July 15

What is an Information Agency?

Choose either the opening or closing site from a previous study visit schedule. Think about what makes this site an ‘information agency’ and make notes for yourself. Think also about what we mean when we talk about ‘information’. What information do you think they work with? What type of services do they offer?

Once again, I chose the Adelaide Study Visit schedule from 2015. Students visited the State Library of South Australia on Tuesday 28th June and were there all day.

Day 1 of the Adelaide Study Visit Schedule in 2015.

The State Library of South Australia (SA) is the premier library in the state. It is located on North Terrace, Adelaide, near to other cultural buildings, such as the museum and art gallery. They provide a massive range of information and other services, including education resources, local history, ancestry information, special collections, group study rooms, classes, a cafe, events, and exhibitions.

To me, an agency is some sort of organisation that provides a service. Therefore, an information agency, simply, is an organisation that provides information to its users. Information provision and celebration is the core business of the State Library of SA, as demonstrated by the list of services above.

The idea of ‘information’ harks back to ETL401. In one reflective blog post, I discussed the many definitions of ‘information’, how there are different types of information, and how information has four properties that effect how we learn and communicate. The State Library of SA works with all sorts of information, providing access through multiple old and new formats and delivery modes.

July 14

Reflecting on an Information Agency

Choose a site from a previous study visit schedule and write some notes for yourself about it and who you think its users might be.

I chose the Adelaide Study Visit schedule from 2015. Students visited the SA Water Library on Thursday 30th June at 11:30am to 1:00pm.

The SA Water Library on the 2015 Adelaide Study Visit Schedule

This information agency caught my attention because it was somewhat surprising that they had a library. SA Water looks after water provision for the state of South Australia.

I wonder what their library collection would hold? It might have historical records of the agency’s activities in the state, South Australia’s water usage and origin, or information resources about water in a more general sense. It might have maps of South Australia with locations of important water-related landmarks, or pollution and waterway management information.

I wonder who the users might be? Of course, SA Water employees might need information from the library. Would there be any users from outside the organisation? Maybe external agencies, like builders, would need information about pipes. Or businesses might need to know about the management of waterways.

Research the agency and the type of users it has. Reflect on how hard or easy it is to find information about the organisation and its users, whether the information you found aligned with your assumptions of the site, and how you might frame your investigation if you were visiting the site.

When I clicked on the link provided in the Study Visit program, there was a Page Not Found error. So, I typed ‘sa water library’ into Google. The second link listed led to an error page. The fifth link looked promising but also led to an error.

Already, it is hard to find information about this agency. I should bear in mind, though, this Study Visit was scheduled five years ago, so things will have changed.

I did find a SA Water Library Registration Form, available for school teachers who wanted to borrow resources for their teaching units. The SA Water website itself also had some pointers as to what the library might contain. There was information about water services, recycling, drinking and tap water, wastewater treatment, and more.

My assumptions were a little off! It certainly seems as though the SA Water Library caters for external users as much as it would for employees. I am interested to visit SA Water in Adelaide CBD to check it out!

July 14

Preparing for Workplace Learning

Reflect on what your aims for the subject are. Key to this is reflecting on what the learning outcomes for the subject are, and where you are positioned now.

I feel well-positioned at the beginning of ETL507 Professional Experience and Portfolio. My main aims for the subject would be to broaden my understanding of a school library’s position in the wider information community, and to practice evaluating other libraries and information agencies. I hope there are lots of chances to see how our learning throughout the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) degree can be applied in practice.

Here are the subject learning outcomes, and reflections on my current position, for ETL507:

Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the wider library/information community of which school libraries are a part.

My understanding of the wider library/information community is minimal. I have experience volunteering and working in two different primary school libraries, but this experience is very narrow. Understanding the position of my current workplace in the wider community is important, because I have already had to interact with public libraries and other school libraries in the area.

Have developed an understanding of common professional goals and practices.

Working as a professional, and developing and working towards goals, is something I am accustomed to as I have worked as a teacher.

Be able to evaluate the role and functionality of a library or information agency.

I see this as an important learning outcome because it is something we have to do regularly. Understanding the role of my own library, and how it should function to cater for my school community, is critical. So, evaluating the role and functionality of another library or information agency will serve as useful practice for my current workplace, and any future workplaces, should I decide to move on.

Be able to apply theory to practice in a reflective manner.

After working through six subjects prior to this, ETL507 will provide opportunities to apply what I have learnt. I have already started to do this as part of my current position in a school library.

Be able to engage in dialogue with fellow information professionals.

I believe I am a good communicator. This subject will provide good opportunities for networking and learning from professionals with useful experiences.

Have a greater understanding of professional learning and reflective practice.

Again, this is something I am accustomed to having worked as a teacher. We are expected to undertake a minimum of sixty hours of professional learning every three years, and reflection is part of the job.

Have extended expertise in developing a reflective portfolio.

This is also something I have done before as part of my teaching degree. It will be good to revisit the ‘professional portfolio’.