Blog Task #3 Information Literacy: More than a set of skills.

This is my reflection on this question however; I am still trying (struggling) to understand what Information Literacy (IL) is.

 Information literacy (IL) is not new word and various definitions have been used in a number of literary sources to describe and discuss the concept since the 1970s (Vine, 2006). Green (2006) describes IL as a need to be expanded to meet to today’s schools’ requirements. But what is IL exactly? This is a big question and takes me into a mysterious world. A study conducted by Herring (2010a) shows many teachers define IL as a set of skills, the ability to seek and find information through a variety of resources and adapt  related information into a task which students then work on. I think that IL is much more than just a set of skills. It is also the process involving using those skills and the transfer of those skills and learning across time and curriculum areas.

Herring (2011a) defines IL as “a critical and reflective ability” and also “a practice” rather than a set of skills. If students can think critically about the practices they use, why and how they use these practices, for example, they will be then effective information users. Herring focuses on the ability to transfer information as an aspect of IL.

When thinking about IL and transfer, I believe teaching skills such as concept mapping could develop students’ transferring skills and abilities however, this is only an assumption (Herring, 2010). How can students’ transfer skills and abilities be developed? Firstly, implementing IL models into the school is desirable. Teacher Librarians (TL) need to choose one IL model from the many options available such as the Big 6 models (Eisenburg and Berkowiz,1990 ), the Information Search Process (ISP) model (Kuhlthau 2004) and the PLUS model (Herring 2011) or TLs and teachers in NSW may prefer the NSW DET model (2007) to others. However, it is vital for teachers to consider which model works for their individual schools, students and curriculum. Perhaps some schools need to establish an independent IL model by an expanding  existing models (Green,2006) and the IL model needs to be embedded in the curriculum. It may be a challenge to integrate this process into the school. However , it is a key role of TLs.

Secondly, encouraging the establishment of a culture of transfer for IL across subject areas along with a mutual understanding between faculties as to what is being taught is also a key aspect to develop the culture of transfer for IL (Herring, 2011b). If there is not a culture of transfer for IL, many students will not be encouraged to consider, let alone reflect on their own learning.

It is important to stress that information literacy is more than a procedural set of skills. It needs to accommodate this broader concept of literacy from traditional to digital literacy, if it is to prepare students to be lifelong  and reflective learners in the 21st century.


Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. (1990). Information problem solving: The Big Six approach to library & information skills instruction. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Green, G. (2007). Information literacy: time for a rethink? Access. 21(3), 9-11.Retrieved 23rd September 2012 from http://content.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/pdf19_22/pdf/2007/D5H/01Sep07/27506020.pdf?T=P&P=AN&K=27506020&S=R&D=lih&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeqLE40dvuOLCmr0qep69Sr6y4TbOWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGpsVCzp69MuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA

Herring, J.E.  (2010). Year seven students, information literacy skills and transfer: a grounded theory.  A thesis submitted to Charles Sturt University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Retrieved September 22, 2012 from Charles Sturt University: http://bilby.unilinc.edu.au:1801/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1348356297001~886&locale=en_US&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&application=DIGITOOL-3&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

Herring, J,E. (2011a) Improving students’ web use and information literacy: a guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

HERRING, J, E. (2011b) Assumptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools. Teacher Librarian, Feb2011, Vol. 38 Issue 3, Retrieved August 21,2012  from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/delivery?sid=7fef5..

 Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information Skills in the School. Retrieved  August 10 , 2012, from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/infoskills

Vine, R. (2006). Information literacy: a framework for inquiry learning. How can I teach it if I don’t know what it is? Access, 3, 9-13. Retrieved September 22,2012 from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/MTk1OTc4NDIuMTA0ODM0/elibrary//ACCESS/Vol20_No1_2006/L_AccV20N1_009.pdf


No experience as a TL

I have worked as a Japanese teacher at various schools from community language school to high school. (Mostly it is casual) But I have never ever worked as a TL or a part of the school library. Now I am really struggling to understand what TLs’ role is. I have read books, journals and so on many times which are listing up on modules but I am sure I don’t understand. So, working experience at the school library is essential to complete this course? Personally, YES.


Guided Inquiry

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA) (2009) in their statement on Guided Inquiry (GI) and the curriculum describe how the adaption of GI “helps students to construct meaning, think creatively and solve problems”.

Implementing a GI approach is a key role of the 21st century Teacher Librarian (TL). With this approach and the adaptation of new technologies into the school curriculum, TLs can work as a catalyst to the implementation of this relativity new learning styles.

GI is based on Kuhlthau’s (2004) extensive research into the Information Search Process (ISP) and is a form of the constructivist approach to learning, which is has an emphasis in modern pedagogy. According to Kuhlthau and Manitoes (2010, p. 19) a team consists of three members and should include both TLs and teachers, along with an expert in the learning topic area. The teams composition is core to the implementation of the ISP approach. The team guides students through curriculum based inquiry units with monitored and targeted involvement, with the aim of developing the students’ knowledge and understanding of the selected topics. This is an important component of the development of the students independent learning skills.

According to Kuhlthau (2010) GI is not an occasional or optional project, rather it is based on continual assessment and evaluation projects throughout a unit of work. GI is a way to develop the students’ capability of gaining essential skills and knowledge by learning from various resources. It seems GI is a well suited approach to supporting students as prospective lifelong learners who are required to adapt in a rapidly shifting information environment. .

Fitzgerald (2011) provides very interesting and informative study cases from her school. Even though GI is not incorporated across the entire school curriculum the study shows remarkable results e. GI is an ideal way to achieve student development goals as it is a collaborative process in which TLs and teachers work together to negotiate various aspects of the curriculum.

Evidence provided by Fitzgerald (2011) clearly shows how collaboration between TLs and teachers plays an important roll in the creation of inquiry units and ensuring students have a successful research experiences. Furthermore this research suggests information literacy is a key element of the students development as they work through the inquiry units. Students do not have difficulty locating information, but locating and filtering appropriate information is is a much less simple task.

Todd, Kuhlthau, and Heinstrom (2005, p 12) point out that it is impossible for TLs to facilitate the whole process on their own without collaboration with teachers and other experts. Therefore this collaboration is crucial in order for TLs to work across all disciplines in a school as an expert in knowledge and information literacy.

Implementing a GI approach in the school may be challenging, however GI is a perfect way to prepare students with the capabilities and competencies of lifelong learners that will meet the requirements of the 21st century.


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA)(2009) Statement on guided inquiry and the curriculum Retrieved September 4,2012 from http://www.asla.org.au/Policy1/Guided-inquiry-and-the-curriculum.aspx

Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: guiding students inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/guidedenquiry.pdf

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau. C. C. (2010) Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/docs/GI-School-Librarians-in-the-21-Century.pdf

Kuhlthau, C. C., & Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=333a9cdc-04ea-424f-8fb7-6ae343f18a6c%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=8&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=47122065

Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Heinstrom, J. E. (2005). SLIM a toolkit and handbook for tracking and assessing student learning outcomes of Guided Inquiry through the school library, Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries at Rutgers University. Retrieved August 30, 2012 from cissl.rutgers.edu/images/stories/docs/slimtoolkit.pdf