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The 22nd Conference of 
The International Association 
of School Lihrarianship 


The XIII Biennial Conference of 
The Australian School Library Association 





St, Peter *s College 
27th - 30th September, 1993 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2019 with funding from 
University of Alberta Libraries 




ISBN 0-909548-14-5 



In order that the conference costs not be prohibitive we have published selected 
papers as received. The papers selected are complete works that can be read 
independently of presenter and presentation. 

DAY ONE - Building a picture of society in the year 2000 

Dr. Dianne Oberg 

1993 SCIS Oration ... 

Dreams and Dynamics: the interplay of vision and action .3 

Peg. Craddock 

From Dreaming to Reality: the development of effective 

Aboriginal studies, policies and programmes .15 

Joe Hallein, Faye Nicholson, Judy Phillips and Barbara Posten-Anderson 

Australia's contribution to International School Librarianship .27 

Norma Jeffrey 

Will student outcome statements improve information literacy? .37 

John Langreher 

Helping readers to think .47 

Fay Nicholson 

The financial value of the teacher librarian .57 

Barbara Poston-Anderson 

Virtual reality: A ‘more than real’learning medium .65 

Gay Tierney and Morag Whitney 

Management in the school library .71 

Ross J. Todd and Celeste McNicholas 

Information Literacy dynamics and directions .87 

Dr. Raja Abdullah Yaacob and Norma Abu Seman 

Towards achieving a critical thinking society in Malaysia 

A challenge to school libraries and educational systems .99 

DAY TWO - Literature ... themes of the 90’s 

towards the year 2000 

• • • 

Maureen Nimon 

Violence in children’s literature .125 

Annemaree O’Brien 

Kid’s TV and literacy: viewing for learning .133 

Prof. Barbara Poston-Anderson 

Sharing Aboriginal stories with children .139 

Dr. J. A. Webb 

The politics of children’s literature .143 

Claire Louise Williams and Ken Dillon 

Censorship: what is it and how should we deal with if? .153 

Prof. Blanche Woolls 

Across the curriculum: across the world .165 

DAY THREE - Education ... partnerships to develop 

life-long learners 

Rookaya Bawa 

The role of the public library in supporting education 

in the Natal Region .175 

Janice Cooper 

Great gum trees from little gum nuts grow .183 

Ken Dillon 

Servicing the professional information needs of rural secondary 

school teachers in NSW. .189 

Sally Dodson and Karen Jensen 

Wbr^ shadowing .201 

David F. Elaturoti 

Training school librarians for the Nigerian school system 
A new perspective .209 

Sally Fraser and Karen Bonano 

Resourcing a great education .223 

John A, Kruger 

Managing Media Centres in secondary schools .225 

Jo Painter 

Students with high intellectual potential .. . S.H.I.P. .233 

Melvyn D. Rainey 

Library training in the South Pacific from 1972-1993 .241 

Ross J. Todd, Niki Kallenberger and Michelle Ellis 

When inward is outward: laying a foundation for responsive 

information services in schools .257 

DAY FOUR - Technology ... into the 21st Century 

Margaret Butterworth 

The Healthlines Project: telecommunications as a tool for learning .275 

Shirley Campbell, Noel Gilchrist and Robyn Whitfield 

Co-operation and document supply .289 

Heather Kelsall 

CD Roms - What’s available for secondary schools .305 

Marilyn McMahon 

V-Lib in Chinese International School .317 



27 September 1993 




Dr. Dianne Oberg, Associate Professor 
Department of Elementary Education,University of Alberta 
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 

The theme for this year's conference. Dreams and Dynamics, speaks to the interplay 
between vision and action. Carl Jung's words about this interplay have guided the work 
of the conference organizing committee and they have been an inspiration to me as well: 
"The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child, and as such it 
appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing 
with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of 
the imagination is incalculable." Creating the dreams, or the vision, is critical to creating 
the dynamics, or the action. Vision and action need to be thought of in terms of their 
mutually interdependent nature. Joel Barker (1990, cited in Burdenuk, 1993) puts it this 
way: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes time. 
Vision with action can change the world." 

Vision and action, dreams and dynamics, are core concerns within the field of 
educational change. How to create meaningful educational change is a problem around 
which my personal study and research has centered for the past few years. If educational 
change is to result in better learning for our young people, we must have a clear vision of 
what that change will bring about and we must know what actions are most likely to bring 
about the change that we have envisioned. 

In this paper I want to explore the theme of Dreams and Dynamics through the work 
in which I have been engaged over the past few years in one area of educational change. 
That work has involved inquiry into various facets of the adoption, implementation, and 

maintenance of school library programs. Looking at some of that work from the 
viewpoint of the conference theme, I discovered three sub-themes, centering around the 
interrelationship between vision and action. The first tells us something of what happens 
when vision is not connected to action; the second, how visions are created that carry 
within them the seeds of action; and the third, how visions are put into action. 

The first idea, vision without action, I want to explore with you through a study of 
the experiences of novice teacher-librarians. The second idea, creating a vision, will be 
explored by looking at how a school district created a new vision for its libraries. The 
third idea, the interplay of vision with action, will be examined by looking at how 
teachers, principals, and district personnel in one school district worked together to create 
a vision, to implement a vision and then to create anew that vision. 

Some information about the context of the research and the nature of school library 
programs will help make sense of the work I want to share with you. The province of 
Alberta has a population of about 2.4 million. The population is increasingly urban, 
concentrated in two large cities, Edmonton with 600 000 people and Calgary with 700 
000, and several smaller cities with populations of between 12 000 and 60 000. The 
education system is highly decentralized. The ministry of education, called Alberta 
Education, focuses on policy making and funding matters. The trend toward local 
autonomy and towards delegation of policy implementation to the school district level has 
been a feature of educational practice that has intensified in the last few decades. 

In relation to school library programs, THE 1984 Alberta Education policy states 


Students in Alberta schools should have access to an effective school 
library program integrated with instructional programs to provide 
improved opportunities for student achievement of the Goals of 
Basic Education for Alberta. 

Guidelines for implementing the program have been provided by the ministry of 
education in two documents. Focus on Learning (Alberta Education, 1985) and Focus on 


Research (Alberta Education, 1990). The implementation of the school library policy 
and program model was delegated to the individual school district. Staffing of school 
libraries has always been a district decision; about one-third of Alberta schools have staff 
allocation for teacher-librarian time. The dreams for Alberta school library programs are 
sketched out in provincial policy and guidelines; the dynamics depend on local action. 

Dreams without dynamics, or vision without action, means that dreams remain just 
dreams. This is as true on a personal or micro level as it is on an organizational or macro 
level. The problem of vision without action was illustrated on a micro level in a research 
study in which a colleague and I looked at the first year of practice of two novice teacher- 
librarians (Oberg & LaRocque, 1992). These teacher-librarians were working in a school 
district where an integrated cooperative school library program recommended by Alberta 
Education in Focus on Learning is not part of regular instructional practice. They were, in 
fact, the first teacher-librarians to be hired in the district for many years. They agreed to 
participate in three unstructured interview sessions, over the course of their first year of 
practice, focusing on their experiences. My colleague and I learned a great deal, as did 
the teacher-librarians, about the problem of translating a vision into action. 

One of the findings of the study was that the novice teacher-librarians had quite a 
clear visions of the program and of their role in the program but that they were uncertain 
about how to translate that vision into action. Their academic preparation was successful 
in providing them with an image of the work of the teacher-librarian. In terms of Alberta's 
model of the cooperative integrated library program. Focus on Learning (Alberta 
Education, 1985), they had developed an understanding of the instruction, management, 
and development components of the library program. They understood the need to 
balance the more traditional literature appreciation aspects of the program with the newer 
emphasis on teaching the research process. They knew that the program would best be 
implemented through working with the classroom teachers, through cooperative planning 
and teaching. In general, their academic preparation had given these novice teacher- 


librarians a clear vision of the school library program model recommended by Alberta 
Education and by other experts in the school library field. Their academic work was 
much less successful in preparing the novice teacher-librarians for the work of translating 
their vision of the program into action. 

At the beginning of their first year, they were largely unaware of what problems 
would face them in implementing a new program in a school. They were not expecting 
the difficulties inherent in developing a school-wide program, such as the need to acquire 
broad curriculum knowledge and the need to work with a wide variety of students and 
teachers. They had no specific, concrete strategies for introducing the program or their 
role to the school. They had not anticipated the very real difficulties of teaching their 
teachers and administrators about the nature of the school library program and about their 
role as teacher-librarians. Their words about this difficulty are eloquent. 

One of the teacher-librarians, laughing ruefully at her naivete, said that she 
had had expectations of 

the teachers coming to us and asking us to do this or to do that with 
them. You know, them coming in to us and saying 'Would you help 
us with this and would you help with that and would you like to sit 
down and plan that?' I expected more of a them-to-approach-us kind 
of thing, and that was a disappointment. 

The other commented, that although she had some expectations about what she could do, 

she had no idea of what she in fact would be doing as a teacher-librarian. 

I knew all summer I had the job and people would say, 'Oh, you must 
be busy planning', and I didn't know what to plan. I didn't have a clue 
where I was even going to start. 

These candid comments reveal clearly the difficulty for novice teacher-librarians, 
even though they had a clear vision of the program and their role in it, of putting that 
vision into action. It was very difficult for them to think of ways in which they could 
address such concerns as long range planning, which would have to be carried out, given 


the demands of an integrated cooperatively planned program, in different ways from 
those they had used as classroom teachers. 

The work with novice teacher-librarians reveals something of the difficulty of 
putting a personal vision into action in the real world, in a world where your vision is not 
yet shared by those others upon whom the implementation of the school library program 
depends. It is likely that many programs of school library education are much better at 
assisting candidates for teacher-librarianship in the formation of their personal visions 
than they are at giving specific strategies for action that would bring those visions into 
being in a program. The task of creating a program vision cannot be done within the 
confines of an academic program, or indeed within the head of the teacher-librarian. 
Certainly the task can begin in an academic program, but instructors need to help their 
students see that creating a personal vision for their work as teacher-librarians is not the 
same as creating a vision for the school or district library program. School library 
education must also address in very practical ways the development and selection of 
strategies for creating and implementing program visions. 

A school library program vision must be a shared vision since the school library 
program is a collaborative and integrated program. The necessity for others to share in the 
vision and to have a hand in shaping the vision became very clear in a second research 
study which explored the adoption phase of the change process (Oberg, 1992). This was 
a case study of the process by which a small school district of eight schools developed a 
new vision of the school library program and of its place in teaching and learning. The 
case study used multiple sources of data, including field observations, interviews, and 
document analysis. 

At the beginning of the case study, only a few individuals in the district, the 
superintendent and some of the staff of one school, were familiar with Alberta 
Education's school library policy and program model. However, by the end of the case 


study, a period of about seventeen months, there was a major shift in understandings 

related to three major aspects of the school library. 

Initially, the library was viewed by most in the district as a collection and a facility, 

isolated from the curriculum, and operating under the responsibility of support staff. At 

the end of the case study, when a school library policy and program model were officially 

adopted, the district's conceptualization of the library had shifted to one of an 

instructional program, integral to the curriculum, and directed by teaching staff. To what 

could this shift in understanding be attributed? The shift in the district's vision of the 

school library program occurred primarily through an evaluation of the district's libraries. 

The evaluation process helped to change people's understandings of the nature of the 

school library and its place in teaching and learning, and it helped translate their 

understandings into a policy and program model appropriate to the local context. 

In the words of the district's curriculum coordinator, "the evaluation process itself 

turned around people's images of what the library was supposed to be." All of us who 

have been involved in program evaluation are familiar with the difficulties of evaluation 

utilization. It is not uncommon for an evaluation report and its recommendations to end 

up forgotten on a dusty shelf. What made this particular evaluation process such a 

powerful means for creating a new library program vision? 

First, the evaluation process challenged the views held in the district as to what 

constituted an excellent library program. One of the school board members commented: 

When the report from Alberta Education came down, there was a 
feeling at one of the schools that their library was a lighthouse 
library. The report did not reflect that. The report reflected the fact 
that it was very much a place where there was a lot of guardianship 
of the books. ... I think that it was a bit of a shock. 

Second, the evaluation process provided many opportunities for learning for people 
at the school and district level. The process began with the district's curriculum 
coordinator, familiarizing himself and the school staffs with the criteria against which the 


school libraries in the district would be assessed. The team approach of the evaluation 

process also provided a powerful mechanism for facilitating a deeper understanding of 

the role of the school library. At each school, each of the four members of the evaluation 

team was responsible for a different aspect of the data collection work. The evaluators 

talked to a wide range of people at every school, often working in the staffroom or the 

library, in quite a public way. At the end of each visit the team met to discuss their 

findings. One of the team described the process this way: 

It was like the [blind men] looking at the elephant. Somebody might 
be only looking at the ears and somebody else the tail.... So we 
actually had to sit down and talk about this library and how it's 
functioning in the school.... I've worked on other evaluation teams 
before and this process was certainly different. ... 1 would say the 
process we used ... has more value, more potential value to help in 
the change process. The team was small. It amazed me that we were 
able to cover the district like a blanket and touch so many people. 

Because we talked to administrators, teachers, library staff, and 
students, there must have been a lot of buzz when we left. People 
were talking from one school to the other. Teachers would get 
together and say, 'Hey, were the evaluators at your school? What did 
they ask you?' Obviously it got a lot of talk going, so by the the time 
the district decided to act on the recommendations, the ground had 
already been laid. There had been enough talk already that people 
anticipated changes.. . .1 think people were receptive. . .. I've been 
in other evaluations and people were more at arm's length. This was 
more homey. We just sat around the table and talked about the 
library . .. 

The key decision makers in the district were involved in the development of new 
understanding. The curriculum coordinator was a member of the evaluation team. The 
superintendent worked closely with the evaluation team, even giving support and 
encouragement for stronger than anticipated recommendations in the final report. The 
superintendent worked closely with the school board in initiating and following through 
on the evaluation. This meant that the district leadership were deeply involved in creating 
a new vision for the library and they would be more able to implement the 
recommendations for action after the evaluation was complete. 


Finally, the new vision of the district's school library program, expressed in the final 
report in terms of recommendations for action, was reflective of the district's new 
understanding of the school library program and the vision was consistent with district 
resources and realities. The new vision was not so visionary that it would seem 
impossible to implement. The evaluation process had been used successfully to create a 
new dream for the district's libraries and to lay the groundwork for the dynamics that 
would turn that dream into a reality. 

In the third study, I want to share with you how teacher-librarians, principals, and 
district personnel in another school district worked together to create the vision, to clarify 
and deepen their understanding of the school library program, to implement the vision, 
and in doing so to create it anew (LaRocque & Oberg, 1990). The district which we 
called Prairie Rose was selected as the study site because it was reputed to have strong 
and successful cooperative integrated school library programs. Unstructured interviews 
were held with the teacher-librarians and principals of five schools in the district and with 
two district administrators associated with the school library program. 

The data from this study has been partially analyzed, and papers given on the role of 
the principal and the role of district personnel in implementing strong library programs. I 
will attempt in this paper to look at what the study data suggests about vision and action. 
The vision for the district's library programs was first developed in the early 1980's by the 
teacher-librarians in the district working under the leadership of the coordinator for 
libraries. Their vision was made public in a document called the Phoenix Report. 

Support for a stronger instructional role for school libraries was increased with the 
appointment of a chief superintendent who saw libraries as a vehicle for school 
improvement. Together the superintendent and coordinator developed district policies 
based on the vision statement. 

At the same time they began to ensure that the resources would be available for 
putting the vision into action. For example, when new teacher-librarians were to be hired. 


the district opened the competition to candidates beyond the district. Those considered 
for employment were interviewed in their schools by the coordinator responsible for 
libraries. This allowed the district to assess the candidates' current practice and to select 
teacher-librarians whose personal vision and practice were most consistent with the 
district's vision and practice. After being hired, new teacher-librarians were not left to 
establish programs on their own . The district recognized the need for orientation to and 
involvement in the goals and practices of the district. This was done primarily through 
the teacher-librarians' network in the district. The double thrust of the network was, in 
the words of the teacher-librarians, "teaching each other to do a better job" and "rehashing 
goals and objectives." This network, operating across the district with the involvement of 
the coordinator and the support of the superintendent, saw dreams and dynamics as its 
essential rationale. Their dreams for the district's school libraries have not remained 
static. They have recently developed a new vision statement, the Phoenix Re-Visited 
Report, which sets future directions for school library programs in the district. 

How the district's vision for school library programs is translated into action has 
not been left to chance. Throughout the district there has been an emphasis on continued 
professional learning. This learning was focused on developing a shared vision and 
common action. The vision and ways to put the vision into action have been regularly 
addressed at the teacher-librarians' network meetings and in district inservices for 
principals and for coordinators. In addition, it was a district expectation that consultants 
be in schools frequently and that, for the library program as for other programs, the 
district level coordinators team with school-based people, in planning and delivering 
inservice to school staffs. At the school level, principals expected frequent discussion of 
goals and of practice, in the yearly school retreats, in department or grade group 
meetings, and in teacher evaluation. Throughout the study, the interviewees showed an 
awareness of the importance of shared understanding and shared commitment to the 
cooperative integrated school library program. They also were aware that their efforts to 

examine and improve their practice had resulted in changes in their goals for the school 
library program. The educators of Prairie Rose School District recognized that a vision 
should not and will not remain static if it is to be a vital part of the lives of professionals 
and of the schools and districts within which they work. 

The three research studies that I have shared in this paper have pointed out in many 
ways that dreams and dynamics are parts of a complex interrelationship. Dreams or 
visions should not be thought of as something that can be developed in isolation from 
dynamics or actions. The vision shapes the action which is turn shapes the vision. The 
novice teacher-librarians learned that dreams are not enough, that the dynamics for 
turning the dreams into reality, are critical for developing effective school library 
programs. The development of an individual vision and of a repertoire of strategies for 
action can be developed in program of school library education or by the individual study 
and reflection of a teacher-librarian. However, for a school library program that is a 
cooperative integrated program, it is essential that the teacher-librarian involve others in 
developing a shared vision and commitment to action. In one district the process of 
program evaluation provided a route to that shared vision and action for the school library 
program; in another, the routes were policy making and inservicing of staff. What is 
critical to all of these routes is shared learning and active learning. It must be active 
learning because no one can create a vision for someone else. The library educator, the 
teacher-librarian, the coordinator, or the superintendent may take the lead in encouraging 
and supporting others’ learning but all of those involved must construct their own 
understanding of the vision that directs the school library program. 

Without the creation of a clear vision and a shared vision for the school library 
program, it is unlikely that the program can achieve its potential for the improvement of 
teaching and learning. Without purposeful and directed action, the clearest vision for the 
school library program cannot achieve the improvement of teaching and learning. The 
interplay of clear vision with purposeful action, the interplay of dreams and dynamics, is 


essential for strong and vital school library programs. To paraphrase Joel Barker, 
"Dreams without dynamics are merely dreams. Dynamics without dreams just pass time. 
Dreams with dynamics in the school library program can change the world of teaching 
and learning." 


Alberta Education. (1985). Focus on learning: An integrated program model for 
Alberta school libraries. Edmonton, AB: Author. 

Alberta Education. (1990). Focus on research: A guide to developing students’ research 
skills. Edmonton, AB: Author. 

Burdenuk, G. (1993). Vision and the school library resource center. Emergency 
Librarian, 20(3), 22-24. 

LaRocque, L., & Oberg, D. (1990). Building bridges between the library and the 

principal's office. Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the International 
Association of School Librarianship, Umea, Sweden, pp. 127-134. 

Oberg, D. (1992). Adoption of a school library program by Sherwood Park Catholic 
Separate School District: A promising beginning. Unpublished doctoral thesis. 
University of Alberta, Edmonton. 

Oberg, D. (1992). Learning to be a teacher-librarian: A research report. Proceedings of 
the 20th Annual Conference of the International Association of School 
Librarianship, Everett, Washington, pp. 180-186. 


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From Dreaming to Reality: the development of effective 
Aboriginal Studies Policies and Programmes 
Author Peg Craddock 

Education of the wider community in order to generate knowledge, understanding 
and appreciation of Aboriginal heritage, history, culture and achievements is seen as 
essential for a more harmonious relationship between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal 
Australians. Schools can become instruments for such change when etfective Aboriginal 
Studies policies and programmes are developed and implemented at school level by the 
staff and community. Local Aboriginal community members need to be involved in this 
process, but there will be some communities where there are no Aboriginal people. This 
developmental process requires that staff have knowledge and understanding of 
Aboriginal history and culture and its relevance to the contemporary scene. To- day, I 
hope to make you aware of some aspects of this Aboriginal heritage. 

One of the greatest needs of Aboriginal people is to see their culture and identity 
recognised, and to have non-Aboriginal Australians made aware of dieir history and its 
effects on their current lifestyle. The title given to this session by the organisers is 'services 
to Aborigines', and the education of all Australians about these things is surely a very 
necessary service. Equity of access to educational opportunities for Aboriginal 
Australians is the other important service dealt with here, although ' service ' is hardly the 
correct term. "Ri^it" is preferred, and you will, I hope, at the end of this workshop, see 
where the two connect 

The Aboriginal Education Policy, introduced in New South Wales in 1982, resulted from 
the efforts of Aboriginal people, some teachers and educational administrators in this state, 
who believed that all Australians need to be taught the real history of this land , and that 
there was indeed a living history which did not begin ini788. The policy which resulted 
was intended for all schools and all students , whatever their background. As a result of 
their efforts, the Policy and its support documents were introduced, the policy and 
Aboriginal studies becoming mandatory for all Departmental schools in 1987. 

In the Policy there is a duality of purpose - 

to guide the devdopment of knowledge, understanding and appreciation of 
the culture, heritage and history of Aboriginal people In contemporary 


to provide educational opportunities for Aboriginal students which would 
give them equity in educational outcomes with non-Aboriginal studwits. 

The desired outcomes would see effective participation of Aboriginal people in 
the education process, so that they develop their full potential, becoming informed 
participants in the modem and future Australia, and the non-Aboriginal community 
genuinely understanding Aboriginal Australia 

Why, in tliis country where the concept of a "fair go for allis regarded as tlie 
norm, was it necessary to develop such a policy? Some recent developments provide part 
of the answer. It was as recent as 1967 that a referendum was earned giving Aboriginal 
people full citizenship- yet these people can trace their history in this Iffl j for at least 
50.000 years. 


The recent Mabo decision which stated what we all should have known, that the British 
invaders were not claiming ' terra nullius'- land belonging to no-one, has raised ire 
among many who see it as a threat to their own interests.and trumpet it as a retrogade step - 
for wtiom I wonder? Reasonable observers note that there are limits to what may and may 
not be claimed, but until the smoke and fury settles, rational debate seems to be 


Aboriginal people usually receive very negative press and the racist attitudes 
expressed are often not regarded as such by those who express them. Australia, indeed the 
world, watched and shared in Fred Hollows’ battle with cancer as he worked with his 
team to make their vision of sight for those in Aboriginal Australia and the Third World 
become a reality. Prof Hollows' death touched us all. Media coverage of his funeral- 
indeed a celebration of a life- referred to the procession throu^ Bourke to his final resting 
place,as including "mourners" and "Aboriginal8"(! ! !). 

While episodes of refusal to provide service simply because the person is 
Aboriginal are today less common, discrimination is still very apparent Many non- 
Aboriginal Australians are not aware of many of the soul destroying incidents that Koories 
face in their daily routines. Misinformation, repeated as 'truth' peddles stories of 
incredible handouts given to 'lazy' individuals living in luxury on taxp^ers 'money. 

These lies which quickly become myths, are believed by many . Unemployment, more 
than twice the national average, school performance just under half that for non-Aboriginal 
NSW, incarceration which in spite of the Royal Commission is many times that for any 
other section of the community, life expectancy and health care which is at Third World 
levels, and many more factors, demonstrate how sometimes insidious, and always profound 
discrimination continues to be. It is no wonder that helplessness and despair are common 
experiences. When Koories do well, it seems someone is sure to complain of unfair 
treatment "History," said Manning Clark, "is written by the victors". 

Let us look at some of the historical facts not taught to most of this generation of 
teachers. The British arrival here is seen by Aboriginal people as an invasion. The 
resistance offered by the people to their disposession was not acknowledged. Yet, 
throughout the country there was indeed resistance and increasingly it is being publicised. 
There are now many books available and they make compelling reading. Ferry has 
researched the conflict that arose , and in his” History of the Aborigines of the North West 
(N.S.W.) to 1914" has highlighted the differences in outlook of the protaganists. 

"When the British first settled Australia in 1788 they brought with them not only 
the paraphernalia of their civilisation but also certain 'invisible luggage’ in the 
shape of attitudes, prejudices and values that would account in in large part for 

their subsequent relations with the the Australian Aborigines.these attitudes 

found their root in attitudes that had developed long before." 

James Cook wrote with insight in his journal; 

''From what 1 have said of the natives of New South Wales, they may appear 
to some to be the most wretched people on earth, but in reality they are far more 
happier(sic) than we Europeans, being wholy(sic) unacquainted not only with the 
necessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe; they are happy in not 
knowing the use of them. They live in a Tranquility that is not disturbed by the 

Inequality oj Condition . they live in a warm and fine climate and enjoy a 

wholsome (sic) Air, so that they have very little need of clothing .". 

1 6 

Governor Phillip was instructed to- 

'endeavour by every possible means to open an intercourse with the natives and to 
conciliate their affections enjoining all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with 

them . if any of our subjects should wantonly destroy them or cause them any 

unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations, it is our will and 
pleasure that you do cause such defenders to be brought to punishment according to the 
degree of the offence. " 

He was given no assistance in this matter and was unable to provide the 
"protection" advocated. As Ferry points out, the greatest disruption was the so-called 
"settlement” itself and for tiiat there was to be no compensation. The Aborigines would 
somehow recognise the "beneficent justice of British law and the European notion of 
property , whilst at the same time , their own ri^ts were being completely ignored". Daily 
they saw the cruelties being inflicted on the convicts, their own food sources being 
destroyed, and their land which had sustained them from the days of the Dreaming being 
rendered useless for their purposes- indeed taken from diem completely. When inevitably, 
they retaliated for tiie cruelty and injustices being heaped upon them, their punishment was 

The invaders came from a counhy where the average citizen lived in very poor 
conditions. Quickly, conditions in the 'colony* became appalling for both the invaders and 
the invaded. Leaders such as Peraulwy, Mosquito, Umarrah, Walyer, Windradyne and 
others tried to force tiie newcomers to leave. Documents in the archives of the time reveal 
that Pemulwy successfully harried the newcomers from 1790 to 1802, when he was shot 
He had almost succeeded in driving the British into the sea His head was pickled and sent 
to Sir Joseph Banks for 'scientific research'. Atten^)ts are currently being made to retrieve 
it. His son, Tedbury, carried on this resistance. Pemulwy's story has been admirably 
chronicled in tfie book of the same name by Eric Willmot. Mary Coe has told the story of 
Windradyne, and the NSW Department of School Education has just produced an excellent 
video wdiich tells the story. Windradyne died of his wounds in 1835. 

Culture conflict continued with incredible cruelties being inflicted on the 
Aboriginal people in the name of settlement. Seen from tiie security of the twentieth 
century, many simply regard it as symptomatic of an extremely cruel era. Settlers endured 
great hardship to 'tame ' the land and saw tiie Aborigines as obstacles in tiie way. 

However, the means used and the language used to describe these "pests' who resented 
their lands being stolen was hardly meant to calm things down! True, there were those 
who tried to prevent some of the atrocities, but they were in the minority. 

Throu^out much of of Australia, claimed by squatters. Aborigines were treated in 
some cases in the same way as the "villeins" of feudal Europe with landowners assuming 
the power of life and death over the native servants. The 'Master and Servants Act' was 
enforced althou^ the people had no idea that living on their own land meant that they were 
owned by the squatters. The fact that massacres occurred and no-one was punished was 
seen as perfectly normal at the time. Indeed it was not until the outcry over the Myall 
Creek massacre near Delungra in N.S.W., that a subsequent trial resulted in white men 
being hanged for these murders. 


The Reverend Threlkeld wrote of many which are still known only to historians, 
many so horrific that even the most hardened reader would be sickened. Those at the 
Butchers ’ Tree and Hospital Creek near Brewarrina resulted in the murder of several 
hundred men women and children in 1859, but no-one was punished. No state was free of 
these tragic events. Stale archives provide fascinating insiglits into the spread of the 
invaders across the huge continent, and the violence which accompanied tlieni. Tlie last 
massacre appears to have occurred in south-west Queensland in 1940. The better recorded 
Coniston massacre happened in 1928. 

As their lands were taken, their heritage and food sources destroyed, their numbers 
decimated by murder , disease , despair, and starvation, in NSW tliey were placed on 
government reservations called 'missions’. The Aboriginal Protection Association ( a 
private church-inspired organisation) sought to protect them from 'the lower orders' and 
organised them on to 'missions'. It is a matter of record that in some places , where people 
were not on reserves/missions, but living in small groups, without access to their 
traditional foods (these had been destroyed throu^ overgrazing, or the killing of the game 
sources,) the rations they were given contained arsenic , and blankets previously used by 
smallpox victims were deliberately provided. . Yet on some of these reserves , 
Aboriginal people developed successful farms- until the European community decided it 
was good land for their own purposes agaia 

The reserves were very often run by inhuman managers. There were mass walkouts 
from some reserves to the embarrassment of the authorities. They were soon to be hedged 
about with regulations forbidding freedom of movement and governing their every actioa 
Indeed , in 1909, the powers of the Aborigines Protection Board formally established in 
the Aborigines Protection Act almost total control over these people. They could own 
nothing, and had virtually no say in any aspect of their lives. 

The hated 'dog licence' was another indignity. Koories were unable to leave missions 
in many areas unless they had one of these. This 'licence' stated that the carrier was 
considered to be of good character and could travel from the homeplace but the licence had 
to be shown on demand. Up until relatively recently, children could be taken from their 
parents by police and placed in 'homes' where they were trained as servants. The recent 
drama "The Leaving of Liverpool" graphically told of the pli^t of British children treated 
thus ; for the Aboriginal community it was a fact of life much earlier. Forbidden to speak 
their language, siblings separated, and names changed, many of these children never 
regained their families. Tliose old enough to remember and who later returned to the 
reserves were removed by police. If the family were discovered sheltering them , the 
manager could cut the family's rations until the person left . This practice was only 
officially discontinued in the late 1960s. 

The splendid series " Women of the Sun" screened on television , brought some of 
the injustices to the notice of the viewing public, "Lousy Little Sixpence" a film which is 
also available for schools to use, highliglited the practice of removing children., and there 
are books available as well. Tlie NSW Department has at least one senior officer who was 
one of the 'stolen generation'. 

Throughout Australia, Koories were denied freedoms taken for granted by other 
inhabitants. In many places, Koories were forbidden to approach any closer than the 
outer boundaries of towns. They were deemed to be incapable of swearing a valid oath, 
according to Judge Burton (1838), in correspondence kept in the archives, because they 
'did not believe in the Supreme Being or the afterlife'. That this denied the very essence of 

their culture whs not considered. This meant , effectively, tliat they could not give 
evidence in couils when men were being tried for murders of Aboriginal people . Unless 
a white person had witnessed such events , and was willing to testify, the perpetrators went 
free. In 1876, Aboriginal evidence became admissable in a court of law if the witness 
could demonsti ate that he understood tlie legal consequences of lying on oalli. 

for many the land they were dumped on had no proper water supply and in many 
cases one tap had to supply the needs of the whole community. Prisoners, suspected of 
crimes were chained by the neck , linked to-gether and to the stirrup of Hie trooper's horse 
and forced to walk for miles to the lock-up where often, after questioning they were 
released to walk home again. This practice continued in some parts of Australia until 


It is only since 1956 in NSW that all Aboriginal children have been able to attend a 
school where they are taught by trained teachers. Indeed, until just after the end of World 
War n if the children attended public schools in NSW they could be excluded if the white 
community objected to their presence. This provision was only removed in 1972 though the 
provision had not been used for some years. There were some schools on the missions, 
taught by the manager (untrained), or more often his wife (untrained ) and providing a very 
limited curriculum. 

Theoretically, Aborigines were not to fight alongside European Australians during 
the recent world wars, but many did (though they were not paid at the same rate as white 
soldiers), including at Gallipoli, and were decorated for gallantry, but denied the rights of 
citizens on their return, including the right of their children to education at the national 

Aboriginal achievements have not been well recognised or publicised. Enc Willmot, 
author. Professor, Director General of the South Australian Education Department until 
recently , is the only Australian to have been awarded the International Gold Medal for 
Invention oftheYear (Geneva). He began his working life at an age when most of us were 
still in junior high school, but through his dedication became a noted academic, teacher, 
inventor, administrator, and contributor to Australian life. 

Another unsung Australian scientist was David Unaipon, who in 1907 
successfully converted curvilinear motion into straight line movement. His device was 
fitted to sheep shearing impliments in 1909. He became a recognised authority on what was 
to become known as ballistics. He even designed a helicopter in 1912 which predicted the 
successful machines of thirty years later. The learned gentlemen of the day believed him 
to be a most brilliant man. Clearly he was a genius. 

Aboriginal Authors , artists, actors, dancers, teachers , lawyers and other 
professionals have joined the growing band of achievers in tlie sporting field and have 
shown that with access to services others take for granted, achievements mirror those of 
non- Aboriginal Australians. However there are other fields iii which Aboriginal people 
excel, and these have not required a European style education, but have sustained them for 
millennia. More ofthese later. 


Many AustraJians not of Aboriginal descent, cannot understand why there is such 
diversity of opinions amongst the Aboriginal people in this country, not realising tliat 
contemporary Aboriginal society is made up of people from diverse groups and cultures. 
Much tliat follows will, of course , be generalised, because there were so many. However, 
it will give you some idea of the heritage and culture. 

Australia is a vast continent, and as with others of its size, people were spread far 
and wide and had different languages, and so on. It is believed that there were as many as 
500 different language groups. For all of these groups, the history of their people was 
handed down from generation to generation in story, song and ceremony. In the Dreamtime, 
Giant Beings roamed the earth, which was dull and flat. These Ancestors formed the 
landscape into hills, valleys, rivers and mountains, and established the w^ of life for the 
people for all time. These Beings taught the law and the lore which were to govern the 
lives of the people. They then became part of the world around the people, and formed 
their sacred sites. These teachings and the sites were as important to them as the beliefs of 
the other world religions are to those who practise those faiths. 

As their language and lands were separate and different, so could the cultures, 
beliefs and social life differ. Their way of life was structured to ensure the survival of tiie 
group, and the preservation of the land and the Dreaming, and strict laws governed all 
aspects of their lives. Through their stories, songs and ceremonies, the whole structure of 
society was preserved. Through it all the spiritual ties of the land were preserved. The 
laws governing kinship and marriage were complex. 

A hierarchy of knowledge existed, with each stage being revealed at the 
appropriate time, to those at that stage of development Ceremonial life could be deeply 
spiritual, could celebrate the passage through to the next hierarchy of knowledge (as in the 
Western ritual of the Graduation ceremony), could be a celebration with another group at 
the time of great feasts as when the Bogong moths or other foods were especially plentiful, 
or indeed just as importantly, celebration, just for the fun of it. 

Art, whether painting, rock art, or body painting required skill and imagination, as 
well as knowledge of the lore, law , and the technical aspects of such activity. Many 
paintings describe the 'history* of the Dreamtime and the techniques and the meaning were 
handed down to the keepers in each generation. 

The boundaries of the land , their 'country', were strictly adhered to. Some were 
marked, many were not, yet each group recognised and respected them. Diplomacy was 
practised, in the organisation and management of the trade routes organised for barter 
between groups. Seasonal movement around the territories ensured that food sources were 
not depleted. Water, essential to all life was carefully guarded and even in times of 
severe drought, there were, in most areas, some sources available , although hidden 
Knowledge of these, and the techniques used to access them, was kept alive in the lore 
Tlie seasonal journeys followed the tracks by the known water sources and even small 
children learnt by heart the 'maps' ofthese routes. 



Aboriginal technology is often not recognised as such. The skills and knowledge 
involved in the making of such tools and implements as boomerangs, woomeras, spears 
and the stone tools used in every society is often dismissed. Try making a spear, using a 
stone implement, so that the spear will not present you with a vicious splinter as you throw 
it. Better still, try doing a rock carving on a weathered sandstone outcrop. 

Some archaeologists believe that the use of grinding stones to change dried seeds 
into a type of flour by Aboriginal people pre-dates this development in the Fertile 
Crescent by a considerable period. The grinding of axes in Australia also pre-dates the 
use of this technology in Europe and tl:e Middle East. 

The use offish traps such as those at Brewarrina, Arawarra and along most river 
systems, and the eel traps in irrigation channels dug by the people in Western Victoria 
were most ingenious. Fish nets of course were common, and the hinged nets were much 
prized Channels dug across a divide enabling water to be channelled fi'om a lake in times 
of need, were observed to be old when viewed by George Augustus Robinson in 1840. 

The engineering offish traps in many areas revealed technical knowledge. Environmental 
'engineering* was widely practised to increase the yield in some foods in the following 
season and to increase the growth of greenstuff for the animals hunted for food. Their 
knowledge and understanding of the environment ensured that their practises maximised 
the potential but minimised the impact. The seasonal, highly controlled burning of 
specially selected areas, and of some food trees such as Cycads is referred to by Rhys 
Jones as "fire-stick farming". 

Foods available as "Bush Tucker" are being investigated with the co-operation of 
the people and are proving to be full of surprises. The variety and strength of the various 
vital components of the human diet found in these foods is enabling a data bank of 
resources to be formed. Those who watched the 'Bush Tucker Man' on A B C. Television 
will be aware of some of the amazing things revealed. . The series 'A Question of Survival' 
telecast on June 16, outlined a continuing project in which Aboriginal knowledge of 
botany, technology and survival techniques in traditional society is enabling lives to be 
saved in famine stricken Africa Scientists and the Aboriginal women are continuing to 
refine the programme to increase the benefits. 

The Aboriginal Pharmacopoeia is increasingly being recognised as the source of 
potential products for use in modem medicine. Indeed during World War Two, some of 

the bush medicine plants were exported for the treatment of malaria and t^'phoid. Some 
plants contain substances suitable for the treatment of high blood pressure. The bush 
medicines used varied according to the location and environment of each group. The 
medicinal plants used and the techniques used in their preparation and administration are 
being investigated. Some have been incorporated into modem use, and currently a 
research team is seeking to investigate tlie properties of a plant for use as a possible 
substitute for morphine, for use in the relief of very severe pain. The results ol these 
investigations could benefit everyone. 

These are just some of the aspects of the heritage Abongmal people share. To 
understand some of the history and the culture will help us to realise what rich cultures 
existed before the coming of that fleet in 1788. To share this knowledge witli 
contemporary society is part of the reason for the policy being implemented in schools. 



Matthew Pearce Public School was opened in 1982, and is situated in Baulkham 
Hills, in suburban Sydney. Many nationalities make up the school community, although 
most have been well established in Australian life. 

Matthew Pearce Primary School chose to involve staff, and community, throu^ a 
professional development programme to introduce the Policy. This would take place over 
four evenings, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and was designed to 

♦give the background to the policy, and outline some historical events 
^introduce the Policy and its support documents 

*provide guidelines and examine available resources for bias, ethnocentrism 
■^'workshop' ideas for use in classrooms 

*begin the development of units of work in social science for the classroom 

*look at ways to introduce an Aboriginal perspective in other curriculum 

After I had organised the programme ( which was being funded by the Regional In- 
service Committee), we found our potential group of participants had grown somewhat 
When the course began, school and community participants were joined by teachers 
representing several area High Schools, Regional personnel and staff from Parramatta City 
Library. The participants, despite my initial worries, responded very well and a great deal 
was achieved. As our school had no known Aboriginal students there were some who felt 
the Policy was of no concern to us. This attitude changed. Participants responded 
positively in the evaluations and it became obvious that those involved felt some 
ownership of the units and perspectives developed. During the course , ftie resources 
session included discussion of ideas for using biased or inaccurate resources already in 
schools, in positive ways and this resulted in a variety of innovative strategies ^ 
suggested One unit developed by a workshop group consisting mainly of high school 
teachers led by Kate Cameron, resulted in a booklet published by Metropolitan West 

The team of speakers was led by John Lester, an Aboriginal teacher from the 
Aboriginal Education Unit (now principal of Grafton TAPE and a preselected candidate 
for the NSW parliament). Other speakers included teachers with experience in Aboriginal 
Education and the Regional consultant. 

I agreed to complete all the suggested units by adding an appropriate resource list. 
Ihis was done and the school published a Resource File containing the completed units, 
evaluation techniques for examining resources, a list of resource people and places and 
additional material on Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum, 'fhis booklet 
became part of the school's resource file, and was provided to all participants. When other 
schools became aware of it and requests were received, the Principal provided copies. It 
was later published in another region. 


Later this booklet was revised, with examples of units developed by the school's 
curriculum committees in otlier Key Learning Areas. Aboriginal perspectives were 
included for tliese new units, as well as additional materials. As part of the school's 
ofiicial opening ceremonies, a great deal of work in tlie form of murals etc. had been done 
and these continue to be used as resource materials. 

In the years since this process was undertaken, the policy has become part of all 
K.L.As, with Aboriginal perspectives an integral part of all appropriate areas. There is a 
revised policy going throu^ the stages of development within the policy making section of 
the NSW department and this revised policy when released will become the focus of 
further staff and community activity. Evaluation of the work in the school's programme is 
an continuing process, and as new staffbring new ideas these are incorporated. The 
resource collection is excellent and well used 

NSW now has an Aboriginal Studies Syllabus for years 11 and 12, with the 7-10 
(Draft) component recently released. 

Bert Oldfield Public School was built post World War n to accommodate the baby 
boomers in the first developed areas of the outer western suburbs of Sydney. The school's 
development of its Aboriginal Education Policy occurred somewhat later than at Matthew 
Pearce, a point worthy of mention because the staff learnt fi'om the Matthew Pearce 
experience. There is no need to keep on inventing the wheel. It is more important to make 
sure that the wheel fits the vehicle. 

As at Matthew Pearce, ftiere was some staff reluctance because the school has no 
Aboriginal students. The main factor driving the development was the mandatory 
requirements of the policy, plus the school executive's determination to ensure that Bert 
Oldfield school was doing the right thing by Aboriginal people throu^ seeing that the 
wider Australian community has a proper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal 
history, heritage and culture. 

How to bring a reluctant staff onside is always a strategic question. If the staff is 
also hostile, and this one wasn't, the basic question of course becomes more difficult. 
Elxperience suggests though, that the answer is still essentially the same. 

Teachers are overwhelmingly, though by no means exclusively, fair-minded people. 
Once they become aware of the realities of Aboriginal history, with all its prejudices, 
abuses, cruelties, shame, and neglect, they seem quite prepared to tell the story as it was 
and as it is. And in relation to the non-Aboriginal section of the community that is a major 
step forward. 

The other m^or step is giving non-Aboriginal Australia a genuine appreciation of 
the extraordinary' skills and adaptations which Aboriginal people made to live in harmony 
with a continent which, even to this day with the aid of the most extraodmary technological 
developments in the history of mankind, white people still find very difficult to tame. 

These two steps are embedded in fiose things I was talking about above. To give 
the Bert Oldfield staff a sense of the origins of the problems, and its contemporary nature, 
the school hired a Research Fellow fi-om the University of Sydney to develop an in-sei^ice 
programme which gave the teachers the fiindamental knowledge they needed to grasp the 
essence of the whole exercise. 


Time is veiy much a constraint in school activities today, and for this type of 
exercise its was strictly limited. The basic 'conversion' of the staff had to be effected in 
one face-to-face session with the researcher. Tlie elements of the presentation are probably 
those which should be built into any such exercise. 

Tliere was an overview of tlie main historical events over the past 223 years, with 
wherever possible, local references. This was not hard in the case in point, the school 
being right in Pemelwuy country, the land of the Bidjigal. Quite probably the great warrior 
had walked across the school playground. The site is also near to the places where many 
historical episodes occurred Several nearby streets are named after significant Aboriginal 
people fi-om the same period in history. The personal connections of a staff member also 
add interest and in this case one was linked with the infamous Myall Creek episode. 

For teachers a brief history of the education of Aboriginal children in historical 
times is also of great interest. Fortunately in NSW we have J.J.Fletcher's Clean, Clad and 
Courteous, and the companion volume Documents in the History of Aboriginal Education in 
New South Wales wliich can be obtained from tlie author himself at 45 Bibby Street, 
Carlton. NSW 2218 for S50 for the pair. For the period from settlement up to 1970, they 
are fascinating documents. With ftiese and several other documents which are available, it 
is easy to find material relevant to most places as well as gain an overview of the denial of 
a basic human right which occurred. In the case of Oldfield school it is about half-w^ 
between the original site of the first school for Aborigines at Parramatta, and the Black 
Town (modem Blacktown) where it eventually ended up. What is good for teachers is the 
realisation ftiat often when the white community, and even inspectors of schools turned 
against the Aboriginal community, there was always a teacher, or teachers, prepared to 
stand up for their Aboriginal pupils. 

The other contribution of the Research Fellow was to tease out what might be the 
elements of a good Aboriginal Education Policy for this particular school. This done, the 
staff did the rest, and did it very well as stafis usually do when committed to a task. The 
actually processes used at the school level were not dissimilar to those outlined in the 
Matthew Pearce case. Bert Oldfield School has an excellent document to guide staff 
through the full seven year primary education cycle. 

Your workshop activity will use infomiation from the handouts and your knowledge of the 
situation in your own ai ea, and your professional skills. The process used will be similar 
to that used when preparing materials for education about and for any indigenuous people. 
In your own schools in Aushalia, an on-line search of the SCIS database will be very 



The Aboriginal Education Policy and its Support Documents . Sydney, N S W. Department 
ofEducation, 1982. 

An Aboriginal Studies Resource File, Revised Edition, compiled by P J. Craddock, 
Matthew Pearce Primary School, 1986 

Coe, Mary Windradyne: a Wiradjuri Koorie ; Canbena, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1989. 
Dargin, Peter Aboriginal Fisheries of the BarwoaT ) arli ng Rivers Brewarrina Historical 
Society, 1976. 

Edwards, Coral and Read, Peter, editors. The Lost Children; tliirteen Australians taken 
from their Aboriginal families tell of their struggle to find their natural parents. Sydney, 

Doubleday, 1989. 

Elder, Bruce Blood on the Wattle: massacres and maltreatment of Australian Abo rig ines 
since 1788. Child & Associates, 1988. 

Ferry, John Aboriginal History to 1914:, Tamworth, North West Region Disadvantaged 
So ls Committee, Department ofEducation, N S W., 

Flood, Josephine Archaeology of the Dreamtime .: the story of prehistoric Australia and i ts 
peopl e., Sydney, Collins, 1983. 

From Earlier Fleets 11; Hemisphere- an Aboriginal Anthology, 1981 
Hardy, Bobby The Lament for the Barkindji : the vanished tribes of the Darling River 
region Sydney, Alpha Books, 1981. 

Isaacs, Jennifer Bush Food: Aboriginal food and herbal medicine .Sydney, Weldon,1987 
Miller, James Koori, a Will to Win: the heroic survival and triumph of Black Australia , 
A&R, 1985. 

Morgan, Sally My Place Fremantle Arts Press, 1987. 

Stokes, Deidre Desert Dreamings, M ilton, Q. , Jacaranda Wiley, 1992.( Jacaranda 

Pybus, Cassandra A Community of Thieves , Port Melbourne, William Heinemann, 1991. 
Willmot, Eric Pemulwuy, the Rainbow Warrior. Sydney, Weldon, 1987^ 





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Australia's Contribution to International School Librarianship 


Joe Hallein, Faye Nicholson, Judy Phillips and Barbara Posten-Anderson 

Australia has played a very active role in promoting and developing school librarianship on a 
International basis. Most of our aid projects in school library development have been in the 
Asia/Pacific region but programs have been carried out in other areas as well. The largest 
school library development project that has been carried out by Australians in the UNESCO 
School libraries in Oceania Project that was launched by UNESCO in 1978 and has continued 
for 13 years. A number of visits were carried out to investigate the state of school libraries in 
the South West Pacific and to make recommendations to UNESCO for projects to help 
develop school library programs. Lawrence McGraw, Margaret Trask, Barbara Posten- 
Anderson and Joe Hallein visited a number o f South Pacific Nations during the 1970's and 
80's. Workshops for developing school library education programs were conducted by the 
project and a group of Australian Library Educators prepared two courses for training 
teachers in the use of libraries, and for training school librarians. The courses, designed for 
both traditional classrooms and distance education, were published by UNESCO in 1989. 

A regional meeting of librarians and educators from the Pacific region was held in Suva, Fiji 
in November 1983. The purpose of this UNESCO-funded meeting was to examine the course 
material to see if it meet the needs of the region. Given the green light, it was then introduced 
into teacher education programmes across the South West Pacific. 

In order to ensure that each country had qualified people to teach the course, UNESCO also 
sponsored a workshop in Sydney, Australia in July-August, 1985 for 16 librarians and teacher 
educators from 10 Pacific nations. Participants were given detailed notes on teaching specific 
parts of the course, were able to experiment with a variety of techniques and develop 
educational resources. Training programmes were also conducted for educators and librarians 
in Western Samoa in 1986 and in Vanuatu in 1989 and 1990 with a further course held in 
1991. The Vanuatu courses emphasized easily accessible and inexpensive resources such as 
puppets, drama and movement, and book reports and discussion by teachers, as well as in- 
service training for librarians. More details of the Vanuatu project will be presented later in 
the paper. 

Australian input to school library development has also taken place as part of major 
educational development projects in the region. Some these have been multi lateral programs 
sponsored by agencies such as the World Bank which provided funding for the Solomon 


Islands Primary Education Expansion project from 1983 to 1985. As part of this project 
Provincial Educational Resource Centres were established and basic reference collections 
were supplied to schools. Project consultant Joe Hallein also conducted training courses for 
primary schools educators in the effective use of educational resources. This project as well 
as others such as the STEP project in Western Samoa also established libraries in the teacher 
training colleges and therefore exposed future teachers to the benefits of using a range of 
educational resources in classroom teaching. 

Australia also contributes to school library development in the Pacific region as part of its 
programs to support special international efforts such as International Library Year. 

The Australian International Development Assistance Bureau has provided courses for 
educators from many countries on libraries and educational resources. Many of these are held 
at the Centre for Pacific Development and Training in Sydney. While many of these are held 
for participants from the Pacific region some such as the course on Educational Resource held 
in 1982 had participants from 11 African, Asian and Pacific countries. The course was run by 
AIDAB in conjunction with staff from the School of Library and Information Studies at the 
then Kuringai CAE. The International Development Program of the Australian University 
System has also been active in providing library development assistance. While most of its 
programs are designed to assist University Libraries they have also provided assistance to 
library schools. Some of the library school projects such as those held in conjunction with the 
University of Papua New Guinea are designed to improve training programs for teacher 

Overseas school library practice placements for Austrahan School Librarianship students 
have also proven to be a valuable source of international school library development. Both 
the University of Technology, Sydney and Monash University, Gippsland Campus have taken 
students to Vanuatu for school library practice and this year the Monash students did a month 
long practicum in Thailand. 

Australians have been active participants in International Library Organisations such as IFLA 
and lASL. 

Contributions to these two associations are made at two levels - officially through 
representation by professional associations, and be the individuals through participation in 
committees, conferences, research projects and contributions to publications. 


The International Federation of Library Associations 

The International Federation of Library Associations is governed by an elected board. Out 
National Librarian, Warren Horton, is currently a member. Input to the Association is largely 
made through the Sections and Round Tables which represent the specific interest groups of 
the profession. One of the sections represent school libraries, and the current president is 
Lucille Thomas who is also president of lASL. Contribution on school librarianship is also 
made through other sections and round tables such as the Research and Education Sections, 
and the Continuing Professional Education Round Table. A current research project by Dr 
Sigrun school librarianship is directly relevant, and the CPE pre conference in Barcelona this 
year is planned to include areas of interest to school librarianship. 

IFLA holds a conference each year is a different country, (1988 in Sydney, Australia) and this 
enables greater information to be gained on that country. This year the section is holding a 
five day preconference in Barcelona. Individual Australian teacher librarians have 
contributed papers to conferences over many years. 

IFLA as an association representing librarianship is accredited by various international 
associations such as UNESCO. Combined projects have been undertaken in school 
librarianship in many countries, including Oceania. 

The International Association of School Librarianship 

The International Association of School Librarianship is based on a wide membership of 
people interested in school libraries, librarianships, school librarians, educators, publishers, 
institutions and associations. Elected office bearers and directors representing regions of the 
world set association policy. 

The objectives of lASL are: 

• to encourage the development of school libraries and library programs throughout all 

• to promote the professional preparation and continuing education of school librarians 

• to foster a sense of community among school librarians in all parts of the world 

• to foster and extend relationships between school librarians and other progressions 
connected with children and youth 

• to foster communication and research in the field of school librarianship 

• to promote publication and dissemination of information about school librarianship 
and materials for children and youth 

• to initiate and co-ordinate activities in the field. 


lASL is affiliated with IFLA and jointly organises a book program with UNESCO in 
developing countries 

Many Australians have participated in annual conferences in many parts of the world and as 
one of the founding countries has been represented by a director since 1971. 

Each of these associations has similar aims for school librarianship. Each enable professional 
associations to contribute information and influence policy. IFLA represent professional 
librarians while lASL has a broader membership base but each provided opportunities for 
professional development for individuals so essential in a changing environment. 

Participation in international association enables Australians to learn from others in both 
developed and developing countries. It also provides a means of sharing our knowledge and 
experience from our base of well established school libraries and professional education for 
teacher hbrarians. 

UNESCO School Library Project in Vanuatu 

UNESCO and the Australian National Commission for UNESCO have been active in 
promoting the development of library services in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly at the 
school level. The UNESCO Pacific School Libraries Program has included a range of 
activities both in Australia and in the Pacific. Since 1987, focus has centred on Vanuatu, a 
country which had expressed a special interest in participating in the program. 

At Vanuatu's invitation, a UNESCO sponsored review visit was undertaken with a view to 
developing a model that could serve as the basis for a plan for future school library 
developments in countries of the South Pacific. During this visit Primary Advisors, other 
educational officials at the Ministry of Education, and teachers and principals in a number of 
schools were consulted. 

A range of needs emerged from these interviews. The selection of appropriate materials for 
school collections in both Anglo-phone and Franco-phone schools was a main concern. Gift 
books donated from various overseas organisations formed the basis of most primary school 
collections. However, the supply of such materials was infrequent and not always viewed as 
relevant. Discussions on this issue resulted in the development of the guidelines. Selection of 
Materials for Vanuatu. Up-to-date resources with a multi-cultural emphasis were highly 


regarded as were materials developed for those who were learning English or French as a 
second language. 

In 1987, there were no trained school librarians in Vanuatu, and although there were libraries 
at the junior and secondary schools, there were none in primary schools, with one exception. 
Instead, in primary schools, classroom collections or book rooms were more usual. When a 
collection did exist, a teacher was put in charge. This role was in addition to normal teaching 
duties and there was no guarantee that this same teacher would have ongoing responsibility 
for the collection. The concept of the library as the centre of learning, the role of reading 
guidance, the merits of resource based learning and the need for children to acquire 
information skills were generally new ideas for those interviewed. 

As a result, there was a belief that before school libraries could develop at the primary school 
level, teachers must first learn to share the resources they had more effectively with children. 
Also, those who were in charge of collections (primary schools) or libraries (secondary 
schools) needed to learn how to manage them more effectively. 

Recommendations from the 1989 review visit formed the basis of further visits, 
demonstrations and workshops in 1989, 1990, and 1991. In 1989, consultants Joe Hallein and 
Barbara Poston-Anderson visited schools on the islands of Efate, Tanna, Santo and Malekula. 
At the primary schools, a special prepared resource kit was shared and given to each school 
visited. As the kit was demonstrated, the teachers became more aware of the wide range of 
ways in which reading and language development could be promoted in the classroom by 
means and language development could be promoted in the classroom by means of puppetry, 
sharing picture books, string stories, group reading and participative storytelling. At selected 
junior and secondary schools, direct liaison with those in charge of school libraries occurred. 
As a result, some informal training on school library management was possible. 

In 1990, two separate workshops were presented in Vanuatu. The first was targeted at 
Primary Advisors and, by their request, focused on resources and their use. The workshop 
dealt with resource-based learning, making use of resources in the environment, (such as 
custom stories, string figures, and expertise in the community) and resources already 
available within the school (such as the ELPAM-English Language Pacific Area Materials, 
which had recently been provided to each Anglophone school by AIDAB) were stressed. The 
importance of developing information skills in students was highlighted and less traditional 
forms of learning, such as drama and readers theatre, were explored. The aim was to provide 
the Primary Advisors with background knowledge and resources to run a similar workshop in 
their own region with teachers. 


The second workshop was developed for teachers with no previous library training who were 
in charge of secondary school libraries. Focus was on providing them with the basics of 
school library management. Selection, acquisition, organisation, circulation and information 
and resource use were key areas covered. 

As a follow-up to these two workshops, the consultants were invited back again in 1991. The 
Primary Advisors suggested the topic of The Communicating Classroom. During this 
workshop, they created a workbook and video tape for use in working with teachers to 
encourage them to help children take a more active part in their own learning. Sessions on 
information skills and organising collections were also included. The second workshop 
provided in-depth sessions in management areas for those secondary teaches who were in 
charge of school libraries. 

Today many of the recommendations made in the initial review visit in 1987 have been met 
or are in the process of being met. Several organisations, including UNESCO, have been 
working together with the Vanuatu government in their aim of providing high quality primary 
and secondary education. Of particular importance to school library development is the fact 
that one of the Primary Advisors, Inwai Mete, was sponsored by AIDAB to travel to Australia 
where she received her library training. Now back in Vanuatu she continues to follow 
through on many of the recommendations, providing valuable local support for the continued 
development of school libraries. 

As a result of the experience in Vanuatu, the following three stage model for school library 
development in other regions is suggested. First, in stage one, at the invitation of the country 
concerned, a review visit is undertaken. The purpose of the visit is to consult with those 
involved in the provision of educational and library services in order to understand and assess 
the current status of school library development in the country. 

Stage two begins with the findings of this review. On the basis of this assessment, plans are 
jointly made for a school library development programme. In Vanuatu, for example, this 
follow up had two main emphases. The first was to provide input to Primary Advisors on 
how to help primary teachers best utilise resources in their classrooms. The intimate aim was 
to create an awareness of the need for library services at the primary school level. The second 
emphasis was to assist those already in charge of school libraries to manage them more 

Stage three involves continued support. One of the main reasons for the success of the 
Vanuatu project was the continuity and follow through. Not only did the Australian National 
Commission for UNESCO provide ongoing funding for a number of years, but the Vanuatu 


Ministry of Education provided their full support through release of participants to attend 
workshop sessions and through evaluative feedback as to the appropriateness of sessions. 
There was time to build on the initial input and follow through on recommendations. As a 
result, in Vanuatu there is now a recognition of the importance of school library services. 

Literacy Programs for Public Libraries in the South West Pacific 

The Cook Islands Public Library and School Library Services 

In November 1990 Joe Hallein and Judy Phillips visited The Cook Islands, as part of a 
Victorian International Literacy Year Grant, to trial a booklet, outlining literacy programs for 
libraries. This booklet, designed for the use of public librarians in the South West Pacific, 
promotes a rationale for the inclusion of literacy programs through the public library. The 
booklet has sections devoted to the need for literacy programs, the role of libraries in literacy, 
suitable resources to use in literacy programs and criteria for resource selection. It also 
includes a range of activities that can be used with young people when implementing the 

This booklet is designed to be issued as a hand-book for librarians to develop literacy 
programs within their communities. The particular target for this booklet is young people 
who have left school with only basic or ineffectual literacy skills. The program outlined in 
the booklet can also be adapted for use with adults. 

