Category Archives: Information Literacy

Changing Roles

My understanding of the role (and especially the future) of the teacher-librarian continues to change. I have read so much in the past year about the future, or lack thereof, of the school library that my understanding of just what teacher-librarian’s do, their role within the school community, changes almost drastically from one day to another.

For my new semester at university, I have been reading a few articles on the future of the library in this ‘post-literate’ world. And I have come to a new conclusion: no matter how much the focus turns from the maintenance of a print-based collection to a digital one, no matter how the library is perceived, even if they take away the books and the library, there will still be a role for the teacher-librarian (even if they change the title).

My current understanding of the role of the teacher-librarian is founded upon the importance of information literacy, upon the need to ensure that students are critically aware and able to decipher all information to the best of their ability. Even if there is no longer a physical library in schools, but merely a digital one, the teacher-librarian may still have a role in ensuring that all students (and staff) are information literate.

But that, even there, is my worst case scenario. In my dreams, the future is one where the importance of the book and the printed and bound word is still recognised, and the library is not just something that teachers and principals put up with for tradition’s sake, but because they recognise its value, and its fundamental beauty. But what can I say? I’m a traditionalist, and I’m a romantic.

Further reading:

Mai Lee (2010), A library without books?

Doug Johnson (2010), Libraries for a post-literate society.

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Filed under Information Literacy, Librarianship, Of concern, Ranting, Teaching

Teacher and Teacher-Librarian Collaboration

I have been studying my Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) for almost a semester now, and again and again I have been told about the benefits of teacher’s and teacher-librarian’s collaborating. As part of a current assignment, I’ve been exploring the lack of such collaboration as an obstacle to the promotion and development of information literacy skills throughout a school. And I just can’t help but get angry at the complete lack of discussion that exists between the different departments of education and the different spheres within the schools.

Of course there is a lack of teacher interest in collaborating with teacher-librarians! I would argue that many teachers out there have no idea¬†what could be achieved if they collaborated with their teacher-librarians, no idea of the benefits. I certainly wouldn’t have, and I qualified as a teacher at the end of last year.

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Filed under Information Literacy, Librarianship, Of concern, Ranting, Teaching

Concerning Wikipedia…

Wikipedia logo

Wikipedia. A word that can shivers of dread down any educator’s spine.

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has experienced an almost viral spread that has seen it become the go-to source of information all around the world. The online encyclopaedia contains information on pretty much any topic that can, and has, been thought up: from the strange corners of science to largely unknown historical figures and influential inventors. Wikipedia is clearly a source of basic (and sometimes in-depth) knowledge on many a topic. And yet many educators refuse to acknowledge it as a useful resource.

During my previous university studies, I completed eighteen weeks of practical teaching placement in four different secondary schools. And at each of these schools I witnessed a teacher emphatically tell their students that on no account was Wikipedia to be used as a reference for school assignments. I myself have been guilty of flat-out refusing students the use of Wikipedia as a resource. But why is this?

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