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Powerful Learning: A Strategy for Systemic Educational Improvement

Hopkins, David; Munro, John and Craig, Wayne (Editors) (2011)
ACER: Melbourne.
178 pages. pb. 
ISBN 978174286 0091
 
 
International benchmarking studies, such as the 2009 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, indicate that Australia still manages to rank within the top ten of OECD and other participating countries, but closer scrutiny of our country’s educational performance reveals that there is less to be proud of when it comes to matters of equity. Socioeconomic indicators rank Australian students who fall within the bottom twenty per cent as being at least two years behind students in the top twenty per cent, and, worse still, testing scores rank indigenous students as low as fifth and sixth last on the literacy table (Traill, 2011, p. 61). With this in mind, I read the sub-title of this book, ‘a strategy for systemic educational improvement and reform’, with great interest. Although Hopkins, Munro and Craig, all of whom are pre-eminent educationalists, are listed as editors of this book, they are also co-authors who speak with first-hand authority as they document their involvement in a recent case-study whose success confirms the confidence their sub-title promises.
 
Their book, which details a large-scale project for system-wide improvement in government schools, delivers a comprehensive, in-depth account of ideology and methodology, theory and practice, in ten readily digestible, concisely packaged chapters. The project focuses on a case-study within the Northern Metropolitan Region (NMR) of Melbourne, Victoria. Perceived as a second-level round of reform, building on the 2003 Blueprint for Government Schools initiated by the Victorian Department for Education and Early Childhood Development, its strategies are designed to address systemic anomalies that have emerged in the ensuing years in relation to matters concerning the organisation of schools such as: their place in the community, the balance of management and leadership, the need for on-going professional in-service within school communities, uneven academic achievement in literacy and numeracy, issues related to classroom management, and, above all, the quality of teaching and learning. With an emphasis on the primacy of learning at the core of its mission, the Powerful Learning approach, as demonstrated in the NMR project, is devised as an integrated model for school improvement embracing a broad complement of school issues. Pedagogy for literacy and numeracy features as a major focus for learning strategies. In both cases, principles and process are clearly described within the context of classroom practice, in relation to wider social, cultural and professional networks and with consideration of students’ learning subjectivities.
 
Six further writers associated with the project join the editors as co-authors. The contributions are organised into three parts, representing the trajectory of their journey through the NMR project. Firstly, ‘The Strategy’, lays a theoretical foundation of shared understandings drawn from lived experience of systemic educational reform; it makes particular note of prospective components required for success. The ‘how’ and ‘what’ of implementing these necessities are covered in the second section, which provides ‘Interventions’ for incorporating specifically recommended pedagogy for both literacy and numeracy as well as methods for classroom management. The last section delivers the resulting ‘Impact’, revealing clear evidence of improvement, particularly for literacy, in a number of cross-referencing statistical formats provided by NAPLAN data, as well as a reflective evaluation from a more philosophical perspective.
 
The accounts in this book allow the reader to track the NMR project from its initial theoretical inception through the formulation of policy informed by the forensics of research and pedagogical design, the instigation of proven learning strategies and adaptive change across all levels of the school community, to the finale of evaluative evidence. All confirm the efficacy of Powerful Learning as a strategy for systemic educational improvement, and demonstrate the unswerving conviction of those involved that its potential could be more widely applied to achieve greater equity in our schools. This is a quality ACER publication, a richly referenced and inspirational prognosis for state education, and a valuable addition to the professional reading shelves for school administrators as well as teachers, both new and experienced.

References

Traill, M. (2011) ’Good Teachers Apply Here’ in Australian Financial Review, July 16-17, p. 61
 
Reviewed by Dr Susan Boyce
Member of the Synergy Editorial Board
 
 
Reading with the Stars: a Celebration of Books and Libraries
Kniffel, L. (2011)
American Library Association; Chicago.
158 page , Hb.
ISBN 9780838935989
 
 
 
Reading with the Stars? Dust jacket illustration – full colour with stretch limousine, red carpet and city night lights. Corny! American! My first reaction . . . but . . . actually . . . corny might be quite interesting. And so it was, as I began to flip through the pages peering to find who had read what and what else had they recommended. Who are these stars, anyway? Well, there are fourteen of them, starting with Barack Obama through to Oprah Winfrey: two film stars, an ex-President of the U.S., another ex-President’s wife, a ‘would-be’ President, two activist philanthropists, two radio personalities, two film makers and a football legend.
 
