clients.
  3. The social media accounts are well maintained and provide another point of contact for users.
  4. They engage volunteers to participate in projects related to library collections.
  5. They engage users by facilitating discussion groups and offer collaborative work opportunities.
  6. Create the impression of modern, progressive, responsive Library 2.0.

To evaluate social networking technologies and software to support informational and collaborative needs of workgroups and communities, I completed a project utilising a range of social networking technologies to build a teacher learning community. This provided me with an opportunity to become familiar with social media policy, theory related to developing Communities of Practice (CoP), leadership issues in establishing a CoP. This project also provided the vehicle to demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, educational, ethical, and technical management issues that exist in a socially networked world, and how information policy is developed and implemented to support such issues.

This project and the course content on Library 2.0 led to my further exploration of the use of social media by school and public libraries. This research found the authors Agosto and Abbas, and my OLJ post Teens, libraries and social networking (Hogg, 2016d). Teens use social media to develop and connect within their social networks (Agosto & Abbas, 2009). Much of this is bidirectional information sharing and social interaction. Attempting to tap into this social networking for young adults is a new challenge for library services.

As schools strive to continuously improve and evolve as learning organisations, it makes sense to implement mechanisms to improve relationships and communication structures within these teacher communities (Barth, 1991; Ferriter, 2010). Improving schools involves change (Boyd-Dimock, 1992). The use of social networking has a range of benefits that support these endeavours and enhance the 21st century skills of teaching staff (Arendt, 2009; Baird & Fisher, 2005; Bradley, 2015; Kivunja, 2014). INF506 has been a vehicle for me to experience deeper learning in using social networking tools for more than just social participation, to develop stronger connections with an expanding professional learning network and to explore the significant challenges of building school-based teacher learning communities (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006).

INF506 Reflective Statement:social-network-background-with-icons_23-2147497535

Developing as an information professional…

To achieve deeper learning (as defined by William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2013) involves

  • the mastering of core academic content,
  • to think critically and solve complex problems,
  • communicate effectively,
  • work collaboratively,
  • learn how to learn,
  • develop academic mindsets

The core academic content of INF506 has helped me to understand that being a Librarian 2.0 is about mindset, transferable skills and interpersonal strengths (Adams, 2007; Partridge, 2011; Partridge, Lee & Munro, 2010). Brabazon (2014) suggests that the role of librarians is to ‘reintermediate the information landscape with regard to quality and relevance’. The important characteristics here are flexibility – to adapt to a changing information landscape; openness – to change in technologies, learning theories and pedagogies; willingness – to connect and collaborate and support the learning of users; inquisitiveness – to explore new models of utilising information and library spaces. Social networking technologies are a means to enable information professionals to lead lifelong learning as a participant and role model, rather than languishing in library models of a century that is past. INF506 has provided an opportunity to explore these potentials and expand by professional learning network.

The learning modules of INF506 have confirmed that the knowledge and skills needed to be a Librarian 2.0 are not achieved in a vacuum but require the development of underlying dispositions and behavioural capacities to connect and collaborate in order to embody lifelong learning. Librarian 2.0 needs self regulation, adaptability and tenacity (Hallam, 2014) to gain the skills needed to support users of a variety of technologies and help them navigate the information tsunami that the internet has afforded. In fact, Partridge (2011) posits that Librarian 2.0 is more about attitude and thinking than it is about books and cataloguing. It’s about branding and profile. INF506 gave me the opportunity to farm my digital footprint and reflect on my participation on a range of social networking platforms for a leaner professional profile.

For INF506, the opportunity to think critically and solve complex problems was provided by the Social Networking Report assignment. This assignment required the design and implementation of a unique social networking project to support the information, learning, social and organisational needs of a group of people. It was a practical task that required the implementation of a real project. My assignment involved collaborating on a project to explore the use of social networking technologies to develop a Community of Practice (CoP) within my college. Analysing participation and engagement amongst my staff provided many opportunities to connect and collaborate in both the real and virtual worlds.

