ETL 401 Final Reflection
In essence, I now feel exactly what Kulthau (2004) spoke about in her identification of the Affective stages that accompanied a journey from questioning to understanding. At the outset, my initiation, I thought that information was all encompassing. I believed that there was simply no way that anyone could purport to be a specialist in this field. I was vague, I was aimless, but I was becoming excited by the possibility that I could become better.
I moved with optimism into the new school term. Reading about the changing nature of the library in texts like Thomas Frey’s “The Future of Libraries” helped me to realise that the profession I was working in was one that held such importance for communities. I saw that the role of the TL was not just to stand and shush people, but to provide access to the collective knowledge and imaginings of the world. While this may sound like hyperbole, many groups that have defined the role of the TL and their library have shown the scope of this profession to be very wide indeed. Valenza (2010) expresses her views that the TLs role has expanded far beyond providing access to the myriad of resources; the role now encompasses the creation of new materials. From software to hardware, from web 2.0 to 3.0, the TL was now a hub in the great spinning mass of information. By providing resources and skills that enable students to self-publish, the TL could become the catalyst for creativity in every medium imaginable.
I believe it was the exploration of that idea of “every medium imaginable”, and the realisation that it was a far bigger idea than I could currently handle, that led me to the next step. I felt that this position would bury me under an insurmountable heap of new technologies and information. I had arrived at the Affective stage Kulthau identifies as being characterised by confusion, frustration and doubt. Re-reading Kaplan (2007) for the fourth or fifth time, I began to question my suitability for this role. I had only just accepted this role and was still trying to ‘get my head around’ the mass of information and technology skills our students need “to be successful in today’s information economy”. I had become somewhat lost in definitions of what ‘information’ we were supposed to be working with.
As I began to examine the teaching role of the TL (with a million tabs open on my browser) I had difficulty coming to terms with the practicalities of the position. How I was to create a supportive learning environment, beyond the theories, eluded me. I believe that I would benefit from visiting other libraries to see how other members of my profession have approached this. As to the specifics of what the TL actually teaches, I was yet to really come to terms with the scope of information literacy as a practical topic. I believe I limited myself to ‘what’ was to be taught as opposed to ‘how’. I can see, now, that saying, “a TL should cater to the needs of the community” is very shallow. I feel compelled to mention that in my current library community has large amount of ESL students (around 40%) and I have since included a provision in my collection policy that will provide them with access to a large range of visual and multi-modal texts to support their development of visual literacy and individual communication strategies (NSW BOS, 2013).
Moving beyond exploration proved a difficult task. It was the idea of transliteracy, broad it may be, that gave me my ‘thread’ (Kulthau, 2004). The idea of a literacy that combines literacies (Ipri, 2010) made sense to me. I feel like the specific focus on individual literacies (print literacy, numerical literacy, visual literacy, etc.) divides the idea of information literacy into facets that then vie for attention. Many students already show skills in transliteracy. Watching a student skimming several websites for information on Adelie Penguins, I was very happy to see that they eventually chose the National Geographic site to read properly. I asked the student why they had chosen that particular site and they replied, “Everything was right there.”
By presenting students with exemplary resources, like the aforementioned site, I can help them to see the fine details in a well finished information product. Being able to assess information suitability with ease is a skill I’d be happy to leave my students with.
Frey, T. (nd.) The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation. Retreived 25th May, 2013, from http://www.davinciinstitute.com/papers/the-future-of-libraries/
Ipri, T. (2010). Introducing transliteracy. College & Research Libraries News, 71(10), 532-567.
Kaplan, A. G. (2007). Is your school librarian ‘highly qualified’? Phi Delta Kappan, 89(4), 300-303. Retrieved 25th May from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b8ab3846-706b-4025-b829-7d1ae8024521%40sessionmgr198&vid=2&hid=122
Kulthau, C. (2004) Information Search Process. Retrieved 05/05/13 from: http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm
New South Wales Board of Studies, (2013) Content and Text Requirements. Retrieved May 24th from http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/content-and-text-requirements/
Valenza, J. (2010) Revised Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians. Retrieved 25th May, 2013, from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/