ETL505 Describing Education Resources

When undertaking this course my previous experience with the term metadata had been in terms of the issue of telecommunications industry data retention and metadata laws. What I didn’t realise was that as Teacher Librarians we work with metadata every day. When we describe and organise the information resources in our library catalogue we create metadata (Hider 2012).


Examining the Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR) demonstrated that for our school library to be user-focused then the metadata we create for our library catalogues should centre on the FRBR user tasks of find, identify, navigate and obtain (Hider 2012 ; Oliver 2010). The FRBR hierarchy of information resources of Items, Manifestations, Expressions and Works did take a bit of time to wrap my head around. However the concrete examples in the text helped to unravel this for me (Hider 2012).


The RDA exercises, likewise, initially confused me and I found myself really struggling despite years of experience describing resource. Eventually, but gradually chipping away at the exercises, I found my way. In fact, I actually enjoyed doing the RDA exercises in assessment 1. I also came to appreciate the need to have the common vocabulary that RDA provides to help understand create the metadata for easy user retrieval (Hider 2012 ; Oliver 2010).


The exercises in assessment two based on WebDewey and SCIS also helped deepen my understanding regarding classification and subject headings. Building the classification levels in WebDewey for various resources provided a deeper insight into how information resources are organised according to the content and subject (OCLC 2016). I also quite enjoyed assigning SCIS standard subject headings for this assignment. It gave me a better understanding of how I could create subject headings to align resources to curriculum materials for our students. As a result, I will have much more confidence in doing this in future using the SCIS Web subject heading and the SCIS subject headings guidelines (SCIS 2016; SCIS 2016a ; SCIS 2015).


Reference list


Hider, P. (2012), Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.


OCLC. (2016). WebDewey. Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved from

Oliver, C. (2010). FRBR and FRAD in RDA. In Introducing RDA: a guide to the basics (pp.13-36). ALA Editions.


SCIS. (2015). Guidelines to using SCIS subject headings. Schools Catalogue Information Service. Retrieved from


SCIS. (2016). SCIS Subject Heading Search Screen. Schools Catalogue Information Service. Retrieved from

SCIS. (2016a). SCIS Catalogue (OPAC). SCISWeb.  Retrieved from

ETL401 Final Reflection

Prior to undertaking ETL401 I was of the opinion, as would many educators I believe, that the role of the teacher librarian (TL) was primarily related to collection development in resourcing the curriculum and providing recreational reading materials.  I also believed the TL’s other primary role was in helping students with referencing and warning of the evils of plagiarism. Shortly after enrolling, in order to prepare for the unit, I examined the NSW DET Library – Policy. It sounded much more complex and I was a little bewildered about how I would fulfil the role description at Context 3.1 ‘Teacher-librarians collaborate with teachers in the planning, implementing and evaluating of teaching and learning programs, including the integration of Information Communications Technology and literacy’(DET NSW 2005). How did TLs go about this and in what context?

It soon became apparent that this was a common theme in TL role statements when Module 2 got underway and we studied the roles of the TL. These role statements reinforced the teaching role of TLs in teaching information literacy in collaboration with classroom teachers. Although I wrote about this in my initial blog, I was still unsure at that stage how exactly I could successfully implement this (ALIA/ASLA 2009 ; ASLA 2004). In addition, the role statements seemed never ending and I was unsure how one person would be able to meet all those expectations. I was able to appreciate, however, that TLs were expected to be information specialists and I was able to talk about that role in my initial blog entry. That was a role I was familiar with due to past experiences with TLs helping me both as a student at school and later as a teacher. (Purcell 2010).

It was when we began delving into Module 4 that the collaborative teaching role became clear to me: through the implementation of information literacy models (Eisenberg 2008 ; Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari 2007). It explained much, but still seemed to me like a daunting task with many possible barriers.  In addition, I had never heard of, or seen one in operation. I could clearly see, however, the educational benefits of this approach. Furthermore it tied in nicely with my socio-constructivist educational philosophy and I was pleased to be able to base one of my blog topics on constructivist learning (Gordon 2010).

