ETL 501. Topic 7. Information services to staff and students.

  1. Think about providing an information service to teachers in a primary or secondary school and list three key factors which a teacher librarian needs to take into account before offering such a service. Share your thoughts in your group forum in the thread Information Services Staff.

Ans: Three key factors a teacher librarian needs to take into account when providing an information service to teachers in a secondary context are, what resource format the information is required in (printed or electronic), the age and learning level of the students, and if the information is specific to the one group or for a general curriculum learning outcome.

 2.     Read Valenza’s comments on pathfinders and wikis and think about whether you agree with her reasons or if you might add other reasons. Comment on this topic in your group forum.

Ans:  I totally agree with Valenza (2013) that wikis are more versatile when building and utilising pathfinders as they are easy to upload and link. I hadn’t thought of the collaborative aspect of wikis other than at school with other staff members, but that’s what’s so great with Web 2.0 tools, the ability to learn and share collaboratively on a greater scale (outside school context), and as part of a teacher librarian’s role in 21st century digital learning.

3. After exploring the sites below, share your thoughts about the usefulness of pathfinders in your group forum.

Ans: Hayes (2011) article on Pathfinders was great, very informative, helpful, simple, and easy to follow, the type of resource I intend to include in my pathfinder. Kuntz (2004) was an example of a text I would not include as it was topic specific, too detailed, hard to follow, but was informative with good points and relevant to the focus topic of pathfinders. Lamb and Johnson (2006-2011) always write well and list information and directions clearly, concisely and with easy to follow directions. I’ve always liked their style of writing and they are well known with reputable advice and research evidence to substantiate their claims.

4. Post on your group forum in no more than 20 words, your definition of a reference interview. How would you describe it? Then indicate the connections between a reference interview and teaching students how to ask the right questions when doing research.

Ans: Guiding and assisting students to effectively search for appropriate information from a variety of print and digital formats.

5. Identify the 5 key areas, in order of importance, which you would identify as part of an effective school information service that you would recommend to a new teacher librarian. Remember, there are no absolutely right answers to this. Hint: Services for students.

Ans: Five key areas are: 1). Notifying students of latest print or electronic texts and materials available from the library for use and to loan. 2). Information on the latest digital resources and technology for students to access from the library for research or leisure use. 3). Instruction on information literacy skills when researching factual information. 4). Research guidance and assistance before and after school, and at recess and lunchtime. 5). Community awareness though Intranet, Library homepage or wiki, and visable activities or presentations within library context.

6. How do you think a community profile might be useful when providing resources and services to students?

Ans: Using a library homepage or printed report as part of School Newsletter to school community detailing new texts, resources, and materials available from the library, or information nights on curriculum projects or programs.

7. From the above example, reflect on this situation and decide on methods which the TL could use to provide students with instant reminders of the information literacy/skills process. These might include posters or handouts or other methods. List three (3) ways in which you think a TL might do this. The context is a library where there is only one TL who has part-time clerical support. 

Ans: Three ways a TL could provide reminders of information literacy skills are, clearly designed and simply worded posters around the library with scaffolded instructions to remind students of the process, and the steps to return to if in trouble. Secondly, a compact IL process diagram in the front/back of their School Organisers for easy and convenient access. Thirdly, on the library homepage as a link students can access to an information literacy page, for referral by students at home or not in the library context.


Hayes, D. (2011). What is a pathfinder. Life in the Library (blog). Retrieved July 30, 2013 from

Kuntz, K. (2004). Pathfinders: Helping students find paths to information. The Online educator. Retrieved July 30, 2013 from

Lamb, A, & Johnson, L. (2006-2011). Pathfinders: Pathfinders creation and collections. Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults. Retrieved from:

Valenza, J. (2013). Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki. Retrieved July 30, 2013 from


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