I can't help my shelf

Musings and meanderings of a picture book fanatic

TL as a Leader introduction

Simply through initial prescribed readings, I am already realising that how much more I need to understand about the nature of leadership and how it has developed to what it is today, and what we can anticipate for it to look like in the future. I have minimal experience in formal leadership roles within the school context, and the more I delve into the leadership styles and characteristics of ‘great leaders’ that are being presented, the more I realise how much there is to understand.

I am hoping that learning how to become a more effective leader throughout this course will improve my personal leadership ability in my new role as Teacher Librarian of a small K-6 school. I am seeing a real connection between genuine humility and deep leaders.

I’m very much looking forward to this unit (while slightly apprehensive about my time management)

Protected: Assignment 2, Part B, Reflections on collections

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Forum discussion 6.1

My school currently has no written CDP. Having recently taken over this role, I am aware that the previous TL knew the collection inside out, and used loose collection development and management procedures in her 25+ years in the library. While the CDP is not currently written and tangible, the previous (and current) practices and the reason why things are done the ways they are and essentially the CDP (Combes, Fitzgerald & Croft, 2018a).

Van Ziji (1998) discusses the validity of CDPs in schools, referencing the lack of time that TLs have to constantly update the document. This along with the rapid rate of changes with technology pose the question of whether “Can such policies be applied usefully to the multi-format and semi-virtual environment which typifies modern libraries?” (p. 99). In my opinion, a written and accessible CDP would be beneficial. Coming into my school’s library in Term 3 of last year, I have little knowledge of the current collection. This adds extra motivation to develop a CDP to assist in the familiarisation process.  

In regards to the digital content of my school’s collection, this is a collection which in itself is lacking so could actually be a wise place to start the CDP. The variety of electronic resources and the constant emergence of new and updated technologies are something that need a future-proof plan of attack (Budd, 2014, p.94). Combes, Fitzgerald and Croft (2018B) comment on the importance of the digital resources that are or will in the future be a part of the collection covered in the CMP.

As an example of what would be required in covering digital formats – Acquisition of digital formats needs to be covered in the CDP, as Tyckoson (2014) discusses, the decrease in use of print, and the flexibility of purchasing single copies of digital resources that can be used by multiple users (p. 71). It is essential too for the CDP to make note of this, to minimise the acquiring of multiple copies, when one copy can serve the same purpose.



Budd, J. (2014). Education for collection development and management. In B. Albitz, C. Avery, & D. Zabel (Eds.), Rethinking Collection Development and Management (pp. 59-76). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Combes, B., Fitzgerald, L., & Croft, T. (2018a). Policy and procedures. In Collection Development Policy [ETL503 Modules: Module Six]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_30013_1&content_id=_1990556_1

Combes, B., Fitzgerald, L., & Croft, T. (2018b). The content. In Collection Development Policy [ETL503 Modules: Module Six]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_30013_1&content_id=_1990556_1

Tyckoson, D. (2014). Perspectives on weeding in academic library collections. In B. Albitz, C. Avery, & D. Zabel (Eds.), Rethinking Collection Development and Management (pp. 59-76). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Van Zaji, C. (1998). The why, what, and how of collection development policies. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Sciences, 66(3), pp. 99-106.


Collection managements

Comparison of definitions

 The establishment of a collection management policy in any given school context is a responsibility that in theory should be shared by the principal and the teacher librarian. It should include the “provision of the information-related resources integral to the planning, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum of the school” (NSW Department of Education, 2016, section 1.3) along with physical and practical components of management such as budgeting, cataloguing and circulation of materials and caring for the physical condition of resources. The NSW Department of Education (2016) Library Policy – Schools labels libraries an integral learning resource within schools to support teaching and learning with reference to the syllabus and curriculum. It states their purpose is to provide resources for both teaching and for students’ independent learning and for their reading pleasure.

The Handbook for school libraries (NSW Department of Education, 2015) provides detail into the practical applications of the role of the teacher librarian, for me personally bringing some good glarity. It also recommends establishing a library committee to collaborate and support the formation and implementation of collection management policy within the school. This document gives advice for management, for instance: operating relevant and efficient library systems, using Department resources for selecting, cataloguing and circulating resources and participating in resource sharing with external collections.


