IFLA SL Newsletter

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Connecting Librarians to Forge Information Literacy Partnerships: The Case of a Teacher-Librarian/University Team in Ontario

By Corinne Laverty,
Head, Education Library, Queen’s University


What do new teachers need to know about information literacy?

New Ontario teachers are surprised to learn that students are expected to explore information finding tools from an early age. Consider one of the inquiry skills for a grade four student studying the middle ages:

“Use primary and secondary sources to locate information about medieval civilization (e.g. primary sources: artifacts, field trips; secondary sources: atlases, encyclopedias and other print materials, illustrations, videos, CD-ROMs, Internet sites).” (The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-6: Social Studies, 2004, p. 28)

We might ask how well most high school students could meet this expectation. Are new teachers prepared to meet the hundreds of formal inquiry objectives in The Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum guidelines for kindergarten to grade 12?

A recent study at Queen’s University Education Library surveyed 522 teacher candidates who were exiting the B.Ed. program to reveal some startling results about their information literacy abilities (Lee, Reed, Laverty, 2005). Teacher candidates stated that:

  • They do not understand the concept of information literacy.
  • Information literacy concepts are not dealt with in the program.
  • They are not prepared t teach information literacy skills.
  • Their use of the school library involves limited information literacy instruction.
  • They do not call on teacher-librarians for teaching collaboration.
  • They prefer to search the web to find information than use the education-specific resources provided at the university.
  • They did not acquire the skills they need for continuing professional development.
  • They did not have opportunities to develop their research skills.

The good news is that they also noted that they would like to learn more about information literacy skills and how to cultivate them in their future students!

How can librarians help?

This information literacy study prompted the Queen’s Education librarians to re-think how they build teacher candidate awareness of the role of librarians and information literacy. Several new initiatives resulted. A new teaching series – INSPIRED Teaching – was designed to address misconceptions about inquiry skills and the role teachers and librarians play in the development of these abilities. The series is designed for participants from the perspective of them as future teacher and includes five sessions:

  • Best Classroom Resources: An exploration of resource examples along with the methods for finding them (primary sources, picture books, award-winning literature, textbooks and teacher’s guides, videos, kits, posters, teaching books, etc.)
  • Assignments Already?: Hands-on searching for journal articles on teaching issues that can be further investigated as action research projects in the classroom.
  • Be a Subject Expert: Each session addresses key tools for educators in specific subject areas, from teaching guides, lesson plans, multimedia, picture books, fiction/non-fiction, discipline-specific journals; to Canadian websites and beyond.
  • When YOU Teach Research: Overview of a model and methods for teaching the research process in your own classroom.
  • Out-Google Your Students: Tips on surfing that our web savvy students probably don’t know about.

In 2005, 1469 students attended these workshops over 66 classes.

A second outcome of the study was the establishment of liaison methods with teacher-librarians in our local community. A group of about 20 librarians meet twice a year to exchange best practices for teaching information literacy and to participate in professional development opportunities together. Our shared teaching materials are accessible at http://library.queensu.ca/webedu/guides/tl/ and include advocacy and teaching resources that can be downloaded in their entirety. The secondary school librarians draw on these materials to offer a library orientation for teacher candidates and new teachers and to reaffirm the role of the school library in their school. In sharing ideas about our teaching practice, we’ve discussed how to support adolescent information literacy by creating “authentic” research topics; putting googling in the context of a “research strategy”; teaching best methods for web searching; and discouraging plagiarism by personalizing assignments that track the information gathering process.

The third outcome of the study was the inauguration of an “alternative practicum” experience for teacher candidates in libraries – public, school, and academic. Teacher candidates at Queen’s University select a 3-week alternative teaching placement each spring that is associated with the Focus course they are taking. The Education librarians offer a Focus course on Resource-based Teaching and Learning and a number of students now spend one practicum to engage with librarians in a variety of learning pursuits.

In uniting our forces, librarians offer new teachers guided passage on the sea of information, an experience they can in turn give their own students. Please consider hosting a teacher-candidate at your library soon!