Using a Facebook group for INF506, alongside exploring the many social networking technologies that are the subject of facebook-logoinquiry in the course content, provided a range of opportunities to make new connections and to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other students in the course, as well as my colleagues and students. I am now using these technologies more efficiently and with a clearer agenda and skill set. The methodology of this subject has also widened my knowledge of “learning how to learn”.

In addition to all these areas of learning, INF506 provided the chance to develop a deeper academic mindset regarding the underlying theory of online social networks. The assignment project led to research Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 2011) and began an ongoing project to learn more about the challenges of developing teacher Communities of Practice (Wenger-Trayner, 2015) and the challenges of Open Leadership (Hogg, 2016b). Learning communities build knowledge by providing a “social life” for information, and this gives teachers an opportunity to turn data into new information through discussion and reflection (Brown & Duguid, 2000). It would seem obvious that school teaching staff should be members of a learning community within their schools, yet the very nature of teaching is that it is an isolated activity, so if we are to promote change in teaching practice, and professionally develop teachers who are already on busy schedules (Cochrane, 2013), and shift thinking to a CoP, then the opportunities afforded by the use of social networking tools can provide both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities to access busy teachers and empower them to build social capital (Bourdieu, 2011) through supporting their efforts to participate in professional development delivered via these tools. Participating in professional conversation, accessing professional reading, being provided with opportunities to participate in professional learning – can all be established through social networking channels (Goodyear et al, 2014; Hay, 2010).


Abram, S. (2005). Web 2.0, huh?! Library 2.0, librarian 2.0. Information Outlook, Vol. 9(12), pp. 44–46.

Agosto, D.E. & Abbas, J. (ed) (2011) Teens, libraries and social networking : what Librarians need to know. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO.

Arendt, A. (2009). Social Media Tools and the Policies Associated with Them, Best Practices in Policy Management Conference. Utah Valley University, November. Retrieved from:

Bandura, A. (2011) Social learning theory. [online] Available at:

Baird, D.E. & Fisher, M. (2005) Neomillennial user experience design strategies: utilizing social networking media to support “always on” learning styles. Journal of Educational Technology Systems. Sept.1, 2005.

Barth, R.S. (1991). Restructuring schools: some questions for teachers and principals. Phi Delta Kappan. 73(2), pp. 123-128.

Bourdieu, P. (2011). The forms of capital.(1986). Cultural theory: An anthology, 81-93. Retrieved from:

Boyd-Dimock, V. (1992) Creating a context for change. Issues …about Change. Vol.2, No.2. [online] Available at:

Brabazon, T. (2014). The disintermediated librarian and a reintermediated future. Australian Library Journal. Vol. 63 no.3, pp. 191-205.

Bradley, P. (2015) Social media for creative libraries. London : Facet Publishing.

Brown, J.S., & Duguid, P. (2000). The social life of information. Cambridge, MA : Harvard Business School Press.

Cochrane, T. & Narayan, V. (2013) Redesigning professional development: reconceptualising teaching using social learning technologies. Research in Learning Technology. Vol. 21, 2013.

Ferriter, W. (2010) Using social media to reach your community. Educational Leadership, Dec, 2010, Vol.68(4), p.87-88

Goodyear, V.A.; Casey, A. & Kirk, D. (2014) Tweet me, message me, like me: using social media to facilitate pedagogical change within an emerging community of practice. Sport, Education and Society, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 7, 927-943, DOI:

Hardy, I. (2008) The impact of policy upon practice: an Australian study of teachers’ professional development. Teacher Development. Vol.12, (2) pp.103-113.

