Monday, September 14, 2009

Even more on Information Services

Continuing on with ETL501 Topic 5, what are the key information services that teacher librarian's should prioritise? SLASA and Learning for the Future make some suggestions, from which I have chosen:
  1. Select resources to meet the information needs of the staff and students.
  2. Ensure the maximum use and access of resources.
  3. Make the library a multi-functional environment which is a focal point for learning.
  4. Instruct students in information tools and processes.

What are the information needs of the students and staff? One way of finding our more about the students is to profile the local community. Another issue is special needs. For example, some students need Learning Support ESL (English as a Second Language). These students may need resources for extra literacy support and/or opportunities to read in their first language. Their teachers may need resources to support teaching of these students.

As well as providing information services, teacher librarians must also provide information literacy support. Students need instant reminders at the point of need (in the library), to help them to find and use information effectively. The school library should display labels and signs that facilitate ease of information retrieval. Posters can remind students of key steps in information skills processes. The school intranet home page or library webpage should have reminders about internet search techniques and the evaluation of the reliability of internet sources. When students approach the librarian with a reference question, they could be given a handout with a few quick questions to answer to help them to focus on the exact information that they need.

The Massachusetts School Library Media Association provides Model School Rubrics, available at http://www.mslma.org/whoweare/rubric.pdf . The only problem with meeting the "Exemplary" standard for school libraries is having the staffing and finance to manage it! Having the school library open before and after school, having sufficient space and appropriate furniture, up to date technology, an excellent collection, and allowing students to use the library as often as needed all sounds great! But can the budget and staff manage it?

I've finally come to the end of Topic 5! Whew!

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