Term 4 1997
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New Zealand News
Implementing information literacy has become a prime concern for school librarians in New Zealand. Jenny Carrol reports from Dunedin
One of the major concerns for school librarians these days is the development of information literacy and how it can be integrated into all areas of the curriculum. Information literacy skills are useful for every aspect of life and are invaluable for problem solving. These skills also provide an important link between curriculum or resource based learning and the real world in the age of information.
At our last library conference in New Zealand, a National Working Party for Information Literacy was established to coordinate groups and individuals who are developing skills and strategies for information literacy, and to develop a resource to assist librarians.
Awareness of information literacy is gradually spreading and programs are slowly being implemented in our schools, and tertiary institutions where it is becoming part of user education programs. It is also being recognised what an important role school librarians play in the development and delivery of these programs.
Dr. Penny Moore from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand is currently working on a research project looking specifically at information literacy in our primary schools. She recently held workshops for teachers and librarians at Otago and Southland and it was interesting to hear her ideas for implementing info-lit programs. The most successful programs are those where librarians and teachers collaborate in the teaching of these skills. I know from my own experience that where I work in collaboration with the classroom teacher, students have greater success in solving their information problems and feel more confident in tackling similar tasks again. Each year the program has developed further from a superficial glance at the skills to an entire process that has far more value and meaning.
One of the roles of the school library is to encourage students to become active and effective users of resources, and the information and ideas contained in those resources, so that they can develop independence in information research. As we endeavour to keep up with different information resources in a myriad of forms, our task is never static. Life is never dull in a school library!