Many young people in the South West Pacific leave school after 4 to 6 years with only basic 
literacy skills which can be lost if they are not used in everyday life, hence the focus in the 
booklet on the practical applications of literacy and on survival skills. Public libraries can 
assist these young people in maintaining the literacy skills which have been acquired by 
developing programs which are both interesting and informative and provide a link with 
school literacy programs. The Pubhc libraries are well situated for this as they are a respected 
part of community life. This was very evident in the Cook Islands where people gathered 
every morning to read the papers and discuss local news. The librarian Mrs Carmen Te Mata 
had a particularly high profile in the community and was very active in promoting reading 
and information skills with children, not only in the library, but in the local schools of 

The library was situated just off the main street in the heart of the town opposite the library of 
the University of the South Pacific and close to the Teacher s College. The public library was 
therefore well situated to cater for a wide variety of young people. The collection was quite 


extensive with a separately housed children’s section. The bookstock was mainly European 
which could be seen to be a problem, but with so little published of by South Pacific 
Islanders, this was inevitable. The people of the Cook Islands are extremely religious having 
been converted to Christianity both by "Baptist" and "The Church of Latter Day Saints", 
missionaries, some children were educated in New Zealand while others undertook higher 
education in the USA. It can be seen then that Westernized culture and the English language 
was not unknown but formed a part of their every day lives, especially as bible reading was 
required of all the congregation both adults and children. 

The Public Librarian Mrs Te Mata ran many formal library programs for teachers both within 
individual schools and for teachers in training. Formal literacy classes for both adults and 
young people were also conducted when time allowed. The booklet which had been prepared 
for trial was designed though, to help library workers who had no professional library training 
to develop programs which could be used with individuals and small groups on a formal and 
informal basis. The main emphasis of the booklet for young people was on survival skills and 
keeping informed through local and international newspapers. 

The main primary school in Roatunga, Nikao Primary School, had a school library and a 
librarian who was also the Principal. The emphasis in this school was in giving the children 
information skills and encouraging reading for pleasure. Even though resources were scarce 
and the bookstock completely inadequate by Australian standards the resourcefulness and 
enthusiasm of the librarian was evident in bright displays; the children's evident pride in their 
library and in a high standard of achievement, with literacy programs operating throughout 
the school. 

At Black Rock Pre School, Mrs Louise Henry, the Head Teacher, is the wife of the Prime 
Minister. She was extremely enthusiastic for although education is compulsory in The Cook 
Islands, she realized more could be achieved with greater awareness by teachers of how 
literacy programs could be adapted to meet local conditions. Once again we saw in this 
school, what can be achieved with enthusiasm and hard work when money is scarce. 

The booklet was received by the Public Librarian and the teachers, each offering specific 
ideas on how the text could meet local needs. The booklet also received approval from the 
Minister of Cultural Development, who also suggested modifications which would make the 
program more suitable for Pacific Island conditions. These modifications were included in 
the final version. 


The booklet was distributed to Public Libraries in the South West Pacific. An encouraging 
response came from the University of Papua New Guinea Library School where it has been 
included in their librarianship training programs. 

The interaction between Australian School Library educators and their overseas colleagues 
has proven to be of mutual benefit. While Australians have been able to share their expertise 
with others, they have also become richer by developing an understanding of library and 
education systems in other countries and have been able to develop a deeper appreciation of 
other cultures. 



/ f o..rr. . :» 

S ' 













The purpose of this workshop is to familiarise delegates with the broad 
framework of the National Statements and Profiles and to examine the links 
between the outcomes in the eight learning areas and the development of 
information literacy. In particular, participants will focus on the learning areas 
which have process strands and consider the compatibility of the outcomes 
within and between learning areas. 

As the session is to be in the form of a workshop, this paper will concentrate on 
providing background and will not necessarily reflect the strategies used in the 
workshop. It should also be noted, that at the time of writing, the National 
Statements and Profiles had not been published. The information, therefore, is 
based on draft materials and CURASS papers. 


The National Statements and Profiles have been developed to inform teaching 
and learning and act as a framework for reporting student achievement. It is 
intended that they will be used to assist teachers to plan classroom programs and 
enable schools to monitor and plan for improvement. The States, Territories and 
the Commonwealth have worked together since 1989 to produce curriculum 
frameworks to be used for these purposes. The knowledge and processes to be 
developed in Australian schools are outlined. 

Statements and Profiles have been developed for eight learning areas: 

The Arts 

Health and Physical Education, 

Studies of Society & Environment 

English , 

Languages other than English, 


The Statement defines the particular learning area, outlining its essential 
knowledge, skills and processes and showing what is distinctive to the area. Ihe 
learning areas content, concepts and processes are organised into strands which 


are broken up into four bands. These bands are a broad sequence for developing 
the knowledge , understandings and skills in a learning area. 

The Profiles are a description of the progression in learning outcomes made by 
students during the years of schooling in each of the areas of learning. Each 
Profile is organised into a structure by strands, usually the same as those in the 
statement, and may be by content, process or concepts. Within each strand eight 
levels of achievement are described. 

Example from the Science Profiles 

Leuel 1 

Leuel 2 

Leuel 3 

Leuel 4 

Leuel 5 

Leuel 6 

Leuel 7 

Leuel 8 

Earth 0 

Energy & 

life & 


Natural & 





Eor each of the levels, a general level statement provides a holistic description of 
student performance across all of the strands. 

Within each strand, outcome statements describe in progressive order the skills 
and knowledge that students typically acquire as they become more proficient in 
the area. They describe what we expect students to already be able to do in order 
to be determined to be at a level. They are not about what is to be taught in that 

Each outcome is accompanied by a range of pointers which are indicators of the 
achievement of an outcome. These elaborate, explain or further describe the 
outcome. Annotated student work samples provide examples of work which is 
achieving one or more of the outcomes. 

The profiles are intended to provide a common reporting framework, including 
common language, thus assisting teachers to chart students' progress and report 
this progress to parents and the wider community. 



The issues related to developing information literacy across the curriculum have 
long been recognised. Currently, skills development is very uneven and seldom 
seen as an across curriculum responsibility. In Western Australia, for example, 
the STEPPING OUT literacy program is being implemented across the State, for 
teachers of years 6 to 9, to redress this problem 

The development of the National curriculum framework has been seen as an 
opportunity for change with regard to the degree of emphasis placed on the 
processes of learning. The extent to which information skills have been 
embedded in the outcome statements will determine how likely these skills are 
to be an integral part of the learning in a specific learning area and consequently 
how well students will develop the skills to use information effectively. 


In each of the eight learning areas, it is necessary for students to have access to a 
wide range of information and to have the skills to find and use information 

A variety of terms is used to describe learning activities which actively involve 
students in the learning process. Included are research, inquiry, investigation, 
discovery and project work. Regardless of the terminology used, the process is 
the same. 

Students are involved in a series of cognitive processes involving: 

• defining an information need by analysing a problem, clarifying the task and 
planning a search strategy; 

• locating and making selections from a range of possible information sources ; 

• selecting information and making notes while reading, viewing, listening 
and observing ; 

• interpreting, analysing, synthesising and evaluating information, relating it 
to the purpose of a task, organising it and developing a plan; 

• creating a response to a task to share findings and understandings using an 
appropriate writing form or oral pictorial, graphic, dramatic presentation etc. 


• reviewing the extent to which their purpose was achieved, evaluating the 
product and their success in applying the skills and processes. 

While the generic process described above provides a framework of sequential 
steps to follow, it is not linear. Each step usually requires the use of a range of 
information/literacy skills which are most effectively developed systematically 
across the curriculum in conjunction with learning area concepts. 

Essential to each step of the process is the use of skills required to analyse, 
interpret, synthesise and organise information as well as the language and 
communication skills of reading writing , viewing speaking and listening. This 
is the same process and integration of skills as that described for the key 
competencies of collecting, analysing and organising information and 
communicating ideas and information. Through guided practice students learn 
to integrate the skills appropriately and develop as critical thinkers and creative 
problem solvers. 

The Information Process 

Problem soloing 

- Locating 

-^ Selecting^ 

- ^ > Orga^isingc^ 

-> Creating & sharing 







While the steps in the process do not change over time, the complexity of the 

required skills increases as students develop and the expected outcome is more 

sophisticated. Factors which distinguish levels of performance are: 

• the complexity of the task for which the information is collected; 

• the extent of the assistance needed to complete the task; 

• the complexity of the information sources; 

• the range and number of sources of information needed to gain a variety of 

• the range and sophistication of the techniques required to analyse, interpret, 
synthesise and organise information; and 

• the repertoire of structures and frameworks for communicating 
information eg writing forms. 


As students use and develop information skills across all curriculum areas in a 
variety of contexts, a common understanding is essential among all teachers and 
students of the underlying structure of the information process and the steps 
required to complete an information task. 

The development of this common understanding will be as difficult to attain 
using the national profiles as it was previously. The learning areas vary in the 
extent to which they are explicit about the process and the skills involved in 
achieving the outcomes All areas, however, have both outcomes and pointers 
which require students to be able to find and use information effectively. 


Each of the learning areas has been examined to identify concept and content 
outcomes which will require students to use information sources and to 
determine how likely students are to develop the skills needed to find and use 
information effectively. In learning areas with process strands, the sub organisers 
for the strands have been compared and the issue of transferability of skills across 
learning areas considered 

Learning areas with a strand with outcomes for collecting, analysing and 
organising information. 

Science has a process strand Working Scientifically with outcomes and pointers 
which relate to an investigative process through both experimentation and using 
information sources. Well over half of the content outcomes are dependent on 
the use of information sources. Clearly the skills for finding and using 
information are significant for this area. The process strand has been broken 
down into the substrands of Investigating {Planning Investigations, Conducting 
Investigations, Processing Data ,Evaliiating Findings ) and Making meaning and 
acting responsibly. 

Studies of Society and the Environment has a process strand for 
Investigation communication and participation. The outcomes for this 
strand address only part of the total process for finding and using information and 
the substrands do not follow the logical sequence of the process as do those for 
science. The draft Statement breaks investigation down into the sub- organisers 


of planning an investigation, processing data and analysing findings, 

however, these sub-organisers have not been followed through in the profiles. As a 
consequence, there is little indication in the pointers of the complex processes 
involved when students carry out investigations. In addition the sequence of the 
outcomes does not at all times describe a continuum of development. For example, 
it is hard to see a developmental progi*ession in the following sequence in the 
communication sub strand 

2.17 expresses a personal 

3.17 presents information to 

4.17 translates information 

uieui of the meaning of 

explore a key idea 

from one form to 



Technology has a process framework, but does not give any indication of the 
level at which the information/ literacy skills are to be apphed and developed. 
Frequently the only indication of level is in the work samples The pointers tend to 
describe activities rather than the competencies which would be required to 
operate at a specific level. 

English has one outcome and a set of pointers per level in the reading strand 
which address the information process specifically. The strategies strand 
organiser (.8b) deals with most aspects of the process with the exception of the 
writing process at the pointer level. This is in addition to the literacy skills in all 
other outcomes and pointers in the reading, writing and viewing and listening 
strands which are the foundation for all information literacy. 

Learning areas without strands with outcomes for collecting analysing and 
organising information. 

Health and physical Education have subsumed the process strand of 
communication, investigation and application into the concept strand. As a 
consequence there is no indication of the level of the literacy requirements and the 
process skills to be demonstrated for particular outcomes. Both the outcomes and 
pointers, however, imply extensive use of information sources. 

The Arts require the use of information somxes, particularly in the arts 
criticism and contexts strands There are no specific process outcomes, although 
the levels expected for collecting, analysing and organising the information are 
more clearly indicated. 


Languages other than English is organised into three interdependent and 
interrelated communications strands: Oral Interaction, Reading and 
Respondii^, and Writing, the process of finding and using information is not 
significant to achieving the outcomes. 


In the learning areas which have a process strand, there is inconsistency in the 
use of terminology and differences in the number of organisers in the framework. 
The table below illustrates the frameworks being used in three of the learning 
areas. These are juxtaposed against a six stage framework which is in reasonably 
common use by teacher librarians and some teachers around Australia. 

The differences between the frameworks is indicative of the problem which flows 
through to the outcomes. Primary teachers who frequently integrate programs 
across learning areas would find these differences a problem for planning and 
evaluation. In secondary schools it is the students who wiU be confused unless 
there is an across the school approach to both the process and the skills. 




Studies of Society 


■ fnuestig^tlon, 

cammuttitattan & 


Design, make & 













Processing & 


Processing data 


Creating & sharing 






Using science 


Retina responsiblg 


Schools will need to examine the profiles carefully and make decisions about how 
best to ensure that across the curriculum outcomes, such as an ability to find and 
use information, are to be accommodated within the framework of the eight 
learning areas. While the outcomes in the process strands describe student 
progress along a continuum of development, this may not be expressed in a way 
that is recognisably the same across learning areas. Teacher librarians in 
particular will find it easier if they can use a common frame work with teachers 
and students regardless of the learning area. 

It may be necessary to develop support material which makes the links and 
shows the commonality between the various processes and the generic skills that 
underpin all areas and need to be transferable. 

Pai’ticipants in the workshop wiU examine some work in progress, along these 
lines, from Western Australia. They wili be presented with an information process 
framework and an information skills continuum which have been developed from 
and are compatible with the learning area profiles. In groups, comparisons will be 
made between this continuum and the outcomes and pointers in English and 
those in the process strands in Studies of Society and the Environment and in 
Science. Consideration will be given to how the documents could be used for 
planning and evaluating programs and how judgement could be made about 
student progress using the leaiTiing area process outcomes and comparisons 
between areas. 

It is anticipated that participants in the workshop wiU have gained an 
understanding of the structure of the National Profiles and shared ideas as to how 
they could be used in developing information literacy. 

Teacher librarians need to become very familiar with the Profiles and 
issues related to information literacy and take a leadership role in ensuring 
these issues are considered and addressed in their schools when 
implementation of the Profiles occurs. 






Level 3 

Level 4 

Level 5 


Student outcomes provide a framework which describe 
student progress along a developmental continuum. 

A developmental continuum of information skills based on the skills needed to achieve the 
outcomes can be extrapolated from the outcomes continua. 

Ixeachers and teacher librarians plan a sequence of learning activities designed to assist 
Istudents to make progress in the development of both learning area concepts and 
linformation skills. 



;rf?n r MirA- 



Background paper by John Langrehr for a workshop at ASLA XIII 
St Peter's College , Sept. 27 1993 


Teacher- librarians have a vital part to play in helping 
students to think in different ways about things they read 
and hear. Some teachers think that they are playing their 
part in achieving this goal because they consider thinking 
and learning to be the same thing. There are others who can 
see the difference and would like to help their students to 
think better, but are restricted by central exams and 
attainment levels. These blocks to higher order thinking have 
restricted classroom thinking to mainly the remembering and 
applying of information, and to the finding of correct 
answers to someone else's questions. Hopefully,teacher- 
librarians have more freedom and motivation to overcome these 
limitations and can show some leadership in developing 
student thinking. 

Thinking involves the mental processing of information. 
Learning often follows, and is observed as a change in a 
person's mental, feeling, or physical behaviour. Thinking 
generally involves three key elements. It involves us sensing 
relevant patterns in information. It involves us asking 
ourselves questions about these patterns in order to make 
sense of them and to compare them with patterns we have 
already stored in memory. And it involves us creating mental 
maps or schema that summarise the key terms in information as 
well as the "connections" we individually use to link these 
terms together. 

If we really want students to think better, as part of our 
clever countries, educators have to focus more on the How? of 
learning and less on the What? of learning. Unfortunately, 
national goals, curricula, student profiles and the like, 
give only lip service to the mental processes students need 
in order to think analytically, creatively, critically, and 
with understanding. Such national statements offer little 
help to educators who wish to improve the pattern 
recognition, self-questioning, and schema building in their 

Thinking has to be infused across the curriculum. Questions 
that invite different kinds of thinking, other than memory 
testing and application, have to be intertwined with 
curriculum content. Students have to be encouraged to look 
for patterns, ask self-questions, and create mental maps in 
every lesson, in every subject, and at every level. Separate 
thinking skills programs can only partially provide such 
opportunities. In addition, these programs cannot help 
students transfer the thinking skills they introduce to 
current curriculum content. 


Teacher librarians have a wonderful opportunity to help all 
students develop in the three basic elements of thinking. 
They also have an important part to play in the inservicing 
of teaching staff whose initial training focused on outdated 
theories of learning and on the What? of the curriculum. 


All human made or natural information has a design, 
structure, or shape about it. It contains patterns. 

Good gardeners, teachers, chess players, golfers, spellers, 
readers, problem solvers, and so on, are quick to sense the 
relevant patterns in the information contained in the 
contexts associated with these hobbies, occupations, or 
curriculum areas. (Resnick 1989 ). Poor thinkers either don't 
see such patterns, or if they do, they are fairly concrete, 
simple patterns. Inadequate pattern recognition obviously 
limits any self-questioning and schema building that follows. 

There are patterns in the letter b and in the word blizzard. 
These patterns help us to recognise them and to spell them. 

There are patterns in pieces of writing and in poems. 

These patterns help us to recognise the genre' of the writing 
or the form of the poem. 

There are patterns in sentences such as... 

A man weighing 80 kilos rowed upstream against a current of 4 
kms /hr...and 

What is the height of a building if a stone dropped from its 
top takes 4 seconds to reach the ground? and 

The eminent scientist said that Panda bears could be extinct 
within 20 years. 

These patterns help us to predict such things as the best 
formula or method to use, problems to be wary of, or possible 
outcomes. Or they might help us to separate statements of 
facts from opinions, causes from effects, definite from 
indefinite conclusions, biased from unbiased reporting, and 
so on. In other words, patterns in sentences can help us to 
think critically about the information they contain. 

There are patterns in the way concepts are linked in a 
reading. For example, concepts may be linked in a linear, 
cyclic, hierarchical, radial, comparative, or converging 
way. These patterns can determine the shape of an 
appropriate mental map or graphic organiser to use in 
summarising these concepts and how they are connected. 

There are also patterns in examples of things we observe or 
read about. These are important in helping us to form 
generalisations, or mental pictures containing common 
properties of these examples. For example, there are patterns 
in groups of plays , poems, animal properties, math problems. 


metals, wars, recessions, and so on, that all help us to make 
generalisations about such things and to recognise examples 
of them. 

Unfortunately, the patterns good thinkers see in information 
are rarely identified and shared with all students. They 
remain as part of their private knowledge. Through 
metacognition, or the conscious thinking about our thoughts 
as we think, teachers, librarians, and better student 
thinkers can start helping all students in this important 
element of thinking. 


Just because a student can look up, or recall, a correct 
answer to somebody else's question doesn't mean they 
understand the answer. Understanding has to be generated by 
individuals. This is done by asking themselves probing 
questions that help them to see how the new information is 
linked to related information that is already stored in 
memory. Good thinkers are continually asking themselves Why? 
or How? after many of the statements they read or hear. 

Unfortunately, many students find it difficult to ask 
themselves, or anyone else, good, probing questions about a 
topic. They accept information without question. They need 
help in this vital element of good thinking. This can be done 
by providing them with scaffolds that provide a visual 
stimulus for them to create their own questions to explore. 

Question maps, question matrices, and question checklists are 
examples of such scaffolds. 

1.Question maps 

Question maps, or connection maps, are created by a student 
on a given map outline. The topic being studied is placed at 
the centre of the map. Five to ten related concepts or key 
words from a lesson or reading are selected by a student and 
written in separate boxes placed around the central topic. 
Then up to 5 words are used to make sentences starting with 
the topic and ending with the term in each circle. These 
words are the "connectors" and show how an individual 
connects or links a term or concept to the topic under study. 
Different students will choose key words and connectors that 
differ in relevance and complexity. Misconnections or 
misconceptions soon become visibly obvious to a teacher. 

Now each student simply has to ask Why? or How? 
after each sentence they have created and a range of self¬ 
questions becomes visibly clear. 









forms insoluble is is a 

acts as a 


is very 


is a 

, ^ 

reducer I 


! solid 




A Question Map for the topic of Iron. 

2. Question Matrices 

The question matrix here ( Weiderhold 1991), is another good 
example of a visual prompt for helping students to create 
their own probing questions about any topic. Good thinkers 
continually use Why? and How? questions to probe a topic. In 
the matrix here these have been extended on the horizontal 
axis with four additional question starters WHAT?, 
WHERE/WHEN?, WHICH?, and WHO? On the vertical axis there are 
six time/likelihood dimensions that we use in questioning, 
namely,IS, DID, CAN, WOULD, WILL, and MIGHT. 

Overall, 36 question starters, or question "chips" are now 
available to help a student create or think up his or her own 
questions on a topic. The questions range from one correct 
answer recall questions in the top left corner to more open 
ended analytical and creative questions in the bottom right 

Consider a topic such as the Recession. The EVENTS column 
suggests questions such as .. WHAT IS a recession? WHAT DID 
the recession do to farming? WHAT MIGHT be a good thing to 
do in a recession? 

Many more questions are suggested by other chips or question 
starters..WHY DID the recession start? HOW WILL the 
recession end? WHO WOULD be least effected by the recession? 




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Students can create their own questions on a topic set for 
class or home work. With the aid of a question matrix they 
should be able to come up with questions that may never have 
occurred to them without the aid of a visual stimulus. 
Students can have fun designing questions on a given topic in 
small groups, or as individuals, to give to the rest of the 
class. This can be done by getting them to select known 
question chips cut up from a matrix or unseen chips from a 
pile that has been turned over. 

3. Question Checklists 

Each time we think about a physical or mental task we 
unknowingly ask ourselves a sequence of short questions that 
we answer or follow up with an action. These sequences are 
much like those on a computer program for processing 
information in a particular way. I think of these sequences 
as being mental checklists. We each have one for say 
remembering how to spell a new word, how to generally go 
about solving a problem, how to recall the key elements of a 
story, how to decide whether a statement is a fact or an 
opinion, relevant or irrelevant, reliable or unreliable, 
biased or unbiased, and so on. 

Our mental question checklists vary in the number and 


complexity of the questions they contain. Unfortunately, the 
question checklists used by good readers, good problem 
solvers, and so on, are rarely revealed to less able 
thinkers. They are kept as part of our private knowledge. 

We need to ask good thinkers to do a little metacognition, or 
thinking about the specific questions on their thought 
sequences as they think in a particular way. Then a series of 
question checklists can be created that can be shared with 
all thinkers. 

Here are some sample question checklists. 

A Spelling Checklist... 

How many SYLLABLES do I hear in this word? 

What do the FIRST and LAST bits of this word look like? 

Is this word LIKE any other that I know? 

Do any parts SOUND DIFFERENT from what I expected? 

Can I PICTURE this word in a funny way? 

A Reading Checklist.. 

Who is the main character in this story? 
Where and when does this story take place? 
What did the main character do? 

How does the story end? 

How did the main character feel? 

A Problem Solving Checklist.. 

What do I have to find? 

What am I given? 

Are there any limits given here? 

Have I done something like this before? 

What formulae/principle do I have to use here? 

What do I have to be careful of in these problems? 

Can I sketch this problem? 

Can I break the problem up into parts? 

Can I use simpler numbers/parts? 

What is the first thing to do and why? 

What is the next thing to do and why? 

What will happen if I do this? 

Does this make sense ? 

How am I going? 

How much time should I spend here? 

Does this check out? 

Is there a rule/method I should remember for next time? 
What were the tricky parts? 


Question checklists can be developed for each 

of the basic thinking skills listed below. (Langrehr 1993) 

The ability to . 

make connections between related concepts 
categorise, order, compare, generalise 
challenge reliability 
distinguish facts from opinions 
reason analogically 
design self questions 

identify assumptions and make inferences 
judge relevance of information 
challenge the reliability of information 
distinguish causes and effects 
distinguish inferences from observations 
visually summarise 
infer meaning from context 

suggest creative reversals, consequences, explanations 

suggest creative alternatives, uses, comparisons 

analyse designs of human and natural products 

think about other points of view 

identify bias 

identify the main idea 

make decisions 


We summarise the patterns we see, and the answers to the 
questions we ask ourselves, on mental maps or schema. These 
schema are continually being refined, or added to, as we 
think about new related information. Our mental maps contain 
concepts as well as the connections we have made between 
them. These can be revealed by asking a student to draw a map 
showing these things at the end of a reading or lesson. 

The concepts discussed in a reading or lesson have a pattern 
or structure about them in terms of the way they are related 
to each other. Students can be shown (Jones 1989) how to 
recognise this structure and to select an appropriate map for 
summarising the key concepts or terms and the way these are 

Mental maps remove the verbal "noise" of a verbal summary. 
Research shows that students who have been taught how to 
visually summarise significantly improve in their recall and 
understanding of information they read. 

Here are some common mental maps or graphic organisers that 
correspond to some different structures within information. 


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1. Jones, B. F Teaching students to construct graphic 
representations, Educational Leadership, Vol 20, Jan.1989 

2. Langrehr, J.S ( 1993) Better Questions: Better Thinking 
Books 1 and 2, Sydney, Longman Cheshire 

3. Resnick, L (1989) Towards the thinking curriculum: 
current cognitive research, Virginia, ASCD Yearbook, 

4. Weiderhold, C (1991) The Question Matrix, San Juan, 
Capistrano, California, Resources for Teachers Inc. 

Some other personal books and papers. 

Better Questions: Better Thinking Book 1, Longman - Cheshire, 
Sydney, 1993 

Better Questions: Better Thinking Book 2, Longman - Cheshire, 

Teach Thinking Strategies, Longman - Cheshire, Melbourne, 


Sharing Thinking Strategies, National Education Service, 
Bloomington, Indiana, 1990 

Teaching Students To Think, National Education Service, 
Bloomington, Indiana, 1988 

Better questions in science teaching, Australian Science 
Teachers Journal, Vol 39, No 3 1993 

Asking your own questions. Primary Education, Vol 24, no 3 

Learning how to question information. Teaching Thinking and 
Problem Solving, Vol 15 No 1, Research for Better Schools, 

Educational assessment-for whom? SAIT Journal,December 2 1992 

Improving student thinking ; Back to Basics, SCORE, Vol 2, 

No 1, 1992 

Visual prompts, SAIT Journal, June 7, 1992 
Making connections. Primary Education, Vol 23 no 1, 1992 

The power of the connection map, SAIT Journal, Nov 13, 1991 
Information processing strategies, SAIT Journal, March 1990 
The brain;implications for schooling, SAIT Journal, Oct 1989 



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The Financial Value of the Teacher Librarian 

Fay Nicholson, Library and Management Consultant and Trainer 

The value of the teacher librarian to a school program has 
been well documented in the area of educational contribution. 
However, with increased devolution of decision making to the 
school level, with the increased pressure to allocate scarce 
resources to gain the best outcomes, and with the need to 
account for finances to the school community, school councils 
and principals are closely examining the contribution of staff 
in financial terms. 

With the emphasis in educational philosophy on individual 
learning and the development of the ability of each student to 
locate, select and use information, the school library is an 
essential component of the education program of each school. 
This paper therefore will not address the issue of whether a 
school requires financial commitment to a library but 
considers the value of the teacher librarian. 

The teacher librarian is employed as a teacher in the school 
but brings additional skills to those of education. 
Qualifications in 1ibrarianship as well as education equip the 
teacher librarian with skills in selection, acquisition and 
organisation and use of resources. Combined with education 
knowledge and experience, the teacher librarian is equipped to 
assess teachers and students needs and to match these with 
appropriate resources to achieve the required educational 

This paper however, addresses the financial value of the 
teacher librarian and outlines areas in which this can be 
identified and indicates measures that can be used to 
demonstrate this value. 

There are four major financial areas in which the value of the 
teacher librarian can be examined. These are: 

capital investment 
recurrent costs 
cost benefit 
cost effectiveness 

For the purposes of this paper, and given the time 
constraints, depreciation is not included in cost examples. 
The school bursar can advise how depreciation is calculated in 
a particular school. 


Costing of staff also varies from one 
In calculating staff costs, on costs 
These cover superannuation, work cover, 
are additional costs to the employer to 
the purposes of this paper on costs of 
examp 1e only. 

authority to another, 
should be included, 
and sick leave which 
the staff salary. For 
50% are used as an 

Capital investment 

The school has considerable financial investment in the school 
library. This is made up of the building, stock and 
equipment. This investment represents choice by the school to 
invest money in this area rather than another area of the 
school. As it represents commitment over many years, it is 
important to the school to maximise these spent funds as well 
as current spending. 

The capital investment in each school can be calculated. For 

Book stock 
10.000 X $25 

Total $600,00 




How does the teacher librarian maximise capital investment? 

By organising the physical facility and resources to gain the 
maximum use by the school community. This is achieved by 
efficient operation of the facility.and by the organisation of 
the collection and stock to provide maximum exposure. 

How do teacher librarians demonstrate their efficient use of 
this financial investment? 

Organisation of the physical facility 
of the interior to match the education 
study .small group or class use. This 
records of use of these areas matched 
example. a primary teacher librarian 
class use of the facility is maximised 
regular weekly period in the library. 

is undertaken by layout 
needs - e.g. individual 
can be demonstrated by 
with the demand. For 
can demonstrate that 
when each class has a 


Use of the collection and equipment is recorded by booking 
sheets for classes and loan records. These statistics will 
not only record use within the facility itself, but external 
in the classrooms. Other records will demonstrate video 
showing, class sets, topic borrowing. etc. The value of this 
use can then be demonstrated and assessed when measured 
against the school program as a whole. 

Many schools have invested in library management systems at 
considerable costs. The benefits of these systems to the 
school program can be demonstrated in terms of increased use. 
most effective access to information and saving of clerical 
time by staff. 

Recurrent costs 

There are several areas of operating costs. These can be 
divided into site, acquisition, maintenance and salary costs. 

Site costs include cleaning. power and telephone. Cleaning 
costs are assessed in the time taken for the cleaner in that 
area. This is estimated on space and difficulty of cleaning. 
The teacher librarian can demonstrate that cleaning time is 
minimised by the monitoring of use. but regular maintenance of 
the area such as reshelving and relocating materials by the 
end of each day. 

The cost of maintaining the collection by the acquisition of 
new materials has also be to justified in terms of the total 
school budget. The teacher librarian can demonstrate the need 
for current and new material by showing requests for resources 
by teachers, unfulfilled demand by teachers and students, and 
the matching of new resources with curriculum requirements. 

Maintenance of equipment is important to maximise investment 
and use. If equipment is not maintained it cannot be used 
effectively. This of course, also include maintenance of 
computer systems. A maintenance and depreciation schedule is 
therefore useful in demonstrating value, particularly if 
linked to use of the equipment. 

Cost of telecommunications are becoming more important as 
teachers and student increasingly access external databases. 
Teacher librarians act as intermediaries for such access and 
through their expertise maximise search success and minimise 
time and frustration. 

Staff costs are also part of recurrent costs and should be 
included. The school or educational authority will provide 
information on staff costs. and how they calculate on costs, 
i.e. the cost of superannuation, leave loading etc. 


Recurrent cost example: 







(service, etc) 


Salary $40,000 + 

on costs (50^) 



Cost benefit 

The school investment in a teacher librarian is also one of 
choice. The school must decide whether the greater benefit is 
gained by allocation of a teacher librarian or a teacher. 

The benefit a teacher librarian can demonstrate is based on 
their knowledge of the curriculum, the teachers' requirements 
and style, the students learning patterns, the resources in 
the library and other areas of the school and the wider 
community. This knowledge means that they will save the school 
time which in turn means money and provide access not 
otherwise available. Indeed most teachers would not be able 
to operate most library interface situations through lack of 
knowledge and expertise. 

The value of a teacher librarian compared to a teacher in time 
saved can be shown. For example: 

Provision of specialist services 
saving teacher time 
10 X 1 hour @ $25.00 per week 

for 30 weeks per year $7,500 

Greater efficiency in purchasing 

say 500 

Incidental maintenance 500 

Total $8,500 


What is the benefit to the school in other areas? The teacher 
librarian adds value to the provision of resources by quality 
and accuracy as well as speed. For teachers this will be the 
ease and effectiveness of the provision of resources for their 
teaching preparation and implementation. For students, who 
increasingly rely on resources. access and use of resources 
will be essential. Student views are important, as resource 
provision may be an element in their choice of school, and of 

Benefit to teachers of the teacher librarian can be shown by 
records of consultation and provision, and particularly of the 
time saved for the teacher. If there is no teacher librarian, 
the teacher has to undertake some of the tasks themselves, 
e.g. selecting, previewing and setting up a video, while other 
would not be undertaken. If the teacher librarian saves 10 
teachers one hour a week. this is a third of a teacher that 
has been saved in terms of the school. 

Benefit to the students who are after all the only reason the 
school exists, can be demonstrated by records of use of the 
facility. of instruction and of borrowing. Use by students 

to the education program, and benefit to that 
For example, if the objective of the school is 
strong VCE program, student use of the library 
to VCE requirements. Students need to use the 
they are able to, so hours of access are 

can be linked 
to provide a 
can be linked 
facility when 

important to them. Provision of sufficient relevant resources 
is essential to complete teachers requirements and the ability 
to use them efficiently. This means that item numbers and 
borrowing rules become very important to students. The 
teacher librarian can demonstrate benefit of the school 
investment by showing use statistics, ratio of resources in a 
subject area per student enrolment. borrowing statistics by 
subject and enrolment. 

Cost of provision 
For example: 

of a service to 

class can be calculated. 

Say an American history class at year 11 has enrolment of 
25 students. This is a new subject and the school has 
agreed to place priority on its deve1opment.The teaching 
method is based on a research approach which involves 
heavy use of resources in the library and additional 


The cost of provision of service to that class can be 

Resources $1,000 

Research support 
1 hour per week 
for 10 weeks 250 

plus 50% on costs 125 


Cost of provision per student is $55.00 

If the school places high priority on this area, the cost of 
this provision can be shown. The school can then decide on 
the value of this cost to their educational objectives. 

Cost of a particular service can also be calculated. For 

To calculate cost of video recording 

of 100 programs per year 

Cost of tapes (say $10) 


3 hours per week 

consulting and taping 

for 48 weeks of year 


plus on costs (50%) 


Tota 1 


The cost of each tape to the school is 

$96.00 The value of this service can then be 


Cost effectiveness 

Cost effectiveness is demonstrated by the teacher librarian 
showing that the cost of the current means of provision is 
more effective than an alternate model or source. The 
alternative possibilities are different levels of allocation 
of staff, e.g. part time teacher librarian, different types of 
staff, e.g. teacher or librarian or library technician, or 
external provision, e.g. use of CD ROMS through links to the 
public library rather than internal provision. 


staff effectiveness can be demonstrated by showing levels of 
provision. If only a part time teacher librarian is 

allocated. the result to the school can be calculated, and 
this can then be related to the educational program as a 
whole. For example, in a primary school each child may only 
visit the library once a fortnight and the exposure to the 
literacy or research program could be very limited. 

The effectiveness of a teacher librarian can be shown by 
examples of use of their skill - e.g. selection of appropriate 
resources on the basis of curriculum, teaching and learning 
styles and levels. A library technician can demonstrate 
excellent system operation skills, but no or limited 
educational skill.A teacher can demonstrate excellent 
educational skills but no or limited resource skill. 

Cost effectiveness of internal or external provision can be 
demonstrated in financial terms. For example to provide CD 
ROM will require investment in equipment and staff time in 
training users and operating the area. External 

provision,e.g. the local public library will also require 
telecommunication costs and staff time, but may provide a 

wider range of choice of database than the school can afford. 

If a service is not provided in the school. the cost of 

external provision + the time of the teacher concerned must be 

calculated. For example 

1 CD search 
3 hours teacher - 
1 hour travel 
1 hour search definition 
1 hour obtaining resources 




It is important that the teacher librarian can identify the 
cost of provision of a particular service or product and can 
then compare with the cost of provision from another source. 

It may be cost effective for the school to provide the service 
as this provision may be more efficient and effective. 
However, the school may decide to outsource the service - that 
is to buy it in from an external source if this is seen to be 
cost effective, and to maximise the contribution of the 
teacher librarian. A current example of outsourcing is that of 
cataloguing where the school buys in catalogue records from 
ASCIS. This is seen as being more cost effective than using 
the time of the teacher librarian in cataloguing. 



To demonstrate the financial value of the teacher librarian to 
the school requires particular knowledge and skill. The 
teacher librarian must have detailed knowledge of the 
curriculum, of subject enrolments, of teaching requirements, 
and of learning requirements. This knowledge must be in a form 
that can be reported, not just in general knowledge. For 
example, the subjects taught at each level, enrolment numbers, 
number of teachers and their allocation weighting to the 
subject, the background of the students. In addition the 
requirements of that subject for resources - class use. 
individual projects, etc should also be recorded. 

The teacher librarian must also have a good understanding of 
the costs involved in operating the library - cleaning, power, 
telecommunication and maintenance costs. materials costs and 
salary costs. 

Teacher librarians are no strangers to finance. In most 
schools they are responsible for the largest budget allocated 
to a particular staff member. However, as schools are forced 
to examine the possible alternatives for allocation of their 
funds, teacher librarian must be prepared to demonstrate the 
value of the cost of operating the library and the 
contribution that is made to the educational program.This in 
turn will require sophistication of report and presentation 

Teacher librarians are well placed to argue their financial 
value. They have access to valuable statistical information, 
particularly through automated systems which enable them to 
assess use and analyse cost of provision of services. They 
have good knowledge of the school and can place their 
contribution in context of the total educational program. As 
a group they are also confident of their role and have the 
great advantage of a profession which shares information and 
assists each other. However, teacher librarians must also be 
prepared to demonstrate their value in other terms, not their 
own. These terms increasingly are financial. With deliberate 
research, preparation and presentation. the teacher librarian 
can demonstrate their contribute in an impressive manner. 



Associate Professor Barbara Poston-Anderson 
School of Information Studies 
University of Technology, Sydney 

The development of virtual reality, through the medium of 
virtual worlds technology, is being hailed by its creators and 
developers as an advance to rival the advent of any invention 
this century. In the next decade, if predictions are correct, 
virtual reality will become an important part of our lives. 
Even such basics as how we learn and how we communicate with 
others will be affected. 

Virtual reality is a "computer generated environment" which 
"envelops the participant in a responsive three-dimensional 
space that can be programmed to look and sound like anything 
existing or imagined." (M. Bricken, 1989-2:1) Such a world is 
created "out of nothingness," meaning there are no 
preconceived ideas or limitations. Everything that can be 
imagined is possible. 

To enter a virtual world once it has been created, the 
participant dons a head mounted display (HMD) and a glove (or 
holds a control such as a space ball) and the virtual world 
technology does the rest. Actual bodily movements of the 
participant are tracked and fed into the near 360 degree 
virtual world environment which is there to be seen, heard and 

The participant is said to be immersed in a "hyper-reality," a 
more real than real world where even invisible processes, such 
as photosynthesis or fluctuations on the stock market can be 
made visible (Jacobson, 1990-12:7). These abstract concepts 
and ideas, when represented in concrete 3D visuals, can then 
be directly experienced. 

In such worlds, meaning and understanding grow from direct 
participation, rather than from symbolic interaction. Because 
behaviour is natural, rather than symbolic, participants do 
not have to learn the language of the computer, rather the 
computer adjusts to the participant and can be programmed to 
provide information in preferred formats and styles. 
Likewise, the ability to interpret text (i.e. read) is not 
essential, because the virtual world operates at a "pre- 
symbolic" level where interaction through the senses is the 
way to learn. Lack of literacy will not be a barrier to 
virtual world participation. 

Although this technology is still in the developmental stage, 
the potential in a range of fields such as medicine, 
architecture, business, the arts, the travel industry, 
entertainment and education is immense. What is so 

outstanding about the application to education is that this 
medium provides a true learn by doing context which transcends 
the physical boundaries of the actual classroom. Picture a 
virtual classroom where students can participate from a range 



of geographical locations. While their actual bodies are 
located at homes across the city, state, or even world, their 
virtual bodies are in a virtual classroom interacting. In this 
environment, individual speech, natural movement, and joint 
projects are all possible. However, when working together 
students must first establish common ground if they are to 
achieve group objectives. On the other hand, learning may 
also be specifically tailored to an individual learner's 
special needs. 

When immersed in a virtual world, individuals interact 
spatially with the information found there. Like the real 
world, people anchor themselves in space, but unlike the real 
world, they can shift their perspectives at will to nearly any 
angle or perspective. Participants can also assume a fluid 
virtual body meaning that they can be perceived by others in 
more than one form (e.g. female, male, or inanimate object) 
and change this, too, at will. Although understanding of 
multiple perspectives will no doubt be enhanced by this 
facility, there is some question concerning what effects this 
feature may have on the individual's concept of his/her own 
identity, particularly when the participant is a young child. 

The capabilities of the participant to vary time, scale, and 
the physical laws of nature in virtual reality all have the 
potential for enhancing this as a medium for learning. Vast 
distances in time and space can be crossed instantaneously,or 
compressed or even expanded. Participants can assume 
relative sizes enabling them to accomplish such feats as 
regrouping molecules by hand or becoming part of an erupting 
volcano. Gravity can be defied with flying becoming a common 
mode of travel. This versatility will enrich the whole range 
of virtual experiences from discussions or hands on tasks to 
group projects and field trips. 

Virtual reality as a medium for learning has already been 
trialled successfully in several places. At West Denton High 
School near Newcastle (U.K.) both an "intelligent city" and a 
"virtual factory" have been used by thirteen to eighteen year 
olds with positive results. 

At the University of Washington, Human Interface Technology 
Lab, summer schools for youngsters have been run with ten to 
fifteen year old students students creating their own virtual 
worlds. Some of the titles for these student-generated worlds 
included: Cloudlands, Moon Colony, Neighborhood and Virtual 
Valley. The use of virtual worlds technology by these 
students was so successful that the co-ordinator, Meredith 
Bricken, wrote: "They enjoy creating worlds at least as much 
as operating within them." (Sherman and Judkins, 1992: 90) A 
survey completed by the 59 students, showed that on a seven 
point scale, with 7 being "enjoyed extremely", the experience 
was rated an average 6.5. (Bricken, M. 1992) That this 
experience was able to stimulate the creativity and 
imagination necessary to design and implement such a virtual 
world is another obvious educational benefit. 



The consensus of those who have led such projects with young 
people is that the students are highly motivated and that 
participation is not marred by gender bias (i.e. girls and 
boys interact equally well.) Both of these points are 
excellent characteristics for a learning medium. 

Teacher librarians as the main information professionals in 
schools need to be aware of developments in virtual worlds 
technology because of the profound changes in all areas of 
education, particularly curriculum design and information 
provision, which it will undoubtedly bring. When the whole 
learner is involved, as in virtual reality, educational design 
and the provision of information become more complex because 
the learning program must allow for interaction at many levels 
with "multi-sensory representation of information, multiple 
methods of interaction, choice and structure. " (M. Bricken, 

The concept of a virtual library where direct experience can 
be integrated with multi-media forms and databases, both 
visual and textual, is not so distant. One only has to 
examine such multi-media programs as Microsoft Encarta (a CD 
encyclopedia complete with text, visuals, sound and animation) 
to realise that the addition of virtual worlds is a logical 
next step. One computer software expert suggests that if 
sufficient funding were provided, such a package could be in 
schools within as few as five years. Imagine integrating a 
virtual world to rival Jurassic Park with a CD multi-media 
program such as Microsoft Dinosaurs . Not only could a student 
wander the pre-historic bogs in person via a virtual body, but 
he or she could take time out to access visual or textual 
information whenever required. 

However, Meredith Bricken (1991-5:7) cautions that "technology 
by itself does not improve education, it needs appropriate 
application." For this reason teacher librarians need to be 
part of the educational team which decides how such technology 
will be developed, applied, and used within and among schools 
via networking. Some issues need careful consideration. 

First, who controls the medium is of ultimate importance. 
Researchers suggest that the participants themselves need 
complete control of their own behaviour and interactions 
within the virtual world. The power of the participant to 
make his/her own decisions is critical. 

However, even when control by the participant is assured, 
there are still potential problems. For example, when young 
people design their own worlds, what limitations, if any, 
should be placed on their imaginations and designs? Likewise, 
when virtual worlds are prepared by others for educational 
purposes, who makes the final decisions regarding the nature 
of the world and the type of interactivity which will occur? 
Educators and information specialists are logical experts to 
advise on these issues. 



Access is another important area of concern. The equipment 
necessary to interact within a virtual worlds environment is 
still cumbersome and costly. The head mounted displays and 
tracking devices are not yet sturdy, compact, and lightweight 
enough for wide distribution and use by young people in 
schools. Likewise, graphic representation of images is still 
at a geometric stage with participants experiencing some lag 
and delay when interacting with a virtual world. Systems are 
also currently outside the economic reach of most schools. 

However, as development proceeds, the resolution of graphics 
and the capabilities of tracking systems to respond to 
participants' movements will advance and the price will 
decrease. Work is already underway to develop a head device 
which will project images directly on the back of the retina 
to give the participant greater verisimilitude. Also, data 
gloves with force feedback capabilities are being developed to 
enable participants to feel sensations and the texture of what 
they touch in the virtual world. With these advances, in the 
not too distant future, physical entry into a virtual world 
may be as easy and as inexpensive as buying and wearing a pair 
of glasses. 

Other issues related to access are concerns about whether 
people in general, and children in particular, will suffer 
confusion and not be able to distinguish between the virtual 
and the real. At the psychological, and even more 
importantly, the neurological response level, this may well be 
a significant issue. For example, because virtual worlds do 
not need to conform to the physics of the real world, at a 
reflex level who is to say that a participant who has been 
flying or has enhanced strength in a virtual world, may not 
momentarily forget that she or he is not endowed with these 
powers in the real world? This could have some dangerous 

Also, what if some people enjoy the unhindered existence of 
the virtual world so much that they prefer to spend most of 
their time there? Researchers and developers as yet have no 
answers to these questions. Most of those who work with 
virtual worlds technology believe that the medium is benign 
and that as long as individuals can pull the plug on these 
worlds when they wish, there will be no real problem. 

Will virtual reality become an essential learning medium of 
the next decade or will it be just another escapist panacea? 
Sherman and Judkins's book on virtual reality. Glimpses of 
Heaven, Visions of Hell, hints at the full range of 
possibilities. Since how the medium is conceptualised in the 
first place will determine how it will be used, it is 
imperative that teacher librarians, as educators and 
information professionals, become involved now at the 
development stage to help ensure that learners are provided 
with the best fit in the virtual worlds which are created for 

6 8 



Aukstakalnis, S. and Blatner, D. (1992) Silicon Mirage; The 
Art and Science of Virtual Reality . Berkeley: Peachpit 

Benedikt, M. (1992) Cyberspace: First Steps . Cambridge, MA: 
MIT Press. 

Bricken, M. (1989) "Inventing Reality". Univ. of Washington: 
Technical Report HITL M-89-2. 

Bricken, M. (1992) "Summer Students in Virtual Reality: A 
Pilot Study on Educational Applications of Virtual 
Reality". Univ. of Washington: Technical Report R-92-1. 

Dinosaurs . (1993) North Ryde: Microsoft. 

Encarta . (1992) North Ryde: Microsoft. 

Jacobson, R. (1990) "Virtual Worlds, Inside and Out". Univ. 
of Washington, Technical Report HITL-M-90-12. 

"Virtual Reality Environments: Potential and 
Change." Univ. of Washington: Technical Report 

Sherman, B. and Judkins, P. (1992) Glimpses of Heaven. 
Visions of Hell: Virtual Reality and Its Implications . 

Sydney: Hodder and Stoughton. 


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Prepared for 
September, 1993 

Gay Tierney 
Morag Whitney 
Perth, Western Australia 



It is readily acknowledged that the contribution of the human resources 
in an organisation eclipses the benefits of all other resources. The effective 
management of human resources is therefore critical to the success of any 
school library. "Human resources are the most costly, most complex and yet 
the most basic aspect of the [library] management role" (Nicholson, 1990, 
p.102). Management of human resources is an extensive, complicated and 
challenging area. It encompasses selection, deployment, staff development, 
communication, participation, conflict management, leadership, motivation 
and job satisfaction. It is through effective management practices that the 
potential of the human resources in the school library is realised. 

This paper will address some significant aspects of human resource 
management; motivation and job satisfaction, interpersonal communication 
and participative decision-making. Theory will be examined and implications 
for school library managers discussed. 

Motivation and Job Satisfaction 

An understanding of motivation and job satisfaction by the library 
manager is vital to the development of harmonious working relations among 
library personnel. However, motivation is not yet clearly understood. In 
educational organisations serious study of what motivates teachers or other 
school staff has received scant attention. In the past staff were motivated by 
the carrot and stick method. With the move towards school autonomy and 
greater accountability many school library managers realise a more 
sophisticated understanding of motivation is required. 

Motivation in any organisation is primarily concerned with the way 
people behave, although Owens (1981) contends "motivation is not 
behaviour: it is the complex internal state that we cannot observe directly but 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


that affects behaviour" (p.106). Petri believes "motivation is the concept we 
use when we describe the forces acting on or within an organism to initiate or 
direct behaviour" (1986, p. 3). Motivational forces that act on or within people 
are the basis of several theories of motivation that have been influential in 
educational research. 

One of the earliest theories that is still relevant today is Maslow's 
hierarchy of needs. The hierarchy consists of five different types of needs: 
basic physiological needs, security and safety, social affiliation, esteem and 
self-actualisation. It was Maslow's contention that the lower-level needs must 
be met before the higher level needs could become motivating. There is a 
general consensus that "methods must be developed to satisfy more fully the 
higher level needs of students, teachers and administrators" (Hoy & Miskel, 
1987, p.180). Thus an adequate and equitable salary, involvement in 
decision-making and regular monitoring and supervision were seen to be 
important motivating forces. 

Another theory, developed by Herzberg, is based on the notion that 
motivation is not a single dimension but is composed of two separate sets of 
factors. These are described as motivating factors and maintenance (or 
hygiene) factors. The maintenance factors include work environment, 
supervision, salary and job security. The poor quality of these factors leads 
to dissatisfaction. The motivating factors include recognition, responsibility, 
advancement and achievement. These appear to motivate people and are 
associated with job satisfaction. The point about Herzberg's theory is that 
simply eliminating dissatisfaction does not lead to satisfaction, rather to a 
neutral state that is neither dissatisfaction or satisfaction. Herzberg 
suggested that those who would implement his theory "need to enrich the job, 
increase autonomy on the job and expand personnel administration" (Owens, 
1981, p.122). 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


The development of goal theory is attributed to Locke and his 
associates. The fundamental premise of this theory is that intentions to 
achieve a goal constitute the primary motivating force behind work behaviour. 
Value judgements are the basis for choosing a course of action that projects 
the probability that a reward will occur. The effect of goals on actions is to 
direct thoughts and behaviour to one end rather than another. The use of 
goal theory is evident in schools where the use of behavioural objectives 
guide decisions regarding instructional procedures and where goal setting is 
a major feature of school planning. 

The testing of these theories in educational settings has revealed an 
array of both extrinsic and intrinsic forces that appear to motivate school staff. 
The motivating forces identified by Herzberg - achievement, work content, 
responsibility, recognition, advancement - are most commonly mentioned in 
the literature. It is apparent, though, that these motivators apply to workers in 
organisations in general rather than to workers in schools. Two studies, 
conducted by Dean (1985) and Sederberg and Clark (1990), have focussed 
on some motivating forces that perhaps only apply to the helping professions. 
Dean has fashioned a list of possible motivators that includes some of 
Herzberg's motivators but includes others such as the challenge to 
professional skill and the inspiration of others. 

Sederberg and Clark conducted some qualitative research on high 
vitality teachers that provides a poignant insight into what makes teachers 
teach. The three most significant motivating forces were: role models of own 
former teachers: an inner driving force; and a yearning to play a significant 
and enriching role in student's lives. None of these intrinsic motivators are 
acknowledged in the Herzberg studies. Other incentives were those that the 
school organisation could provide and, interestingly, tended not to have a 
high monetary value: booster shots such as attending conferences and 
having professional respites: regular monitoring and feedback; expressions of 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


appreciation. For instance, one teacher of German, interviewed in the study, 
was overwhelmed when a former student phoned from prison on Christmas 
Eve, after 10 years, to sing a carol in German as he remembered her as the 
only teacher who had praised him at school. The ideas articulated by Dean, 
and Sederberg and Clark present a different view of motivational forces than 
that generally assumed by proponents of school devolution programs. 

School library managers may need to review their practice as a consequence. 

One researcher in the field of library management (Barnes, 1990) has 
identified job design as another motivational force contributing to job 
satisfaction. A well-designed job has six attributes. It should; 

(1) encompass a variety of different activities 

(2) enable the completion of a whole piece of work 

(3) have significance, or impact on others 

(4) permit individual discretion concerning scheduling and 

(5) allow for clear feedback from peers and supervisors, and 

(6) provide opportunity to work closely with other people. 

All school library jobs have the potential to contain all these attributes to a 
high degree. The school library manager can sustain, and indeed increase, 
job satisfaction by accommodating these factors. 

It could be argued that motivation in a bureaucratic organisation 
contrasts to that in a professional organisation as, for instance, it is difficult to 
imagine an officer in a bureaucracy "yearning to play a significant and 
enriching role" in client's lives. As little research concerning motivating 
forces of those in the helping professions has surfaced, many of the theories 
of devolution are perhaps based on some quite erroneous assumptions. For 
instance, the premise of merit payment for the Advanced Skills Teacher 
(AST) position in recent school devolution processes may be faulty and 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


maybe administrators would retain more experienced, dedicated staff if an 
annual conference or respite was built into the system. 

A further implication in light of a comparison between the motivators of 
Sederberg and Clark's high vitality teachers and the results of research 
based on Herzberg's theory is that motivation is a personal and, to some 
extent, a private concern. It has been recognised that "even with people we 
know quite well, the deeper needs may remain hidden and we may therefore 
■get it wrong'" (Everard & Morris, 1985, p.253). Some people have a 
tendency to think all other people have the opposite view and think their own 
needs are special and different. The school library manager thus must be 
sensitive to different motivations, not to be too hasty in judging behaviour, get 
to know staff well and be prepared to cater for a variety of both extrinsic and 
intrinsic motivators. 

It is evident that the motivational forces that act on or within an 
individual to effect behaviour are not easily understood. Further the success 
of developing and sustaining motivation and job satisfaction has a lot to do 
with the assumptions that managers hold regarding human behaviour. 
McGregor's theory X and theory Y are two different, contrasting explanations 
of human behaviour, based on different assumptions about people. People 
who hold the theory X view, tend to believe motivation is a matter of the carrot 
and stick method, while theory Y people display high levels of trust and 
respect for other people's opinions. The management style of the school 
library manager is readily influenced by the views they hold regarding 
motivational forces. 

Like motivation and job satisfaction, interpersonal communication is a 
prerequisite for effective human resource management. 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


Interpersonal Communication 

Communication is a fundamental to all human relations and never 
more so than in the school library. Communication involves a person sending 
a message to another with the conscious intention of evoking a response. 
Interpersonal communication can be defined as "any verbal or non-verbal 
behaviour that is perceived by another person" (Johnson, 1990, p.105). In 
libraries the effectiveness or otherwise of interpersonal communication 
among staff influences morale and library climate. Theorists have identified 
factors that contribute to effective communication. Factors that seem 
particularly pertinent to the library situation include verbal and non-verbal 
communication, understandable messages, listening, credibility and 

Messages can be transmitted via the use of verbal and non-verbal 
signs. Verbal signs take the form of words whereas non-verbal signals 
include facial expressions, gestures, body movements, dress, furniture 
arrangement and para language - language that is vocal but not strictly oral, 
such as tone of voice, speed of speech, sighs and laughter. Non-verbal 
communication is a powerful means of promoting effective working relations. 
Line (1992) provides a humorous account of the importance of 
acknowledging colleagues and providing praise as a means of creating an 
effective working climate. To be effective verbal and non-verbal 
communication must be consistent. "The verbal and non-verbal messages 
must be congruent for effective communication" (Hoy & Miskel, 1991, p.35). 

Effective communication is more likely if the sender can competently 
send an understandable message. An understandable message is one 
where the meaning interpreted by the receiver matches or closely resembles 
the meaning intended by the sender. "The interpretation of messages is 
determined through the perception of individuals" (Wilkinson & Cave, 1987, 
p. 136). Perception is a mediating process in which individuals call on, for 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


instance, previous experiences, values and feelings to interpret meaning. 
Messages constructed to anticipate other people's perceptions have a 
greater chance of being understood. The effective library manager is aware 
of the extent to which messages are perceived and has the ability to amend 
messages to improve the effectiveness of the communication. 

Competent listening on behalf of the receiver also contributes to 
effective communication. Competency in listening means being a good 
listener. It is generally believed that "good listening implies the ability to take 
as much interest in the other person's side of the discussion as your own" 
(Fontana, 1990, p.51). Good listening is a learned skill and has been 
described as an art that can be mastered by developing the attitude to want 
to listen. 

Competent listening also means being an active listener. "Active 
listening is a process of sending back to the speaker what you think the 
speaker meant in content and feeling" (DeVito, 1986, p. 56). Active listening 
includes use of non-verbal signals, paraphrasing and questioning. It 
contributes to effective communication by focussing on the meaning of the 
message. School library managers need to be good and active listeners. 

They need to communicate their interest to the speaker and provide non¬ 
verbal signs such as eye contact, posture, facial expressions, attentiveness 
and note-taking to give feedback to the sender. 

The perceived credibility of the sender is a factor that greatly 
influences effective communication. "Sender credibility refers to the attitude 
the receiver has toward the trustworthiness of the sender's statements" 
(Johnson, 1990, p. 113). The perception of sender credibility depends on how 
receivers view the sender's reliability as an information source, the intentions 
or motives of the sender as well as the opinions of other people all affect the 
perceived credibility of the sender. It is important that the school library 
manager establishes their credibility. It has been suggested that leaders rely 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


on their expertise, openly admit their limitations, reinforce words with actions, 
and avoid value judgements. Establishing credibility also means allowing 
other members of staff to get to know their leaders. Spending time with other 
staff informally can contribute to this. 

Being sensitive to or having empathy with the receiver's perspective 
contributes to effective communication. To empathise with others is to see 
things from their point of view, to stand in their shoes or feel things the way 
they feel them. It can be argued "if we are able to empathise with people, we 
are in a better position to understand, for example, their motivations and past 
experiences, their present feelings and attitudes, their hopes and 
expectations for the future" (DeVito, 1986, p.71). Sensitivity on behalf of all 
staff can improve communication in the library. School library managers who 
handle their responsibilities sensitively provide very effective interpersonal 
communication models. 

The factors of verbal and non-verbal communication, understandable 
messages, listening, credibility and sensitivity that have been discussed are 
not the only factors that contribute to effective interpersonal communication 
but are considered among the most important ones for school libraries. 

There are also factors that act as barriers to effective interpersonal 

Barriers to effective interpersonal communication that affect school 
libraries include noise and poor communication climate. The presence of 
noise distorts or prevents effective communication. Hoy and Miskel state 
"Noise is any distraction that interferes with sending or receiving the 
message" (1991, p. 353). DeVito classifies noise into three types: physical, 
psychological and semantic. Physical noise is that which interferes with the 
physical transmission of the message such as traffic, machines, wind or 
speakers who lisp or wear sunglasses. Physical noise can also occur in 
written communication in the form of indecipherable handwriting or blurred 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


print. Psychological noise refers to forces within the communicators such as 
prejudice, fear or close-mindedness that distort the communication process. 
Semantic noise results in loss of meaning because the communicators speak 
different languages or the speaker uses highly technical words or jargon. 

One writer in the field of library automation (Sykes, 1991) reports the use of 
jargon in library automation training sessions is often a major complaint of 
library staff. 