Lee, E., Reed, B., & Laverty, C. (2005). Report to the Dean of Education on

TEACH Grant 2004/05 # 014-518-xx-66: Information literacy, teacher-candidates and the school library: Information literacy in a B.Ed. program. Queen’s University, Faculty of Education.

Cory is Head of the Education Library at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She began her teaching career in a high school music classroom but today serves as a librarian with teacher candidates, graduate students and faculty at the Faculty of Education. She teaches courses and workshops on information literacy and resource-based learning using her research on how children develop information literacy skills to inform her classroom methods. She is currently researching how teacher-candidates develop their inquiry skills and preparing two case studies that provide a video documentary of inquiry projects in local classrooms. Cory holds a B.Music (Queen’s University), B.Ed. (University of London, England), Masters in Music (University of Western Ontario), MLIS (University of Western Ontario), Ph.D. (Information Science, University of Wales, U.K.).

Corinne Laverty, Head, Education Library, Queen’s University

Corinne Laverty B.Ed., M.L.S., Ph.D.
Librarian & Assistant Professor
Head, Education Library
Queen’s University, Kingston ON
Canada K7L 3N6

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Canada | 7 Comments

Pupils ICT Licence in Allerød, Denmark

By Helge Hansen and Jesper Holtoug,
Skovvangskolen, Allerød.


Two years ago Skovvangskolen began issuing ICT-certificates to the two grade 3 classes. The certificates are   tangible proof that the pupils have achieved the standards of the IT and media competances for their age group.

These two classes have systematically worked with ICT from their outset in school and the presentation of the certificates took place at a ceremony, with the flag hoisted, the Principal making a speech, and the local paper taking photos

The two classes were not isolated with particularly ICT-skilled teachers working in their own specialised field. To the contrary, it was the beginning of the schools ICT-programme using the so called  JUNIOR PC LICENCE concept and integrating the existing ICT curriculum in all subjects at all levels including the 3 elements: operational competences, comprehension competences and reflexion competences.

The aim is far more than technical and skills introduction to the work with ICT. Importance is attached to ethical and moral codes just as much as questioning and encouraging within ICT the ability to distinguish between good and bad information.

The concept, which has been evolved from UNI-C (The Danish IT Centre for Education and Research under the Danish Ministry of Education) appears comprehensive and invaluable, several attempts having been made to simplify and exemplify ideas.

As an example Skovvangskolen has placed a very simplified version of the concepts stage objectives on their website home page – a so called “pixi-edition”.

In every way we have aimed at making the project a scheme for the whole school – not only a project for frontrunners and ICT-nerds. If we succeed – the experience will demonstrate that the management of the school has played an important part in the project and that development is down to more than just the co-ordinator but to the involvement of the school.

The management of the school should support the project consistently and announce results. Daily co-ordination ought to be undertaken in School Libraries and Resource Centres.

It is our experience that the schools that have flexible Resource Centres achieve the best results. Flexibility is achieved by finding the right service minded, competent people and employing them full time in The Resource Centres.  

Impossible some people will say, but actually this is a question of priorities and delegation of new assignments to the centres.

A project like this isn’t going to spread throughout the school just like that if there isn’t help and inspiration available when the various teams of teachers have need for it.

Skovvangskolen is an ordinary, middle-sized school (folkeskole), which in composition essentially doesn’t differ from most Danish suburban schools. The school is one out of 50 Danish schools in the so called European Network of Innovative Schools – schools that have been selected because they have at heart integration of ICT in the daily work of the school. Not merely flashy ICT-projects in individual areas, but the whole breadth of the scheme reaching out to all corners of the school.

One of the obligations of The ENIS-schools is to spread the experiences to other schools in the area and to draw attention to these and the outcome. We decided that a strategy involving too much talk and discussion leads to too few results. If we had to wait for agreement at the particular school or in the local authority it is likely that we would never have been able to start this project. Instead we got support from the management of the school to start the project and then later assessed the project tas a part the whole picture.

Our actual experience was to allow good news to spread and to learn from mistakes. When people see photos and enthusiastic text in the local newspaper and reports are heard on national radio – it is difficult to turn down the project as something that can’t be done/there isn’t time for /we can’t afford it.

