(1b) How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?

Present your views and support your claims with argument and evidence.

Please use the Comments box (below) to submit your response.

When submitting your responses, please indicate:

·         your position, and/or type of group (if a group response) e.g. principal, or teacher librarian network

·         your sector, state or place, and type of school/organisation e.g. NSW government high school





39 thoughts on “(1b) How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?

  1. Welcome to this very important part of the discussion which will explore current school library practices and programs, and learning opportunities and interventions provided by teacher librarian that impact on student learning. I’m Lyn Hay, Lecturer with the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, and I look forward to hosting this discussion with Ross Todd over the next 4 weeks.

    There is an increasing body of research providing evidence of the impact of school libraries on student learning. School Libraries Work! (3rd ed, 2008) http://www2.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/s/slw3_2008.pdf provides a good summary of work conducted in the United States. While Ross and I have both researched in the area of how school libraries support student learning within different states within Australia, I see this discussion question as an opportunity for NSWDET schools to provide local evidence of how their school library supports student learning and how the work of the teacher librarian is central to student achievement.

    To my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of school libraries in Australia that an opportunity such as this have been provided to school communities and the school library profession to share stories and document evidence of the impact of school libraries in such a public forum.

    I look forward to reading submissions from teachers, principals, TLs, parents and students on how their school library currently impacts on student learning.

    Let’s use this forum to begin documenting local evidence of impact.

  2. The paper above is very interesting Lyn. I have been searching for some current Australian research about the impact of school libraries on student learning and have been unable to find any so I am looking forward to the discussion. Do you want schools outside NSW to comment?
    Thanks lot

  3. Hi Jill,

    Yes, an invitation has been extended via OZTL_NET for people beyond NSW and the NSWDET to contribute to this discussion. Ross and I have also extended an invitation via Twitter, and we hope that people share any invites they receive to participate via email to their professional network and school communities.

    Can I also ask that people posting a comment please indicate their affiliation, whether it be a school, education system and/or region, or other sector/organisation or group, to help provide us with a context for the comments being made.

    This is asked of people in the first link called ‘A guide for discussion participants’ under the ‘Support Documents’ section at the to of the right hand column of this blog page.

    Many thanks,

    Lyn Hay
    School of Information Studies
    Charles Sturt University, NSW

  4. Hi,
    I’m the TL at Cambridge Park High School DET. I feel rather ‘behind’ in my impact upon student’s learning. Our students are not overly accademic, but I feel that the lack of support from my colleagues and the department more to blame than my own abilities or self promotion. I help students out during lunch times and before school, but teacher’s find that they don’t have the ‘time’ to incorporate my services into their lessons. I feel like libraries are in their own recession, we have a wonderful product but no one’s buying. It’s the same students who come into the library outside of class, but how to reach the ones playing footy outside?

  5. Victor Davidson, Teacher Librarian, Birrong Girls High School,
    Cooper Road, Birrong, NSW. NSW DET. Wangal Hearth. Acknowledgment of Ancestors Past and Present.

    “Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievment: a Review of the Research” by Michele Lonsdale is a constant companion.
    (http://www.asla.org.au/research/ accessed 9.6.2)

    For 11 years BGHS Library has been the provider of Year 7 Information Literacy and Narrative Stucture program via all KLAs. With exams and outcomes based reports it addresses Stage 4 BOS Syllabus outcomes as well as promoting literature and life long learning. This course has blended delivery of programs through hardcopy and digital resources with embedded flexibility for learning styles. Currently online archives for 2007-2008 at http://tinyurl.com/n58s39

    For 3 years the BGHS Library has been the provider of the NSW BOS All My Own Work course which is prerequisite for enrolling in Preliminary Stage 6 HSC courses. This course has blended delivery of programs through hardcopy and digital resources with embedded flexibility for learning styles. Currently online archives for 2007-2008 at http://tinyurl.com/ll6ns9

  6. TL in primary schools, Wellington NZ.

    How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?

    Mainly through the many interactions that occur in the library. Student to library team member and student to student. The library is an ideal place to set up informal collaborations and interactions where students are able to tap into a range of expertise and opinions and test them out with their peers It’s also a place that provides an opportunity for students to work alongside a staff member as they seek to address a question together – an ideal modeling opportunity. The resources, books, technology etc. etc. on their own won’t do it. From what I observe in the library it’s the social interactions that lead to the Ah-Ha moment.

    The thing is, the library is seen to be a more informal and inviting learning space compared to the classroom and hence less threatening. I think of it a bit like a mentoring situation, the library team can be a little more objective in their support as they usually don’t have time to become too involved with the student’s background etc.

    The other key collaboration is between the TL and the teacher. It’s not easy – there are often time constraints and many other issues that get in the road, but when it comes together the inquiry seems to flow and the students seem to benefit.

  7. I have certainly valued the responses that have been posted to this thread thus far. Thanks so much for your thoughtful inputs. Our focus on the impact of school libraries on learning outcomes is deliberate. Around the world, I see educational systems putting increasing focus on evidence-based education. This focus has two dimensions – first, engaging in instructional interventions and services that have a sound foundation on research – ie to take away from the faddism of many educational approaches. The second dimension is focusing on the actual student outcomes that are enabled because of the services and interventions. I am pleased to see a range of interventions and services being identified here – these are important inputs, and I would encourage you as well to present some of the impacts in terms of students and outcomes. How do you see your school libraries help students with their learning? What is the evidence of this? How did you get the evidence? Both Lyn and I look forward to your ongoing rich responses.

  8. Hi Brian,

    It’s great to see some of our NZ colleagues joining the discussion!

    While you present some observations of how you believe the school library supports learning. I am wondering if you can share with us examples of evidence-based practice that have been published either online or in NZ educational newspapers, journals, conferences or newsletters, or school websites etc?

    It would be great to build the evidence with some concrete examples from NZ as well as Australian examples.

    Lyn Hay
    School of Information Studies
    Charles Sturt University, NSW

  9. This is a very interesting topic for discussion. I too believe in what I do, some of the teachers also believe in what we do together but there are still many others that simply won’t/can’t make the time to plan with me so that we can work towards common outcomes etc. I’m trying not to “water the rock” as Ross puts it but it is very frustrating that so many students miss out on the guided inquiry/information literacy/RBL or what every you wish to call it they miss out on developing vital skills that they need to be more effective consumers of information both at home and at school.
    So how do I convince a teacher to give up their NITT time or after school time to PLAN for effective learning… after that maybe we can work towards gathering evidence!
    Hajnalka Molloy
    TL Direk Schools South Australia

  10. Hi Lyn et al

    Thanks for welcoming us to the discussion.

