ETL 504 Critical Reflection

This subject has done more than just extend my knowledge and understanding of the role of the teacher librarian (TL) as leader. More importantly it has been a journey that has completely transformed my mindset. Initially I reacted with resistance and despair regarding my opportunities or desire to be a leader. At the end of the journey I find myself inspired, confident and in possession of a clear vision and a plan of how to achieve it.

Here is my journey.

In my initial blog post and forum entries I admitted to my underlying belief that I had neither the opportunity nor desire to be a leader (Treen, 2013a).  As I learned about organisation theory however I came to see that my perception of leadership was based on traditional leader centric models. Transformative models which distribute leadership and empower individuals appear to be more successful in the 21st century workplace (Kotter, n.d.). Don Tapscott’s (n.d.) tantalising glimpse into leadership without leaders really sparked my interest and cemented my vision of what kind of leader I want to be.

In this blog post I also alluded to a past unsuccessful experience of myself in a leadership position. I now know that much better results could have been achieved if I had operated in line with my current understandings of human behaviour, interpersonal processes and the psychology of change (Kotter,n.d.).

Included in the initial blog post was my emerging awareness of the need to preface any leadership endeavour by building relationships, expertise and credibility (Donham, 2005). If I am to become an instructional leader, collaborating in the design of 21st teaching and learning units across the school I need to begin developing expertise in this area. In order to educate myself further on the specifics of 21st century learning I explored the work of Shaw (2008). I also took a closer look at the General Capabilities within the Australian Curriculum which are integral to the work of the TL in supporting 21st century learning needs. (ACARA, 2011). My learning was summarised in my next blog (Treen, 2013b). While not strictly about leadership this was important in developing my expertise which is a crucial element of leadership.

I spoke in the first blog post about not yet having a vision. Creating a vision statement and strategic plan for its implementation are important leadership capabilities (Kotter,n.d.). Going through this process in Assignment 2 has ignited a commitment and provided me with the confidence to lead change in my school. Likewise the process of engaging with a variety of tools such as STEEP, SWOT, and SMART to inform and guide the process of strategic planning was empowering (ETL 504 Forum, 8/9/2013). Reading about the 8 Step Process for Leading Change provided further inspiration that even someone inexperienced in leadership can lead change by taking a systematic approach (Kotter, n.d.). The next blog post was on the related topic of strategic planning (Treen, 2013c). Here I made the connection that having a written plan would contribute to my credibility and advocacy which may encourage teacher confidence and participation in collaboration. I was impressed with the simplicity of Wong’s (2010) format for strategic long term planning.

Learning about the concept of leading from the middle was transformational for me. I understand it to be about enlisting and engaging the support of my colleagues as we work toward the common goal of enhancing student outcomes (Haycock, 2010). The blog posted on 22nd September demonstrates my new belief that leadership opportunities for the TL are in fact abundant (Treen, 2013d). TLs are uniquely positioned for leadership in terms of instruction, collaboration, curriculum, technology and the use of information.

I now believe that for a TL effective leadership is about the ability to:

  • develop a vision based on enhancing student outcomes
  • develop and implement a strategic plan to turn the vision into reality
  • build relationships, expertise and credibility to facilitate teamwork and engage in collaboration
  • support others through the process of change
  • use data driven evaluation to guide future planning

To achieve the above the effective TL will need to demonstrate exemplary interpersonal skills and character traits.

I am now confident that I possess the skills, expertise and desire to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by my unique position as TL to effectively lead change in order to enhance student outcomes.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2011). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from                                                                              

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

Haycock, K. (2010). Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for Change. In Coatney,S. (Ed.).  The many faces of school library leadership.(pp.1-12)  Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved from                                    

Shaw, A. (2008). What is 21st Century Education?  Retrieved from:

Tapscott, D. (n.d.). Four Principles For The Open World. Retrieved from:

Treen, V. (2013a) ETL 504 Leadership in the School Library. Retrieved from:    

Treen, V. (2013b) ETL 504 Module 3 Learning in the 21st Century. Retrieved from:

Treen, V. (2013c) ETL 504 Module 5 Strategic Planning. Retrieved from:  

Treen, V. (2013d) ETL 504 Leading from the Middle.  Retrieved from:                 

Wong, T. (2012) Strategic long-range planning for school library media centers. Library Media Connection 31(2), 22-23.




ETL 504 Leading From The Middle

The concept of leading from the middle appeals to me as this moves away from a leaders and followers mentality. Instead it is all about enlisting and engaging the support of my colleagues as we work towards the common goal of enhancing student outcomes. Haycock (2010) describes this type of leadership as group activity based on social influence. As TL I am positioned both physically and conceptually at the hub of the school and I can clearly see how the relationships I am building put me in a potentially influential position. Because my time, expertise and the physical space and resources which I manage are shared by all I am uniquely placed to be a leader in terms of instruction, collaboration, curriculum, technology and the use of information. I can model and encourage the characteristics of a lifelong learner to the entire school community over a long period of time. As TL I interact with students and all teachers regularly for as long as they are part of the school. I am not constrained by just teaching those students or working with those teachers for one year blocks.  

Like any other form of leadership to effective lead from the middle requires specific competencies (Haycock, 2010). These involve an understanding of the context from which one is operating, the ability to communicate a vision and exemplary interpersonal skills and character traits. Haycock encourages TL’s to develop and demonstrate our competencies in collaboration and inquiry and influence others to develop their own strengths. I see that with this approach the TL could play the role of orchestrating team members individual strengths to powerfully improve student learning.


Haycock, K. (2010). Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for Change. In        Coatney,S. (Ed.), The many faces of school library leadership.(pp.1-12)  Santa       Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.

ETL 504 module 5 Strategic Planning

What is strategic planning?

Well I guess it’s a bit like our program. It is a systematically written plan with a vision and goals and a sequenced timeframe telling us how we will get where we are going. It is designed to maximize student learning and cater for individual needs.It also includes an evaluative element that helps us gauge how well we have progressed and where we should head to next.

Of all the methods of strategic planning covered in Module 5 my favourite is Wongs (2012) format for strategic long term planning. She advocates the following steps:

1. Establish a committee to represent stakeholders and their interests

2. Look at sample procedures and models

3. Examine the community profile, the mission statements of the school and library program and the current status of the library to gather data regarding strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats. This analysis can guide the formulation of goals and a vision.

4. Develop a 1 year (short term) action plan to describe specific steps, timeframes, activities and responsibilities to begin implementation. Review this at the start of each school year.

5. Develop a 5 year plan to drive the long term course of action. At this point an annual report should be generated along with a budget.

Why do we need it?

I looked at this question through the lens of being a leader wanting to implement change. A written plan would be taken more seriously by other stakeholders, especially if they were involved in its construction. It shows the TL to be a professional who is concerned with ongoing improvement and this may encourage teacher confidence in collaboration. It would provide a rationale to  justify decision making in library management, programs and services. It provides a strong support for TL advocacy and budget requests.

ETL 504 Module 3 Learning in the 21st Century

It’s confession time. Despite bandying about the terms 21st century learner and 21st century skills I really only have a vague idea about what this entails. Since it is part of an upcoming assignment and is integral to the new curriculum we are implementing at school next year and me expected to be a leader and all I thought it might be time to educate myself on what it all means.

A very tech savvy and inspiring colleague who appears to embody the principles of creativity sent me a link to a website called whose author Anne Shaw had a lot to say about 21st century learning. Here are some points that interested me and sum up my learning.

Changing our schools to meet the demands of the 21st century requires a huge paradigm shift.

We should be preparing students for more than just workplace readiness

To do this we need a curriculum which is interdisciplinary, integrated and project based.

There are inspiring schools to use as models which encompass the critical attributes and multiple literacies of the 21st C. These literacies include multicultural, media, information, emotional, ecological, financial, cyber literacies and green education

Shaw quotes Tony Wagner from  the Global Achievement Gap who advocates 7 necessary skills:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Collaboration – networks-leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Access and analyse information
  • Curiosity and imagination

At the ACARA website

I learned about:

3 Cross Curriculum Priorities

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability

7 General Capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

So learning in the 21st century is clearly about much more than the 3 Rs .  It’s about a new curriculum and new pedagogy. It’s about knowledge creation not knowledge regurgitation. Hopefully there will be new assessment and reporting expectations as well.

ETL 504 Leadership In The School Library

When I first encountered the concept of the teacher librarian as leader I just could not envision how this could possibly look. Especially in my own situation as a fledgling TL in a school I was totally unfamiliar with. Everyone knew I was undertaking the retraining course so who on earth would take me seriously if I tried to fulfill any kind of leadership role.