It was also apparent how much the teacher librarian role has changed, and will continue to develop, since the event of the information age (ALIA/ASLA 2009 ; Coombes & Valli 2007). As educators, we are tasked with preparing today’s students for living, learning and working in this rapidly changing digital landscape. The focus has now shifted to teaching students critical thinking and problem solving skills (Hay & Todd 2010 ; Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari 2012) Again, I have learned, in the course of this unit, that this too can best be achieved by collaboratively teaching using information literacy models (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari 2007).

Evidence-based practice was another important aspect of the role of a teacher librarian that I had never considered before undertaking this course. As teachers we are advised to plan to include self-reflection as an important part of students learning to increase metacognition (ACARA 2013). Our readings have shown that it is equally important that we, as educators, are also reflective practitioners to help improve our teaching and learning programs and practices (Purcell 2010 ; Todd & Hay 2010). By undertaking evidence-based practice we can also make our contribution to student learning more visible and raise our profile in our schools (Todd & Hay 2010 ; Oberg 2006). Yet again, IL models come to the rescue to help with evidence-based practice. A most helpful tool has been developed by Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinström using the Student Learning Through Inquiry Measure (SLIM) toolkit which has been developed to be implemented within a Guided Inquiry design framework (2007).

While I admit I am still a little overwhelmed by the multifaceted an constantly changing role of the teacher librarian (Herring 2007), I also feel a sense of excitement  by all the possibilities and my look forward to my journey as a Teacher Librarian. In the course of this unit I have been well armed with ample information, advice, guidelines and scaffolds from this unit to help me to address many of my roles as a teacher librarian. This has empowered me and increased my confidence as I now know how I can make a vital contribution to my school and how I can prove that I do.





Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). Reflecting on thinking and processes. Sydney. Retrieved from


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2009). Retrieved from:


Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from:


Combes, B. & Valli, R. (2007). Fiction and the 21st century: A new paradigm.  Cyberspace, D-world, E-learning: Giving libraries and schools the cutting edge. The 2007 IASL Conference and Research Forum, Taiwan.


Gordon, C A 2010, ‘The culture of inquiry in school libraries,’ School Libraries Worldwide, vol. 16, no. 1, pp.73–88.


Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42.


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.


NSW DEC,. (2005). Library Policy – Schools. Department of Education and Communities NSW. Retrieved from:


Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.


Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33


Todd, R.J., Kuhlthau, C.C. & Heinström, 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 from:

Evidence-Based Practice

As teacher librarians, we can become frustrated and feel we are victims of occupational invisibility and that our contribution to whole-school programs and student outcomes are unseen and undervalued (Oberg 2006 ; Todd 2007 ; Todd 2003). This may be due to the nature of our work in empowering others. As a result, our contribution is often swallowed up and integrated into the successes of others. (Hartzel 2002 ; Oberg 2006). Our invisibility is also because, while we see the impact we make on a daily basis, we can usually only offer anecdotal evidence regarding our contributions (Hay & Todd 2010 ; Lamb & Johnson 2004-2007).

To remedy this we need to throw off the victim mentality and become proactive in self-promotion to make visible our contribution to our school’s teaching and learning outcomes. To this end, we need to gather hard evidence to unequivocally prove that we make a difference  (Hay & Todd 2010). According to the School Library Association (2004) excellent teacher librarians undertake evidence-based research to evaluate teaching practices, programs and services to ensure improved learning and teaching. Likewise, Hay & Foley (2009) advocate that in order to build capacity for student learning in the 21st Century, teacher librarians need to employ evidence-based practice to support a “continuous improvement cycle“. Similarly, The NSW Department of Education and Training (2010) has posited evidence-based practice as one of its foremost recommendations in creating sustainable futures for school libraries.

By undertaking evidence-based practice, we will not only be provided with hard evidence to show how and why teacher librarians make important contributions to student learning, we are also afforded an avenue for reflective practice to evaluate and constantly improve our teaching and learning programs. (Gordon 2010 ; Hay 2006 ; Todd 2003).