The climate in which communication occurs can undermine the 
effectiveness of interpersonal communication. Poor communication climates 
are rarely deliberate but can develop from lack of communication skill or from 
carelessness. Disconfirming responses or messages which express a lack of 
regard for the other person are the basis of a poor communication climate. 
Disconfirming messages include imperious, impersonal and irrelevant 
responses and defensive behaviours. Unethical behaviour also contributes 
to a negative communication climate. It is believed that "because 
communication has consequences there is a rightness or wrongness aspect 
to any communication act" (DeVito, 1986, p.11). Lying, breaking confidences, 
preventing others from gaining information, using threats or emotional 
appeals are unethical communication behaviours and contribute to poor 
communication climates. 

A good communication climate is where people feel valued, openness 
and frankness are encouraged; where people are assertive rather than 
aggressive; and where face to face communication is used as much as 
possible. School library managers have a responsibility to promote and 
maintain a positive communication climate in order to facilitate the 
achievement of the library's goals. 

A good communication climate is readily enhanced by the participation 
of staff and others in decision-making. 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


Participative Decision-Making 

There is no simple definition for participative decision-making. The 
term can refer to a variety of decision-making arrangements ranging from 
token consultation to consensus agreements. Participative decision-making 
is seen as a move away from the style of decision making that occurred 
between subordinates and superiors in a context of power inequality, towards 
a style that shifts these power inequalities. Participative decision making is a 
managerial style concerned with both economic efficiency and human 
relationships. Participation in decision making requires "the mental and 
emotional involvement of a person in a group that encourages the individual 
to contribute to group goals and to share responsibility for them" (Owens, 
1991, p.277). This definition will serve for the remainder of this paper. 

Participative decision making is seen by most educationalists as 
having significant advantages. These include increased diversity of views, 
sharing of skills, and more complete information and knowledge leading to 
better decisions; improved morale and communication, less discrimination, 
better relationships between management and staff leading to higher 
employee satisfaction; and finally, increased legitimacy and increased 
acceptance of the solution. The general view is "people will more readily 
accept change if they are involved in the process" (Scott & Jaffe, 1989, p.53). 
Sykes (1991) contends that library automation will be more successful in an 
environment where a participative style of management is practised. 

However there are disadvantages to participative decision making: 

The major disadvantage is that it requires more time and effort on everyone's 
part to make it work. There is also a risk of inconsistency where no one party 
has clear decision making authority. Too much involvement in decision 
making can be as detrimental as too little. Poorly managed participative 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


decision making may result in lots of discussion and little action, or to 
devisiveness and alienation of staff. Nevertheless most studies indicate that 
when participation in decision making is well managed, the advantages far 
outweigh the disadvantages. Clear guidelines as to how the process will 
work in any one situation are necessary. The process must include who is 
involved, what decisions are made and how decisions are made. 

One useful model for shared decision-making developed by Hoy and 
Miskel (1989) is based on the concept of a 'zone of acceptance' in which 
some decisions made by a leader are accepted without question by 
subordinates. The zone of acceptance determines the appropriate extent of 
participant involvement. The zone of acceptance is determined by two 
criteria - the tests of relevance and expertise. If an issue is highly relevant to 
participants, and requires expert knowledge then it will fall outside the zone 
of acceptance and thus be subject to further stages of the decision making 

Even when the involvement of staff is appropriate care must be taken 
to achieve quality and acceptable decisions. "The most important decision 
that a group makes is to decide how it will make decisions" (Owens, 1991, 
p.277). The development of an explicit, publicly known set of processes for 
making decisions that is acceptable to participants is suggested. A typical 
decision-making process would include the four decision-making stages of: 

(1) defining the problem 

(2) listing alternatives 

(3) predicting consequences and 

(4) making a selection. 

As well, guidelines for the administration of meetings, agendas, and 
subsequent action need to be developed. 

Once guidelines are developed, participative decision making in the 
school library can operate on three levels. The school library committee. 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


involving members of the wider school community, can make decisions about 
policy, priorities, access and budgets. At the next level, the school library 
management committee should include all library staff and make decisions 
about task allocation, procedures and library management systems. The 
third level of sub-committees or working parties can include only those 
required or interested. For example special events, displays and staff 
development planning may be the focus of sub-committees. 

The decision-making process must strike a balance between formal 
guidelines on one hand and flexibility on the other. There can be little doubt 
that the most important factor concerning successful decision-making in the 
school library is how it is managed. A flexible, participative style of 
management on the part of the school library manager acknowledges the 
valuable contribution staff can make to the achievement of library goals. 


This paper has discussed aspects of human resource management 
pertinent to the school library. Few would argue that school library managers 
influence their staff through their values, attitudes and actions. They affect 
job satisfaction, morale and motivation, trust and respect between staff, work 
priorities and goals, standards of performance, and the climate of the school 
library. An awareness and understanding of human resource issues such as 
motivational forces, interpersonal communication and participative decision¬ 
making is fundamental to the success of any school library. The school 
library that values its human resources to the extent that it is prepared to 
invest time and energy in quality human resource management will be amply 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 



Barnes, H. (1990). Job satisfaction and motivation: The role of job design. In 
M.K Rochester & F. Nicholson (Eds.), Challenges in Australian library 
management . Adelaide: Auslib Press. 

Dean, J. (1985). Managing the secondary school . London: Groom Hall 

DeVito, J.A. (1986). The interpersonal communication book (4th ed.). New 
York: Harper & Row. 

Everard, K.B., & Morris, G. (1985. Effective school management . London: 
Harper & Row. 

Fontana, D. (1990). Social skills at work . London: Routledge. 

Hoy, W. K., & Miskel, C.G. (1987). Educational administration: - Theory. 
research, and practice (3rd ed.). New York: Random House. 

Johnson, D.W. (1990). Reaching out: Interpersonal effectiveness and self- 
actualization (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 

Line, M.B. (1992. How to demotivate staff. Library management . 13 (1), 4-7. 

Nicholson, F. (1990). Human resources management. In M. K. Rochester & F. 
Nicholson (Eds. ), Challenges in Australian library management. 
Adelaide: Auslib Press 

Owens, R.G. (1991). Organisational behaviour: Concepts, controversies. 
and applications (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice 

Petri, H.L (1986). Motivation: Theory and research ( 2nd ed.). Belmont, 
California: Wadsworth. 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


Scott, C.D., & Jaffe, D.T. (1989). Managing organizational change: Leading 
vour team through transition . Los Altos, California: Crisp Publications. 

Sederberg, C.H., & Clark, S. M. (1990). Motivation and organisational 

incentives for high vitality teachers: A qualitative perspective. Journal 
of Research and Development in Education . 24(1), 6-13. 

Sykes, P. (1991) Automation and non-professional staff! The neglected 
majority. Library Manaoement.12 (3). 4-12 

Wilkinson, C., & Cave, E. (1987). Teaching and managing: Inseparable 
activities in schools . London: Croom Helm. 

Human Resource Management in the School Library 


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dynamics and directions 

Ross J. Todd 

Lecturer, School of Information Studies 
University of Technology, Sydney 

Celeste McNicholas 

Teacher-Librarian, Marist Sisters' College, Woolwich 


This paper builds on the information skills research presented at the lASL 
Conference in Belfast in 1992. It presents recent findings of empirical research into 
information skills conducted with junior high school students. The findings link to 
two important directions for the profession: firstly, there is an urgent need for 
teacher-librarians to build the professional knowledge base as it relates to 
information literacy, and secondly, while teacher-librarians recognise that 
information skills could well be the single most valuable acquisition in a child's 
school career, there is still considerable scope for the development of teaching - 
learning strategies to achieve this objective. The paper also explores some 
approaches to the effective teaching of information skills, particularly to defining 
information. Specifically it examines concept mapping as a valuable learning 
strategy for defining information. The workshop will focus on the classroom 
application of these strategies. 

It is worth taking some time to reflect on the words of Neil Armstrong, the first person 
to set foot on the moon, July 20, 1969. No, not the memorable words "That's one 
small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", but rather the statement he made 
as he was preparing to take off from the moon to return to earth. He said "we're 
number One on the runway." 

Given the rapid developments that are taking place, both in terms of information 
and information technology, and the way education systems are responding to 
these challenges, it could be argued that teacher librarians are number one on the 
runway. Our time has come, so to speak, for us to take some giant steps forward, 
particularly in the context of the implications of the Finn and Mayer Reports, and the 
focus they are placing on information literacy as a key competency for learning. 
However, this does not deny nor isolate other fundamental roles of teacher- 
librarians, including playing a key role in fostering reading and promoting literature. 
Peggy Heeks (1993: 7) reviewing the lASL Conference in Ireland in 1992, 
challenges us to develop a wholistic approach to school libraries, where 
management, curriculum and literature roles are integrated more effectively. She 
concludes: "It is from the process of attending to both the books and the 


technology, to both the skills and imaginative experience that we can build a new 
model of school library development". 

This is a noble and admirable ideal. Translating it into reality must address the 
context in which such a new model of school libraries will develop. In Australia, this 
context is clearly articulated by Simon Crean and others outside the educational 
arena as an information literacy context: 

"I would argue that the greatest task facing Australia is recognising that the 
most important commodity in the 21st century will be knowledge, and the 
most important capability will be that of accessing, creating and using 
knowledge. Having and using knowledge will determine how well nations 
adapt, survive and prosper in a global environment characterised by 
accelerating change and increasing uncertainty - economically, 
environmentally, socially." (Simon Crean, in :21C , Autumn 1991, p. 23.) 

Little is known about this context, beyond common practice and intuition. 
Eisenburg and Brown (1992: 103-108) assert that common practice and intuition, 
however, are not enough, and that there is a critical need for research related to 
information literacy. They argue that if teachers, administrators, and teacher- 
librarians are to develop effective whole school information programmes, they need 
research facts about the importance of information skills to overall student 
performance and achievement. Eisenburg and Brown have reviewed research 
relating to four major themes which represent widespread current beliefs about the 
value and practice of library and information skills. These beliefs, evident in the 
Australian literature, are: 

• instruction in information skills is a valuable and essential part of the school's 
educational programme 

• essential skills encompass more than location of and access to resources; 
information skills development should emphasise general problem-solving 
and research processes, and the specific skills within these general 
processes, such as selection, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 

• information skills should not be taught in isolation; rather, the skills 
programme must be fully integrated with the school's curriculum 

• the use of innovative instructional methods and technologies can enhance 
the teaching of information skills. 

They conclude that there are only a limited number of empirical research studies 
relevant to these four themes, and that the existing studies provide only initial 
verifications of some assumptions, and that it is certainly not possible to justify 
widespread generalising beyond the research settings. Accordingly, they identify 
some major priorities for future research; 

• the influence of information skills instruction on content objectives, learning 
outcomes and lifelong learning 

• the impact of information skills instruction on the use of information 


• relationship between the information skills process and other processes such 
as critical thinking, reading, writing and problem solving 

• the impact of the integration of information skills and curriculum content on 
attainment of objectives in both areas. 

This literature review suggests that information literacy is a fundamental concept 
that underpins the integration of the curriculum, management and literature access 
roles of school libraries. It impacts on the whole learning process, including 
reading, writing, critical thinking and use of information. The need to research 
these concerns is an important direction for the profession. We value the emerging 
information literacy context of education, but in order to develop a wholistic 
approach to school libraries, there is urgent need for teacher-librarians to build the 
professional knowledge as it relates to information literacy. It is believed that this is 
an essential building block before such wholistic integration, as idealised by Heeks, 
can be established. Comparatively speaking, teacher-librarians have a 
considerably larger body of management research and reading / literature related 
research which continues to be an integral part of the teacher-librarians' theoretical 
and practice knowledge base. 

While there is an urgent need for sustained research in this field, there is also a 
need to review our practice. To what extent have we taken up the information skills 
challenge, and what does this mean for our role as teacher librarians? Given that 
teacher librarians in many Australian states, and overseas countries have endorsed 
information skills for some years now, it is reasonable to expect that some impact 
can be demonstrated. Earlier this year we sampled a group of 111 Year 7 students 
in Sydney. They were drawn from some 27 primary schools in Sydney: 16 
independent schools and 11 public schools. We were interested in finding out 
where they were at in relation to information skills. Realise that at this stage 
teacher-librarians do not have available to us measuring instruments that enable us 
to assess a person's state of information literacy, so we devised one. The task 
given to students was very simple - a hypothetical information task; 

"A teacher gives you homework. You are to hand in some information 
on RUBRIC. Write down all the steps you would take to finish your 

Time was allowed for students to verbally clarify the question before beginning the 
task. We deliberately chose a concept that students might not be familiar with, to 
give them the widest possible scope to respond without preconceptions of content. 
Responses were examined through a content analysis process, and students were 
scored out of six - a point for each of the six stages of the information skills process 
as documented in the Information Skills in Schools document. Students were 
awarded a point if they showed some application of each of the six stages - 
defining, locating, selecting, organising, presenting and assessing information. We 
scored them - first independently to establish some sort of inter-judge reliability. 
Subsequent to that, any contentious scores were jointly assessed. In setting up this 
approach, we made a number of assumptions: the Information Skills in Schools 
document has been implemented for some 4-5 years now, so we expected the 
students to demonstrate some understanding of the information skills process. 


Overall Scores 

% of students who identified at least x stages of the process 

18% identified no stages of the Information Skills process 

19% identified 1 stage of the Information Skills process 

17% identified 2 stages of the Information Skills process 

25% identified 3 stages of the Information Skills process 

11% identified 4 stages of the Information Skills process 

9% identified 5 stages of the Information Skills process 

1 % identified 6 stages of the Information Skills process 

Mean was 2.2 stages identified 

Distribution of stages identified - % of students who identified each 


defining 32% 

locating 67% 

selecting 39% 

organising 23% 

presenting 41% 

assessing 7% 

Other interesting features emerged through this content analysis: 

Defining; the most commonly occurring feature was use of dictionaries. 

Locating; 36% of students identified the library as a source of information; 17% 
identified people as part of the process, not as a source of information, but as a 
means of confirming aspects of presentation, such as correct spelling of words; 3% 
identified the teacher-librarian as a source of information. 

Selecting; half the students who scored here mentioned writing ideas in their own 
words; the remaining half expressed selection as copying information or 
photocopying information. 

Presenting: in most cases, this focused on colouring in photocopied pictures, 
decorating the page, writing neatly, width of margins and plastic sleeves. 

The measuring instrument is basic, maybe even crude. It highlights the absence of 
standardised measuring instruments, and the need for some systematic 
development of these. While it is difficult to make generalisations on such data 
beyond the immediate school setting, the data have been immediately useful for 
diagnosing information skills needs and developing appropriate learning strategies 
for the students concerned. 

The findings suggest that these students are making some progress with 
information skills. But there is much to be done if we are professionally committed 
to making a real contribution to graduating students who are information literate. 
We would suggest considerable professional energy needs to be spent in 
translating the stages of the information skills process into practical, teachable 
strategies in all curriculum areas and at all levels. 

A central issue emerging out of this research project is the importance of the 
defining stage of the information process. Our involvement in information literacy 


research over several years leads us to the belief that it is one of the most critical 
stages in the information process. Every other stage is dependent on effective and 
accurate definition. Defining encompasses two major aspects - the ability to 
construct and monitor understanding, and the ability to ask appropriate questions 
to develop the questioning base. 

Developing the questioninq base 

Part of our research in 1993 has also been carefully documenting the teaching - 
learning processes of an integrated Year 7 science - information skills programme 
on a day-by-day basis. Observations suggest that a significant number of students 
have poorly developed or non-existent questioning skills and seem to demonstrate 
little or no ability to verbalise contradictions in perceptions of the process or content 
of either the task and its instructions. The findings of a study of Grade 6 students in 
New Zealand undertaken by Moore and St. George (1991) tend to support this. 
The study described the information retrieval process used by these students and 
explored the cognitive difficulties encountered. Some of the questions addressed 
in this research were: What sorts of questions do children formulate given a broad 
teacher-selected research topic? How are those questions used to access relevant 
information? The study found that the students' limited knowledge base resulted 
in the formulation of general and frequently vague questions. 52% of the questions 
set by the students were not answered, and often the students substituted 
questions that matched the information found, rather than meeting the information 
needs identified by their questions. The study also found that although many 
students knew something of the steps involved in the information retrieval process, 
they were not very aware of alternative strategies or what to do when preferred 
strategies failed. When asked how they would continue their search, 69% reported 
that they would use the same methods. Both studies suggests that problems with 
the process of defining information needs impact on other stages of the information 
process. Time and effort spent creating an environment that is conducive to 
questioning will provide benefits as students apply all stages of the information 
process. According to Patrick (1987: 19) there is a close relationship between 
critical thinking and making sense of information: "Critical thinkers have a 
propensity to raise and explore questions about beliefs, claims, evidence, 
definitions, conclusions and actions." Learning to ask questions which target their 
information gap, provides a mental framework for students to clarify, sort, argue, 
analyse, synthesise and interpret information. Questioning skills are fundamental 
to the cognitive operations that enable them to confidently add new information to 
their own store of knowledge in meaningful ways. 

Constructing meaninq 

Along with questioning skills, strategies which enable students to identify and 
monitor their current understanding and build on this understanding are also 
critical to the information process and are part of the defining stage. Strategies 
include explosion charting and brainstorming, and its more complex partner, 
concept mapping. Brainstorming can be productive as a means of raising a 
learner's self-concept. Allowing learners to express the knowledge they already 
hold on a given topic can often improve their attitude toward the accumulation of 
new information on the same topic. This process of identifying what they already 
know and comparing it to what they need to know in order to explore their 
information gap frequently proves to them that they know more than they thought 


they did. This works to reduce their resistance to what was perceived to be a large 
information gap. 

Exploding ideas can place a teacher equal footing with the learners, each member 
of the group free to contribute from their store of knowledge and freely benefiting 
from the group's collective knowledge. This group dynamic allows the teacher to 
function as an equal member while still able to shape and direct their information 
inquiry towards the desired outcome. These strategies are not new and appear to 
have been used in many classrooms. A somewhat underutilised and more 
complex extension of these strategies is concept mapping. 

Concept mapping 

Concept mapping is well documented in the international literature as an approach 
for facilitating meaningful learning of concepts. Teachers would not dispute that 
the learning of concepts is central to all curriculum units of work. To understand the 
meaning of key concepts and their interrelationships in any topic, and to be able to 
link these new concepts to relevant theoretical knowledge already possessed are 
considered fundamental for students to progress. 

This notion of learning has its foundation in the learning theory of Ausubel. 
Ausubel maintains that a key factor for potential success in meaningful learning, 
and the contrast between meaningful and rote learning, is when people 
constructively link new knowledge to a framework of relevant concepts and 
propositions they already possess. Two important assumptions are being made 
here. Firstly, meaningful learning is an active, constructive and cumulative process 
of grasping new knowledge and adding it to an existing knowledge base. 
Secondly, concepts and propositions are central elements in our knowledge base 
and in the construction of meaning and understanding and thus play a central role 
in the learning process. It is these concepts and propositions that form the basis of 
appropriate questioning, and are the focus of thinking operations such as arguing, 
proving, clarifying, analysing, comparing, contrasting, modifying, extending and so 

Definition of concept mapping 

Novak and Gowin (1984) present concept mapping as a technique of representing 
the meaningful relationships between concepts in the form of propositions, that is, 
two or more concept labels linked by clarifying words. Similarly, Mayer (1989) 
defines concept maps as diagrams that help learners build mental models of, and 
highlight major concepts in a system as well as the causal relationships between 
each. Trochim (1989) views concept maps as a representation of ideas in the form 
of a picture with interrelations between ideas clearly articulated. Concept maps 
clearly show interrelationships and are concisely and precisely labelled. They tend 
to have some internal hierarchical structure, with the more general, more inclusive 
concepts at the top of the map and with progressively more concrete, less inclusive 
concepts arranged below them. 

An example of a concept map is provided below. (Novak & Gowin, 1984: 18) 


needed by made of changes 


Benefits of concept mapping 

The research and reflective literature on concept mapping identifies the following 


• meaningful learning. Novak, Gowin & Johansen (1983), Lehman, Carter 
& Kahle (1985) and Okebokola & Jegede (1988) have identified a range of 
learning outcomes for students using concept mapping. These include 
increased meaning, precision of meaning, improved ability to identify new 
relationships among ideas, improved clarity of reasoning, focus on key ideas 
with greater clarity, makes it easier to grasp new or difficult concepts, and 
helps to foster creativity. 

• making sense of what Is read. Downing & Morris (1984) argue that 
concept mapping helps students by providing them with a logical process of 
thinking through, reflecting, reasoning, and judging the content of readings. 
They claim it helps them extract, organise, clarify and interrelate the 
concepts, and enables them to more positvely approach difficult reading. 

• develops reflective thinking. Noval, Gowin & Johansen (1983) assert 
that concept mapping helps learners separate thrivial from significant 
information, and encourages them to think in multiple directions, enhancing 
their powers of critical thinking. 

• encourages the exchange of Ideas Novak (1984) claims that 
because concept maps are an explicit visual representation of the concepts 
a person holds, they can facilitate exchange of viewpoints, generate 
discussion where meanings can be negotiated and applied, help identify 


missing links, misconceptions and false relationships. Concept mapping is a 
useful mechanism for encouraging appropriate questioning. 

• transfer of knowledge. Mayer (1989) found that concept mapping helps 
learners to creatively transfer information to solve problems, to organise 
information coherently, and to provide a concise, schematic summary of 

• develops skills of seif-directed, autonomous learning. Stice & 
Alvarez (1978) and Samuelowicz (n.d.) indicate that concept mapping gave 
students a sense of confidence in manipulating and managing information, 
and thereby a sense of control in managing the information process; 
generated increased concentration and focus on the task; improved 
motivation for self directed learning; improved recall; provided direction for 
working independently; generated summaries for revision and review; 
enabled easy presentation of information; and provided a structured method 
of integrating information from many sources in the preparation of 
assessment tasks. 

An analysis of these benefits suggests that concept mapping is a useful learning 
strategy for mapping understanding of a content area, and that facilitates all stages 
of the information process: identifying what is known, selecting, organising, 
presenting and evaluating information. 

Generating concept maps: some practical suggestions 

Presented here are some broad guidelines to help students master and work with 
concept mapping. It is important to realise that mastery takes some time, but in 
practice we've found that students generally learn the technique quickly. It is 
important also to realise that learners have different learning styles, and that 
concept mapping is just one approach to helping students meaningfully 
understand the information that confronts them. Just as some teachers do not 
respond to our incantations about CPPT, likewise some students may not find 
concept mapping an appropriate learning strategy for them, and a variety of 
approaches is essential. Teaching the technique might be built around these ideas, 
tailored to your specific learning contexts: 

• Encourage students to read carefully the required information. On first 
reading, don't have them attempt to write a summary or use highlighter pens 
to mark ideas. After the first reading, have students reflect on the central 
ideas or focus concepts. Have them jot these down and clarify through 
classroom discussion. Through discussion, encourage students to rank the 
concepts from the most abstract and inclusive to the most concrete and 

• Have students reread the information, this time concentrating on extending 
their understanding of the central concepts by identifying important 
subordinate concepts, words, phrases, and statements of relationships. 
Have students list these around the central concepts clarified earlier, so as to 
facilitate clustering and hierarchical arrangement of ideas. In doing so, 
students are learning to make judgements about the association or 
relationship of ideas. 


• Have students arrange concept clusters as a two dimensional array, 
incorporating the hierarchy previously established. 

• Working with one pair of concepts at a time, have students link related 
concepts with lines and directional arrows, labelling each line clearly with 
brief explanatory notes. 

Keep instructions as simple and as clear as possible, and appropriate to the stage 
of learning of students. Follow up the mapping exercises with a range of 
consolidation activities. For example, in small groups, encourage students to share 
and discuss their concepts maps, and in particular, have them explain the concepts 
and their interrelationships shown on their maps. What students are doing here is 
transforming a visual summary into a verbal summary. This will help build 
students' confidence in talking about what they have learnt. Students will quickly 
recognise that there can be a wide variety of maps representing the same 
information and that there are no right and wrong maps. By sharing maps, students 
can identify strengths and weaknesses of their own maps, and further help them 
ask questions about the status of the ideas they show in their maps. It is 
worthwhile to encourage students to make changes to their maps as new 
meanings emerge and their understanding of the concepts grows. 

A useful checklist to help students reflect on their own progress of learning through 
using this technique might include these questions about their concept maps: 

• Is my concept map complete? Does it contain all the essential ideas and 
relationships according to the task set? 

• Is my concept map concise? Does it present a level of familiarity and detail 
appropriate for the learning task, but does not overwhelm the learner with 

• Is my concept map coherent? Does it make sense based on sound 

• Is my concept map labelled? Does it show an understanding of how key 
ideas are linked together? 

• Does my concept map differentiate important from trivial information? 

• Does my concept map show the integration of all the ideas? 


Concept mapping is a useful tool for monitoring student understanding of a content 
area. It can be used as a diagnostic tool to establish what a student knows and 
understands at the beginning of a unit so that gaps and misconceptions are 
identified and appropriate tasks can be developed. It functions equally well as an 
assessment tool in its own right. Moore and St George (1991; 162) lament that 
students "are often assumed to have many of the skills needed for the completion 
of independent research projects. ... Many teachers seem unaware of the 
complexity of the task they are setting and themselves lack the necessary 
information skills." This will facilitate in the development of appropriate 


questioning strategies that will enable students to identify what the need to know, 
and how they might go about meeting those information needs. 

Concept mapping can be used as the standard approach to notetaking. In this 
regard, it is a useful way to discourage students from copying large chunks of 
information without having necessarily understood it. The comparison of concept 
maps of a topic area taken at the beginning of a unit and at the end clearly indicates 
to a learner how much has been learned. 

Information skills have broad application and are constant in the face of changing 
curriculum content specifications. What the information profession brings to 
information literacy is a strong background of information management, and a 
framework to assist in identifying information needs in teacher, learner and task. 
These three components bring to each situation an unending number of variables, 
and in information literacy, these dynamics demand an individualised response. 
Ideas and strategies may be shared or compared, but either should be sculpted to 
be a direct response to a specific set of dynamics. 


Ault, C. R. (1985) Concept mapping as a study strategy in earth science. Journal 
of College Science Teaching . 15(1): 38-44. 

Ausubel, D. P. (1963) The psychology of meaningful verbal learning. New York: 
Grune & Stratton. 

Downing, J. & Morris, B. (1984) An Australian program for improving high school 
reading in content areas. Journal of Reading . 28(3): 237-243. 

Eisenberg, M. & Brown, M. (1992) Current themes regarding library and 
information skills instruction: research supporting and research lacking. School 
Library Media Quarterly . 20(2): 103-109. 

Heeks, P. (1993) Getting it together. School Librarian . 41(1): 4-7 

Lehman, J. D., Carter, C. & Kahle, J. B. (1985) Concept mapping, Vee mapping, 
and achievement: results of a field study with black high school students. Journal 
of Research in Science Teaching . 22(7): 663-673. 

Moore, P. & t. George, A. (1991) Children as information seekers: the cognitive 
demands of books and library systems. School Library Media Quarterly . 19(3), 

Mayer, R. E. (1989) Models for understanding. Review of Educational Research . 
59(1): 43-64. 

Novak, J. D., & Gowin, D. B. (1984) Learning how to learn. Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press. 

Novak, J. D., Gowin, D. B., & Johansen, G. T. (1983) The use of concept mapping 
and knowledge Vee mapping with junior high school science students. Science 
Education . 67(5): 625-645. 


Okebukola, P. A. & Jegede, O. J. (1988) Cognitive preference and learning mode 
as determinants of meaningful learning through concept mapping. Science 
Education . 72(4): 489-500. 

Patrick, J. (1978) Critical thinking in the social studies. Emergency Librarian. 
14(3), 19-20. 

Samuelowicz, K. (n.d.) Improving student learning and revision strategies through 
the use of concept maps. Unpublished paper. [Brisbane]: Tertiary Education 
Institute, University of Queensland. 

Stice, C. F. & Alvarez, M. C. (1987) Hierarchical concept mapping in the early 
grades. Childhood Education . 86-96. 

Trochim, W. M. K. (1989) An introduction to concept mapping for planning and 
evaluation. Evaluation and Program Planning . 12: 1-16. 







Towards Achieving a Critical Thinking Society in Malaysia: A Challenge to 
School Libraries and Educational Systems. 


Dr. Raja Abdullah Yaacob and Norma Abu Seman 


Research shows that there is a significant relationship between one’s ability to find, utilize 
and interpret information and his/her ability to think critically. Numerous theoretical 
frameworks in education and other socio-psychological models attempt to guide and prove 
the methodologies and the background, leading to the creation of critical thinking, while 
literature indicates the strategy and training that can lead to critical thinking. However, 
very little has been written on the ability of an individuals to become more critical through 
the utilization of the right information of a wide range in nature. Given a situation where an 
individual begins to inculcate the habit of being more critical, this condition has to be 
maintained, otherwise, there is every possibility that he/she will relapse to the previous 
condition. It is within the context of this problem statement that critical thinking has to be 
nurtured and continued and one of the ways is through the concerted effort of various 
groups, both teachers and librarians to help the individuals through a systematic 
information skill programme. Evidence shows that in order to be able to be self-reliance, 
think critically, and more importantly progress, continuous reading and researching is 
required in all fields. This paper attempts to describe elements that can contribute to the 
inculcation of critical thinking as well as research on the characteristics of a critical thinker. 
At the same time, with the inception of the Vision 2020, that is the government's goal 
toward a developed nation status, it is imperative that the nation would require this kind of 
individual in society so that that the success of the programme would be enhanced and 
guarantied not only within the context of R & D but also in the other socioeconomic 

With the aforementioned statement, it is clear the importance of achieving a society who is 
more critical in their thinking is thought to be very urgent. The next step that has to be 
considered is the various roles that need to be taken. Further this paper would also attempt 
to report on the state-of the art on system and also proceed to the various strategies that are 
being undertaken. This would include some discussions among others, on the role of the 
government, school libraries, educational system, parents, teachers training centres and 
also training centres for school libraries. 

Keywords: Critical Thinking, School Libraries, Educational System, Systematic 
information skill. Continuous reading. User education , Malaysia. 


The central issue in improving the quality instruction is 
not a question of promoting thinking or information, but 
of school managers striking a balance between the two 
for the benefit of students 

(Jack Zevin) 


One of the great challenges facing Malaysia amidst its dynamic economic development is 
the achievement of a critical thinking society. A critical thinking is defined by Mathew 
Lipman as a skilful, responsible thinking that facilitates good judgement because it relies 
upon criteria; is self-correcting, and is sensitive to context."^ It helps promote quality 
growth individuals through a number of methods, theories, ideas, programmes and 
techniques. Marcia Heiman and Joshua Slomianko, on the other hand defined critical 
thinking as,"raising questions; breaking up a complex idea into smaller components; 
drawing upon prior knowledge; and translating complicated ideas into examples."^ To 
achieve this goal, a number of factors are involved. This would include some discussions 
among others, on the role of the government, educational system, parents, teachers training 
centres and also school libraries. But one factor that is vital is the concerted effort that has 
to be initiated to systematically increase the society’s information skill. 

Although it is noted that critical thinking could be attained by common approaches, such as 
the discovery approach, lateral thinking, problem-solving, cooperative learning and 
reinforced by the practical experience, it is believed that librarians, viz the school libraries 
could also complement these methodologies, given adequate services and activities. To this 
effect, while this paper attempts to de.scribe elements that can contribute to the inculcation 
of critical thinking, effort would also be made to identify the characteristics of a critical 
thinker. At the same time, with the inception of the Vision 2020, it is imperative that the 
nation would require this kind of individuals in its society. The kind of society envisaged 
would not only help enhance and guarantee the success of R & D programmes but also 
other socioeconomic implementations. It is not the intention of this paper to delve deeply 
into the critical thinking factors and mechanics because much of it has been written by the 
educationists. However, if we information professionals believe on the contention that we 

1 Mathew Lipman. Institute for Critical Thinking, Montclair State College: N.J., 

^Marcia Heiman and Joshua Slomianko, "Critical Thinking Skills."National 
Education Association, 1985. 


are part and parcel of the educational process, taking advantage of the expertise training 
attained, the guiding rule behind our objectives should be to play the part that could help 
mould individuals into a critical thinking persons. There are also distinct benefits to be 
gained for taking advantage of this seeming benevolence of the developed nations. 

Problem Statement 

One of the abilities that the graduates of an educational system must acquire is the ability to 
be critical in their thinking and in problem-solving, essential for their survival in the 
modem society. This ability is important, not only during the educational process but also 
during their career. Many observations made by employers and concerned individuals have 
shown that the present graduates generally lack critical thinking ability. Although the 
educational objectives has stipulated the need for critical ability, not much has been done to 
make it a reality. Also, findings from various studies indicated a significant relationship 
between one’s ability to find, utilize and interpret information and his/her ability to think 
critically. Numerous theoretical frameworks in education and other socio-psychological 
models, attempt to guide and show the ways and the background leading to the creation of 
critical thinking while literature indicate the strategy and training that can lead to critical 
thinking. However, very little has been written on the ability of an individual to become 
more critical through the utilization of the right information of a wide range in nature. 
Given a situation where an individual began to inculcate the habit of being more critical, 
this condition has to be maintained, otherwise there is every possibility that he/she will 
relapse to the original condition. Another problem that may be worth mentioning is that, to 
many Malaysians, the notion of a critical thinking concept, strategies and techniques do not 
arise because this concept itself was not well known. It is known among the top leaders, 
successful educators, professionals, entrepreneurs and administrators and of late attempts 
are being made to exploit fullest through the scope of our educational system. 


Studies indicate that critical thinking could be acquired by most individuals, given the 
encouragement from parents, friends, schools and other relevant systems. Within the 
context of a knowledge spectrum, it has been recognized that in order for a person to be 
wise and apply knowledge, they need information and that information needs to be 
imparted from the source to the recipient. This implies that although information may exist 
in abundance, an individual has to use it in order to take advantage of its value on one hand 
and to be ‘wise’ in selecting the right information on the other hand. Moreover, 


information of all kinds is the source that are needed to perpetuate new knowledge and 

The present information era has its characteristic of information as the heart of all activities, 
an era which requires critical minds to deal with problem-solving scenarios, of which 
information is vital. A high academic qualification is not a guarantee for critical thinking. 
That is why even in a situation where the number of qualified people in Malaysia is 
substantial, the number of potential leaders is still not in proportion. 

Finally, of late the concept of critical thinking becomes the topic of great interest to both 
academicians, professionals and the country’s leadership. To this effect, in November, 
there is a scheduled international education conference and the theme is critical thinking. In 
fact, a day seminar on the same subject was held on the 9th June 1993 given by a 
prominent educationist. Dr. Jack Zemin. In short, the concept of critical thinking society 
suddenly becomes the topical theme, unlike a short time ago. 

State of the Arts: Present Society 

Vision 2020 has made the present society realize the importance of a more critical society in 
order to survive the new challenges and problems of the future. However, research shows 
that many graduates, leaving institutions of higher learning do not meet the expectation of 
both the public and private sectors in terms of their commitment, thinking, creativity and 
leadership. If the situation is true of graduates from higher institutions, would it not be too 
much to be expected from the high school leavers? This notion is also based on a critical 
evaluation of the speeches made by the government leaders and those closely involved in 
education. For example, in one of the speeches, it was said that the present system of 
education emphasises on students memorization and examination and if this is allowed to 
continue it will only result in the acquiring of knowledge but not using that knowledge 
effectively. Early realization of this problem has resulted in numerous seminars and 
conferences all of which led to positive resolutions towards improving the situation so that 
students could think more critically and creatively, able to make decisions, solve problems, 
interpret, and develop new information and research. 

Malaysia may genuinely take pride of her stable economic growth that result in a better 
quality of life. But highly apparent as the result of modernization is the rise of an unhealthy 
culture among the younger generation, that is the tendency to ‘waste their time’. While 
there is evidence of an extraordinary increase of youngsters wasting their time away at 


supermarket, parks, and other public places there is a clear absence of these youth visiting 
the libraries. This problem has in fact reached public attention and parental outcry to merit 
it to be a national issue. Wliether or not it is the outcome of modernization or a decline in 
moral and cultural values among the youth, it is up to the sociologists to research on this 
problem. In the meantime, this problem calls for a serious effort to help shape a more 
healthy society — a society that could think critically and this should begin with the youth 
because they are indeed the leaders of tomorrow. 

Vision 2020 

Malaysia may be considered as a third world but it is not by any way the intention of this 
nation to let this situation to remain the statue-quo. Every conceivable effort has been made 
to improve the economic standing. It is fitting that the positive economic and industrial 
development and success has given the confidence for this country to have the visionary 
goal to achieve a developed nation status by the year 2020. It is also within this context 
that a critical thinking society is highly aspired to help with the development of all sectors 
of the socioeconomy, industry and trade. What type of society is envisaged in the year 
2020? A society that is more oriented towards scientific, progressive, developed and 
knowledgeable one. Because without adequate knowledge, it may not be possible for the 
society to reach this goal in order to successfully achieve the status of an industrialised 
nation. According to the Prime Minister, Datok Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, in 
becoming a fully developed country, he envisaged that Malaysia should be "a scientific and 
progressive society , a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a 
consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation 
of the future." The people must also strive to achieve a critical thinking imbued with the 
highest of ethical standards so that we could not only move into a highly technology- 
based nation but.also a caring society. It is indeed through education which is related 
directly to human resources that we could meet these aspirations. Therefore, when we 
decide to invest on human capital it is of economic necessity that we invest well to ensure 
rapid and sustain development. 

Educational Theory 

Essentially, the basic theoretical frameworks behind the acquisition of the much needed 
skill has something to do with the educational concept and system. In Malaysia, the 
educational system is seemingly moving towards a hospitable and innovative changes. For 
example, it is agreed that in the old days the educational system and the learning process 
places emphasis on dates of battles, animal classification, instead of ‘a sense of history’ or 


animal life and behaviour. Even the teaching technique has changed with the increasing use 
of modem instructional devices in some fortunate schools. What has not changed though 
is the information seeking skill, that is students’ ability to work efficiently and to organize 
their work. In other words, students are not well trained in the technique of information 
skill. Systematic information skill programmes enabled individual to acquire skills 
essential or necessary in order to cope with the information age that we are facing now. 
The concept of lifelong education derived from reading enables individuals to use their 
intellect to the full extent. Calls for the need to revolutionize thinking and the 
transformation of culture is relevant to the future perspective which is linked to the concept 
of development. There is indeed a relationship between creativity and open-mindedness 
and the ability to be critical. 

Educational System in Malaysia 

The British colonial era left numerous residual issues which were only realized more than 
20 years later. The environment at that time brought along an inevitable situation in which 
the country was left with limited choice but to accept the British systems and practices. 
What was inherent was the mere 'idolization' of all that were British, even the educational 
system. It is not the intention of the writers to evaluate the educational system of the 
British but it is important to realize that at the infancy stages of independence, there should 
be a system that suit the level of the development, culture and environment of the country. 
The system that was relevant to the British at that time may not be relevant to Malaysia. 
Conditions vary because they reflect different historical and cultural heritages. A system 
that assesses students entirely on the final examination may not be an excellent measure for 
leadership qualities after all. That was the system that were being practiced all along until 
very lately when the curriculum on the schools and colleges began to be restructured along 
the local need and environmental changes. However, the objectives though excellent, has 
not been given adequate attention and at times neglected completely. Students are exposed 
to facts on various subjects but they are not taught to think over the contents that is learnt. 
They are not given the chance to search and use information themselves, which ultimately 
led them to be too reliance on the teachers and discouraged them from giving their own 

Curriculum Approach 

The New Primary School Curriculum better known as KBSR was introduced in 1983 with 
the aim of developing intellectual, affective, aesthetic, psychomotor, social, moral and 
spiritual aspects of human personality. The integrated Secondary School Curriculum 


(KBSM) on the other hand, continues the same ideal with the objective of achieving a 
general education and the teaching and learning strategies, focussing on specific 
knowledge, creativity, manipulative manual skills, business skills, social sciences, 
computer education, and moral and religious values. According to Rita Vias, these 
approaches are viewed as child-centred, activity-centred, and resource-based methods of 
teaching and learning.^ Even the 1988 National Education Policy clearly highlighted the 
educational objective of developing the potential of individuals and that, information media 
are emphasised not only to supplement teaching but as partners to classroom teacher, with 
the objective of developing newly defined knowledge -skills and also inculcating life-long 
learning attitude. 

The Reformation of National Education further led to the new National Education Act, 
replacing the National Education Act 1961. The new Act is based on the foundation of the 
balanced and harmony in the development of potential mankind. Students are exposed to 
the importance of knowledge, skill and moral values. 

The two educational approaches may now have to be viewed in light of the vision 2020. 
The educational system would have bearings on what we are going to be in the future and 
this necessitates the setting up of new targets and standards of excellence, not only in 
science and technology but also strategies towards achieving a critical thinking society. 

Teacher, Talk and Chalk Syndrome is not new and it is still being practised. The impact is 
on the students who could pass examination but may not be able to fully utilize the 
knowledge or develop leadership qualities. It is realized that the educational system should 
be formulated so that it would give a positive effect on the society. 

Three main aspects that contribute to the quality of the education system, are efficiency, that 
is necessary to sustain the impetus for growth in line with the country's changing needs; 
relevancy, that to ensure the curicula is suited to social and economic needs of the present 
and future; and the pursuit of excellence, that is the enhancement of human skills and 

^Rita Vias "Educational Needs of School Resource Centre Personnel." in Paper 
presented to the Seminar on Library and Information Science education in Malaysia: Needs 
and Expectations, International Islamic University, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia., 
1992: 2-3. 




In short, it would be most appropriate to quote the guiding principle of the government's 
philosophy on quality education as stated in the National Philosophy of Education: 

Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further 
developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and 
integrated manner, so as to produce individuals who are 
intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced 
and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to 
God. Such an effort is designed to produce Malaysian citizens 
who are knowledgeable, who possess high moral standards, 
and who are responsible and capable of achieving a high level 


personal well-being as well as being able to contribute to the 
betterment of the society and nation at large." 

The educational system in Malaysia is therefore, at a turning point where to do nothing 
would be to choose to be stagnant. The tremendous technological development has taken 
place in a short space of time, leading to somewhat to 'an imbalance in' the organizations 
and structures of staff, services, and physical. 

Changes amidst the vision 2020 has been obvious in which the government shows great 
interest in its policy to ‘grab’ every opportunities for better educational returns, no matter 
how and where it can be achieved. Thus, the diversification of higher education where the 
scholars could now be sent to countries, other than Great Britain, Australia, and New 
Zealand like the old days, such as America, Europe, Japan and Korea have been added to 
the list. Also, the growth of private colleges has been tremendous. The twinning 
programmes with higher institutions in the West promise to provide quality education. The 
growing need of information professionals (IP) to support these colleges is a testimony of 
high expectation for the graduates. It is important then for the IP to work with the vision of 
creating a crirical thinking society. Active learning is built upon the assumption that critical 
thinking is, perhaps even more important than subject content. Students who think 
critically about broad general principles are expected to be able to apply those principles to 
new and different problems. 

Whose Role 

To achieve a critical thinking .society basically depends on the society itself which is made 
up of various quarters. However, it is believed that the main underlying factor goes to the 
educational system and the library system, beginning at the school level. The components 
that are considered to have effect on the achievement of critical thinking have been 
identified as seen in figure 1 and table , respectively. 

1. Government/Educational System 

As stated by the new education policies the govemm.ent is the vehicle, instrumental to new 
changes. With the inceptions of the numerous resolutions, it is clear of the government 
support towards the new direction of inculcating a thinking society, giving impetus by 
various parties to implement this goal. Calls by various authorities, including at the 
ministerial level for a concerted effort towards achieving this goal has given nothing more 
than moral and material incentives. 








Identify, study and establish policy on how to achieve critica 
thinking person as part and parcel of the overall educational 


incorporate critical thinking approaches into the existing 
curriculum, using skill approach or direct method, infusion 
model. Train the teachers and experts in critical thinking to 
perpetuate the skills all across the curriculum 


a. School Library & 

Resource Centre 

b. College Library 

c. University Library 

Aware and conscious of the importance of critical thinking 
programme monitors, coordinates, evaluate for its successful 

Establish strategies and increase support for every effort to 
achieve critical thinking through: 

i. information resources ) implement 

ii. services and activities ) information skill 



Encourage, nurture, be exemplary, set role models, show cone 
and enthusiasm and motivate the children. 


Teach, inculcate, promote, motivate, emphasise, assimilate 
concept in teaching and learning activities. Encourage 
activities, such as debates, lectures, talks, and project 

2. School Libraries and Resource Centre 

There has been an evolurionary changes in the educational philosophy and teaching/leaming 
methods in the school curriculum. These changes is also reflected by the role of school 
libraries which have prompted various labels: media centre, learning resource centre, or 
school resource centre replacing the conventional title of school library. Moreover, with 
the multidimensional expansion of information media that are being integrated as learning 
materials it has called for a transformation of the role of the school library and viz the 
school librarians. Even within the Malaysian context, the term resource centre is nothing 
new because the media resources were added to the schools way back in 1970s. However, 
the development is slow and varies and from school to school and essentially an urban 


school phenomenon. School librarians are now expected to be proactive agent of change in 
the learning process, amidst the change in the role of the school library. Moreover, not all 
schools treated the new media as an integrated part of the library but as an additional 

School librarian and media centre should try to develop among students the following 

i. Literary skill - develop various reading and writing skill as well critical 
thinking so that the child would be able to interact with his readings and 

ii. Inquiry and research skills - able to do research in library and look for all 
types of information resources. 

iii Information presentation skills. 

A number of research that have been done, including at the Ph.D level indicated a positive 
relationship between academic achievements, language, reading, and library skill and 
quality school library media service. A good library media service, with professional staff 
could enhance the quality of education. The school library system should be client-centred, 
allowing students to support the cultivation of information literacy. 

3. Teachers and Schools 

No matter how advanced is the IT, the teachers remain the main vital resource in the 
educational system. According to Omar," Students need warmth, encouragement and 
understanding which no curriculum package can provide.'"^ This has implications on the 
manner of training given at the teachers' training centres whereby prospective teachers 
would have been emphasised on the importance of nurturing and the counselling services in 
addition to the cognitive input. Teachers should try to increase the students' intellectual 
capability by teaching students how to learn and training them to analyze, evaluate and 
think for themselves. Teachers should also use interpersonal relationships with the learners 
and move according to an individual pace. As said by Huston, "in a participant-centred 
classroom, student learners must feel encouraged to operate from their own domain of 
experience, rather than moving immediately into that of the educators' experience."^ 
Further, the role that can be played at the school level would include: 

^Omar Mohd. Hashim, 'Towards Excellence in the 21st Century." in Free 
Teachers' Union (IFFl'U) Regional Conference for Asia an the Pacific Region, Kuala 
Lumpur, 5 - 7 November 1990. 

^M. M. Houston, "Rethinking Our Approach for Research Instruction," 
Research Strategies, 1(4), 1983:185:187. 


i. helping students to understand and be aware of the importance of in formation in 

ii. making students realize that knowledge and skills acquired while at school is 
insufficient for later years. They need to continuously acquire and utilize 
knowledge and skills. 

iii. teaching students how to manage a large number of information through 
information skill programmes. 

iv. apply information skills in the learning process and later on in place of work and in 
the daily life. 

4 . Public Libraries 

A cross-section of the public at all levels use the public library for leisure and educational 
purposes. The public library could play a significant role in shaping the thinking and 
attitudes of the public and be the agent of change in the following ways: 

i. provides informational materials and resources on different subjects that would 
nurture critical thinking process; 

ii. highlights and promotes informational materials as a source of facts, ideas, 
experience, which could be useful in solving problems, create new ideas, designs 
and products. 

iii. attracts children, youth and adults to utilize their leisure time critically in libraries 
for pleasure and knowledge 

iv. makes the society aware of the role of public library as the centre for education, 
social and cultural activities. 

V. intensifies more effort towards drawing more memberships from the society so that 
they could take advantage of the information to nourish them intellectually and 
spiritually, with the goal of achieving a more critical capacity and power to excel. 

5. Parents 

One of the greatest influential factor in cognitive and affective development of a child is the 
parents although at one stage they are taken over by the school system as soon as the child 
enters the school. Parents should read widely and be knowledgeable in the upbringing of 
their children. Children need to be exposed at an early age to reading materials, rhymes, 
riddles and education games. Parents, particularly in Malaysia within the present context, 
could contribute to the development of critical thinking by: 

i. encouraging the child to question at an early age to discuss matters with them. The 
child has to be taught to ask 'why' besides what it is. 

ii. exposing and involving them to the concept of problem-solving at an early age, 
such as, how to deal with situation if the washing machine is not working. 

iii. introducing positive attitudes in them. 


iv. explaining to them to discover on their own through reading. Always reason things 
out with them and viz versa so as to improve their reasoning abilities and in 

V. teaching the child, npt only to defend a position (themselves) and to analyze 
(itemize) but also to apply the skill of doing things (the design and creative 

6. School of Library and Information Science 

To support the large-scale changes necessary to promote libraries and literacy, the curicula 
of library school should be revised. In order to realize the objectives of emerging need for 
critical thinking, adequately trained library personnel is indeed needed. Further, the 
school's added responsibility is also geared at a continuous commitment toward the training 
and upgrading of various skills. This is due to the fact that the adequate and a well trained 
work-force could determine the effectiveness of the resource centres. Critical issues that 
are emerging within the education profession will affect the development of library 
education and training programmes needed to meet the need. 

Another pertinent factor wonh mentioning is the teaching of bibliographic instruction in the 
library schools. The library user education programmes are usually taken seriously by the 
college and university authorities upon receiving new students. It is also high in the list of 
priorities in academic library. The programmes of the school of library and information 
studies should equip the prospective librarians more on how to teach and also the 
prospective librtu'ians are to be reminded of their teaching role and the importance of user- 
education. It is appropriate therefore, in time of increased media of information and 
increased information demand by a more sophisticated users, for library schools to expose 
students to the theoretical framework in learning such as, learning theories, psychological 
and sociological behaviour theories and be encouraged to continue their education in this 
area. It is recognized that knowing how knowledge/information is created, processed, 
stored and retrieved alone is not enough and more emphasis should be given on how to 
strengthen their ability to teach people to use this knowledge and successfully navigating 
the ever changing information media.. 

How to Achieve: Methodologies 

Technique of Intellectual Work 

Teaching the technique of how to study and how to work is not new since the thought has 
been forwarded even in 1898 by a great philosopher and professor, T. G. Masaryk in his 
lectures entitled ‘How to work.’ What ‘tools’ could be used “to augment his mind, amplify 


his mental power and help him in many aspects of his intellectual activity.”^ In other 
words critical thinking can indeed be generated through intellectual activities. 

Educational Years in Schools 

Tbe school should not be perceived as entirely an information seeking places. It should be 
instrumental to the inculcation of promoting reasoning and problems-solving skill. The 
two elements should be the ,"major objectives, presenting information and developing 
thinking skills,' and are represented in the management of school classrooms, curriculum, 
and testing programmes.^ In other words, the contents, goals and objectives of the 
schools and the time spent should not only lead to the quality education but also the 
learning outcomes that would ensure critical thinking. Therefore, the school programme 
should be remodelled, stressing on the ,"higher-order cognitive concepts and strategies 
through critical approaches as a group, and there are many different ones, emphasize 
quality educational management, instruction, and learning rather than quantity."^ 

In the classroom setting, teacher as role models, should be the intermediary in problem¬ 
solving and encourage students to discuss, debate among themselves, give projects and 
allow presentations of these projects and allow other students to ask questions. Students 
should be given creative exercises, such as review of books, articles and films. The 
present 'parroting' methods should be eliminated and students should be encouraged to 
view things in different angles and this could be derived through different thoughts of 
authors . This would help in the adoption of alternative approaches culture, as opposed to 
one single correct way, inherent in the Malaysian system. The questions strategies of 
teachers should enlighten students response. Questions or discussions thrown to the 
students should demand logical, judgemental or critical assessments. In helping students to 
learn how to learn, the role of resource centres should be emphasised and coordination 
between classroom and the resource centres should be encouraged. 

^V. Stibic. Tools of the Minds: Techniques and Methods for Intellectual Work. 
Am.sterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1982. 

^Jack Zevin. Managing Schools for Quality Learnings: The Encouragement of in 
Critical Thinking in School Classrooms. Malaysia; Institut Aminudddin Baki, 1993: 1 



Research have been done to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of these policies and it 
has been found that the policies are good in retaining information but not in critically 
analyzing information ahd knowledge. With the new mode of environment, it is 
interesting to see the improvement and modifications made to suit with the new need and 
environment. For example, the new curriculum has been known as the 3M because 
emphasis is given on ; 

"Membaca" (Reading) 

3M..- "Mengira " (Mathematics) 

"Menulis" (Write) 

What has not been emphasised is the fourth 'M', that is Maklumat"" which is Information. 
Information must be added to this curriculum because it facilitates the inculcation of reading 
and writing. 




The main outcome of the implementation of the old and new curriculum has been 
unsuccessful in producing critical individuals because school leavers and graduates have 
not acquired or reached the critical thinking level as expected. 

Seminar: A Method of Instruction 

“Seminar has become an established method of instruction in many institutions of higher 
learning, especially in the West. Although at the beginning, it was confined to graduate 
students, many institutions are using seminars as a method of instruction even at freshman 
level (1st year). The number of students in a seminar is small, may be from 5 to 10. The 
students work in close association with the instructor. They make in-depth study of some 
topics, write a paper, present it in the class and invite discussions. The seminar as a 
method of instruction, provides an introduction to the methods of scholarly work and helps 
to cultivate habits of confident presentation and meaningful discussions. It promotes self- 
study and critical thinking. Such a method naturally depends on greater use of library 
materials and library research.” 

In short, classroom learning and teaching should be done in a manner to allow teacher- 
students interactions with the objective of increasing students' cognitive levels. There 


should be rapport among the two levels, and encouragement should always be given for 
students to ask questions, answer and discuss problems. Emerging patterns of education 
are increasing emphasis on process skills, opening avenues for a more active pupils 
involvement in learning. 

Post-educational Period 

Information leads to thinking and therefore reading should be continued and pursued 
during the post-educational periods. The information may cover different areas of interest 
as well as related to the career. It would not be a bad idea to have home libraries and also 
to set up of libraries at the office. 

Continuous Education and Training (Conference, Seminars, and 

As soon as one begins a career, he/she would undergo a full-fledged training. Training is 
an on-going process as it is done in-service and also by attending conferences and 

Therefore, it can be summarised that the two phases of the development of the information 
skill , one during the pre-critical thinking stage, and the other is the post-critical thinking 
stage should constitute a life-long process in the individual intellectual development. 

Information Literacy: Systematic Information Skills 

Ones' ability to think critically in influenced by his/her ability to find, utilize and interpret 
information. An information literate person is able to recognize when information is 
needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and employ the needed information 
effectively. In other words they have learned what to learn. The overwhelmed increase in 
the kinds and types of information led to the globalization of every sector of life. Not all 
information are relevant and needed and therefore, individual should be able to select, 
record and disseminate necessary information. What is significant is the realization on the 
part of the Deputy General of Education, Datuk Haji Omar Mohd. Hashim, who 
highlighted that with the knowledge explosion, " becomes crucial, therefore to equip 
the students with higher cognitive skill such as critical thinking, the use of the scientific 
process, the ability to think abstractly and creatively and the ability to be intellectually 
flexible. Related to this is the need to master the skills of lifelong learning where we teach 
students to accustom themselves with the idea of learning throughout their working life. 
They must know how to gain access to information, what kind of information to select, and 


when to use the information for."^ Although the above statements are nothing new to 
librarians, the very fact that it comes from the higher authority from different profession 
has a great significance because it is consonant to what has been preached by the library 
profession. With this official recognition, it is appropriate for all libraries, notably the 
school and college libraries to improve and speed up the information skill programmes. 

Now that we talk about the important methodologies of achieving critical thinking, the 
method that can be practically applied by school librarians in order to meet the goal is 
systematic information skill. Systematic information skill is nothing new in the West. In 
fact, in ,”Nation at Risk,” it was clearly stipulated that a nation that lack the tempo of 
reading would be tantamount to the downfall of the people progress and that is why it is 
regarded as being at risk. It is within the context of this problem statement that critical 
thinking has to be nunured, continued and one of the ways is through the concerted effort 
of both teachers and librarians to help the individuals through a systematic information skill 

The introduction of systematic information skill and programme of critical thinking will 
require that the management/authorities recognize the importance of increasing the critical 
abilities in the shon as well as long terms. With some refinements, existing methods of 
information skill could be improved. Implementation of a broad-based critical thinking 
programme in classrooms and libraries, however is contingent upon the development of 
more sophisticated methods for adequately measuring the total output of the programmes. 
Also, with the rapidly changing information formats, both librarians and users requires on¬ 
going learning. 

Table 2 below, illustrates some examples of infoimation skill programmes that are 
undertaken at different levels; 

i. Library Orientation 

ii. Library Instruction 

iii. Bibliographic Instruction 

iv. Library Skill 

V. Information Skill 

vi. Library Information Skill Course 

^Omar; Ibid. 


To ensure that the above programmes are effective, it is also crucial to supplement with 
the one-on-one instruction at all time (at the desk) as a form of reinforcement. Also, library 
and Information Skill Course could be included as part of the requirements in college and 
university curriculum. Appendix 1 underline issues related to the implementation of 
information skill programme. 







Library Orientation 




Library Instruction 
(Library Services 
and Collections) 




(Index, Abstracts, 
reviews, etc.) 




Information Techno- 

logy Skill 




Term Paper 





Inculcation of 

Reading Skill/Habits 

Remedial Reading 
(Problems in re< 2 £/ing)Basic 



Characteristics of a Critical Thinker 

The present generation has been typified by its experience with the information systems 
(explosion in computer hardware, software, and telecommunications systems) in much the 
same way that previous generations were traumatized by the experience they have in the 
first or second generation computers. Inadequate information (lacking of information may 
lead to ignorance, obsolescence, bias and prejudice) which are the traits of an uncritical 
person. Such traits may pose a danger to .society at large rather than ‘an asset to society.’ 


A profile of a critical thinker would accommodate the following traits, taken partly from 
Zemin^O although it may not be in anyway a complete or an exhaustive one. He reiterated 
that critical thinking skills would enable individuals to: 

a. distinguish between variable facts and value claims 

b. differenriate between relevant and irrelevant information 

c. decide the truth or accuracy of statements 

d. find the missing elements of a puzzle or mystery 

e. identify logical fallacies 

f. identify logical inconsistencies 

g detect bias and and prejudices 

h understand a belief or argument from another's perspectives 

i. recognize assumptions and viewpoints 

j. judge the strength or weakness of a claim or argument 

k. predict the probable or possible consequences of a decision or action 

Appendix 2 illustrates an additional skills that are desired of an individual in line with the 
goal of achieving a critical thinking society. 

Perhaps, the attainment of these skills should be instrumental to enhance individual to be: 

a. good communication skills(including interpersonal) and people oriented. 

b. self confidence 

c. patience and perseverance 

d logical and flexible approach to problem solving 

e. Memory for details 

f. spelling, grammar-vocabulary 

g. subject area knowledge 

h. good organization and efficient work habits 

i. motivation for Having and giving additional training 

j. willingness to share knowledge with others 

k. ability to select relevant information 

l. curious and willing to listen and to know 


There does seem to be a growing body of evidence supporting the idea creating a more 
critical society. From the aforementioned discussions, some recommendations could be 
highlighted according the following headings: 

Educational System 

1. The educational system complemented by a systematic information skill appear 
most effective with students. 



2. The effect of classroom suppon and resource centres systematic information skill 
could be greatly enhanced by follow up discussions and and counselling. 