Hallam, G. (2014) Victorian public libraries : our future, our skills : research report. Melbourne : State Library of Victoria. Available online at:

Hogg, D. (2016a) Edmodo, school libraries and promoting ethical online behaviour. [online] Available at:

Hogg, D. (2016b) Open leadership : the social media challenge. Available at:

Hogg, D. (2016c) Social media and web 2.0 libraries. [online] Available at:

Hogg, D. (2016d) Teens, libraries and social networking. [online] Available at:

King, D. L. (2007, July 11). Basic competencies of a 2.0 librarian, take 2. Available at:

Kivunja, C. (2014). The use of social media technologies as novel ways to teach and to promote learning. Proceedings of the e Skills for Knowledge Production and Innovation Conference 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, 551-564. Available at:

McLaughlin, M.W. & Talbert, J.E. (2006) Building school-based teacher learning communities: professional strategies to improve student achievement. New York:Teachers College Press.

Partridge, H. (2011) Librarian 2.0 : it’s all in the attitude! In Mueller, Dawn (Ed.) Declaration of Interdependence : the Proceedings of the ACRL 2011 Conference, Association of College and Research Libraries, Philadelphia, PA. [online] Available at:

Partridge, H., Lee, J., & Munro, C. (2010). Becoming librarian 2.0: the skills, knowledge and attributes required by library and information professionals in a web 2.0 world (and beyond). Library trends v59. No. 1-2, pp. 315-335. Available at:

Senge, P., Roberts, C., Ross, R., & Smith, B. (1994) The fifth discipline field book: Strategies and tools for building a learning organisation. New York: Doubleday.

Wenger-Trayner, E. & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015) Communities of practice: a brief introduction. [online] Available at:

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (2013) What is deeper learning? [online] Available at:

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

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

Gaiman, N. (2013, Oct 16). Why our futures depend on libraries, reading, and imagination. The Guardian. Retrieved from

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

Hogg, D. (2015b) Key elements of children’s literature. [online] Retrieved from

Hogg, D. (2015c)  Evaluating the quality of children’s literature. [online] Retrieved from

Hogg, D. (2015d) Digging deep into the picturebook collection. [online] Retrieved from

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.

Digging deep into the picturebook collection…

Voices in the parkThe first assignment for ETL402 – a rationale for school/library fiction collections in the form of a journal article – was a significant challenge… huge! Sure it was the time frame – getting the learning modules completed at the end of the year spent in a new school, juggling both the Teacher Librarian and Computer Coordinator roles, planning for Christmas… stress and exhaustion had taken its toll… but it was much more than these factors that pushed down on getting this assignment finished and submitted. This assignment resolved itself into a difficult question – how well do you know your Picturebook Collection and does it have a place in a high school library? To be honest I ended up spending more time on that question than the assignment.

In the three years of being in school libraries, I must admit I have developed a bit of a soft spot where the Picturebooks are concerned. I’d found myself falling in love with these books, their authors and illustrators, and wishing hard that high school teachers would make more use of them in their classrooms – so they seemed the obvious choice for this assignment.

This might sound strange to all those who dismiss the Picturebook format as something that should be confined to the early childhood reading experience, but in the last three years I had come to realise how much the titles in this format had expanded beyond early readers and how many of these books were pitched at the middle school and young adult market… and how inviting these books were to me as a reader.

Therefore, this assignment became an opportunity to explore this section of our school library collection and wrestle with what was there… and what wasn’t there… as we make plans for the new school year and allocate budget to potential purchases. This assignment also saw me off on many sidetrack adventures as I explored the significant contributions of particular authors and illustrators, and researched the breadth and depths of their individual bodies of work in this format. I found myself coming face to face with amazingly beautiful as well as dreadfully scary images that inhabit these books and a developing appreciation for the skill required to write, draw and produce these titles.

In particular I was down rabbit holes with Gary Crew, Margaret Wild and Anthony Browne …and then the amazing range of books designated as “sophisticated”.