NSW Department of Education. (2015).  Handbook for school libraries. Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/teachingandlearning/curriculum/media/documents/schoollibrarieshandbook2015.pdf

NSW Department of Education. (2016). Library policy – schools (PD/2005/0221/V03). Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/library-policy-schools

Shatzkin response

“Consider how these trends have affected or might affect school libraries and their collections.”

The two articles posted for reading provided through provoking reflections on what Shatzkin believes have been the major impacts that have changed (or are changing) the publishing world in the last century and now. He describes what he believes to be the four most influential companies in the world right now, especially in the world of book publishing – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, household names my one year old probably knows.  The growth of large stores that have driven smaller stores out of business will have also driven smaller publishers out of business as they cannot afford to meet the demands of the larger companies monopolising the growing industry.

I believe that the changing book landscape has been most largely impacted by the introduction of the ebook. A school library ebook collection can be of great physical benefit, as titles can be stored ‘in the cloud’ and don’t require shelf space.  It provides instant access to up to date collections and can be a cost-effective method of providing reading material. However, how on earth do you start one from scratch, and what are these initial costs? Then you have the savely regulations, privacy restrictions, inappropriate content… LAW SUITS.

Digital products, such as ebooks, music, movie and television downloads, some apps, do not attract the same legal protections in Australia that are given to purchasers of tangible products (Hayward, 2018).

I believe an ebook collection could be a worthwhile investment for a school with enough initial funding to cover the ongoing subscription costs and devices necessary to access them, but particularly with my primary teacher hat on, it is not time to ‘get rid of all paper books entirely. Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children!”


Hayward, M. (2018, Feb 21) Australia’s consumer laws still don’t cover e-books and many other digital products. The Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/australias-consumer-laws-still-dont-cover-e-books-and-many-other-digital-products-91831

Shatzkin, M. (2016).  Book publishing lives in an environment shaped by larger forces and always has. The Shatzkin Files. Retrieved from http://www.idealog.com/blog/book-publishing-lives-in-an-environment-shaped-by-larger-forces-and-always-has/

ETL401 Assignment 3 – Critical Reflection

Part C – Reflective Practice

Initially I thought that this assignment, was simply asking me to design a unit of work. Through further study and participation in discussion forums and lectures, I can see now that the Teacher Librarian’s (TL’s) role in as an information specialist within a school that teaching information literacy is in fact one of our dominant yet underutilised roles. NSW DoE’s Library policy documents identifies the teaching of ‘information skills’ as a key TL teaching and learning role (DoE 2016; Dawson & Kallenberger 2015). Information Literacy can be defined as the set of skills needed to locate, retrieve, assess and use information to solve problems and become independent lifelong learners (Bundy, 2004).

Today’s Teacher Librarians as stated by ASLA should aim to ‘adopt the Guided Inquiry approach to teaching and learning helps students to construct meaning, think creatively and solve problems’. The TL is responsible for both creating and maintaining a supportive learning environment in which students are provided with the support required to complete research and inquiry tasks to their best ability. ALIA/ASLA states “guided inquiry enables learners to develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process. Learners are able to use a variety of sources of information and different modes of learning to enhance their deeper understandings” (2009, p.1). Thankfully, the new curriculum also encourages classroom teachers to embrace an information literacy approach within the learning environment, meaning that the TL does not have to be the sole advocate for an inquiry approach, but can instead be there to encourage and support other educators in a collaborative role.

When looking at the unit I was to design, I was leaning towards using Kulthau’s Guided Inquiry model, as it was the most respected and oft cited in our readings (Herring 2006; FitzGerald 2011). However through these readings, I was not convinced that for the particular group of students I had in mind that this model would suit them best. The alternative Information Literacy model I chose to use was the TASC model (Thinking Actively in a Social Context). The students in my chosen context generally fall into one of two categories; perfectionistic or apathetic. The TASC wheel of inquiry (Wallace, 2012, p. 60) provides the perfect amount of structure for students to follow, while also allowing them to travel both forwards and backwards through the different stages if they wish to add to their work or clarify something. The reflection stage is a vital stage for all students, forcing them to honestly judge how well they achieved their own outcomes and what relationship this has with the amount of effort they put in. The TASC model requires active thinking for both students and teachers, and success can not be achieved without problem solving and lateral thinking. Wallace states that “When learning is in the context of real life experience, then learners can identify with the topic and develop ownership, and also relate to the learning in a personal way because it has relevance. (Wallace, 2012, p. 61).