 It is our contention that there is time and you can’t afford not to. ICT is a cultural skill as significant as reading, writing, maths and English – without ICT you are simply not able to be informed and take an active part in the modern society. The task can’t be left to the individual ICT-specialists. On the contrary it is a task for the Resource Centres and all teachers involved with the classes. If these teachers feel they are not capable then we must enable them so that they can be !

The school:

Skovvangskolen, Allerød, Denmark –suburban to Copenhagen

Ordinary folkeskole, roughly 550 pupils

From this 25 specialclass-pupils and 30 physical disabled pupils

Attached to several international projects  – such as UNESCO e.t.c.

Attached to ENIS (European Network of Innovative Schools) since 2004.

Library and Ressourcescentre (LaR):

Devellopment, nice facilities – about  45 pc-workingplaces. We have 2 persons working fulltime and additionally 3 persons employed  working part time. This team has been delegated many different tasks apart from the management of LaR, communication, courses, guidance on reading, maintenance of homepages, all ICT-tasks. The economy in these areas is managed by the LaR-team.

ICT-equipment at the school:

The school has at it’s disposal all together about 120 pc-workingplaces from here 12 combined with protectors and 4 interactive whiteboards.

ICT in the community:

The 6 schools have a common ICT-policy. Technical maintenance and support is managed by a professional company who has one person employed for this job.



Dansk udgave JPC


Engelsk udgave JPC


Skovvangskolen JPC




Unsendelse Danmarks Radio fra Skovvangskolen





January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Denmark | Leave a comment

Germany on its way: The School Library + Information Literacy – The perfect combination

By Dr. Ronald Schneider and Eva von Jordan-Bonin

Germany’s public libraries as well as school libraries have enforced their commitment to the objective of media literacy and information literacy promotion in recent years. Also, more and more school teachers are considering media and information literacy skills as a goal of interdisciplinary learning in their teaching and project work – even more since the 2002 PISA study shocked the country by pointing out the shortcomings of the education system. By helping students to locate, comprehend and evaluate information for all classes the school library is obviously the perfect place to acquire and practice information literacy. With its media variety, the school library can also bridge the gap between educational goals and the more personal interests and preferences of children and young adults, given that the school library is well equipped, easily accessible and professionally managed.

So far this has been the problem of the German school library system: only 15% of German schools have school libraries that meet professional standards. There is neither a standardized vocational training for school librarians, nor advanced training courses or postgraduate studies for teachers in school library management.

However, since the publication of the PISA study, things have begun to change:

          German schools will gradually be turned into all-day schools, with different focal points set by the respective Federal States.

          Teachers have begun to rethink their roles and to see themselves as their students’ study partners and learning counsellors rather than to continue the old ex-cathedra teaching method.

          Students will be taught and encouraged to practice independent and self-motivated study using all types of media from an early age on.

These goals, however, cannot be achieved without providing modern and well-equipped school libraries. Fortunately, this understanding is on the advance. To support and promote it, the Deutsche Bibliotheksverband (German Library Association) convened a panel of experts in 2003, which processes and manages developments concerning schools and libraries and communicate these issues to professional circles, in order to prevent the German school library system from stagnation and retrogression. The commission “Library & School” consists of teachers and librarians alike. Since its founding it has already tackled numerous tasks and completed some of them.

There is a great need for further training opportunities. For teachers as a target group they are essential because school libraries and their use are still not a part of the teacher’s training. That is why since 2004 the panel of experts has organized advanced training courses throughout Germany, each course lasting one to two days. The courses are primarily directed at teachers but also parents and other volunteers take part. The objective is to support and promote the further development of school libraries and the cooperation between public libraries and schools in Germany. The need for these courses has grown so quickly (the number of schools interested in library skills have risen enormously over the last years) that the commission can barely meet the demand, although they have already started to work with other partners.

To provide primary resources on a professional level and to assure access to a wide range of school library-related issues to a larger audience, using modern information technology was the obvious suggestion of the commission. In 2004 it launched www.schulmediothek.de, a heavily used web portal offering continuously updated recommendations and support for school library officials, answers to practical questions as well as teaching examples.

The web portal allows the library commission to communicate recent developments and professional standards throughout the country and to present the most promising solutions to everyone who is involved in school library work. The web portal contributes to the promotion of information literacy skills in two ways:

          The simple and appealing navigation provided assures accessibility also to school library officials who might still feel inhibited to use electronic media as a source of professional information

          The rich variety of day-to-day school library work experience presented online as well as examples of cooperation between schools and public libraries offer a wealth of examples illustrating the promotion of reading competence, information literacy and media usage skills.

“School library + Information literacy: The perfect combination” will continue to be the focal point of interest of the commission in the upcoming years. An exemplary school library curriculum is currently being created. This “spiral curriculum concept” will include numerous best practice case studies, and will further contribute to promote information literacy as an indispensable learning goal and also to underline the unique possibilities school libraries offer to achieve this goal.

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Germany | 1 Comment

Training working techniques in the school library

Guenter Schlamp
Lag Schulbibliotheken in Hessen


Fifteen years ago there was a lot of discussion about functional illiteracy in Germany. A radio reporter had pupils in Frankfurt Main read a newspaper article and then asked them about the contents. Conclusion: pupils no longer understand what they read.

It was also about fifteen years ago at the beginning of the nineties, that Hilmar Hoffmann, then Head of the Culture Department in Frankfurt,  pointed out, that, because of similar findings, the USA had started running programmes to improve pupils’ literacy. He appealed to those responsible for German education policy to run similar programmes.

What was then called functional illiteracy is not much different from what we now call lack of literacy. The PISA results are confirmation for the USA and other Anglo-Saxon countries who took a similar course of action, that their  training programmes were successful.

American school libraries play an important role in improving literacy. There are catalogues of detailed educational aims for all school years, which define which skills are to be trained.  These include all the steps of a research process from the wording of the task to the displaying of the results either as paper, wall news-sheet or HTML document. Getting to know how to use the library is, of course, also part of the training. “Go look it up in the card catalogue!” is a sentence which haunts American students day and night, as a former pupil told me, who was in the USA as an exchange student. She found this training very formalistic  – a process of small steps.

When leafing through American library periodicals you get the impression that it only seems to be about literacy.  Cosy corners and pleasure reading are not a priority.

Now, it is not necessary to go over the top, but the school  library is the right place to teach literacy. School libraries should progress from rooms with many books which are seldom used to workshops where students learn how to work with books and other media. The library teachers, school librarians, are the right people to moderate this process, working closely together with teachers from the various departments. The school library must be seen as an “active” library, not as an “intellectual filling station”.

I have brought some books on working techniques to my recent workshop for teachers and teacher-librarians. These books should be available in the library. It is advisable to have several copies or even class sets of some of them.

Software is ideal for the research process – for example Research Planner which is supplied with Microsoft Encarta, and Mind Manager, a program for creating mind maps.

It seems to me that in class more emphasis is placed on the results.

How often do you hear in Music, Biology or History “Prepare a paper!”

But who takes responsibility for the process? Who encourages the students to think very carefully about how they should do their research? In the past articles were copied from an encyclopaedia; nowadays students just click a few times and print.

For the research process itself a model was presented which has been developed with American models in mind (Big6 et al.). Each step must be accompanied by information and work sheets and also by evaluation sheets. Therefore, as a last step in the research process, over and above the presentation itself, the students are required to reflect on the process. This step can, of course, be dropped, when the students have acquired a certain degree of competence.

A school library, which is prepared to take on this task, becomes an indispensable part of the school. It can afford to stay a “BIBLIOthek”.

Reading Research has coined the phrase “Readers are better viewers.” This is based on the findings of neurologists who have examined the different ways the brain processes texts and television pictures. Experienced readers are more successful at surfing on the sea of digital information. Research into learning using the computer and the internet is beginning to produce similar results. 