I was also very wary as I had been burned in the past as a trainee reading recovery (RR) teacher. My enthusiastic response to my RR tutors encouragement to influence and educate teachers regarding children’s re entry to their classroom was an embarrassing failure. The fruit of that little exercise was a bunch of very disgruntled and offended colleagues.

I had a very traditional mindset regarding what it is to be a leader. I was confusing the term manager with leader and thought that one had to be in an appointed executive position within the school to be taken seriously in leading change. As I worked through ETL 504 however I began to see glimpses of how I might emerge from the middle as someone with the skills to contribute to or actually lead some of the change which I believe is so necessary to bring our school library into the 21st century (Tapscott,n.d; Kotter,n.d; Lubans, 2010; Townsend, 2011; Cameron & Green, 2004).

I saw that in fact I am already actively engaged in the process of leading change. I am incrementally introducing collaborative planning in a school where the TL has traditionally existed in isolation and been “told” what to do by the classroom teacher. I am also demonstrating ways of incorporating new technology into teaching with the emphasis on its use a tool or a means to an end rather than as an end it itself (Schifter, 2008).I have certainly given my problem solving and decision making skills a work out in juggling my myriad of responsibilities within my time, budgetary and personnel constraints (Adair 2010; Knapp, Copeland & Swinnerton, 2007). Working with a variety of teachers with differing philosophies, motivations and personality types has highlighted the importance of interpersonal skills (Winzenreid, 2010; Donham, 2005).

I see the importance of identifying  my vision for the school library (Donham, 2005; Sergiovanni 1984, Kotter, n.d; Marzano et al 2005; Covey, 1992;). At present I don’t really have one. If I do it is very vague and taking second place to surviving a new role in a new school and coping with the requirements of the retraining course. My current focus needs to be on building relationships, expertise and credibility by exhibiting integrity and authenticity in all that I do and say (Donham, 2005).

I think in the future I will want to further develop the collaborative culture and share my developing expertise as information specialist and digital dynamo!


Adair, J. E. (2010). Decision making and problem solving strategies (pp. 45-53). London:         Kogan Page.

Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Making sense of change management a complete guide to   the models, tools & techniques of organizational change. London: Kogan Page.

Covey,S. (1992) Principal Centred Leadership. New York: Fireside

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

Knapp, M. S., Copland, M. A., & Swinnerton, J. A. (2007). Understanding the Promise and    Dynamics of Data-Informed Leadership.Yearbook of the National Society for the   Study of Education, 106(1)74-104.

Retrieved from            e&db=ehh&AN=26100339&site=ehost-liv

Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals.  Retrieved from                                                                       

Lubans, J. (2010) Leading from the middle and other contrarian essays on library leadership. ABC-CLIO,LLC Santa-Barbara California.                                         Retrieved from

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works: from  research to results. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum     Development.

Retrieved from   9

Schifter, C. (2008). Infusing technology into the classroom: continuous practice improvement  Hershey: Information Science Pub..

Sergiovanni, T. (1984). Leadership and Excellence in Schooling. Educational Leadership (February) 4-13.

Retrieved from

Tapscott, D. (n.d.)  Four Principles For The Open World.                                     Retrieved from

Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: different approaches to common problems?School Leadership and Management, 31(2), 93-103.

Retrieved from

Winzenried, A. (2010). Towards an organisational theory for information professionals. In Visionary leaders for information (pp. 23-61). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for    Information Studies.

ETL 503 Reflection

Prior to beginning my studies I had only a vague idea of either the nature or purpose of my library collection. I was also unaware of the ongoing decision making, expertise and collaboration necessary to provide just the right kind of collection. I found the ALIA/ASLA joint Statement on School Library Resource Provision (2009) very informative in this regard. I now understand it is my job to provide a collection of information resources that is relevant and responsive to the curriculum needs of the users. Adequately resourcing the recreational needs of students is also important.

The statement also highlights the need for a collaboratively developed collection policy to guide the ongoing processes of selection and evaluation. As I reflect on my first term as a new librarian I see how the existence of such a policy would have greatly assisted me in performing my role. Policy would have provided me with a foundation on which to base my decisions and practices. It would also have provided me with a level of protection and accountability and assisted me in making budget requests. (ALIA&ASLA, 2009; Department Of School Education (DSE), 1996). 