    To my knowledge we have little published evidence based practice of how NZ school libraries support learning, unfortunately. I would think that this is due in part to the major staffing component of NZ school libraries being staffed by librarians and not teacher librarians. Staffing of the school library is also largely at the discretion of the school’s management team and so there is quite a variation in the number of hours the library has a staff member present. This I think also relates to the view help by the management teams as to the role of the school library on student learning.

    Another factor in the lack of published evidence was the demise of the Centre for Professional Studies at Auckland University after the merger of the Auckland College of Education. One small case study report from the College in 2003 was Penny Moore and Maureen Trebilcock’s ‘The school library team: What does it do to influence learning and teaching?’ One of their conclusions was that they gained the impression the schools hadn’t really considered the connection between the school library use and learning outcomes before the study. Collection development seemed to be most important as comments were made on the excellence of their collections.

    There is one other national report I am aware of and that is the Education Review Office’s 2005 report, ‘Student learning in the information landscape.’ Among their findings was that information literacy is a particularly weak area and that there were few examples of a school wide approach. In some schools the “information literacy programme” was taught by the ICT coordinator and focussed largely on computer skills. On the positive side many of the school libraries were set up to support literacy although few schools were assessing the impact of the library on student learning. Sadly this report which promised much hope has been shelved.

    I have checked both the National Library of NZ and the School Library Association of NZ’s web sites but neither have any published evidence only statements to the effect that they support the development of information literate communities.

    As you note Lyn it would be good to build some concrete evidence from New Zealand.

    Brian Waddell
    Teacher Librarian, Karori West and Kelburn Normal Schools

  11. IT and Early Childhood
    The way IT is used in an early childhood setting concerns me. During a child’s early years we really need to focus on the child and their needs. Many children in our early childhood system are suffering. Their bodies are not ready to sit behind a computer in prep. They still need to do gross motor and explore the real world. Yes we see them have fun on a computer and we go WOW when a 4 year old can google Nasa BUT what is the downside.
    There are increasing reports of student violence and aggression towards each other and their teachers in the P-3 area. Why? Not because they are naughty. They have learnt the art of self discipline; they are naive and honest with their actions. They are sending us a message; ‘We need to move,we need to interact with other humans.’ They need to do this constantly to develop their bodies & learn how to interact. Yes we can continue to isolate them (For our sanity and peace of mind only) from each other with computers or colouring in but unless we let them interact and move and guide them through this process we are going to have bigger problems when they become teenagers. Kids will fight and tell on each other but this is the time when we assist them so they learn the process of conflict resolution with out hitting. The research for the development of students (not just academically) is out there. Ann Mann , Steve Biddulf are just a few.
    I believe our policies should reflect children’s learning styles. Holding off with IT programs & other such abstract stuff will benefit these children not hinder them. In fact if we wait later, a 7 or 8 yr old child will soak up this knowledge in minutes. Trust me on this. The catch cry of the 80’s with accelarated learning has been strongly argued against. Scandinavian countries start formal stuff when kids are around 7. Yes it is all play based before this age and driven by the child’s interests.
    Again we can be led to believe that kids love computers but this is all some know as many children do spend hours with their gadgets and the remifications are being seen with the onset of child hood obesity and violence in many childcare centres.
    I just want to speak on behalf of our students as they really don’t get a say, “Let us run and play, don’t lock us in the building, let us squeeze mud and shape playdough and learn some real life skills, let us feel the sun so we don’t get Vit D deficiency etc. When we are ready to sit and write and tap keys we’ll actually sit still for longer than 10 mins with out fidgetting…you’ll be amazed.”
    Hopefully you will have a moment to reflect and experiment with this idea. I have some terrific playbased library lessons which I’m happy to share with you at a workshop some time.
    I agree it is hard to endure the noise and the interesting interactions and to be there guiding them through it all. The energy is huge. But it is worth it for our little cherubs and the long term well being of everyone.

    Lets nature and guide our young children. When we are talking IT lets not generalize when planning. Be age specific when you present educational documents for future learnning: There are 3 distinct year groups…P- 3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12.
    Lets make a real difference.

  12. Last week I had the opportunity to impact on student learning – teaching mind mapping, narrowing or expanding keywords, searching the catalog, how to work the dewey decimal system, note taking, setting up delicious accounts, better search engine use, bibliography writing, online databases, using an index, teaching about the hidden web, search techniques, refining focus questions, all to a year 7 class where I had a number of lessons to help them research for a magazine article they were writing. I was involved in the planning for the unit, and the focus for the assessment is the process of research – rather than the end product. I was not only teaching the students – the teachers were learning as well.

    During book week there were children who had never been in a book week parade gleefully participating as their favourite character, where they listened in awe to an author read her books, parents were invited with their children in the evening for a Pyjama reading party and had excellent story reading modeled to them, we had a book fair where the students could choose their own books, we had a book swap where they could swap their own books. Learning about choices, preferences and decision making.

    Next year the library will be spear heading the drive to evolve our school into an information literate school – bringing on board and working with as many staff who are interested, and working closely with our PYP and MYP co-ordinators so the standards are the same across the whole school, and we have continuums that make sense and staff have ownership. This will have a huge impact on student learning as we work through this process.

    In the other part of my job, I helped to control the masses that descend on the library during break times – they learn there is an appropriate behaviour required. I help children find their favourite reading, I order the books on the wish list they want to read, I help them to choose new authors, I decorate the library with interesting displays that are not only good to look at, but are educational too, the library is open to all at all times during the day.

    The Library also resource the units of inquiry, and offer suggestions on the use of resources. A library web page has been developed that has captured and organised websites under the units of inquiry that teachers use as reference and part of their lessons. I have even helped to plan and co teach an engaging Chinese unit with the Mandarin teacher, through the simple act of suggesting a change in the focus question of her unit, but still maintaining the integrity of what she wanted to do. So much learning occurred in this unit.

    I am able to do these things because I have the full support from my executive. They expect me to do these things, and they have made it quite clear to all staff that I am to be a part of the planning for the units of inquiry, and that I am an essential part of the learning and teaching team. The more I am involved the more the teachers want me to be involved, and the more I want to be involved – I am only restricted by the time I have. I am on a fully flexible schedule, that is protected by the executive. They see me in different classrooms and ask how I was being used, I meet with them regularly to discuss issues and projects I have in mind. I have two assistants who will be joined by a third next year, this will give me more time for teaching and less for the ‘admin’ work, which although is important detracts from what I can do with the students.