The framework itself is divided into eight different segments:

  1. Gather and organise: what do I know already
  2. Identify: What am I going to do?
  3. Generate: How many ways can I do it?
  4. Decide: Which are the best ideas?
  5. Implement: Let’s do it!
  6. Evaluate: How well did I do?
  7. Communicate: Let’s share what we have learned.
  8. Learn from experience: What have we learned?









Figure 1: TASC Wheel. (Wallace, 2012, p. 61)


Research confirms that student results, problem-solving skills, collaboration and processing skills have greatly improved through them participating in an inquiry unit (Larmer & Mergendoller, 2010). The professionals (both classroom teacher and Teacher Librarian) here take on the role of facilitator, as opposed to the sole provider and access point to information. Information Literacy models enable students to think critically about and categorise information and knowledge they acquire while also providing them with opportunities to reflect on their learning, both the outcomes and the process.

Realistically, there are numerous IL models available and if you are anything like me, the temptation to try as many as possible is both admirable yet impractical at the same time. Simons (2018) highlights the work of Sarah Martin from Stonefields School in Auckland, New Zealand. I was lucky enough in 2015 to visit the school on an educational exchange and have seen the benefits of the students and staff having a shared language in regards to their IL model. The model for their “breakthrough” is one where the students can easily transfer the research skills they have learned through to their next project, allowing them to grow on these skills and not use their energy learning a new metalanguage and structure. Students could clearly articulate which stage of the learning process they were at, and impressively were able to see their learning struggles or blocks in a positive light and not a deterrent to their progress.

While it may seem daunting and like an increase in workload, when implemented strategically and thoughtfully, student participation, feelings of self-efficacy, levels of motivation and achievement and approach to learning should increase. This will likely be the case for both students already achieving high grades, as well as students who are lacking motivation. Inquiry based models challenge individual learners where they are at and will push them accordingly. Teacher Librarians and Classroom Teachers if they are not already need to make this teaching shift so as to effectively prepare their students for real-life learning. These IL models promote some essential learning tools students (and their teachers) need to cope and potentially thrive in our constantly-changing technological society.



ACARA. (2016). Key Ideas: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability. Australian Curriculum v8.3 .Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/key-ideas

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

ASLA. (2014). Evidence guide for teacher librarians at the proficient career stage: Australian professional standards for teachers. Australian School Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/evidence_guide_prof.pdf

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). & Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2009). Policy on guided-inquiry and the curriculum. Author. Retrieved from

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). Retrieved from http://www.caul.edu.au/content/upload/files/infoliteracy/InfoLiteracyFramework.pdf

Dawson, M. & Kallenberger, N. (Eds.).  (2007).  Information skills in the school: Engaging learners in constructing knowledge.  NSW: Department of Education and Training.  Retrieved from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/isp/docs/infoskills.pdf

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

Herring, J. (2006). A critical investigation of students’ and teachers’ views of the use of information literacy skills in school assignments. School Library Media Research, 9.

Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2010). 7 essentials for project-based learning. Educational Leadership, 68(1), p.34-37. Retrieved from http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/search.

Martin, S. 2012. Stonefields School building learning capacity [Video file]. Retrieved May 3, 2018 from

Simons, M. (2018, May 3). Arguments for a whole school approach to information literacy and inquiry [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/

O’Connell, J. (2012). So you think they can learn? Scan (31), 5-11. Retrieved from http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/search.