The counterpoint between text and image led me to explore two particularly interesting features of many post-modern picturebooks – metafiction and intertextuality.Stinky Cheese Man


The notion of destroying the illusion of a “reality” and substituting an emphasis on the book’s “fictionality” (Nikolajeva & Scott, 2006) is a feature that can lead to all manner of creativity in student writing. An excellent example of these books are those of Jon Scieszka . The best known of Scieszka’s books, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992), illustrated by Lane Smith, explores a metanarrative – the narrator appears in both the pictures and as one of the characters in the story, providing a running commentary.


Intertextuality refers to the incorporation of all kinds of links between two or more texts utilising tools like parody, irony, literary and extra-literary allusions, direct quotations or indirect references to previous texts, fracturing of well-known patterns, and so on. Intertextuality assumes the reader’s active participation in the process of decoding the text when reading. It is the reader who makes the intertextual connections. In particular, this led me to explore picturebooks from different cultures and the opportunities that they provide to learn about cultural differences exposed in these texts.

The picturebook format certainly has a lot to offer the high school classroom teacher – hopefully I have built a sufficiently strong argument to that effect in Assignment 1.


Nikolajeva, & Scott, C. (2006) How picturebooks work. New York : Taylor and Francis


Lead the change

A reflection on ETL504.

Learning is social.

Learning happens in context.

Learning about the Teacher Librarian(TL) as Leader happens, for me, within the context of completing a Masters of Education by distance education while adjusting to a new position in a new school, and all the myriad of challenges that lie within that context. The learning modules, readings, videos, forums, online meetings, assignments, resulting expansion of my PLN… that have come with this subject, have acted to inspire and excite me with the potential of the role, of TL as leader, that has been revealed. Reflecting on this learning here gives me a chance to embrace this opportunity and formulate a cunning plan. I’ll just choose a few highlights to fit into 800 words!

To measure my change I needed a snapshot of my thinking at the commencement of this subject so I sat down and wrote about what leadership looked like for me in schools and was immediately concerned – all the evidence pointed to the role of Teacher Librarian being under-utilised and poorly understood. I realised that my own approach to leadership in schools was stuck in the mud of position titles and traditional role assumptions, and this course was expecting a huge shift in those assumptions (Hogg, 2015b). I’d never taken the time before to read about Leadership Theory… and had neglected my own professional development because I really hadn’t engaged with research and literature about either leadership or pedagogical theory and practice, with any depth, since my bachelor degree days – decades ago. Sure I’ve read lots of blog posts about connectivism and done a MOOC on constructivism… but hadn’t really taken the time to think deeply about what these theories mean for libraries and learning. I hadn’t found my own Zone of Proximal Development (Moore, 2012).

21st-centuryApplying what I was learning and analysing my own school situation led me to explore distributed leadership (Spillane, 2006) theory in more depth. This perspective on leadership helped me to get beyond the reliance on the transformational leadership of a hero-Principal, and begin to unpack the implications for effective 21st century school leadership (Crowther, 2009; Bennett et al, 2006) – to understand Teacher as Leader  and Leading for Learning.

In addition to completing the well structured learning modules and required readings of the course, I also found I needed to investigate in more detail the aspects of emotional intelligence required for leadership (Hogg, 2015a), the link between leadership, andragogy and provision of high quality professional development (Hogg, 2015d) and the imperative for change in instructional leadership – which led me to explore the concept of the teaching gap (Hogg, 2015c). All of which are aspects of leadership for learning that need to be incorporated into the modern role of the Teacher Librarian.

In addition to these broad theoretical structures, the course also provided learning about the important aspects of communication for building relationships and collaborative partnerships, negotiation and conflict resolution (including the self learning of completing a questionnaire about approaches to managing conflict), and designing communication processes. This led to an introduction to strategic planning.

