“They're Not Just Skills for an Assignment”: How Teacher Librarians Observe the Changing Nature of Information Literacy

In today’s fast-evolving information landscape, it’s crucial to equip Australian high school students with the skills they need to navigate and actively contribute to our democratic society (Department of Education and Training, 2018). Building information literacy among high school students is not only essential for their academic success but also for their ability to tackle real-world situations that demand the critical skills of seeking, evaluating, and using information effectively (Polizzi, 2020; Shuhidan et al., 2021; Taala et al., 2019).
The rapid transformation of our information landscape is largely driven by the shift from physical to digital information. Digital data can be effortlessly duplicated, compressed, and transmitted through networks, liberating it from the confines of physical libraries and making it accessible anytime, anywhere with an internet connection (Hofer et al., 2019). Characteristics like persistence, replicability, scalability, and searchability inherent in digital information have revolutionised how we interact with and manage information (Boyd, 2011).
Our information experiences are also shaped by the pervasive influence of algorithmic culture in our daily lives (Lloyd, 2019). Opaque algorithms can significantly impact how we search for and encounter information (O’Hara, 2021). An information environment shaped by algorithms can influence what information we access, potentially shaping our knowledge and beliefs (Head et al., 2020).
The recent launch of the NSW Department of Education Information Fluency Framework (New South Wales Department of Education, 2022), and the renaming of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capability as Digital Literacy by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2022) underscores the evolving understanding of the digital information landscape and how we prepare students to engage with it.
Surprisingly, despite considerable research into information literacy teaching strategies and the information literacy needs of higher education students, there has been a noticeable absence of recent studies investigating how practicing Teacher Librarians in Australian high schools perceive the information literacy needs of both teachers and students. This research aims to fill that gap, offering updated insights into information literacy instruction in Australian high schools.
These findings will not only inform the training of future Teacher Librarians but also enhance the current practices of those already in the field. Ultimately, this research will help meet the demand for developing crucial 21st-century skills, as outlined in the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities (Department of Education and Training, 2018).

Dr Kay Oddone

Lecturer/Course Director Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), Charles Sturt University

Author Bio

Kay Oddone is a lecturer and the course director for the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). She has more than 25 years of experience as an educator, having taught at all levels, ranging from Prep to Post-Graduate with experience as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, teacher librarian, system librarian, learning designer and lecturer. Her research interests focus on information and digital literacies, cultivated through networked and connected learning, personal learning networks as well as school libraries and teacher librarianship.

Dr Kasey Garrison

Senior Lecturer, Charles Sturt University

Author Bio

Kasey Garrison is a Senior Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship and coordinator of the Children’s Librarianship Specialisation at Charles Sturt University. Before becoming an academic, she taught in early childhood and primary schools in the Spanish and special education classroom as well as the school library. Her research interests center around various topics in school libraries including information literacy, collaboration with public libraries, and social justice and diversity issues in youth literature.