Treadwell, M. 2013. Stonefields2 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGbGiMeLk_M

Wallace, B. (2012). TASC: Thinking Actively in a Social Context. A universal problem-solving process: A powerful tool to promote differentiated learning experiences. Gifted Education International. 28(1) 58–83. doi: 10.1177/0261429411427645

Information Overload

Information and the economy, as a traded good! Why had I not thought of this before? Probably because the need had never been for me to, but upon thinking and reading further on this concept, it seems in a way revolutionary. As a society we are becoming more and more digitally driven and dependent, therefore our works are more and more frequently produced and accessed using technology. As simple as this example is, a decade ago, this forum post would likely have instead been a tangible piece of writing. People’s intellectual property is becoming more of a grey area as we continue to evaluate how it is that we can best trade information. This module suggests that information is different from the ways other goods can be traded in the following ways:

  • Inconsumable – When we use most goods, that is it; they have served their purpose. I don’t know that I agree with the term inconsumable because I feel that information in fact CAN be consumed, what it can’t be though is finished with or limited. Information can instead be consumed and stored.
  • Untranfserable – I had a lesson with my kindergarten class last year that looked at bullying. The idea behind in was that we, as humans, will fall short and think nasty things about other people. When they are just thoughts, they stay with us and us alone. However when these ideas are passed on to the other person, both people have access to the thoughts (in this instance, bullying). As a teacher, we can take delight in the transfer of information, whether it is from us directly or whether students are receiving this information from somewhere or someone else.
  • Indivisible – I feel that the following poem is the best summary if information being indivisible. Really, how can one single person who has such a limited amount of the truth know the full and complete reality? Blind men and the elephant 

Blind men and the elephant


  • Accumulative – My husband is a neuroscientist. He is currently doing his PHD looking at alzheimer’s disease, specifically early onset and medications we take that might increase the likelihood. I can tell you right now though that he quite simple would not be doing this research even five years ago. Thanks to accumulative information, we can learn from what we already know and seek to expand on it.


Fitzgerald, L. (2018). Definitions of information [ETL401 Module 2.1]. Retrieved March 5, 2018 from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_34577_1&content_id=_2060420_1


Saxe, J. G. (1887). Blind men and the elephant, Retrieved March 5, 2018, from



Reflective blog 4: Modules 0 and 1

As I write this post, I have a confession to make. After finishing my undergrad, I never thought I would have to read or write “critically” again, and I LOVED that idea! Truth be told though, I actually enjoy the writing process, my reluctance comes from the fact that I am a black and white kind of person and the idea of someone reading and critiquing my work almost brings me to my knees in an anxious state. I guess this is another reason that blogging will be beneficial for me, forcing me to ride the wave of anxiety and allow for me to be happy (or not) in the grey of my work not always being ‘perfect’

What is Critical Reading?

– A critical reader recognises what a text says and how it is that the text approaches a subject.

– To read critically, a person needs to be able to actively engage with the text.

– A critical reader asks questions about the text being read and can make appropriate inferences.

Critical Reading Strategies

  1. PREVIEWING – Learning about a text before reading it. Use skimming and scanning to achieve this.
  2. CONTEXTUALISING – When reading a text be sure to place the text in its relevant historical, biographical and cultural context. 
  3. QUESTIONING – similarly to above, it is important to question the content of the text, this will assist you to remember and understand the text. 
  4. REFLECT – While reading, or immediately after, examine your personal responses to the text. it is important to keep notes of the questions and challenges you make while reading the text. Reflect on the reading. 
  5. OUTLINING and SUMMARISING – Summarising begins by outlining the important aspects of the text. You should be able to write down in your own words a brief outline of what the text’s main ideas were
  6. EVALUATING and ARGUING – This is where the hard yards come into it… You need to test the logic, credibility, and emotional impact the text has on you as the reader. Has the author intended to add an emotive language? Why?
  7. COMPARING and CONTRASTING to related or similar readings. This means finding any similarities or differences between texts (on the same subject). 



Kurland. D. (2000). What is Critical Reading? Retrieved from: http://www.criticalreading.com/critical_reading.htm

Salisbury University. (2009). 7 Critical Reading Strategies. Retrieved from: http://www.salisbury.edu/counseling/new/7_critical_reading_strategies.html

Yours till the book ends,


Reflective blog 3: The perceived role of the Teacher Librarian

“You need to go to uni for THAT!?”

The number of people; friends, colleagues, family members, who have questioned the need for me, a qualified Primary School teacher, for me to part take in further study to become a Teacher Librarian is amazing. “What!? You need to do more study to know how to stack books?”, “How hard can it be to read a book to the kids once a week and organise a yearly parade?” Quite frankly, I was quite tired of feeling the need to justify the value of a motivated, inspired, intelligent Teacher Librarian.


