Libraries R 4 Learning Project: Information Literacy Multimedia clips

Aberdeenshire Library and Information Service started filming last week on their Libraries R 4 Learning Project: Multimedia clips. As one of those approached, travelled north last week (2nd and 3rd February 2010) to do some filming. It was an interesting process writing the scripts for the introduction sections on Information Literacy, Information Literacy in schools and Information Literacy in the workplace and then filming them. A new experience for both myself and the film crew (Sue Cromar and one of the network librarians whose name I have forgotten – my apologises to her). I now have a great respect for news readers, it is not as easy as it looks.

During my two day visit I also had a meeting with some of the Aberdeenshire Library and Information Service staff – Primary School Librarian and Early Years / Young People in Schools Librarian plus one of Aberdeenshires Literacy Development Officers (Katherine who is an English teacher on secondment). We had an interesting session where I shared information on the information literacy work I’m involved with specifically the LTS Real and Relevant – Information and Critical Literacy Skills for the 21st Century Learner’ (Early and First Level) CPD Toolkit.

Katherine was amazed to hear that Aberdeenshire Library and Information Service is not just about books, they also have objects / educational tools – religious artefacts, puppets, costumes etc that teachers can use for lessons. As a teachers she is probably not alone in thinking that libraries are just about books. She was also not aware that tours of the service have been organised for probationer teachers and that several teachers have requested visits once they heard of the resources available from the probationer teachers. I made a note to myself to remember to include Library and Information Services as a resource for teachers in the Real and Relevant  CPD Toolkit.

I also had an interesting conversation with the network librarian at Meldrum Accademy about transition initiatives (primary 7 – S1) and also about my experience todate of information literacy in the early years specifically regarding my thoughts that information literacy involves all our senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing) plus our memories not just reading of text from books and or the Internet. I think we forget about the power of visual images and how this helps us learn languages, remember / recall past experiences, knowledge etc.

The importance of paying close attention to your “market,” adjusting your service model, and remaining relevant to your customers

Another gem from the Information Literacy Community of Practice. This time a posting from CCHS Library Learning Commons re the importance of paying close attention to your “market,” adjusting your service model, and remaining relevant to your customers.  

In the world of school libraries the rats leaving the ship is analogous to finding your job on the cut list. By the time your program is on that list it is too late.

She does however offer some suggestions

How do you avoid this fate? Be curious, be bold, find out what the smartest school librarians and educational tech visionaries from around the world are doing and saying, and see how it can be implemented to the benefit of your students and faculty.  Embrace the unknown …

Vist the original posting and read the rest for your self.

Information Literacy Strategy for Wales

Sheila Webber has posted her presentation – International Perspectives on IL from the meeting on an Information Literacy Strategy for Wales on 30 November 2009 at Gregynogg Hall in Wales. John also spoke about the work of the Scottish Information Literacy Project and the lessons which Wales can learn from us his thoughts on the event were posted on the project blog .

Her presentation cover useful pointers for everyone and contains some amazing school librarian quotes. Worth a look.

An Information Literacy Strategy for Wales

A couple of weeks ago (November 30th– 1st December) I attended an invitation only conference in Wales on the theme of ‘An Information Literacy Strategy for Wales?’  which was held at the attractively situated if geographically inconvenient University of Wales conference centre at Gregynog House.

All LIS sectors and Welsh education were represented and I was particularly impressed by the willingness of all sectors to work together and learn from each other.

The initial presentations were devoted to reviewing the various sectors and the familiar theme emerged of pockets of excellent good practice which were not being supported by an overarching strategy. I spoke about the work of the Scottish Information Literacy Project and the lessons which Wales can learn from it. After dinner there were sectoral discussion groups and I joined the public librarians and was impressed by their grasp of the role which public libraries can play in informal learning and the good work they are already doing.

The following morning Gareth Evans from Caerphilly Public Library spoke about the work he has been doing with the Open College network which could well be replicated elsewhere.

The conference concluded with a list of action points which included:

  • The production of an overview/vision statement (urgent)
  • The development of a strategy and Framework
  • Making cross sectoral/partnership contacts including outside the LIS sector
  • Developing a National Forum for Information Literacy in Wales
  • Appointing an Information Literacy Development Officer for Wales
  • Accrediting library staff information literacy training skills
  • Include IL concepts in teacher training
  • School librarian posts should be a statutory responsibility
  • Pursue media literacy issues through Ofcom

However if these objectives are to be achieved funding will be a key requirement

Survey of Scottish school librarians and their knowledge and use of Curriculum for Excellence

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. There were a total of 74 responses of which 72 were from the secondary sector – a response rate of 20%.

The survey suggests that the school librarians are tending to concentrate primarily on the Learning Experiences and Outcomes and not the Principle Papers which are said to be “essential reading for staff” and “a range of practitioners” including themselves as the following quote demonstrates.

It is expected that the literacy experiences and outcomes and this accompanying paper [principles and practice], will be read by a range of practitioners, including those who work in school library resource centres, who make an enormous contribution to the literacy skills of children and young people. 

33 respondents (75%) indicated that they had identified ways in which information literacy can be used to achieve or assist achievement of the experiences and outcomes.

26 respondents (53%) replied that they are or have been involved in any piloting activities, created any new activities or updated existing activities based upon the experiences and outcomes.

