Theme 2 Reflections

Lesson 5 Reflections

Reference Interview


  • “To determine the nature, quantity, and level of information the student requires, as well as the most appropriate format” (Riedling, 2013, p.99)

Types of Reference Interviews:

  1. Ready-reference interviews: “questions that can be answered with short and factual information” (Riedling, 2013, p. 104). The librarian provides brief and accurate information in a short time through the use of basic resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries.
  2. Research project interviews: “to provide the student with the most adequate materials, then to explain and encourage information skills [needed] by the student” (Rieldling, 2013, p. 104)
  3. Readers’ advisory interviews: involves recommending books to a student for leisure reading

Although I do see the importance of each type of interview, I wonder that if over time and with practice, modelling and explicit instructions, we would be able to move our older students along the continuum towards problem solving and answer retrieval. With technologies available in a library, students should be able to quickly retrieve the information that would have been previously delivered via a ready-reference interview or a readers’ advisory interview. In saying that, however, I would never want to turn away student’s questions in any of these categories. Relationship building is key to encouraging students to want to come to the library.

As a reminder to myself, important skills needed by the Teacher-Librarian are:

  • Exceptional knowledge of the collection (both print and nonprint) and the community resources
  • Interpersonal and communication skills (to foster a positive relationship with students) and to set the tone of the library
  • Design the physical setting of the library to create an atmosphere conducive to conducting interviews
Novel List on EBSCO
Novel List on EBSCO

My students have access to this Novelist database through our library. If you haven’t had a chance to explore this site, it is a great way to look up books that may be of interest based on author, genre or similarity to previous books read. By teaching our students how to become problem-solvers and critical thinkers, we can encourage them to take ownership for choosing books of interest. Wouldn’t it be great to begin to train older student volunteers to conduct Reference Interviews with younger students?

Collaboration with Colleagues

As part of this week’s readings, I enjoyed the perspective offered by Haycock (2007) in his article on collaboration. Part of the downfall of teaching in a traditional building is the silo effect in which we are segregated in our own small classrooms. It takes concerted effort to put aside one’s work (marking, planning, cleaning, assisting students…) and make a way to the staffroom for lunch break. However, this is where a lot of rich conversations occur between colleagues. As Haycock remarks, “collaboration ignites creativity among teachers” and this “creative fire” spreads to learners (p.25). He goes on to say that “collaboration is not easy. But collaboration is the single professional behaviour of teacher-librarians that most affects student achievement” (p.32). Wow! If that isn’t a motivator to set collaboration as a number-one priority, I don’t know what is! Collaboration does take effort on the part of all parties; however, the benefits are richer relationships, increased positivity in the school community and increased student achievement.

While doing a bit of digging around for collaboration tools to use with colleagues, I came across this great resource of an evaluation of several different apps and tools for students to use when collaborating. Check out this link on Common Sense Media.

Student Collaboration Tools previewed by Common Sense Media

I came across this very well developed website that I would like to remember as a sample for a future library website at my own school. Categories for research tools, collaboration tools, making tools (including electronics and robotics projects) are easily accessed. (note to self: look this up when teaching my electricity unit!)

Thames Valley District School Board Library Commons Website

A few helpful videos that were accessible to students on this website relate to research skills and are excellent to use in my classroom.

 Lesson 6 Reflections

I really like the itemized list that outlines the Teacher-Librarian’s role from the Greater Victoria School District. I organized the list according to the tasks that I would need to complete more independently (or with volunteers/library assistants) and those that are in collaboration with colleagues.

Role of Teacher-Librarian Collaborative Tasks Independent Tasks
Program and Instruction


  • help teachers address learning outcomes –cooperate with classroom teachers to develop critical thinking and information retrieval skills
  • support the integration of instructional technology and media literacy


  • promote reading and language development and literature appreciation


Learning Resource Management


  • participate in information networks
  • organize and direct clerical staff, parent and student volunteers
  • effectively use a system for the selection, acquisition, processing and circulation of resources
  • spearhead the development of library policies and procedures (then collaborate with others)
  • manage the library’s facilities, services and budget
Leadership in Resource-Based Learning


  • provide leadership to promote strategies for effective use of a variety of learning resources
  • participate in school activities which advocate support for school libraries and resource-based learning
  • promote school library programs in the school and in the community
  • develop a network of parent and student volunteers
  • evaluate and select learning resources to reflect the curricular, informational and recreational needs of the school and its learners
  • seek opportunities for personal growth in school librarianship and participating in collegial networks



Information based on “Role of Teacher-Librarian” (Greater Victoria School District) as retrieved from Theme 2, Lesson 6 Course Content. LIBE 467.