Internet adresses:

www.kindred.k12.nd.us/CyLib/B6.html   Big6, the most well-known program for

in­formation literacy

www.isd77.k12.mn.us/resources/infocurr/infolit.html   examples for a curriculu

This paper and including the ppt-presentation are available in German language.

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Germany | Leave a comment

Information Literacy in Italy

By Paolo Odasso,

In the middle of the nineties, for the first time, a pilot project with the goal of introducing Information Literacy (IL) took place in an Italian upper secondary school, the Abba School, near Milan in the North of Italy. Thanks to the cooperation of an enterprising school librarian and some teachers this experimentation gained a strong reputation and produced good documentation with a detailed report amazingly titled  Sorry, where do I have to go if I want to find vinagre”? which had a deep impact on the community of Italian teachers/school librarians (SLans).  Also during the same period in Brescia (near Milan) there was a crowded and successful national meeting, supported by the Italian Section of School Librarian Association, in which IL and the new educational activities were introduced to the Italian school libraries. 

In spite of this timely introduction, IL in Italy involved mostly SLans and didn’t have the strength to involve the Italian teachers, even less the National Educational Authorities: in other words IL didn’t become part of the National Curriculum. Not in the nineties, nor nowadays.

The Italian Education System copes with the challenges of the Internet and information overload in the information society by focusing its attention on promoting ICT literacy but not IL. The interest in IL therefore kept on being mainly theoretical, with very few applications in the everyday activities of Italian schools.     

An important role in strengthening the interest in the theoretical knowledge of the IL was played by the University of Padua, with a master-course open to teachers and Slans. The same University in 2002 organized the first international meeting specifically dedicated to IL whose proceedings were collected in a book, with the Popperian title To stumble on the problem. 

A good way to legitimate IL with Italian teachers has been to connect IL with the educational heritage of learning through the process of research, especially through the well-known tradition which comes from philosophers/pedagogues like J. Dewey, J. Bruner, A.D. Ausubel,  etc. The novelty of IL has therefore be seen mainly as a development of the constructivist approach by taking into account the new educational problems coming out from the challenges of the Internet and information society.

Two main reasons hinder now the spread of IL among Italian schools.

First of all the Italian teachers initial training at University prepares them for a teacher-centred approach with frontal lessons but much with less work as a mentor, tutors with a student-centred approach focused on promoting learning by research-activities.  

Secondly both SL and Slan have, in Italy, a very precarious existence. There isn’t a National Law that guarantees the presence of a specialized Slan with a specific role in any of the 10,000 Italian schools. 

It’s not easy to predict the future of IL educational activities in Italian schools and SLs without the strong involvement of teachers of curriculum-disciplines.

These difficulties call for further research into the relationship between the two aspects which are at the centre of the international educational debate and also of IL: “information” from one side and “learning-education” (in Italian we use the term “formation”) from the other one. 

One of the most important changes in the educational system is in fact the shift of focus from having knowledge to being competent, from having information to being information literate. The stress is on the word to be, to become, not to have.  If the rationale of IL is to promote an autonomous lifelong learner the main duty of most educational systems is not only to guarantee the access to information but to guarantee the educational success for every learner.

From this point of view to complete this outline of  IL in Italy it is useful to mention a survey that was performed by IRRE Piemonte, a Regional Institute for Educational Research of the Ministry of Education whose summary has been reported in the before-mentioned “To stumble on the problem”. In this survey to perform IL activities in a SL means to face the educational problem of transforming the “information” into “meanings”. It means helping learners to metabolize the new information into personal knowledge, competence and wisdom, to change quantity of information into quality of “meanings”. The focus is less in the concept of “information” and more in the concept of “formation”, which is the modern translation of the word paideia in the old Greek Language, or the word “bildung” in the modern German Language.

All that means that in a SL it is important the mediation through which the information become personally meaningful to the learner, starting with the first step from so-called “cognitive conflict” through the meta-cognitive conceptual maps with which to link the meanings with the personalization of meanings. It also important understanding how this process can have different paths according to the different epistemology of the disciplines. In some learning activities the IL can start with a problem and end with a solution. In others it can start with a non-problem and end with a problem etc.

This final consideration means that in order to spread IL in an Italian SL the cooperation of information-expert (librarian) with the meanings-expert (teacher of the disciple) is not only important but also absolutely necessary.

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Italy | 1 Comment

Preparing a “Pathfinder”

Paulette Stewart

Preparing a “Pathfinder” is one way of providing students with the needed practice that they require to help them master information literacy skills. A pathfinder is a guide that is designed to lead information seekers to find suitable information about general or specific topics.

After the basic information skills have been taught, the teacher librarian can give the following practical exercise which is creating a pathfinder on a specific topic.

  • Assign a topic that is curriculum related to each student of the class. For example, tsunami, the solar system, the human heart.
  • Instruct students to use their school library as well as the public library to find 10 sources that contain that particular information. A variety of sources should be stipulated. For example, journals, electronic sources, books, and newspapers. The information should be suitable for the grade level of the students.
  1. Students are to write an introduction to the topic with a list of reference at the end.
  2. List the sources and their call number where possible.
  3. Write out the bibliographic details for these sources.
  4. Evaluate the:
    1. Coverage of the information
    2. Usefulness of the information
    3. Readability
    4. Use of illustrations if any.
  5. Write an account of the search process.
  6. Evaluate the search process.
  7. Evaluate the product.

It is very important that the teacher librarian assist the students with the task definition for this assignment.

We need to remember that “In order to build independent learning skills, educators must offer a series of experiences in which students develop and use those skills to learn important content” (Stripling, and Hughes-Hassell, p. xviii).


Stripling, Barbara K., Hughes-Hassell, Elizabeth. Curriculum Connection Through the

Library. London: Greenwood Publishing Company, (2003).

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Jamaica | Leave a comment


By Helen Boelens,

Throughout the world, people are in agreement about the importance of information literacy skills, as a tool for lifelong learning.  The Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning, dated 9 November 2005, was published by the participants in the High Level Colloquium on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.  Many different groups of people who are interested in information literacy skills, have come into existence, for example comparative educational groups and other educators, E-learning groups, information literacy groups, lifelong learning groups, Filter groups, groups of college and university librarians, public librarians etc.  The list is long. In the opinion of the writer, many of the members of these groups, although excellent in their own fields, have very little to do with what actually goes on each day in primary or secondary schools.  They do not see what is happening on the school floor on a daily basis.

The question is: “How can young children be encouraged and inspired, at an early age, to become information literate?

In August 2006, I presented my paper entitled “A new kind of Information Specialist for a New Kind of Learning” at the World Library and Information Congress, 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council, in Seoul (South Korea). Information about this presentation can be found on www.ifla.org .  The presentation took place in a large auditorium; people from all over the world were kind enough to come and hear what I had to say. 

My paper was concerned with the goals of the modern school library and information centre.  One of these goals is instruction in interdisciplinary information literacy skills throughout the entire school, for both pupils and teachers.  At the Kalsbeek College in Woerden, the Netherlands, an attempt is being made to fulfil these goals, incorporating information literacy skills into the school curriculum. This goal is clearly mentioned in the policy statement of the school. Instruction, given by the school information specialist, takes place in the School Library and Information Centre, as part of a programme which incorporates the principles of E-learning and Project-based learning.  The school uses a matrix, known as the KILM (Kalsbeek Information Literacy Matrix), to co-ordinate the lessons.  During interdisciplinary projects, which are planned into the school programme at various times throughout the year, pupils receive information literacy instruction, which helps them to find the information which they require for a specific, interdisciplinary paper or task.  Pupils in all classes (11 – 18 years of age), at all different educational levels, receive instruction.  Each year, the matrix is extended, so that as many children as possible can benefit from the instruction.  The results up until now have been positive.

At the end of the presentation in Seoul, a very friendly school librarian from Spain came to me and said “Your school leadership sounds very enlightened”.  Another librarian from Ireland said “Your school sounds like paradise!”