Undertaking evidence-based practice does not require exceptional analytical skills. We just need to begin gathering proof that we make a difference to student learning (Todd 2003). We can begin on the evidence-based practice journey by collecting documentation such as: student work samples, student reflections and surveys, observation notes, rubrics, peer reviews, lesson plans, checklists, critical feedback, circulation statistics, and test scores (Lamb & Johnson 2004-2007 ; O’Connell 2012 ; Todd 2003). One tried and true method of undertaking evidence-based practice is within a Guided Inquiry process. The Guided Inquiry framework is not only a model for promoting higher order thinking and information literacy skills, it is also provides a mechanism for conducting evidence-based practice (FitzGerald 2011 ; Todd 2003). The Student Learning Through Inquiry Measure (SLIM) was originally developed as an assessment tool for use during the Guided Inquiry process. (Gordon 2010 ;  Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari 2007; Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinström 2005) The SLIM toolkit also provides the dual purpose of allowing teacher librarians to undertake effective evidence-based practice (FitzGerald 2011 ; Scheffers 2008).

If we, as teacher librarians want to be taken seriously as education professionals, we need to be proactive and self-promote our own research findings using evidence-based practice in our schools. By doing this we can prove the contribution we make to improving student learning outcomes and demonstrate continued improvement in our teaching practices. To reinforce our own research findings, we can also direct teachers and executives to the strong empirical evidence of other academics who likewise prove the difference teacher librarians make to student achievement (NSW DET 2010 ; Oberg 2002).


Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from:

FitzGerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based  practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.

Gordon, C A 2010, ‘The culture of inquiry in school libraries,’ School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), pp.73–88.

Hartzel, G. (2002). What’s it take? Presented at the Washington White House Conference on School Libraries. Retrieved from:

Hay, L. (2006). School libraries as flexible and dynamic learning laboratories? That’s what Aussie kids want. Scan, 25(2), 18-27.

Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Assessment  in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited

Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2004-2007). Library media program: Evidence-based decision-making. Retrieved from:

NSW Department of Education and Training (2010) School libraries 21c: A school library futures project.  School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit. Retrieved from:

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.

Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42

Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: how to prove you boost student achievement. School Library Journal, 49(4), 52 ff. Retrieved from:

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited

Todd, R.J., Kuhlthau, C.C. & Heinström, 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 from:

Constructivist Learning, the Australian Curriculum and the Teacher Librarian



The constructivist learning approach was first theorised by Piaget who postulated that individuals construct their own meanings through interaction with their environment (Cornish & Garner 2008 ; Gordon 2010). Vygotsky, however, developed a social constructivist stance and placed the social context of any environment at centre stage. He suggests that individuals construct their own meanings through a combination of their own cognitive processes and their social environment. These learning approaches have had a profound influence on pedagogy and current educational practices (Cornish & Garner 2008 ; Edutechwiki 2012).


The social constructivist learning approach is student-centred where the teacher is no longer the ‘expert’ and transmitter of knowledge and the students passively receivers. In this approach, the students actively learn collaboratively through inquiry and the teacher’s role is that of facilitator and coach. Problem solving and metacognition or reflecting on learning processes form a large part of the inquiry process. The aim is for students to be actively involved in their own learning process and for deep and transferable learning to occur (Blurton 1999 ; Boss & Krauss 2007 ; Cornish & Garner 2008 ; Edutechwiki 2012 ; Gordon 2010 ; Herring 2007 ; O’Connell ; UNESCO 2005).


The Australian Curriculum reflects a social constructivist approach as it supports the goals of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians which includes collaboration and an active role in their own learning as key skills for 21 Century learners (ACARA 2013 ; MCEETYA 2008). In fact, the Australian Curriculum has been even come under criticism by some for relying too heavily on constructivist views despite being uniformly adopted by educational organisations worldwide (Sydney Morning Herald 2014 ; Cornish & Garner 2008 ; UNESCO nd). Constructivist concepts such as collaboration, teamwork, group work and inquiry abound throughout the Australian Curriculum. Indeed, collaboration and teamwork forms much of the Personal and social capability component of the Australian Curriculum’s General capabilities. Likewise, inquiry, problem-solving and reflection feature markedly in the Critical and creative thinking capability of the Australian Curriculum’s General capabilites. (ACARA 2013).


