Information Literacy · School Libraries

April is School Library Month

As April is School Libraries Month I felt it was important to highlight the many different roles of the school library staff. Interestingly, the understanding of this role differs from person to person.

Ask teachers or senior leaders what the role of the school library staff is and you will very likely get answers like these:-

  • a keeper of books
  • supporting the students to find books
  • running the reading scheme
  • providing a safe place for anyone who needs it
  • works with the English department
  • encouraging reading for pleasure

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School libraries are very often linked to literacy so good school libraries jump on this expectation and provide a good selection of fiction. They follow book awards and they work with the English department who also see a clear link between their department and the school library.

Alongside this role of literacy, we find that school libraries offer a  safe environment for those students who do not like sport or do not have a huge number of friends and find solitude amongst the books. We, as librarians, look to engage students with reading for pleasure and are often found trying to find the right book for that child who does not like reading anymore.

We offer so much more!

Many teachers and senior leaders do not realise that school library staff also have another equally important roles in :-

  • teaching research (information literacy) skills/copyright/plagiarism
  • teaching digital literacy
  • providing online resources for curriculum topics
  • supporting curriculum development
  • support collaboration and teamwork

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The latest research by Lance and Kachel Why school librarians matter shows once again that “When schools have high-quality library programs and librarians who share their expertise with the entire school community, student achievement gets a boost.” 

Originally published in April 2018 Phi Delta Kappan 99 (7) 15-20. © 2018 Phi Delta Kappa International. All rights reserved.

This is why it is important that schools see beyond the library of books to the person in the room and talk to them about how they can support teachers within the classroom. Go and ask the school library staff the following questions…

  • What resources, both physical and online, does the school library have to support my teaching?
  • Can the library staff come into my classroom to teach research skills?
  • Can the library staff come into my classroom to teach referencing and plagiarism?
  • Can the library staff help support international collaboration?
  • What books would they recommend your students read to go alongside your topic?
  • Is there a book club for staff?
  • Is there a book club for students?

If the school library staff can’t support this then Schools’ Library Service Guernsey have qualified librarians who will happily support all of this. Just give us a ring on 714098 and ask any of the above questions to get the conversation started.

CILIP has just announced a new definition of information literacy and we are very excited as it will help define all that we do here at Schools’ Library Service.

“Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about an information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express an informed view and to engage fully with society.”

Written by Elizabeth

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