That Was Then….

Information Literacy Spaces

As a sole charge librarian, my daily routine before involvement in this project would have included any or all of the following tasks:

  • Cataloguing and processing of resources
  • Issuing and returning of books
  • Planning and setting up displays
  • Shelf tidying and general maintenance of the library space
  • Talking with teaching staff about their research topics, including what resources the library had to support those topics, and how I could provide instruction to students around accessing them (as well general research processes and tips)
  • Showing classes how to use the library WebApp/catalogue
  • Selecting and book-buying, either online or by meeting with book sellers
  • Responding to professional emails
  • Responding to student requests for help with printing
  • Coordinating and supervising student librarians
  • Interval and lunchtime library supervision duty

Conversations with teachers sometimes led to more structured research instruction sessions at the beginning of a research assignment but were very ad hoc and only…

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A Tale of Two Classes: Information Literacy Skills Matter in Geography

This is a fantastic description from a teacher perspective of why ILS is so important, and why the explicit teaching and making of those connections for students enables them to work more independently.

Information Literacy Spaces

Actually, in 2018, it was more like a tale of two and a half Geography classes. Timetable clashes with Chemistry and Digital Technology meant that six of my top Geography students from 2017 couldn’t take the subject at Level 2 in regular class time. Three of these students had achieved Level 1 Merit Endorsement in Geography and one had gained a Level 1 Excellence Endorsement.

I reluctantly agreed to have one student (‘A’) take Geography in my mixed Level 2/3 Tourism class, 4 students (‘The Nomads’) take Geography in the Level 2 History class, and one (‘B’) in his study period every week on a Wednesday; hence the ‘half’. This was in addition to my regular Level 2 class, so as you might imagine, the situation was fraught with potential problems.

‘A’ was an independent learner. She was happy to study Geography in the tourism class as she had taken…

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News travels fast

Information Literacy Spaces

tragic day

(ABC News: Nick Drake)

It was a hot, Indian summer’s afternoon, and I was sitting in a stuffy room in a committee meeting, when a news item from an English newspaper flashed up on my phone: there was a shooter in Christchurch. Other people glanced at their phones. But we carried on, and I noted for that moment the oddity that I had heard about something happening in New Zealand from the UK Guardian.

Bad news carries fast. For the next few hours, we waited as the news unfolded on national and international media sites. My workmates gathered in our corridor to process the horror. A colleague from Christchurch ran to her phone when she heard the street where her brother lived was under fire. I anxiously awaited texts from my children who live in the city under lockdown. As the day progressed, the whole country –…

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The room of requirement – really?

Lisa Emerson, Project Director of the Information Literacy Spaces has kicked off our project for the year by posing some questions about the purpose and perceptions of libraries. If you’re reading this, you will no doubt have and opinion, so please share it. We want this research to truly effect change – the right change! Please be heard!

Information Literacy Spaces

We are now two thirds of the way through our research on teacher-librarian partnerships, and over the summer I’ve been reflecting back on these last two years and all we have learned. It has been a truly joyous project. For me, the greatest highlights have come at our annual hui, when I listened to our school librarians delighting in the new role they’re playing as they partner with teachers in the classroom.

But I’m also sitting with a Really Big Question. And I must apologise in advance for the length and convolutedness of this blog post: this is my attempt to grapple with my question, to speculate a little, and to invite a conversation with others.

Here’s my problem

As I’ve read policy documents (from a range of countries) on library services, one clear idea comes through: academic libraries in schools and universities are vitally important – for information literacy…

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Go rogue! Information literacy’s role in decolonising the curriculum.

“The key message was to ‘go rogue’, to grow and adapt while recognising the history, but not being constrained by it. There was a real sense that we need to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar”
Angela Feekery.

I love the “go rogue” picture forming in my mind! As Michael Moore said “I really didn’t realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group.
They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them. You know, they’ve had their budgets cut. They’re paid nothing. Books are falling apart. The libraries are just like the ass end of everything, right?”, librarians have always been open to seeing things differently, doing things differently, teaming up differently.

As I reflect on 2018 (more to come on that) and redefine what 2019 might look like, “go rogue” may just become my new catch-phrase!

Information Literacy Spaces

I was fortunate to attend a communication conference in the US is November, and attended the pre-conference focused on ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ within the Communication discipline. The session was led by a diverse group of people, most of whom have experienced discrimination in their lives. They recognise the dominant white worldviews perpetuated in curriculum material (the communication of white people) they are teaching their students, many of whom are not white.

Part of the discussion centered on reflecting on our own positionalities within the dominant perspectives, connected not only to race and ethnicity, but the struggle against all components of dominant power (white supremacy and privilege, masculinity and hetero perspectives).

The conversation explored white privilege and white fragility openly in a space where we were all made to feel safe regardless of our identity. The idea of ‘name it, but don’t shame’ it prevailed. The focus was on empowering all…

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Call me an optimist but I think the worm is turning

Information Literacy Spaces

As the 2018 school year ends, two reports – one about the durability of NCEA and the other about school management and governance – were released for public submissions. Their analyses identify the weaknesses inherent in a pervasively outcomes-based system, a market modeled competitive educational culture, and a singular focus on measurement to assess school effectiveness. The processes of quality learning and teaching – the craft of the job – have taken a back seat to highly regulated workplaces, the pressure for continuous improvement, intensified workloads, and poor conditions for highly skilled work few it seems to see any future in. This has cumulatively generated the very ‘outcomes’ reforms since 1990 aimed to challenge:  plateauing achievement, growing educational inequalities, teacher shortages, and ineffective national and local school management structures.  In these two latest reports, I detect a discernible shift away from manufactured achievement, towards the promotion of learning as a…

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Better researchers make better coaches; introducing information literacy skills to a PE class.

An excellent account of strategies for PE teachers to work with their librarians and make IL skills more visible in their student’s learning.

Information Literacy Spaces

coach-ed-2015-16--2

With Physical Education (PE) having written components at all levels, especially levels
two and three, it has become increasingly important for students to be able to
reflect on the research process they have been working on, in the context of their PE
learning. It comes down to students being able to support their experience and reflection with evidence, tackling the theoretical component of their work by drawing on our subject’s academic literature. The unit I will focus on relates to students planning either a coaching experience or an activity involving themselves and/or their group.

Being part of the Information Literacy Spaces project has helped me unpack the research process, starting from an initial research question right through to students submitting work underpinned by a strong literature base. Each part of the process needs to be overtly taught and, so far, I have observed a considerable difference to the overall quality of…

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