Guided Inquiry is student-centred constructivist approach used by teacher librarians that has a strong 20 year long empirical background (Gordon 2010 ; Thomas, Crow & Franklin 2011 ; Kuhlthau nd. ; Kuhlthau 2020). Guided Inquiry is an Inquiry Based Learning model that evolved from Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (Kuhlthau nd. ; Kuhlthau 2010). It aims to develop the same essential skills espoused by constructivist theory and endorsed by the Australian Curriculum namely problem solving, inquiry, collaboration and reflection (ACARA 2013, Carey 1998 ; Kuhlthau nd. ; Kuhlthau 2010). As uniquely qualified educators and information specialists, teacher librarians are best placed to play a leadership role in integrating Guided Inquiry into the curriculum in schools (ASLA 2004 ; ASLA 2012 ; Kuhlthau 2010).


When teacher librarians collaboratively design and team-teach with classroom teachers using Guided Inquiry they can support authentic and transferable learning across the school (Gordon 2010 ; Haycock 2007 ; Kuhlthau & Maniotes 2010). By guiding students through logical sequential steps using the Guided Inquiry process, students can develop metacognition by becoming aware of their own learning processes (Herring 2007 ; Kuhlthau 2010). The role of teachers and the teacher librarian is to provide guidance at critical intervention points referred to as the zone of intervention. This is achieved by closely observing and asking timely questions to help students develop key thinking and learning strategies (Kuhlthau 2010). The zone of intervention is a strategy that has been closely modelled on Vygotsky’s concept of a zone of proximal development (Cornish & Garner 2008 ; Kuhlthau nd.)



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Sydney. Retrieved from:

Blurton, C. (1999). New directions of ICT-Use in education, UNESCO’s World Communication and Information Report. Retrieved from:

Boss, S. & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning. Excerpt. Retrieved from:

Carey, J.O., (1998) Library Skills, Information Skills, and Information Literacy: Implications for Teaching and Learning.School Library media Research, 1. Retrieved from:

Cornish, L. & Garner, J. (2008). Promoting student learning, Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest.

Edutechwiki (2010) Inquiry based learning.Retrieved from:

Edutechwiki (2012). Socio-constructivism. Retrieved from:

Gordon, C. A. (2010).The culture of inquiry in school libraries,’ School Libraries Worldwide,16(1). 73–88.

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35

Kuhlthau, C. C. (nd). Information Search Process. Retrieved from:

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2010) Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21stCentury. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 17-28

Kuhlthau, C. C., & Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building guided inquiry teams for 21st-century   learners, School Library Monthly, 26(5) pp. 18-21. Retrieved from:

MCEETYA. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Melbourne. Retrieved from:

O’Connell, J. (2012). So you think they can learn? Scan, 31(2), 5-11.

Thomas, N. P., Crow, S. R., & Franklin, L. L. (2011). Chapter 3: The Information Search Process: Kuhlthau’s legacy. In Information literacy and information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd ed., pp. 33-58). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from

UNESCO. (2005). Information and communication technologies in schools: A handbook for teachers. Retrieved from:

UNESCO (nd). Most influential theories of learning. UNESCO Education. Retrieved from:

The Role of the Teacher Librarian in Schools

The role of the teacher librarian (TL) in schools is not only multifaceted but also invaluable for excelling school learning outcomes (Education Services Australia 2011 ; Herring 2007 ; IASL 2003). TLs play a leading role in teaching and learning in schools and are uniquely skilled as research and information specialists coupled with their pedagogical and curriculum knowledge and expertise (ASLA 2012). Unfortunately their role is little understood by administrators as few have been teacher librarians themselves (O’Connell nd. ;  Moore 2002).

Teacher librarians are first and foremost teachers and the key teaching role for TLs in schools is in promoting information literacy skills (Herring 2007 ; SLASA 2008). In today’s digital world, the acquisition of highly developed information literacy skills is essential for 21st century learners for school and beyond (AASL 2007 ; IFLA 2013). In the teaching of Information Literacy, TLs come to the fore as school leaders. As Information specialists, they can work collaboratively with staff creating and team-teaching information literacy programs. (ALIA & ASLA 2009 ; Herring 2007 ; Purcell 2010).