    The autonomy and support I have been given as the Teacher Librarian in my current school I know is a rarity, it has allowed me to work toward doing the job that I have always envisaged a TL job to be. I know that I make an impact on student learning every time I interact with a student and staff member in and out of the library – however small.

    The impact of the school library on learning can be as large or small as the executive of the school want it to be. If they want it to be huge, all they need to do is to give complete support for documented best practice. These last comments probably should be in section 3 of this discussion, but they are an integral and essential reason of why the school library at our school is able to have a great impact on student learning in so many ways.
    Dianne McKenzie
    Teacher Librarian / Head of Library
    Discovery College
    Hong Kong

  13. I like Dianne’s last comment in particular, “The impact of the school library on learning can be as large or small as the executive of the school want it to be.” I would say that the majority of TLs report directly to either the deputy or principle and these members of staff usually have the least time to allocate for us. They often come to us when there is something big to be funded or run…but it is the little interactions which we have everyday with students and staff, many of the examples Dianne gave, that have the biggest impact on the teachning and learning that takes place in the library.

    Senior Librarian
    Sydney Boys High School

  14. Thanks Dianne, I really enjoyed reading your post about the ways you are building evidence of impact on a daily basis within your school. What strikes me as particularly empowering is that you are ‘building’ AND ‘living’ (simultaneously) the vision for your school’s library and your role as the TL. An excellent example of evolution in practice, and one that is working very well for you, your executive and the greater school community.

    Your statement, “I am on a fully flexible schedule, that is protected by the executive” (to me) represents empowerment through capacity building. The ongoing conversation with staff and executive about the opportunities you have on a daily basis to impact on student learning is building local evidence, and while this is principally verbal, the message is obviously tangible and appears to becoming part of the fabric of your school’s ‘knowing’.

    Can you provide us with some examples of how you have been working with your community to build this vision of an information literate school? both formal and informal forums, strategies, etc?

    Lyn Hay
    School of Information Studies
    Charles Sturt University, NSW

  15. I have been a primary and secondary teacher librarian and am now working at the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit as Review coordinator.

    I think that teacher librarians support many syllabus outcomes when team teaching, undertaking RFF lessons, collaboratively planning and also when working with students individually or in groups to assist with assignments. I am just putting some of these syllabus outcomes down here because I think TLs make a real difference in unpacking the processes and thinking required to successfully come to grips with an assignment.

    Sample syllabus outcomes which TLs teach towards, there are many more I have left out:

    English K─6 outcomes

    Reading literary texts
    RS2.5 identifies elements such as main characters, setting and events in a variety of literary texts
    RS2.5 makes some inferences about ideas implicit in a text
    ES2.5 reads for sustained periods of time
    RS2.5 shows empathy with characters in stories
    RS2.7 compares the ways in which texts are organised into stages to achieve different purposes
    RS2.7 identifies the main elements of structure in stories, eg orientation, complication and resolution
    RS2.7 recognises how different literary texts are organised according to their purpose
    RS2.8 recognises cohesive links in a text
    RS2.8 recognises the structure of a narrative

    Reading factual texts

    RS2.5 retells and discusses interpretation of texts read or viewed, with attention to main ideas and supporting details in factual texts
    RS2.5 reads for sustained periods of time
    RS2.5 accesses information reports
    RS2.5 finds information for specific purposes in factual texts
    RS2.5 obtains information from a variety of sources
    RS2.6 chooses factual texts at an appropriate level to find information on a research topic
    RS2.6 skims a text for overall message using headings, subheadings, layout and graphics
    RS2.6 begins to use strategies to confirm predictions and to locate information

    Board of Studies NSW: K–10 Curriculum Framework – sample outcomes from the list
    These broad learning outcomes indicate that students will:
    • understand, develop and communicate ideas and information
    • access, analyse, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources
    • work collaboratively with others to achieve individual and collective goals
    • understand and appreciate social, cultural, geographical and historical contexts, and participate as active and informed citizens
    • be productive, creative and confident in the use of technology and understand the impact of technology on society

    Key competencies example – these are in each 7─10 syllabus
    Key competencies are embedded in the English Years 7–10 Syllabus to enhance students’ learning and their continuing development of the effective thinking skills necessary for further education, work and everyday life. The key competencies of collecting, analysing and organising information, communicating ideas and information, planning and organising activities and working with others and in teams reflect core processes of English and are explicit in the objectives, outcomes and content of the syllabus. The competency of problem-solving is developed through the methodologies of the syllabus and through classroom teaching. In order to achieve the outcomes of this syllabus, particularly the outcome that specifically focuses on technology and texts, students need to learn about and use appropriate information technologies, thereby developing the key competency of using technology.

    English sample
    Values and attitudes

    Students will value and appreciate:
    • the importance of the English language as a key to learning
    • the power of language to explore and express views of themselves, others and the world
    • the power of effective communication using the language modes of speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing
    • the role of language in developing positive interaction and cooperation with others
    • the diversity and aesthetics of language through literary and other texts
    • the independence gained from thinking imaginatively, interpretively and critically
    • the power of language to express the personal, social, cultural, ethical, moral, spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of human experiences.

    English 7─10:
    4.3 responds to and composes texts in different technologies
    4.6 draws on experience, information and ideas to imaginatively and interpretively respond to and compose texts
    4.7 thinks critically and interpretively about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts
    4.11 uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning

    From various 7─10 subjects other than English:

    Design and Technology 7─10:
    5.2.1 evaluates and explains the impact of past, current and emerging technologies on the individual, society and environments
    5.3.1 analyses the work and responsibilities of designers and the factors affecting their work

    Drama 7─10:
    5.3.1 responds to, reflects on and evaluates elements of drama, dramatic forms, performance styles, dramatic techniques and theatrical conventions
    5.3.2 analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama
    5.3.3 analyses and evaluates the contribution of individuals and groups to processes and performances in drama using relevant drama concepts and terminology

    Food technology 7─10:
    5.4.1 collects, evaluates and applies information from a variety of sources
    5.4.2 communicates ideas and information using a range of media and appropriate technology

    French 7─10:
    5 MBC.1 explores the interdependence of language and culture in a range of texts and contexts
    5.MBC.2 identifies and explains aspects of the culture of French speaking communities in texts

    Geography 7─10:
    5.1 identifies, gathers and evaluates geographical information
    5.2 analyses, organises and synthesises geographical information
    5.3 selects and uses appropriate written, oral and graphic forms to communicate geographical information
    5.7 analyses the impacts of different perspectives on geographical issues at local, national and global scales

    German 7─10:
    Inquiry-based research assignments and projects
    Assessment activities might include development of multimedia, texts and presentations about key features of the culture of German-speaking communities. When this technique is used for assessment purposes students could be assessed on their ability to:
    • collect and interpret information drawn from the internet, CD-ROMs and the library
    • summarise information and ideas
    • present material in diverse ways

    History 7─10:
    4.6 draws conclusions about the usefulness of sources as evidence in an inquiry
    4.7 identifies different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past
    4.8 locates, selects and organises relevant information from a number of sources, including ICT, to conduct basic historical research
    4.10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written and other forms, including ICT, to communicate effectively about the past

    Mathematics 7─10:
    Content for Stages 2-5: Background Information strand
    Listed here, where appropriate, is information about the mathematics involved, historical and cultural
    connections, and links with other key learning areas and other strands of mathematics

    PDHPE 7─10:
    5.6 analyses attitudes, behaviours and consequences related to health issues affecting young people
    5.8 critically analyses health information, products and services to promote health
    5.11 adapts and evaluates communication skills and strategies to justify opinions, ideas and feelings in increasingly complex situations

    Science 7─10:
    5.16 accesses information from a wide variety of secondary sources
    5.17 explains trends, patterns and relationships in data and/or information from a variety of
    5.18 selects and uses appropriate forms of communication to present information to an
    5.19 uses critical thinking skills in evaluating information and drawing conclusions

    Visual Arts 7─10:
    4.7 explores aspects of practice in critical and historical interpretations of art
    4.8 explores the function of and relationships between artist – artwork – world – audience
    4.10 recognises that art criticism and art history construct meanings

    Lizzie Chase

  16. This is a response from the discussion forum at the South West Sydney Region Teacher Librarians and Library School Administration Officers’ Conference on 10 June 2009.
    I will admit to adding a few thought of my own along the way. Please accept that any inadequacy of this summary is the fault of the writer and make sure that you add your own personal response on the blog. Cheryl Barnier Fairvale High School

    1b) School libraries do currently impact on student learning.
    · School libraries are one of the few places that actively emphasise the value of recreational reading for both the self esteem and learning potential of students.
    · For learning to be valued children need to be subjected to a number of different teachers / role models.
    · School libraries are meeting the increased need for Multi-literacy – Students increasingly need to be able to make the connection between different media.
    · School libraries demonstrate through their existence the mixture of knowledge and recreation that is essential to life-long learning.

  17. Lyn asked “Can you provide us with some examples of how you have been working with your community to build this vision of an information literate school? both formal and informal forums, strategies, etc?”

    I have been quite vocal in what my goals are for next year – letting the executive know that next year my focus will be on information literacy, and I would appreciate them supporting this. I have had discussions with the MYP co-ordinator and from this we will be co-planning 2 professional development days focused around information literacy in the secondary school, immediately following these days is Ross Todds seminar in HK to which I have been able to talk 3 other people, (including the MYP, PYP and Primary Principal) plus myself to attend.

    I was part of a group of people to meet together to discuss how Extended essay co-ordinators and School Librarians (plus TL’s) are better able to support the students doing the extended essay, from this think tank, I created a wiki that outlines the skills required to complete the extended essay at an exemplar essay – as part of the secondary schools push we will be using this ‘end skill’ list as a basis from which to move backwards down the grade levels to ensure the students are equipped to handle the EE before they get there.

    The MYP co-ordinator is keen to do as much as we can as we head toward IB authorisation, and I can us working quite a lot together on this.

    Talking to people in key places is a necessary part of reaching the goal. I also ‘impressed’ with my end of year report where I outlined where we had been, where we are now and where the mission of the library will be taking us into the next 12 months. There are a number of small steps I have been, and will be taking over a long time. I have learned that you need to go slow so that people have time to catch up with what you are wanting, saying and doing. Give them a little at a time, so they want more rather than overwhelming them with too much.

    Dianne Mckenzie
    Discovery College
    Hong Kong

  18. Hi Dianne and Lyn

    Regarding building information literate schools and strategies:

    Advocacy is one of the keys to building an information literate school and is almost as important as what you do. We don’t spend enough time ‘selling ourselves’ and what we can do.

    Teacher librarians have (or should have) one of the best views of what staff are doing in terms of literacy and thinking and the associated skills to look at the issue from an interdisciplinary and generic perspective. Dianne we are IB in middle years so I know what you are going through on this one!

    Being part of team meetings where discussions of the curriculum are made and enacted is essential because these are where curriculum decisions are made. If you aren’t part of these groups then work out how you can be invited to do so.

    Strategically lobbying or working with the ‘power players’ within your schools sounds obvious but is necessary and must be on-going. “This is what I can do for you” is probably the phrase I repeat most often in my work with staff and students. Quickly followed by “now can you do this for me.” It has to be two way interaction!

    Building quality units of work that have real intellectual rigour and breadth in terms of the number of students you reach is a high priority

    Recently we had to decide whether or not to put an enormous effort into the Science learning area at the expense of others. When we objectivvely assessed things the tasks and associated thinking suggested had plenty of potential but it spread across an entire year group. After weeks of painstaking negotiation we now will see an entire year group for seven hours in a two-week period and look at crucial thinking in their investigation. We are focussing on things like:

    Why do we range of resources and what do some resources provide that others don’t?
    Credibility of sources and analysis of information – what to look for when making such a judgement
    How to interpret the questions given
    How do we look at an issues from multiple perspectives via the compass rose
    How will I contruct an argument in a logical way that uses evidence but at the same time acknowledges bias and personal point of view.

    The key for us was the richness of the task and the fact that we have the students for a sustained period of time. We lost some business as well due to unavailability but we felt that this had the greater educational value.

    We are also building generic thinking scaffolds that say – if you want this type of thinking you should use this one…. These scaffolds are generic in that they are not beholden to any specific curriculum area and we make movies and sound recordings that can be downloaded from our site. Then of course we get the invitations to go into classrooms and help teache these thinkin skills.

    I think advocacy is so important and much under rated. In fact, I have just written an article for our WA schools called Advocacy begins with you and will be avsilable if anyone else wants to have a look at some of the ideas.

    Gary Green:-)
    Presbyterian Ladies’ College
    Perth, Western Australia

  19. I have not been in the process of collecting data to measure the success or otherwise of school libraries – so my data is mostly qualitative rather than quantative.