3. Critical thinking is important for academic and future success. Therefore, students 
should be encouraged to engage in the active process of thinking through 
discussions, reading and written assignments. The development of critical thinking 
abilities should be integrated within the four areas crucial in education and careers: 
reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

4. Teachers' role should be the combination of instructors, disseminators of 
infomiation and knowledge and the facilitators of learning. 

5. Students assessment should not only be directed towards the examination results 
but also presentation of their learning such as projects and term papers. 

6. Educational approach should emphasise on higher cognitive level, like analysis, 
synthesis, application and evaluation, not the lower level cognitive, such as 
memorization, remember and understanding. 

Information Skill Programme 

4. Systematic information skill/programme must constantly be viewed as an adjunct to 
other developmental relationship rather than as an alternative or independent 

6. It should be the objective of the library policies in line with that of the educational 
system, that is to aspire for critical thinking patrons. 


1. Curriculum should be structured to allow the use of information in the resource 
centre for learning and teaching discourse. 

2. Curriculum structure should not solely emphasise on textbooks but also other 
types of information as well as AV, radio and TV programmes, and computer 
softwares. Students would be able to use various information-handling skills, a 
reflection of life-long learning skills. 

3. Include Library and Information Skill Course as part of the requirements in College 
and University Curriculum. 


1. A great deal of research should be done, for example the experimental form on the 
effectiveness of the critical thinking programmes. 

2. Youth should be encouraged to involve themselves in the information and 
intellectual activities so that they are not diverted towards unhealthy activities. 


3. Although it is difficult to operationalize the concept of critical thinking some element 
of measurement of critical thinking should be employed. 

At the same time, it is crudial to note that while we are looking forward to achieve both 
material and intellectual development, Malaysia is basically Asian in its cultural outlook. It 
is very crucial then, to create a situation where ‘moral’ values and preservation of 
traditional customs are not totally buried even in a critically based society. This is in view 
of the fact that the situation is already inherent in some ways where modernization is not 
balanced with moral, cultural and religious values. Respect of the old and the religious 
values is indeed the core of the society. 


Malaysia is indeed going towards an evolution in its restructuring of the society. This of 
course includes the educational system which subsequently affects the school library 
system as well. The role of the school library and the idea of a media and instructional 
centres have long been accepted although its development varies from state to state. With 
the government's initiatives to achieve a developed-nation status by the year 2020 it is 
recognized that the school libraries and the educational system are instrumental to the 
success of this goal. It is most appropriate that the transition towards the 21 st century has 
led to the present situation and provides avenues for comparison with the development in 
Australia and other parts of the world. Systematic information skill programmes enable 
individuals to acquire skills essential or necessary in order to cope with the information age 
that we are facing now. Information skill as a tool to critical thinking should not be denied 
to individuals, otherwise they will be handicapped in dealing with today’s avalanche of 
information. As such it can result in individuals being information poor and information 
rich. The information rich is far better equipped and prepared to be critical as they have 
adequate reference to substantiate their decisions, point of views, ideas, statement, 
decisions and policies. Finally, it is not always true that critical thinking programmes 
should always be centred around the educational years, but also during the post-educational 
period, meant as follow-ups to each and individual pursuits. Therefore, it can be 
summarised that there are two phases of the development of the critical thinking skill, one 
during the pre-critical thinking stage, and the other, the post-critical thinking stage. 

1 ^Perhaps we could take advantage of various measurement methods that are 
presently available, such as the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (CTA) 
and the Chickering Critical Thinking Behaviours. 



Abu Samah bin Mohd. Amin,"The Pahang State Educational Resource Centre: Role and 
Development." in 18th Annual Conference International Association of School 
Librarianship, Subang Jaya, Malaysia 22-26 July 1989. 

Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Miffin, 1988. 

De Bono, Edward. De Bono's Thinking Course. London: Petancor Bv., 1985. 

Eisenberg, Michael B. and Small, Ruth V., "Information-Based education: An 

Investigation of the Nature and Role of Information Attributes in Education," 
Information Processing and Management 29 (2) 1993: 263-275. 

Ellner, Carolyn L. and Barnes, Carol P. Studies of College Teaching. Lexington, Mass.: 
Lexington, 1983. 

Fielder, Marie and Huston, Mary M., “Access Ability: Harnessing Knowledge of 
“Thinking Like a Searcher,” Library Trends, 39 (3) Winter 1991:299-315. 

Fielder, Marie and Huston, Mary M., “Access Ability: Harnessing Knowledge of 
“Thinking Like a Searcher,” Library Trends, Winter 1991:299-315. 

Krapp. JoAnn Vergona, "Teaching Research Skills: A Critical-Thinking Approach," 

School Library Journal 34 (5) January 1988: 32-35. 

Maclure, Stuart (Ed). Learning to Think: Thinking to Learn: Proceedings of the 1989 
OECD Conference. Oxford: Pergamon, 1991. 

Omar Mohd. Hashim. Pendidikan Persoalan, Penyelesaian dan Harapan. Kuala Lumpur: 
DBP, 1993. 

Philips, John Arul, "Memperkembangkan Daya Pemikiran Pelajar Melalui Matapelajaran 
KBSM" Journal Pendidikan Guru (8) 1992:1-5. 

Rankin, Virginia, "One Route to Critical Thinking," School Library Journal 34 (5) January 
1988: 28-31. 

Stibic, V. Tools of the Minds: Techniques and Methods for Intellectual Work. Amsterdam: 
North-Holland Publishing Company, 19.. 

Vias, Rita "Educational Needs of School Resource Centre Personnel." in Paper Presented 
to the Seminar on Library and Information Science Education in Malaysia: Needs 
and Expectations, International Islamic University, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 
Malaysia., 1992: 2-3 

Vias, Rita. "Establishing School Resource Centres." in 18th Annual Conference 

International Association of School Librarianship, Subang Jaya, Malaysia 22-26 
July 1989. 

Walton, Graham and Sarah Nettleton, "Reflection and Critical Thinking in User Education 
Programmes: Two Case Studies." British Journal of Academic Librarianship 7(1) 


Wilson, Patrick, “Bibliographic Instruction and Cognitive Authority,” Library Trends, 39 
(3) Winter 1991 ;259-27(). 

Zemin, Jack,"Managing Schools for Quality Learning: The Encouragement of Critical 
Thinking in School Classrooms." in Genting, Highland, Malaysia April, 1993. 

Appendix 2 

According to Jack Zemin, critical thinking skills for school and classroom management 
should include some or all of the followings: 

1. keeping your mind open to a variety of opinions and positions, even those with 
which you may disagree. 

2. comparing and contrasting alternative approaches or multiple interpretations of a 
problem, seeking those which transcend cultural boundaries and meanings. 

3. learning to live with uncertainty and probability in formulating answers to questions 
or solutions to problems, 

4. identifying the sources, amount, relevance, organization, and quality of evidence, 
deciding the relative merits of the data, from the subjective to the objective, 

5. testing the plausibility and consistency of an argument or theory, working towards 
a decision to uphold, deny, or revise the concept, 

6. carefully applying theory to practice, evidence to explanation, and ethical rules to 
actual behaviour, 

7. examining both stated and unstated assumptions in a problem or argument, and 
determining their impact on conclusions, 

8. acquiring a sensitivity to the cultural and historical context of ideas, concepts, and 

9. suspending quick judgement, or 'jumping to conclusions', in favour of a neutral or 
empathic viewpoint, 

10. adopting the viewpoints of others as organizers for the interpretation of 
communications, events, and experiences, 

11. developing strategies for understanding and clarifying ambiguous, or unclear 
findings, problems, issues, or theories, 

12. appreciating the logic, skill, insight, ingenuity, and perceptiveness of both student- 
initiated ideas and those of experts, without necessarily accepting these as definitive 
for all time. 

13. predicting future developments based on current observations, evidence, and 
accepted theories, 

14. setting up standards for judgements of value across all subjects and disciplines, 
including art, music, literature, science, history, and mathematics, sports, etc. 

15. formulating rules, principles, interpretations, and theories of your own invention 
that seek to improve on current mc^els and concepts. 


Appendix 2 







Syllabus and 














28 September 1993 

1.2 3 




This paper is provided as background reading for the workshop, 
Violence in Children's Literature Today. The workshop will focus on 
whether violence should appear in contemporary children's materials 
and, if so, under what conditions. Please read this paper, which 
will not be presented during the workshop, and come prepared to 
discuss the following: 

1. Should violence appear in today's literature for children and 
young people or should it be excluded? 

2. If it is included, are there any types of violence which should 
be banned? 

3. How should violence be treated in juvenile materials, if it is 
included? Should there be differences in the treatment according 
to the age of the intended audience? 

4. What criteria may be used in evaluating juvenile books which 
contain violence? 

5. Please bring any examples which you may have which you consider 

a. unacceptable 

b. borderline 

c. acceptable. 

6. What policies in regard to violence in children's literature can 
be developed from our discussions? 


As adults we are aware that violence is an inescapable reality of 
our world. However, that should not prevent us from posing the 
question, does violence have any place in children's literature? 
Fiction is an artifice. We use story to extend our experience and 
to find meaning in it. It may serve this purpose for children with 
out mirroring exactly life in all its aspects. As arbiters of the 
content and distribution of children's books, we are responsible if 
violence appears in them. Its inclusion should therefore be a 
considered decision and its nature and the manner of its treatment 
ones we have judged to be appropriate. Similarly, its exclusion 
must also be justified. 

In examining our initial question of whether violence should 
appear in children's literature today, a perspective may be given 
to our deliberations by reviewing swiftly the history of books for 
children. It is worth remembering that in the didactic tradition 
of writing for children, punishment figured strongly, whether 
authors were Puritans, 18th century rationalists or 19th century 
Evangelicals. Writing for children has for centuries encompassed 


point 0 d little stories in which the? virtuuus were rewarded and 
evildoers suffered r eet r i but i on . Violence, fjar t i cul ar 1 y physical 
violence, was frequeently part of punishment, as in the case of a 
porter who souqht to cheat a fisher mein and was given 5u lashes and 

dismissed.This story appe?ared in one of Nelson's Royal_Readers, 

widely used in the United Kingdom and the Empire in the late 19th 
and early 20th centuries. But violence also threaded through the 
lives of the qoc'd, many of whom had to prove their steadfastness by 
enduring physical affliction or mental intimidation. Take the case 
of the little? drummer boy who was popular with the officers and men 
in his repiment until one day he was offered a glass C'f rum. am 

a temperance boy, and do not taste strong drink,"' he replied. The 
officers and men tried to change his mind until at last the major 
ordered him to drink it, waxrning him it was death to disobey. Even 
in the face of a threat such as this, the boy stood his ground. 
Again this story appeared in a reading series prepared for schools 
so there was clearly community acceptance of the promulgation of 
stories which incorporated violent threats against children. 
Sometimes violence was used to admonish. We all know of the 
i n c: i d en t in Mr s. Sh er wood ' s H i st o ry of the? Fairchild famil y (. 1818.) 
in which quarrelsome children were taken to view the remains on a 
g 1 bbet of a man who had fir st argued with, then k i11ed his br other . 
Even trivial and thoughtless actions could 1 eaxd to disaster. A 
child carelessly dropped orange peel on the pavement. This caused a 
boy to slip, breaking his leg and suffering much pain. The story 
uncompromisingly laid the? responsibility for the accident upon the 
f 1 rst child, 

r h L.i s i n sii c h 6 ci ]. r e? a d i n g b c:i o f: s and m a g a 2 i, n e? s p r o d u c e d f o r their 
leisure, children of the past were directly confronted with their 
r e s p c> n s i t) i 1 i t y f o r t hi e i r c fi o i c e? s a n d a c t i C' n s £1 n d t h e? 1 i f: e? 1 i h o cj d o f 
severe punishme?nts following closely upon wrong-doing. The lessons 
were nothing if not dirt?ct. Simiilar message?s we?re? repeat£?d more 
starkly, if possible, in the? traditional literature where no adults 
sought to c’lmel i or at e? the punishme?nts visite?d upon the figures of 
evil in fairy stories. In "Snow White" the witch que?en step mot he?r 
was force?d^to we?ar red hot slippers and "dance?" to her death for 
her sins. 

Apart from its eidmoni shi ng, instructive and punis>hing c:|ualities, 
viole?nce in juvenile litc-?rature has heici other roles. It could be 
praxiseworthy, even glaimorous. In the? late 19th century throughout 
the Eiritish Empire, bouth the leisure reading of children and their 
compulsory r£?ading in school we?re tightly focussecJ on the 
import^xnce of doing one's duty. (Df course "tioing one's duty" 
governe?d the? mundeine? details of daily life, but children we?re? eilso 
warned that e?very one of them could be? callecj upon, and should be 
ready, to do their cJuty in faxr more? challe?nging circumstances. It 
w a s n o t III n 1 y t hi e? g r e? a t A d m i r a 1 N e? 1 s i:? n w h ci s fi i.j u Id be p r c-? p a r e d t o 
die?, murmuring, '"Thank God I have done my cJuty!"'^i^ 

I he 1 1 1 er at r e ci f i (nper i a,1. i sm i nst r uc t e?d bciys t haT^t hey we?r e the 
soldiers?, ssailors?, e.v;plcire?rs ancJ treiders of the future "whosse? duty 
it will be? to hold that Empire?" their fathers? be?queathed the?m.(0 
S t i:;:i r i e s o f e? :■/; p a n s? j. o n i s? t g 1 o r y p e r m e? ei t e d s c In la ci 1 m ax t e? r i & 1 s? s? L.t c h ax s 


Nelson’’s Royal Readers and were the stock-in-trade of boys' 
mijga^: i nes sue h as Chums :;. Writing on ill ust r at i ons i n Churns , 
MacDonald observes that through them, "glory, streingth and violesnce 
are made dramatic and me?aini ng f ul , yet rendered innocent by boyish 
high spirits"^^?^ In Chums fighting was "reiduced to a code in which 
reflection was c-ibsent, bravery was instinctive, suffering rendered 
as endurance and death as dignified sacr i f i ce. " (^7' The enormous 
fiopularity of G-A. Henty and G. Manville Fenn testify to the 
widespread acceptability of the cult of the heroic figure, which, 
in boys' materials, took an a\lmost exclusivsely militaristic form. 

Henty's titles form a record of imperiiil achievement. Those such 
ass Under Dr ake 's Flag or With Clive in India sset out the myths of 
how the Eimpire was won; I n t h e Hear t o f t h e Roc !■:: i es s or A I" i n a 1 
Reckoning; a Taile of Eiushlife in Australia , how it was held. Hiss 
hero, whose name changed from book to book, but whos^e physique and 
manner altered not one whit from Crecy to battles with Abor i g i ne-is, 
personified the ideal of British virility. In £ 3t. George for 
England . Henty explained that courage was "the parent of almost 
all" the other virtues because it was required to practisse most of 
tht;?m.^^ Thesse wordss pr£?fc'ice?d a book in which the ssuccesss of Britissh 
manhood was measured in the tallies of the dead and injured 
inflicted upon the enemy. The ssi gn i f i c anc e of one victory was 
h i gh 1 i ght ed by t he obser vat i on that "hi st or y hass no f ot her 3 r ec or d 
of so vast a slaughter by so sm£il 1 a body of men."4j^ The "body 
count" approach to determining ssuccesss was carried through hiss 
b Cl h: ss, h m m g r i n g h o rn e the e s ss a g g t h a t c:' n g B r i t i ss ki m a lew a ss wort i-i 
multi pi ess of any group of f or e?i gnesr ss and that hiss creesd wais that 
which Macauleey put into the mouth of Horatius. 

A n d how i:; a n m a n d i e better 

Them facing fearful odds, 

For the ashess of his fathers, 

And t he t ernp 1 ess o f his godss I (1 

Where satories did not deal with war, they oftt?n incited boyss to 
deemonsstrate physicaU. couratges. A frequesnt incidesnt in sschool stories 
wais one in which the hero founeJ himself obligesd to fight am other, 
larger opponent, either on ai mat tear of honour or to proteset 
another, smaller boy. Thc-?se fights wesre? not briesf or minor. 1 o takes 
ones esxaimple, the fight laisstesc:! "for neeairly an hour, by thes esnd of 
which time bigth had bec-?n sesrioussly mauled, but thes pluck of nesithesr 
wass abated " .(1^ 

It maiy be thatt there wesre contesmporary criticss of thosse writers; 
w h C' urged b o y s t ig h a r b e;' u r ss u e; h a g g r e? ss s i v c-? a 11 1 1 u cJ g ss . 1 n cj e e tJ, 

e V ai n g es 1 i c ai 1 m a\ g ai z i n e ss cJ i c;l n ci t p r o ni ci t es rn i J. i t ai r i s m, t h o u g h M ax c 1.) o n ax 1 d 
points out that thesy we?re "careful to ssupport Englamd'ss place in 
t he wor 1 cJ " . Ce?r t ai n 1 y aut hor 1 1 i es sue h as Uhar 1 ot t e Yonges, E.. G. 

S a 1 m C' n and J. i3 r c-? e n w c* ci d w r C't es a r t i c 1 e s o n t h es i m p >::• r t a n c es o f 
selecting caresfully thes resaic:ling givesn to thes young amd esnsuring it 
was of desiraible quality. I rs 1874 in an article? esntitled "l-'enny 
F-'ackets; of F"'oison", iGreesnwooc:l wairned concerned aic;lults 


there is a plague that is striking it upas roots 
deeper and deeper into English soi1...yielding 
great crops of fruit that quickly fall, rotten- 
ripe. .. tempt i ng the ignorant and unwary^and 
breeding death and misery unspeakable. 

But the subject of his condemnation was not the literature of 
imperialism and its focus on violence, but the penny dreadfuls. 
These were similarly attacked by another article because they 
fostered unrealistic and socially disruptive daydreams in the lower 
orders, encouraging shop girls to think they might marry peers of 
the realm or^actresses they might snare baronets with their beauty 
and virtue.^_^. 

While girls might not be expected to go into battle for their 
country, they did not escape the call to face danger or to be ready 
to sacrifice? themselves. In her Book of Golden Deeds . Charlotte 
Yonge commented that "we all of us enjoy a story of battle and 
adventure". She went on to argue that the real appeal in scenes of 
"woe and violence" was the courage and self-sacrifice they 
revealed, the acts that demonstrated "forgetfulness of sel f" In 

her book she then recounted tales of remarkable ~ and often fatal - 
heroism, as many of which figured women and children as men. Thus 
for Yonge including extreme violence in children's books was 
justified if its portrayal also revealed heroic deeds done by 
individuals on behalf of others. Other materials carried the same 
messages to girls. In the Roval Readers there were numerous stories 
of mothers risking or giving up their lives for their children, 
while Grace Darling, and her Australian counterpart, Grace Bussell, 
featured in many girls' magazines. Even in the penny dreadfuls, 
ex£-imples of female heroism could be found. Jack Harkaway's wife 
demonstrated this. 

Throwing herself upon Jack, and standing between 
his breast and the pistol of Miles Fenton, she 
looked like a heroine of old. 

"Back!" she exclaimed, in a clear, but tremulous 
voice. "E^ack! You reach his body but through my 
heart. If I cannot saye my husband, I can, at 
least, die for him."(^. 

Being ready to do battle with fate remained the staple of much 
juvenile literature up to World War 11 and beyond. We only have to 
think of the immense popularity of Eiiggles to be aware of that. The 
UNESlD Statistical Handbook put E<iggles 29th in the ranking of 
the world's most translated books, showing that his readership 
extend€?d well beyond English-speaking children. Biggies' creator, 
Lapt. W.E. Johns, published 104 books in which Biggies was the hero 
and 11 which starred Worrals, his feemale counte?rpart Nor has 

interest in this kind of action adventure tale expired. Six E-iiqqles 
books were reissued after editing in 1992 and, depending on their 
success, more may appear. It could be argued that Douglas Hill's 

I 1 i r —Li e r O series continues the tradition in an off—planet and 


future time dimension. Thus we should preface our deliberations 
about violence in contemporary juvenile literature by recognising 
that it is only in recent decades that the place of violence in 
children’s books has been so vigorously questioned. Equally though, 
our acceptance of that fact does not compel us to endorse the 
perpetuation of past traditions. In the late twentieth century, we 
need no justification for re-examining our position in regard to 
this matter. There is no time like the present to seek to exclude 
violence from children’s literature or to permit its inclusion only 
in ways of which we approve. These are our choices. A historical 
review simply gives us the reasons of other generations for their 

What positions are held today? 

In Old Lies Revisited. Young Readers and the Literature of War 
and Violence, Whitehead urges all involved in children’s literature 
to promote juvenile reading which will break the cycle of violence. 
She herself takes a very conservative view of what is acceptable 
for young people, endorsing Sutcliff, but condemning Cormier 
unreservedly and disapproving of Westall’s the Machine Gunners . 

She requires of authors writing for juveniles that they make 
"certain definitive judgements" about "the ultimate^ consequences of 
war... and its role in hi story" .(T^. She declares "it is the 
privilege of writers of fiction to create characters who stand out 
from the prevailing mental set and use them as a way of asking 
questions and provoking serious thought about the burning issues of 
all times".In short Whitehead believes that authors for children 
should be obliged to constrict stories that didactically enact the 
principles of non-vi ol enc e 

Yet even as committed to non-violence as Whitehead is, she 
accepts that it should appear in books for adolescents. She 
recognises that "there is a need for books which help y*:;Lung people 
face reality, however distasteful that reality may be. 

The South Australian Branch of the Psychologists for the 
Prevention of War declare their position in regard to violence in 
the name of their organisation. They take a stand close to that of 
Whitehead, seeing conflict and violence as inherently part of our 
society so that its portrayal in children’s books is inevitable. 

But they attempt to induce change through promoting books whicfi 
present "constructive alternatives to violence £ind host i 1 i t y" .(3^. 
This they do by offering a biennial Children’s Peace Literature 
Award. Two of the titles which have so far won the award concern 
personal relationships in settings of ordinary school and family 
life; the third is a fable about the destructiveness of violence. 

Thus there are those today who take the position that children’s 
books may encompass violence and conflict, but it is essential that 
they do so in ways that show the suffering caused. It is also 
important that solutions other than retaliatory violence are given. 
Some may even agree with Webb who argues for the literary value of 
the disturbing. "The necessary monster", she writes, "is at the 
heart of heroic literature, providing it with an imaginative 
definition by antithesis: whatever the boundaries i^f the ’normal’ 
may be, the monster exists in violation of them" .(2'^y. This may be? 


extrapolated to children’s literature. As the monstrousness of the 
monster is a measure of the hero’s daring, so the challenge faced 
by children in learning constructive responses to aggression will 
determine their achievement of maturity. Yet as Whitehead points 
out, once one has accepted that there is a place for violence in 
children’s literature, it is often diffj^rult to judge in given 
instances which books are acceptc^ble. 

The work of Robert Cormier illustrates the dilemma that is posed 
by a writer who purposely studies varieties of cruelty. His graphic 
descriptions of physical brutality are skilfully matched by his 
portrayal of the mental torture of rejection, isolation and mental 
intimidation. The power of his writing is never denied. The 
problem that springs from it is that his very skill may seem to 
qlamorise what he purports to condemn. Whitehead certainly believes 
this of Cormier. She writes scathingly of him giving his audience 
what it wants. 

Perhaps, though, Cormier’s real "failure" is that he refuses to 
write books that follow the established tradition of Western 
juvenile fiction which presents a world in which the exercise of 
courage and adherence to principle guarantees success. In the 1990s 
there are still those who believe that an essential criterion of 
children’s literature should be that good can be seen to win over 
evil - in a physical and material sense. Por it can be argued that 
in Cormier’s books, good does triumph in an ethical and spiritual 
sense. In his books, those who remain true to themselves and stick 
by their principles remain admirable, even if defeated, even if 
dead. Their position remsuns as correct as it ever was. For Cormier 
reverts to the problem of good and evil in its most austere form. 
Like Socr^-ites, he argues that good must be its own reward. He poses 
the question - isn’t doing the right thing the only choice we have 
whatever the cost? If, for example, you were at Trinity College 
with Jerry Renault, and you chose to stand by him, then, indeed, 
you might have suffered his fate. But if you didn’t, if you were 
"only an onlooker", then in effect you had chosen to let Archie 
have his w^■^y and to be, therefore, a lesser Archie. Cormier is 
relentless in making it clear tha there can be no fence-sitting on 
moral issues : either one acts or one does not. Either way, there 
is no escaping the responsibility for the choice you made. 

Perhaps what mak6?s the issue of violence in children’s literature 
more contentious today than it appears to have been in the past is 
the social context in which we find ourse?lves. For Henty’s imperial 
heroes, there was the consolation that if they should die, their 
fame and honour at home was assured. Though not often cited, there 
was also until recently, a general context of Christian belief in 
reward in a world beyond the grawe for a sacrifice made in this. 

Today Cormier’s reduction C'f the choice between qc'od and evil to 
its bleakest form — good before evil whatever the cost -- must be 
paid in a social environment stripped for the? most part of the 
urn fort of religious conviction or social approval. While in our 
world of economic rationalism, some figures have? achieved 
pr umi r]e?nc e for their humaini t ar i sm, there is little eevidence today 
of geneeral community esteem for pe?ople of principle over those who 


can be seen to have been self-serving. The degree to which Jerry 
Renault is seen to be foolish rather than heroic reflects this. 

It is this, too, that makes our dilemma in regard to violence in 
children's literature particularly important for we must find books 
that pose the issues for children in terms meaningful to them in 
their world, rather than to us in ours. 

Maureen Nimon. 


1. Royal Reader. Book 111 . Lond: T. Nelson and Sons, 1883. pp.59 

2. New Royal Reader. Book 11 . Lond: T.Nelson and Sons, n.d. 

3. The Children's Friend . 1869. pp.62-63. 

4. Snow Ulhite and the Seven Dwarfs . Trans. R. Jarrell. Ill us. Nancy 
E. Burkert. Kestrel Books. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Penguin, 1972. 
This version of the tale by the Bros Grimm shows the traditional 
punishment as a background motif to the celebration of Snow White's 

5. Beeton's Every Boy's Annual . 1865. p 575. 

6. Beeton's Annual , A Book for the Young. 1866. p. 2. 

7. MacDonald, R.H., "Signs from the Imperial Qud-irter: Illustrations 

in Churns, 1892 - 1914," Ch ildren's Literature , 16, P.33. 

8. ibid , p.43. 

9. Henty, Q.A. St. George for England . Lond: Blackie and Son, 1884. 
p.vii . 

10. ibid . p.229. 

11. "Her atius". The New Royal Reade r, Book V . Lond: T.Nelson and 
S o n s, n . d . P * ^ ^ J * 

12. Eve ry Boy's Annual , 1875. p.94. 

13. MacDonald, R.H. t. p.33. 

14. Greenwood, J. "Penny Packets of Poison", reproduced in P. 

Ha i n i n g , Tj-i e Pen ny Dreadful, or Strange, Horrid and Sensationa l 
T ales ! Lond: Victor Gollancz, 1975. p.359. 

15. "Penny F'iction", The Quarterly Review , 1890. 171. p.l61. 

17. Hemyng, B. J ac k Har k away in Americ a . Lond: Hogarth House, n.d. 
p. 30. 

18. Thomc^s, M. Guardian Weekly , July 19, 1992. p,23. 

19. Whitehead, W. Old Lies Revisited. Young Readers and the 
Literature of War and Violence . Lond: Pluto Pr., 1991. p. 25. 

20. ibid , pp.23-24. 

21. ibid . For example, see how Whitehead believes L. Hoy should 
have concluded The Damne d. p.l57. 

22. i b i d . p . 5, 

23. The Advertiser , Saturday, October 26, 1991. The Magazine, p.l3. 

24. Webb, J. "The Monster as Hero", C ontrary Mode s. Proceedings o f 
the World Science Fic t ion Con f er en ce, Me l bourne, Australia , 1985 . 
Published by Ebony Books, Melbourne, in association with the Dept, 
of English, University of Newcastle, 1985. p.l. 

25. Whitehead, W. t. p.5. 

26. i bid .p.5. 


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ASLA XIII Dreams and Dynamics Conference Adelaide 1993 

Kid's TV and Literacy: Viewing for Learning 

Annemaree O'Brien 

Television is the ultimate in popular culture. It is entertaining, accessible, extremely popular 
and is a fundamental component of our lifestyles in the 1990s. Good quality television is a 
marvellous window to all sorts of imaginary and real worlds and can enrich and extend a 
viewers life in the same way that good literature can. Yet, television is also a relatively 
misunderstood factor in our lives and within the existing education system. Many parents and 
educators feel a great deal of unease and doubt with regard to the impact of television on 
children's reading skills and habits, fearing that increased television viewing leads to decreased 

Education about and through television is essential in understanding and harnessing this 
powerful medium because used purposefully, television has considerable educational potential. 
Captivating, entertaining and intriguing the viewer, television is a powerful, and persuasive 
educational medium precisely because of its popularity and accessibility. Television's positive 
links to literature is an excellent example of this powerful connection as television can and does 
encourage children's interest in books and reading. 

Television and Education 

As a complex and influential tool, television has tremendous potential to promote learning and 
literacy, opening up new ways and means to educating children which we are only just 
beginning to understand and take advantage of. Used purposefully, quality television and video 
can be a powerful and extremely effective means of enriching and extending students' own 
experiences, knowledge and understandings. Television informs, entertains, educates and 
persuades and it provides a valuable link that connects us to life beyond the perimeter of our 
own realm of family and friends. While children's own life experiences and practical 
encounters with real situations and concrete materials are vital, vicarious experiences are also 
valuable and necessary; exposing the learner to new and stimulating ideas, places and people. 
Television in this context has the same potential as using written text, an excursion or a 
speaker, but as yet most teachers are not accustomed to using it as such. 

Education about television is also essential because television is not a simple text despite its popular 
appeal. What is seen on television is not the same as a lived experience and despite its immediacy 
television does not just transmit an actual reality. There is no question that the exploitative nature of 
television is precisely why critical reading of it is vital. Increasingly in our society we are developing 


an understanding of literacy as a complex and challenging cultural and social construct and there has 
been a marked shift in the last few years towards a recognition of literacy as a social practice. 

(Christie et al 1992) In the 1990's language should be functional - having meaning and purpose, and 
critical - enabling students to read the world around them. It is very important therefore to 
understand and value the roles of different literacies and for the reader to be able to read the context as 
well as the text. (Emmitt 1993). 

The development of students' capacity to think critically about the information they encounter 
through various media is increasingly seen as a priority in all curriculum areas. Certainly at the 
national level it is becoming increasingly recognised that students must have experience in 
critically viewing the visual media as well as listening, speaking, reading and writing. To view 
is now identified as one of the language modes and has been included in the National 
Statement on English for Australian Schools (draft), which outlines the curriculum 
guidelines for developing students ability to speak, listen, read, write and view with purpose 
effect and confidence in a wide range of contexts. 

Learning about television should encourage this critical literacy focus because the making of a 
television program so is obviously an interpretation of reality. Educators and parents are 
responsible for ensuring that students become competent and critical users of television for 
information, opinions, ideas and entertainment. The UNESCO Declaration on Media 
Education states: 

"Political and educational systems need to recognise their obligations to promote in their 
citizens a critical understanding of the phenomena of communication...The school and 
the family share the responsibility for preparing the young person for living in a world 
of powerful images, words and sounds. Children and adults need to be literate in all 
three of these symbolic systems and this will require some reassessment of educational 

(Januaiy 1982) 

Television and Literature 

Television's powerful and positive link with literacy is evident when we know that the 
dramatisation of a book on television is a guaranteed way to increase sales and library 
borrowing. For example Paul Jennings' Round the Twist (Puffin Books) has become a best 
seller with almost one hundred thousand copies sold to date following the very popular Round 
the Twist series made by the Australian Children's Television Foundation. The first Round 
The Twist 1 graphic novel illustrated by Glenn Lumsden and David de Vries (Puffin Books ) 
released at the end of March 1993 to coincide with the screening of the second series of Round 
the Twist, sold over thirty five thousand copies in two months. 


The outstanding sales of the book of Adventures with E.C. with stories from the ACTF's 
Lift Off series is another example, demonstrating the powerful possibilities television has as a 
catalyst for stimulating and broadening children's interest in a variety of literature. This desire 
of children to follow up a story in book form after viewing the film, suggests that they are 
quite aware of the distinctions between the pleasures of television viewing and those of 
reading. Children demonstrate an understand that while book reading and film viewing are very 
different types of enjoyment, they are also complimentary and one is not the substitute for 
another. It is consequently important to encourage and support teachers and students to build 
on and extend these positive links between literature and film and to harness the positive 
potential of television. 

Both literature and film enable us to visit different perspectives and experience new ideas and 
stories whilst being entertained and educated. An exploration of the different qualities of film 
and print texts is also a good starting point for engaging young learners in critical thinking. 
Students can learn a great deal about possible readings of texts by comparing and analysing 
narrative elements of both the original text and it interpretation by the film maker. Alternatively 
an analysis and comparison of a tie in book written from a screen play after the film has been 
made is also an interesting area to investigate. 

It would be very exciting to explore some of these issues with students from a very young age. 
Some questions to start with include: What is the same? What is different? What did you like? 
What didn't you like? Is the author and film director the same person? What differences does 
it make if the writers and film makers are different people? What are the implications for 
viewing and reading these stories? How would you interpret the book/film if you were the 

The Australian Children's Television Foundation's programs and the associated literature are 
very interesting and well worth exploring in this context. Some examples include:: 

1. A film script adapted from an existing book or short story; such as: 

Penny Pollard's Diary by Robyn Klein Kaboodle 

There's A Sea in My Bedroom by Margaret Wild Kaboodle 

Felix and Alexander by Terry Denton Lift Off ( Episode Real Friends) 

Bip The Snapping Bungaroo by Narelle Me Robbie Lift Off ( Episode Into The 
Unknown ) 

2. The script writer writes a tie in book from his/her own post production script such as: 
Captain Johnno by Rob George Touch The Sun 
On Loan by Anne Brooksbank Winners 



A writer writes the tie in book from another writer's screenplay such as: 

Top Enders by Jennifer Dabbs based on the screen play by Michael Aitkens and Jackie 
McKimmie Touch The Sun 

The Gift by Roger Dunn based on the screenplay by Paul Cox and Jeff Peck 

Touch The Sun. 

Sharing a book or a television program together also may encourage discussion of issues and 
provide rich opportunities for dealing with difficult real life situations through characters and 
storylines. For example Grandma's Chair (Lift Off Episode 25 "Threads"), written and 
illustrated by Penny Robenstone Harris, (William Heinemann Australia 1992) deals with the 
death of a grandparent. Molly Makes Music again by Penny Robenstone (Harris) 

(Kabbodle) deals with the separation of parents. On Loan (Winners) by Anne 
Brooksbank explores the issues of adoption and cultural heritage as Lindy's natural father a 
Vietnamese refugee arrives from Thailand. 

Television can provide rich opportunities for sharing and exploring cultures. Bip The 
Snapping Bungaroo written by Narelle McRobbie and illustrated by Grace Fielding (Magabala 
Books 1990) and featured in Lift Off Episode 6 "Into The Unknown" is a story based on 
elements of the writer's Aboriginal culture. The viewers/listeners are exposed to a new writing 
form and language style and are given the opportunity to listen to the story as told by an 
Aboriginal storyteller. How the Birds Got Their Colours told by Mary Albert and retold and 
illustrated by Pamela Lofts (Ashton Scholastic) and featured as an animated story in Lift Off 
Episode 21 "Lost" also provides rich and rewarding scope for young children to explore 
Aboriginal stories. Children should have these opportunities to listen to different tellings or 
readings of the same stories and the film version is indeed an important part of this process. 

Humour is always popular with both literature and television. Paul Jennings' stories are rich 
with humour, twists and surprises and the young readers delight in them. For the television 
series of Round The Twist, Jennings worked with director and writer Esben Storm to create 
the Twist family stories primarily from the original Jennings' stories in books such as 
Uncanny, Quirky Tails, Unbelievable, Unbearable, Unreal (Puffin Books). The popularity of 
both the books and the television series are significant and the material provides a wonderful 
opportunity for children to see how these stories have been adapted and reconstructed into 
different formats. 

The story "Lucky Lips" for example appears in three different yet complimentary versions. 

The original story is found in the book Unreal (Puffin 1985); there is the film text in Round 
The Twist Volume 2 (ACTF) and the story is retold again in the book Round the Twist 
(Puffin 1990). In a new 'twist', selected stories from the second television series of Round 


The Twist have been produced in a comic book format to compliment the television and book 
versions of the story. The Round The Twist 1 graphic novel illustrated by Glenn Lumsden 
and David de Vries (Puffin Books 1993) features "Nails" a short story found inUnbearable 
(Puffin 1990) and "Pink Bow Tie" a short story originally found inUnbelievable! (Puffin 

Television entertains, it manipulates and it educates. Television is easily accessible for all 
students and good quality television is a marvellous window to all sorts of imaginary and real 
worlds and can enrich and extend a viewer in the same way that good literature can. For such 
links between television and literature to be possible however, it is vital that good quality 
television and literature programs continue to be made for children. Many wonderful examples 
have been televised over the years including: Patricia Wrightson's The Nargun and the Stars , 
Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians , Ruth Park's Poor Man’s Orange., Phillipa Pearce's 
Tom's Midnight Garden and C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe , 

The Australian Children's Television Foundation believes that excellent programs can be 
developed specifically for children which are entertaining, educational and appeal to a wide 
audience. Such programs aim to enrich viewers' lives and help to forge firm and positive hnks 
between television, books and reading. Series such as Kaboodle, Winners, More 
Winners, Touch The Sun, Round The Twist, Lift Off and now Sky Trackers are 
good examples of how the Foundation has focussed on building these important links between 
television life and learning about our world. 

Remember...television is the most powerful and seductive storyteller of all time. Learn to use it 
wisely and it will serve you well. 


CHRISTIE, Francis Project Chair {\992)Teaching English Literacy: A Project Of National 

Significance On The Preservice Preparation of Teachers For Teaching English Literacy’ 
Volumes 1 and 2 Department of Education and Training, Canberra 

EMMITT, Marie 1993) 'Issues In Preservice Teacher Education For Literacy' ARA Today 
(Australian Reading Association ) No 1 

EMMITT, Marie and POLLOCK, John {\99\)Language and Learning Oxford University 
Press Australia 

HODGE, Bob and TRIPP, David Children and Television Polity Press 1986 
MESSENGER DAVIES Maiie Television is Good for Kids Hilary Shipman London 1989 


WEBSTER, Colleen Lift Off To Language Curriculum Corporation 1992 
WHITE, Carol Teachers' Guide To Lift Off Curriculum Corporation 1992 

WILLIAMS, Lynne Lift Off To Wondering And Thinking Curriculum Corporation 1992 

WILLIAMS, Lynne Kaboodle Teachers' Notes Australian Children's Television Foundation 



Associate Professor Barbara Poston-Anderson 
School of Information Studies 
University of Technology, Sydney 

Folklorists suggest that one way to understand a group of 
people is to learn about the stories they tell. These 
narratives provide a mirror to culture through which world 
view, values, and social codes can be seen. The belief that 
the sharing of traditional tales with young people can help to 
foster cultural understanding has always motivated me in my 
selection of tales to tell as a storyteller. 

In Australia, one would think that Aboriginal stories would be 
a logical starting place for any storyteller. However, while 
it is true that these traditional stories are rich in evoking 
the land and its peoples, it is advisable to proceed with 
sensitivity and care. 

First, Aboriginal stories cannot be equated with Grimm's 
fairytales or any other traditional tales which are separated 
by centuries from their cultural origins. In Australia, the 
stories of the Aboriginal peoples reflect their belief 
systems. The concept of the Dreamtime is still real among the 
various groups of Aboriginal people. 

Even the terminology used to describe such stories must be 
carefully chosen. For example, some Aboriginal peoples object 
to the designation "myths and legends" because of the current 
connotation that myth means "not true". These terms also have 
specific European literary meanings, which may be 
inappropriate when applied to Aboriginal stories. For this 
reason. Hill in Black Australia (1975, 1985), a valuable 
resource tool for selecting materials about Aboriginal 
cultures, refers to these stories as "traditional narrative or 
story", and the New South Wales Department of School Education 
in the document Aboriginal Perspectives in History (1990: 5) 

has chosen to call them: "traditional lore and stories". 

Because Aboriginal stories are closely tied to specific 
individuals and groups, it is always important to try to find 
out who "owns" the story you want to tell and to get their 
permission, if possible, before you share it. In some groups, 
stories today are still passed on by word of mouth, with a 
person recognised as the "owner of the story". For example, 
in Tiarany Rouqhtail (1993), a recent published collection of 
Aboriginal stories, the acknowledgments recognise the Kukatja 
people of Malarn, Yaka Yaka and Wirrumanu communities who have 
given permission for the authors to retell the stories in this 

When sharing an Aboriginal story with children, then, give 
credit to the owner of the story, identify the group from 
which the story originates, and set it as much as possible in 
context. Stories in printed form today make this easier to do 
than previously. In 1983, when I compared a random sample of 


fifty Aboriginal stories published prior to 1910 with fifty 
Aboriginal tales published and recommended for children 
between 1970-80, I found that there was a significant 
difference between the two samples in how frequently the story 
sources were cited. A greater number of tale sources were 
cited in the Pre-1910 stories than in the tales published 
between 1970-80. 

However, in the last several years, there has been a 
noticeable increase in the number of picture books and story 
collections being published by Aboriginal peoples themselves 
through Aboriginal presses (e.g. Magabala Books), Aboriginal 
Education Units and Country Area programmes (e.g. AERU) and 
other publishing houses (e.g. Angus & Robertson, Ashton 
Scholastic, Bookshelf Books Australia, University of 
Queensland Press). Most of these versions carefully identify 
the source of the story. Some even present the narrative in 
both the original Aboriginal language and in English. One 
example is Gadiman Jawal; The Gadiman Story , from Dampierland 
Peninsula in Western Australia retold in Bardi and English 
with a glossary of terms and extensive notes to explain 
specific aspects of the story. Another is Yeve Apme Kwerlaye- 
Iperre; The Rainbow Serpent transcribed and illustrated by 
Jennifer Inkamala from a story told to her by her grandmother 
and written in both Western Arrernte, a language of Central 
Australia, and English. 

When sharing an Aboriginal story through telling or reading, 
setting the context is important to ensure that young people 
respond appropriately. For example, two men transform 
themselves into birds in Berndt's retelling of Nganalgindja's 
story about Pheasant and Kingfisher . A brief explanation at 
an appropriate level of the concept of totemism before the 
story is told could enrich the children's understanding and 
appreciation of the significant link between humans and 
animals. Among other concepts which may appear in stories 
are: the Dreamtime, the vital link between Aboriginal peoples 
and the land, and kinship. Likewise, references to Ancestral 
Beings and to the basic requirements of living such as humpies 
and firesticks feature in a number of narratives and may need 

When sharing a picture book version of an Aboriginal story, 
look carefully at the illustrations to ensure that they 
reinforce the authenticity and integrity of the text. 
Pictures need to integrate well with the story and help to 
project a feel for the Dreamtime quality of a tale, or, if the 
story is of more recent origin, accurately reflect the 
situation. The work of Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey is 
notable for the presentation in text and illustration of the 
traditional Australian landscape, its peoples and their 
stories (joint publications: e.q. Turramulli the Giant Ouinkin, 
The Magic Firesticks ; Percy Trezise: e.g. Children of the 
Great Lake . the Cave Painters . Lasca and Her Pups ). 

Colourful photographs of landscape features mentioned in 


stories are another effective way that tales have been 
illustrated. This is particularly well done in Oodgeroo 
Nooonuccal's Legends of Our Land , which includes stories from 
Stradbroke Island, Western Australia and Tasmania. Several 
other collections, including Diugurba and Kwork Kwork . have 
used the drawings and retellings of Aboriginal young people. 

Traditional stories, of course, were first told. The written 
word and the multi-media kit (eg. tape, books, filmstrips) are 
more formalised ways of disseminating stories to a wider 
group, including all young people in schools. However, 
passing the stories on through oral means, as well as in 
written and multi-media form, is well worth considering. No 
one would deny that inviting an Aboriginal storyteller to your 
school to share these stories would be ideal. However, this 
is not always possible. With the emphasis in Australia on 
Aboriginal Studies programs at the primary, secondary and 
tertiary level, teachers and teacher librarians who are not of 
Aboriginal descent will frequently be in the position of being 
expected to present ideas, information, and stories about 
Aboriginal peoples as part of the teaching programs. Advice 
received from the Aboriginal Consultative Group to the New 
South Wales Department of School Education, and from 
Aboriginal people consulted at several workshops and 
conferences suggests that it is not inappropriate for an 
informed non-Aboriginal person (e.g. storyteller, teacher, 
teacher librarian) to share these stories with children as 
long as the integrity of the tale is preserved. 

Advice also suggests that it is best to base these oral 
sharings on those stories which have already appeared in 
published form and received positive reviews, preferably by 
Aboriginal reviewers. In this way, the source of the story 
can be documented and it is less likely that Aboriginal taboos 
regarding restricted information will be violated. Once the 
story selection is complete, present the narrative with the 
necessary background and enthusiasm to make it understood, 
appreciated and enjoyed by children. 


With special thanks to Sharon Galleguillos of the Aboriginal Education Unit, New 
South Wales Department of School Education. 


Berndt, Catherine. Pheasant and Kingfisher. Gosford: Bookshelf Publishing 
Australia, 1987. 

Djugurba: Tales from the Spirit Time. Canberra: Australian National 
University Press, 1974. 

Greene, Grade; Traniacchi, Joe; and Gill, Lucille. Tjarany/Roughtail: The Dreaming of 
the Roughtail Lizard and Other Stories. Rev. ed. (Broome: Magabala Books, 1993) 

Hill, Marji. Black Austrlia. Canberra: Australian Insitute of Aboriginal Studies, 1975. 

- Black Australia 2. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1985. 

Kwork Kwork, the Green Frog and Other Tales from the Spirit Time. Canberra: 

Australian National University Press, 1977. 

New South Wales Department of School Education. Aboriginal Perspectives in History. 
Sydney: The Department. 

Noonuccal, Oodgeroo. Australian Legends of Our Land. Sydney: Harcourt Brace 
Jovanovich, 1990. 

Paddy, Sandy & Esther. Gadiman Jawal: the Gadiman Story. Perth: Western Australian 
Museum, [n.d.]. 

Sharpe, Elaine. Yeye Apme Kwerlaye-Iperre: The Rainbow Serpent. Alice Springs: 
Yipiriny (Yeperenye) School Council, 1988. 

Trezise, Percy. The Cave Painters. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1988, 1992. 

- Children of the Great Lake. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1992. 

- Pasca and Her Pups. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1990, 1991. 

Trezise, Percy and Roughsey, Dick. The Magic Firesticks. Sydney: Angus & 

Robertson, 1983. 


IASL/ASLA Conference "Dreams and Dynamics", 

September 1993. 

'The Politics of Children's Literature.' 

Dr.J.A.Webb, June 1993. 

For the past four years I have been running Children's 
Literature courses and a Summer School at Worcester 
College of Higher Education. This has variously involved 
a great deal of discussion with publishers, writers, 
illustrators, librarians and teachers plus those involved 
in the commercial book world. The information contained 
herein has been gathered from these experts and academic 
sources. I would like to thank them for their 
enlightening and open conversation, particularly Chris 
Kloet, editor of Gollancz Children's Books, Julia MacRae, 
and Emma Marwood, manager of Waterstone's Bookshop, 
Worcester, England. 

During the Spring of 1992 I spent six weeks working on a 
book review project with primary school children aged 5- 
11, and am currently supervising a group research project 
on the same theme. Some of the information from these 
projects is also incorporated into the paper. 

Politics and Children's Literature would seemingly be 
two areas of thought which were incompatible. Politics 
being the administration of power, control, government and 
regulation, whilst Children's Literature embodies the 
freedom of the imagination at a period in life which 
Margaret Meek describes as 'literary innocence'(1). The 
lack of innocence of the writers of works for children has 
long been recognised in the awareness of embedded 
political perspectives, whether they be, for example, 
religious, social, or gender biased.(2) A host of 
interested parties, teachers, librarians, editors, not to 
forget responsible parents, each with their own set of 
criteria, read critically to guard the nature of the 
child's world of imagination. The world surrounding books 
for children would apparently focus upon literary and 
artistic merit, moral soundness, high ideals, whatever 
they might be. This, most sadly, is an overly innocent 
view, the dream of the idealist, for the dynamics of the 
practical world and the resultant political tensions 
militate against the interests of children and literary 

Who then is involved in this dynamic network? Which 
individuals and agencies play a part in the process of 
bringing a book to the child? The diagram below 
incorporates the influences in circular fashion for 
determination of the positional relationships is an 
impossible definition in the fluidity of reality. 








A simplistic model would put the writer and the child in 
the most dominant positions, for without them the book 
could not exist. Ideally the child would be in a direct 
and unimpeded line of communication. However there is a 
range of influences which intervenes between the writer 
and the child audience/reader and potentially detracts 
from the power of the creation. The place of the child on 
the above diagram will be discussed in the latter stages 
of this paper. 

The writer must publish the work. 'Which publisher?' 
is the next question, the answer to which raises a number 
of barriers. The choice in the U.K. is considerable, or is 
it? During the current period of recession the number of 
publishing houses is contracting. Large corporations 
dominate. The familiar, individual house which once 
displayed a particular identity may well be a small part 
of a large publishing machine, and therefore governed by 


of a large publishing machine, and therefore governed by 
the business and literary requirements of the parent body. 
Individuality is eroded by corporate ownership. The 
independent style does not earn sufficient capital to 
survive in a highly competitive market. The career of the 
publisher Julia MacRae, as an exemplar of independence, is 
an exception, a testament to her determination, critical 
judgement, shrewd business sense and pertinent movement in 
and out of larger organisations. 

The current nature of the publishing machine in the 
UK disempowers the author. The usual pattern is that a 
children's book pays by being printed initially in 
hardback and then the rights are sold to the paperback 
companies. The sales curve for a book to prove solvency is 
eighteen months. Warehouse storage space is so expensive 
that companies no longer carry extensive backlists. The 
cutting of backlists effectively acts as an instrument of 
widespread censorship by the publishing industry. The 
right for a book to exist is that it should meet high 
economic criteria, regardless of literary worth. The 
chances of future generations of children discovering and 
enjoying a rich literary heritage diminish with each cubic 
foot of storage space saved. The literary past is 
abandoned to silence. 

The implication of a streamlined publishing industry 
for the professional writer is that a new book must be 
produced at least every one and a half years to stand a 
chance of economic survival under the present 
requirements, whilst the editor must be sure that the work 
will sell on to the paperback market. The relationship 
between editor and writer is driven by strong external 
infuences. Large corporations have a fluid staffing 
pattern. The case of editors developing a close working 
relationship with writers is becoming more unusual. There 
are editors who still strive to work in a personal 
fashion, Julia MacRae, Chris Kloet, for example, who 
nurture and advise. The publishing system also works 
against them for the paperback and newer softback 
production companies can offer larger rewards due to their 
greater sales.In the words of an aggrieved editor of 
quality hardbacks, the paper and softback giants are 
'gobbling up people nurtured by other houses'. 

Opportunities for new writers are increasingly 
difficult to bring to fulfilment. Risk is an unpopular 
word where success is an instant demand. Throughout 
publishing history there are instances of major writers 
and recognised classical works being repeatedly rejected 
at the first stages, from the Brontes and Charlotte's 
famous tattered brown paper parcel, to William Golding's 
Lord of the Flies , to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for 
Godot , which was kept waiting by forty four publishers 
before it was finally accepted. Conservatism is creeping 
into the limited opportunities which remain for the new 
author. The comment on the 1992 Mother Goose Award, which 
is given for the most promising new illustrator, 
highlights the current situation in the following 
assessment given by Sally Grindley : 


"This was not a vintage year for the Mother Goose 

Award. There was a startling lack of innovation, and 
a sense that someone, somewhere is playing safe. Art 

schools, or publishers, or both?"(3) 

Tried and tested soon becomes tired and overstretched as 
the pool of talent shrinks through lack of opportunity. 

Marketing trends are therefore determining the rate 
of output which very often bears a direct relationship to 
quality. Aiden Chambers, in his speech at the lASL 
Conference in Belfast last year, spoke of the length of 
time required to consider and create a book; the personal 
case he quoted was that of fifteen years to complete a 
trilogy. Literature is not a production line profession, 
yet those are the conditions which the authors are being 
asked to work under if they want to survive the highly 
competitive short-lived market ethos of today. Certainly 
strategies can be employed to ease the problems, note the 
number of sequels, however the danger is that quality 
deteriorates under such pressures. 

A strategy which does, however, readily spring to the 
British mind is that of widening the pool of available 
material by using the best of European children's books. 
Each springtide the Bologna Book Fair attracts the major 
publishers from across the continent, here must be the 
ideal opportunity to enable a rich cultural and literary 
mix, whilst using provenly successful writers. The reality 
is that each successive year fewer new children's books in 
translation are published in the UK. The figure for 1991 
was under 10. The cost of translation plus the reader's 
fee are prohibitive, for that outlay is made before any 
decision is made upon the suitability of the text. The 
general practice is to buy European books not from our 
continental neighbours, but from the Americans who have 
purchased the items, translated them into American-English 
and then re-cycled them to the British who translate them 
into English-English! How close they are to the original 
would make an interesting study in cultural exchange. The 
mixing of markets, and therefore the multiplicity of 
market demand upon the writer becomes a dominant factor 
with regard to Europe, the UK and much further afield. A 
children's book is judged for viability upon whether it 
will sell on the home market; the large English speaking 
areas of America, Australia, New Zealand plus European and 
translation possibilities into Japanese, for instance. 

The resultant books are on the whole retaining their 
sense of character, as long as that character translates 
within the boundaries of another culture. The censorial 
judgement of the editor is a strong element here when 
arranging such matters, particularly with illustrators. 

One English illustrator, Heather Buchanan, who specialises 
in architectural exactness, was prevented from including a 
Welsh cottage in her work because it would not have been 
acceptable to the wider requirements of the foreign 
readers. The result is on one hand a very bland cultural 
representation which rests nowhere in particular, and on 
the other a mis-match mix which incorporates elements 

which are confusing for the adult who can define the 
roots,and must therefore be in danger of utterly confusing 
the child. An example of such an anomaly occurs in a 
widely distributed 1992 picture book from one of the major 
companies, which disturbingly introduces an old man 
dressed in the style of a Southern American Farmer, 
replete with straw hat and overalls, whereas the rest of 
the setting is clearly typically that of rural England. 
Muddle results in the mediocre and weak books, whilst in 
the best of work there is a learning experience in the 
melding of fact and fiction. The editor clearly has a role 
to play here in terms of stipulation of requirement and 

Some writers and illustrators in the UK are 
dissatisfied with editorial and mass market constraints 
and are therefore circumventing publishers and setting up 
their own book production units. Time will tell as to the 
success of such ventures. One suspects that their efforts 
will be limited by the extent of their advertising power. 
Disseminating knowledge about children's books becomes 
increasingly difficult as the number of books escalates. 
There were seven thousand and six books for children 
published in the UK last year, which leads one to a 
consideration of book buyers, how they choose books, what 
are the sources of information available and how these 
dictate choice. 

The sales route of a book depends upon the category 
of buyer, adult, child, teacher, or librarian. Bookshops 
divide roughly into high street generalist stores and the 
purer book shop. They may be but a short walk away from 
each other. The discerning buyer moving from the high 
street store to the specialist book shop, does so in the 
belief of gaining particular expertise from the book 
shop. Corporate ownership also dominates the world of 
selling. In most cases the book shop will be part of the 
high street chain, although such is not made obvious to 
the customer. Where such alliances impact upon the 
customer is in the quality and range of children's books 
available. Book shop managers are issued with a central 
core of books from the corporation supplies office. The 
same list applies to the high street store and the book 
shop. In effect most of the book shops in the UK are 
therefore making the same books available. Particular 
book shop managers have to fight hard to free themselves 
of the dominant core, and to fight also for the 
specialist children's book sales person. There are some 
independent alternative specialist children's booksellers 
scattered throughout the UK who refuse to be dictated to; 
their survival is precarious. Without specialist people 
we are thrown back upon extant knowledge, and exterior 
sources. The bulk of children's books are bought from 
shops during the period prior to Christmas, from the end 
of October to the holiday. Typically the sales over these 
few weeks equal that taken for adult books in an average 
week throughout the year in an equivalent shop. The 
conclusion to be drawn is that the majority of children's 
books bought from shops are presents bought by adults for 


Choices are made on the knowledge of what the adults 
read as children, the strength of advertising, what is 
perceived to be good, the advice of the shop assistant 
and random selection. With current publishing and 
marketing considerations it is already becoming clear how 
the adult is controlled and disabled by the politics of 
the children's book world. The limitations on backlists 
will increasingly lead to a deterioration of the adult 
knowledge of children's books, as argued above, and 
therefore one of the most common approaches to book 
selection is nullified. The sharing of familiar and 
beloved books is also threatened; the adult recalling the 
love of their own childhood reading through known texts 
and imparting an extra quality of appreciation to the 
following generations. Communication becomes a central 
factor in a multiplicity of ways. The adult can no longer 
depend upon a body of prior knowledge, and the shop 
assistant may well be little better equipped than the 
customer, under these circumstances advertising is a most 
powerful force. 

Where can the bewildered adult buyer look for 
guidance and information? Publisher's catalogues contain 
abstracts which are often written before the actual book 
has been completed, so great are the pressures of time 
upon the industry. They certainly do not seek to mislead, 
one wonders how well they are able to inform under such 
constraints. Readily available information about 
children's books is limited to a fifteen minute weekly 
BBC radio programme 'Treasure Islands' produced by 
Michael Rosen; albeit excellent, the time allocated is 
pitifully little out of the broadcasting year. In Sweden, 
for example, there is a regular and long running book 
review television programme for children, hosted by an 
academic, it is nevertheless a most popular source of 
information and entertainment for both children and 
adults. The medium which is so often accused of 
threatening the book is there being used as an effective 
means of promotion for non-commercial purposes. 

Information regarding children's books obviously 
divides between commercial and non-commercial interests. 
Publisher's catalogues and the information disseminated 
by book clubs must be promotional, whereas non-commercial 
sources would seemingly be free from driving pressures. 
Educational and specialist journals, charitable 
foundations such as the Children's Book Trust, the 
library services which advise are still pulled into the 
commercial melee, for the children's book awards form a 
central focus in terms of guidance. The awards are mostly 
generated by the publishing industry and few include 
children as judges. An award indicates that the work 'is 
good'; how that value judgement is qualified remains a 
mystery to the non-specialist, yet the power of the award 
label is so great that paperback publications carry 
covers emblazoned with award medallions, indicating 
immediate selection for the buyer. 

Selection criteria are of paramount importance in 
the current UK climate where the government is so 
dominating education through the formulation and re- 

formulation of the National Curriculum. The constant 
change combined with a higher onus of responsibility upon 
the parent derived of nervousness about the quality of 
education their child is receiving is resulting in more 
books being bought for children which are perceived to be 
'good'. The gualification for that 'goodness' is 
inclusion in the government recommended reading lists in 
the National Curriculum. Party political thinking is 
exerting a most direct power upon the imaginative lives 
of our children. Commerce and Politics are firmly linking 
hands in the literary world, especially under a 
government which believes in market forces. Bookshops are 
reporting sales levels of children's books which seem to 
be little affected by the recession; the customers being 
middle class parents who are wishing to supplement what 
they perceive to be educational needs. 