Who would this array appeal to? Well, who knows; maybe adults more than children, or it just might have inter-generational appeal. Across the last decade, Leonard Kniffel has interviewed just about everyone in this constellation, and collected extra information about them as well, assisted, no doubt, by his role as a publishing executive with the American Library Association. In 2005, he interviewed Obama, who, as a U.S. senator had just keynoted the ALA’s annual conference. If only Leonard could have guessed the future of this man, as he ‘shoved a tape recorder into his face . . . ’ (sic). Suffice to say that, amongst his several thoughtful responses, Obama’s message to librarians is: “That our prosperity as a nation is directly correlated to our literacy”.
 
Each participant recounts something about the way that libraries have figured in their lives, their encounters with books, discovery of authors and a short list of their favourite titles and recommendations for further reading. Endearingly, Obama’s list included Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, and, of course, Oprah’s complete list is available at oprah.com. Others are unabashedly endearing in other ways, such as recommending the full list of their own publications. Then there is this lovely quote from Vartan Gregorian, champion of libraries and president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York: “. . . librarians must never underestimate their power, the power to offer the rich and famous of today something no one else can: immortality”!
 
Despite my initial scepticism, I have to confess enjoying my swift trip through this unexpectedly interesting book, and crediting Kniffel’s packaging skill for its success.
 
Reviewed by Dr Susan Boyce
Member of the Synergy Board
 

 

The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement
VanDuinkerken, Wyoma and Mosley, Pixie Anne (2011)
Chicago, IL: American Library Association (ALA)
184 pages
ISBN13: 978-0-8389-1102-0
Available from: www.alastore.ala.org
 
 
The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement discusses ways library managers can lead staff through episodes of change while managing both the workload of change and remaining empathetic to staff. Change can be stressful, particularly when it upsets established routines and patterns. Techniques are given for the management of effective change, which may involve a complex change project, such as space planning, departmental reorganisation or changes in work responsibilities.
 
What are the skills of change leadership? Why are some changes more successful than others? Why are some organisations more resilient when faced with continuous change whereas others seem to struggle with each new endeavour? These are some of the questions posed and answered in this book. The theoretical background is not solely from business models and management literature, as the understanding is that libraries have different products and personnel policies. Importantly, communication of change needs to be done well. Likewise, employees need to be engaged in the decision-making process during the planning and implementation stages of any change. Chapters are arranged around various themes including organisational culture; the chronology of initiating, planning and implementing a change; and, specific challenges that can hinder or encourage participation in the change and its success.
 
Firstly, change must be well planned, communicated and inclusive. Managers need to understand the role of emotions in staff motivation, that is, the emotional underpinnings that can make one change highly successful and another a failure. An individual’s acceptance or resistance to change is based on an emotional and personal response which can be altered depending on his/her perceptions of the proposed change and the perceived personal impact. Accordingly, the library manager or leader must consider the human factor by gaining an understanding of the underlying emotions associated with change. The task is to respond positively and constructively to these emotions and the resulting behaviours.
 
Every organisation has change-resistant employees who do not generally have the political strength to prevent change but who, nevertheless, feel diminished control by change being enacted upon them. The manager needs to remain flexible and engage in negotiation as a part of building positive momentum to support change. Some individuals are still change-resistant and, for these people, a directive approach may be the only feasible one to use. There may be resistance to change outside the norm, however, which may indicate a problem in either how the change is being presented or in the core assumptions driving the change. In such situations, patience, not overreacting and a willingness to be flexible on the details are important change management skills.
 
Each of the nine chapters in The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement has a Keys to Success dot point list and a Thinking Exercises section, usually four questions or scenarios for problem-solving. For example, Chapter 3 on the impact of organisational culture has a Keys to Success dot point list including stakeholders and subcultures which can vary over time and in relation to their functions and staff composition. Clearly, organisational culture can affect change and change, in turn, influences organisational culture. Importantly, communication is a two-way street that requires listening and speaking for all participants.
 
The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement is an excellent book which recognises the complexity of change management. All relevant factors are expertly discussed including: human, organisational culture, environmental (budgets, bureaucracies, staff turnover, personalities) and finally, evaluation of change.
 