When I looked at my audience and listened to their questions, I realised how difficult it is to address an audience of people who come from all over the world; from developing and developed countries.  Each person in the audience had a different definition of what a “normal” school library and information centre is, and how it can be used to teach information literacy skills to pupils. There are also many different opinions about role of the school librarian or school information specialist within the school and about the skills and academic education which this person should have.  People from developing countries must feel overwhelmed.  The faster they try to catch up with the developed world, the faster it moves on to even newer and, from their perspective, less attainable goals. I suppose they may wonder how they will ever catch up. 

As mentioned above, the teaching of information literacy skills is becoming part of the curriculum at the Kalsbeek College.  Education Innovation and Information, number 121, published in December 2005 by the International Bureau of Education, UNESCO, is entitled The Community of Practice in curriculum development is moving forward : The debate on competencies.  This article discusses the complex challenge of achieving a sound and a feasible implementation of educational innovations (such as information literacy and lifelong learning skills) into the curriculum in all schools, in both developed and developing countries. This article asks the question:  “ Can the competencies approach be a promising reality or an unreal utopia for developing countries?”  Read more about this at www.ibe.unesco.org. 

In the opinion of the writer, the problem – “How can young children be encouraged and inspired, at an early age, to become information literate? – can only be solved if people work together.  The different groups mentioned in the first paragraph need to work together towards a common goal.  Political and bureaucratic goals should be put to one side.

The Kalsbeek College is very fortunate.  It is a modern, well-equipped school with an enlightened school leadership. The school library and information centre has an excellent collection and facilities.  But the school is definitely not a paradise. The reason that the information literacy programme works as well as it does is because the school leadership, teachers, school information specialist, pupils and parents work together towards this goal. It is hard work. It takes a lot of dedication, leadership and diplomacy within the school itself, but as mentioned above, the results are positive. The School Library and Information Centre is a wonderful learning environment where pupils can learn all different kinds of skills.  The school librarians are the people who make this environment work.  Children leave the school with lifelong learning skills which they can use in their tertiary education and throughout their lives. 

In closing, I would like to draw your attention to one of my favourite quotations.  On first reading, it seems to refer to the use of pc’s (inside or outside the school):

“An instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.” 

This statement was made by Edward R. Murrow, at the RTNDA Convention in Chicago on October 15, 1958. He was referring to the new medium, television.

Helen Boelens,
Kalsbeek College,
Woerden.  The Netherlands.


January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Nederland | Leave a comment

Resources & Activities Help Promote Information Literacy in the Mikes Kelemen High School Library

By Laszlo Kiss, Teacher-Librarian
Mikes Kelemen High School
Transylvania / Romania


The Mikes Kelemen High School Library is one of the biggest in Covasna County. Although our library houses more than 50,000 volumes, it is ongoing collection development efforts that help meet the increasing demands of the school. Most of the books we receive are through donations and applications. Until this year our library received no more than $300 per year to buy books and to subscribe to magazines.
This year we had a major breakthrough: each school in Romania received 300 Euro + 7 Euro per student! This was the most significant help since 1990 and will assist in providing access to more updated information resources.
We participate annually in International School Library Day, giving us an opportunity to share information about our school library with others. http://www.iasl-slo.org/isld2005j.html
Once a month I organize an American Corner with Americans who live in Covasna County. We develop themes based on American Culture. Through this project, we have received valuable books which are popular with our readers.
I use the International Children’s Book Day as an opportunity to create a display and talk about and books to borrow which are too good to be hidden on a shelf.
Although initially I had only two computers in my school library, I tried to develop cooperative projects with other school libraries around the world. The most extensive thus far was an internet contest (a kind of scavenger hunt) between our library and McPherson Middle School Library/Clyde/Ohio/USA (The Revolutionaires of 1848 in the American Civil War, IASL Newsletter, volume 34, nr 3, 2005). This project gave my students an opportunity to share and compare, as well as communicate with others their own age.
I continually strive to engage my students in school library activities, giving them many opportunities to be active participants in locating, evaluating, organizing, and presenting exciting projects, as well as offer the best services possible, because there is no doubt that the development line of a school is determined by a good and competitive library, which is ready to respond to any challenge.