    Reading. Our school has a 20min silent reading program each day and teachers are great about ensuring that all students have suitable reading material. Most of this is provided by our school library. All students are borrowers and students are assisted by library staff to select relevant material. Since its inception, reading scores at national test instruments have usually been at or above state average.
    Peer tutoring operates out of our library and the materials for this program are often accessed from the library.

    Research. Teachers provide copies of all assignements to the library and often the teacher-librarian work in a team teaching model when introducing the assignment and assisting kds in their research. Often times, the teacher-librarian will develop a list of useful websites to assist the students in their research, One-one assistance is always available.
    The teacher-librarian also accesses information/materials from other sources to assist students and also services a homework centre on selected afternoons.
    The teacher-librarian also delivers the BOS program ‘All My Own Work’.
    Through specialist knowledge of resources and dialogue with students and teachers, the teacher-librarian is able to direct students to suitable texts that meet learning needs.
    In my wanderings I see greater useage of the library by all faculties. Rarely is it not in use by three or four classes/groups of students.

  20. 2. How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?

    Collaborations between the teacher and the teacher librarian have a positive impact on student learning. In a large school like KHS, teacher / teacher librarian collaborations give students access to the TLS expertise in information literacy and the teacher’s expertise in subject content. Together they are able to provide quality learning experiences. In addition, the teacher gains expertise in information literacy that is then utilised with other classes and the TL gains expertise in the subject area which is beneficial for the TL in resourcing the curriculum and in helping students individually or in small groups at a later date.

    Teachers utilise the library for student research. The library provides a different learning environment, a student centred environment where students are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning through independent research but with the support of the teacher and/ or teacher librarian.

    Kooringal High School Focus Group
    (Cathy Edwards, Head Teacher, English; Deidre Lisle, HSIE; Mary Anne Brennan, History; Narelle Forsyth, Teacher Librarian)

  21. This questions asks what difference the library makes to student learning. I often ask myself whether what the students at my school are doing in or through the library is improving their learning and if so in what way. Although I have not conducted research into this question at Annandale North and know how important evidence from research would be I’m going to bravely claim the following. Students become better problem solvers through engaging with information problems. Students gain confidence and independence at dealing with text, new ideas and information sources, complex tasks. Students learn to cooperate with others to find answers to research questions, tackle multi diminsional tasks, present findings to others. Students become excited about inquiring and knowledge. Students become skilled at using technologies purposefully. Students become better readers through regular encouragement and real support of leisure reading . Students become more engaged with school through the student-centred nature of a library with inquiry-based programs. Students learn to think critically by engaging with knowledge from many sources. Students learn that their interests and abilities are catered for in a safe environment so are willing to take risks. Students develop independence exploring knowledge, finding answers and learn to use resources that best meet the needs of the problems. Students grow from having regular contact with another teacher who cares about their interests and work needs.

    I should provide examples of how this happens at ANPS and hope this blog will encourage me to take time to carry out some research.

  22. from Anne McLellan, Teacher Librarian, Kempsey West Public School

    I think that we also need to look at equity issues when considering the impact of school libraries on student learning.

    In many cases, the school library provides resources that are not available at home. Some students in disadvantaged areas come to school from homes where there are no books, and parents who don’t read, or don’t value reading- let alone use the Internet meaningfully to find information and transform it. A growing digital divide is bringing about increasing inequities and 2 classes of students- those who have parents who read at home, value books, and are computer literate, and those who come from homes with no books, no Internet, and no technological expertise.

    The school library can help to address these inequities, by providing resources for leisure reading and providing information, both online and in books. Hopefully students will develop an interest in reading that is not always modelled at home. Perhaps their interest may not be “quality fiction”, but at least they will be showing an interest in books, and developing reading skills. I recently did a student survey, about what students like reading, and purchase resources for leisure reading based upon the needs and interests of students- an argument between students wanting to borrow a Bart Simpson book illustrates this, but at least they are reading, and might move onto something else!

    A school library can have a great impact on student learning by providing resources for leisure reading, and supporting classroom programs with suitable resources. The teacher librarian needs to be able to successfully integrate technology into teaching, and show students how to use technology in a relevant and meaningful manner- especially if students don’t have the opportunity to use technology at home. A teacher librarian can make a great difference to student learning, especially if they develop relevant online resources to support students based on the specific needs and abilities of their own community of students.

    Whilst I can see the impact that a school library with a trained, pro-active teacher librarian has on school learning, I also still worry about the 2 classes of students that are developing. Despite being addressed by equity programs within schools, BER funding etc, I know that there are students who, because of their backgrounds, will be better able to address the technological needs of the 21st century than others. Hopefully, in the school library a spark of interest can be ignited in some of these students, and they can go on to overcome these inequities.

  23. This is a group round table response from the Northern Tablelands Teacher Librarian group. The school involved are a mixture or rural Public, Central and High schools plus a few Private schools in the area who meet every term.

    – Refer to Student Achievement document on the ASLA site http://www.asla.org.au/research/academic_attainment.htm
    – School libraries can only have an impact on teaching and learning if they are staffed with fully qualified TL’s. The physical space of a School Library can not serve the school community if it not staffed with qualified staff.
    – TL’s cater for all KLA and curriculum needs across the school, they have a unique knowledge of curriculum needs and a broad knowledge of the resources available
    – TL’s keep up with changing curriculum and provide the resources necessary to deal with these changes
    – If TL’s are involved in all levels of a unit, ie planning, teaching and evaluating that not only teach the students but often end up teaching the teachers as well therefore the skills learnt by both will be used more widely in other environments
    – School Libraries provide resources that are cross curriculum and therefore can redirect both teachers and students to relevant resources
    – School Libraries provide resources for students with different learning styles and learning needs
    – School Libraries provide specific resources for special needs groups like GATS or STL students at point of need
    – School Libraries are the connective tissue in the school as the library is the only place that deals with all faculties, KLA’s and students regularly
    – School Libraries provide for teacher needs in the areas of resources, technology and Information Skills and research strategies that cater fro all student needs and abilities
    – TL’s provide quality control of research skills, they also reinforce the concepts of copyright, plagiarism, authenticity of information, reliability of sources and the moral and legal issues involved in research
    – TL’s not only have an essential knowledge of student needs but also deal with the needs of the school administration
    – School Libraries provide a place for collegiality among the staff
    – TL’s see the whole school and an often see problems (both emotional and with resources) as they develop from this perspective
    – School Libraries provide links for teachers
    – School Libraries provide extra curricula activities that help students achieve their full potential
    – The School Library and the TL often provide pastoral care to a specific group of students who tend to seek the security of the Library Staff
    – Increased recreational reading improves students learning
    – There is a need for reading for pleasure – it is important that TL’s address this issue as the curriculum doesn’t cater for the life skill and the School Library is the only place in the school where this happens
    – School Libraries and TL’s provide a place where assistance can be provided for in depth research, especially with Year 11 and 12
    – In smaller schools School Libraries often provide assistance to community members, either for study or recreational resources. They assist both parents and ex-students in post school studies as many are studying with Distance Education facilities
    – The school Library frequently provides the only centre for learning and in-situ support for many of the NSW DET’s students enrolled in Distance Ed. Courses (eg we have 15 students enrolled in 9 different subjects). These students require access and support for a wide variety of ICT’s (video conferencing, computers, CD’s, recording devices and digital photography hardware and software) and learning support.
    – The School Library is a key doorway to the school, often one of the few places that parents and the public have easy access to
    – School Libraries provides an in depth knowledge of both the resources in the school and the library
    – The TL is a key person to encourage others personal and professional development, they often assume a leadership role in the area
    – The TL is often involved in the mentoring of young teachers and prac teachers, helping them to develop skills in the areas of research and information skills that will benefit both their teaching and student learning
    – There is a personalization of the School Library by the TL to suit the needs of the whole school which ultimately benefits both the staff and student learning
    – Once Australian schools move to a National Curriculum the role of School Library and TL will be even more applicable for improving the teaching and learning within the school environment