Developing a recipe for achieving an intended outcome in our school requires the development of a clear vision and mission, a practical strategic plan, a set of activities that reveal the plan, and the nurturing of a commitment to that plan (Matthews & Matthews, 2013). A leader needs direction and this is created through analysis using models such as SWOT (Olsen, 2008) and STEEP (Watt, 2011) and managing change using frameworks like Kotter International’s 8 Step Process (Kotter, 2015) and the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) (SEDL, 2014).

The clarity achieved now is an understanding that leadership requires vision, trust, modeling, consideration of and empowerment to others, negotiation and communication (Collay, 2011). The TL must provide passion, commitment and direction in order to lead from the middle (Sinek, 2010; Donham, 2005). The collaborative creation of a vision statement and development of a strategic plan will inspire change and drive adaptation of the school library to the needs of twenty-first century learning and learners.

With all this food for thought, I felt prepared to address the challenge of the second assignment and begin to formulate a cunning plan to innovate the role of teacher librarian in my school… which is the goal of this mission. I am on a quest to incorporate our library into a renewed vision for twenty-first century learning in my school… and so it begins.



Bennett, N., Crawford, M,, Cartwright, M. (2003) Effective educational leadership. London: Paul Chapman Publishing

Collay, M. (2011). Everyday teacher leadership: Taking action where you are. Wiley, Hoboken.

Crowther, F. (2009) Developing teacher leaders – how teacher leadership enhances school success Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

Donham, J. (2005). Leadership. In Enhancing teaching and learning: a leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nd ed.) (pp. 295-305). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Hogg, D. (2015a) Goleman on Leadership. [online] Retrieved from

Hogg, D. (2015b) “I know all that, tell me how!”. [online] Retrieved from

Hogg, D. (2015c) Instructional leadership and the teaching gap. [online]  Retrieved from

Hogg, D. (2015d) Semadeni on professional development. [online] Retrieved from

Kotter, J. (2015) The 8 step process for leading change. [online] Retrieved from

Matthews, S.A. & Matthews, K.D. (2013) Crash course in strategic planningSanta Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Moore, A. (2012) Theories of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning: Pedagogy, curriculum and culture (2nd ed., pp. 1-30). London: Routledge

SEDL (2014) Concerns-based adoption model [online] Retrieved from

Spillane, J.P. (2006) Distributed leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

“I know all that. Tell me how!”

Having worked in schools, in various roles, more on than off since 1982, I’ve comfortably assumed that I know quite a deal about leadership in schools… but schools have changed, are changing still, and I am changing too as I participate in the new challenge of the role of Teacher Librarian. This opportunity now, courtesy of the MEd(TL), to learn about the theory behind the practice of leadership, has given me pause, and an opportunity to reflect – both on the leadership I have witnessed in schools over the years, and on my own participation in it.
My viewpoint now is that when I started in schools, leadership was conceptualised as the responsibility of a small subset of the staff of a school. Certainly there was the sense that the role of Principal or Headmaster/Headmistress was exclusive in the perception of a well managed school – in essence there was a real sense that leadership lived or died in a school dependent on the personality characteristics and practices of that single individual. When I look back at that approach now, I realise this was quite a comfortable perception for everyone other than the Principal. Thirty years later, my thoughts now are that leadership in schools is much more than the role of the Principal – trouble being that this may still put me in conflict with those staff who continue to perpetuate this notion of effective school leadership being dependent on that single individual at the head… and I don’t think it is that simple anymore at all.
As this course has presented readings covering leadership theory and the changes that have occurred over the same time span that I have been teaching in schools, so I see how my own view of leadership and participation in it, have developed over these decades. Ideas about “natural born leaders” have floated around during that time, but I have come to believe that leadership is as much about innate characteristics as it is about learning how to lead… and being given opportunities to practice those skills. The concepts of Distributed Leadership and Transformational Leadership are of particular interest at my career stage and I look forward to a deeper understanding of these theories.
This year, as I started a new adventure in a NSW Department of Education School Library, circumstances have already provided a series of challenges and opportunities to participate as Teacher Librarian as leader, and also to observe other staff in various positions, participate in leadership development – regardless of their named position.
The ASLA guidelines for excellence in Teacher Librarianship provide a framework for establishing the role and taking a place in the leadership in my school. These give a strong focus as I look for opportunities to:
actively engage in school leadership and participate in key committees
promote and nurture a ‘whole school focus’ on information literacy policy and implementation
build and foster collaborative teams within school and professional communities
provide effective and transformational leadership to school library and information services staff
As it happens, my new school has also been in particular need of leadership in IT management and ICT integration, and these areas within my skill set have been utilised within my new situation – providing a bridge for other projects and collaborative practices. Recently I have been approached by the Head Teacher of the English Faculty to consult on plans for establishing a Literacy Committee for our school in 2016 and I look forward to those challenges.
As this course expands my knowledge of leadership practice, I look forward to increasing my availability to participate in an essential Servant Leadership opportunity within my school as their Teacher Librarian.