Budgeting Tips and Suggestions from this lesson to keep in mind:

  • total number of volumes: 100-200 (elementary); 800-1500 (secondary)
  • total value of reference collection: $3,000-$7,000 (elementary); $75,000-$100,000 (secondary) [Vancouver School Board]
  • sample budget allocations (2012/2013: $3, 288 (elementary); $9, 241 (secondary)

[(Source BCTLA 32nd – 2012/2013 Annual Survey of Working and Learning Conditions)]

I must admit that I was surprised by the high costs for reference materials as listed on the “Approximate Costs of a Variety of School Library Reference Materials”. This list, however, may be instrumental in setting up a preliminary budget for a new library.  Keeping in mind the high cost of materials, a critical role of the teacher-librarian is to thoughtfully and carefully evaluate and select references.

The following strategies for purchasing learning resources are helpful for me to keep in mind:

  • involve key people in the decision making (especially for the initial investment of resources) such as teacher-librarian, library clerks, curriculum consultant, classroom teacher reps, administrator, technology consultant, and parent and student reps
  • create a timeline for a yearly purchasing cycle
  • Look for cost effective ways to acquire learning resources such as using jobbers and bulk purchasing
  • Use publishers’ catalogues
  • Develop an efficient system for processing and receiving materials
  • When possible, select materials from the lists of evaluated and approved (by the Ministry of Education and ERAC) to save time
    • Ministry of Education: lr/resource/gradcoll.htm
    • ERAC lists of evaluated and selected resources (at www. and related locations)

ERAC, (pages 71-74)

Since I am new to the Selection Process, I took some time to investigate the tools available as listed in Riedling’s book (Riedling, 2013, p.19-20).

  1. Horn Book Magazine

I was very impressed with the easy to use website to locate resources on particular topics or genres. I happened across a link to a blog post by Sharon Gill “What Teachers Need to Know about the “New” Nonfiction”. In this article, Gill provides a great list of criteria for selecting nonfiction picture books. What Teachers Need to Know

  1. Booklist
  2. School Library Journal

Lesson 7 Reflections

Standards of Practice for Learning Commons
Standards of Practice for Learning Commons

During lesson 7, I spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on the goals and roles of reference services within the library. I found the five components described in Leading Learning document to be very helpful and clearly organized. In reading several district library handbooks, the Leading Learning document, the Points of Inquiry document (BCTLA) and the AASL Learning Standards documents, I would describe the reference resources as a medium to build information literacy skills with students. In the Surrey District handbook, I love the scope and sequence for literacy skills and will use this as a helpful outline to guide a new T-L such as myself in building these skills. In the Points of Inquiry document, important skills that are identified include:

  1. “how to find the right resources for specific purposes (including books, journals, databases)
  2. how to evaluate sources critically
  3. how to write a solid research question and a thesis statement
  4. how to use quotations and cite sources
  5. how to paraphrase (without plagiarizing)
  6. how and whom to ask for help” (Points of Inquiry, 2011, p. 4)

As described in the Learning Standards guidelines (2009), information literacy skills are no longer limited to print resources but now include the multiple literacies of digital, visual, textual and technological (p. 3). As teacher-librarians, it is increasingly important to include a variety of resources and modalities in our collections and to teach the skills needed to access these resources.

Information Literacy Skills
Information Literacy Skills

(AASL Learning Standards, p. 3)


American Association of School Librarians. 2009. Standards for the 21st -Century learner in action. Chicago: AASL.

British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association. (2011). The Points of Inquiry: A Framework for Information Literacy and the 21st Century Learner. BCTF.

Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium. (2008). Evaluating, Selecting and Acquiring Learning Resources: A Guide. Retrieved from

Gill, S. “What Teachers Need to Know about the ‘New’ Nonfiction”. [web blog]. Reading Rockets. Retrieved from

Haycock, K. (2007). “Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning” School Libraries Worldwide 13.1: 25-35

Riedling, A. (2013). Reference skills for the school library media specialist: Tools and tips (3rd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Linworth.

Thames Valley School District Library. (Nov. 30, 2016). [website]. Retrieved from

Western University. (Jan. 14, 2013). “Developing Search Terms”. . Retrieved from

Yavapai College Library. (Sept. 29, 2011). “What Are Databases and Why You Need Them”. . Retrieved from


One thought on “Theme 2 Reflections

  1. Excellent reflection that highlights and summarizes your key learning and takeaways from the last few weeks. I am so glad to see the important lessons you are drawing and the key resources and references you are collecting for your toolbox going forward. You’ve done an excellent job referencing and embedding multi-media into your post. One small aspect missing, your categories for organizing and retrieving your blog posts later. Overall, fantastic stuff.


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