Collection development has always played an essential part of the role of the TL. This has traditionally centred on curating physical resources. The bulk of the collection comprised non-fiction information sources and fiction books to promote reading for pleasure and ultimately literacy (AASL 2007 ; Herring 2007). Today’s TLs have had to evolve and become tech savvy so as to include digital formats and multimedia as part of the library’s virtual collection (Lamb 2011).  Virtual school libraries now also include eresources such as ebooks, audiobooks, digital video, databases, music files and electronic newspapers, journals and magazines in the library collection. The 21st Century virtual school library can now be accessed anywhere, anytime (Herring 2007 ;  Latham & Poe 2008 ; Valenza 2010).

Technology leader is another crucial role for TLs. It is essential that TLs are not only competent in the use of technology for library management systems, they must also have expertise in productivity tools, recording and reading tools, social and participatory tools and a wide range of learning tools (Lamb 2011 ; Purcell 2012).  As a technology leader, TLs will model best practice in integrating ICTs into the curriculum. Best practice will always focus on enhancing student learning when embedding technology, rather than using technology for technology’s sake (Churches 2009 ; Johnson 2010 ; Johnson 2011). As a consequence of the TLs’ role of technology leader, the role of professional developer becomes a natural progression. Due to their demonstrated expertise in this area, TLs can share their knowledge and skills by developing and presenting in-service training sessions for other teaching professionals. (Purcell 2012 ; Lamb 2011).

Teacher Librarians play an integral role in the learning outcomes of 21st Century Learners. The roles outlined above are but few in the many and varied roles that TLs can adopt in developing lifelong learners and information literate citizens (IFLA &UNESCO 2006). By assuming the outlined roles of information specialist, physical and virtual collection developer, technology leader and professional developer TLs are best placed to not only promote learning outcomes but also their own vital role in the school community (ASLA 2012 ; Education Services Australia 2011 ; IASL 2003).



American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2007). Standards for the 21st Century Learner. Retrieved from:

Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from:

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2009). Retrieved from:

Churches, A. (2009). Blooms’ digital taxonomy: It’s not about the tools, it’s using the tools to facilitate learning. Retrieved from:

Education Services Australia. (2011). Social media and ICT in schools. Connections, (78)

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.

Hughes-Hassell, S & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago. American Library Association.

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). (2013) Riding the waves or caught in the tides. Navigating the evolving information environment. Insights from the Trend Report. The Hague, Netherlands. Retrieved from:

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) & United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2006). IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto. Retrieved from:

International Association of School Librarianship (IASL). (2003). IASL policy statement on school libraries. Retrieved from:

Johnson, D. (2010). Changed but still critical: Brick and mortar school libraries in the Digital Age. For InterED, Association for the Advancement of International Education [AAIE], Fall. Retrieved July , 2013 from

Johnson, D. (2011). Stretching your technology dollar, Educational Leadership, 69(4), 30-33. 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.

Latham, B. and Poe, J. (2008). Evaluation and selection of new format materials: electronic resources in J. R. Kennedy, L. Vardaman & G. B. McCabe (Eds.), Our new public, a changing clientele : bewildering issues or new challenges for managing libraries (pp. 257-265)

Moore, P. (2002). An analysis of information literacy education worldwide. White paper prepared for UNESCO, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and the National Forum on Information Literacy, for use at the Information Literacy Meeting of Experts, Prague, The Czech Republic. Retrieved from:

O’Connell. (nd). Is school librarianship in crisis and should we be talking about it? Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from:

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

Purcell, K. (2012). Libraries 2020: Imagining the library of the (not too distant) future Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from:

School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA). (2008). SLASA Teacher Librarian Role Statement. Retrieved from:

Valenza, J. (2010). Manifesto for 21st Century Teacher Librarians. Teacher Librarian. The Journal for School Library Professionals. Retrieved from: