Tag archives: information literacy

Monday, 13 November 2017

Reading for information – inspiring quotes for National Non-Fiction November on fostering children’s curiosity

NFI’m delighted that one of the courses I’m giving this week is on reading for information, perfect in National Non-Fiction November. These are some of the great books we’ll be looking at, all brilliant for developing curiosity.

I love all the quotes here. They demonstrate the value and importance of nurturing enquiring minds, and give some useful pointers into how to do it – not least harnessing the power of libraries and librarians.

  • ‘I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.’ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • ‘Curiosity is the engine of achievement.’ Ken Robinson
  • ‘The most reliable predictor of achievement is a hungry mind.’ Sophie von Stumm
  • ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.’ Plutarch
  • ‘Reading for information is about thinking, wondering, and sometimes understanding, with the ever-present possibility of being unsettled.’ Margaret Meek
  • ‘If we are to motivate children to go through the research process, then we must ensure that their curiosity is stimulated, by exposing them to new information or ideas that cause them to want to know more.’ Jeni Riley and David Reedy
  • ‘It is not the answer that enlightens but the question.’ Eugène Ionescu
  • ‘The essential move in learning is to transform information to understanding.’ Margaret Meek
  • ‘Libraries offer the arsenal in the war of understanding.’ Mal Peet
  • ‘Librarians open up the world. Knowledge is useless if you don’t even know where to begin to look. How much more can you discover when someone can point you in the right direction, when someone can maybe even give you a treasure map, to places you may not have even thought you were allowed to go? This is what librarians do.’ Patrick Ness
  • ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Dr Seuss

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Information literacy and the school library – definitions, quotes and training

space project researchWhat a pleasure it was to give a course on information literacy for secondary school librarians last week. Information skills are more important than ever, and school libraries have a crucial role to play in helping students develop them. The photo shows some very active research in Caterham School library.

A recent EdTechTeam blog asserted ‘In an age of information abundance learning to effectively search is one of the most important skills most teachers are NOT teaching.’ That’s deeply worrying. And information literacy is about far more than finding information. This is the CILIP definition: ‘Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.’ IL is important for life.

I like this breakdown of what defines information literate students. They:

  • know which questions are useful to ask
  • are independent readers, skimming and scanning to find what they need
  • know what is relevant, can select and reject information
  • read texts in different ways for different purposes
  • know when they have found enough information
  • make relevant notes and use them to support classwork and homework
  • synthesise and combine information from a variety of sources
  • cross-refer and compare information from different sources
  • re-present information coherently, demonstrating understanding and learning
  • evaluate their sources
  • evaluate their work and reflect on their learning

These are qualities and skills librarians are uniquely qualified to support. The late, great Mal Peet said ‘Libraries offer the arsenal in the war of understanding.’

There were excellent discussions on last week’s course about how libraries can help students learn crucial information skills. We explored ways to widen search horizons and reduce cut and paste and plagiarism, and identified practical strategies for supporting all areas of the curriculum – very pertinent with literacy across the curriculum so high on the educational agenda at present.

In the words of Gillian Cross ‘Anyone who has grasped the implications of independent learning will understand that the library is the heart of the school.’

I love this, from a student quoted in Student Learning Through Ohio School Libraries: ‘The school librarians don’t help me at all like they make me do all the stuff myself and won’t tell me where the things are even when I already looked – they show me and make me learn how to find the stuff myself and its hard work!!!! You gotta use your brain, they say.’ Absolutely!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Plagiarism and the role of libraries

Plagiarism is an issue that comes up time and time again in my courses on school libraries generally, and especially on my information literacy courses. (Public library staff are rightly concerned about it too, and it is often a hot topic of debate on homework help courses). In case anyone has missed them, there are two really useful new things to read on the subject. I reviewed Credit Where It’s Due: The School Library Preventing Plagiarism by John Royce for the latest edition of the School Librarian, and was very impressed. The book sets out the nature and scope of the problem succinctly and is full of ideas for helping to combat it. ‘Tackling plagiarism in schools – pre-emption or punishment’ is a valuable article by Sarah Pavey, published in the May edition of CILIP Update. CILIP members can find it online. Both authors give much-needed practical guidance for librarians on ways to raise plagiarism as a whole-school issue, and ways to help teachers and students prevent it.