Direct parental involvement in schools is often 
centred upon the library. The non-teaching school 
librarian is a rarity in secondary education, confined to 
the very largest of institutions, whilst primary school 
libraries are usually run by teachers who carry full 
teaching responsibilities apart from their library 
committments. Parental help is therefore vital to the 
running of many school libraries. The teacher with 
special responsibility for the library, yet no specialist 
training, is therefore dependent upon the School's 
Library Service for specialist help. Shortly this service 
will have to be bought in by schools under changes in 
funding arrangements made by a government which believes 
in market forces. The average size primary school 
generally receives less than one pound per head per annum 
for expenditure upon library books. The projected cost of 
a School Library Service visit to provide a fresh source 
of books on a loan system will be equal if not in excess 
of the current average school expenditure upon library 
resourcing. At the moment schools are used to at least 
two such visits per year to maintain their book stock, 
additional to the current expenditure upon books. 

This is a clear political pressure upon the quality 
of library maintenance in schools. Even more obvious are 
the cutbacks in library provision which are impoverishing 
the public service. The 1964 Libraries Act recognises a 
duty to provide an efficient and comprehensive service. 
Our Prime Minister, John Major, in a speech to his own 
constituents in 1992, declared that "Civilised nations 
open libraries", yet in 1993 the political dynamics of 
his government are destroying those dreams. Library 
provision is being severely cut due to budgetary 
constraints emanating from government decisions; opening 
hours are restricted, 62% of libraries now open for less 
than 10 hours per week, whilst the Sheffield Central 
Children's Library was threatened with closure.(4) The 
publication of the report 'Borrowed Time? The Future of 
Public Libraries in the United Kingdom' in June 1993, has 
highlighted the obvious threat and misunderstanding of 
the library service (5), yet there are also insidious 
covert changes which impact upon the quality of provision 
specifically for children. 


As with bookshops, the tendency is to move away from 
the specialist trained Children's Librarian and to employ 
general assistants in the children's book area. Change in 
practice is also affecting book selection. Children's 
Librarians are being pressured to move toward selection 
from catalogues rather than reading the actual book. The 
implication is that the reading matter for children is so 
low profile that it can be recommended without even being 
seen. Needless to say there is strong resistance from the 
committed librarians on behalf of the children. 
Librarians, teachers, parents speak on behalf of 
children, and so do academics in developing the 
specialist subject area of Children's Literature. The 
development of research and theoretical consideration 
which brings literature for children on a par with that 
for adults can only be positive. Children's Literature 
should be subject to equal opportunities for study and 
not debarred on what are otherwise ageist criteria. (6) 

Having widely scanned the world of Children's 
Literature what becomes so apparent is that ageist 
criteria are being employed, children are marginalised 
from knowledge about books which are being written for 
them. The 'Puffin Book Club Newsletter' is the only 
source of information available for children known at the 
time of producing this paper, and that, rightly so, has a 
specific commercial purpose. As far as I know there is no 
wide scale source of information produced by children, 
except for example the annual Smarties Book Prize, and 
that is aiming towards specific results. Children are the 
silenced group. The work of Mary Ann Paulin which was 
presented at the lASL Conference in Belfast last year, 
focussed upon producing child critics using the language 
of adult criticism. Perhaps there are ways in which a 
critical language for children may be developed to 
encompass the stages prior to the more sophisticated 
critical concepts required by literary analysis: ways in 
which the child may be politically empowered by being 
given a voice and an audience. 

During the Spring of 1992 I carried out a short 
pilot research study looking at the ways in which 
children select books, what their knowledges are of 
books, and what they value and would like. This was 
designed very much as an investigative venture to look at 
considerations to underpin a doctoral study which will 
begin this coming September. The age groups targeted were 
5-6 year olds and 10-11 year old children within the same 
primary school. The school already had a formal book 
review inclusion in their curriculum. For the young 
children it worked on a five star system referring only 
to whether the book was appreciated, not why, running on 
a scale from 'Brilliant' down to 'Yuck'. The results were 
recorded on a wall chart as paper stars. For the older 
children the requirement was a written report in a 
personal review book. The report including a resumee of 
the story and hopefully some opinion on the characters. 
Neither of the review processes involved other children 
or ,discussion with the teacher. The use of review 
techniques which equate to a soliloquy, I suspect, is not 
very different in most British schools. 


Group discussion,(group sizes varied from 4 to 35), 
focussed initally upon what the children knew about 
books, what they needed to know, and why, and how that 
could be encompassed in an effective means of 
communication pertinent to the age and ability level. 
Knowledge about books was erratic, and this was a school 
which has a respected reputation for literacy in the 
locality. Selection by author was there amongst the older 
children, mostly they went for attractive covers and 
books where they could read the title. I Like Me was a 
popular selection, it was not, however a popularly 
acclaimed book following the reading, whereas Maurice's 
Mum was initially rejected because of the difficulty of 
the word 'Maurice', yet it was subsequently very much 
enjoyed for the inventive nature of the story and the 
number of good jokes in the text. 

The emphasis was initially very much on talking 
about the books to other children. Confidence and 
enthusiasm high, we then moved on to the problems of 
disseminating information about books in a lively and 
interesting fashion. The traditional book review was not 
highly regarded as an effective tool, a new approach had 
to be conceived. The older class of 35 children read the 
picture books designed for the younger age group. This, 
in itself was a most enlightening exercise. For example, 
barriers were broken down , enabling the less able older 
readers to assume an equal status with their more 
fluently reading peers. The picture books were 
appreciated for their subtle qualities which are often 
recognised by adult readers. The children then decided to 
make a book review video. Methods of presentation were 
varied. One group composed a rap complete with original 
music on the theme of their book. Others read the story 
to camera, selecting points at which the camera panned in 
a close up using the text directly; whilst others acted 
parts of the story. The dramatic element developed more 
fully in other areas where the children assumed comic 
personas of well known television personalities gathered 
together to discuss the books. There were agreed 
criteria, that the title and author should be clearly 

Clear communication need not necessarily be 
dependent upon words. An infant's school teacher is 
currently working on the book review project. She has 4-5 
year old children in an educationally deprived urban 
school which also draws upon a disadvantaged rural area. 
The young children there are communicating their energies 
and thoughts about the books to other children through 
pictures. They draw a response, it may be from the text, 
or allied, using very much their own style. Appropriate 
words are added in consultation with the child. The 
review art is then displayed with the book available for 
children to read. High levels of interest are being 
generated by these procedures, interest from the children 
about books; communicating ideas. 

Communication is the way to break through the 
stifling atmosphere of political control. Hopefully the 


Book Review Project will establish networks of 
communication between schools. There are already seven 
involved in the early research stages. Wider benefits 
continue to evolve. The teachers are more assured of 
their selection and literary criteria whilst gaining a 
more expert knowledge of current publications, for the 
books reviewed by the children as part of this project 
are all up to date publications provided by the 
publishers. Interest levels in the pilot schools are 
high, children making greater efforts with their reading, 
seeing an outcome, communicating their thoughts and 
feelings, wanting to use the library for they have an 
ownership in the ongoing active processes which are 
affecting their environment. The oppressions of control 
and ignorance which have been reviewed in the early 
stages of this paper are being attacked. In conclusion 
the dream of this dynamic enterprise is knowledge, a 
democratic approach and giving children their voice in 
the complex of the world of Children's Literature, a 
world they should so freely share with adults. 

Dr.Jean Webb, June 1993 

References and notes. 

1.M.Meek( 1 977 ) The Cool Web Bodley Head p.10. 

2.See for example 

B.Dixon(1977) Catching Them Young 1: Sex Race & Class in 

Children's Fiction Pluto 

B.Dixon( 1 977 ) Catching Them Young 2 Political Ideas 

in Children's Fiction Pluto 

A.Lurie(1989 ) Don't Tell the Grown-Ups Bloomsbury 
Books For Keeps May 1993 R.Leeson 'The P.E.N. Ultima' 
report on 'political correctness' as enforced upon 
writers by the publishing industry. 

3. Books For Keeps May 1993 No.80 Sally Grindley 'The 
Mother Goose Award.' 

4. BBC television June 1993 'Open Space' programme on the 
threat to the national library provision compiled by the 
Association of Assistant Librarians and the Information 
and Library Studies Library at the University of Wales, 

5. 'The Guardian' June 24th, 1993, p.2'Librarians told to 
turn over a new leaf' and Leader comment, 'Closed minds 
closed books' p.25. 

6. P.Hunt (ed.) (1990) Children's Literature Routledge 
p.148; Lissa Paul 'Enigma Variations: What Feminist 
Theory Knows About Children's Literature'. 



Claire Louise Williams, Hunter Institute of Technology, Newcastle 
Ken Dillon, Charles Sturt University, Riverina. 

(Presented by Ken Dillon.) 

What is censorship or, more pointedly, what the **** is censorship? (Solly & Cutler, 1975:4) 

In this paper, we will try to answer that question, amongst others. We're interested in the issue 
of censorship of children's books in schools, and we have researched it for a book which was 
published earlier this year (Williams & Dillon, 1993). We speak from the perspectives of 
teacher, librarian and teacher-librarian. We feel that the issue of censorship is vital but has been 
neglected. To state our position baldly, we believe that censorship is anathema to the proper 
practice of modern education and librarianship. 

We will begin with a look at the use and meaning of the term 'censorship' and some relevant 
philosophy, history and law. We'll attempt to answer the question, "Why should the issue of 
censorship concern us?" Then we will deal with the questions "Who are the censors?", "What 
is censored?" and "What can we do about it?" This part of the paper is largely based on the 
results of a survey of 145 practising teacher-librarians in NSW and Victoria undertaken in 

We'll then organise you into small groups to look at some case studies and report back to the 
whole group on your conclusions. Now that should focus the mind! 

So, what is censorship? Along with its colloquial form - banning - it is a term that is often 
used, usually incorrectly and often emotively. The commercial television stations claimed 
earlier this year, for example, that the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal was - great sacrilege! - 
banning Fat Cat and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. This was quite untrue, and they knew it, but 
the resulting media feeding frenzy was favourable to their interests: it was recommended that 
the ABT's rules for children's television be watered down, that its membership be largely or 
entirely replaced, and that it be moved to Canberra, closer to the watchful eyes of pragmatic 
bureaucrats (Burton,1992:2). 

Those who write and speak about censorship rarely bother to define their temis and often use 
them loosely and improperly. The word censor comes from the Latin censere meaning to tax or 
rate. In Ancient Rome, the office of censor was established by the state in 443BC. Censors 
went from home to home collecting demographic information for the census and also 
conducted surveillance, checking and reporting on the behaviour of the citizenry. Immoral 
behaviour could lead to loss of status and rights. 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Fowler and Fowler, 1964:193) has it that 
censors are concerned with: 

supervising public morals,...expressing opinions on others' morals and 
conduct;...official licensing or suppressing as immoral, seditious, or 
inopportune, books, plays, letters, news, or military intelligence... 

So censorship is fundamentally moral and authoritarian: it seeks to regulate the behaviour of 
others in accordance with fixed ideas of right and wrong. 

As well, censorship is conscious and deliberate; it is not possible to censor accidentally, 
incidentally or unknowingly, a point made clear in the American Library Association's 


Censorship is the conscious effort of an individual, group or government 
agency... to prevent access to whatever is available to be read, seen or heard. 
The motivations - covert and overt - for censorship are as diverse as its means 
of manifestation but may be generalized as being usually based on the professed 
attempt to protect or maintain particular standards of morality, to guard the 
national security, or to assure only a one-sided presentation of volatile social, 
political or economic issues (Wedgeworth, 1980:124). 

Censorship, then, is moral, authoritarian, conscious and deliberate. Yet consider this selection 
of ill-informed claims from the literature of librarianship: 

...the only people who are really not censors are those who don't care about 

Every time I decide to buy this book and not that book, I censor the reading 
material available to the public (Hole, 1984:151) 

...selection is censorship (Cockburn et al .1986:96) 

Another feature of censorship is its negativity. This is what sets it apart from selection. 
Censorship and selection of resources are easily confused because their effects are often 
identical, but the intentions behind them are very different: 

[the selector] looks for the values, strengths and obvious virtues in a work, 
while the censor seeks out the objectionable features. The selector looks for 
reasons to include a book; a censor finds reasons to exclude it... The selector 
presumes liberty of thought, the censor favors thought-control. Ultimately the 
selector has faith in the intelligence of the reader, the censor only in his [sic] 
own (Asheim,1983:180-4). 

It is not censorship, then, to select texts that are well written and modem in their concerns and 
values, in preference to those which are anachronistic and poorly written. Indeed, it is our 
professional duty to do so! It js censorship, however, to reject Julie Vivas' The Nativity on the 
grounds that the local church might not like the depiction of Mary, or Gillian Rubinstein's 
Beyond the Labyrinth because you are offended by the word 'fuck', or Kate Walker's Peter 
because you think homosexuality is too confronting for your community.[l] 

Censorship can operate on a number of levels. The most obvious is the formal, public 
operation of law which I will discuss later. The least obvious but, we believe, most powerful 
and pervasive, is the informal, private, and often hidden practice of what has been termed 'self¬ 
censorship'. Self-censorship has often occurred when readers are prevented from gaining full 
access to materials because they have been modified by erasure or other alterations, or because 
they have deliberately not been acquired in the first place. We have found evidence of self¬ 
censorship being exercised by librarians, teachers and others for a variety of reasons but most 
usually to avoid possible conflict with other adults - parents, the principal, community leaders - 
who, it is feared, might disapprove of the materials in question. Sometimes this self-censorship 
is disguised as selection, but it is censorship nevertheless, fulfilling all of the criteria: it is 
moral, authoritarian, conscious, deliberate and essentially negative. It is also cowardly, 
betraying a lack of confidence in one's professional judgements and a lack of commitment to 
the principles on which modem librarianship and education rest. 

Philosophically, modern librarianship is firmly based in the liberal tradition of opposition to 
censorship. In On Liberty (1859), John Stuart Mill presented a classic case for freedom of 
speech, arguing that it was an essential expression of individual freedom, which was, in turn, 
fundamental to the proper functioning of an enlightened and efficient society: 

...human liberty... comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness; 
demanding liberty of conscience in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of 


thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, 
practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of 
expressing and publishing opinions may seem to fall under a different principle, 
since it belongs to that part of the conduct of an individual which concerns other 
people; but, being almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, 
and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it 

Library associations in Australia and elsewhere clearly follow this liberal tradition but some of 
their philosophical pronouncements suggest libertarianism rather than liberalism. The naive 
definition of intellectual freedom given by the American Library Association in its Intellectual 
Freedom Manual for example, is properly rejected by librarians, in deed if not in word, as 

...intellectual freedom means the right of any person to hold any belief whatever 
on any subject, and to express such beliefs or ideas in whatever way the person 
believes appropriate... Intellectual freedom is freedom of the mind, and as such, 
it is not only a personal liberty, but also a prerequisite for all freedoms leading 
to action. Moreover, it is an essential part of the mechanism of government by 
the people... (American Library Association, 1989) 

Others reject the notion of intellectual freedom on political grounds: it appears indiscriminately 
to provide a platform for all ideas, however outmoded, unattractive or even anti-social, but is 
essentially conservative because it fails to intervene to challenge the dominance of established 
ideas. Such critics argue that librarians have a 'social responsibility' to foster alternative ideas 
and values that promote social change and that they must tailor their collections accordingly 

Some philosophical statements, however, are infomied and workable. The Australian Library 
and Information Association (1992:86), for example, has a "Statement on Freedom to Read" 
which is based on the belief that: 

...freedom can be protected in a democratic society only if its citizens have 
access to information and ideas through books and other sources of 

This Statement recognises that librarians have a responsibility 'to cater for interest in all 
relevant facets of knowledge, literature and contemporary issues, including those of a 
controversial nature' and accordingly asserts that: 

A librarian should not exercise censorship in the selection of materials by 
rejecting on moral, political, racial or religious grounds alone material which is 
otherwise relevant and meets the standards... 

Importantly, the statement specifically includes young people: 

A librarian should uphold the right of all Australians to have access to library 
services and materials and should not discriminate against users on the grounds 
of age... 

The question of children's rights has a bearing on our discussion today. In our society and 
others there has been a reluctance to extend to children the rights and benefits enjoyed by 
adults, but the legal and ethical status of this exclusion has attracted increasing scrutiny. Article 
19 of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", which was proclaimed in 1948 and to 
which Australia was a signatory, states that: 


Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes 
freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart 
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. 

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (1791) provides a guarantee of 
the right to free speech, both oral and written, and a Supreme Court judgement has held that: 

First Amendment rights, applied in the light of the special characteristics of the 
school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be 
argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom 
of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate (Armstrong, 1976:261). 

Australia's recent ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 
prompted public debate on the question of children's rights - most passionate from those who 
seem to see in children's powerlessness the only means of shoring up parental authority - but 
the issue is yet to receive much scholarly attention. We would argue that a de facto, extra-legal, 
if not illegal, denial of children's rights to freedom of speech is being perpetrated in our society 
on a daily basis. In the schools, those responsible are, in the main, teacher-librarians, teachers 
and principals. This amounts to a civil rights abuse of worrying proportions. 

History reveals that censorship is an enduring feature of all societies. It has been suggested that 
the question we should ask of any society at any particular time is not 'Is there censorship?' but 
rather 'What kind of censorship?' (Jansen,1988:25). Freud noted, for example, that it is a 
mark of the advance of civilization when men are no longer burned - merely their books 

Censors appear to be most active when they perceive a threat to their ideas, values, and, not 
least, power and material concerns. Censorship is enforced most rigorously at times of civil 
unrest and social insecurity. Wartime censorship, for example, is particularly severe. This may 
help to explain the particular difficulties which have been faced by proponents of free speech in 
Australia, given our country's origin as a penal colony characterised by state/military 
authoritarianism and imposed social conformity. Appropriate imagery is suggested by the term 
'the violence of censorship' which Michael Poliak (1990) uses throughout his historical 
account of censorship in Australia. 

Writers, artists and, more recently, filmmakers have encountered enormous difficulty with 
censors in this country and I refresh your memory with the mention of some very recent 
sources of contention: Scales of Justice . The Last Temptation of Christ . Spvcatcher . Final Exit . 
American Psycho , the paintings of Juan Davila, and, in regard to school texts. Forever . The 
Removalists . The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith . Equus and The Treatment and the Cure . 

Censorship law in Australia gives certain governmental officials the power to prohibit, restrict 
or alter materials deemed offensive. They are located in the Customs Department which 
controls the importation of materials into the country, the various state Attorney- Generals 
Departments, police departments, and the federal Office of Film and Literature Classification 
and Film and Literature Board of Review. Censorship laws have been liberalised over the past 
twenty years and Government policy is now that: 

...adults should have the right to make their own decisions about what they 
view, but... people should generally be protected from exposure to unsolicited 
material offensive to them and, in the case of children, harmful to them (Office 
of Film and Literature Classification,1990). 


The paternalistic notion of protection is fundamental to censorship law, and as this quote 
indicates, children are seen to be in special, additional need of protection - from harm. In the 
past, women, the working class (especially servants), and indigenous people have been 
similarly targeted. It is no coincidence that all are marginal and relatively powerless groups 
who, when they were not being 'protected' in a variety of ways, were often being subdued. 
Protection is, in other words, very often authoritarianism masquerading as benevolence. 

Regardless of liberal statements of government policy, adults do not enjoy the freedom to read, 
write, speak and view what we choose in Australia today. On the contrary, there is a whole 
range of powerful provisions outside censorship legislation which limits our right to express 
and access ideas. Former Federal Attorney-General Senator Gareth Evans described the 
situation in 1984. It remains as true today: 

At the moment there is no effective right to free speech at all... Free speech is 
simply what's left over when you take out the law of blasphemy and 
defamation, of insulting and abusive words and contempt of court and a dozen 
other things. (Sun-Herald. 1984:36) 

Why does it matter that we lack such freedom? Robert Pullan (1984:10-11) argues that there 
are four arguments in support of free speech: 

First, free speech is essential for individual fulfilment... 

Second, free speech is inherent in the process of discovering truth and 
advancing knowledge... 

Third, free speech is essential for democratic participation in decision-making... 
Fourth, free speech is essential to achieving change peacefully... 

If these arguments pertain to adults, and I think we would all agree they do, then do they not 
also pertain to those under the age of eighteen? Indeed, the arguments seem to parallel the very 
rationale of education in our schools: promoting 'individual fulfilment' and the process of 
'discovering truth and advancing knowledge', and at least preparing students to participate in 
democratic decision-making and 'achieving change peacefully'. In other words, students need 
to enjoy freedom of speech, including the fruits of the free speech of others in written form, for 
the same reasons that adults do, and perhaps they have even more of a claim as their very 
identity resides in their location within the education process, in their state of 'becoming' 
(adults and citizens), rather than 'being'. 

It seems perplexing, then, that students are subject not only to the same legal constraints as 
adults, but also to additional legal constraints as minors - a separate legal category - for 
example in regard to access to certain publications and films through the classification system. 
Most improper and indefensible, however, are the still further constraints imposed on students' 
freedoms, often in an arbitrary and secret manner, by those very individuals responsible for 
their education: the teacher-librarians, teachers and principals in our schools. 

Censorship in schools matters, then, because it constitutes a breach of our professional 
responsibilities as teacher-librarians and teachers. The fact that so many foolishly brand 
themselves censors when what they are doing is selecting, while others dupe themselves into 
believing that by self-censoring they are avoiding censorship, reveals that amongst practitioners 
there is disturbing ignorance of an issue of fundamental importance. This is reflected, too, in 
the theoretical weakness of much of the writing in the area. We owe it to our students, our 
profession(s) and society as a whole to be open and accountable in the way we determine the 
suitability of materials for use in the schools, and to be sufficiently informed to have 
confidence in those decisions and the courage to stand by them. 


Anecdotal evidence and media reports indicate that many teacher-librarians face difficulties with 
what have been called 'problem materials' in their school libraries. The key question is, 
however, for whom are these materials a problem? Are the readers - the students - objecting to 
materials held in the collection or are others - adults - objecting on their behalf? What reasons 
do would-be censors put forward for their actions? What are the best ways of defending the 
resources in our schools? 

In order to find answers to these questions, we conducted a survey of censorship in Australian 
school libraries. Questionnaires were distributed to consenting practising teacher-librarians 
who attended either of two ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) Schools 
Section (NSW Group) seminars on collection development in 1991 [2] or who were distance 
education students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Education (Teacher Librarianship) at 
Charles Sturt University-Riverina. Most respondents were from NSW or Victoria although 
teacher-librarians in some randomly selected schools in each of the remaining states and 
territories were also sent questionnaires for completion. Notwithstanding these attempts to 
make the survey representative of a broad cross-section of Australian teacher-librarians, we do 
not claim that the results are generalisable to all school libraries in Australia. Rather, they 
suggest some indications which might serve usefully as a basis for more rigorous investigation 
at a later date. 

The instrument itself was adapted from a design used by McDonald and Stark (1983), and it 
asked questions about 

1. the existence of a policy for handling challenges to resources 

2. the personnel involved in developing policy and responding to challenges 

3. challenges to resources in schools in the previous five years: their type, source, rationale, 
outcome and trends. 

The last question invited respondents to add further comments. Two hundred questionnaires 
were distributed and 145 were completed and returned, a satisfactory response rate of 72.5%. 
You will note that we followed the standard research practice of using the term 'challenge' in 
preference to 'censorship'in the survey. There were a number of reasons for this. One is that 
the term censorship implies a successful challenge, while we were interested in aU challenges, 
successful and not. Further, we felt that the term censorship is rather emotive, with a negative 
connotation that might have deterred respondents from being as candid as they might otherwise 
have been in their comments. 

In summary, the findings of the survey suggest that: 

1. challenges are common in Australian school libraries. More than half of the teacher- 
librarians (82 or 56.5%) reported challenges to materials in the school libraries in which they 
worked in the previous five years; 

2. censors are successful: most of the 105 resources challenged (68 or 66.7%) were removed, 
restricted or physically altered in some way; 

3. policy for dealing with challenges is weak and ineffective: policy is often non-existent, and 
where it does exist it is often unwritten, developed without collaboration with others, not 
endorsed by the school, and not followed. 

4. the rate of challenges to school library resources has remained almost unchanged over the 
past five years. 

What is challenged? 

Respondents reported 105 challenges to 102 resources. By far the most frequently challenged 
resources were fiction books (64.7%) followed by non-fiction books (26.6%) 

1 58 


Seventy of the challenges (66.7%) were made on the grounds of morality (27), obscenity (24) 
or profanity (19). (No definition of these terms was given or sought.) A checklist of 21 
grounds was provided and all were marked except for 'abortion', 'anti-Australian', 'drugs' and 
'racism.' Reasons cited in the 'other' category were 'poor quality of writing', 'caused 
nightmares', 'suicide', 'incest', 'poor taste', 'grossness', 'triteness', 'anti-teacher', 
'challenges accepted views', 'fantasy', 'showed mother in non-traditional role', 'unsuitable 
subject matter', and 'didn't like women bearing self-defence weapons'. 

By whom? 

Parents were responsible for the largest number of challenges to materials (52 or 49.5%). A 
surprising finding, however, was the number of challenges emanating from within the school 
itself - from principals, teachers, library clerical staff, other school staff and teacher-librarians 
themselves! (46 or 43.8%). Teacher-librarians are responsible for 7.6% of all challenges 
reported, but by far the most active single group is classroom teacehers who are around three 
times as likely as principals and teacher-librarians to initiate complaints. 

Other challengers cited were an Evangelical Fundamentalist Church Group, the Director- 
General of Education (NSW), a student teacher and a Principal's spouse. 

Who determines the outcome? 

In the main, principals. Teacher-librarians comprised the largest single group involved in 
making decisions about the fate of challenged items (86 or 94.5%) but the responsibility for a 
final decision lay with the principal in 68 or 74.7% of cases and with the teacher-librarian in 
only 40 or 43.9% of reported instances. Teacher-librarians and principals were jointly 
responsible for the final decision in 17.4% of cases. A major finding of this survey is that 
principals play a decisive role in challenges - both in defence of student's intellectual freedom 
and as censors of school library materials. 

What is the outcome? 

Of the 102 resources challenged, only 33 (32.3%) were retained and 68 (66.7%) were 
removed, restricted or physically altered in some way, including labelling. In the remaining 
case a decision was pending. 

Challenges from parents led to removal of an item in 43% of cases. School staff had more 
influence: 54% of their challenges led to removal. 

Is a policy helpful? 

If outcome is any measure, we are led to question the efficacy of policies for dealing with 
challenges to resources. Barely one half of the respondents (75 or 51.7%) reported that they 
had a written policy, but they were no more successful in defending resources than those 
without a policy. Whether there was a policy or not, only one-third of resources were retained 
and two-thirds were removed, restricted or altered. How can we explain this? It seems 
significant that fewer than half of the policies were written in collaboration with others - 
principals, teachers and parents, for example; that one third of the policies had not been 
endorsed by the school board, council, or other governing body; and that little more than a 
quarter of the policies were followed fully. 

Are challenges more common now? 

Of the 88 teacher-librarians who responded to this question, 72.7% (64) reported that the 
incidence of challenges to materials over the past five years has remained static. 


Many of the respondents took up the invitation of the final part of the survey: "Add any other 
comments which you wish to make on this subject." This elicited some strong anti-censorship 
statements from teacher-librarians: 

I am very concerned about the way in which teacher-librarians censor materials 
they choose for the library. At a recent meeting I was shocked to hear my 
colleagues state that they would not buy a book that contained 'swear words' or 
'sex' or 'drugs' or anything 'immoral'. I feel that censorship is taking place at 
the selection level and therefore few challenges are taking place 

and some ideas for dealing with censorship attempts: 

A written policy for the handling of challenges to library material is essential so 
that minority groups cannot manipulate the collection. 

A number of respondents, however, took the opportunity to explain why there was no problem 
with censorship in their school libraries: because they made it a point not to select possibly 
controversial materials in the first place! The following responses illustrate this phenomenon of 

Censorship, fortunately, has never been an issue at this school. At the same 
time there is not too much in the library which could be objected to as the 
limited funds do not provide for enough 'controversial' choices. 

Due to selection policy materials that could be controversial are not purchased - 
thus low rate of challenges. 

I probably try to avoid confrontation by selecting materials that are not too 
controversial. This is a Private School. 

Other studies have revealed the same practices. Jenkinson (1986:15) writes of Canada: 

The principal of a rural K-12 school admitted,'! have on a number of occasions 
destroyed books I felt did not reflect the community's nor my own personal 
taste or values...' A vice-principal in a rural (Grade) 4 to 8 school could say that 
his school had no complaints in 21 years because 'in my capacity as vice¬ 
principal, 1 try to ensure that books which would cause controversy are never 
placed in the library'. 

What is disturbing about these findings is that some key people in our schools have so little 
understanding of censorship that they do not recognise it when it occurs, indeed, when they 
themselves perpetrate it. It is clear that avoiding controversial materials in this way is not 
avoiding censorship at all - it is promoting it. 

Other comments elicited by our survey, however, suggest that this lack of understanding of 
censorship also works in the opposite way: that is, valid selection practices are sometimes 
represented as censorship. For example, one respondent wrote of how she 'censored' some 
apparently unsuitable material: 

One of last years HSC students gave to the school his collection of 5 or 6 black- 
magic-with-murder-violence-and-sadism books. He was properly thanked for 
his generosity. The books were placed in the workroom and they have collected 
dust ever since. (Officially 1 have not had the time to catalogue them.) Perhaps, 
one day, after a decent period of time, they will fall into a garbage bin?? 


Three main grounds for concern arise from the findings: 

1. the high incidence of reported censorship; 

2. the high incidence of reported censorship originating within the school and especially within 
the library itself; 

3. the apparent lack of understanding of the concept of censorship which leads to both 
unacknowledged additional censorship in the form of self-censorship and improper attribution 
of the term censorship to valid selection practices.The question is, then, what can we do to 
prepare for challenges and deal with them when they happen? 

First, we need to understand what censorship is and how it differs from the professional task 
of selection, which I dealt with earlier. We should aim to build collections that will "instruct, 
challenge, stimulate, present new ideas to users, and entertain" (Holter,1986:170-171) 

...good education must stimulate controversy; blandness produces nothing but 
bland students (Curley and Broderick,1985:152-3). 

Part of understanding what censorship is means recognising that not all criticism or questioning 
of library practices constitutes censorship. Indeed, it is desirable to stimulate interest in the 
library from different quarters and constructive comments about the collection should be 

Second, we need to understand who the censors are and what motivates them. Empathy is 

To understand a censor you have to wrap yourself in that person's conscience. 
You have to accept the fact that the concerns of the censor are real and heartfelt. 
Librarians should recognize that it takes 'guts' to act against convention and 
institution... The censor may be motivated by beliefs totally alien to yours, or to 
the majority of the citizens, but he or she retains the right to hold and profess 
those beliefs (Poppel and Ashley,1986:41). 

McClure (1983:22-25) identifies three motives of the would-be censor: the moral, the 
psychological and the sociological, and sees problems with each: 

The moral argument denotes personal behavior and connotes righteousness as 
defined by the teachings of religion. It is clear, however, that morals are only 
partly determined by religious standards; economic, class, cultural and political 
factors also enter into the formation of a society's morals. 

The emphasis of the psychological motive is upon concern for the mental and 
emotional well being of the child. These standards too, are complex, derived 
from tradition and over-wrought with concern for local and contemporary 
problems and enthusiasms (for example, one culture may instill the 
psychological traits necessary for independence, another those necessary for co¬ 

The sociological motive for censorship arises from the urge to advance or 
protect the concerns of one segment of society over the concerns or prejudices 
of other segments. For example, the charges of sexism [and] racism...fall into 
the sociological category. Further, censors often object to books depicting 
violent or other socially proscribed behavior... 

Sometimes the motives coalesce. The Chocolate War by Robert Comiier has been charged with 
presenting a warped and libelous view of the members of a religious brotherhood, depressing 
children and giving them a sense of hopelessness, and depicting excessive, and excessively 
realistic violence. 


We generally associate censorship with political conservatism, but McClure's reference to the 
'sociological motive' reminds us that challenges sometimes come from the other end of the 
political spectrum: from those who wish to see the library and the school take a more 
considered role in both reflecting and promoting social change. 

The 'psychological motive' refers to censors' commonly professed desire to protect children 
from harm. As we argued earlier, protection is often authoritarianism masquerading as 
benevolence, and there are, indeed, grounds for scepticism here. Adults' identity and power 
have always been dependent on excluding children from knowledge of different types: the concept of childhood developed, society began to collect a rich content 
of secrets to be kept from the young: secrets about sexual relations, but also 
about money, about violence, about illness, about death, about social relations. 
There even developed language secrets - that is, a store of words not to be 
spoken in the presence of children...Eventually, knowledge of these cultural 
secrets became one of the distinguishing characteristics of adulthood, so that... 
one of the important differences between the child and the adult has been that 
adults were in possession of information that was not considered suitable for 
children to know. As children moved toward adulthood we revealed these 
secrets to them in stages... (Postman,1983:48-9) 

Who are we protecting, exactly, by denying children access to certain information? Are we 
protecting them when we refuse to stock materials that deal with issues like AIDS, 
contraception, child abuse and incest? These may offend middle class adult sensibilities, but 
they can be a matter of life and death for young people, especially those from disadvantaged 

It is difficult to justify 'protecting' children from certain ideas, issues and practices as they are 
represented in books when the mass media are saturated with representations of death, 
destruction, exploitation and injustice and children's access to them is wide open. Arguably, 
exposure to a wide range of materials, including controversial materials, especially in the 
positive environment of the library or classroom, can contribute to critical thinking skills and 
encourage readers to form their own opinions about issues which affect them. 

Who are the censors? We tend to think of censors as organised groups outside the school 
community, and there is evidence of increasing activity on the part of extreme conservative 
organizations in the past decade. These are minority groups which can exert inordinate 
influence because of their organizational skills and the key positioning of some of their leaders, 
for example. Rev.Fred and Elaine Nile of the Call to Australia Party (the political wing of the 
fundamentalist Festival of Light) who share the balance of power in the New South Wales 
Upper House. The importance of such groups should not be underestimated, but, as we have 
shown, we need also to look to the censors within the school system and deal with the problem 
of self-censorship. 

What are the best ways of defending the resources in our schools? We need to develop 
strategies to prevent challenges and strategies to deal with them when they do occur. Nowhere 
in teacher-librarianship is the adage 'forewarned is forearmed' more applicable than in the area 
of censorship. One of the most effective defences against the would-be censor is the 
collaboratively formulated and 'owned' selection policy. Even so, the best preparation will not 
deter the censor if they are determined and procedures for dealing with complaints on a formal 
level need to be carefully thought out and set down in writing. In the same way that individuals 
may insure their homes, teacher-librarians should consider appropriate policy and procedures 
as 'insurance' for preserving the 'integrity' of the school library collection. 

A selection policy is essential. In order to be effective, it must be written. (It is extraordinary 
how many teacher-librarians claim to have an unwritten policy - about as useful as an unsigned 
cheque, we would have thought!) It must also be endorsed by the powers-that-be: the school 


board or council or whatever. It must also be collaboratively developed so that it benefits from 
the input and the support of a range of people both inside and outside the school. Such 
support, especially from parents and others in the community, can be vital in the event of a 
challenge. This strategy requires teacher-librarians to know their community - its special 
features and needs - and to be responsive to these. The policy, then, must be flexible, and must 
be reviewed periodically. 

Clearly, the value of a selection policy is not limited to the battle with censors: it both reflects 
and promotes professional practice in the broadest way: 

Responsible selection or rejection by the teacher-librarian is the natural upshot of the 
development of a good working policy statement and selection policy, clearly outlining the 
criteria for selection which has been developed with and is endorsed by principal, staff and 
school community. This should not be seen as a shield behind which one may operate with 
impunity but as an essential framework for daily activity (Hart and Beedell, 1985:52). 

When challenges occur, it is advisable to attempt to deal with them informally in the first 
instance. Talking to the complainant in a friendly manner, listening carefully to them, showing 
respect for their concerns and explaining policy is a good way to begin, and may well lead to 
an immediate resolution. If informal resolution is not possible, formal steps need to be taken. 
Complaints forms can be useful in helping complainants to clarify their concerns but they 
should not be used in the first instance and they should never be used in order to silence 
complainants or intimidate them. Complainants have a right to know how their complaint will 
be dealt with, by whom, over which period of time, and if a review of an unsatisfactory 
outcome is available. 

Teacher-librarians and teachers, then, should be open and welcome the interest and 
involvement of members of the school and wider community in their collections, even if this 
sometimes means dealing with difficult questions. We should be sensitive and courteous in 
responding to challenges. But, above all, we need to understand what censorship is and why 
our commitment must ultimately be to intellectual freedom. If we are informed and prepared, 
we should also have confidence in our professional judgements, and the courage to defend 


[1] See Clyde, L. and Lobban, M. (1992) Out of the Closet and Into the Classroom: 
Homosexuality in Books for Young People . Port Melbourne, Vic, ALIA Press/ D.W. Thorpe. 

[2] The seminars were conducted in Lavington (Albury) on April 20, 1991 and at Sydney 
Grammar School on June 15, 1991. 


American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom (1989) Intellectual Freedom 
Manual (3rd ed), Chicago, The Association. 

Armstrong, R. (1976) "Student Rights and Involvement" in S. E. Goodman (ed) Handbook on 
Contemporary Education . New York, Bowker, pp.261-265. 

Asheim, L. (1983) "Selection and Censorship: A Reappraisal", Wilson Library Bulletin , 58:3, 

Australian Library and Information Association (1992) ALIA Handbook 1991-1992 , Canberra, 
The Association. 


Burton, T. (1992) "ABT to relax rules for children's TV", Sydney Morning Herald. 16 March, 

p. 2. 

Chipman, L. (1984) "The Zealots: Australia's Thought Police", Quadrant . 28:5, pp. 16-28. 

Cockburn, S. et al (1983) "Censorship", Challenge and Response: Proceedings of the 22nd 
Biennial Conference of the Library Association of Australia . Sydney, The Association, pp.87- 
102 . 

Curley, A. and Broderick, D. (1985) Building Library Collections (6th ed), Metuchen, NJ., 

Fowler, H. and Fowler, F. (1964) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (5th ed. 
rey.), Oxford, Clarendon. 

Hart, J. and Beedell, A. (1985) "Censorship", Scan . 2, pp.44-54. 

Hole, C. (1984) "Who me, censor?" Top of the News . 40:2, pp. 147-153. 

Holter, C. (1986) "Selecting Books for Young Adults...A Considerable Responsibility", 
Catholic Library World . 57:4, pp.170-171. 

Jansen, S. (1988) Censorship: The Knot That Binds Power and Knowledge . New York, 
Oxford Uniyersity Press. 

Jenkinson, D. (1986) "Censorship Iceberg: Results of a Suryey of Challenges in Public and 
School Libraries", Canadian Library Journal . 43:1, pp.7-2L 

Krug, J. (1985) "Intellectual Freedom" in ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Seryices . 
Chicago, American Library Association, pp. 166-171. 

MacCann, D. (ed) (1989) Social Responsibility in Librarianship: Essays in Equality . Jefferson, 
NC., McFarland. 

McClure, A. (1983) "Censorship", Children's Literature Association Quarterly . 8:1, pp.22-25. 

McDonald, F. and Stark, M. (1983) A Report of a Suryey on Censorship in Public Elementary 
and High School Libraries and Public Libraries in Minnesota . Minneapolis, Minnesota Ciyil 
Liberties Union. 

Office of Film and Literature Classification and Film and Literature Board of Reyiew (1990) 
Reports on Actiyities 1989-1990 . Canberra, AGPS. 

Poliak, M. (1990) Sense and Censorship: Commentaries on Censorship Violence in Australia . 
Balgowlah, NSW, Reed. 

Poppel, N. and Ashley, E. (1986) " Toward an Understanding of the Censor", Library 
Journal . 111:12, pp.39-43. 

Postman, N. (1983) The Disappearance of Childhood . London, W.H. Allen. 

Pullan, R. (1984) Guilty Secrets: Free Speech in Australia . North Ryde, NSW, Methuen. 

Solly, S. and Cutler, T. (1975) To Depraye and Corrupt: Censorship in Australia . Windsor, 
Vic, Lloyd O'Neill. 

Sun-Herald (1984) 13 May: p.36. 

Wedgeworth, R. (ed) (1980) ALA World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services 
Chicago, American Library Association. 

Williams, C. and Dillon, K. (1993) Brought to Book: Censorship and School Libraries in 
Australia . Melbourne, ALIA Press/DW Thorpe. 


Across the Curriculum: Across the World 


Blanche Woolls, Professor 
School of Library and Information Science 
University of Pittsburgh 

It is my pleasure today to speak to you as a member of the International Association of School 
Librarians and also as President of the American Association of School Librarians, one of the eleven 
divisions of the American Library Association. I plan to discuss very briefly changes across the 
curriculum and across the world at A.A.S.L. Then, suggestions will be made for changes in your 
approach to your role as a school librarian that will make changes in your professional lives. Some 
of these changes will be placed in the context of multi-cultural experiences for children at all grades 
and stages, changes that must occur in their lives as they prepare for the changes they will meet in the 
next century. I will end with an invitation to visit the University of Pittsburgh next year when lASL 
meets there. But first, changes at AASL. 

Those elected to a division presidency declare a theme for their presidential year. I have 
chosen "Changes Changes". This seems to fit into many recent conference concepts. Our immediate 
past A.A.S.L. president, Ruth Toor, in order to feature change during her New Orleans conference 
program, invited a high school librarian to share with us plans for her new school and the changes 
being made in her high school library. This library must provide information to meet the challenges 
awaiting students as they prepare for life in 2000 and beyond. 

Ann Weeks, Executive Director of AASL, is managing our new Library Power project, a 
multi-million dollar demonstration program sponsored by DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. To 
participate, school districts form coalitions between business and civic leaders, parents and educators, 
who must mobilize their energies and resources to change public education at the local level. Thus, 
"in the successful Library Power projects change goes beyond libraries to the educational process 
through the schools and districts".^ The Library Power project provides qualifying agencies million 
dollar grants to expand school libraries in cities around the US who agree to demonstrate changes and 
to build a picture of technology innovations through school libraries. The first projects were 
implemented in New Yoke City in 1988. School libraries in nearly 150 New York City Public 
Schools were transformed with paint and other renovations, filled with books and staffed with full¬ 
time librarians. These librarians were charged with collaborating with teachers and helping to 
integrate the new library into the overall learning activities at the school. 

The project is making quite a few changes for AASL, physically and financially as well as 
professionally. We have moved from the end of one corridor 

of the fourth floor to one-half of the fifth floor of ALA headquarters at 50 E. Huron and, by the of 
this year, will be occupying the entire floor. Our staff is increasing in all areas with re-assignment of 
current staff and hiring of additional professional and clerical personnel. 


My role here is to speak to you as a member of the International Association of School 
Librarians and during our joint conference with the Australian School Librarians Association. Our 
conference planners here in Adelaide are well aware of the need for school librarians to prepare for 
and implement change. They have expanded today's theme, "Society", into "building a picture of 

society as we go towards the year 2000, and beyond.daring to be innovative in our response to 

and management of CHANGE in school librarianship". 

My means of meeting this theme begins with a plan for change, change you must make to 
move from our more traditional helping role, into a leadership role, perhaps a major change for you. 
If our students are to become information literate, we must begin to work as chairs of the curriculum 
team rather than as just members. Again, Ann Weeks is modelling this changed concept as she chairs 
the Alliance for Curriculum Reform, a group of curriculum related national associations including the 
National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Math, the International 
Reading Association, and the Association for Supervision of Curriculum Development, among 
others. She was elected because she was in a unique position to lead with credibility in ALL the areas 
of the curriculum rather than allegiance to one, and therein lies our true strength. 

Because we owe allegiance to no single area of the curriculum, we are in a unique position to 
lead the way for teachers and to help them integrate learning across the curriculum. We must accept 
that role and begin to change from merely offering suggestions of materials to supplement classroom 
teaching, to directing the collaborative experiences teachers offer their students. We must be an 
integral part of that planning so teachers will adjust their activities to combine isolated lessons and 
design them to meet difference in learning styles. It is only in that way that all students will be well 
prepared to be contributing members of a global society. Can we do it? Can we move from being 
merely active partners across the curriculum to active leaders beyond the classroom, working directly 
with administrators and parents to further the education of children? 

Moving into a leadership role may be less than comfortable for you. If you do not feel 
capable to such a role at this time, perhaps you should plan to take courses with those who are 
preparing to be educational leaders, those who plan to be the headmaster or building principal or 
whatever the administrative leader's title is. That does not mean that you will or should leave your 
position in the school library when you finish the courses, but that you will meet others who are 
striving to become effective leaders and you will learn what they are expected to know to undertake 
this role. You will quickly understand that it isn't easier or harder for another than for you; it merely 
takes the desire to leam and implement some leadership "rules and regulations". 

Why you? We have discussed the fact that you have no allegiance to one area of the 
curriculum, but your knowledge of the whole curriculum means you can be skilful in combining units 
and teachers across the curriculum. Another reason is that, except for the principal, no other person 
in the school knows all the teachers, all the students, AND all the curriculum. In North America, we 
are striving to implement "resource-based teaching". We are moving from that helping role to a 
leadership role because that is the way we can meet the mission of our national guidelines. 
Information Power,” .to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and 


information.2 Assistance with change is needed to encourage teachers to adopt new methods of 
encouraging the development of critical thinking skills in their students. We must do this without 
adding appreciably to their present workload. It is up to us not only to know the teachers and the 
curriculum, but we must be aware of exactly what and when teachers teach specific units, whom they 
teach, and how they teach. While I am sure that you know very well whom they teach, I am less 
certain that we know what, when, and how they teach. 

What if you don’t know what and when all the teachers teach their units? If you are new to 
the school, you can begin by locating the master schedule of teachers and the grade levels or classes 
they are being assigned for the academic year. You will then develop a curriculum unit notebook 
with information about each teacher. You will need to: 

• Develop a form for collecting information about each teacher (See appendix A). 

This form includes information from the following: 

• Look at the textbooks in use and see what is suggested 

• Analyze any school curriculum guides that are available. 

When you have this skeleton information, make an appointment with the teacher and discuss when 
(which weeks) and how long (how many weeks, days) the course will be taught. If you can begin to 
prepare a bibliography of materials that are available in the library, you can share this with the 
teacher. During the meeting, to begin to complete your form, you will want to begin to determine the 
teacher’s teaching style. 

• Predict teaching styles 

While it is difficult to analyze teaching styles unless you can conduct classroom observations 
over time, you can make some assumptions based upon the type of materials they request and the 
activities they prefer. Many may still rely heavily on the lecture method, so you must suggest new 
teaching strategies. 

• Discuss teaching strategies, and resource based teaching 

You must sell them on resource-based teaching. Explain that this is a process of using materials 
beyond the textbook and readily available in the library. Share with them some ideas for activities 
that you will plan for the library and those you will plan for the classroom. Share with them your 
plans for helping students conduct research in the library. While these appear at first glance to take an 
unusual amount of additional time, you must show them how it will become easier over time as 
student interest in learning activities grows. You must try to begin with activities with which they 
will be comfortable before you introduce major changes. 

• Point out materials available in the library 

Now is the time to show them the materials available in the library on the topic, what should 
be requested from other sites, which research skills the students may need to learn, and any other 
pertinent information. You will begin to help them decide for which parts of the unit you will take 
responsibility, which you should do together. 


• Record your planning session and the actual outcome of the unit 

One suggestion is to maintain your planning files in a loose leaf notebook for easy access. 
You can easily record the planning and recording the activities that were most helpful for the teacher 
and most effective for the students and keep special bibliographies with these units. With this 
notebook, everything will be in one location, conveniently stored in your office. If you complete at 
least three teachers each semester, it will not take you very long to have every teacher in your file. 

You must add to your file at the close of the unit of instruction adding information from the 
valuation process. Students and teacher will help determine the value of any materials used in the unit 
to see their relevance, recency, and to learn if you have enough copies. What works best, the 
preferred activities, and the result of any testing should be added to your record. 

Now you are ready to take the next step. If you haven't determined another curriculum area, 
unit of instruction, or teacher who might be interested in integrating with this unit, review your 
notebook to see if overlap exists that you have forgotten. Coordinating integration across the 
curriculum will become almost second nature to you once you have in depth understanding of what 
and when your teachers teach. 

One very recent educational trend is to base student learning as much as possible in the real 
world. By leading across the curriculum, you can relate the math fractions to the cooking 
measurement in the home economics class or relative times for athletes at track meets. 

The first units you prepare will be the most difficult because you aren't certain how it will 
work. However, it will not take as long as you think, and you will need to do a major update of the 
information only when new teachers are hired or when present teachers change the grade level or 
subject area they are teaching or when curriculum reviews occur. Even with major curriculum 
revisions or new textbook adoptions, you will still understand the teachers' teaching styles and you 
will be working with someone you have helped previously. 

Your suggestions may carry more emphasis if they can be shown to be successful in the 

• As often as possible base any suggestions in the research. 

Keeping up with research may not seem easy and reading research is sometimes boring. 
Attending ASLA and lASL, it is inevitable that you will have an opportunity to learn about the "hot" 
research results. In the US we have a group of library researchers called "Treasure Mountain" who 
are doing that for the school library profession. We meet irregularly to study research of school 
library programs, and we relate the research we find to the practitioner as well as to the researcher, a 
very successful model. Papers^ from the first conference were published by Hi Willow Research and 


In the US, two new reports of research may be of interest to you, Impact of School Library 
Media Programs^ and The Power of Reading^ to share with you today. The first reports the results 
of a national study and its replication in the state of Colorado. Lance's report found that the school 
library media program managed by a school librarian was the single predictor of student achievement. 
The second book by Krashen demonstrated the power of reading in the lives of children and points 
out that children who do a great deal of free voluntary reading have improvements in grammar and 
spelling as well as reading comprehension. 

You must also keep up with research in education. Most educational innovation is 
implemented with little if any research base, and most of it dies, fades away, or is remodelled into 
something different before any extensive research can be done on its effectiveness. However, much 
can be gained from keeping yourself and your teachers informed of any research that indicated 
successful teaching methods or educational outcomes from specific activities. 

• Who teachers teach as primary focus 

Records of student performance are on file, but you may not need to refer to these. You are 
in a unique position to have many of the same students year after year. If you can recognize and 
relate to their learning styles early on, it is likely that you can continue to do so easily since those 
styles usually have little change. You can help teachers who may have a conflict of teaching style 
with a student's learning style adapt assignments to meet the learning needs of students from one 
grade to the next. This will make for a happier classroom for everyone. 

Finally, we must help teachers and students broaden their perspectives to go into the wider 
world. "Across the world" means that many of us are already drawing ever closer together. We 
must help our teachers through our resource-based environment to adapt lesson plans into multi¬ 
cultural experiences. More and more our countries are offering asylum and citizenship to others who 
are displaced from their countries of origin for political, economic, or religious reasons. Our students 
are learning new culture from their classmates who arrive from distant shores. 

Children are no longer limited to seeing how other people live from reading in books or 
meeting them in the classroom, they are also learning from television and movies. We must help 
them have a true picture by teaching them to question what they see and to check and confirm their 
impressions in alternative sources. One of those sources may be first-hand communication with 
others. Through INTERNET as well as other electronic mail connections, children are "talking" to 
each other across the world. If children can't find out what kinds of food are served at meals during 
the holidays in another country in one of your references, they need only e-mail a school in that 
country and ask the students there what they are going to eat for their holiday. 

Children learn from a classroom that is some distance from their own. With distance 
education, children can learn Japanese from teachers in Japan or share a science curriculum with 
students in another city near them or some distance away. They are also learning the power of 
information in political times. One of the reasons attributed to the failed coup in Russia two years ago 
was the ability of citizens to communicate to the outside world with FAX and e-mail. The 


opportunity to share information is not limited to adults during stressful national situations, it is 
available to our children in their schools and classrooms. The ability to communicate greatly 
enhances the ability to understand differences. 

We are preparing our children for a global society. Children today will grow up in nations 
brought closer together through manufacture of products in one country that will be sold in another. 
Most of us are aware that our children must not only survive, but must achieve and excel in this 
international environment if our countries are to grow. We must also reach the acceptance of 

A friend of mine is always pointing out the terrible happenings in this world in the past, 
present, and perhaps future that are often done in the name of religion. Tolerance of differences can 
only come about if differences are understood. Until our children understand another country's 
customs, what happens there may seem silly of frightening or threatening. Tolerance is an example 
of acceptance of change. 

Change is not easy. How much more common is resistance to change than acceptance and 
adoption of change. Many of our teachers are often very unwilling to change. When this is true they 
become defensive of the status quo. Yet, change is inevitable and constant. How much more quickly 
we must adapt to change because of the speed with which our environment, our work places our very 
lives change. While the flight to Australia seemed incredibly long compared to a flight crossing the 
US from my home in Pittsburgh to a vacation in Hawaii, how much longer would the trip have been 
if we did not have jet planes, or no planes. 

While some of us are beginning summer vacation, others are into our 93-94 school year. I 
challenge you to plan changes. Do it alone? NO! Try to get your fellow librarians to share with you 
the tasks that have been described above, and write about your successes and ask for suggestions to 
solve your failures. When you develop an effective, interesting integrated curriculum unit, publish it 
so it can be shared. 

I want to hear from you the successes you have in making changes next year. If you want to 
tell me by mail, my address is SLIS, University of Pittsburgh or e-mail on Interent Another easy way to let me know is to travel to Pittsburgh. May I invite you to 
come next July to attend the International Association on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh 
where you will fly into one of the newest and most beautiful airports in the world, see the nationality 
classrooms around the first two floors of the Cathedral of Learning, one of the tallest classroom 
buildings in the world, and visit the largest dinosaur bone collection in the world at the Carnegie 
Museum. This may be another kind of change for you. 

I'll make you one promise. My President's year will be completed. I'll share my changes 
changes with you. 


1 "Nine National Library Power Program Planning Grants Awarded". Library Power: Newsletter of 

the National Library Power Program. 1 (Spring, 1932): p.2. 

2 American Association of School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communications 
and Technology. Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs. Chicago: 
American Library Association, 1988. 

3 Woolls, Blanche, ed. Research of School Library Media Centers. Englewood, CO: Hi Willow 
Research and Publishing, 1990. 

4 Lance, Keith Curry. The Impact of School Library Media Centers of Academic Achievement. 
Castle Rock, CO: Hi Willow Research and Publishing, 1993. 

5 Krashen, Stephen. The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research. Englewood, CO: 
Libraries Unlimited, 1993. 





29 September 1993 

1 73 

1 74 

The role of the public library in supporting 
education in the Natal region 

Author - Rookaya Bawa 


The present provision of library services within the Natal region is highly fragmented and largely 
ineffective. The public, urban and school libraries continue to exist in complete autonomy from each 
other and are ambivalent of each other's existence. Each is funded, staffed and stocked individually. 
No formal policy exists to inform the funding, staffing or access principles. Neither does any 
informal arrangement exist between the libraries to collectively service the society. The result is a 
fragmented, under-resourced and ineffective service in the Natal region. However, more recently a 
few forums have emerged which seem to be initiating discussion between the various library 
services. This paper examines this fragmentation in the Natal region and discusses some of these 
hopeful collaborations between the respective library services. 

Present Status Quo in the Natal Region 

In order to adequately investigate the possible relationships or articulations between public, urban and 
school libraries it is essential to briefly review the present status of library provision in the Natal 

Education library/resource needs of children has been the responsibility of the formal school sector, 
with public libraries playing a supportive role in supporting the extra-curricular needs of the child and 
in an incidental fashion the curricular needs as well. It is perceived that the curricular needs of the 
child should be served by each of the education departments of which in the South African context 
there are -i-15 [1]. 

However, in South Africa the formal school provision of media resources has not materialised 
uniformly in the different education departments [2]. In fact provision of media and resources in the 
schools reflects the wider apartheid structure of privilege that is racially defined. 

School libraries 

In the Natal region we have 5 different Education Departments each with its own policy, staff and 
funding. Each of the five departments has a media services division and its respective head of 
department. The 5 departments are the Natal Education Department (NED), Department of Education 
and Training (DET), Department of Education and Culture (DEC), House of Delegates (HOD) and 
House of Representatives (HOR). Each is attempting to staff, stock, establish and provide a media 
service to the children it is responsible for. Each has worked in complete autonomy of the other. 

“The provision of school library media services to schools differs from one education 
department to the next. Some departments having excellent building and stock, while 
other departments have nothing that could vaguely be called a library. These differences 
appear to exist among schools within the same department, and then too within the same 
geographic area.” [3] 

School libraries reflect the wider racial stratification of South African society, with historically 
“white” schools being better provided for than so called “black” schools. Overduin and De Wit 
[1986] conducted a detailed review of school libraries in secondary schools of seven different 
education departments. 


“with regard to the basic elements of a school library service that is materials, staff, 
accommodation, organization and funds.” [4] 

They found that black schools were substantially lacking provision when compared to their white 
counter part schools. In Natal, for example white schools had 12.8 books per child while black 
schools had 2.4 books per child. [5] 

A subsequent study done by Vermeulen [1990] of 340 primary schools in the Durban and 
Pietermaritzburg area further substantiates the De Wit and Overduin findings of vast discrepancies 
with respect to school library provision. [6] 

Parallel to government schools in Natal we have a host of private schools with superb library facilities 
which will compare favourably with the best in the world. Examples of those are Wickham 
Collegiate, Hilton College and Michaelhouse. 

READ (Read Educate and Develop) a non-governmental organization is also attempting to establish 
and support libraries with the help of donor agencies. They supply book and resource boxes to 
schools and/or individual classrooms. Their efforts are dependent upon funding from donor agencies 
who target specific areas, schools or projects. 

It is generally accepted that the present arrangement needs to be rationally and radically reviewed 
where firstly a more co-ordinated single education department is established and secondly where 
regional resource sharing and networking is more seriously investigated. 

Provincial libraries 

Library provision in the province is governed by the Provincial Library Ordinance, the Natal 
Ordinance number 52 of 1952. On the basis of a motivation the central provincial library 
administration is granted money and resources to provide a library service to people in the Natal 

However, individual public libraries are established by local municipal authorities who build the 
physical library plant and pay for the salary of the librarian, while the provincial library service 
undertakes to provide resources and in service training for the branch librarians periodically. 
Selection, processing and distribution is centrally co-ordinated in Pietermaritzburg. Thus the branch 
libraries are sent block loans from the central branch. 

The central provincial library services co-ordinates the distribution of resources to the respective 
municipal branch libraries via mobile transport services. 

Public libraries are not always accessible to people. For instance: 

“A survey conducted by Stabbins in 1988, before the scrapping of the Separate Amenities 
Act, found that access to public libraries for black South Africans was gradually granted 
from the 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s. While race was removed from the statute 
books by the scrapping of the Separate Amenities Act in October 1990, no provision was 
made for actualizing the principle of equal access. Some town councils invoked a variety 
of measures (for example, substantial membership fees, or production of electricity 
receipts as proof of residence) as a means to exclude black users.” [7] 


Access to public libraries is not a reality for all. Not all municipalities have provided adequate and 
sufficient libraries for the respective municipality they serve. Where a service does exist it has been 
imposed on the people who have had no direct say in terms of where the library is to be built, what 
stock it is to keep and who is to run the library etc. Some areas have libraries and some don't. What 
they have is what they were given not what they chose to have. 

Urban Public libraries 

Urban public libraries fall outside of the provincial library arrangement. They consist of libraries that 
opted to remain independent when the provincial library service was established. The following 
urban libraries are independent libraries, Bloemfontein, Durban, Germiston, Johannesburg, Cape 
Town, East London, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. 

“In each of these cities a municipal public library service functions within its own special 
network which, besides a central library, provides for branch libraries acting as service 
points in the suburban areas. As in the provincial library organization, in the central 
library of each, material is prepared and distributed to various service points. The main 
difference is that the central organization itself also functions as a service point, and that 
the whole service is controlled and financed as a single department of the municipality.” 

[ 8 ] 

Urban public libraries are based in the urban areas of South Africa, ignoring the majority of our 
population which is rural based. 