Reviewed by Dr. Robin Zeidler
Director of Library Services
The Nigel Peck Centre for Learning and Leadership
Melbourne Grammar School
Member of the Synergy Board

 

 

Coaching in the Library: A Management Strategy for Achieving Excellence
Metz, Ruth F. (2011)
Second edition.
Chicago, IL: American Library Association (ALA)
112 pages
ISBN13: 978-0-8389-1037-5
Available from: www.alastore.ala.org
 
 
 
Ruth Metz, the author of Coaching in the Library: A Management Strategy for Achieving Excellence is a consultant, coach and trainer specialising in library management, organisational development and leadership. The purpose of the text is to assist librarians in developing a coaching mentality and culture in their organisations in order to achieve best results from their staff.
 
The author defines coaching as the purposeful and skilful effort by one individual to help another achieve specific performance goals. By adopting a sports concept and applying it to libraries, the aim is to assist librarians to adapt to 21st century challenges, such as service provision, technology, developing staff and giving feedback. Although there is a growing awareness and use of coaching in some libraries, its current application is neither on a broad scale nor strategically focused on improving the overall effectiveness of libraries.
 
During the coaching of individuals, the coach may tutor, mentor and counsel individual staff to facilitate achievement of their performance goals. The one constant objective in all coaching is change for the better. The text offers ten scenarios or coaching situations related to interpersonal settings, performance and process issues in libraries. All of these scenarios need resolution and may appear in any library. In addition, there are ten performance indicators, which can act either as barriers by adversely affecting performance or pathways to excellence, which are clearly the desirable factors having a positive influence on performance. Sometimes, one or more performance indicators are so pervasive as to appear characteristic of the entire organisation.
 
Chapter 4 explores coaching library teams for team effectiveness, that is, to achieve a common purpose through collaboration with others. The role of the coach is to help create and sustain the conditions under which teams are generally effective and productive. Coaches help individual staff build their skills for teamwork, assist struggling teams get back on track and improve team effectiveness and efficiency. The text has a sound section on leadership and supporting leadership growth. While they are coaching, leaders are creating cultures of coaching and integrating coaching in its many forms into their organisations. In libraries, coaching can be a powerful tool for individual staff as well as groups to make effective transitions that come with the certainty of constant change.
 
Coaching in the Library: A Management Strategy for Achieving Excellence is a clearly-presented, well-organised book. It is divided into seven useful chapters relating to an overview of coaching, the characteristics of an effective coach and how to coach individuals, teams, leaders and managers. The final chapter explains coaching for organisational effectiveness. The book has excellent application tables at the end of each chapter, where a coaching scenario is presented and points from the relevant chapter are elaborated. Clearly, coaching in libraries is significant as a multifaceted, purposeful tool for both professional and organisational development and effectiveness.
 
Reviewed by Dr Robin Zeidler
Director of Library Services
The Nigel Peck Centre for Learning and Leadership
Melbourne Grammar School
Member of the Synergy Board

 

 

Being Indispensable: A School Librarian’s Guide to Becoming an Invaluable Leader
Toor, Ruth and Weisburg, Hilda K (2011)
Chicago: American Library Association
ISBN 978-0-8389-1065-8
 
 
 
Being Indispensable pulls no punches in addressing the issues that currently surround teacher-librarians in their work place. The authors, Ruth Toor and Hilda Weisburg, mix empathetic, valuable advice with home truths that will give the thinking teacher-librarian pause for thought and cause for re reading. They warn that even if you do everything they suggest then you may still find your job in jeopardy as there are some things that are out of your control. The underlying message of this book is that “you can be eliminated but you cannot be replaced” (p. 161). The authors give very practical if exhausting methods by which teacher-librarians can build a reputation within their work place that will increase the chances that their role will be perceived as indispensable. This book is not a lazy read. It demands that the reader apply themselves to the questions that are posed and evaluate what it is that can make a teacher-librarian indispensable with a school.
 
The book is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 – Knowing who you are – asks: What is you mission? What makes a leader? Where do you stand? There is no place to hide amongst questions such as these and the authors pose more questions and leave spaces – workbook style – that demand you write answers. Part 2 – Knowing Your Stakeholders – asks: - What do administrators want? What does the community want? What do teachers want? What do students want? The central theme of this section is to develop the ability to see the world from the perspective of each of these groups and to develop strategies to meet each of their needs from this insight. Each of these stakeholder groups will have different requirements of a teacher-librarian, not conflicting but requiring different approaches and means of building unique relationships and partnerships.
 