Along with the library I inherited a stable of booksellers who inundated me with requests to send preview packs and standing orders. I spent a huge amount of time accommodating them because I thought that was the best way to keep abreast of new resources. With my new found knowledge about selection aids and criteria for choosing suppliers I am now able to deal with them in a more assertive and efficient manner backed by policy. (ALIA & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (VCTL), 2007; DSE, 1996; Johnson, 2009)

My first instinct as a new library manager was to weed ferociously! I didn’t know that it was called weeding but I could see that it was desperately needed to transform the collection into one that was relevant and user friendly. Now I have a policy that specifically addresses criteria for selection, de-selection and disposal so can do this job more effectively and without the worry of “getting caught”. (ALIA & VCTL, 2007; DSE, 1996; Larson, 2012)

The issue of copyright compliance was something I had embarrassingly never given much thought to in my past life as a classroom teacher. Becoming familiar with the Smartcopying website and particularly the Information Sheets for schools has given me knowledge and confidence in this complicated area. I know that both the collection itself and the way it is used must comply with copyright laws and that this must be mentioned in our policy to provide us with a degree of protection.

A highlight of completing this assignment was the discovery of all the digital and online resources already available for access to all NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) staff and students via the DEC Portal. My readings about e-resources have definitely sparked an interest and I have made it a priority to continue learning about this topic and to investigate trialling an e-library in the near future. (Foley, 2012; Johnson, 2010)

Overall I found the task of developing a collection policy a practical exercise that assisted me in becoming more familiar with my own collection and the principles regarding collection management in general.  




Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association. (2009). Statement on school library resource provision. Retrieved from

 Australian Library and Information Association & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2007). A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres.  Retrieved from

 Department of School Education. (1996). Handbook for School Libraries (2nd ed). Ryde: NSW Department of School Education Curriculum Directorate.

 Foley, C. (2012). Ebooks for leisure and learning. Scan, 31(4), 6-14.

 Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. Connections: a quarterly newsletter from Curriculum Corporation, 72, page 1. Retrieved from

 Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. American            Library Association.

 Larson, J. (2012). CREWing children’s materials in CREW: a weeding manual for modern            libraries, Texas State Library and Archives Commission: Austin, TX.


The Emotional Evolution Of My Perception Of The TL Role.

At the start of Term1 2013 I did not even know enough to know that I didn’t know what my role was!! For the first few weeks in my new job I could not have cared less what it was anyway. All I could think about was a crash course in archaic Oasis system. The staff and I believed the TL was there to wait on teachers and I was terrified of being perceived of as an incompetent idiot. Thankfully I discovered the NSWTL mailing list at  They are lifesavers in all things Oasis. Role as systems manager?  Sorted!

As I began my studies I was frustrated to read that there are conflicting views on the exact nature of my role (Herring 2007, Lamb 2011, Purcell 2010). At this point I honestly just wanted someone to tell me what to do, when and how to do it. In order to complete my March 16th blog post and Forum 2.1 I took audit of the things I was already doing in terms of the multi-faceted role of the TL. This was a calming exercise because it showed that I was beginning to “do” the job even if unsure of all the details. I could see the emergence in myself of all of Purcell’s roles.

My blog post on March 15th   mentioned an interest in expanding my current role to one reflective of Valenza’s Manifesto (2010). It was like a beacon of possibility. The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians explored in Assignment 1 were equally illuminating. (ALIA & ASLA 2006) It was with relief that I learned these are both lists to be aspired towards without expectation of total adherence at any one time. I began to understand that our role is shaped both by what is possible and our individual school context. Therefore it was OK to feel limited by my school context and that it was in fact part of my role to work toward transforming that environment. Furthermore that the responsibility for the development of information literacy and inquiry based pedagogy was a whole school responsibility and a collaborative approach with principal support was best practice (Haycock, 2007; Farmer, 2007; Morris, 2007).