In some areas, public libraries, urban libraries and school libraries seem to be providing overlapping 
resources and services to the same clientele in some instances, i.e. children that live within a specific 
geographic area that are fortunate to have a school library, urban library and a public library in their 

While one acknowledges that the above is possible it is by no means an indicative reality of the Natal 
region at all. The reality, to the contrary. The average child experiences neither the public library, the 
school library, nor the urban library because none of the above is accessible to most children. 

A possible way forward 

The provision of an effective library service will require the establishment of a process aimed at the 
formulation of policy which will focus on issues such as (among others) 

(i) the effective articulation of the three systems described above 

(ii) principles of access and the need to widen access to those sections of our population which 
have been systematically excluded in the past 

(iii) funding issues 

(iv) staffing issues and in particular, issues pertaining to gender and racial imbalances 

(v) democratisation of the governance of libraries and library services 

(vi) the link between libraries and national development. 

It would seem that firstly the various Education Departments should merge into one Department of 
Education. Secondly, the question of the articulation between the Provincial, urban and school 
libraries should be considered with great urgency. The latter has been tried in many countries. 
Surely if the Education Departments, Provincial Library services and the respective urban 
municipalities talked to rationalise and support one another's initiatives rather than the hit and miss 
arrangement in existence presently, the service and status of library services will be enhanced. 

1 77 

The infra-structure of a possible partnership is not an impossible idea to contemplate. In fact 
ordinance 5/1952 makes the point that the Province can create depots 

.. at a state school, a state aided school or a private school” [9] 

Until very recently in the Natal region provincial library services made resources available to schools 
via block loan arrangement, which ceased in 1970 for White government schools and 1990 for 
private schools. Black schools were never at any stage serviced by this arrangement. 

Is it not possible to revitalise the service to serve all schools, given the fact that the ordinance does not 
exclude services to schools by the provincial library service? 

History of Partnership 

Up to and until 1970 the provincial library services in the Natal region provided block loans of 
reading material to White schools in the region. The service ceased when the Natal White Education 
Department in Natal argued, 

“that it would not be in the interests of the Administration or of this Department for the 
bulk purchase of library books to be arranged by the provincial library services. The 
right of the Principal and his staff to select books is an essential feature of the school 
library scheme and this freedom of action and the goodwill of the schools must be 
preserved at all times ...” [10] 


“the academic revolution which had and was still taking place made it necessary for the 
Education Department to utilise all available resources to increase the efficiency of the 
teaching service. The requirements of all the different types of schools will vary radically 
as will the requirements of the numerous different subjects in these schools. The new 
differentiated education about to be introduced will increase the big differences in 
resources needed to provide for the additional expected differences ...” [11] 

On the basis of the above arguments The Acting Director of Library Services in the Natal region made 
the following resolution. 


“that the Natal Education Department should assume full responsibility for all the matters 
relating to books for government school libraries with immediate effect.” 

Secondly, that 

“the Administrative action regarding the writing off and taking charge of school library 
books by the Provincial Library Services and the Education Department respectively be 
carried out immediately”. [12] 

Private schools continued to receive block loans from Provincial library services until 1990. Mrs Van 
De Riet [13] stated that the service was terminated because it was felt that it was wrong to service 
only private schools, and if the service is to be offered it should be to all schools. 

The arguments raised are valid if one has the funding to establish school libraries in all Natal schools 
and stock the respective libraries adequately. However, Donaldson [1992] makes the point that 

“Government spending on education in South Africa (including the “homelands”) 
comprised 23.6% of the total government spending in 1990, or about 7,1% of the Gross 
National product. These figures are high by international standards . , . and the 
government cannot be expected to commit substantially increased resources to education. 
Although economists will differ on the details, there is widespread agreement that the 
levels of taxation cannot be significantly increased at present, and that job creation, 
improved urban and industrial infrastructure, and direct poverty relief are priority areas 
alongside education in fiscal reform. Government also has a role to play in renewing 
vocational education and training, which have been seriously neglected in recent years. 

There will be intense competition amongst these and other ends for such savings in 
government spending which might result from reduced defence and apartheid-related 
spending. While the economy continues to stagnate as it has in recent years, it may be 
necessary to restrict increases in state spending on education to as little as 2% per year in 
real terms. [14] 

Thus the expected money to establish media centres in each and every school, although ideal will not 
materialise in the near future. Does this mean that a whole generation will not be provided with 


Kwa-Zulu schools project 

In the Natal region the seeds of partnership have been sown with the establishment of the Kwa-Zulu/ 
Provincial Library project. Kwa-Zulu [DEC] asked Province to help establish libraries in 10 schools 
in the Natal region in 1989. The service to date has been extended to 499 DEC classes. [15] 

Initially DEC was allocated R200 000 to establish school libraries. But with the money allocated it 
was felt that the box libraries in the READ tradition was the affordable interim answer. Thus boxes 
and class room collections are distributed by DEC and Provincial library services. For the year 
1992/93 RIOOO 000 000 has been allocated. [16] 

Fh-ovince and DEC approached READ with Mrs Morrens recommendation to make available their 
reading list to help set up these school boxes. READ refused to supply only the book lists. They 
supply booklists and training; not the one without the other. So READ was co-opted to help with the 
task. [17] 

Kwa-Zulu has provided the financial resources, while librarians have been seconded by DEC to help 
with the task. READ and Provincial Library Services have provided the expertise, infra structure and 
support for the initiative. The project is presently housed at the central provincial library services 
building in Pietermaritzburg. 

The project is but a beginning that is hoped will materialise to include more schools and a wider 
geographic area. It must be hoped that other Education Departments are included in the project and 
that the service is expanded to include many, many more schools than presently being addressed. 


Regional co-operation with respect to the sharing of resources and expertise amongst schools was 
raised at the University of Natal's Durban School Library Conference. As a result of that demand 
and the Education Foundation's suggestion that people working with media should meet to discuss 
education and media, Sally Ballard and I established a rather historic collaberative group. The Media 
Forum was established, consisting of the Heads of the Education Media Services from the five 


education departments in the Natal Region. The group has co-opted representation from the 
Provincial library services division, READ, the Education Foundation, Kwa-Zulu school's based/box 
project and me. 

Meetings are usually held every two months. Members voice issues that they need advice on eg. 
DEC was in the process of drawing plans for new school libraries in some of their schools and the 
plans were viewed and improved upon by the group in the light of experiences and expertise that each 
in the group had. 

The group has worked and are working on a number of projects collectively in the region. The 
following are a few examples of joint efforts embarked on. 

Firstly, a register of all schools in the Natal region has been started and all the information is being 
fed to Dolsie Kriger of the Education Foundation who is busy mapping the respective schools in the 
Natal region. 

Secondly, a draft working document on policy with respect to school library media services is being 
drawn up for comment. 

Thirdly, the Education Media heads have begun discussion with provincial library services on 
possible areas of co-operation between schools and provincial library services. 

Fourthly, READ and I have been asked to investigate the possibility of co-ordinating a series of in- 
service workshops for teachers in the region. A draft document, with ideas for in-service workshops 
is circulating for discussion and comment. 

Fifthly, the forum has been actively writing letters to various institutions and departments challenging 
the opening of their services to all departments of education. One such success story is the opening 
of the Indian Teachers centres to all teachers irrespective of which Department they work for. 

However the group needs to widen its constituency bases to include Urban Libraries and to have a 
more accountable constituency base that is able to effect the necessary change needed. 

NEPI /Trans LIS 

The National Education Co-ordinating Committee [NECC] has produced a number of discussion 
documents pertaining to policy on education in South Africa. As a result, a document relating to 
libraries has been produced. A group of individuals and organizations felt that the National Education 
Policy Investigation [NEPI] document commissioned by the NECC had to be taken forward and this 
led to the establishment of the Transforming Library and Information Services Group [Trans LIS]. 
The group consists of a wide range of organizations and individual people that are hoping to work 
together towards common professional ends of investigating and hopefully impacting on policy in the 


Resource centres within organizations in Natal have come together to create the Natal Resource 
Centre Forum. 

The above are but a few examples of partnership in the Natal region but nevertheless a significant 
beginning towards a shared professional goal of common community resource service. 



We seem to have reached the point where its almost possible to arrange an bosberaad on media 
services in the Natal region to impact on policy formulation in order to create a more rational and 
effective service for the region as a whole. However, these initiatives described above are not 
sufficient in themselves to take the process forward. 

A process has to be put in place which has as its primary goal the drawing together of ‘experts’ and 
the large formations of civil society so as to establish a policy formulation exercise which is 
representative and has legitimacy. The questions of articulation and access are difficult but tractable. 
The co-operation examples raised above may represent the roots of such a process. 


[1] Christie, P. The Right to Learn: The struggle for education in South Africa. Sached Trust/ 
Ravan Press, Cape Town. 199l.p 101 

[2] SAILIS/Lambert Wilson Review Workshop. General consensus amongst all the 
presenters. 1992. 

[3] School library Conference proceedings. University of Natal, PMB.1992.p54 

[4] Overduin, P.G.J. and DeWit, N. School Librarianship in South Africa, a critical evaluation: 
secondary education. University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein. 1986. 

[5] Ibid. 

[6] Vermeulen, W.M. South African School Libraries and Standards. South African Journal of 
Library and Information Science . 59[2], 1991. 

[7] Library and Information Services: Report of the NEPI Library and Information Services 
Research group, a project of the National Education Co-ordinating Committee. Oxford Press, 
Cape Town. 1992. 

[8] Malan, S.I. Library and Information Services: a general orientation. Butterworth, Durban. 1978 

[9] Natal Ordinance 5 of 1952. 

[10] Natal Education Departments Minutes and records of the library media department 1970. 

[11] Ibid. 

[12] Ibid. 

[13] Van de Riet, A. Discussion during meeting between province and media heads. 
Pietermaritzburg. 1993. 

[14] Donaldson, A.R. NEPI draft documentation paper. 1992. 

[15] Beecham, L. Personal Communication on the Kwa-Zulu project. 1993. 

[16] Ibid. 

[17] Tornlinson, J. Personal communication. 1993. 


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■ - 182 

Great gum trees from little gum nuts grow 

A case study examining the process of developing a 
successful inservice program on resource based learning. 

Author - Janice Cooper 

Picture the scene. On a crisp Sunday morning in August 1991, eight 
people arc gathered around a large table in a suburban home in Brisbane. 
The coffee flows and the nibbles arc plentiful. Around the table sits a 
group of teacher-librarians with a wide range of experience, expertise and 
current practice: primary, secondary and tertiary teaching; private and 
state system representation; and policy development and school positions 
as current practice. 

Monthly for over a year these patherin^^s occur. The venue chanties, the 
process develops, the food varies, the invited consultants differ but the 
core of people remains the same. It was from the creative kernels in these 
people’s minds that the program Students as //2depe:‘/j4ic/7t Learners 
( SA/LJ^vcw . 

Assessing needs 

In 1991, members of the Brisbane Subcommittee of The School Library 
Association of Queensland (SLAQ) searched for ways in which the 
Canadian program about co-operative planning and teaching could be 
updated and extended to meet emerging needs. The Queensland 
Department of Education had already extended the presentation of the 
Canadian program StrengtLen/h^ t/je Lbundat/onsto large numbers of 
teacher-librarians and other school personnel across the state. We had a 
strong foundation on which to build. 

The needs of schools in the area of resource services and resource based 
learning were being assessed concurrently through a project established 
by the Department of Education to review curriculum resource services in 
Queensland state schools. Half of the SLAQ planning group were 
involved in this review. Not only did the review reveal the importance 
placed by teacher-librarians on on-going professional development for all 
school personnel, but also a growing awareness of the need to promote 
independence and success in learning in the information age of the late 
twentieth century. 


Program development 

A review of the minutes of planning group meetings reveals two clear 
stages in development. During the first stage we spent a great deal of time 
establishing a rationale, goals and objectives and determining our 
audience, the broad program structure, an outline of program content and 
principles to guide the presentation. During the second stage, the group 
broke into pairs to prepare individual modules and then met as a whole 
group to measure these planned modules against the goals, objectives and 
principles already established. 

From the needs assessment and an appreciation of the skills of planning 
group members, we established a clear goal linking resource based 
learning to improved outcomes for students and to positive learning 
environments. From this goal and its supporting objectives v/e determined 
the core elements of the program to be: 

- positive school environments for learning 

- information literacy 

- partnerships 

- teaching strategies 

- planning 

- the change process 

- resources 

- the enquiry process. 

In addition we established the need to involve a broad audience, for 
example, a school team and participants from all levels, P- 12. 

The free ranging brainstorming and intense discussions of this early stage 
enabled us to establish some guiding principles for the development of the 

- student learning, partnerships and effective practice as essential 

themes in all modules 

- providing a model for effective learning programs 

- links between resource based learning and school curriculum 

- time for participant reflection/workbook space for participants to 

relate their learnings to their own situation. 

Our consideration of the content led us to decide on a six module program, 
each module being prepared by a pair of planners. During this planning, 
we endeavoured to keep in mind the principles of adult learning and were 
very conscious of both the content and process of the module. At the 
same time we sought up-to-date, relevant readings and targeted local 
practicioners who were implementing effective resource based learning 
activities in their school or classrooms. 

The whole group meetings were important at this stage of development. 
The range of expertise among the planning group provided a ’critical 
friend network’ to evaluate the planning modules from various 


perspectives, for example, from the perspective of the primary teacher- 
librarian or from the perspective of the adult learner. 

Program implementation 

By this time the program had changed from being thought of as After OPT 
to being titled SAIL (Students as Inc/epenctentLearnersji Now an 
implementation checklist could be established: Task //st - w/ia( - by 
i^konit to plan and complete necessary components: 

- costing 

- workbook preparation 

- publicity 

- copyright 

- presenters materials/equipment 

- venue/ program scheduling 

- catering 

The first presentation of the program in May, 1992 was important for the 
built-in element of evaluation. Planners saw revision as potentially critical. 
Two evaluators were invited, each from a different area of teacher- 
librarianship - policy/administration and professional teaching. While the 
first program was presented on Saturdays (two modules per day) over a 
month, the modular structure allows the program to be presented in a 
variety of ways. 

An important meeting followed the first presentation at which we 
discussed the participants’ evaluations as well as those from the two guest 
evaluators. This meeting was combined with a celebratory meal as the 
general response to the program was very positive. Planners /presenters 
then undertook the task of module revision. This revision was generally of 
detail rather than of the broad structure. 

Program extensions 

Several important extensions resulted from the initial program 
presentation. The first was the cooperation with Catholic Education 
Office (Brisbane Diocese) and the second was the planning for 
presentation of the program away from Brisbane. 

A team of teacher-librarians from the Catholic system participated in the 
first program. An agreement was made between Catholic Education 
Office (Brisbane Diocese) and The School Library Association of 
Queensland to present the program for personnel within Catholic schools. 
The group of seven teacher-librarians from the Catholic system then 
modified the program to meet systemic needs. Modifications have been 
minor and the original rationale, goals and principles have been 


To enable SAIL to be presented in locations distant from Brisbane, key 
teacher-librarians from those areas have attended one of the Brisbane 
programs, With the support and/or presence of some of the planning team 
members, the program is then offered in these areas. The planning for the 
presentations has proved easier than the ability of regional groups to fund 
the program. 

The future 

From the initiation of our planning, we have had an appreciation of the 
difficulties for eight professionals whose current work situations limit their 
ability to present in-service programs, especially on Monday to Friday and 
when travel is involved. With this in mind costing has had a built-in 
component for program development. We are beginning the process of 
examining the feasibility of preparing a packaged version of the program. 
Because feedback from participants shows strong appreciation for the 
interactive nature of the existing program and for the input from local 
practicioners who are available to answer questions, packaging will need 
to take specific forms. Active leadership and local involvement will need 
to be components for the successful use of a packaged product. 

The program is currently being reviewed by Australian Catholic 
Univefsities fof teftiaiy accfeditatlon. Tflis necessitated further 
consideration of the assessment element of the program. 

As the process of development continues, the initiative, dedication and 
teamwork of the planners/presenters remain as key factors. At each stage, 
another succession of meetings and between meeting activities occurs. 
From such tiny beginnings, the gumtree flourishes and grows larger. 

Janice Cooper, Head of Department - Resources, 
Marsden State High School. 

Janice has had wide ranging experience as 
teacher-librarian both in high schools and in 
consultancy positions. Her professional 
commitment includes involvement in local 
networks and special interest groups and 
through professional associations. Other 
interests include local history and genealogy. 



Leaders at ASLA XIII/IASL 22 Joint Conference 

Janice Cooper, Head of Department - Resources, Marsden State High 

Joan Jenkins, Head of Department - Resources, Wavell State High School. 
Chris Syrzeezynski, Teacher-librarian, Our Lady of the Rosary School. 

Other SAIL planners/presenters 

Karen Bonano, Education Officer Special Duties,Open Learning Support 

Silvea Campbell, Head of Department - Resources, Alexandra Hills State 
High School 

Paul Lupton, Lecturer, School of Language and Literacy Education, 
Queensland University of Technology. 

Kerry Neary, Education Officer Special Duties, Program Development, 
Open Access Support Centre. 

Lyn Rushby, Senior Project Officer, Open Learning Development 
Services, Open Access Support Centre. 



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Ken Dillon 

This paper summarises part of a study which focused on teachers' concerns about their professional 
development and their need for and use of one source of professional information: educational 
journals (Dillon, 1992). This means for enhancing professional development is of immediate interest 
to teacher-librarians and teacher-librarian educators. 

The work of teacher-librarians involves a clear understanding of the professional development needs 
of teachers in particular subject areas. It was proposed that teacher-librarians in rural schools could 
help redress the disadvantage that teachers in these schools had with limited access to professional 

The study explored three aspects and their interrelationship, needs, use and access to professional 
information. The subjects were rural secondary school teachers. The experiential, social and 
demographic characteristics of teachers, and their levels of concern about their professional 
development were examined in relation to use, need and access to, professional infomiation. 

It was found that rural secondary school teachers who were most likely to be concerned about their 
professional development would have a four-year teaching qualification or higher, be a regular 
consumer of educational journals, hold a promotions position in the school, and have an interest in 
student learning and in Schools Renewal. 

1. The rural context 

'Rural secondary schools' are defined in this study as any N.S.W. government school in the Riverina 
Region which offers a secondary curriculum (Central and High Schools) and which is located more 
than 60 kilometres from the larger centres of Albury and Wagga Wagga. The 60 kilometre 
'boundary' around these major centres was proposed because of the effect of the inclusion of the 
substantial number of teachers who live in either Albury or Wagga Wagga and who travel some 
distance to 'outlying' schools daily. These teachers would have reasonable access to all the facilities 
enjoyed by teachers in schools within the two major centres. The omission from this study of schools 
in these two major centres is consistent with the Commonwealth Schools Commission (1988: 24) 


As such centres usually have a full range of schooling, cultural and other facilities, 
often including a higher education institution, they were generally considered to be 
outside the scope of this study [Schooling in rural Australia]... As a guide, centres 
with populations of approximately 50,000 or more have been treated in this way ... 

For the purposes of this study, the definition of 'rural' was designed to exclude schools in major 
centres which have substantial professional information resources available for teachers. Another 
important feature of this definition of 'rural' (and therefore the definition of the sample), is that it 
includes as many teacher-librarians as possible in order to provide a substantial sample size. In 
order to maintain a balance between the access to professional information aspect and the aspect of 
sample size, it was decided to exclude Wagga Wagga and Albury from the study but to include 
Griffith. It is noted that for the purposes of the project conducted by Boylan and his colleagues 
(1991), rural was defined to exclude Griffith. 

According to this definition of'rural schools', there were 27 schools 'eligible' for this investigation - 
16 High Schools and 11 Central Schools. 

Teaching in rural schools presents a range of unique challenges and working conditions unlike those 
experienced by teachers in city schools. These involve teachers': circumstances, their relationships within the communities, the professional tasks 
assigned to them in small schools, the level of professional support available to them, the 
financial implications of short-term or long-term service in remote schools, restricted 
access to their families and friends, and the educational and social needs of their own 
children. (Commonwealth Schools Commission, 1988:139) 

Additionally, the very factors which may appeal to some teachers about working in rural schools, 
such as 'smallness' (Meyenn and Sinclair, 1988), can also contribute to problems associated with 
teacher adjustment, satisfaction and commitment to teaching in 'the country', particularly for 
beginning teachers. Such problems include the feelings of isolation teachers have from their family 
and friends and a sense of loneliness resulting from the need to adjust to living in a new community 
with a different cultural 'climate' from that with which they are most familiar. In addition, rural 
teachers may experience a sense of personal and professional isolation from staff in other schools as 
a result of often large geographical distances between schools (Inveracity cited in Boylan, 1991:25). 
For example, secondary teachers may be the only staff members in their faculty (particularly in 
Central Schools) and may be expected to teach outside the area/s in which they are qualified (many 
Central Schools do not have specialist teachers in the areas of Art, Physical Education or Music). 


A national study on the state of schooling in Australia (Batten, Griffin and Ainley, 1991), found that 
in regard to 'areas of difficulty in teaching', rural teachers compared to teachers in other schools 
experienced the 'greatest difficulties' in the area of 'information about access to resources'. Clearly, 
secondary teachers in rural schools have special problems associated with their professional 
information needs which differ from those of their urban counterparts. 

2 . The school sample 

The initial sample school population for this study consisted of all government schools in the Riverina 
Region of N.S.W. that provided a secondary curriculum (i.e. High Schools and Central Schools), 
and excluded secondary schools not deemed to be 'rural' according to the Schools Commission 
definition. A list of 27 schools was obtained from the Riverina Region Directory 1991. While the 
study was limited to one rural Departmental region, it was considered unlikely that major differences 
would exist between the levels of concern about professional development of Riverina Region 
secondary teachers and those from other rural regions such as Western and North-West. The final 
school sample comprised nine Central Schools, fourteen coeducational High Schools and one Boys 
High School. 

Table 1: School population and the school sample used for the study 

School Type 



Central Schools 



Coeducational High Schools 



Boys High School 






Only those teachers of the 'core' subjects (English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science) were 
surveyed in each school because of the wide variation in the availability of elective subjects among 
schools. For example, some of the Central Schools involved in the study offered a much more 
limited range of subjects on site (especially in Years 11-12) than the High Schools were able to offer. 

Table 2: Teacher population and final sample 

School Type 




Sample % 

Central Schools 


51 (20.8%) 

4 6 (18.8%)^ 

Coeducational High Schools 


185 (75.5%) 

171 (69.8%) 

Boys High School 


9 ( 3.7%) 

8 ( 3.2%) 

Total teachers 


245 (100% ) 

225 (91.8%) 


The response rate for distributed questionnaires to teachers was 225/245 or 91.8 per cent. This figure 
compares favourably with Kerlinger's (1986: 380) suggestion of ' least 80 to 90 per cent' as a 
response rate and exceeds Wiersma's (1991: 195) minimum response rate of 70 per cent for a 
professional population. Among the individual schools, the teacher response rate varied from 100 
per cent (10 schools) to 78 per cent. It must be remembered, however, that not all of the 419 eligible 
teachers received a questionnaire for a variety of reasons (e.g. on leave, some schools not fully 
staffed, excursions. Higher School Certificate marking, etc.). The reported response rate is therefore 
based on the total number of teachers available rather than the total teacher population in the selected 
schools. The high response rate from these teachers may be attributable to the use of school-based 
teacher-librarians in the distribution and collection of questionnaires and in the following-up of non¬ 

Figure 1 represents the teaching qualifications of teachers in the sample. One hundred and eighty- 
three or 81 per cent of teachers possessed a four-year teaching qualification whilst 42 (19 per cent) 
were either two-year trained (Teacher's Certificate) or three-year trained (Diploma of Teaching). 
Twenty-three or 10 per cent of teachers held formal qualifications in addition to their teaching 
qualification. Thirty-one or 14 per cent of teachers were currently studying either to obtain additional 
qualifications in education or in a discipline related to the curriculum area in which they taught e.g. a 
three-year trained Social Science teacher studying for a degree in economics and a three-year trained 
Mathematics teacher studying for a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Mathematics. 

Figure 1: Teaching qualifications 


I T.Cert/DipT. 
n DipT.+GradDip 

II BADipEd. 

O Masters 

If one were to produce a combination of the characteristics of the teachers in the sample 
(although it may be difficult to locate all these characteristics within any one teacher), the 
following profile might emerge: 


a male or female teacher between the age of 30 and 34 years with 7 years teaching 
experience. The teacher's current position in the school would be that of assistant. S/he 
would have been teaching in his/her present school for 4 years and resided in the local 
area for the same length of time. S/he would be unlikely to hold any formal qualifications 
additional to his/her teaching qualifications and would not likely be involved in any 
further study. 

3 . The needs of rural secondary teachers 

Need for professional information was indicated by teacher responses to questions comprising 10 
categories of information. The most frequently mentioned category (92 per cent of respondents) was 
the need for information about 'Teaching subject'. Only 'Curriculum planning' was mentioned 
almost as often (79 per cent). 'School administration' and 'Educational theory and research' achieved 
support by fewer than 50 per cent of respondents, but as we will see later, these categories of 
information were nominated by certain types of teachers. Relevance to classroom teaching 
practice seemed to drive the selection of professional information needed by 

Two-thirds of teachers specified 'Teaching method', 'Assessment methods' and 'Schools Renewal' 
as topics they wanted to know about. 'Teaching method' and its close relative 'Assessment methods' 
were of concern to many rural teachers who in 1991 were with their city counterparts unsure about 
the implications of the proposed quality assurance process, the threat of increased accountability and 
the growing emphasis on efficiency and outcomes, a strong driving force for change in education in 

Juchau (1984) surveyed 381 secondary school teachers in the 'core' subject areas working in 
N.S.W. government schools located in two metropolitan regions about their information needs. 
Juchau's findings are compared to the 225 secondary school teachers in the 'core' subject areas from 
N.S.W. government schools in one rural region, in this study. Table 3 compares the percentages of 
teachers from the Juchau study and the present study by infomiation category for those teachers who 
indicated that they 'never needed' certain information and those who indicated that they 'needed 
certain information on more than six occasions'. 


Table 3: Comparison of Need levels ('Never needed’ and 'Needed more than six 
times') by professional information category for two studies 












6 times 


6 times 

Teaching subject 





Teaching methods 





Educational technology 





Assessment methods 





Curriculum planning 





Student learning 





Classroom management 





School administration 





Educational theory and 





Legal/Federation matters 





Schools Renewal 





It could be argued that the limited access by the rural sample of teachers to needed information might 
reflect their attitudes to access and also to their expression of need - it is more difficult for rural 
teachers to obtain information. This may condition their expectations and reduce the likelihood that 
they would express high levels of need. If this were the case, we might expect metropolitan teachers 
to express more frequent occasions of need for professional information than rural teachers. The 
pattern of percentages reported in Tabl^5 might be interpreted to support this view in the case of 
information about 'Teaching subject'. 

However, the association between expressed level of need and locality is confounded by the effects 
of recent rapid change in education. One would expect that teachers post-1984 would be eager to 
obtain information about methods, assessment, technology and administration, all of which have 
been influenced by the recent Schools Renewal program. Thus percentages in the 'Needed six times 
or more' category would be higher in the 1991 study compared with percentages found in 1984. This 
proves to be the case. The profile of percentages across almost all categories, where comparable 
figures are available, is similar but the distribution has a higher elevation - percentages for the current 
study are consistently higher than for Juchau's 1984 study. In particular, the figure for 'Schools 
Renewal', 12 per cent, is the second highest of all the information categories indicating a high 
incidence of need to know about this aspect of education. Of course there is no comparable figure for 
the 1984 study. 

The proportion of teachers having needed information about 'Teaching subject' six or more times, is 
considerably lower in the present study than for 1984. Perhaps the development of new syllabuses 
which was at its height in the mid-1980s has become less widespread across syllabuses and rather 
more focussed in the curriculum areas of the teachers in this study - science, mathematics, social 
science and English. 


In both studies, the percentage of teachers fell sharply as frequency of need increased and then 
increased for the frequency category 'more than six times'. Juchau (1984:119-120) proposed that 
the increase in the number of teachers in this final frequency category may have been due to the 
category being too broad or to the existence of a distinct group of teachers with high information 
needs. It is evident from Table 4, however, that differences between the two highest frequency 
categories in this study are quite small (ranging from 0 per cent for 'Student Learning' to 4.8 per cent 
for 'Schools Renewal') and the percentages of teachers in each of the two highest frequency 
categories (3.9 per cent in 'Educational theory and research' and 12 per cent in 'Schools Renewal'), 
are also quite small. The main exception to this trend in both studies was clearly information about 
'Teaching subject' which was required 'more than six times' by 72.7 per cent of teachers (Juchau) 
and by 61 per cent of teachers (this study). 

Table 4: 

Frequency with which teachers sought professional information (need) 
by category 













Total (N) 

Teaching subject 








Teaching methods 












4 . 8 





Assessment methods 








Curriculum planning 








Student learning 








Classroom management 








School administration 








Educational theory 








and research 










Schools Renewal 








Other information 







( 29) 

Whilst the pattern of distributions throughout all the categories of information is similar between 
Juchau's 'pre-Renewal' findings and this 'post-Renewal' study, it is apparent that (after the 
exclusion of 'Teaching subject'), information about 'Schools Renewal' was sought 
by teachers more often than any other category of professional information. 

To some extent comparisons with Juchau's 1984 data, derived from a metropolitan sample of 
teachers, support the expectation that 'pre-renewal' and 'post-renewal' concerns would differ. The 
profile of scores across almost all the professional information categories was higher in 1991 than the 
profile from the 1984 data, indicating that more 1991 teachers desired access to the 
categories of information than in 1984. Of course the category of information about 'Schools 
Renewal' did not appear in the 1984 list. 

What is perhaps even more interesting is the association between the kind of teacher and the kind of 


'What kind of teacher?' referred to a range of characteristics but only six were significantly 
associated with categories of need. For example, teachers with 'Formal qualifications' in 
addition to those required for teaching, and with ten or more years of experience 
sought information about 'School administration', 'Schools Renewal' and 
'Curriculum planning', more than teachers with less experience and no 'Formal 
qualifications'. This is not surprising given the greater immediacy of career concerns in the face of 
a growing insecurity about the reliability of previously well established expectations. 

The teachers surveyed in the study included four 'methods' (subject taught): social science, English, 
mathematics and science. Another answer to the question what kind of teachers need what kind of 
information is that teachers of English were more likely to say they frequently desire 
access to (i.e. to 'need') information about their 'Teaching subject' than science 
teachers or social science teachers. 

Mathematics teachers were less likely than other teachers of other subjects to need 
information about student learning - in fact the association between 'Teaching 
method' and need for information about 'Teaching subject' was inverse for this 

The examination of the questions which dealt with availability and use of information services as 
perceived by teachers provided some useful data regarding range and level of services. Circulation of 
journals and/or articles of interest to individual teachers ranked third highest among those services 
nominated as available and used and highest among those nominated as not available. The next 
highest services in terms of non-availability were information on the location of materials in other 
libraries and inter-library loans from other libraries. It is perhaps significant to note here that all of 
these services involve 'extension' of the library from within the school into the broader 'marketplace' 
of educational information. It is essential that teacher-librarians increase the range of services offered 
at the school level or otherwise more efficiently make known the availability of these services where 
they already exist. 


3 . Design of the study 

A full explanation of the formulation and examination of the proposed relationships between the 
groups of variables in Figure 2 can be found in Dillon (1992). 

Figure 2: Design of the study 

4 . Implications for teacher-librarians. 

One of the most important areas of competence in teacher-librarianship is to service the professional 
development needs of teachers. Teacher-librarians need to become '...more service oriented in 
meeting the needs of teachers in the area of retrieval and dissemination of infomiation' (Broadbent and 
Broadbent, 1979: 153). The results of the present survey indicated that teachers' information 
needs largely related to subject matter and to a lesser extent Schools Renewal. Much 
lower levels of need were expressed for materials on topics such as 'Educational theory and research'. 
Not only should teachers' perceived needs be catered for, but every effort should be made to meet the 
'unarticulated needs' of teachers by conducting an assessment of teachers' needs as the basis for 
determining future professional development. Teacher-librarians need to implement inservice 
programs designed to increase teachers' awareness of their needs for professional infomiation even if 
they have not previously perceived a need. 

Teacher-librarians can also provide a type of current awareness service to teachers which is epitomised 
by the concept of Selective Dissemination of Information (SDl). SDl is a feature of special library 
services. The purpose of such a service is to alert the user to information in his/her field of interest. 
This may take the form of routing particular educational journals to particular teachers, sending 
educational research reports and infomiation to certain teachers and so on. An effective SDl service is 


based on individual profdes of special interests of teachers and the teacher-librarian uses the profile in 
disseminating information on educational trends, research and materials. Through the school in this 
way too, the teacher-librarian can endeavour to meet the information requirements of all school 
personnel, including executive, school council, administrative staff as well as the teacher-librarian 

While not under-valuing essential services such as user education and reading guidance for students, 
teacher-librarians must also focus their efforts on services to teachers as these services often result in 
improvements in teaching practice which ultimately benefit children. In other words, one of the best 
ways to improve the quality of educational outcomes for children is by providing a high level of 
service for teachers as proposed by Morris, Gillespie and Spirt (1992: 115): 

Perhaps the best way to reach teachers is to give them the personalized attention and 
professional concern that will aid them in preparing instructional programs - in short, 
provide the support that will help them to become better teachers. 

In rural and isolated areas this type of support would be particularly useful for beginning and/or 
inexperienced teachers. The results of this study support Finger's (1983) finding that 
older teachers do more professional reading than their younger colleagues. This result 
would suggest that teacher-librarians would do well to target younger teachers in the delivery of 
information dissemination services. 

Where possible teacher-librarians should promote the range of information services available to staff. 
Whilst this often occurs on an informal basis (usually at the point of need), more formal activities 
ensure that all staff are aware of the services available. Examples of these kind of activities might 
include an orientation program for new staff on the first day of the school year or part of a Staff 
Development Day dealing with internal and external sources of professional information outlining the 
services available to staff from the teacher-librarian in obtaining materials. A problem with the 
identification of potentially useful information from outside the school is knowing where to obtain it 
from quickly. This may be a particularly worrisome problem for the rural teacher-librarian who has 
limited ready access to any large collection of professional information for teachers. It is therefore 
imperative that training courses for teacher-librarians also contain an emphasis on servicing the 
information needs of teachers from both internal and external sources and that teacher-librarians are 
aware of these sources and promote their existence and use by teachers. 


5. Conclusion 

The results of this study clearly indicate that secondary teachers in rural government schools are at a 
disadvantage compared to their urban colleagues in the satisfaction of their professional information 
needs. Rural teachers are geographically isolated from many sources of professional information 
(including other teachers). They are also concerned (along with their urban colleagues), with the 
effects of devolution of education in general and on their careers as teachers. Some of the main 
findings of the study were: 

* Relevance to classroom teaching practice seemed to drive the selection of professional 
information needed by teachers; 

* After the exclusion of 'Teaching subject', information about 'Schools Renewal' was sought by 
teachers more often than any other category of professional information; 

* The profile of scores across almost all the professional information categories was higher for 
'1991' teachers than '1984' teachers indicating that more teachers from the former group desired 
access to the categories of information than the latter group; 

* Teachers with 'Formal qualifications' in addition to those required for teaching, and with ten or 
more years of experience sought information about 'School administration', 'Schools Renewal' and 
'Curriculum planning', more than teachers with less experience and no 'Formal qualifications'; 

* Teachers of English were more likely to say they frequently desire access to (i.e. to 'need') 
information about their 'Teaching subject' than science teachers or social science teachers; 

* Mathematics teachers were less likely than other teachers of other subjects to need information 
about student learning - in fact the association between 'Teaching method' and need for information 
about 'Teaching subject' was inverse for this group; 

* Teachers' information needs largely related to subject matter and to a lesser extent Schools 

* The results of this study support Finger's (1983) finding that older teachers do more 
professional reading than their younger colleagues. 

This study has achieved its purpose in providing substantial and unique data about the professional 
information needs of rural secondary school teachers and their concerns about their professional 
development. Teacher-librarians have the opportunity to effectively meet the challenge of a growing 
teacher demand for improved access to professional education resources. 



Batten, Margaret; Mark Griffin and John Ainley. (1991) Recently recruited teachers: their views and 
experiences of preservice education, professional development and teaching. Canberra: AGPS. 

Boylan, Colin. (1991) Educational change in New South Wales: rural teacher reactions and rural 
development. In Colin Boylan (ed.) Rural education and local development'. Proceedings of the 
Seventh Annual National Conference, Society for the Provision of Education in Rural 
Australia, 109-120. 

Boylan, Colin and others. (1991) Teaching in rural schools: a study of teacher retention and 
satisfaction: a joint research project between the New South Wales Department of School 
Education and Charles Sturt University (Riverina and Mitchell) and University of New England 
(Armidale). [Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.]: Charles Sturt University-Riverina. 

Broadbent, Margaret and Robert Broadbent. (1979, November) Overworked but underused: school 
librarians and curriculum planning. Orana 15,4,147-158. 

Commonwealth Schools Commission. (1988) Schooling in rural Australia. Canberra: Curriculum 
Development Centre. 

Dillon, Ken. (1992) The professional development needs and concerns of rural secondary school 
teachers: implications for teacher librarians. [M. Ed. (Hons.) Thesis submitted to the School of 
Education, Charles Sturt University-Riverina], 1992. 

Einger, Jarvis. (1983) Teachers should read?: the periodical literature of the teaching profession, 
concerns and cures. Set: Research Information for Teachers. 1, item 15. 

Juchau, Madeline L. (1984) Teachers' information needs and the school library. Sydney: School 
Libraries Section (NSW Group), Library Association of Australia. 

Kerlinger, Ered N. (1986) Foundations of behavioral research. 3rd ed. New York: CBS. 

Meyenn, Bob and Ron Sinclair. (1988) Education provision in N.S.W. Western Region Central 
Schools: an overview. In Boylan, Colin Research in rural education: selected papers presented 
at the annual conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education. Wagga 
Wagga, N.S.W.: School of Education, Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education, 155- 

Morris, Betty J. with John T. Gillespie and Diana L. Spirt. (1992) Administering the school library 
media center. 3rd ed. New Providence, NJ.: Bowker. 

Riverina Region directory, 1991. (1991) Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Riverina Region, New South 
Wales Department of School Education. 

Wiersma, William. (1991) Research methods in education: an introduction. 5th ed. Boston, MA.: 
Allyn & Bacon. 


Work Shadowing 

Authors - Sally Dodson and Karen Jensen 

Last year I saw advertised in the Ed facts a Traineeship for teacher-librarians in Resource- 
based Learning. I was very excited as at the time I was at a stand still with the Resource 
Based Learning in my school. I'd used all my ideas from college and limited field 
experience and there wasn't much support within my district, most of the other teacher- 
librarians were either non-contact teachers or took only library lessons. I felt quite 
isolated and unsure if I was heading in the right direction and my timetable wasn't as 
flexible as I would've liked it to have been and / found it difficult to find times to 
co-operatively plan with teachers. I also felt that because our school development plan 
had one of its overall aims being “RESOURCE USE & MANAGEMENT”, and within 
this the Resource Centre was to be a focus for resource-based learning with the outcome 
being greater use of the Resource-based learning methodologies across the school, thus 
children having improved learning, research and information skills I would benefit being 
involved in this program. 

The seven day program which I was lucky enough to be one of three teacher-librarians to 
be involved in was designed for us to work shadow one of our peers who were “experts" 
in implementing resource-based learning programs across the curriculum in their schools. 
I was the junior primary representative selected and the other participants were from 
primary and secondary. / was teamed with Alle Goldsworthy from Sheidow Park R-7 

We were given a grant which covered accommodation and my plane flight from Lincoln 
to Adelaide as well as 5 T.R.T. days. My school had to be prepared to supply two 
TM.T. days for the workshop days that were used prior to and after the five day work- 
shadow situation. These two days, I believe were the essence to what I deem as a 
successful program. The first day, especially was very beneficial as Alle and I got to 
know one another and what each of our expectations were. This was especially good 
because I didn't feel like I was going into a big school not knowing anyone or anything. 
As it turned out Sheidow Park was a very friendly and welcoming school. All of us, it 
seemed wanted to get down to the “nitty gritty” of things and find out how our trainers 
organised their time and how they planned with teachers. As a group we shared 
information and goal set. The program organisers, Sandra Gapper and Fran Kelly, on 


this day, presented the participants with information on Resource Based Learning and 
explained in great detail how it could be introduced to staff. We were given overheads 
that we could use and told in what order we could present them. Finally we had our 
hands on something concrete and visual. The latest resources on this topic were also 
shared with us. The final day enabled us to continue with our goal setting and develop 
action plans as well as evaluate the outcomes of the program. 

Thanks to Alle I found this whole program to be a most valuable and enlightening 
learning experience that has enabled me to work more co-operatively with stcff at my 
school to provide a Resource-based learning program. So inspired that I was, in the 
subsequent terms I managed to accomplish all that was on our school development plan 
and have the Resource based learning approach running smoothly and satisfied 
“customers” that it was able to be dropped off the school development plan as a single 
entity but now it is incorporated into all areas of our school development plan. In fact it 
is an expectation that all teachers incorporate resource-based learning methodologies into 
their teaching across the curriculum. 

The school I work shadowed at, Sheidow Park was a combined Junior Primary and 
Primary on one campus located south of Adelaide in a rapidly growing area. There were 
approximately 700 students R-7. They have two teacher-librarians equally 1.0. Both 
teacher-librarians co-operatively plan and teach units of work with any teacher from R-7, 
working in a range of curriculum areas to involve students in Resource-based learning. 
They use a flexible timetable. The Resource Centre is automated with Dynix and the 
students use the Public Access terminals and independently borrow and return resources. 

The week at this school enabled me to participate in whatever Alle was doing and when 
Alle outlined her program to me / was very impressed and thought the week ahead of me 
was going to be very exciting. 

We were encouraged to keep a diary for the week and the following are just a few exerts:- 

Observation in year 6 and 7 Girls in Education planning and design session at The School 
of the Future. 

Participation in Resource-based learning lessons in which planning had been done 
previously. Alle had resources ready for children's use and before each lesson she 
would go through a different aspect of the Resource Centre, for example the use of the 


Resource Centre or the computer. Children’s draft work was done on a proforma that 
included what they already knew and what they would like to find out, had to be 
conferenced before they went to the computer to search for resources. Any resources 
located by the children were stored by Alle ready for the next session. 

Literature-based lessons and Aboriginal Studies units were used as a basis for Resource- 
Based Learning. 

A variety of approaches and teaching strategies were used from taking half the class each 
or getting the children to work individually or collaboratively. 

Children were encouraged to present their information in a variety of ways, sometimes 
the School Support Officer types the childrens information to put on display boards. 

For presenting, Alle used a rotation system which is great for junior primary students 
who often find it difficult to present in front of a large group or the group have trouble 
concentrating for long periods. In this case, the class would divide in half and one half 
presented in small groups all at the same time for a small audience and when a bell rang 
the audience would rotate, then the children changed groups and listened to the others 
present. Alle has also found that this works well when inviting parents in to see their 
children present. 

Wednesday was planning day which happened regularly on a fortnightly basis. A teacher 
releases other teachers on a hourly basis to plan with a teacher-librarian. The topic was 
established along with a general goal. Learning objectives were defined and previous 
skills activities were reviewed. Alle keeps all Resource-based learning units that have 
been planned. A positive approach was used when planning with other teachers and 
childrens ideas were incorporated as well as an excursion. Different aspects of the 
lessons were prepared by either the teacher or teacher-librarian and clearly recorded so 
each party knows its responsibilities. Previous plans are kept so information can be 
accessed at planning sessions. Also, reminder notes were sent out to those involved in 
the planning sessions. The timetable used in completely flexible and teachers must also 
consult with the teacher-librarian when booking in a time unless they are simply using the 
resource centre. Teachers must have a planning session which they mark on the timetable 
with a “P” before they embark on a Resource-based learning topic. 


I attended many hubs and meetings while / was in Adelaide and got copies of skills lists, 
hub meeting guidelines, viewed Nexus etc. 

These snippets of information have proved valuable since / arrived back to school one 
year ago from now. Resource-based learning is definitely up and running well at Port 
Lincoln Junior Primary School. Things that I have achieved include:- 

In servicing staff at a whole school staff meeting on Resource-based learning using hand¬ 
outs and Information Literacy hand-out and introducing to them a flexible timetable. 

I arranged 0.1 release time per week for teachers to be released to plan with me. 

Ordered new resources seen in Sheidow Park specific to Resource-based learning. 

Initiated formal teacher-librarian hubs which have since turned into Resource-based 
Learning Hubs where teachers are invited along, following hub guidelines. 

I have spoken at Hub Meetings in our district, in-servicing staff in Resource-Based 
Learning. I have been involved in a Train the Trainer course with other teacher-librarians 
and we have planned training sessions for parents. 

I have addressed SL.A.SA. on the work-shadow program and written a report for Una 

I have worked co-operatively with all teachers to plan and implement units of study using 
Resource-Based Learning successfully. I have also worked closely with our SHIP 
co-ordinator to develop resource-based learning programs for the gifted and talented 
students at our school. 

I am currently in a reference group working on FOCUS SCHOOL TEACHER- 
LIBRARIAN LEADERSHIP program as follow-on from the success of the Work 
Shadow program. 

The Work Shadow program has given me some of the necessary skills that enable me to 
speak at this conference and to have achieved the above actions. I felt very privileged to 
have participated in this program and am confident that my knowledge of Resource- 
Based Learning has increased and my school and district has benefited from this. 


Resource-based learning is the method by which teachers and teacher- 
librarians can empower students with information skills. This method needs 
teacher-librarians who are able to confidently help teachers to develop units, 
and one of the best ways is to see another teacher-librarian at work. 

The Work Shadowing program, developed by the School Library 
Association of South Australia is a method of skilling teacher-librarians. 
Essentially, it involves a teacher-librarian shadowing another who is skilled 
in the techniques of Resource-Based learning. 

SLASA applied to the Curriculum Directorate of the Education 
Department of South Australia and received funding for a program. Funding 
was used to provide TRT days for the trainees, as the program involved a 
week shadowing at another school. Tlie program was advertised through 
Edfacts and applications were invited by interested people. Three 
traineeships were offered, with the final choices having a emphasis upon 
country teacher-librarians. 

Outcomes of the program included: improved leadership skills in 
Resource-Based learning and information literacy at both school and 
district levels. 

As well as the week of shadowing, the trainers and trainees first met 
on the Friday of the week before to clarify aims and expectations - and to get 
to know one another! After the week, there was a meeting on the Monday 
following as a debriefing session, where we discussed what had happened. 

As part of the program, all trainees had to write an article for Una 
Voce , the SLASA newsletter about their impressions of the work-shadowing 
program, and their subsequent goals for their schools. Later in the year each 
of the trainees presented a talk to a SLASA meeting. This talk was about 
how each of the trainees had met their goals. 

I would now like to share with you some of my experiences in the 
program. The week which I spent shadowing Judy Styles at Aberfoyle Park 
High School was hard work , but good fun. The only thing which put me off 
was the drive there and back each day -1 live on the north side of Adelaide, 
but Aberfoyle Park is on the south - a round trip of about 90 km each day, or 
about 45 - 60 minutes in the car going one way. 

My expectations for the week were the following: 

♦♦♦ how to plan units of work with teachers 
♦♦♦ how to organise the Resource Centre effectively to free 
up the teacher-librarian 


getting ideas which I could use in my school 

seeing how resource-based learning actually worked in a 


Of these, the first was the most important, because although I felt I had read 
enough about RBL, it was the practicalities that were eluding me. 

During the week, I saw Judy and Sue teach various units to students in 
the Resource Centre, which involved a variety of methods. Seeing these 
units on paper, and then observing how they were actually operate was 
valuable because you need to see how the units work in practice, and how 
the students respond to them. Tlie following are examples : 

❖ South Australian Aborigines: the students were involved 
in brainstomiing the different aspects of the topic. Ideas 
were mapped onto the board 

❖ Environmental issues: mapping and brainstorming again, but 
now with an emphasis upon sources of information. Students 
were also asked to think of their questions first, before doing 

♦♦♦ Environmental pollutants: sources of information, and the 
uses of CD-ROM and Presscom. 

Although I didn't see the planning of a unit of work, Judy showed me 
how they did it at APHS. It involves sorting out the length of the unit, 
objectives for both subject content and information skills, finding what 
resources are available, and evaluation. Most faculties at Aberfoyle Park 
have already been in-serviced, and as a result, there are many units which 
have been planned. Teachers tend to come in and use the programs in 
consultation with Judy, and make small changes as necessary on the 
Macintosh. All of the programs that the teacher-librarians have done are kept 
in folders, along with additional information such as overhead 
transparencies on such topics as note taking and question forming. 

During the week, there were a number of other things which I saw, or 
picked up during conversation. These included things like: 

job specifications discussions for award restructuring 

❖ the advantages of having a Macintosh in the Resource Centre 
- invaluable for presenting units of work 

❖ membership of committees: at APHS, a teacher-librarian is 
on every committee in the school so that the Resource 
Centre's 'voice' can be heard. 

❖ the need for the teacher-librarian to have some background 
knowledge about the topic - especially when helping students 
to form questions. 

❖ the use of videos as an introduction to a topic, especially the 
videos which emphasize research skills (ie. What’s going 


on Here?) 

♦♦♦ how Reader's Cups can be started, and what they involve. 
Also, other fiction ideas such as a book reviewing service, 
ideas for presenting Resource-Based learning to a staff 
meeting, or a faculty group; and 
♦♦♦ copies of lots of different units which have been used at 
Aberfoyle Park - which I have used to show teachers the sorts 
of things that can be done. 

I also visited Marion High School, Reynella East High School and 
Golden Grove High School. At each of these locations , I saw a different 
style of Resource-Based learning, and I picked up ideas and resources which 
I could use (ie. using videos as an introduction) 

At the end of my week at Aberfoyle Park High School, I sat down 
and compiled a list of goals which I would try to accomplish when I got back 
to my school. I shall now go through them and attempt to show how I 
achieved these goals.In the attaining of these goals I was helped by the other 
teacher-librarian at Morialta Middle School, Gwenda Steiner. 

Firstly, I wanted to meet with the Principal and gain his approval and 
understanding of what RBL is and how it will affect the school. I did this by 
giving him a variety of documents about RBL, including Partners in 
Learning a few days before our meeting. In both cases the Principal was 
enthusiastic about RBL, and gave me the go-ahead to do as I saw fit. 

Next, I planned to speak to a staff meeting about RBL, and then to 
speak to individual faculties. 1 spoke to the whole staff, and although I did 
get positive feedback, I realised that this wasn’t really an effective method 
for telling staff about the virtues of RBL. The next time was part of a school 
conference day, where we had a smaller group of teachers who received our 
ideas enthusiastically. We are planning to talk to the Social Science and 
Science faculties early in term 3, because in both cases we have already 
worked successfully with individual teachers. 

Obviously, one of my main goals was to use RBL at my school. After 
the staff meeting, and also after my induction talk, teachers came to work 
with us. In this period, we designed units on Mythology(8), French Cooking 
(9 and 10), Immigration to Australia pre 1945(8), Women in Science (9), 
Famous Scientists (8), Myths and Legends (8), and Greek and Roman life 
(8), to name a few. 

One of my goals was to obtain South Australian Certificate of 
Education assessment plans from all faculties, but I didn't do this because 
our school was amalgamating with Norwood High School this year. We 
became the Middle School campus (years 8 - 10), while Norwood became 
the Senior campus. 

One idea which I had seen at Aberfoyle Park was Resource Folders. 
These were folders of recent infomiation on popular topics (ie Greenhouse 


Effect) The articles were no longer kept in the vertical file because they kept 
disappearing. I started these folders at Morialta, keeping to the topics which 
were always being mislaid from the Vertical File. They were advertised in 
the morning bulletin, and staff and students are now using them. Students are 
only allowed to use them in the Resource Centre. It's a great idea! 

Another goal was to join a number of committees. With the 
amalgamation of the school this year, opportunities have been provided for 
staff to form or join a number of new committees. As a result of this, I am 
now a member of the Equal Opportunities Committee, the School 
Development Plan and Junior Curriculum 8 -10.1 already was a member of 
the Management Committee, and I now also go to combined school 
Management meetings. 

I also talked to the Resource Centre's School Support Officers about 
award restructuring, as this was one of my goals. Although we didn't write 
their individual job and person specifications, they now loiow what award 
restructuring involves, having seen the examples I brought from APHS. 

Lastly, I wanted to introduce both the reviewing service from APHS 
and the Reader's Cup to Morialta. However, this didn't go quite as it was 
planned due to a lack of time. As we both wanted to start a year 8 reading 
program, we used the idea of a student reviewing service to ask the 1992 
year 8's to read a selection of books which we thought would be ideal for the 
program. The students had to review the book, and say whether other \'ear 
8's would read it. From these recommendations, Gwenda and I planned our 
STARS program, which we started in term 2. 

Other things which have happened as a result of the work shadowing 
program include: 

joining the Resource Based Learning network 
❖ joining the committee of the Resource Centre Teachers 

♦♦♦ participating in making a video on RBL which will go out to 
the external students of teacher-librarianship at the University 
of S.A. 

finally getting a Macintosh in the Resource Centre - now that 
we've got it, we don't know how we managed without one! 

In conclusion, the work shadowing program is a valuable one. It 
enables teacher-librarians to see at first hand the effects that Resource-Based 
learning can have on a school, and of the advantages it confers upon its 
students. It is essentially a practical, hands-on experience for the trainees, 
and it gives them confidence in using resource-based learning in their 
schools. The only problem with this program was the length of time 
involved. If it could occur within one week, including the before and after 
meetings, it would be easier for country teacher-librarians to be involved. 

However, this program is essentially an example of Resource-Based 
learning itself. During this week, the trainees learnt directly from the best 
resources available - the teacher-librarians who have skills in Resource- 
Based learning. 







It gives me pleasure to share thoughts on new perspective in developing 
training programmes for school librarians in the Nigerian school system at 
this international conference of School Librarians. As some of us are now 
aware, the 24th Annual Conference of lASL will hold at Abuja^Nigeria in 1995. 

I will therefore like to use this forum to give some background information on 
Nigeria for the benefit of those who may not be conversant with the details 
of the country. 

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is the largest single African country 

occupying an area of 923,768 square kilometres (356,669 square miles) and 

o o 

having a population of 88.5 million. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4 and 14 

o o 

north of the equator and longitudes 3 and 14 east of the greenwich meridian. 
Thus it is entirely within the tropical zone. It's climate varies from the 
tropical at the coast to sub-tropical further inland. There are two well 
marked seasons, the rainy season lasting from April to October and the dry 

season from November to March, Maximim temperature in the coastal areas of the 

o c o c 

south is 37 while the absolute minimum temperature is 10 . The climate is 


drier further north with maximum temperature of 45 . The Federal Republic 

of Nigeria consists of thirty states. The seat of the Federal Government is 
at Abuja. The educational system was predominantly British oriented and the 


official language both of instruction and government business is English. The 
provision of primary and secondary education is a shared responsibility between 
the States and the Federal Government. The country adopts the 6-3-3-4 education 
system which provides for six years of primary education, three years of 
Junior and three years of Senior secondary and four years in the University. 

Education is now compulsory for the child to the Junior secondary school level. 
Tuition is free in all primary schools, most post-primary and tertiary institu¬ 
tions. The move in the education sector is to make education free at all levels. 

Education recorded a phenomenal growth in Nigeria in the 70's not only 

in terms of increase in the number of institutions and student enrolment but 

also with reference to its geographical spread in all parts of the Federation. 

The available statistics on education shows that there are 34,904 primary 

schools with an envolment of 12,721,087 pupils^ 5,868 secondary schools with 


students' population of 2,723791 ,/81 special education institutions with 
10,000 disabled children. There are also 249 Grade II Teachers' Colleges with 
220,472 students' population, 241 Technical/Vocational centres with 117,852 
students' population, 21 polytechnics with 60,533 students' population, 48 
Colleges of Education training teachers for the National Certificate of Educa¬ 
tion having a total of 58,335 students and 32 Universities with over 160,767 

The emphasis on education has shifted from the libral arts to science 
and technology. The objective of the change in emphasis is to enable the 
nation meet its manpower reguirements in various areas of social, economic and 
political growth as well as development and modernisation to which she aspires. 
This was one of the fundamental facts that informed the adoption of the 6-3-3-4 
system in the National Education policy which emphasis is on guiding students 
to enable them choose the career for which each individual is best suited 
early in life, based on the students' demonstrated aptitude and potential 


after the first nine years of continuous education assessment. 

School Libraries in Nigeria 

The various education laws in Nigeria are silent about the provision of 
school libraries. This prompted the Nigerian school Library Association to 
prepare the Guidelines for Nigerian Legislation for School Libraries/Media 
Resource Centres in 1978, copies of which were submitted to the Federal and 
State Ministries of Education. The importance of the provision of School 
Library Media Centres in Nigerian schools for the effective implementation of 
the education programme of the school has been stressed many times by Nigerian 
educators. The National Policy on Education which came into force in the 80's recog¬ 
nised the important role of the school library media centre in the education 
programme of the school and has recommended that all primary and secondary 
schools, as well as teachers' colleges be planned with libraries/media resource 
centres which both Federal and State Governments should jointly fund. 

Like many other countries Nigeria ej^erienced a period of economic growth 
and relative prosperity during the mid to late 70's, the 'oil boom' years. 

But this period was followed by the hard times of the 80's with the attendant 
cutbacks in staff and funding slowing down school library development. But the 
boom of the 70's resulted in only modest gains for school libraries. There 
are probably several reasons for this. First, available funds went into a rapid 
expansion of education at all levels, most dramatically the introduction of 
Universal Primary Education (U.P.E.) in 1976. Funds that could have been used 
to develop school library services were ejqjended on crash programmes to provide 
classrooms and teachers for the increasing primary school population. A second 
reason is perhaps that there was insufficient demand for school libraries either 


because of lack of library awarreness or because the educational system being 
practised, the 'chalk and talk' system, rendered them superfluous. 

3.0 Recoginition and Legislation 

There has been increased recoginition of the importance of libraries in 
education on the part of government. The National Policy on Education (1981) 
makes reference to school libraries as one of the most important educational 
service and acknowledges the need to supply materials and train staff for 
school libraries. Government has participated in studies and organised work¬ 
shops to further the development of school library services, most recently in 
primary schools. Currently the world Bank Assisted Primary Education Project 
includes the development of libraries in primary schools. Workshops are being 
organised to train teacher-librarians for primary school libraries. The Local 
Government are being directed to build zonal school libraries, at least one in 
each Local Government to provide library services to schools. The books and 
other learning resources for the primary school libraries are being evaluated, 
selected and purchased by the Federal Ministry of Education under the World 
Bank Assisted Primary Education Project. At the secondary schools' level, 
both the Federal and State Governments are giving support to school library 

Recoginition of school libraries has also been achieved through the 
programmes of the Nigerian School Library Association which include organizing 
workshops, conferences, and publishing professional literature. The Association 
has succeeded in providing a national forum and stimulating interest in organi¬ 
sing school libraries in various states. Attempts have been made to develop 
standards appropriate for Nigerian schools. Notable efforts by library profess¬ 
ionals to publish standards for school libraries include Obi's Manual for School 


Libraries on Small Budgets (O.U.P. 1977) , Ogunsheye's Manual for Nigerian 

School Libraries (Abadina Media Resource Centre 1978), and Elaturoti's 
Developing a School Library Media Centre (Onibonoje 1990). The Federal 
Ministry of Education (1992) published Minimum Standards for School Libraries 
in Nigeria . 