  24. Libraries are not just books. As with all teaching and learning experiences a quality program enhanes student outcomes. Quality library programs develop quality literacy skills. A well resourced libray gives equity to students. Our society have families who may not have the resources, knowledge or capacity to promote high quality reading and learning opportunities for their children. A school library has the facility to provide this gift.

  25. Thank you for your contributions regarding evidence of the impact of school libraries on student learning.

    I think Alison Lockhart’s conclusion – “I should provide examples of how this happens at ANPS and hope this blog will encourage me to take time to carry out some research” – sums up one of the problems our profession has faced over the years, ie. TL practitioners not initiating evidence-based practice activities within their school to build local evidence of impact(s).

    Certainly observations and testimonials from teachers, principals (such as those shared by Judy Hall) and TLs (as those provided here) are indeed useful and valuable, but I sense from the limited contributions to this discussion thread that this needs to become a priority for all TLs.

    How can we as a profession build a stronger evidence-based movement to address this, and how can principals and other school-based leaders assist TL practitioners in building loocal evidence?

    I am interested to hear people thoughts on this.

    Lyn Hay
    School of Information Studies
    Charles Sturt University

  26. I’m the Teacher Librarian at St George Girls High School, and I would have to respond that definitely school libraries support student learning! To provide some evidence I would have to say I love statistics to see how my library is running.
    I saw it as a priority in seeing how the library is keeping up with the changing needs of teaching and learning and to keep it on the track of our shared vision for the library here.
    Every two years a library user attitude survey is run, and then statistically collated to then provide support for major changes to planning in the library. Last survey (Aug 2007) I collated over 500 completed surveys from students, teachers and some parents. The evidence in the student answers to the question ‘The library aids my advancement in my studies’ and ‘The library enables me to be more efficient in my studies’ showed over 80% gave a high level of satisfaction with their information literacy outcomes.
    Other questions on the provision of user friendly cataloguing tools and various types of information sources also showed a high degree of satisfaction, particularly with the senior students.
    Other major sections of the survey covered the effectiveness of the library service, the library as a place and frequency of use. The last section gave users the chance to rank their five most important factors in the library and five best improvement opportunities. It’s not possible to show the scope and depth of the survey here in a blog.
    We regularly run a library usage survey “who sits where, when..” to manage the library as a place and spaces within it. Resource usage is also monitored on a regular basis.
    What is all this showing me? That the library is a well-used, well-loved place in the school..the hub of the school learning culture.
    Specialist collections for Year 12 English students, a senior study collection of very recent texts books, information skills courses run for all year 7 and year 9 students and close cooperation with all faculties in acertaining the best resources are some of the ways our library is supporting student learning.
    I agree with Lee that there is a personalisation in the school library to suit the particular needs of the school.
    While the survey isn’t of the scope and depth of Ross and Lyn’s research I hope our local evidence is of use to you.

  27. Jane McKenzie – Teacher librarian & Assistant Principal, Quirindi Public School, NSW

    Apparently not at all. Am I correct in seeing that the new websites that NSW DET is producing for schools DOES NOT mention school libraries at all – I hope that I am wrong and I have missed it somewhere. There under the Curriculum & Activities tab are links to sport, student support and extension, arts, academic opportunities just to name a few but no library or mention of anything relating to the library. Teacher librarians know what we can offer our whole school community and the impact we can have on all aspects of student and staff learning – from info lit, web 2.0, professional development, visual literacy, inquiry based learning, selecting relevant resources / books it goes on and on. In terms of building evidence perhaps as networks, if you are lucky enough to have them, we can as a group question, survey, interview, reflect on what we see happening in the classroom. We need to ensure as tls we are using criteria to assess our students learning and keep these records just as “normal” teachers do.

  28. 1 (b) How do current school libraries impact on school learning?

    Teacher-librarians are lucky enough to be able to develop big-picture views of learning within the school environment. They are privy to what is happening across the school as they have contact with a wide range of staff and students, and access to a formidable range of information sources and resources.

    One of the most important impacts school libraries currently have on school learning is that of supporting teachers and students in their use of information to create understandings and knowledge in order to achieve a range of learning outcomes.

    The skills needed to be able to effectively use and evaluate information need to be highly developed. Students are very often good users of technology. They are not afraid to explore its possibilities. They are however, not always proficient at being able to evaluate information. Often their searching is superficial and focused on finding an answer rather than developing an understanding of the issue. Not all students have high levels of literacy. For many reading and making sense of information is a daily struggle. School libraries offer the staff, assistance and flexibility to be able to support the range of student abilities and stages of learning.

    Teacher-librarians work with teachers and students on tasks which are real, which focus not on finding answers but rather developing understandings and creating solutions based on the knowledge gained. The format in which this learning is presented is based on the purpose of the task and the intended audience.

    Trained teacher-librarians, trained support staff, flexible timetabling and spaces in secondary school libraries allow for a range of uses by individuals, groups and classes. A range of print, multi-media and online resources allow access to information on a highly individual level. Access to learning technologies, access to both recreational activities and reading resources, access to a wide choice of literature for enjoyment and access to the school library before, during and after school hours is vital to the provision of equity to learning opportunities. These all impact on school learning to both support and complement the learning and teaching opportunities offered by the school as a whole.