28 responses were generated to the question of  ‘How can school librarians optimise their efforts to support information literacy and the Curriculum for excellence Experiences and Outcomes locally and nationally?’  The main points which were frequently repeated were: 

  • becoming involved in school activities through school committees such as literacy teams,
  • getting the support of the head teacher,
  • demonstrating an understanding of the aims of CfE,
  • supporting cross curricular activities, 
  • developing links with primary schools,
  • being involved in all discussions and training and in-service opportunities,
  • liaising closely with subject departments,
  • working with other school library colleagues,
  • working with teachers to standardise terminology, 
  • promoting a whole school approach
  • involving Learning and Teaching Scotland.  

The full results and findings are to be written up for publication including articles for

The School Librarian – The Curriculum for Excellence: knowledge, engagement and contribution by Scottish school librarians, Chrisitne Irving to be published in 2010.

Aslib Proceedings – The Scottish Information Literacy Project and school libraries, John Crawford and Christine Irving to be published in 2010.

Other publications being looked at are education publications.


Library and Information Research

The latest issue of Library and Information Research is now available online at

 There are several items of interest from a project point of view including for school librarians:

Christina Sacco Ritchie asks “Would evidence-based school librarianship work in the UK?”

Other articles include:

  • ‘the important question “Do we need the information professions?”
  • “An evaluation of the National Year of Reading in Yorkshire”
  • A survey of e-book usage at UWE – LIRG prize-winning research from Jackie Chelin and colleagues
  • Janet Clapton’s practical checklist for establishing the context of a new research project.

They (the journal editors) welcome submissions of research articles, reports and book reviews from both practitioners and academic researchers.

With this in mind you may be interested in a recent email from Janet Clapton:

As a LIS practitioner researcher (i.e. in my spare time!) I am exploring the views of those of us who would like to write for publication but experience barriers.

Pilot testing showed, not surprisingly, that time was a major constraint, although lack of support was also a problem. However we are all experts in what we do every day, and therefore have important knowledge to share.

 While the views of all LIS practitioners are of interest, those who work outside academic settings are particularly encouraged to take part.

Please carry out the short survey below (before the end of 9th October).

Writing an article can be daunting but I’ve found that co writing with someone more experienced can help you pick up tips and techniques plus gain confidence. Also writing a short piece about attending an event is a good way to start.  So why not give it a go.


1st october 2009 update

The above survey by Janet Clapton is now closed due to the sheer response size. Janet apologies to those who wanted to contribute but were unable to: but says please contact her Janet.Clapton@SCIE.ORG.UK if you have something burning to say about writing for publication.

She is looking forwards to sharing the published findings when available.

e-petition calls on the Westminster Government to acknowledge the value of school libraries by putting them on a statutory footing.’

For those of you not on  LIS-INFOLITERACY@JISCMAIL.AC.UK there was an email sent out asking for support in the campaign to make school libraries a statutory right for young people in this country by taking time to sign an e-petition on the 10 Downing Street website and help influence future education policy: 

We, the undersigned, call on Her Majesty’s Government to accept in principle that it will make school libraries, run by properly qualified staff, statutory and to prepare the necessary legislation in consultation with the appropriate professional associations and trade unions.


The email highlights that:

School libraries should be a statutory right because access to a library and a professional librarian

  a.. helps raise reading levels,

  b.. provides a range of cultural experiences

  c.. develops their independent learning skills

  d.. and ultimately helps them to have a better life.


and that

If you feel interested in making your MP do some work on your behalf, there is a message below from the author Alan Gibbons, (with the wording of the Early Day Motion that needs to be supported by them) and the following website will locate your MP’s contact details for you:


This is the Early Day Motion 1939 Manifesto for Education Libraries

That this House notes the contribution made by more than 20,000 UNISON members working in libraries and resource centres in schools, colleges, universities and local authority settings; acknowledges that libraries are at the heart of learning; welcomes the publication of UNISON’s manifesto for education libraries designed to keep libraries at the heart of learning; supports its key objectives to promote and enhance the role of library staff in teaching and learning and to campaign for well resourced libraries with modern facilities; encourages the education sector to prioritise professionally-run libraries; and calls on the Government to acknowledge the value of school libraries by putting them on a statutory footing.’


School librairan and GLOW

Recently came across a blog posting about a school librarian’s thoughts and experiences about GLOW (Scotland’s national intranet for education) entitled Get Glowing which makes interesting reading about the issues she is facing also her experience on an introductory presentation on GLOW to the staff at her school. Jen’s other thoughts and activities also make for interesting reading including the Visible Thinking project she is involved in. Some great work going on here both in an information literacy sense, individually and collaboratively.

A case of watch this space, get the thought process working and share ideas and thoughts.

Librarians should get out there … and start knocking on doors

Brilliant article about school librarians in TESS includes our very own Ian McCracken, Govan High who is a project partner and on our project advisory group. Article also includes quotes / case studies from other activists in the field: Duncan Wright, convener of the School Library Association (Scotland) and librarian at Stewart Melville’s College; Wendy Pieroni, learning resource co-ordinator at Blairgowrie High in Perth and Kinross; Mary Sherriffs, Pitlochry High’s librarian; and Ayr Academy librarian Heather Stewart.

Douglas Blane reports:
School libraries and the people who run them can play a central role in A Curriculum for Excellence, inspiring new initiatives and pulling various departments together.

I would certainly endorse that and have been saying so for quite some time. Advocacy at its best.

Read the full artilce ‘Librarians should get out there … and start knocking on doors’