ASLA (2005) Standards of professional excellence for Teacher Librarians. 1st Ed. [PDF] Australian School Library Association. Available at:

My tribe is here somewhere…

As we return to begin Semester 2 of this MEd(TL) journey, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on the learning that happened in Semester 1… and I say “happened” because it describes how I feel when I think about the first two subjects that I completed for this course – from the point of view of delivery, the learning “happened” to me rather than having a sense of participating in it or nurturing/developing the knowledge transfer process. The nature of Distance Education in this MEd(TL) model is that it is a bit like a MOOC (and I know what a MOOC is like – from the point of view of a participant)… too many people participating in it so the forums become chaotic dumping grounds and the assessment train must move relentlessly forward.

Detective with torch

My tribe is here somewhere…

There is no sense of it being a personal learning journey – more like a cattle truck – so I found myself in need of a side stream in this fast flowing river… rather than just allow myself to be swept ahead by the fast flowing bustle of a large student cohort, and stressed by the busy-ness of the university’s online forum model.

My solution came in the form of what is essentially a Study Group – a “tribe” to collaborate with and nurture each other’s learning, and support each other in the challenges that are inevitable when trying to juggle life and study while working in teaching positions of varying levels of responsibility. It didn’t take us long to find each other and establish a closed group on Facebook – amongst a couple of other groups trying to achieve the same model of support.

The nature of the learning, in a Masters of Education focusing on Teacher Librarianship, is partly to learn about the complicated circumstance of the job in schools. Essentially it is a role that needs a Master Builder because its description relies on the input of school executive and requires a great deal of self knowledge and just plain “chutzpah”! Establishing a high quality PLN (Professional Learning Network) becomes a survival tool of the highest importance. Teacher Librarianship is about innovation and change – get rid of the Fixed Mindset and open up to new challenges, new collaborations, new connections – ever TL needs a support network.

While the MEd(TL) is an industry accredited course to cover all library circumstances, my employer, the NSW Department of Education, has a Library Policy which states that each school’s Teacher Librarian is:

  • involved in the provision of the information-related resources integral to the planning, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum of the school

and also

  • Teacher-librarians provide students with opportunities to develop information skills and to use these skills competently and with confidence for lifelong learning.

This semester has also coincided with the introduction of the Professional Development Framework for NSW DoE teachers and identifying the challenges of self-empowerment to fulfil the policy roles stated has already identified some obstacles faced in the role of the Teacher Librarian.

In first semester, in my last assignment for ETL401: Introduction to Teacher Librarianship, the feedback provided included a criticism of my reflection on the learning in the course because I included a focus on how I have applied the learning to the role I am actually undertaking in my school. Frankly I find that a disrespectful criticism since being able to apply the learning to my role is 100% the reason for me facing the challenge of an MEd(TL) by Distance Education. As teachers we are constantly admonished that the learning should be applicable to the needs of our students… and that will continue to be my focus for the remainder of this course. This is not mere academic pursuit for me… I know that teaching is my passion… and getting better at it is my job.