    Small, rural, comprehensive secondary school.

  29. Thank you to every one who has responded thus far. The question of evidence is a challenging one, and historically I do not think that we have been good at documenting outcomes and impacts of school library initiatives. I am glad to see some outcomes and impacts statements mentioned here. At present I am analyzing a very large body of data, including some open ended questions regarding the outcomes and impacts of school library initiatives, such as information literacy instruction, on student learning, achievement and broader life goals. While the open question explicitly asked school librarians to state some outcomes, many of the responses do not do this – rather, they provide long, at times very long descriptions of what school librarians do, with outcomes and impacts assumed some how to be lurking in there. I think this is at the heart of the evidence problem. What do you think?

  30. “How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?”

    Hi Ross,

    Yes, I agree that often outcomes and impacts are “assumed some how to be lurking in there”. When a new syllabus comes in, educators often try to bend existing units of work to fit the new document, rather than to use the new outcomes to plan new, statistically-valid, pre- and post- tests that will enable staff to prove that learning has occurred. I’m guilty of that myself, trying to stretch old print-based resources to fit new units when library budgets are too tight.

    Unless a school has cause to collect measurable data of the students’ achieved outcomes – eg. schools defending expeditures in Priority Schools Programs; teacher librarians undertaking post-graduate study (and requiring valid results for their assignments); etc – that all-important post-test, and results analysis, often get lost in the shuffle in the end-of-term mayhem, and that often happens four times a year, of course.

    In a previous school, long before outcomes appeared in every KLA syllabus, we had our first taste of the power of collaboratively-planning valid, measurable, pre- and post- tests, when we re-examined our school-based science and technology units, spent a considerable amount of money on relevant resources that truly supported what we were hoping to achieve, and ensured that every S&T unit maximised the capacity for Talking & Listening (in English).

    Schools need to plan for constant revisiting of syllabuses and evaluation strategies. I was going to say especially in schools with a high turnover of staff but, no, every school needs to do this in a structured, cyclic way.

    Certainly, I’ve noticed renewed opportunities for the teacher-librarian to be more involved in collaboratively-planning valid, measurable, pre- and post- tests as a result of my voluntary role as an editor of several teaching colleagues’ half-yearly student reports. When educators have to clearly articulate just where on the learning continuum each student is, and for each key learning area, the traditional, waffly comments of yesteryear just don’t wash. I can see where certain gaps are exposed, and then I try my best to lend assistance.

    Statements about students’ achievement, at our school, now have to be written in terms of outcomes. The new online reports, as daunting as they are, do seem to be assisting with providing a strong focus on value-added results. Of course, the new reports have brought in an additional problem: many outcomes sound too much like eduspeak, and that can really make some parents feel even more out of the loop.

    And, of course, sometimes the best ideas for how something could have been evaluated come too late. (Hurray for cyclic programs, which can be improved each time the units are revisited.)

    Similarly, a few years ago, I volunteered my services as an editor of the Annual School Report, and we noticed that the library had, previously, not really rated a mention in the ASR. The last few years have seen added paragraphs about the interrelationship of this school library with other important, high-profile school programs and events: Holiday Reading Is Rad, reading picnics, visiting storytellers, participation in annual community artshows, book reviews in the local newspaper, Circle Time, Premier’s Reading challenge, book raps, and a wiki.

    This year, I hope to add OASIS Library borrowing statistics, too, and this is another easily-obtained set of data.

    How to ensure that higher order thinking, and pre- and post-tests, are vital elements of the teaching program?

    Well, I’m a great advocate of the online book raps and event raps run by the School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit (NSW DET). Programming and planning (including evaluation strategies) are provided. At the conclusion of each rap, we have solid data of learning progress, and the students’ jointly-constructed responses to the rap points remain online, for parents to visit via home or local library computers.

    While the maximum benefit from book raps would, ideally, include teachers and the teacher librarian working collaboratively on the rap points, we have also used a highly effective “withdrawal of rappers” strategy, that requires the students reporting back to their classmates. We timetable what is achievable, and that can vary. Because book rapping takes place in the school library – and the new interactive whiteboard arrived this term, and is also in the library, the profile of the library is constantly being flagged (and raised).

    Our school wiki (which I instigated, and made a point of branding as the Penrith PS Library Wiki (see “Scan” vol 28 no 1, 2009, pp 30-37) has several pages dedicated to outcomes-based annotations of the students’ progress, much of it in the students’ own words – pre-, during and post- tests, as gathered through whole-school Talking & Listening programs, such as Circle Time (see “Scan” vol 26 no 4, 2007, pp 4-7).

    Ian McLean,
    Teacher librarian,
    Penrith PS, NSW

  31. Jackie Hawkes – tl in large comprehensive hs in Western Sydney

    Let me count the ways! Or share the starts as above.

    I believe that it is the PEOPLE part of school libraries that create meaningful interaction and connection with individuals, resources learning, and aspects of technology. The diversity of all the above isn’t easy to keep up with, but then trying and balancing is a strong component in all school library approaches.

    People figure strongly in our policies, day to day management, certainly communications across the board (kids, lib staff, teachers, admin, parents, community), thinking/ doing and supporting learning, creating of positive learning environments and experiences, resource development, and planning and prioritizing of everything from skills to displays to personal mind sets.

    As tls we collaborate with kids and teachers and share learning with both in contexts that are different from conventional classroom settings. We have formal and incidental input into a whole spectrum of learning situations for all concerned. We often become the link for the people, projects, attitudes, technology, resources, environment and support that helps make genuine learning happen.

    Last year I devised a listing of practical ways in which I try to support teaching and to support learning to share with a range of other info at faculty re-orientations to our lovely library. It seems important to identify both the formal and informal types of input we can have AND to communicate it so that we can DO it and not just be a peripheral person to the learning that should take place in our own schools. Yes, people’s response is sometimes, “WOW, I didn’t know you could/ would do all that.” So getting our personal role “out there” is a plus for all.

    So whether we call it Info Process or Guided Inquiry, it really doesn’t matter. There are so many ways we can be part of the whole learning bit. Some is intuitive and some is formalized. Some is people stuff and some is technology. All is learning. We need to be proactive in doing a range of initiatives to make sure we are always right in the middle of supporting curriculum and other learning interests for kids and teachers and our selves.
    JACkie Hawkes – SCHS Library – LEARN . . . to do your BEST!

  32. The question: How, if at all, do current school libraries impact on student learning?
    “if at all” is a provocate inclusion. Perhaps the question can be answered thus:
    a. not at all, if transporting all students to a public library having all the neccessary curriculum supporting literature and staff;
    b. not at all, if a public library van comes to the school with the relevant literature and staff for each class;
    c. not at all, if the objective is to achieve the worst rate of literacy in “current” times.

    Gordon Pikes CEO Rightforu Pty Ltd – Developer MARC21 semantics.

  33. Teacher Librarian: Galvin Park Secondary College, Vic.

    Personally, I cannot provide “hard” evidence as is being asked (where’s the time) but anecdotally I can assure you when a student is shown a research procedure that helps them find THE piece of information they require and the “aha moment” arrives re how to research and where then, quite clearly, learning has taken place.
    Currently I am in the process of assisting Year 11 and Year 12 students become used to using the newspaper database “Newsbank”. It is astounding the number of teachers who do not know of this service (I will be conducting an in service soon on this) but once they see it their professionalism kicks in and suddenly the library AND the teacher unite with a common goal that definitely improves student outcomes down the track. To what level can never be calculated at this school due to time factors but you know it is happening without quantifying it to the nth degree.
    I certainly agree with the contributor who stated it was the “executive” at the school that propels (my word) the process. If they have tunnel vision re investing the money, thus time, by not supporting a proper library structure where teacher librarians can actually teach the skills so magnificently outlined by others in this forum then the school will NOT leap forward in increasing student outcomes, various scores for University entrance and life long research skills.
    Here is an opportunity for you to “force” the executive to push information literacy into the 21 st century by making strong recommendations that a school MUST, and I repeat MUST, place the teacher librarians at the front of the curriculum and not as a token addendum. It needs to be a directive and not an “if you like” recommendation. If done I cannot see how all statistics would not rise.

  34. Teacher Librarian Nowra Public School

    I have been collaborating with teachers K-6 (30) since I have been in this position (4 years). Time was allocated for this collaboration. The collaboration has been more successful with some stage teams than others, due to their level of understanding of the importance of concurrence of learner goals between the work in the library and classroom. These teams now include the IL and ICT criteria (along with other criteria for classroom work) addressed in the library into their stage rubrics. The TL and classroom teacher collaboratively assess these criteria and at times student assessment for these criteria effect their overall assessment. The teachers who collaborate in this way have developed an awareness of how library work can improve outcomes for students and how the work in the library plays a role in this.

  35. High school librarians need more time, more SASS staff and not to be allocated most of their timetable on supervising senior students if they are to make major contributions to the learning patterns of the whole school. We also need more training on how to use the technology required by students in c21.

    Libraries are not large enough and very few are equipped to a standard students expect. We need more computers and more relevant books, more flexible layouts, more understanding by other staff members of the role we play. A library is only as good as the amount of us made of it by both staff and students. As a TL I am continually asking teachers to bring their classes into the library but they feel the main priority is completing the syllabus i.e. all the assessments and other programmed aspects.
    Few are willing to incorporate library use when they can stay in their classrooms and use IWB’s, Clickview, etc from there.

    Once upon a time these were only available from the library but now technology is often better outside the library. Our role is to inspire the quest for learning in students and enable them to use research techniques wherever they may be. As a TL this is a role I see as crucial. We need to have time to develop the students respect for TL’s by showing them new methods of research, establishing a relationship with students and getting the opportunity to work with them and staff.

  36. Hi Carol,

    As a primary TL, I was touched by your mention of “continually asking teachers to bring their classes into the library but they feel the main priority is completing the syllabus i.e. all the assessments and other programmed aspects.”

    That must be so incredibly frustrating. I don’t want this to sound patronising; primary school TLs find it hard to envisage the way large secondary staffs have to work. The strategies I have used to “win over” reluctant K-6 teachers re coming to the school library were made easier because we can timetable everyone in, anyway. Also, it isn’t so impossible to get the whole primary staff in the one place at the one time. A co-teacher and myself could report on our successful collaborations to the whole staff, at any fortnightly staff meeting (and to make other teachers so jealous that they ask to work with me “next time”).

    You are right that in a school with state-of-the-art access to IWBs, Clickview, etc., it’s become very hard for the school library to compete. I guess we have to keep looking for aspects of the role that we can do better, things that we can prove – with evidence-based practice – will definitely improve the students’ achievement of outcomes.

    Ian McLean,
    Teacher librarian,
    Penrith PS, NSW.

  37. Libraries impact on Student learning by:
    1. Promote a love of literature and learning.
    2. Provides a calm place for undertaking research.
    3. Provides a cross over between technology and print
    4. Promotes independent research.
    5. They can be a place of belonging and a refuge.
    6. They back up and support classroom teaching

  38. I have recently got a teacher librarian job at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College – Berkeley Vale Campus and in only 3 days as the teacher librarian I have seen the impacts that the library has on many levels within the school towards students learning.

    I have seen how students curiosity for the internet has lead them to new websites or information that conflicts aspects of their previous knowledge. Hay & Foley (2009) state “basis of student learning through the school library is an inquiry based instructional program (p. 17). ” The students seemed to automatically begin this process through questioning (inquiry), reflecting on background knowledge and basic evaluating skills.

    School libraries offer a range of resources allowing students to access diverse information which in turn offeres opportunities to develop their learning through inquiry based instructional programs. As well as catering to further develop students skills in accessing information.

    Tania Abbott

  39. Hi,

    1980 – School libraries developing literacy.
    2009 – School libraries developing multiliteracies.

    If we agree that the desired eduational outcome is to produce transliterate students. Students who can can move across text which has been composed in a variety of formats (relying on their skills in print literacy, visual literacy, digital literacy, critical literacy …). Then I can think of no other area in a school, other than the library, which provides the tools and the expertise to achieve that goal.

    I chose the word ‘developing’ rather than ‘supporting’ to acknowledge our active role in the process. Through collection development and management we try to provide resources in a variety of media and in addition We tackle the tough literacy – critical literacy abnd an aspect of digital literacy that is often overlooked – through our particular focus on information literacy.

    [Critical literacy: The ability to question, challenge and evaluate the meanings and purposes of texts. It involves an understanding of the ways in which values and attitudes are communicated through language, including how subject matter, point of view and language embody assumptions about issues such as gender, ethnicity and class.

    Digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology. ]

    We document our involvement in teaching these literacies in the various tools/programs/handouts we create and run. Time permitting – we enhance this through pre-tests and post-tests. These make what we do explicit – to staff and students.

    Our focus on content rather than medium encourages students to see the connections across formats and facilitates the development of transliteracy (from any media into the media that meets your needs and interests ).

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