“The information literacy role of school librarians expands beyond the basic literacy of reading to teaching students to access, evaluate, and use information, both within their academic environment and as citizens of a democracy” (Harlan, 2015, p. 54).


Novak (2013) seeks to challenge where this perception has come from, and why in an age where we are as a society progressing at such a rapid rate, there is almost a definite choice to keep the role of the Teacher Librarian stagnant. She challenges the worth of trying to change the perception, acknowledging that this would require sustained effort, backlash and no guarantee that a successful shift in mindset would take place. “Don’t assume that teaching staff and students know that you have dual qualifications in teaching and librarianship. Repeatedly and excessively refer to yourself and those on your team as teacher librarians, highlighting what you can do to assist. If the school community doesn’t know about your skill set, how can you expect it to utilise your skills?” (Novak, 2013, paragraph 8).


The fact is, Teacher Librarians are going to have to, at least for the time being, continue to justify the value and importance of their role within a school. How can we be proactive in doing this while also not burning ourselves out? I propose the following as some potential strategies.


1 – Hold workshops for teachers – Listen during staff meetings, in the staff room over lunch. What are teachers struggling with? Are there things that you know would make their lives easier? Once you have figured out what these are, hold a monthly session addressing this. Examples could be moving to 1:1 devices, storing information on the cloud, managing and keeping up with apps. Show staff that you are a tool that can be useful here.


2 – Show off the library space and resources – People don’t want what they don’t know exists. Make the library an open, warm place to visit. Strategically place furniture and book displays in a way that promote community. Think about holidays that are coming up the following term and pre-empt what resources may be useful for teachers.


3 – Work WITH teachers – We all have a lot to do. The ever-growing curriculum allows for limited time for teachers to be creating new, creative lessons. Choose one year and one subject each term and seek to help the teachers of this year group devise a new program that uses a number of library resources. Introduce them to new apps that could enhance the teaching, source books that support the topic, show them that you are a fountain of knowledge that is there to support them.


I believe that by being proactive, we can change the glasses wearing, hair in a bun idea of the Teacher Librarian.


Harlan, M. A. (2015). Literacy and media centers in the twenty-first century: School libraries. In S. Hirsch’s (Ed.) Information services today: An introduction, pp. 53-61. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield.  

Novak, B. (2013). It’s time: let’s improve schools’ perceptions of teacher librarians [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_99/feature_article/improve_schools_perceptions_of_teacher_librarians.html


Yours till the book ends,


Reflective blog 2: Creative Commons Statement

Copyright or copywrong?

Creative Commons was a term I really hadn’t delved into before this course, never really feeling the need to, and certainly not the personal desire. Cue rebuke! Creative Commons entails much of what I believe education today strives for, things such as collaboration, collegiality, and not needing to reinvent the wheel. Creative Commons as part of a library collection would add a dynamic and highly usable feature. I am challenged to think further about its place in a junior school library in which I will be based.

Censorship is an issue I have been personally challenged by and have opinions on, particularly in this age of accessibility. In saying this, my opinions and thoughts have been just that, nothing too radical to act upon. I had heard of of censorship based on classification, the idea to be being largely based on the appropriateness of content for particular ages. I believe a strong library collection needs to provide access to a range of perspectives, in order to develop critical thinkers (Hamilton, 2009). While censorship can prevent this, yes, I believe it is still possible to put in appropriate precautions while still providing a broad scope of material. I am starting to see that the acquiring of resources to richly fill a library comes down to a lot more than simply choosing good books.


Cousins, C. (2014, March 10). The simple guide to creative common resources. Design shack. Retrieved from https://designshack.net/articles/business-articles/the-simple-guide-to-creative-commons-resources/

Hamilton, B. (2009, September 5). It is about intellectual freedom, not politics [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/it-is-about-intellectual-freedom-not-politics/

Hamilton, B. (2009, June 9). Debating the requirement of print books as information sources for research. Retrieved from https://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/debating-the-requirement-of-print-books-as-information-sources-for-research/

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