Part 3 – Thinking bigger – asks: How does advocacy develop leadership? How do you get a larger perspective? Does this really work? This section of the book demands that you move outside your school into the State and National sphere to take the message of the value of teacher-librarians to a larger audience and pull support from the broader community. Telling the story of the role of a teacher-librarian to the community keeps the positive influence of the teacher-librarian alive in the minds of all the community. The authors describe how this story is told by both verbal and nonverbal means. Their advice in this area extends to professional dress, body language and speech patterns.
 
The final portion of the book returns to the teacher-librarian’s personal approach to the challenges that they face. The section Unfortunate Truths addresses the thorny issue of image, the responsibility of all teacher-librarians. There is no place for negative and complaining teacher-librarians in a profession that has so few members within each school. Our teacher-librarian image is formed by the behaviour of all of the teacher-librarians that our stakeholders come into contact with. Teacher-librarians have a responsibility to encourage their colleagues to maintain a positive approach for the good of the whole profession.
 
Reviewed by Christine Lean
Library Coordinator
Christian College, Geelong

 

 

Assistive Technologies in the Library
Mates, Barbara T (2011)
Chicago: American Library Association (ALA)
206 pages
ISBN 978 0 8389 1070 2
Available from: www.alastore.ala.org
 
 
 
This book has been written to guide information providers in selecting technologies, designing web resources and training staff in the use of tools that address the needs of library patrons with disabilities.
 
It is a timely publication when library services are coming under close scrutiny and those considered to be underutilised, regardless of value, are being trimmed. Financial cutbacks are occurring at a time when disability testing and diagnosis systems are identifying a growing number of individuals in the community who could be supported in achieving their potential through access to assistive technologies. The technology is not necessarily expensive and its incorporation into a library service can provide equity of access for all patrons.
 
Assistive Technologies in the Library seeks to be a guidebook for information providers in setting up, marketing and delivering accessible technologies to people with disabilities. It achieves this aim. Chapter 2, Creating accessible electronic information, is contributed by renowned regional librarian for the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, William R Reed IV, well regarded for his expertise in developing methods to help people with disabilities exploit electronic devices.
 
All chapters of this book contain clear, concise information with an instructional tone. Content relates to a broad range of disabilities and contains recommendations for the purchase of hardware through to support in the use of accessibility tools, tips for the use of common devices and ideas for use.
 
A comprehensive, descriptive index supports the use of this handbook as an easy tool for reference or staff training. Appendices are similarly informative.
  • Appendix A – Annotated list of vendors. Specifically USA and European with international online companies included.
  • Appendix B – Additional resources, organisations and associations. This concise, yet descriptive list is a roadmap guiding the reader to further valuable resources, networking opportunities and consulting services.
  • Appendix C – Grant opportunities. These are USA-based, however, some philanthropic organisations listed have an international presence.
  • Afterword – For those who become discouraged at the potential offered in the chapters of this book, potential that the librarian reader cannot hope to offer due to funding or personnel limitations, all is not lost. In the afterword, the author presents a template for incorporating these innovations into your library. Included are, recommendations for consultation, goal setting, and prioritising. The overwhelming recommendation is to adopt a flexible approach that will suit your organisation.
Highly recommended for librarians, teachers, library designers, disability support professionals and members of the community with a disability.
 
Reviewed by Camilla Elliott
Member of the Synergy Board
Head of Library & eLearning Coordinator
Mazenod College

 

 

Designing Space for Children and Teens: in Libraries and Public Places
Feinberg, Sandra & Keller, James R. (2010)
Chicago: American Library Association
167 pages
ISBN 978-0-8389-1020-7
Available from: www.alastore.ala.org
 
 
 
This book on space design is primarily aimed at the public library market and though it takes a few of its examples from other countries it is firmly based in the United States. It includes a scattering of black and white photographs to illustrate best practice examples and 20 colour plates in the centre of the book that do the job of showcasing colour and light and their importance in the design of spaces for young people.
 
The book has a limited reference list, a good index and the following chapters – Facilitating the Design; Reflecting the Mission of the Library; Planning the Space: Furniture, Shelving, and Equipment; Relationships and Adjacencies; Architectural and Environmental Elements; A Welcoming Place; Mood and Ambiance; and, Financial, Political, and Administrative Considerations. Each chapter is broken up into sensibly small chunks. The authors are both long-standing, experienced public librarians who capably share their knowledge and interest in library space design.
 
The authors stress the importance of consulting all stakeholders about needs and desired outcomes. They work through assessing the institutions mission and the necessity of reviewing current practices in relation to future needs and share great ideas about how to create spaces that serve a range of diverse users. Most sections finish with a ‘Questions to ask about . . .’ list which is thought provoking and useful.
 