I experienced an ‘Aha’ moment when I realised that the emotional rollercoaster accompanying my learning journey was just like that described by Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process. (Assignment 2 Forum 26.4.13) This sparked a commitment in me become a TL who truly fulfils the role of supporting student learning. I will achieve this through empathy and explicit teaching regarding the thoughts and feelings that accompany research and problem solving activities. Added to this will be my knowledge and planning of the timing for instructional intervention. (Kuhlthau, 2004)

The March 23rd and April 23rd blog posts were my first exploration into Guided Inquiry and the information literacy process. With further readings, the next 3 blog tasks and a bit of experimentation at school I now really “get it” that inquiry based learning scaffolded by information literacy model leads to real learning. By participating in this course I have now personally experienced scaffolded Guided Inquiry learning .  I notice that I initially avoided or rushed through the readings in order to begin the assignments. This occurred both in my own learning and in my teaching. I am discovering deeper learning, satisfaction and enjoyment in broad reading for background knowledge first and encouraging my students to do the same. Likewise I am gaining a new respect for assessment that requires synthesis of learning rather than the regurgitation of facts required by my own school and undergraduate experiences. I definitely see this in our current school culture so focused on accountability and NAPLAN results.

Incidentally, the readings and practical exercises I was undertaking in ETL 503 were simultaneously clarifying and refining of my understanding of the librarian side of my TL role. It is a huge part of my role to ensure that above all else the resources available should support the curriculum and meet the needs of the users.

Meeting my two new buddies (Guided Inquiry and Information Literacy) has given me new focus and confidence regarding my role. I have even been off on a tangent investigating the concept of the embedded librarian which seems to be about going one step further than collaboration and meeting the learners where they are (Shumaker 2009). In the true form of a lifelong learner my explorations raise further questions. In my role as primary school TL how precisely will this look? I think it may involve me and my two new buddies getting out of the library and into the classrooms.

(ALIA & ASLA 2006) The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians.

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for Collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1),       56-65.

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical Success Factors for Student Learning. School             Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

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

Kuhlthau, C. (2004) Information Search Process. In Carol Collier Kuhlthau. Retrieved from   

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends:             Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.

Morris, B. J. (2007). Principal Support for Collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1),         23-24.

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

Shumaker, D. (2009). Who Let the Librarians Out?. Reference & User Services Quarterly,            48(3), 239-242.

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto. In School Library Journal . Retrieved from   

Blog Task #3 Information Literacy is more than a set of skills

The world of education is in a constant state of evolution and is influenced by developments in research, changing social and cultural expectations and rapidly changing technology. Keeping pace with this has been a necessary progression regarding what is taught in school libraries. There has been a move from isolated teaching of library skills, to teaching information skills for completing curriculum based assignments to the more holistic information literacy of today. It is imperative that students of today not be taught information skills in isolation but be expected to think about and practice how and when they might use these skills. Learning to synthesise these skills is crucial to students becoming information literate in today’s fast changing world.

A glimpse into the changing nature of our understanding of information literacy can be gained through a summary of some academic discussion on the topic. For example Langford (1998, p.59) queried whether information literacy is a concept or a process and also if it is a newly emerged literacy born of new technology and the need for 21st century skills merging with existing models of info literacy. He also asked if it is a teacher librarian (TL) generated literacy not relevant to the classroom teacher. His views can be encapsulated in the quote “ the concept of literacy really depends on the information needs of the society of the time.”

Abilock (2004, p.1) thinks that to be info literate means one is able to engage in a creative process to find understand evaluate and use info for a variety of social, personal and global purposes

The Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework lists a number of indicators that define an info literate person which incorporate a number of 21st C skills and processes and require the use of higher order thinking. (Bundy 2004)

Herring and Tarter (2006, p.3) translate this more specifically in terms of what an information literate student is be able to do. They are more specific also about the importance of transfer of knowledge and skills across time, content and context.

The question of how to best support students in becoming information literate has resulted in a number of models for the educator to choose from. Notable amongst these are Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (2004), the New South Wales model (NSW DET 2007), The Big 6 model (Eisenberg and Berkowitz 1990) and Herring’s (2004) PLUS model.

Information literacy then is not just about learning a set of isolated skills but of knowing how, why and when to apply these skills. It is entrenched in the process of learning and is infinitely transferable. It is concerned with finding, evaluating, synthesising, using and sharing information in a multitude of formats. A range of models exist to help educators with the practical implementation of programs to teach and assess student learning on the journey towards information literacy.


Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. (ETL        401 Module 4). Retrieved April 23,2013, from Charles Sturt University website

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework:     principles, standards and practice. (ETL 401 Module 4). Retrieved April 23,2013, from Charles Sturt University website   

Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age.   DESIDOC Journal Of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

Herring, J. & Tarter, A. Progress in developing information literacy in  a secondary school using the PLUS model. (ETL 401 Module 4). Retrieved April 23,2013, from Charles Sturt University website

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004) Information Search Process. In Carol Collier Kuhlthau. Retrieved April 23, 2013 from   

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. (ETL 401 Module 4). Retrieved April 23,2013, from Charles Sturt University website.

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2007). The Information Skills Process. Retrieved Oct, 2012 from

Herring, J.(2004). PLUS model. (ETL 401 Module 4).                           Retrieved April 23,2013, from Charles Sturt University website.

Assessing information literacy and inquiry learning

TLs assess student learning to inform their own teaching, programs and services therefore evaluation and assessments are pivotal to enhancing student learning and the teaching role of the TL. Standard 2.4 of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) joint statement: Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians clearly articulates the indicators expected of an excellent TL in terms of measuring student learning and evaluating library programs and services. Working towards this standard enables TLs to provide evidence that what they are doing as individuals and as a profession makes a positive contribution to student learning. TLs who are able to provide such evidence will be more effective in their teaching. (Stripling 2007) It may also encourage teacher confidence in the value that the TL brings to the collaborative planning process. TLs can use this data to continue to contribute to student achievement through advocacy for best practice in whole school policy and increases in budgets and resources.

Evidence based practice is seen as an effective way of documenting exactly how a teacher influences student learning. (Todd 2003). Action research is an effective tool for examining teaching, programs and services to gather evidence of student achievement. It is usually approached as a collaborativeprocess based on case study methodology and is particularly well suited to the project based, inquiry learning cited earlier as best practice in developing 21st C skills in our students. (Harada 2004).  Student achievement in information literacy is best measured as an ongoing and integral part of the teaching learning cycle rather than as an isolated event. A mixture of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment tasks provide a snapshot of student learning at various points during this cycle. As part of the collaborative process excellent TL’s will provide leadership in setting explicit goals regarding the  information skills to be taught, learned or used within a unit of work.  They will assist in defining the criteria that will demonstrate the successful application of these skills. They will ensure that the teaching and application of these skills occurs as a natural and integral part of the program and assist students in the move towards independence in constructing meaning and knowledge. (Stripling 2007)


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)/Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2006). Standards for professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved March 11, 2103 from

Harada, V. H. (2004). Action research : how teacher-librarians can build evidence of student learning. Scan, 23(1), 27-33

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency : gathering evidence of student learning.

          School library media activities monthly, 23(8), 25-29.

Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable Evidence. School Library Journal, 49(4), 52.




Transfer of literacy skills and practices.

Assumptions are often made about the learning and transfer of information literacy. Herring’s 2011 research challenged these assumptions. Pertinent to teacher intervention were the following recommendations:

  • T-librarians and teachers revise the way they teach, encourage and reinforce information literacy practices across the school.
  • Teacher-librarians and teachers initiate a discussion of the transfer of knowledge, skills, and practices across the school, particularly in relation to information literacy.
  • School senior management explore the ways in which a culture of transfer might be created in the school, taking both a top-down and bottom-up approach.
  • Teacher-librarians and teachers seek the views of students across all school levels on developing and transferring information literacy practices.

Information literacy is more than just a set of skills. It also involves the practice of information related activities aimed at using higher order thinking and reflection to construct new learning. (Herring 2011).  To support students in becoming information literate, lifelong learners who are proactive in the transfer of their learning across curriculum areas, contexts and time the TL would ideally:

  • use an information literacy model to explicitly teach skills and processes involved in using information to solve problems
  • collaborate with classroom teachers to ensure that the development of information literacy is included across curriculum as part of class and whole school programs
  • use a guided inquiry approach to develop higher order thinking and lifelong learning skills
  • use a transliteracy approach to assist in develop student understanding that that it is information skills and processes that enable them to use information to solve problems in any context using any technology. Ipri (2010)




Herring, J. (2011). Assumptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools. Teacher       Librarian, 38(3), 32-36.

 Ipri, T. (Nov 2010). Introducing transliteracy. College & Research Libraries News, 71(10),   532-567