Open source image located at:

ETL401 The Critical Synthesis challenge

BLaKC pic

Balmain Library and Knowledge Centre 2015

My challenge here is to achieve a “critical synthesis” and assess my progress in understanding the role of the Teacher Librarian in schools. To be perfectly frank, I don’t know that I am yet capable of fully realising that goal. This course has expanded my view of the role of the Teacher Librarian in schools, increased my knowledge of the expectations and details, but has also found me acquiring scepticism that the role will ever truly be appreciated in schools, and a realisation that the frustration levels involved may yet overwhelm me.

My career as a teacher has already spanned three decades and provided me with experiences in a wide variety of education systems and pedagogical approaches – yet I find myself under pressure to be able to fulfil the TL role. Achieving success at interview and being offered a placement as TL in a NSW DEC school was a significant challenge.  I bring to this role an acceptance of the change process, a deep love of literature and information literacy, expertise in the vast array of tools of the 21st Century educator, a background in database management, and training in school leadership… and yet I find myself in a school where the role of the Teacher Librarian has a long, dark shadow and significant baggage, and I wonder if I have sufficient resilience to meet the challenge of realising the potential of the TL role. Thankfully ETL401 has provided some clarity for me but TLs must work within the staffing structure of their school and I am yet to be convinced that it is possible to establish a shift in how other staff perceive the role, or accept a change that allows change.

Since first being offered, by a secondary Principal, an opportunity to act as Teacher Librarian in 2013, and another position in 2014, I have been fortunate indeed to connect and collaborate with a large group of Teacher Librarians serving in a wide range of schools – both in NSW and internationally. I have listened and read about the issues they face – the challenges of advocacy and accreditation, the importance of “Teacher” in TL, the treatment by school executives, the budget constraints, the push for change of usage and design of Library spaces and so on, and I began this course with what I realise now was a chaotic view of the Teacher Librarian profile in schools.

My description of the role as a “Project Manager’s nightmare” (Hogg, 2015a) was an accurate assessment of how I saw the role at the beginning of this semester. Thankfully some clarity has been achieved as the course has progressed, and especially through exposure to and discussion about some of the support literature that provides greater definition of the TL role. The ASLA website and materials have been significantly useful in this pursuit of clarity and their analysis of “What is a teacher librarian?” (, 2014) has provided me with a framework as a foundation for the development of a Strategic Plan for my new role. What I described as the “ubiquitous and indispensable” (Hogg, 2015a) features of the TL role are in fact examples of critical and creative thinking – two important facets of what the Australian Curriculum describes as General Capabilities of the 21st century (Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014) and are a foundation for the role of TL in schools.

This course has also highlighted the importance of the role of the School Principal in achieving a shift in perception amongst teaching staff regarding the use of the Library and the role of the TL. The course forums gave many examples of how Principals and TLs interact in schools. As I noted in my blog post, the literature has shown me that “Supportive principals also communicate an understanding of the value of the library program and make Information Literacy an agenda item in school planning” (Hogg, 2015b) and I recognise that I have much more “collaboration homework” to do (Bush, 2003) in order to achieve a supportive relationship, and the resulting access to teaching staff that can be made available in the collaborative process.

Most importantly, though, I come away from this course with a much more detailed understanding of the importance of Information Literacy – what it looks like and how it can be explicitly taught in schools (Hogg, 2015c). In addition, through the Interact2 forums, completion of assignments, and connection and collaboration with other members of my MEd(TL) student cohort (especially through connecting via Facebook) – I have come to understand the importance of the Information Literacy models and the process of inquiry, and look forward to creating opportunities for students at my school to improve their Information Literacy and be better prepared for the challenges of lifelong learning in this information dense landscape of the 21st Century.