Name: Laszlo Kiss
Occupation: teacher-librarian in Liceul Teoretic Mikes Kelemen/Sfantu Gheorghe/Covasna
Professional membership: The Association of Education Librarians – Romania (ABIR)
Professional service: president of ABIR Covasna County
Award: School Librarian of the Year (the “Ion Bianu” Prize in 2005)

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Romania | 2 Comments

Education for information literacy: some strategies used at Scotch College, Melbourne

By Suzette Boyd

The four teacher librarians at Scotch College are integral to the teaching learning program in the College. This has been achieved through building alliances with individual teachers, with departments, over coffee or Friday night drinks, while attending school functions and through deliberate initiatives, some of which are outlined below.

Orientation for new staff

Library orientation for new staff is the very first step in ensuring that teachers understand information literacy and know what the library has to offer them and their students.  At Scotch College we treat staff orientation seriously and ensure that it is built into the wider orientation program for new staff delivered by the school. Firstly new staff are introduced to the library home page and are given an overview of all the electronic resources it provides access to.  This is then followed by a tour of the physical library and a question and answer session.  At this time, all new staff receive a “Library Handbook for Staff”.  This glossy booklet gives an overview of all library services an is an effective way of capturing the attention and interest of new staff.

Library homepage


The library homepage is the ‘hub’ of student learning within the library. Library staff have created this award winning homepage for the information needs of our students and staff. Teacher librarians encourage students to use the homepage as a starting point for all their research needs: online databases; specially selected web resources for their subjects; guides to writing bibliographies and evaluating resources; and of course, access to the library catalogue!


Teacher librarians produce pathfinders as guides for students to find relevant and appropriate information for all topics within the curriculum. The pathfinder is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography of every possible resource on the topic, but rather as a guide to useful keywords students may use when searching the catalogue or the internet, selected websites on the library homepage, videos or DVDs on the topic, entries in the various databases, or guides to current issues.

Pathfinders are available in printed format and also online via the library homepage.

Information Literacy Handbook

The teacher librarians at Scotch have produced a handbook for distribution to all teaching staff. It contains:

  • Ways teachers and teacher librarians can work together. For further details go to


  • A guide to effective assignment setting using Blooms taxonomy
  • A guide to defining the information process
  • A continuum of student learning through years 7 – 12
  • An information skills checklist
  • A separate section of templates for use with each stage of the information process

Scotch College Teacher Librarians – Suzette Boyd (Head of Library and Information Services), Rachel Kerr, Durga Kamte and Kris Paterson
August, 2006

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, Australia | Leave a comment

Information literacy education and social inclusion

By Genevieve Hart

Since the recent IASL’s conference in Lisbon, I have been pondering how schools’ information literacy programmes might contribute to social inclusion. It was one of the themes signalled in the call for papers and the few resulting presentations gave tantalising glimpses of the possibilities.

Studies across the world have identified risk factors for exclusion, such as poverty, family conflict and school problems. In South Africa, youth might, in itself, be an indicator of exclusion. Young people have the highest rates of unemployment, exposure to violence, and involvement in crime. With 1,100,000 AIDS orphans, child-headed households are in danger of being accepted as normal (The morals of a success story 2006).

The role of libraries, especially in the global information society of 2006, is surely to provide people with access to information so that they might join existing social networks or create new ones. But the mere provision of information is not enough. People need the lifelong skills of information literacy – thus being enabled to make informed decisions to gain control over their lives.

We need to talk more of school libraries in terms of the potential of their information literacy programmes to reach out to families. Here, I am thinking of family education and literacy programmes, ICT education for unemployed youth, small business information sessions, health information workshops, and lots more. The information literacy education will be embedded in other projects and clearly partnerships, inside and outside the school, will be required. Perhaps, if we stressed the role of the library in the community school, which is a concept much liked by our politicians, then we might have more success in our advocacy efforts.

Genevieve Hart
Department of Library & Information Science 
University of the Western Cape


The morals of a success story.  2006.  Sunday Times, 13 August 2006. 

Available: www.sundaytimes.co.za.

January 14, 2007 Posted by | 4. Issue 43, 5. Theme 43: Information Literacy, South Africa | Leave a comment