4.0 Teacher - Librarians in Nigerian School System 

In the Nigerian school system, a teacher-librarian is a qualified teacher 
who posseses in addition to his teaching qualification any of the followings: 
a degree, diploma, or certificate in librarianship or credits in librarianship 
courses. He is basically a teacher who in addition to his teaching load, 
runs a school library without additional remuneration to his salary. In 
recoginition of the additional worlcload of organising and running the school 
library programme, he carries less teaching load than other teachers where 
feasible. The teacher-librarian is involved in teaching other subjects in the 
school curriculum. In schools where there are shortages of teachers, the 
teacher-librarians carry full load of teaching leaving no time for the library 
work. Majority of the teacher-librarians do not have professional qualifica¬ 
tions in librarianship. 

Elaturoti, (1982) reported that there was only one qualified teacher- 
librarian with ALA and a teaching qualification in the 293 secondary schools 
surveyed in the former Western State of Nigeria. Fourteen other teacher- 
librarians had librarianship knowledge through workshops. The remaining 
schools had no qualified teacher-librarians. Other studies by Bolodeoku, 
(1979), Opeke, (1980) reported similar findings. 

5.0 Training of Teacher-Librarians for Nigerian School System 

Hitherto there has been no recoginised training programme for teacher- 


librarians by the government for the purpose of employment in public schools. 
The post of the teacher-librarian as earlier mentioned, has not attracted any 
additional remuneration. The bulk of the existing teacher-librarians in the 
school system have been trained through short in-service courses and workshops 
offered by the Abadina Media Resource Centre, The States* School Library 
Association, Federal Ministry of Education, State Library Boards, and Teachers 
Resource Centre, Jos. More recently, some Universities and colleges of 
education have introduced programmes to produce teacher-librarians for Nigerian 
school system. Ajibero, (1991) listed six Universities' Library Schools that 
offer specialisation in school librarianship but remarked that not all the 
library schools have good programme for the training of teacher-librarians as 
the courses offered centred on the role of school libraries in the curricula 
and the need to encourage youth to use the library resources effectively. He 
concluded that far more concerted and well articulated programmes need to be 
introduced in Nigerian library schools in order to produce teacher-librarians 
that would meet the challenges of the National Policy on Education. 

Some colleges of education up till 1991 offered courses in librarian- 
ship as one of the three subjects studied for the Nigerian Certificate of 
Education (NCE) a three years post-secondary teachers certificate. Other 
two subjects offered with librarianship are education and a teaching subject. 
The graduates of the programme are to be employed in primary or secondary 
schools as teacher-librarians. This programme is considered a right step 
towards providing adequate qualified school librarians for Nigerian schools. 
Countrary to expectation the programme was phased out by the National Council 
on Education in 1991 on the ground that librarianship is not a teaching subject 
in schools. Efforts being made to restore the programme has not been success¬ 
ful. However a few librarianship courses have been integrated into the general 
studies programme to equip the students with the knowledge of organisation 


and use of library resources. The phasing out of librarianship as a subject 
for the NCE programme has brought some set back to efforts to provide qualified 
teacher-librarians for the Nigerian school system. 

There has been the problem of retention of qualified teacher-librarians 
for a— 

in the job/reasonable length of time in the schools for some reasons. The 
post is not a remunerative one as other duty posts in the school and therefore 
has no incentive to keep them on the job. Secondly for lack of subject teachers 
in schools particularly in the secondary schools, the teacher-librarians are 
usually assigned subjects to teach in the school without any reduction in 
their teaching load. Thirdly, the teacher-librarians, when promoted to higher 
posts, find it difficult to combine library work with their new assignments. 
Freequent transfer of teachers has also deprived some schools of the services 
of dedicated and qualified teacher-librarians. 

The lack of continuity in the service of the teacher-librarians in 
Nigeria school system has affected adversely the development of school 
libraries in Nigeriaischools and the growth of the professional association of 
school librarians. The efforts made to get the government to recognise the 
position of teacher-librarians for appointment and remuneration has not yielded 
the desirable results due to lack of qualified teacher-librarians in the 
school system. 

The Nigerian School Library Association in realisation of the foremen- 
tioned obstacles to school library development in the Nigerian schools has 
resolved to work towards the professionalisation of the position of teacher- 
librarian in schools. The achievement of this objective would facilitate the 
government recognition of the position for remuneration and improved career 
prospects and could help to keep the school librarians on their job in the 
schools. The Association has also proposed to substitute the designation 
'school librarians' for teacher-librarians for all qualified school librarians. 


It is also our expecttation that the designation 'school librarians' when 
adopted would make the school heads more conscious that the primary assign¬ 
ment of the school librarian is to develop and run effective school media 
programme in support of the education programme of the school. 

6.0 Proposed Curriculum for Training School Librarians for Nigerian School System 

The proposed programme by the Nigerian School Library Association for 
the Training of School Librarians takes into consideration the librarianship 
qualifications that are equivalent to the minimum teaching qualifications 
approved by the government for the primary and post-primary institutions in 

The Diploma in Librarianship is being proposed as minimum qualification 
for School Librarians in Primary Schools. The Diploma is an equivalent of the 
Nigerian Certificate of Education, the minimum qualification prescribed for 
teachers in the nation's Primary Schools. 

The Bachelor of Library Science is the minimum librarianship qualifica¬ 
tion proposed for the secondary schools. For teachers who want to train as 
school librarians after the Bachelor's degrees in a teaching subject the Master 
of Library Science been proposed for such teachers. The rational for 

proposing these qualifications for school librarians is that they should have 
equal status with other teachers in the school to be able to relate to the 
teachers as members of faculty in the discharge of their duties as the media 
resource specialist in the school setting. 

The courses for that programme were designed in collaboration with the 
Heads of the Library Schools in Nigerian Universities. Three areas of compe¬ 
tencies are identified for inclusion in the course programmes: Librarianship, 
education and teaching subject in the Sciences, humanities or social sciences. 


The librarianship courses were selected from the existing courses offered 
in the library schools with some new additions made. The education courses 
were selected from the existing courses in the departments of education in 
the Nigerian Universities that are relevant to the needs of school librarians 
with or without education background. For the various programmes the following 
courses are proposed. 

6.1.1 2 - Year Diploma in Library Science for School Librarians 

Librarianship Courses 
Libraries and society 
Librarary resources 
Cataloguing and classification 

Library Routines - Technical and Readers services 
Library work with children and young adults 
A - V resources management 
School and Education Libraries 

Subject information sources in science, social sciences and 

Library methods in education (Primary Schools) 

Compilation of bibliography 
Library Practice 

Long Essay: Submission of a paper based on observation during 
library practice. 













6.1.2 Education Courses 

Psychological Foundations of Education 
Introduction to the History and Policy on Education 
Sociological and Philosophical Foundations of Education 
Psychology of Learning 






Principles and Practice of Education (Required) 

Educational Psychology (Compulsor 


Teaching Subject 

The candidate will offer one teaching subject in the related department 
in the University which would be studied for two years 

6.2 Bachelor of Library Science for School Librarians 

The course will be a 4 - year degree programme. The candidates would 
offer courses in librarianship, education and one teaching subject in either 
the humanities, social sciences or sciences. The courses to offer are listed 

as follows: 

6.2.1 Librarianship Courses 

Society development and libraries 
Learning resources in education 
Reference sources and user services 
Cataloguing and classification 
Technical routine processes 
Literature and Library Services to chi 
Collection Development 

Administration of school libraries 
The handicapped and library services 
Media Technology 
Indexing and Abstracting 
Computers in libraries and Education 
Library Practice 






Idren and young adults (Required) 










Library Survey 


Interlibrary loan and cooperation 


6.2.2 Education Courses 

Introduction to the history and policy of education 


Sociological and Phylosophical Foundations of Education 


Psychological foundations of education 


Psychology of learning 


Introduction to special education 


History and Policy of Education in Nigeria 


General Principles of curriculum and instruction 


Sociology of Education 


6.2.3 Teaching Subject 

The candidate would offer at least one teaching subject in either the 
humanities, social sciences or sciences in other departments to study for 4 


6.3 The Master of Library Science for School Librarians 

The candidates for the master^s programme will offer courses in libra- 
rianship and education only. The subjects studied for bachelor's degree would 
be sufficient for required subject background. The candidates would offer 

more courses in library science to give them the professional 


6.3.1 Librarianship Courses 

History of Archives, Libraries and Information systems 


Collection development 


Cataloguing and classification 


21 9 

Subject information sources 
Indexing and abstracting 
Audio-Visual resources 

Audomation in libraries, Archives and information centres 
Administration of school library media centre 
Reference sources and user services 
Working with children and young adults 
Independent study (Project) 

Practical work in Libraries 










6.3.2 Education Courses 

Philosophy of education 
Psychology of learning 
Principles of curriculum design 
Research methods in education 





The au*.i ssion of students on these programmes would give preference to 

candidates with teaching qualifications. In the selection of the courses we 

have been guided by the reports of the following Bodies: United Kingdom's 

Library and Information Services Council's Working Party on School Library 


Services (1984) IFLA (1985) ./ Canadian Schools Library Association (1985 & 
1989). The reports indicate areas of competence on which training is to be 
given as education, librarianship and management. For the training programme 
being proposed for Nigeria, management will be part of the librarianship 
courses. Provision is made for a teaching subject to be offered in other 
departments. The school librarian needs the teaching subject for equal 


academic status with other teachers. The knowledge of a teaching subject 
would help him in collection development and reference services to users. 

Effort is now being made to organise a national conference on the training 
programmes later this years. Participants at the conference would include: 
Library Educators, Librarians, Officials of the Federal and State Ministries 
of Education, The National Librarian, Nigerian Library Association, Officials 
of the Teaching Service Commissions, National University Commission, represen- 
tives of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Conference of Principals of secondary 
schools and Headmasters of Primary Schools, School Librarians and other 
interested bodies. 

The conference would examine and deliberate on the course contents of the 
training programmes to determine their relevance and adequacy and make 
recommendations to the appropriate organ of government for their adoption 
for training school librarians for the Nigerian school system. It is our hope 
that the School Library Association would receive the needed support from the 
related sectors in Education to make the proposal a reality. 

This gathering provides the unique opportunity to share ideas on this 
cardinal project of the Nigerian School Library Association. I thank you for 
listening and your contributions to improving the quality of the training 
programmes presented here. 



Ajibero, M. I. (1991) Provision for training teacher-librarians in 

Nigerian library schools. Paper presented at 12th Annual Conference 
of Nigerian School Library Association, Sokoto. Mimeograph. 

Dike, V.W. (1991) School library services in the 90's and beyond - a 
perspective. Paper presented at 12th Annual conference of Nigerian 
School Library Association, Sokoto. Mimeograph. 

Elaturoti, D.F. (1982) Survey of secondary school libraries in Oyo, 

Ondo and Ogun States. Nigerian Journal of Library & Information 
Studies 1 (1) 52 - 65. 

Elaturoti, D.F. (1991) Developing curricula for training teacher- 
librarians for Nigerian schools. Paper presented at 12th annual 
conference of Nigerian School Library Association, Sokoto. 


Federal Government of Nigeria. National Policy on Education. Revised 
ed. Lagos, Federal Government Press, 1981. 

Hamza, Y. (1990) The Management of change-education in Nigeria under 
the austerity and structural adjustment programmes in the 1980's 
Education Today 4 (1) 3 - 17. 

Nigerian Year Book 1992. Lagos, Daily Times 12 - 20. 

Marinho, H. (1991) Basic education and national development. Education 
Today 4 (2), 17 - 27. 

Nzotta, B.C. (1991) Provision for training teacher-librarians at Ibadan 
Paper presented at 12th annual conference of Nigerian School Library 
Association, Sokoto. Mimeograph. 

Prospectus of Departments of Library Science of Nigerian Universities 



In 1990, Brian Bahnisch, thon Assistant DIractor, Cur^lculun^ Rasourco Sarvicas, 
Department of Education, Queensland, carried out phase 1 of a review of curricuiurri 
resource services and related support services In state schools. In addition to consulting 
the available literature, he travelled widely throughout Australia, before conducting an 
environmental scan of the opinions and perceptlor^s of Queensland stakeholders. 

In his Initial report seven areas were Identified for further study. Those were: 

. Policy and standards for • collection size 

- staffing - professional and ancillary 
• qualifications and training for teacher-librarians and 
ancillary staff 

, Models for curriculum resource services suitable for a variety of schools 
. Continuing professional development of teacher-librarians and ancillary staff 
Models for resource consultancy 

Resourcing needs of school support centres In assisting schools 
. Regional curriculum resource services staffing 

. Joint-use libraries (school/communlty) 

In February 1991, funded by the Literacy Strategy Plan, a Reference Committee 
comprised of a senior officer from each of the 12 reglohs, school, parent and union 
representatives met with a project team of 6 seconded teacher-librarians. A decision was 
made by that group to confine the project team to three areas of inquiry, These were: 

. Policy and standards for resourcing and staffing 
Resource services In schools 
Resource-based learning 

Over the following months the project team, using collection Instruments devised In 
collaboration with the Department's Research Branch, gathered Information from a range 
of personnel In 6 regions. 

Two recurring themes were identified: 

the way in which resourcing could become an Integral part of the school 
development planning process; and 

the way In which resources could best be utilised to achieve goal related learning 
outcomes and prepare students to become Independent learners. 

As a result of the initial consultations, the project team used the Information to develop a 
theoretical framework for curriculum resource management. Stakeholders In the other six 
regions were asked to respond and provide further Information. These combined views 
have resulted In a document which focuses on the independent learner as tlie outcome of 
properly resourced learning experiences. 

In writing the document the project team were acutely aware of the type of outcome asked 
for and the need to place It In the current context of education at both state and national 
levels. We needed to produce a document which would provide a bridge between the 
rhetoric of theory and the practicalities of Implementation. We needed to produce a 
document which would allow schools to find a way to restructure the learning process to 
provide a means of personal empowerment of students through learning the skills of 


locating, evaluation and effectively using Information. All roads pointed to resource based 
learning as the key to empowerment. 

Resource based learning Is a term used to describe the learning which occurs when 
students are actively Involved In the meaningful use of a variety of appropriate material 
and human resources. That definition Implies a chain of events beginning with teachers 
using resources to broaden their Information base (resource based teaching) in order to 
assist learners to become competent users of Information. The focus Is on how the 
student Is using resources and what the teacher Is doing to facilitate learning experiences. 

The resulting publication may be used by schools In a variety of ways: 

as part of the school development planning process to provide a means to highlight 
resourcing Implications of school curriculum objectives; 

as an analysis tool to create, In a non-threatening way, an accurate picture of 
school rosourcos and resourcing: 

. as a framework to develop a school wide resource based learning program with a 
focus on the development of independent learners; and 

as an ongoing evaluative tool for monitoring all aspects of resources and resourcing 
and to Identify changing needs. 

During the course of the project the team Identified a significant number of exemplary 
practices which had a direct bearing on the areas In which they were gathering 
Information. These were collated and brought together as a series of models which 
schools could use to assist them to move beyond their current levels of development. The 
models have been presented In a way which allows adaptation to suit a range of situations 
and comprise Section 5 of the document under the following headings: 

. a schoolwide program for resource based learning; 

school-based staff development for resource based learning; 
a collaborative approach to resource based teaching; 

. organisation for maximum access to resources within the school; 

teachers’ Involvement In the selection of resources; 

. resource management in small schools; 

. a regional structure for resource networks; 

. Implementation and operation of a teacher-Ilbrarlan circuit; and 

the position of educational adviser (curriculum resources). 

Section 6 identifies the wide range of Implications which etF'ierged during the course of the 
project. These have been divided Into a series of issues - staffing, communication, training 
and development, resource collections and production and funding. The stakeholders 
have Indicated the level of responsibility which can be maintained at local and regional 
level In developing. Implementing and evaluallng resource based learning programs. 

Statewide responsibilities are now limited to the areas of advocacy and policy 
development. The issues Identified by the stakeholders as statewide responsibilities are 
listed under the Directorates concerned. It should be noted that although there Is an 
emphasis on cooperatively developed policies and that all Dlreciorates were given the 
opportunity to respond to the Implications statements, practice stills falls far short of vision. 




Jan A. Kruger 

Professor, Department of Information Science 

University of South Africa 



Up to now relatively little has been written and published about 
managing media centres in schools. It is not guite clear why this 
should be so. Books dealing with media centres in general, usually 
include a brief discussion of the topic. What is found, however, is 
that most publications focus on the use of media in education, 
information skills, information retrieval and the selection of media 
with collection development in mind. These topics cover the two 
fields of expertise of the media teacher, namely education and library 
and information science. It seems as if management has been 
overlooked. Is the reason for this that the principal of the school 
is regarded as the manager of the school and that the media centre is 
just a part of the school? (Herring 1988:22). However, being in 
charge of the media centre the media teacher must be regarded as a 
manager as well (Prostano & Prostano 1987:43). It is therefore 
desirable that attention should be paid to the management of the media 

A second issue that is even more striking than the first one, is the 
acceptance of the media centre as a sine gua non for effective 
education and therefore as part of every school. Authors comparing 
school media services of various countries, regions or education 
departments, usually take this as their point of departure. They will 
compare two different systems after which certain conclusions are 
reached, without them not paying attention to the educational 
philosophy and policy that the education authorities have with regard 
to the role of media centres in education. This educational 
philosophy and policy are the cornerstone on which media centres are 
developed and utilised. Only systems where this cornerstone is 
present, can be juxta-positioned. Readers are given the wrong 
impression when comparisons are made as it is taken for granted that 
both systems are based on this important cornerstone and that the two 
systems are therefore comparable. These publications and articles 
focus on the role of the media teacher in curriculum development, the 
size and retrieval of the media collection, the physical facilities, 
curricular media use and the acceptance of the media teacher as part 
of the teaching team. 



If the education authority accepts the media centre as an 
indispensable and inseparable part of every school and it has an 
educational philosophy and policy to this effect ( The media centre 
1988:2), then attention can be paid to the question of who should take 
responsibility for media services. The answer to this question is in 
fact very simple. The responsibility lies with the education 
authority. The education authority can make certain arrangements to 
carry out this responsibility. These arrangements go hand in hand 
with the management of media centres. 

Usually two levels of management can be distinguished as far as the 
management of media centres are concerned, namely the macro and the 
micro management levels. 

2. 1 Macro management level 

The education authority functions on the macro management level. Due 
to the fact that media services are specialised services, education 
authorities delegate this function to an organisation which can take 
responsibility for it on behalf of the education authority. In this 
paper attention will be paid to two possible organisations which can 
provide school media services: firstly, the education media service 
as an ancillary service of the education department, and secondly, an 
organisation outside the organisational structure of the education 

2.1.1 The education media service 

Ancillary services functioning in the organisational structure of the 
education department, usually have an educational bases, because the 
functions of an education department are education and teaching. The 
primary function of an education media service as an ancillary service 
is therefore directed towards rendering a service to education. 

The service rendered by an education media service can be divided into 
three main categories: 

(a) The departmental library 

The departmental library is a special library that is concerned 
with the information needs of the officials, both professional 
and administrative, of the education department including all the 
teachers of that particular education department. Media teachers 
can therefore request professional literature from the 
departmental library to keep track of the latest developments in 
their field of interest. As the departmental library is 
rendering a professional library and information service, it is 
just natural that it finds a home within the organistional 
structure of the education media service. 


(b) The advisory service 

Media advisors possessing a teaching qualification and 
experience, together with either a qualification in library and 
information science or education technology, provide a very 
important service within the education media service. Media 
advisors visit schools on a regular basis to give guidance to the 
media teacher specifically, and to the principal and subject 
teachers in general. Dually qualified media advisors are in a 
position to give guidance on purely library matters as well as 
on media user education, curricular and extracurricular media 
use. Because they are, just as in the case of media teachers, 
in possession of a teaching qualification, they are accepted by 
the principal and subject teachers as media specialists and 
consequently close cooperation exists between them. Naturally, 
their guidance to the media teacher includes advice on matters 
relating to the management of the media centre. The media 
advisors operate on the macro management level and are not 
involved in the day to day management of the media centre at the 
school. That is the function of the media teacher. 

(c) Professional and technical services 

The education media service renders important professional and 
technical services on the macro management level. This 
organisation is responsible for the planning and provision of 
physical facilities. This is done according to certain 
guidelines laid down by the education department as the mother 
organisation. Professional guidelines are usually formulated by 
the education media service and then approved by the education 

Professional services of the education media service include the 
provision of annotated buying lists of selected and recommended 
media. Items from these may be selected and ordered by media 
teachers for collection development. It must be borne in mind 
that many rural schools are situated far away from booksellers 
in the cities and are not in a position to visit the booksellers 
personally. The provision and availability of lists of 
recommended, graded media constitutes a valuable service to the 
media teachers. As part of this service, media are classified 
by professional librarians at the education media service to 
further ease the task of the media teacher. 

Beside these services the education media service may provide 
complete sets of catalogue cards for the media included in the 

The education media service may sometimes purchase media and 
supply certain items to each school. 



Ancillary service outside the education department 

When the education department delegates its responsibility for media 
services to schools to an organisation outside the organisational 
structure of the education department, it is usually to the 
organisation that is involved with public library services. This 
often results in the establishment of combined school/community 
libraries situated at schools. Otherwise separate school and public 
libraries are found. Various examples of these two models exist all 
over the world. 

It is not always clear whether there are people in this type of system 
who do work similar to that of the media advisors in the education 
media service. If so, it is important to know whether these people 
possess a teaching qualification and have teaching experience, as the 
primary function of the media centre is curricular media use which 
includes media user education. These are pedagogical functions. A 
media centre which is a model in all respects, but is not used 
satisfactorily for curricular purposes, should have its right to 
existence questioned. In addition, one could ask whether the guidance 
provided on the macro management level, aa well as the management of 
the media centre, are pedagogically sound. 

2.2 Micro management level 

On the micro management level one finds the media teacher who is in 
charge of the media centre. The media teacher is the manager of the 
media centre. He is responsible for the execution of the functions 
of management on the micro management level. The training of the 
media teacher must therefore make provision for the execution of the 
functions of management. In those cases where media advisors operate 
on the macro management level, media teachers receive guidance from 
them on the management of media centres. 

Often media teachers experience difficulties with the execution of 
their management functions. The ideal is for the media teacher to 
hold a senior position on the staff of the school. This will ease 
his task as manager because he can act with the authority that flows 
from his senior position. In education systems where the emphasis is 
on examinations one finds that the senior positions are held by 
subject teachers who teach final courses. Unfortunately, too often 
the media teacher is a junior and inexperienced teacher. The result 
of this situation is that he cannot act with authority in a meeting 
with experienced and senior subject teachers. That contributes 
towards a high staff turnover in the post of the media teacher, which 
in turn has a negative effect on the management of the media centre. 
Continuity is of vital importance for successful management. 

It is desirable to appoint a media committee to avoid and solve 
problems with regard to the management of the media centre and poor 
curricular media use. From a certain perspective it can be argued 
that the media committee is operating on the meso management level, 
that means on a level between the macro and micro management level. 


The media committee comprises the principal of the school, who acts 
as chairman, and the media teacher who acts as the secretary. Other 
members of the media committee should be the senior subject teachers, 
sometimes known as heads of department. Other members of the staff 
who are involved in extracurricular activities can also be co-opted. 
The primary function of such a media committee is to plan and promote 
curricular media use. The value of the media committee lies in the 
involvement of senior subject teachers in the media centres' services. 
A by-product of this greater involvement is closer cooperation between 
the subject teachers and the media teacher, an awareness of the 
management problems experienced by the media teacher, as well as an 
awareness of the gaps in the media collection. The media committee 
can make a contribution towards the elimination of these gaps. 


Since unification in 1910 South Africa enjoyed a stable education 
system. At the moment there are fourteen different education 
departments besides the four in the independent homelands of Transkei, 
Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei . Some critics describe these fourteen 
different education departments as fourteen different education 
systems. Others regard them as fourteen subsystems of the South 
African education system due to the extent of their similarities. 

With so many education departments obviously some differences are 
noticeable. Some departments have an education media service and 
well-developed school media centres. In other departments school 
media services are poorly developed, while in yet others school media 
services are almost non-existent. The situation depends very much on 
the educational philosophy and policy of the different education 
departments with regard to the role of media centres in education. 

During the past decade, and more specifically since the beginning of 
1990, South Africa has experienced dramatic changes. Primarily these 
changes are taking place in the political arena, but they have 
consequences for other arenas as well. Strong political pressure has 
been exercised to bring about the establishment of a single education 

In the process of bringing about a single education department in 
South Africa, various far-reaching changes have already taken place 
in the education departments for white children. In the past only 
government and private schools existed, but since 1992 a third 
category, state-aided schools has been added. State and state-aided 
schools are now open to everyone while private schools have their own 
entrance requirements. Prior to these changes state schools received 
substantial funds for the development of media centres. Since August 
1992 when the new education dispensation for white children came into 
being, no more funds have been granted to schools for the development 
of media centres. At the moment it is not clear whether new state 
schools to be built will be provided with the physical facilities for 
media centres any longer. As a single education department for the 
whole of South Africa will be established on 1 April 1994, it is also 
not yet clear whether funds for media centres will be made available 
again after that date. It is, however, of vital importance that the 


education authority must explicitly formulate in its education policy 
the role it expects the media centre to play with regard to teaching 
and learning. There should be a statement on the philosophy, aims and 
objectives of the media centre in its schools. If the media centre's 
role is not explicitly formulated in the country's educational policy 
it will not figure in the curricula or examinations of the education 


As great uncertainty about the future of school media services in 
South Africa prevails at the moment, it is obvious that careful 
consideration is now being given to possible models that might be 

One possible model is the combined school/community libraries that are 
well-known in South Australia. An alternative model is that of 
community libraries functioning primarily as public libraries, which 
can also be utilised by the pupils of the surrounding schools. These 
schools will not have their own school library or media centre. 

There are definitely other models worth considering as well. The fact 
of the matter is that if the education authority relinguishes its 
responsibility for media centres on the macro management level, a new 
body will have to fill the gap if the media centre is to continue to 
exist. If it is the educational philosophy of the new education 
authority that media centres have no role to play in the new education 
system, then media centres in the state schools will become redundant. 
As far as state-aided and private schools are concerned, it will lie 
in the hands of their individual management boards to formulate their 
educational philosophy and policy with regard to the role of the media 

One possible model that needs to be considered is the continued 
existence of the present media centre at a school. At present each 
school has a management board chosen democratically from the parent 
community. The principal and his deputy also serve on the board. The 
management board is involved in the general management of the school. 

The instigation of a new body, the management committee, will be 
necessary to look after the media centre specifically. The management 
board can ask the management committee to submit a draft of their 
policy with regard to the role of the media centre in the particular 
school for consideration and approval. 

The management committee should consist of at least one representative 
of the management board, the principal and/or the deputy principal, 
the media teacher, one representative of the media committee (which 
will constitute a subcommittee of the management committee), two or 
more members from the community (preferably chosen from people 
qualified as librarians and people involved in the training of 
librarians and more specifically media teachers, as well as people 
from the business community). 


It will be the task of the management committee to take over the 
responsibility of the education media service on the macro management 
level if the education authority relinquishes its responsibility. If 
the management board of a particular school decides that a media 
centre at the school is unnecessary, then a management committee for 
the media centre will probably also be unnecessary, except if such a 
committee were to take up the challenge to persuade the management 
board to change its mind. 

The management committee can appoint various subcommittees. Reference 
has already been made of the media committee which is responsible for 
planning and promoting curricular media use. Other subcommittees 
could take the responsibility for fund raising, or cataloguing and 
classification of newly bought media or for providing assistance at 
the reference and lending desks. 

This management model could ease the management function of the media 
teacher tremendously. It would no longer be necessary for the media 
teacher to convince the principal or subject teachers of the 
importance of the media centre. That would be the task of the 
management committee and its various subcommittees. By implementing 
this management model the continued existence of the media centre 
would be ensured. 


American Association of School Librarians and Association for 
Educational Communications and Technology. 1988. Information power . 
Chicago: ALA. 

Gawith, G. 1986. A future information generation: the role of the 
school library. New Zealand libraries , 45(3):49-53. 

Herring, James E. 1988. School 1ibrarianship . 2nd edition. London: 

Kruger, J.A. 1 987. The school library as an integral part of the 
school. School librarian , 35(2 ) : 1 07-1 1 1 . 

The media centre: a guide for those concerned with media centres and 

school libraries . 1988. By C.M. Vink, J.H. Frylinck, J.A. Kruger and 
J.S. van Niekerk. Pretoria: Acacia. 

National Education Policy Investigation. 1992. Library & information 
services: report of the NEPI Library and Information Services Research 
Group: a project of the National Education Co-ordinating Committee . 
Cape Town: Oxford University Press. 

Prostano, Emanuel T. and Prostano, Joyce S. 1 987. The _ school media 

center. 4th edition. Littleton. Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. 

Smith, J.B. & Coleman, J.G. 1992. From the editors, in School 
library media annual; volume ten , edited by J.B. Smith and J.G. 
Coleman. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. 


University of South Africa. Department of Library and Information 
Science. 1988. The use of libraries for the development of South 
Africa: final report on an investigation for the South African 

Institute for Librarianshup and Information Science . Pretoria: 
University of South Africa. 

Yesner, B.L. & Jay, H.L. 1987. The school administrator's guide to 
evaluating library media programs . Hamden, Conn.: Library 
Professional Publications. 


The Ship Programme 

SHIP Workshop 
Author - Jo Painter 

For many years gifted children in Australia were supported by individuals aware of 
their needs. This was a very haphazard arrangement as these people were not 
supported by local, state or national bodies. State Education Departments did write 
policies in the late seventies and early eighties but very little benefits to gifted children 
resulted from these. It was not until the 8th World Conference was held in Australia in 
1989 that Australia seriously looked at the status of and provision for gifted students. 

Over the past few years, the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and 
Talented, founded in 1985, has worked to raise awareness across the country by 
organising training and development for teachers and parents, by running workshops 
and competitions for gifted students, by publishing information and by lobbying 

State associations have been active for a much longer period, the first state 

association.having been founded in 1977. These state associations have 

taken the lead in supporting the parents of gifted children, in extending and enriching 
gifted students and in seeking political support. In 1993, it can be stated that every 
state and territory in Australia has initiated and implemented programmes and policies 
to cater for the needs of gifted children. It can also be stated that these are many and 

Until recently, the situation in South Australia meant that the state education 
department was held responsible for fostering the gifts and talents of South Australian 
students. School principals were encouraged to establish systems of identification and 
ways of providing for these children as part of curriculum planning. The duties of area 
directors included the implementation of policy statements and the management and 
evaluation of provisions within their area which comprised both the school and the 
wider community. Practices included clustering groups of schools, mentoring, summer 
schools, flexible timetabling, acceleration,vertical grouping, enrichment activities, 
cross-age tutoring,and equal opportunity programmes. In theory one might gain the 
impression that much was done for gifted students. In practice very little of real benefit 
occurred in schools. 

In 1989, all state and territory ministers of education met, the outcome of which was a 
document entitled the National Goals of Schooling The third goal on this document is: 

To promote equality of educational opportunities and to provide for 
groups with special learning requirements. 

It was therefore argued that providing appropriate educational programmes suited to 
the special needs of gifted students is just as much an equity issue as the provision of 
appropriate programmes for children with disabilities. 


The Ship Programme 

in the same year, the Senate Select Committee Report on the Education of Gifted 
Children recognised that gifted children are a disadvantaged group in our educational 
system because their needs have not been widely recognised, especially at a national 
level. The committee stated: 

Many of the gifted will not achieve their full potential, unless special 
educational provision is made for them. Both they and the nation will benefit 
from the recognition of them and their talents. 

The Education Department of South Australia has set up a project to establish focus 
schools for educational programmes for gifted children. Seven focus schools have 
been selected. These are: 

Linden Park Junior Primary 
Magill Junior Primary 
Torrensville Primary 
Clapham Primary 
Madison Park Primary 
Port Lincoln Primary 
Fisk Street Primary, Whyalla 

Linden Park Junior Primary is a city school in an affluent area. It has an enrolment of 
approximately 300 children and 18.2 staff. Teachers are encouraged to work together 
in year levels with planning, programming and organisation. Specialist programmes in 
Dance and Science are provided as part of the NIT (Non-lnstructional Time) 
allocation.Mother Tongue Maintenance Programmes are provided in Chinese 
(Mandarin) and Iranian (Farsi). There is a considerable gender imbalance; 59% of 
students are boys and 43% are girls. 5% are school card holders and 23% are of non- 
English speaking background. The majority of these children are from China, Japan, 
Korea, Iran, and Sri Lanka. 

Magill Junior Primary is a large school of approximately 370 students in the foothills of 
the eastern suburbs. The Magill community consists of predominantly middle class 
families where families are generally well-educated and many hold professional or 
management positions. They are well-informed about educational issues and hold 
high expectations for their children. The school has had an ongoing commitment to 
students with high intellectual potential for several years and has established a 
comprehensive programme for them. Most classes are structured in composite year 
levels with clusters of identified students of high intellectual potential in each class. An 
affirmative programme for gifted girls is in existence. 

The strategies used at Magill include flexible progression by subject and and year 
level acceleration and differentiation of classroom programmes. There are some 
withdrawal programmes for mathematics, language, research, art and Chinese held 


The Ship Programme 

within school hours, during lunch times or on Saturday mornings. Higher level thinking 
strategies are taught to all children. The school enters teams in the national Future 
Problem Solving Programme and students are encouraged to enter other 

Torrensville Primary school is located in the western suburbs. It is an R-7 school with 
an enrolment of about 200 students. There are at least 26 different cultural groups 
represented in the school including children who are Aboriginal. A significant number 
of children come from families in poverty. Over 50% of the children obtain school card. 
There is also a gender imbalance of boys to girls, approximately 60% to 40%. 

The School Development Plan addresses the following areas: Social justice, parent 
participation, mathematics, environmental education, expressive arts, literacy,science 
and technology and behaviour management. The school operates Saturday classes in 
Drama, Art and Science. In addition, a homework centre for Aboriginal students 
operates after school twice a week. 

Clapham Primary is an R-7 school comprising 380 students. The school is involved in 
the National Schools Project which focuses on restructuring learning. All classes are 
arranged in multi-age groups. Specialist programmes in music, computing, science 
and physical education are offered. Some staff work in team situations and many 
classes utilise peer teaching situations and cross-age tutoring. 

Madison Park Primary has an enrolment of 550 and shares a campus with the Junior 
Primary (300). The school has a significant NESB enrolment and Vietnamese is taught 
for fylother-Tongue Maintenance. 25% of the students receive assistance through 
school card. The school is one of the annexes of the regency Park Centre for the 

The school aims to assist children to reach their potential and there is a strong 
commitment to a success-orientation for all students and staff. For three years the 
school has had a specific interest in the education of students with high intellectual 
potential. A variety of identification procedures and learning options , particularly 
mentoring, clustering and acceleration have been attempted. A nign prioriiy is piacea 
on cTTeciive learning programmes and training and development for teachers. 

Port Lincoln Primary School is situated on the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula Togetr-ur 
wiin me junior Primary School just across the road it is one of the largest R-7 schools 
in the state with nearly a thousand students. The school has a history of invoivemeni 
v/iih ihe fostering of gifts and talents over a ten year period. It has variously maintained 
extension group activities at each year level and initiated magnei classes Tsr 
aiienaance oy students from other schools on Lower Eyre Peninsula. 

The school supports many options for gifted ennaren, suen as acceioraticn oy suojcc: 

ams, •...sassroGm Learning Centres and special seminars. Other 

1 ^' 


The Ship Programme 

support programs consist of instrumental music, choral training, science fairs and 

Fisk Street , Whyalla , Primary is an industrial town on Eyre Peninsula approximately 
three hundred miles from Adelaide. Like Torrensville, it is a Priority Project school with 
approximately half of its 320 students receiving school card support. Fisk Street is an 
R-7 school consisting of 13 vertically grouped classes. 

There is an emphasis on every student achieving their personal best. The school 
vision is to achieve excellence with fairness. Each student has a Student Development 
Plan which is negotiated through consultation between parents, students and staff. 

These plans target specific areas for development for each student and outline 
strategies and evaluation procedures for these areas. 

Fisk Street is also a support school for the English as a Second Language in the 
Mainstream, a focus school for Literacy and a base school for Vacation Recreation 

The selection of these schools was made with a cross section of geographical 
locations and socio-economic areas in mind. As can be seen from the brief description 
of each school, taken from each school’s context statement, there is considerable 
variation between the schools as regards the type of student, the expectations of the 
community and the educational emphases. This kind of variation can be found across 
the state. 

Documentation relating to the aims and objectives of the SHIP Focus Schools 
Program is very specific, as is demonstrated by the following information. 

The funding has been approved for three years, with an approximate amount of 
$80,000 allocated per year. The focus school concept is designed to set up networks 
of schools based arond the focus schools for the purpose of highlighting identification 
procedures, flexible school organisation and documenting and disseminating 
enrichment programmes and materials, at the end of this three year period, a review of 
student outcomes will determine future directions. 

In South Australia gifted students are termed Students with High Intellectual Potential. 
Hence the acronym SHIP. The present focus schools project is planned for Reception 
to Year 7 only, but the Education Department plans to target secondary schools in 

The South Australian Education Department’s Charter Educating for the 21st century, 
in conjunction with the National Goals for Schooling in Australia, contains a number 
of educational imperatives which require significant changes in the ways in which 


The Ship Programme 

schools organise and manage learning opportunities for all students, but the greatest 
impact will be on those students with high intellectual potential. These students require 
significant and diverse opportunities in order to achieve successful outcomes and 
need to be challenged to strive for the achievement of their personal best. 

Students with high intellectual potential are a part of every school population and it is 
vital that educators are aware of the factors that either influence or inhibit these 
students. Personal factors which may affect a student’s performance are peer 
pressure, self-esteem and motivation. External factors are those such as disability, 
cultural and linguistic background, and socio-economic and socio-cultural 

The South Australian Education Department, in line with current educational initiatives 
throughout Australia, acknowledges that the provision of opportunities for students 
with high intellectual potential should be an integral and ongoing part of class and 
school programmes. Through the provision of expertise, resources and personnel, the 
focus schools will implement the Students with Gifts and Talents Policy which has 
been revised and rewritten. The focus schools will provide strong leadership and 
coordinated support for network schools. 


* the implementation of a revised policy statement 

* the establishment of a network of schools to provide training, development and 
support for teachers working with students with high intellectual potential. 

* a range of out-of-school and inter-school activities for children with high intellectual 
potential conducted at system’s and local levels. 

* a number of students participating in accelerated learning programmes within their 
own schools and with other providers. 

* the preparation and distribution of class and school programmes and support 
materials through Windows on Practice. 

* documentation of the focus school development process to provide guidelines and 
models for other schools. 

* an evaluation of the programme in terms of student outcomes, teacher development 
and curriculum out comes. 

* a training course for teachers developed in consultation with relevant tertiary 
institutions with credit allowed for a post graduate award. 

Expectations of Focus Schools 

Each school selected into the programme will demonstrate an appropriate range of 
teaching and learning practices for students with high intellectual potential with 
particular emphasis on the following: 

* classroom practice by project teachers which enables students with high intellectual 
potential to be identified, assessed and appropriate learning programmes negotiated. 

* provision for accelerated progression through the schooling system. 


The Ship Programme 

* provision for children to undertake learning programmes in other locations including 
secondary schools, tertiary institutions and within the community. 

* provision of a range of resources for children with high intellectual potential. 

* organisation of programmes during and out of school hours for students from their 
own school as well as students from other schools. 

A coordinator position will be established in each of the focus schools. This position 
will be in addition to the school’s band two allocation, the coordinator will support 
project teachers by working collaboratively within their classrooms. They will provide 
in-school and outreach leadership in training and development and the coordination 
and establishment of appropriate learning programmes. 

Each focus school will be allocated additional salary to enable the selected project 
teachers to participate in the initial training and development programme. They will 
also require time to work with other teachers both within their their own school and 
from outside their school. 

The criteria as set out in the General Information regarding the Focus Schools 
Program will apply. An additional requirement will be for schools to have the potential 
to develop new links with secondary schools and tertiary institutions or strengthen 
existing ones. These links will provide access to a wider variety of learning 


The SHIP Programme has three phases 

•Phase 1 1992-1993 consists of the establishment of the programme. Phase 1 will be 
characterised by significant training and development within each focus school without 
the responsibility of working with other schools. During this phase, the following will 

* selection of schools according to criteria. 

* selection of coordinators and project teachers for the program. 

* negotiation of resources and operation modes between focus schools and the 
Schools and Curriculum Unit. 

* development of action plans , strategies, outcomes and guidelines. 

* training and development for the coordinators. 

* training and development of focus schools personnel ( principals, deputy principals, 
coordinator and nominated project teachers. 

* project teachers will develop and trial materials and contribute to the development of 
resource packs. 

* establishment of a resource collection within the focus school which will involve the 
trialling and evaluation of commercially produced material. 

* coordinators and project teachers will share their expertise with colleagues from 
within their own school. 

* development and implementation of evaluation strategies which will be used to 

The Ship Programme 

monitor the program and student out comes 

* documentation of the program’s development. 

Phase 1 will also see the establishment of a network across the six focus schools 
Phase 2 1993 & 1994 

Phase 2. will be primarily concerned with the focus schools establishing their 
networks. During this stage the following will occur; 

* Coordinators of focus schools, in collaboration with their principal and the Schools 
and Curriculum Unit will negotiate structures within which the network schools will 

* training and development of teachers from network schools 

* dissemination of innovative class programs and teacher generated materials and 

resources within the network. 

* Coordinators and focus schools project teachers to work collaboratively with 
teachers from network schools 

* documentation of classroom practices for dissemination 

* development and implementation of evaluation strategies that will be used to 
monitor the program and student outcomes. 

Phase 31995 

Phase 3 will involve evaluation of the program and determining future directions. 

a number of schools outside the networks served by the focus schools may also have 
a commitment to the goals of this programme and may make provision for a band 2 
leadership position from within its formula allocation. These schools will be linked with 
a focus school through a “corresponding member” arrangement, which means that 
these schools will be able to access programs and resources from the focus school 
according to their availability. 

Coordinators will be selected on merit using Education Department selection 
procedures and a common panel. 

Teachers will develop skills in identifying students with high intellectual potential from 
the full range of the student population and will develop appropriate programs for 
them. These teachers will manage training and development programs for other 
teachers. They will welcome other teachers into their classrooms, demonstrate 
practice in their classrooms and lead workshops. Regular liaison between the 
teachers and parents will be essential in the development of negotiated learning 

In their classrooms, teachers will effectively use teaching strategies such as: 

* self pacing and self selection of learning 

* flexibly organised instruction 

* development of extension materials and activities 

* contract learning/discovery learning approaches 


The Ship Programme 

* “interdisciplinary” treatment of topics and issues. 

* the use of problem solving methods to investigate real-life issues and problems 

* collaborative learning strategies 

* the use of learning situations in the community such as school community links 

* students as learners with other students sharing their insights, experiences and 

* developing interactive learning methods which lift the levels of student’s thinking 

* developing sound expectations of good learning outcomes for all students 

* encouraging students’ natural sense of creativity and extending these skills 

* using resource based learning, information retrieval skills and relevant technologies. 

A training programme for coordinators and project teachers will be developed in 

consultation with the tertiary sector.Currently a course is being offered at Flinders 
University. Negotiations will be undertaken with the institution for the course to become 
the basis for the coordinator/key teacher training and development programme. A 
further initiative to be explored with the three universities will be the development of a 
Graduate Certificate of Education course consisting of six semester units. A process of 
liaising with the universities for access to courses for students enrolled in schools but 
who require extension in their learning programs will also be explored. 

As can be seen the program has been carefully planned and six months into the 
program, matters are proceeding according to plan. External and internal coordinators 
have been undergoing training and development themselves while managing training 
and development for the designated focus teachers within their respective schools. 
Gifted children have been identified and many programs, strategies and resources 
aimed at benefiting these students are being organised. Planning for Phase 2, the 
setting up of networks is on the drawing board. It will be very interesting to see how 
the push for National Profiles and a Standardised Curriculum Australia wide will meld 
with the Ship Focus Schools Program 


FROM 1972 - 1993 

Presented by 
Melvyn D. Rainey 
Coordinator, USP 
Training Programme 


Although this paper will primarily be about the new Diploma in 
Library/Information Studies which was first offered at the 
University of the South Pacific in 1990 I feel it is necessary 
to give you a bit of background leading up to its inception so 
tliat you might better understand how we arrived at the present 
programme. Let me begin by stating that the University of the 
South Pacific is celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday this year. 
The institution first opened its doors to students in February, 
1968. As an institution of higher learning, it is unique in that 
it is one of the few regional universities in the world. Its main 
campus is in Suva, Fiji and it caters to the needs of twelve 
Pacific island countries, namely the Cook Islands, Fiji, 
Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, 
Vanuatu, Western Samoa and the newest member, the Marshall 
Islands which became a member in 1991. The region stretches over 
an area of elev'en million square miles of ocean, an area which 
is three times the size of Europe. (Appendix I) Tlie total land 
mass is roughly one-third again as large as Denmark and the 
population of the region is just over one and one-half million. 
(Appendix I) 

To develop a training programme which would meet the needs of 
such a vast area was not an easy task for while the people of the 
South Pacific have much in common, each country has its own 
distinct culture and tradition. The University from its very 
beginning has always been conscious of this in any attempts it 
has made to introduce new programmes. As well it has been charged 
with the maintenance, advancement and dissemination of knowledge 
by teaching, consultancy and training responsive to the well¬ 
being and needs of its South Pacific communities. 

At the present time the University has approximately ten thousand 
students and roughly seventy percent of them undertake their 
studies through distance education. 0\'er the years the University 
has established University centres in all member count.ries with 
liie exception of Tokelau which has an office at the Western 
Samoan Centre. The Marshall Islands as yet does not have a centre 
but this will be establislied in the near future. In all 


establislied cent.res, libi'aries have l)een or-ganized and catered 
to by the main L'nivei'sity Library. The centre libraries are 
primarily for the use of students taking distance education 
courses. In some countries the iibraries are under- tiie leadership 
of people who have completed the Certificate in Librarianship and 
who are now working towards their Diploma in Library/Information 

Library Training 1972-1980 

In the area of library training the University has played a major 
role. When the University first opened its doors in 1968, the 
professional library staff quickly realized that trainirrg for 
junior and intermediate staff and those working in libraries 
throughout the country was paramount. Within a period of four 
years the professional staff at the library along with Library 
Services of Fiji met the challenge by developing the first semi- 
formal training for non-professionals in Fiji. The Fiji 
Certificate was in existence from 1972-1980 and although it was 
primarily for people working in Fiji there were some people from 
other countries in the region included in the programme. The 
training was in the form of a series of one week workshops and 
it was this training that was instrumental in fostering interest 
in developing a programme that would benefit the entire USP 
region. In the eight years it was offered a total of seventy-two 
people received their first training and a large number of them 
have continued on with further training. It is this group that 
has formed the core of a dedicated group of semi-professional 
library assistants in the South Pacific. 

Certificate in Librarianship 1981-1993 

By the middle of the 1970s it was obvious that a more intensive 
training programme that would include both theory and practical 
aspects of 1 i brar i ansh i p was needed througliout the region if 
libraries wer'e to mal\e an impact on communities. By early 1981 
funding for sucli a programme was appro\ed by Canadian 
International De\'e 1 opnien t Agency, (CIDA). By the second semester 
of 1981 the first two courses of the six required for completion 


of the Certificate in L i brarianship programme were offered 
through distance education. The new programme was a vocational 
programme and the teaching/1earning mode was carried out by 
satellite tutorials, face to face tutorials for those studei^ts 
living in the vicinity of the University, written assignments and 
some regional workshops. In 1984 the Canadian funding ended and 
the University took over the financial cost of continuing the 
programme. At the end of 1992, one hundred and eighty six people 
in the USP region had gained the Certificate in Librarianship. 
(Appendix II) When the programme ends in 1993 it is expected 
that approximately two hundred people will have completed the 
certificate. No new students have been accepted into the 
programme since 1990. It is worth noting that at this point in 
time there is a movement throughout the region to revise, update 
and reinstate the Certificate as many in the region feel there 
is still a need for it and that it is a viable entry point at 
which to begin library studies. Whether or not this will be 
considered by the University Senate remains to be seen. The 
Certificate programme has been quite successful and most people 
who completed it are working in libraries. A number of people 
migrated in 1987 at the time of the Military Coups and among 
those leaving the country were librarians; a large number of 
these people have been able to secure positions in libraries at 
a paraprofessional level. 

Diploma in Library/Tnformation Studies 

By the middle of the 1980s the question had arisen about the need 
for further training beyond the Certificate level. University 
centre directors, government officials, as well as librarians 
throughout the region saw a need for further training in their 
respective countries. The University library professional staff 
under the leadership of Esther Williams, the University Librarian 
and Donita Simmons, the Senior Assistant Librarian, began working 
on a proposal for the new programme. Simmons, (1987) stated that 
a great amount of preliminary work went into the vai'ious areas 
to facilitate planning and assessing the need for upgrading the 
current certificate to a diploma; analysing the components in 
each of the coursebooks currently being used; identifying 


instructional components not included in the Certificate that 
should be included in the Diploma, and obtaining input from 
practising librarians on the need for a diploma programme, its 
content and methods of making it available to students. 

One of the first decisions made at the very outset of discussions 
was to expand the concept of the programme from ' Librarianship’ 
to 'Library/Information Studies’. This concept was carried 
through to expanding the term 'libraries’ to '1ibrary/information 
centres’ and the term 'librarian’ to '1ibrary/information 
specialist.’ It was thought the new terms would more accurately 
define the role of libraries and librarians in the world today. 
Financial support for the new diploma programme came from the 
Canadian funding agency International Development Research Centre 
(IDRC) in 1988. Financial support was given for a three-year 
period. This money was used for the writing of course materials, 
purchasing textbooks and paying the salary of one person. At the 
end of the three-year period the University accepted the 
financial responsibility for the continuance of the programme. 

The Diploma.does differ from its two predecessors in a number of 
ways. Perhaps the greatest strength of the new programme has been 
the involvement of more experts from outside the region. Two 
course writers from the Australian National University and the 
University of British Columbia who have had a number of years 
experience working in the South Pacific and who have a good 
understanding of the needs of the region were hired, the former 
on a part-time basis the latter full time. Four other course 
writers from the University of Hawaii, the University of Maryland 
and the California Lutheran University spent from six months to 
a year on sabbaticals working on new course materials. As well, 
a public librarian from New Zealand who is working in Fiji has 
been involved on a part time basis writing materials. 
Professional staff from the University Library have been involved 
in giving feedback and making suggestions about written 
materials. Having a large number of writers witii different 
backgrounds and expertise involved in preparing courses has been 
advantageous because it has given the programme a broader range 
of ideas and a richer in-depth appeal for students. Secondly, the 


Diploma is a recognized and accredited University programme and 
can be a step towards gaining a degree at tlie University of tiie 
South Pacific. The 1 i bra ry / i n f o rma t ion courses are all at a first 
and second year level. For students who do not wisii to continue 
towards a degree they may stop once they have completed the ten 
courses required for the Diploma. Those wishing to continue 
towards a degree will have completed one-half the courses 
required for an undergraduate degree. 

As one would expect the qualifications for admittance to the 
Diploma programme are stricter than for previous programmes. 
Admission ma> be granted in any of the following ways: 

. candidates who have successfully completed the USP 

Certificate in Librarianship or its equivalent; OR 

. candidates who have passed the New Zealand University 

Entrance or the Senate approved Sixth Form examination and 
LLFll - Communication and Study Skills course and have 
three years relevant work experience; OR 

. candidates who have obtained credit towards a university 

degree or diploma may be admitted with certain credit 

exceptions as the Senate considers appropriate; OR 

. candidates who pass LLFll and qualify under the mature age 

regulations and have three years relevant work experience. 

The 1ibrary/information courses total nine in number, six of the 
nine are required to complete the library requirements towards 
the diploma. In addition to these six courses, four academic 
electives must be taken. Students may elect to do four one 
hundred level courses as electives or they may use a combination 
of one and two hundred level courses. In choosing electives many 
students lia\'e elected to take management and computer courses, 
although history, geography, English and sociology are also 
popular courses. 


The first four 1ibrary/informat ion courses cover basic areas of 
1ibrarianship that are found in overseas professional library 
schools: tiie role of libraries in society; selection and 
collection development; cataloguing and classification; and 
reference/information services. The course in Library/Information 
Management and the four specialized courses in School 
Library/Information Centres - Academic Library/Information 
Centres, Public Library/Information Centres, and Special 
Library/Information Centres are all ai, the tuo hundred level. The 
management course is a required course and in the specialized 
courses students are required to choose one course although they 
may take more than one if they so desire. It is being proposed 
to the School of Humanities of which the Library training 
programme is part, that the four specialization courses be moved 
from a two hundred level to a three hundred level. This would 
give students a double major if they wish to complete a degree. 
Each of the specialized courses is treated in much greater detail 
than they were in the certificate programme, where only the 
school library course was a separate course. (Course descriptions 
Appendix III) 

The Diploma began in semester one, 1990 as an on-campus pilot 
programme. Twenty-five students were accepted from the Cook 
Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Western Samoa. The 
Department suggested names of candidates who had completed the 
Certificate, however the final decision had to be left to the 
individual countries. Twenty-two students began the programme and 
three students dropped out before the third semester was 
completed. Scholarship money w’as provided by the Asia Foundation 
and the IDRC. This money was used for living accommodation, text 
books, fees, etc. Governments from the various countries paid 
airfares for their students. 

Each semester two 1 ibrary/information courses were offered and 
those students who were attending fulltime took one or two 
electives in their programme as well. To make it possible for a 
number of students in the Su\a area who were working and who 
could only attend classes after work, the 1 i brary/information 
classes were held from 5:00pm - 8:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday 


evenings. Classtime was divided into lectures, group work, 
individual presentations and visits to different types of 
libraries in the Suva area. After each semester students and the 
teaching staff evaluated the courses. The course materials were 
improved upon according to tlie evaluations and were then given 
to the Uni\'ersity Extension Unit, where a course developer and 
the course writer concerned collaborated on strengthening the 
instructional design of the courses to ensure the different 
learning styles of students could better be met. This work 
normally takes one semester to complete. It is then offered 
through the Distance Education Programme. Each semester a course 
is offered, a new assignment booklet is prepared for students. 

The overall response from the on-campus students was on the whole 
positive. For the most part students were keen and active 
participants in all activities. For many of the students who came 
from the region and from other parts of Fiji, it was their first 
time away from home. Homesickness for family and a familiar 
environment was a problem for some but on the whole they coped 
amazingly well. 

The first distance education courses were offered in semester one 
of 1991. Each semester is fifteen weeks in length and there is 
a two week period at the end for students to revise and prepare 
for examinations. The University has recently given departments 
the option of trying a thirty week semester, because of 
difficulties with mail services among USP countries among other 
problems, the Department has opted for the longer semester. We 
believe it will give students more time to spend on their studies 
and assignments and thus have a better understanding of the 
materials being covered. 

There are one hundred and fifty students at various stages in the 
diploma. Each semester there are approximately twenty new 
students who begin their studies. At the time of enrolment 
counselors in each country travel throughout the region to 
various centres helping students choose courses. As well, the 
coordinator of the programme spends considerable time pointing 
out to students the various options available, however, the final 


decision is left to students. Making such decisions is often very 
difficult for students because most of them have never been faced 
with making decisions of this nature. 

Evaluation of students is never an easy task and it is 
particularly difficult to evaluate students who are taking 
courses by distance learning. Fifty percent of their final mark 
is based on their four assignments in each course and fifty 
percent is based on a final examination. Students must have a 
passing average in both the assignments and the examination. The 
students studying by distance education are on tlie whole coping 
quite well with their studies. There are of course some 
difficulties which both students and course writers face. For 
students, the greatest difficulty is with the English language. 
English is a second and in some cases a third language for many 
students and while their spoken English is reasonably good they 
often have difficulty expressing their ideas in written work. 
Meeting deadlines in getting assignments turned in is a serious 
problem for many students. Assignments are spaced from six to 
nine weeks apart depending on the amount of work covered in the 
assignment but the concept of how much time is required to study 
the material and do the assignment poses a serious difficulty for 
students even though we indicate the minimum amount of time they 
should spend on the work to be studied. The greatest difficulty 
that course writers encounter in preparing courses is locating 
material written locally which is suitable. Many of the readings 
from overseas journals have to be summarized or adapted to meet 
local needs. To be able to write materials at a level which can 
be understood by students and at the same time not insult their 
intelligence is not an easy task. 

The Diploma has given graduates the opportunity to gain new in- 
depth knowledge in the area of computers and this will be a basis 
which will help them to keep pace with technological changes that 
are taking place at a rapid pace in the South Pacific. The 
programme has also helped to build their self-confidence and 
hopefully their professional understanding of what 
1ibrary/information centres are about. The Diploma programme 
provides people with appropriate training at the semi- 


professional level and thus will help them to more realistically 
meet t,he informational needs of the region. The training at the 
diploma level is helping to bridge the gap between the library 
assistant and the professional librarian. The offering of the 
diploma tlirough distance education will allow students to gain 
their qualifications with a minimum of loss of income and 
personal dislocation, and furthermore the programme will reach 
the greatest number of people for the least amount of financial 
resources . 

Future Training 

What does the future hold for the library/information specialist 
in the USP member countries of the South Pacific? I believe that 
we can take an optimistic view for the future. As countries in 
the region continue to develop, there will be an ever greater 
need for we11-developed 1ibrary/information centres and 
library/information specialists. The job market at the present 
time is reasonably bright. An area where 1ibrary/information 
centres are likely to continue to expand is in schools. Good 
1ibrary/information centres in schools are an essential part of 
a good education. Young people who graduate from schools who have 
had the privilege of using well-stocked, well-organized and well- 
run 1ibrary/information centres are the basis for improving the 
ability and interest of 1ibrary/information users. Special 
1ibrary/information centres in government, industry and the 
private sector are also likely to continue to develop as society 
realizes the need for a greater variety and amount of 

At this point in time it is difficult to say what type of 
training programmes will be developed in the next decade. It is 
not likely that . a new programme will emerge before 2005. The 
question of developing a professional degree programme has been 
mentioned but that hardly seems likely at the present time 
because the financial costs are beyond the University’s capacity. 
The lack of resource materials as well as human resources and 
physical space makes such an undertaking impractical. There is 
also the question of whether or not enrolment would be sufficient 


to support such an undertaking. It is more reasonable to expect, 
that as people complete their undergraduate degree along with 
their diploma they could be sent overseas to gain their 
professional qualifications. In the long run this would be less 
costly and for students it would be on opportunity to gain a more 
international outlook about the profession. 

During the next decade it is reasonable to assume there will be 
a greater number of in-service professional workshops for 
practising library/information specialists. Such workshops are 
likely to involve the technological advances that are beginning 
to find their way into South Pacific libraries. Outside USP the 
growth and use of computer applications has made a considerable 
impact in government structures as well as in the private sector. 
By and large with the exception of the University of the South 
Pacific and the South Pacific Commission, libraries have lagged 
behind in technological advancement. 

At this point in the training programme we feel that we have 
extended ourselves to the very limit of our resources and by 1995 
we hope to be able to do a thorough evaluation of all aspects of 
the programme. 

Sources Quoted 

1. Simmons, Donita V. Library training methods moves up ; the 
USP Diploma in Library/Information Studies. Suva : Fiji 
Library Association Journal, no. 17. June 1987. 

Other sources referred to but not quoted directly. 

1. Pacific Islands Year Book. Edited by Norman and Ngaire 
Douglas. 16th ed. London : Angus and Robertson, 1989. 

2. The Statesman’s Year Book. Edited by Brian Hunter. 129th 
ed. London : Mac Millan Press, 1992-93. 

3. The University of the South Pacific Calendar. Suva : USP, 
1 993 . 




AI’ea ( sq km ) 


Cook Islands 









Marshal1 Is. 