Information literate students, who are learning how to learn and using a 21st Century skill set, should be the focus of the TL role. Teacher Librarians have a pivotal role in teaching their students how to broaden their literacy horizons and love of literature, how to have a passion for learning and how to the acquire the metacognitive processes involved – constructivism in action. Essentially this means that TLs are teaching students to access, process, organise, create, and present their learning in meaningful, purposeful ways (Abilock, 2004). For me the fog has cleared and the challenge is revealed – I will continue to learn how to adapt and change as my participation in the role of Teacher Librarian focuses on the students of my school and the learning challenges they face, in a world where success, reading and Information Literacy are inexorably linked.

While I remain sceptical… I will face the hurdles with renewed vigour, now that the challenge has been well articulated.

Mindmap Role of TL

Role of TL

[click image to enlarge]

[Images in this post created by D.Hogg 2015]


Abilock, D. (2004). Building Blocks of Research: Overview of Design, Process and Outcomes. Available at:

ACARA Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2014) Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum [online] Available at:, (2014). What is a teacher librarian? Available at:

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

Hogg, D. (2015a) ETL401 blog task 1 – trying to understand the TL role

[blog post] available at

Hogg, D. (2015b) Principal support in a 21C library [blog post] Available at:

Hogg, D. (2015c) Am I information literate? Is information literacy more than a set of skills? [blog post] Available at:


ETL503 reflection: Personal Connections in the Purchasing Process

As we cover ground in the ETL503 (Resourcing the Curriculum) modules on such topics as the importance of applying for budget funding (Debowski, 2001) through to issues of collection management (Kenny, 2006), I find myself reflecting on some of the realities of systems that have developed over many years, and that I have inherited in my new school library.

Brays books pic

Bray’s Books, Balmain

The issue of relationship with book suppliers is very important to me and how I manage the collection development role in my school’s library. Our school has a relationship of long-standing with a local, family-owned and run, bookshop… and I have come to realise the enormous benefits of having this type of connection to experts in the field of Young Adult book supply.

My initial questions, about whether to maintain this relationship, were to do with whether this arrangement would be cost effective – but those fears have certainly been allayed as I have done the research and verified that their prices are certainly competitive to other supply options. Once those concerns were put aside, the many benefits of having this connection have been revealed.

Firstly, the length of the relationship means that the staff of this bookshop know a great deal about the library collection of my school. They know the mix of genres that have been favoured over the years, and have a good understanding of the patterns of readers that have gone through the school. They know which series we are following and can be an invaluable source of information for notification of new additions to popular Young Adult fiction series, and new genre choices. They can help with the challenges of matching book to reader.

However, the outstanding benefit of this arrangement – the one that I wasn’t really prepared for and am most fortunate to be able to step into – is the community connection made available through using this supplier, and the immediate sense of relationship over a common interest and focus… that together we are building the School library collection in order to focus on the needs of the students at my school. This realisation harks back to another time – it even brings to mind one of my favourite books, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – when expertise in managing bookstores was respected and supporting local businesses was seen as important for all the right reasons.

So I will be counting myself as fortunate and looking forward to developing this connection between our library and our bookshop… for as long as is possible. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy this dimension to the challenge of Collection Development and Management at our school.

Deb Hogg

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection management policies. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds.). Providing more with less: collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.). (pp.126-136). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection management : A concise introduction. (Rev.ed.). Wagga Wagga, N.S.W. : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.






27 things your Teacher Librarian does…

27 things Teacher Librarians do

I’ve inserted this infographic here in my CSU blog so that I can reflect on this analysis… and return to it as I learn about the facets of this role… and add to the skills that I currently present with.

Like all roles in schools – the idea is to get better at the job as you face it day-to-day. I am beginning to see how this particular role has enough variation in it to keep even the most multi-tasking hungry of Teachers completely satisfied in the short and long term. The Teacher Librarian role is somewhere to explore a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities. The important thing to remember is “to grow is to change”!

Deb Hogg