In an age where libraries of all kinds are reinventing and reimagining their role, including the spaces they offer, it is wise to learn from the various allied sectors of our profession. Though our foci might be different we continue to share a range of common goals. For this reason books such as this offer us a view of one sector’s approach to space design and a range of ideas and directions that can be very usefully transferred to the school environment.
 
Reviewed by Dr Susan La Marca
Head of Library Services
Genazzano FCJ College, Kew
Editor of Synergy

 

 

Learning in a Changing World series (2010)
Includes:
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Connect, Communicate, Collaborate
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Virtual Worlds
La Marca, Susan, Designing the Learning Environment
Todd, Ross, J, Curriculum Integration
Wall, June and Ryan, Sandra, Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation
Commissioned by ALIA and ASLA
Published by ACER Press
Set $89.95
 
 
 
Learning in a Changing World is a collection of five succinct and attractively presented books (only 40 pages each) written by regular and recognised contributors to the Australian teacher-librarianship professional learning landscape. Initiated jointly by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and published by ACER, the series explores the direction of school libraries and their potential to impact positively on student learning in our digital age.
 
The five titles are:
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Connect, Communicate, Collaborate
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Virtual Worlds
La Marca, Susan, Designing the Learning Environment
Todd, Ross, J, Curriculum Integration, and
Wall, June and Ryan, Sandra, Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation
 
These titles reflect issues of major relevance to the Australian teacher-librarian community and we are indebted to the authors for sharing the salient points of their research, informed thinking and expertise at a time of structural and technological change in our educational landscape. The nature of school libraries and the roles of those working in them are altering dramatically and these publications offer clear advice and the ‘how to’ for individuals, and the profession as a whole, to take charge of these changes and to provide leadership in curriculum decision-making.
 
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Connect, Communicate, Collaborate
In his foreword, Dr. Michael Stephens, Dominican University, Illinois, promises that in this book ‘you’ll find a pathway through the ever-changing landscape of education and technology . . . this new world is not really a set of technologies but an idea – an emerging philosophy of meeting student needs and crafting a collaborative learning space for them using the best and brightest tools.’ You won’t be disappointed, the pathway is clearly signposted and there is much to explore along the way.
 
Clear definitions and elaborations, explanatory tables and links to further useful sites on online writing, reflection, collaborating, searching and researching (among other things) enhance the already useful dialogue that O’Connell and Groom offer. The power of web 2.0 and the power of school library 2.0 are clearly argued and the new paradigm put forward. As the authors indicate, ‘this book has been designed to introduce teacher-librarians, teachers and administrators to the nature of the shift taking place in 21st century new media that will impact on the nature of learning, the structure of schooling and the function of school library services.’
 
O’Connell, Judy and Groom, Dean, Virtual Worlds
Virtual worlds may be a little further from the everyday school library world than perhaps discussions of the use of social media. This book, however, will entice you to do a little further exploration and gain a little understanding of the power of virtual worlds and gaming for learning. The authors quote Marc Prensky who suggests that game designers focus primarily on motivation, while educators do not. He argues that, ‘not all teaching can or should be done through games. But many concepts and approaches that are second nature to game designers – yet for the most part foreign to educators – can teach us how to create more fun, engaging and effective education.’ (Prensky 2002)
 
Suggestions for how virtual worlds might be used by school libraries and an introduction to the concept of the metaverse along with descriptions of a number of virtual worlds provides a context for your further thought and exploration. The chapter entitled, ‘Tools and techniques’ will be of great interest to teachers and teacher-librarians and steps and checklists for the integration of virtual worlds and gaming into curriculum planning provide very practical advice. I found the table which goes from the traditional to web 2.0 to the immersive 3D or game environment to be most informative and clearly illustrates the transition that is already taking place.
 
I can only endorse the statement of the authors when they say, ‘Teacher librarians who wish to incorporate the evolving literacy and information needs of the digital generation will want to understand and apply the pedagogy of new media and virtual worlds environments, adopting and promoting learning in virtual worlds as soon as the local school environment allows.’ Reading this book is a good place to start.
 
La Marca, Susan, Designing the Learning Environment
To quote the author, Susan La Marca, ‘this book begins with a discussion of what we want learning to be for our students, what we want them to experience at school and how we want these experiences to unfold in the light of current theories about learning and the possible directions of education in the future.’ This focus on student learning is maintained throughout the book and comes through the many topics so succinctly addressed.
 
Other words that jump out regularly from the pages of this book are flexibility, student-centred, collaboration, communication, creativity and community. The research that La Marca quotes, the examples that she provides and the detail that she squeezes into this publication make it a must read for all who are redesigning their library space or just re-evaluating their current library layout. The context of learning to guide decision-making, the acknowledgement that change is ongoing and therefore flexibility is key, the injection of research findings that inform priorities, and the benefit of the breadth of reading that La Marca has undertaken on this topic combine to create high quality and practical advice.
 
Although the major focus of this work is that of the physical learning environment, the virtual environment is not overlooked and useful advice and checklists here are also extremely valuable. Library staff spaces and essential design elements such as colour, lighting and traffic flow are not forgotten and the text combined with the listed references mean that you can explore the topic of the library as a learning environment in the depth that suits your circumstances.
As the author concludes, “the challenge of creating a learning-driven, human-centred, flexible library space that responds to these needs is not only challenging but ongoing and complex.’ This being the case, we must thank Susan La Marca for her commitment to and interest in this area and for providing for us in this publication, both a quick reference and a genuine context for our decision-making.
 
Todd, Ross, J, Curriculum Integration
All Victorian teacher-librarians will be familiar with the concept of Guided Inquiry and evidence-based practice as espoused by Dr. Ross Todd and Dr. Carol Kuhlthau of the Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers, NJ, USA. They will however appreciate the opportunity to delve a little more deeply into the concept of guided inquiry and to gaining further understanding of what guided inquiry looks like in the context of the Australian educational landscape.
 
This publication offers a simple step-by-step guide to guided inquiry, to the role of the teacher-librarian in its implementation and to a means of gathering evidence of its effectiveness as a means of improving student learning.
 
Immerse yourself in discussion of constructivist learning and inquiry, think about what the Information Search Process (ISP) looks like for students and decide how you as a teacher librarian might intervene to assist students on their information to knowledge journey. Todd’s writing here emphasises a holistic approach which supports the direction of the Australian Curriculum and the curriculum integration matrix is of great assistance in illustrating what the stages of the ISP look like in relation to curriculum content and skill development.
 
Dr. Todd very clearly indicates that quality school libraries are the foundation of effective guided inquiry. With so much emphasis on inquiry-based learning at the local level, this chapter offers not only advice for teacher-librarians but also provides excellent support for submissions and proposals for curriculum and budgetary decision-making.
 
As Dr. Todd so eloquently states, ‘guided inquiry in 21st century schools needs and utilizes a rich information technology environment. Current developments in information technology and access to web-based environments provide unprecedented opportunities for inquiry learning.’ Teacher-librarians are very aware of these opportunities and this publication gives us the understanding to make the most of these opportunities. A must read!
 
Wall, June and Ryan, Sandra, Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation
‘This book takes the view that resourcing the curriculum not only includes physical and electronic resources and web 2.0 tools but, importantly, sees the teacher librarian as a crucial learning resource.’ Dr Mandy Lupton, Queensland University of Technology in the foreword. This broader definition of resourcing the curriculum is vital in the digital environment in which schools operate.
 
Very easy to read and yet authoritative and clear in its advice, the final publication in the series encourages teacher librarians to revisit collection development policy in the current technological environment and provides guidance on how.
 
Discussion and elaboration by Wall and Ryan throughout this publication is methodical and very useful. Budgeting, the role of the book and the changing nature of information resources are all explored. Sections relating to information access tools, curriculum tools, collaboration resources, scaffolding tools, rubrics and social networking tools offer a refreshing view of resourcing and one that I would recommend that all teacher-librarians become familiar.
 
As indicated earlier, the inclusion of library staff as curriculum resources is most welcome and a perspective that allows for learning and teaching programs and online learning program to influence staffing levels and required skill sets.
 
The final chapter, Digital Literacy: A Resource for Learning, underscores the importance of the set of skills, processes and attitudes that enables a learner to utilize information in whatever form it is published or transmitted so that the learner can manipulate the information to construct knowledge. Using examples from the Australian Curriculum, the authors apply the elements of digital literacy (ICT literacy, information literacy and critical literacy) to the knowledge and learning outcomes identified in Year 6 History and Year 8 History and thus offer a model for all teacher-librarians to closely audit the current and future curriculum frameworks and identify resource requirements.
 
I would highly recommend the series as a valuable addition to the professional library of all teacher-librarians.
 
Reviewed by Mary Manning