Solomon Islands 





1 , 703 










Western Samoa 





1 ,631 ,411 

Land Area taken from the Pacific Islands Yearbook, 1989. 
Population taken from the Statesman’s Yearbook 1992-93. 



Number of graduates by Country from 1981-1992. 


Cook Islands 


Marshall Islands 



Solomon Islands 





Western Samoa 

Ex-Patriots in the 


New Caledonia 





New member to the 
region in 1991 






Number of Graduates by Year 




198 3 

































U n i e r s i t y 





Discusses the library and its functions; the role of the 
librarian; professionalism; the library in society; the library 
in the total information environment; history of libraries; 
history of information and technology; intellectual freedom and 
library information. There are a number of readings included in 
this course. 


A review of the process involved in selecting books and other 
resources for library collections; introduction to the book trade 
and selection tools; budgets for books and other resources; 
preparation of a selection policy for various types of libraries; 
collecting archival resources; censorship; evaluation of the 
selection process; automation of selection procedures. There are 
a number of readings included in this course. 


This course covers descriptive cataloguing; ISBD, subject 
classification, the Dewey Decimal classification and filing. 
Both books and non-print materials are covered in considerable 
detail, organizing archival materials and automation. Students 
are expected to purchase the latest editions of Sears Subject 
Headings, Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification, ALA Filing Rules 
and the Concise AACR. 


Includes attitudes toward library services; the r-eference 
process, an in-depth look at various information sources; 
reference and information services; archival services; 
circulation services; evaluation of library services and the 
automation of I.ibrary ser\’ices. 



Covers the theories and principles of management; problems and 
issues in library management; statement of mission, goals and 
objectives; management of library functions; staffing; data 
gathering; budgeting; planning and maintaining facilities, 
equipment and resources; communication skills; accountability; 
setting priorities; time management; evaluation and library 


Students are to choose one of the options from HU206 to HU209. 

Discusses the purpose of the school 1ibrary/information centre; 
emphasis on the role of the teacher librarian as a teaching 
member of the school staff. Emphasis on cooperative planning and 
teaching with classroom teachers. Discusses the traditional 
activities of selecting and organizing materials. Emphasis is 
placed on developing programmes in conjunction with what is being 
taught in the school; cooperation between the school library and 
the community; automation of the school library. 


Discusses the role of the academic 1ibrary/information centre in 
tertiary education; academic library functions; role of the 
academic librarian; selection; organisation; services; 
management; promotion; reporting; communication skills; setting 
priorities; time management; evaluation of the library and its 
programmes; automation of the academic library. 


Discusses the purposes and role of tiie public library/information 
centre in the community; role of tiie public librarians; 
selection, organisation; sei'vices; management; promotion; 


reporting; communication skills; setting priorities; time 
management; evaluation and automation of the public 
1ibrary/information centre. 


Discusses the purpose of the special library/information centre; 
types of special libraries, tl^e role of the special librarian; 
selection; organization; services; management, promotion; 
reporting; communication skills; setting priorities; time 
management; evaluation and automation of the special 
library/information centre. 

Students must choose four academic electives to complete their 
Diploma studies. 


Library training in the South Pacific region covered by the 
University of the South Pacific has been in effect for 20 years. 
The newest programme The Diploma in Library/Information studies 
began in 1990. 

This paper outlines the problems faced in developing the 
programme for distance education. A description of the courses 
offered, the learning modules and the financing of the programme 
are also discussed. The conclusion discusses the future of the 
present programme and suggests possible new programmes beyond 
2005 - 



Laying a foundation for responsive 
information services in schools 

Ross J. Todd 

Lecturer, School of Information Studies 
University of Technology, Sydney 

Niki Kallenberger 

Teacher-Librarian, Cherrybrook Technology High School 

Michelle Ellis 

Teacher-Librarian, Woolooware High School 


The professional literature of teacher-librarianship increasingly recognises the 
importance of identifying the information needs of teachers and students as the 
starting point in developing effective school library programs. This paper focuses 
on the conceptual framework and development of a practical methodology which 
enables teacher-librarians to undertake a user-based information needs analysis. 
On the basis of this analysis, a responsive, dynamic school library and 
information service can be built. In the workshop, case studies of schools 
trialling this methodology will be presented. These case studies will examine 
outcomes, and explore how these outcomes can be translated into information 
service priorities. Participants in the workshop will have an opportunity to 
examine how this methodology can be applied to their unique school setting. 


The young, precocious and bold Oliver Twist gives a vital clue to our future as 
teacher librarians and our practice as information professionals and educators. 
In that immortalised dining room scene, Oliver Twist asks for more food. We are 
told the assistants were paralysed with wonder, and the master, gazing in 
stuperfied amazement at this small rebel, aimed a blow at his head with the food 
ladle. But Oliver was hungry, and he needed to have his driving hunger satisfied. 
At the centre of his behaviour was need. Central to the role of the teacher- 
librarian is providing an effective school library service that is responsive to the 
information needs of the school community, both staff and students. 


What are information needs? The reflective and research literature suggests that 
the term has become an umbrella under which a variety of interpretations fall, 
including demands, requirements, wants and desires, something one ought to 
have, an uncertainty about something that is to be resolved, and gaps between 
what we have and what we would like. Begging the problematic nature of 
defining this word, the word need implies a state that arises within a person, 
suggesting some kind of gap that requires filling. When applied to the word 
information, as in information need, what is suggested is a gap that can be filled 
by something that the needing person calls information. 

From an analysis of the literature, two broad interpretations emerge. It is 
important to understand these because they provide a framework for teacher- 
librarians in approaching the identification of information needs in practice, and 
developing responsive information services to meet them. 

Traditionally, information needs of the school community have not been defined 
in terms of what users perceive their information needs to be, but in terms of what 
the providers of information services and products, the teacher-librarians and 
school administrators, think, and often in terms of what is already possessed in 
the school library. In this traditional approach, focus of attention is given to 
measuring the extent to which users use different kinds of sources, media, 
systems, documents, materials or channels that already exist. Need is assessed 
from the pictures gained where demand is greatest, or where it is less than it 
ought to be, based on the professional judgement of the teacher-librarian. 
Sometimes the focus of attention is determining user awareness of the range of 
services offered in the school library. Need is deemed to exist when awareness 
is deemed lower than it ought to be, by professional judgement. Often judgement 
of need is based on determining how much people are satisfied or dissatisfied 
with different aspects of service, with those aspects that satisfy being seen as 
indicating a need for more service, and those that do not satisfy are usually seen 
as indicating a need for system improvement. 

While it might be argued that these approaches to identifying information needs 
provide some useful data, they are constrained by what the school library and the 
teacher-librarian views as information needs, and they are limited to examining 
the behaviour of users primarily in terms of their interactions with the school 
library. They are also constrained by what already exists, rather than providing a 
sound basis for establishing what might exist. It could be argued that these 
needs are system needs, established by looking inwards to the system, rather 
than looking outwards to the users, and do not really get to the heart of users' 
needs. (Dervin & Nilan, 11-12) 

A simple example can illustrate this. In the mid 1980s, the notion of cooperative 
programme planning and teaching was born, and christened CPPT. It was 
presented as a key approach to information skilling in the school. Teacher- 
librarians saw real value in the approach, embraced the process wholeheartedly 
and have worked hard to introduce this approach to classroom practice and at a 
professional development level. Through many inservices we have explored 
strategies and refined our techniques, and exchanged many ideas. We have 
taken these ideas back to our schools and tried them on unsuspecting staff, 
believing that this is what they need. And some of us have felt dreadfully guilty 
when we heard of others using this approach, and we weren't. And out of all of 
this, we have had some terrific successes. Yet our dream of a fully integrated and 


co-operative information skills programme still seems a long way off. Along this 
journey, we have met some resistance, reluctance, opposition, and downright 

There is another viewpoint here, that of the users. Research with teachers for 
example provides a different perception. Some teachers like their classroom 
autonomy and feel uncomfortable sharing the classroom with the teacher- 
librarian or anyone else; their teaching styles and classroom practices mean that 
CPPT as an approach to developing information literacy doesn't sit comfortably 
with them at all. Some teachers prefer to develop information skills themselves 
with their students. Some teachers don't understand in concrete terms what 
information skills are; and some are just not interested. Other teachers prefer 
collaboration outside the classroom rather than cooperation inside the classroom. 
(Todd, McNicholas, Sivanesarajah, 1992) Their perceptions of what they need 
from the teacher-librarian and how they need the teacher-librarian to facilitate 
information skills, varies from not at all to every which way. The perception of 
teacher-librarians, the providers of the service, is that such services are 
absolutely essential to all users. Yet such a perception many not be consistent 
with users' perceptions. 

We are all different, we all have different needs, and the recognition of these 
differences in needs is the essential first step in developing responsive school 
library and information services. Mercer (In Dervin & Milan, 1986) asserts that 
"the organisation which is best able to survive and flourish is one where its 
members have the capacity for self renewal or development, and where there is 
constant sensing of ways in which things can be improved and future needs be 
identified and met." Mick (1980) similarly calls for making information needs and 
uses a central focus of information systems: "Effective transition into the 
information age will require switching from information systems that are 
technology and content driven to information systems that are user driven." 


At the heart of these statements is the notion of responding to individual needs 
and adapting library and information services to meet these needs. Here lies the 
difference between promoting the school library, on the one hand, and 
marketing the school library, on the other. Promoting means taking an 
information product or service that we have developed, one that we believe in 
very much - like CPPT - and using our energies and powers of persuasion to get 
people to use that product or service, whether they need it or not. In other words, 
trying to adapt the person to match the cherished product. We are trying to adapt 
the individual to match the output of our school library. And we do this in quite 
subtle ways. Sometimes we implement what we believe to be a good idea in our 
school libraries, then note after a time that it is not being used. So we set about 
making people aware of it. May be they are aware of it; maybe they just don't see 
a need for it. 

Garvey (1979) asserts that "it is becoming increasingly clear that the success of 
information services is more likely to be achieved through adjusting the services 
to meet the specified needs of an individual rather than trying to adapt the 
individual user to match the wholesale output of an information system." This 
approach is a marketing approach. The philosophy of marketing says that 
organisations, institutions, agencies who identify customers' needs are able to 


more effectively develop need-satisfying products and services and deliver value 
to customers, and usually succeed in achieving their organisational goals. 
(Kotler, 1989) A responsive, flexible practice is one that is outward looking, 
oriented towards identifying and meeting the information needs of clients, as they 
perceive them. It is an individualised approach, targeted to individuals and small 
groups. This does not necessarily mean that we will be providing more services; 
rather, providing better services tailored to smaller groups, rather than providing 
weak services for everybody -in other words, individualising our services more. 
The basic idea of marketing is that responsiveness to our users' needs is the key 
to success and satisfaction. 

This notion of responding to users' needs is consistent with what is happening in 
the in the two professions in which we work - education and information. This is 
illustrated by the following comparison, developed by Todd and Kirk (1992) and 
based on Dervin & Milan (1986) and Ferguson (1981) : 

The changing face of education 


• emphasis on learning content 

• learning is a product, a destination 

• learning needs are bureaucratically 

• authoritarian learning structure 
where conformity is rewarded and 
difference is discouraged 

• relatively rigid curriculum 

• learning relies primarily on 
theoretical "abstract" book knowledge 

• classroom designed for teaching 
efficiency and convenience 

• teacher imparts content; teaching is 
talking, learning is listening 


• emphasis on learning how to learn 

• learning is a process 

• more responsive to the needs of 

• approaches to learning are flexible and 
responsive to characteristics and 
behaviours of groups of learners 

• flexible curriculum structures 

• book knowledge complimented by 
experiment and experience 

• learning context encourages 
confidence, self reliance and 

• teacher is facilitator of learning; 
learning is a shared environment 



• information doesn't change - it means 
the same thing to everybody 

• users of information are passive 
recipients of information - the 
"destination" of information 

• decisions about services are top-down 
- institutionally derived 

• the same level of service is provided to 
all; information fits each person in 
exactly the same way 

• libraries designed as storerooms for 
books: convenience of storage rather 
than convenience of users 

• communication tends to be of a 
persuasive and promotional nature 
attempting to convince the user to 
adopt an innovation 

• passive approach to the development of 
services tailored to specific 
information needs 

• little feedback from users on 
appropriateness of resources and 


• information creates different meaning 
and understanding for individuals 

• information users are actively involved 
in information transfer and does 
something with the information to 
satisfy needs 

• organisational decision strategies are 
based on knowledge of users 

• information seeking behaviours of 
people vary from individual to 
individual; services tailored to 
individuals and groups with similar 

• libraries designed to provide access to 
information appropriate to their 
abilities, interests and needs 

• a marketing approach to information 
provision is a key mechanism of 

• collaborative approaches between all 
sectors of the information 
infrastructure to develop services to 
meet needs 

• feedback from users is basis for change 

This changing scene identifies a shift in focus from the organisation or system to 
the individual; a change from a supplier focus to a user focus where the focus is 
on identifying learning and information needs of people and developing 
appropriate education and information services and products responsive to those 
needs. This changing scene suggests that our future practice is going to be more 
oriented to meeting individual needs. Needs are to do with people. Diagnosis of 
information needs is fundamental to establishing responsive information services. 
It is a process that focuses on identification of needs, analysis of data to establish 
focus, priorities, and recommendations, and implementation and evaluation of 

What then does it mean to be a responsive school library? 

• the highly responsive school library shows a keen interest in learning about 
the needs, perceptions, preferences and levels of satisfaction of its users. 
This requires some systematic information collection procedures about the 


information needs of users from their point of view, and beyond the context 
and constraints of the school library. 

• the highly responsive school library encourages its users to submit 
suggestions, opinions, complaints and inquiries, and utilises a variety of 
techniques such as suggestion box, comment cards, to do this. 

• the highly responsive school library systematically sifts all incoming 
information and takes positive action to adjust its products, services, 
policies, procedures. Some services may be abandoned because they 
have outlived their usefulness. 

• the highly responsive teacher librarian is one who is prepared to listen, 
learn and adapt. "This is how 1 do it, and how I will always do it" kind of 
approach is inward looking rather than outward looking and is contrary to 
the philosophy of a responsive school library. 

Implicit in these statements is the importance of establishing strategies to identify 
and assess the information needs of the school community. Diagnosis may occur 
at various levels, for example, at a group level through formal questionnaires and 
surveys, and at an individual level, such as during the reference interview. 


Key questions you might reflect on as part of this process include: 

1. What business are you in? In the real sense, you are in the business of 
creating satisfied users. 

Who are your users, what specific sub-groups or target groups exist among 
staff and students, and what are their information needs? 

2. What are you trying to achieve? You can gain an enormous amount by 
doing a carefully planned needs analysis: Knowing the real and specific 
needs of staff and students will facilitate: 

(a) strategic planning - establishing objectives 

- strategies for meeting objectives 

- clearer work targets 

(b) evaluation of products and services 

(c) improve relations with user group 

(d) accountability 

(e) advocacy: to convince people that there is a problem 

(f) funding 

(g) more positive self-performance appraisal by the teacher-librarian 


(h) more positive performance appraisal of the teacher-librarian by 

3. How might you go about identifying the needs of your users? 

(a) observe; observe work patterns and information seeking patterns 
of staff and students - in their own work settings. This can be done 
with minimum of interruption; observe the patterns of users in your 
school library. Get a clear picture of how your library is being used; 
what services and products are not being used. 

(b) ask: oral: through a variety of methods. 

1. individual discussion 

2. group discussions 

3. interviews 

A useful approach identified in the literature is the critical incident 
method. This involves having users identify a specific time / 
situation when they needed some information to solve a problem, 
and tracking it through to the time when the problem was satisfied - 
of no longer concern to them. They identify what they did, what 
information professionals did, questions asked, answers given, 
solutions, etc. This technique is quite time consuming, but it reveals 
a great deal of very useful data on the perceptions, expectations, 
needs and information seeking behaviour of your users. 

Another useful approach is to set up a library advisory 
committee. On it are key people in the organisation, staff, students, 
support staff, parents. Users can use this as a mechanism to provide 
feedback of needs. 

(c) ask: survey questionnaires These can reach a large 
group in a short time; users can convey their own perceptions and 
reactions freely. Self assessment surveys are particularly useful if 
you have them rank their ideas, from the most important to least 
important. This will help you establish service priorities further down 
the track. Surveys are good for public relations because people 
know you do them, and they have high credibility with funders. They 
require considerable planning, and asking the appropriate 
question. This is addressed later in this paper. 

4. How will you analyse the data? 

5. How will you interpret the data? 

6. How will you determine the priorities? 

7. What action will you take? 



In order to develop questions that tap into what the school community perceive 
their information needs to be, it is important to understand something about 
people's information seeking behaviour, and the relationship between information 
need, information seeking and information use. Inherent in this approach is the 
assumption that if the school library is to effectively reflect inwardly on its own 
operations, then it needs to look outwards to establish the benchmarks for this 

Model of Information seeking behaviour (Krikelas, 1983) 

Krikelas (1983) presents a model of users' information-seeking behaviour that 
has been constructed from empirical research. It has been based on systematic 
observations of people's information seeking behaviours, and thus as a general 
model it is useful as a basis for predicting information user behaviour. Krikelas 
defines information seeking as any activity of an individual that is undertaken to 


identify a message that satisfies a perceived need. The model is based on the 
underlying concept of the users as central to their o\A/n communication systems, 
and where information is seen as a stimulus which reduces uncertainty, bridges a 
perceived gap and helps users to make sense. The model highlights that users 
play an important role as information seekers, constructing sense out of their 
immediate situations, defining their own information needs and purposes, and 
utilising information to suit their own needs. The model suggests that information 
needs and information seeking behaviour are situationally bound, in other words, 
they occur at specific points in time and space and in order to fit the demands at 
those points in time and space. 

The model indicates that once users are aware of a problem, question or 
uncertainty that requires information to be resolved, they attempt to reduce that 
state of uncertainty to an acceptable level through information seeking and 
gathering. A choice is made as to which sources of information will be accessed. 
Some information required already exists in the individual's memory and is thus 
acquired through internal seeking. Often the user is directed to seeking outside 
sources of information, either through making direct or indirect personal contact 
with others,or through accessing the recorded information. 

In order to effectively satisfy the information needs of users, the model suggests 
that it is important for information professionals to understand something of the 
users' situations, their patterns of information seeking, and the ways that they 
make use of information. Only on this basis can appropriate information services 
be developed that truly reflect the needs and behaviours of the school 
community. This user-centred model suggests that it is also inappropriate for the 
information professional - the teacher-librarian - to act as the determinant of 
information needs and users' information seeking behaviour because these are 
then viewed from the context of the school library, rather than from the context 
and situation of the user. 

A somewhat similar model has been identified by Grover (1993). He indicates 
that systematic data collection should attempt to understand the immediate 
situation of individuals, their learning styles, cognitive styles, personality types, 
and the environment in which the individuals operate. His model identifies a 
number of stages in the user's acquisition of information, and suggests that the 
teacher-librarian may be called upon to diagnose information needs at any of 
these stages. The stages are: awareness of need, action decision, strategies for 
search, behaviours in search, evaluation, assimilation, memory, and utilisation. 

Based on a user-centred approach, the following bank of questions might enable 
you to tap into the information needs of users in your school. They enable you to 
identify information needs, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, patterns of seeking and 
use of information by the users in your school, without imposing your view. The 
questions give the users the freedom to speak from their unique situations and 
their points of view. It is asserted that only through such an approach to asking 
questions will you have an effective base for developing a truly responsive 
information service in your schools. The questions are grouped around the three 
central aspects of users identified in the model: information needs, situations and 
expectations; patterns of information seeking behaviour; and information use. It is 
not suggested that you use all of these questions at any one time to survey the 
user groups in your school: rather these questions are provided as examples of 
generic questions that you might selectively use, and that might be tailored to the 


specific groups of users on which you might wish to focus at any one time, such as 
teachers, school executive, specific groups of students, support staff and parent 
community. Some questions obviously overlap; sometimes the same question is 
expressed in alternative ways. The following questions focus on teachers, and 
can easily be adapted to suit other groups you identify. 



(a) Identify the specific aspects of your work for which you need information: eg. 
lesson preparation, curriculum planning, professional development, setting 
assignments, personal needs, other? 

(b) Describe the kinds / types of information you require for each of these. 

(c) Where do you get the information required for, and why are these sources / 
places important to you: 

lesson preparation? 
curriculum planning? 
professional development? 
setting assignments? 
personal needs? 

A variation of this question might be: 

Indicate your frequency of using each of the following sources of information: 

1 = never; 2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = frequently 

conversations with colleagues 

notes, files, books in my office / desk 

resources held by faculty / grade 

books or textbooks 

curriculum materials 

school library 

educational authority library 
workshops, courses, seminars 
educational journals 
conventions or meetings 
experts from outside 
abstracts and bibliographies 
public libraries 
university libraries 
research reports 
computer or retrieval systems 

(d) What difficulties, if any, do you have obtaining information for the purposes 
you have indicated? or What problems or barriers do you have in finding 

(e) What factors influence your choice of where you regularly go to find 


a variation of this question might be: 

Indicate how important to you each of the following characteristics of sources 
are. 1 = no importance, 2 = of little importance, 3 = quite important, 4 = very 

is near at hand and usually available 
authoritative, accurate and objective 
is likely to have information I need 
responsive to my problem 
is complete and comprehensive 
keeps me aware of new developments 
is easy to use 

variety of viewpoints or discussion 
leads to other sources 
access without involving others 
is free or inexpensive 

(f) What kinds of information resources do you prefer to use? 

Provide a rating of each from: 1 = most prefer to 5 = least prefer: 
reference materials (eg, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases) 



audio recordings 

computer software 
kits with mixed media 

online information services 

(g) Identify the specific teaching subjects / unit topics where you have difficulty 
obtaining appropriate information: 

for lesson preparation? 
for use with students? 

How might these difficulties be overcome? 

(h) What types of information you do expect students to use when completing 

(i) Think about the last time you came to the school library to find information. 
What was the situation or problem or need that prompted you to come? 

What did you expect? 

Were your information needs met? Why or why not? 

(j) What are your perceptions of the purpose/s of your school library? 

(k) What is your ideal school library? 

How can this library become closer to your ideal? 

(l) What do you expect from your school library? 


(m) What do you expect from your teacher-librarian? 

(n) What aspects of your school library are most helpful in meeting your 
information needs? . . . least helpful? 

(o) What changes would you like to see in your school library in order to help 
you more effectively meet your information needs? 

(p) What problems or barriers do you encounter in finding information in this 

(q) What are the best features of this school library? 

What are the worst features of this school library? 

(r) How can the library staff best help you meet your information needs? 

(s) Describe your typical teaching styles. For example, do you prefer to work 
alone or team teach? Do you prefer students to work in groups or 
independently? Do you prefer to ...? 

(t) Do you see a role for the teacher-librarian in facilitating your teaching? If so, 
please describe your perceptions of this role. 


(a) Describe how you typically go about seeking and gathering the information 
you need for: 

lesson preparation? 
curriculum planning? 
professional development? 
setting assignments? 
personal needs? 

(b) What is your preferred way of informing the library of your information 

(c) These are commonly agreed steps in information handling: 

Defining Locating Selecting Organising Presenting Assessing. 

Nominate a class (junior/senior) you are currently teaching and rate your 
perceptions of average student ability in the skills required for each step. 

1 = most skill 4 = least skill 

(d) Looking at an area where students have few skills, indicate as specifically as 
possible what their difficulties are. 

How might these skill levels be increased? 

How might the teacher-librarian be involved? 



(a) Here is a range of services that could be provided by school libraries. Rate 
them in order of helpfulness to you, from: 

1 = most helpful to 4 = least helpful 

teaching of information skills 
whole class 
small group 
loan of resources 
video recording and playback 
audio recording 

access to online and/or CD-ROM databases 
school library catalogue 

subject- or topic-specific bibliographies/book boxes 
newspaper clipping service 
recreational games/reading/listening 
pamphlet file 

current awareness service (eg, contents pages of periodicals) 

support for professional development ( eg help with university assignments) 

closed reserve 

loan of various kinds of audio-visual equipment 
promotion of literature 

access to other libraries and/or information services 
access to publishers and educational suppliers 
access to telephone 

venue for various functions (eg, debating competition, meetings, P & C 
meetings, chess competition) 
venue for display purposes 

professional development activities for KLA / faculty / grade groups 
assistance in planning resource-based assignments for students 
assistance in evaluating student assignments 
developing information packages and kits 

access to personal computer hardware for word processing or other use 
access to computer software 
after-hours or weekend access to library 
other (please list) 

(b) How can the library assist you to share resources with other teachers? 

(c) What challenges and issues do you have to face in the next three years? 

(eg, new technologies, changes in education, teaching strategies for specific 
groups, career paths, strategic planning, changed syllabus requirements, 
new organisational patterns) 

How might the school library and its staff help you meet these challenges 
and issues? 



At the heart of a user-centred approach to developing information services in 
schools is a commitment to examining new ways of looking at users, and linking 
systems to them. Naisbitt and Arbudene (Dervin & Milan, 16-17) assert that "the 
most exciting breakthrough of the 21st century will occur not because of 
technology but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human. 
... The wider our horizons and the more powerful our technology, the greater we 
have come to value the individual." This assertion, in the context of school 
libraries, recognises the importance of identifying the information needs of groups 
of people in the school community as the starting point in developing effective 
school library programs. It is a process of looking outward to the user groups, 
tapping into their unique situations, their perceptions of needs, their expectations 
for information provision, their information seeking strategies, and their patterns of 
use. What happens within the school library then becomes a response to what is 
happening without. When inward is outward, then a responsive, dynamic school 
library and information service can be built. 

And to come back to Oliver Twist. His need, we are told, was not satisfied. His 
particular need was neither anticipated, nor shared, and there was no 
consideration as to why it needed to be met, and to how it could be met. An 
inward rather than outward view of the situation! Our dream, as teacher librarians, 
is to create a vibrant and dynamic school library and information service where 
information needs are met, and where they, who ever they are, will keep coming 
back for more. 


BIGGS, J. & TELFER, R. The process of learning. 2nd ed. Sydney: Prentice-Hall, 

DERVIN, B. "Information as a user construct: the relevance of perceived 
information needs to synthesis and interpretation". In WARD, A., & REED. L. (ed) 
Knowledge structures and use: implications for synthesis and interpretation . 

Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983, 153-184 

DERVIN, B. & MILAN, M. "Information needs and uses". Annual Review of 
Information Science and Technology . 21,1986:3-33. 

FERGUSON, M. The aquarian conspiracy: personal and social transformation in 
the 1980s. London: Granada, 1981. 

GARVEY, W., TOMITA, K., & WOOLF, P. "The dynamic scientific-information user" 
in GARVEY, W. Communication: the essence of science . Elmsford, NY; 
Pergamon Press, 1979, 256-279. 

GROVER, R. "A proposed model for diagnosing information needs". School 
Library Media Quarterly . 1993 , 95 - 100 . 

HANKS, G. & SCHMIDT, C. "An alternative model of a profession for librarians". 
College & Research Libraries . May 1975, 175-187. 


Information skills in the school . Sydney: New South Wales Department of 
Education, 1989. 

KRIKELAS, J. "Information seeking behavior patterns and concepts". Drexel 
Library Quarterly . 19(2), 1983: 5-20. 

KIRK, J., POSTON-ANDERSON, B., & YERBURY, H. Into the 21st century: library 
and information services in schools . Sydney: Australian Library and Information 
Association, 1990. 

KOTLER, P. Principles of Marketing. 3rd ed. Sydney: Prentice-Hall, 1989. 

MICK, C., LINDSEY, G. & CALLAHAN, D. "Toward usable user studies". Journal 
of the American Society for Information Science . 31(5), 1980: 347-356. 

NAISBITT, J. & ARBUDENE, P. Megatrends 2000: ten new directions for the 
1990s. New York: William Morrow, 1990. 

STEADHAM, S. "Learning to select a needs assessment strategy". Training and 
Development Journal . January 1980, 56-61. 

SUMMERS, E., MATHESON, J., & CONRY, R. "The effect of personal, 
professional, and psychological attributes, and information seeking behaviour on 
the use of information sources by educators". Journal of the American Society of 
Information Science . 34(1), 1983, 75-85. 

TODD, R. & KIRK, J. "Information literacy: changing roles for information 
professionals". Proceedings of the Information Literacy - The Australian Agenda 
Conference, Adelaide, 1992. 

TODD, R., McNICHOLAS, C., & Sivanesarajah, Y. "Evolution, not revolution: 
working to full school participation with information skills". Access . 6(1), March 
1992, 16-20. 







30 September 1993 


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Presenter: Margaret Butterworth, 

Lecturer, Nanyang Technological Univerisity, Singapore 

Address: School of Applied Science 

Nanyang Technological University 
Nanyang Avenue 
Singapore 2263 

Fax: 791 9414 



Healthlines is a major project running throughout 1993, to encourage the use of e-mail in W.A. 
schools. Pupils will both collect and disseminate information on topics in the health education 
field and contribute collaboratively to a bulletin board on NEXUS. Five "lighthouse schools" will 
work under the direction of researchers at Edith Cowan University, and schools throughout 
Australia will be able to join in. The intention is to use the innovative medium of 
telecommunications to spread a message promoting a healthy lifestyle. The scheme is one of 
many projects sponsored by Healthway, a body set up to allocate funding derived from the tax on 
tobacco to sporting, cultural and community events. 

Traditionally, teachers and other adult "experts" have taught pupils what are good and bad health 
practices, and have presented an accepted way of looking at health issues. If pupils can investigate 
an issue for themselves, and collect original data on the topic (from electronic questionnaires, for 
example) their discoveries are likely to form a lasting impression on them. Studying other 
students' views and perspectives helps young people to formulate their own. A more durable 
attitude will be produced, on which to base future behaviour in areas such as nutrition, exercise, 
smoking, drinking, drugs and healthy lifestyles in general. 

An ongoing part of the project will be to demonstrate to pupils that information comes in many 
formats, and that the electronic format is increasingly important as we approach the end of the 
twentieth century. NEXUS's school-based approach and its economical charging mechanisms 
makes it an ideal medium for pupils to learn about e-mail and online searching at first hand. 

The Healthlines project will be fully documented, so that it can be replicated in other curriculum 



The application of technology in the school curriculum is an important 
strategy for preparing pupils for life in the twenty first century. Collecting 
and disseminating information by electronic mail is regarded by pupils as an 
exciting and sophisticated means of communication. Successful projects have 
been organized in the United Kingdom on the schools' network, Campus 2000 
(Keep, 1991), and in the eastern States of Australia using Keylink and Nexus 
(ITIS, 1992). As yet, these systems have made little impact on Western 
Australia, a region with a particular geographic imperative for improving 
communications between schools, some of which are situated in very remote 
areas. The researchers wished to demonstrate the use of telecommunications 
in a group of schools, selected from both metropolitan and rural areas, 
including both private and government schools. The project needed one area 
of the curriculum as a focus. Health Education was eventually chosen, though 
it was the intention to provide models of good practice which could be 
replicated across the curriculum. 

Health issues are increasingly of concern to most people: it was an area in 
which non-subject specialists in schools would be able to operate comfortably. 
The topic was broad enough for pupils to have a reasonable amount of free 
choice in the selection of issues to investigate. Furthermore, the reseachers 
were fortunate enough to obtain sponsorship from Healthway, a government 
body which allocates funding derived from the tax on tobacco to sporting, 
cultural and community events and to health promotion projects. Healthway 
was deliberately looking for innovative projects which would advocate a 
healthy lifestyle, especially amongst young people. E-mail seemed to fit this 
criterion perfectly. The researchers created the title HealthLines, somewhat 
reminiscent of the Bruce Chatwin novel Songlines , which describes 
encounters with aboriginal culture in Australia. 

Nexus was chosen as the electronic platform for the project. Based at Angle 
Park Computing Centre in Adelaide, Nexus began as the South Australian 
Education Department's online electronic information service. From the 
start, it was designed as a service for students and teachers, with specific 
features to suit that clientele. This is what distinguishes Nexus from other 
systems which take existing public services and create front ends to cater for 
school users (Leonard, 1990, 1991). Its success is indicated by the fact that 
in 1991 Nexus went national and in 1993 it went international with a link to 
the Internet. There are now schools all over the world using the system. It 
consists of three types of service: e-mail, bulletin boards and databases. The 
latter are increasingly used by school libraries to extend their information 
resources at little cost (Butterworth, 1992). The most widely used database is 
AAP News , a professional news wire service, which is updated twenty four 
hours per day. Only by using this type of electronic information, can pupils 
achieve the ideal model of the "Enquiry Process", and not be restricted in 
their investigations by a lack of topical material (Rigby, 1992). 



Traditionally, teachers and other adult "experts" have taught pupils what are 
good and bad health practices, and have presented an accepted way of looking 
at health issues. If pupils can investigate a topic for themselves, and collect 
original data in an innovative way, their discoveries are more likely to form a 
lasting impression on them. Studying other students' views and perspectives 
helps young people to formulate their own. A more durable attitude will be 
produced, on which to base future behaviour in areas such as nutrition, 
exercise, smoking, drinking, drugs and healthy lifestyles in general. E-mail is 
an ideal medium for collecting information, allowing pupils to canvas the 
opinions of their peers in other schools and to collect data about habits and 
behaviour from across the country. The intention was that an investigation 
would begin with pupils researching the topic, using traditional, print-based 
material in the school library, that they would progress to the electronic 
databases available on Nexus and finally that they would collect original data 
of their own. There would be a tangible end-product in the form of a package 
of resource materials, produced by students for students, to be published and 
sold in the future. 

The researchers were interested in looking at the use of e-mail and electronic 
information within the curriculum, to document examples of good practice, so 
that other teachers in other subject areas would feel confident about 
including this resource in their repertoire of educational methods. They also 
wished to record management problems and difficulties, such as where to site 
the online facility within the school, who was responsible for it and, perhaps 
most importantly in a time of recession, what it would all cost. They planned 
that it would be a high profile project, designed to achieve maximum publicity 
within the particpating schools and within educational circles in general, in 
order that telecomunications would be validated as a useful and, hopefully, as 
a cost-effective resource. 


Six "Healthpoint" schools were selected to act as testbeds for the integration 
of e-mail into the curriculum. The schools were chosen to represent different 
populations, where different instructional strategies might be used and 
different levels of funding available. A pre-requisite for selection was that a 
partnership existed in the school, say between the Teacher Librarian and the 
Health Education Teacher, possibly with some input from the Computing 
Teacher. Such a partnership was being modelled by the Project Co¬ 
ordinators at Edith Cowan University, where the team consisted of a 
Lecturer in Library and Information Studies, a Lecturer in Computer 
Education and the Education Specialist from the Perth Apple Centre, a 
commercial organisation that volunteered its services in support of the 
project. This team approach was considered an important criterion for 


success for two reasons. Firstly, a team is more dynamic than an individual: 
ideas can be bounced back and forth and a more ambitious scheme may be 
embarked upon, knowing that support is there from colleagues. Secondly, 
staff come and go in schoools and universities, so it was felt that there should 
always be others to carry on; in the event, the chief co-ordinator took up a 
position in Singapore half way through the year, while one of the teacher 
librarians went on maternity leave. The one school (a very small, remote 
aboriginal school in the north of the state) which did not have such a 
partnership dropped out in the early stages. 

Within each school, one class or group was asked to: 

• choose a health topic; 

• gather information on this topic from available resources; 

• prepare an electronic questionnaire; 

• make this available as a bulletin board on Nexus; 

• collect the responses from schools throughout Australia; 

• tabulate and analyse the responses; 

• transmit the findings on the Nexus bulletin board; 

• prepare printed or audiovisual material on the topic for publication. 

The list was not intended to be too prescriptive, merely a suggested 
structural outline. It was anticipated that each school would select its own 
research topic, ideally chosen by the pupils themselves during an initial 
brainstorming session, and all under the health promotion banner. An 
important early objective was to generate a lot of activity on the e-mail 
system and to ensure that it had a purposeful focus. Clearly, pupils would 
quickly become dissillusioned if no-one replied to their messages. Newcomers 
need some form of encouragement to log on regularly. 

The rationale behind the questionnaire as a form of data gathering was the 
fact that the Nexus bulletin board system could be used to facilitate the 
generation of blank forms; a new record on the database was produced each 
time a form was filled in. Such a system of data collection was already in 
operation. Known as Frogwatch, it allowed pupils to monitor pollution levels 
in their local waterways by observing the frog population throughout the year 
and sending the data to the Australian National Museum for collation. By 
enabling puils to add to a database, they were in effect becoming "information 
providers" and were thus in a much better position to understand the use of 
large, complex databases later on. Involving them in a large scale 
investigation meant that they saw themselves as real scientists at work. It 
was hoped that HealthLines would provide them with a similar opportimity. 
Frogwatch, HealthLines and many similar "Oz Projects" are described in the 
Australian Telecommunications Calendar, sponsored by Australian Telecom, 
a wall chart sent out early each year to all schools. 

It was decided that the participating schools should all use Macintosh 
computers, so that they would be able to receive technical support from the 
Perth Apple Centre. The project budget was set up to allow for the purchase 
of a modem and for a little free practice time on the Nexus system. After 


that, though, it was expected that the schools would meet their own 
telecommunication costs, in order to keep usage within realistic limits, which 
could be continued in the future. Company sponsorship was also obtained 
from Microsoft, who supplied eight copies of their newly updated software 
package MS Works 3. The project budget allowed for two joint meetings of all 
particpants in Perth, where common problems could be discussed, and also 
permitted the co-ordinators to make two visits to each of the schools. 
Everyone was encouraged to document their experiences, on the "action 
research" model, so that they and others could learn from them. It was also 
expected that online communication, between teachers as well as pupils, 
would become an important part of the collaborative effort. 

Interim progress report 

This paper is being written in July, halfway through the life of the project. It 
will attempt to discuss some of the findings under two board headings: 
Management Issues and Curriculum Aspects. 

Management issues 

The biggest single problem was obtaining a separate direct line for modem 
use. Only one school, St Hilda's, had one at the start of the project. Here, the 
provision of online information services were a regular part of the library's 
activities (see, for example, the videorecording Online Searching ). Several of 
the participating teachers found that their senior staff were worried about 
the unchecked use of a phone line and the possibility of escallating phone 
bills, especially if the line did not go through the switchboard. Hitherto, the 
provision of such a line had been regarded as a status symbol, only accorded 
to the most senior staff in a school. Siting a telephone in a classroom, and 
giving students access to it, is contrary to accepted institutional norms, a 
factor which has been noted in similar UK projects, (Somekh, 1990). Many 
libraries in Western Australian schools are now obtaining modems as part of 
their automated library system, since they allow the supplier to dial in and 
rectify problems remotely. Promotion of modem use for online searching and 
e-mail communication has not been a Ministry of Education priority, though, 
and many teachers, especially those in positions of authority, are unaware of 
its potential. In June, one of the co-ordinators was given a 20-minute slot at 
the regular staff meeting at Kwinana Senior High School, in order to raise 
awareness about the medium. It seems reasonable to suggest that each 
school now needs to establish a more enlightened policy on phone lines, 
assessing exactly how many they have and how many they will need in the 
future to make full use of technologies like fax and e-mail. 

The lack of a line meant that two of the teachers had to do all their online 
work at home, taking pupils' messages ready prepared on a floppy disc. This 
deprived the class of a sense of immediacy, when they were unable to 
experience e-mail for themselves, and some of them began to lose interest in 


the project. At Gnowangerup District High School, the pupils were unable to 
have access themselves, because the Computer Lab was timetabled to 
another class. Their teacher had loosely used the term, "our computer will be 
talking to a computer in Adelaide", and when they finally had their first 
online session were extremely disappointed that an electronic voice did not 
emanate from the machine! Small technical problems caused delays at the 
beginning of the year for most participants, and the project ran behind 
schedule as a result. With hindsight, the project budget should have included 
the cost of an additional outside phone line for each school, and for more co¬ 
ordinators’ time in ensuring that the telecommunications link was working 
well before the start of the school year in 1993. A reasonable amount of 
practice time is necessary for teachers to become familiar with the system 
before they can introduce it properly to their pupils. 

A few problems arose from the new version of MS Works. Works 3 is 
designed for the newer Macintosh models and runs very slowly on the older 
models. Some people found it easier to go back to using Works 2, while others 
preferred to use Claris Works, which was coming bundled with their new 
computer. Whilst most people were able to download text from Nexus very 
easily, they found it hard to upload messages which they had previously 
prepared in the word processing module. After many unsuccesful attempts to 
use the "copy" and "paste" facility while online, the fault was finally traced to 
the use of the old, slower-speed modems (300/1275 baud). The co-ordinators 
would receive an exasperated message after a failed attempt: "Oh blow! I'll 
have to fax it to you." After weeks of frustration, the purchase of a new 2400 
baud modem gave them a new lease of life! 

At this stage, there is not enough evidence to determine what the total online 
costs are likely to be for a project of this nature. The indications are that 
they are fairly modest and can easily be controlled. In the latest Nexus 
brochure, average costs are given as $300 p.a. for a primary school of 300 
students and $500 p.a. for a secondary school of 500 students, (Nexus, 1993). 
At only one school, did costs reach alarming proportions, though not in the 
HealthLines activities. At Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, students in 
a Year Twelve English class were given individual acounts on Nexus and 
used AAP News extensively to research topics of current interest. Their 
teacher had allowed them virtually unlimited access to the system and in the 
first quarter of 1993, this class alone had used $200-worth of time. She felt 
that the experiment was imlikely to be repeated next year. "You can smell 
the money burning!" was her comment. It may be that more training is 
necessary before pupils can be let loose on a full-text database. There are 
certain skills needed in constructing a search statement to locate articles on 
specific topics in such a large database. Furthermore, the use of proximity 
operators is essential when there are no allocated descriptors to aid the 


Curriculum aspects: the Health Education topics 

Kwinana Senior Hi^h School 

The project is an integral part of the Health Education Unit being taken by 
27 Year Eleven students, a low ability, non-examination group who would 
probably have left school but for the lack of employment opportunities in the 
current recession. Their teacher, Rosemary Tweedie, saw e-mail as a means 
of motivating these students and allowed them a free hand in selecting their 
own topics, under the broad banner of "what makes a healthy school?" As a 
result, some rather controversial subjects were chosen, for example, drug 
abuse and teenage pregnancy. Other small groups are working on "healthy 
tucker", an investigation of what is being eaten in school, and asthma, which 
many Kwinana pupils suffer from, being exposed to atmospheric pollution in 
this industrial area south of Perth. 

Bunburv Cathedral Grammar School 

Darren Skov, a Health and Physical Education Teacher, built up a very 
enthusiastic team to work on the project, including the Teacher Librarian 
and the Computing Teacher. All the Year Nine English classes were 
involved. They began by considering the issue of whether sport is 
automatically beneficial, or whether this notion might be challenged. This 
teacher-selected topic was found to be uninteresting by the students. In their 
eyes, there was no debate: clearly, sport is beneficial. Now, the three English 
classes of about 22 pupils in each class are working on topics which they have 
chosen, including drug abuse, the effects of loud music on hearing and coping 
with grief after bereavement. The English teachers are using the project as a 
means of re-inforcing research skills, such as brainstorming, locating 
material, note taking and report writing. The students are getting very 
excited about their research, which began by using very traditional sources of 
information, including fictional accounts of some of the issues. In the 
meantime, the Teacher Librarian, Kay Carvosso, was familiarising herself 
with Nexus, and prepared a search request form for pupils to use, which 
required them to think carefully about refining their topic and to select 
keywords for a search statement. 

Gnowangerup District High School 

Peter Callaghan takes two Year Eight classes, 28 students in all, for Health 
Education. He is a Manual Arts teacher, who also teaches Computing and 
volunteered to take on Health Education as a non-specialist in order to fill up 
his timetable, a common situation in a District High School. He saw the 
HealthLines Project as a means of building up his pupils' self-esteem, by 
giving them something new and challenging to work on. As one of the 
earliest teachers to become involved, he trialled the basic idea at the end of 
1992, when Year Nine pupils investigated how far people in country towns 
travel to take part in sport. His 1993 pupils did not find this an interesting 
topic and were allowed to choose different ones. One group began work when 
the mobile School Dental Unit was on site, and under their guidance 
developed a questionnaire on dental health. This will shortly be trialled 
across the whole secondary school. Three underachieving students, having 


found a word sleuth in their Health Education Course Book, set about 
making more of these. One aboriginal girl, very much a loner in class, has 
worked on word sleuths ever since, producing probably one of her best pieces 
of academic work since coming to the school. To encourage this interest, a 
software package was purchased which generates crosswords and 
wordsleuths. The girl is very proud of her work and would like to send it to 
other schools. E-mail may not be the best way to do this. A solution might be 
to fax it to those interested, using the HealthLines bulletin board simply as a 
means of advertising it. 

St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls 

Year Nine pupils at this highly academic, fee-paying school are conducting a 
survey of what students drink, with data being collected in both winter and 
summer. The investiagtion is being done as part of the Computing syllabus, 
which covers applications of word processing, databases, spreadsheets and 
telecommunications. Ms Works was used in producing the questionnaires, 
and the girls enjoyed using the draw facility to decorate their work. Every 
girl produced a survey form; these were then laid out on tables and the girls 
themselves selected the best two. These were then administered to the whole 
year group over a period of three days. Unfortunately, this co-incided with 
Ramadan, when the Muslim girls were fasting, which probably skewed the 
results. It was discovered that an introductory page was needed, to explain 
what the investigation was all about, so two of these were produced, one for 
internal and one for external use. Judy Cocks, the teacher co-ordinating the 
project, reported that other colleagues had become interested and ways had 
been found to extend it across the curriculum. The Home Economics teachers 
wanted to investigate the nutritional aspects of soft drinks, and whether they 
contributed significantly to obesity or hyperactivity. The Science Department 
staff were considering the possibility of analysing the contents of the most 
popular soft drinks to see if the labelling was correct, while the Mthas 
Department expressed an interest in carrying out a statistical study of the 
results of the survey, as a demonstration of the concept "Maths tells a story". 

Teeming Primary School 

Ian Thompson, the Computing Teacher, introduced the project to the Year 
Five classes. He took on all the technical aspects, leaving the Health 
Education aspects in the hands of Tony Maylands, the Deputy Principal. The 
year group was already taking part in a larger, nationwide project to assess 
the fitness levels of primary school children across Australia. Using 
ACHPER cards, sponsored by Kellogs, the children have to test their fitness 
in various activities. The school can then compare their pupils with 
established norms. It seemed a good idea for the HealthLines Project at 
Teeming to use these cards as the basis for their e-mail survey. It was felt 
that primary school children should not have to worry about the mecahnics of 
designing a questionnaire. The card was submitted as a database record 
outline to Nexus, and it was installed as a separate bulletin board, entitled 
FITNESSTEST. Ian Thompson envisages that a small group of pupils, who 
show particular enthusiasm for the project, may well manage the bulletin 
board on his behalf. Several pupils have modems at home and are familiar 


with the technology. Similarly, it may be that one person in the class is a 
proficient typist and could input all the records as they become available, 
which would be much quicker than teaching each child to do their own. The 
school already works on the principle of assigning specific resposibilities to 
children in the many activities engaged in. 

Common curriculum concerns 

Considerable delays were caused by the production of the questionnaires. 
Most pupils had never produced one before, and ran into the type of 
difficulties all researchers encounter when designing their survey 
instrument. Whilst this might be regarded as a good learning experience, it 
proved a barrier which inhibited use of the e-mail system at the start of the 
project. The schools were unwilling to put their questionnaire on a public 
bulletin board until it had been properly tested within their own school. The 
next difficulty encountered by the teachers was how to get their 
questionnaire on the bulletin board. Should there be a separate board for 
each questionnaire, with the original HealthLines board being used as an 
advertising medium? It was decided that it was easier to design a screen 
layout and fax this to Henry Legedza, the Nexus Systems Administrator. 
Another issue was the optimum length. The more popular Nexus databases, 
such as Frogwatch, contain only small amounts of numeric information. 

There could be a problem with very long questionnaires, as designed by the 
Kwinana pupils, which expect whole sentences as responses. It may be that 
these would be better sent as normal e-mail messages rather than as 
database records. 

Several schools found that the project raised awareness of e-mail and online 
information on the part of other members of the teaching staff. At 
Gnowangerup, the Telesim Project, advertised on the Australian 
Telecommunications Calendar, was found to be particularly relevant to a 
school in a country area. In this project, pupils have the opportunity to 
manage a hypothetical farm, the simulation runs for eight weeks, with each 
fortnight representing a period of one year on the farm. Student decisions 
are examined each fortnight by a team from the NSW Department of 
Conservation and Land Management and regular feedback is given. At 
Leeming Primary School, Ian Thompson expected that once the HealthLines 
Project was over, the machinery would be in place for a colleague to introduce 
it in another area of the curriculum, possibly with the same pupils when they 
had reached Year Six. He felt that since the school was situated in a 
prosperous middle class area, where many parents already used e-mail in 
their day-to-day work, they would see it as a necessary skill which they would 
like their children to acquire. 



One of the aims of the project was to give students a sense of audience, both 
in their e-mail communications with other schools and in their final writing 
up of their research. They would, it was hoped, become confident providers 
and users of information in different formats. They were asked to produce an 
end product which could be used by other schools in the future. No rules 
were laid down as to the format this might take. It might, for example 
contain audiovisual elements; it may be a folder, resembling the Jackdaw 
Series published by Jonathan Cape in the 1960's and 1970's, containing 
factsheets, worksheets and blank questionnaires. Kwinana Senior High 
School was planning a Health Fair in November, to which primary schools 
and community groups would be invited. 

For the participating teachers, there was the objective of giving them support 
in using new communications technologies. Working in collaboration with 
colleagues in their own and other schools, was a means of ending the sense of 
isolation it is possible to feel even in a large school. The two joint meetings 
held to date, one at Edith Cowan University and the other at St Hilda's 
School, provided a forum for exchanging ideas and demonstrating new skills, 
and they also served to renew enthusiasm where this might be waning imder 
the constraints of a busy school year. The three co-ordinators of HealthLines 
were themselves under pressure from their normal occupations, and were 
unable to spend as much time as they would have wished, liaising and 
trouble-shooting in the schools. Similar British projects had obtained funding 
for a full-time co-ordinator and in retrospect this would have ensured better 
support for HealthLines. 

A formal evaluation document is being prepared by one of the project co- 
ordintors as part of a Masters Degree course at Edith Cowan University. This 
will be developed at Deeming Primary School and passed onto the other four 
schools, should they wish to make use of it. All the participants are being 
asked to keep records which allow them to make a careful evaluation. The 
joint meetings, where interim reports were presented, enabled them to 
externalise their thinking and analyse what they were doing. They were able 
to discuss events with other professionals and learn from each other as the 
project progressed. A full report on the project as a whole will be presented to 
Healthway, the funding body, in February 1994. 



List of Participants in the HealthLines Project: 


Margaret Butterworth, Department of Library and Information Science, 
Edith Cowan University (to 1.7.93). 

Cathy Scott, Department of Library and Information Science, Edith Cowan 
University (from 1.7.93). 

Ron Oliver, Department of Computer Education, Edith Cowan University. 
Ros Keep, Perth Apple Centre. 

Kwinana Senior High School 

Rosemary Tweedie 

Bunburv Cathedral Grammar School 

Darren Skov 
Kay Carvosso 
Jill Elderfield 

Gnowangerup District High School 

Peter Callaghan 

St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls 

Sandra Naude 
Judy Cocks 

Leeming Primary School 

Ian Thompson 
Tony Maylands 



(1992). ITIS - Information technology in schools: implications for teacher 
librarians. 2nd ed. Perth: Australian Library and Information Asociation, 
School Libraries Section (WA Group). 

Lutterworth, Margaret (1992). Going online: searching the Nexus databases, 
Achieving the balance: Proceedings of the SLOC Conference, Methodist Ladies 
College, Perth, 76-80. 

Lutterworth, Margaret (1992). The Concept of the virtual school library, 
Australian Library Journal, 41 (4), 247-256. 

Keep, Ros (1991). On-line: electronic mail in the curriculum. Warwick: 
National Council for Educational Technology. 

Leonard, Ralph (1990). Nexus III - telecommunications beyond the 
classroom. Computers in education: Proceedings of the IFIP TC 3 Fifth World 
Conference, Sydney, 1003-1008. 

Leonard, Ralph (1991). Telecommunications in education, ACCESS, 5 (1), 

(1993). Nexus: a world of learning. Education Department of South 

Rigby, Lruce (1992). Computer databases and student research: helping to 
meet the challenge, ACCESS, 6 (4), 30-34. 

Somekh, Lridget (1989), "The Human interface: hidden issues in CMC 
affecting use in schools", in Mason, R & Kaye, A. eds. Mindweave: 
communication, computers and distance education, London: Pergamon, 242- 


Communicating kids, produced by the Computer Education Unit, NSW 
Department of Education, shows various classroom activities using e-mail, 
including Roald Dahl's visit to Australia. 

Nexus, a promotional video available from Angle Park Computing Centre at 
$15.00, which demonstrates the place of e-mail and database use in resource 
based learning. 

Online searching, a 40-minute video produced at Edith Cowan University, 
filmed in three libraries in Perth: CSIRO, St Hilda's School and the 
Parliamentary Library. It can be purchased from the Media Services 
Department, Churchlands Campus at $60.00. 


Map of the southwest corner of Western Australia, 
showing the HealthLines schools 

• Gnowangerup DHS 


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by Shirley Campbell 

The emphasis on resource-based learning in the secondary school curriculum 
has resulted in an escalation in the demand for periodical literature. Locating 
relevant periodical literature is an important information skill for secondary 
school students but is of no value if the students cannot access that literature. 
The ACT Secondary College and High School Libraries Union List is a tool which 
enables students to access periodical literature held by secondary colleges and 
high schools in the ACT. 


The development of the ACT Secondary College and High School Libraries 
Union List, which was distributed for the first time in February 1993, had its 
beginnings in 1984. 

In August 1984 the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) ACT Librarians 
Group was formed. Its prime purpose was to act as an ASCIS users group, but as 
well it provided mutual support and allowed the dissemination of information. 

Early in 1985 an officer in the ACT Schools Authority floated the idea of a union 
catalogue of periodicals for ACT schools and this was discussed at a meeting of 
the Librarians Group. It was acknowledged that there were fundamental issues 
involved in planning for such resource sharing and, as a preliminary exercise, 
the Group looked at the AACOBS Inter-library Loan Code and the NSW 
Department of Education Library Liaison Project (Liverpool Region) documents. 

In February 1986 independent school librarians were invited to supply a 
preliminary list of periodicals in order to develop a proforma for an integrated 
list of periodicals. The first draft of the AIS (ACT) Librarians Group Union List of 
Periodicals, produced and printed by one of the participants, was available in May 
1986. The format was: title of periodical/school holding that title/holding. 
Periodicals which were free were not included in the list. It was decided that, 
until formal arrangements were made, the holding library should be contacted 
for a photocopy of the article required and that payment may be necessary. It was 
also suggested that it was of little use keeping periodicals which pre-dated the 
indexes in use - Guidelines and APAIS. 

During the development of the first draft of the Union List of Periodicals, it was 
acknowledged that cooperation should not be limited to independent schools 
only and that the cooperative purchase and loan of expensive resources such as 
videocassettes could also be a possible form of resource sharing between 
members of the group. Subsequently, members submitted lists of their 
commercially produced and purchased videocassettes as a first step towards 
rationalising purchase of these expensive resources. A Union List of Videos was 
produced and has since been updated. 


The idea of resource sharing among the group was floated in November 1986. 
The initial responses included the following: 

do we need to share? 

if yes, we need formal arrangements 

sharing of videocassettes is a high priority 

important that any resource sharing group should not duplicate services 
already provided 

material used infrequently each year is appropriate for lending 
resource sharing involves planning 
could be a Canberra-wide project. 

An educational rationale for resource sharing was developed after examining the 
rationale provided in Books and beyond (Schools Commission 1980, 49) and the 
stated aims of the NSW Department of Education Northern Inter-Library 
Cooperation Scheme. The possible activities of a resource sharing network were 

In August 1987 Draft guidelines for a resource sharing scheme were circulated to 
AIS (ACT) member schools by the Executive Officer of AIS (ACT). A covering 
letter stated that the aim of the resource sharing agreement was to increase 
resources available for the school curriculum, and the procedures outlined were 
to make resource sharing a viable modus operand!. School administrations 
and/or department heads discussed these guidelines and responded indicating 
whether their school wished to participate in the scheme. By November 1987 
nine schools replied that they wished to participate, two schools agreed to limited 
participation and one school did not wish to participate. It was decided that 
AACOBS inter-library loan forms would be used when making requests and 
these records would be used as a basis for reviewing the scheme at a later date. 

The Union List of Periodicals continued to be updated and produced by a 
member of the Librarians Group and later in 1989 access to the list by 
government colleges and high schools was discussed. Some government 
colleges expressed interest in participating; this required them to sign the 
resource sharing agreement. Some colleges who wished to participate 
experienced difficulties with their administrations who were unwilling to sign 
an agreement with schools in the non-government sector. Early in 1990 
guidelines for entries to the list were revised: periodicals entered had at some 
time to be indexed by either Guidelines or APAIS and only a complete year’s 
holdings were to be listed. 

In November 1990 it was decided that the resource sharing agreement should be 
reconsidered, taking into account the experience gained from using the Union 
List of Periodicals. It was suggested that the next update should be made 
available to all AIS (ACT) schools - not just participating schools - but non¬ 
contributing schools would have to pay for the list. After considerable 
discussion, it was decided in June 1991 that it was not necessary to sign the 
resource sharing agreement in order to participate in the Union List of 
Periodicals. When satisfying requests for periodical articles, most holding 


libraries preferred to send a photocopy of an article, rather than send the 
periodical, so no resources were being physically shared. However, participation 
in the Union List of Videos still required signing the agreement. 

During 1991 the government colleges produced their own union list of 
periodicals and in August 1991 the decision was taken to amalgamate the college 
union list and the AIS (ACT) Librarians Group union list. The O'Connell 
Education Centre (OEC) - the ACT Department of Education resource centre for 
teachers which non-government school teachers may also use - agreed to 
manage the amalgamated list from January 1992 and to include its own holdings. 
The amalgamated list would be available to participating schools only and would 
be supplied free-of-charge. The periodicals included in the list had to be indexed 
in APAIS, Guidelines, Sage or Pinpointer. 

In August 1991 the AIS (ACT) Librarians Group decided to produce, in addition 
to the amalgamated union list, a list of periodicals held by its members but not 
indexed as required by the union list. Archival storage was also discussed; 
members identified strengths in their own collections and a list of 'essential' 
periodicals was drawn up. 

In June 1992 the first draft of the amalgamated union list was available for 
comment. Modifications were agreed to: the layout was to be improved; and all 
periodicals held by contributors to the list were to be included, not just those 

The amalgamated union list under the title of the ACT Secondary College and 
High School Libraries Union List (ACT SCHSL Union List) was released in 
February 1993. At a regional teacher librarians meeting in April 1993 it was 
decided that: the list would be updated biannually (January and July); to assist 
with accuracy, requests for articles must be signed/checked by someone in 
authority; requests could be made by phone or fax; formal archiving 
arrangements would be established and data on inter-library loan traffic would be 
kept for future analysis. 


The issue of document supply was first discussed in 1986. The minutes of the 
7 October 1986 meeting of the AIS (ACT) Librarians Group noted that 'it is 
important in teaching the use of periodicals that there should be a satisfactory 
end point i.e. material should be available and at the correct level.' 

Radford College students locate relevant periodical articles by means of indexes 
on CD-ROM, updated with monthly/regular print indexes and/or online 
searches. The student prints out the relevant reference and checks the ACT 
SCHSL Union List to see if the periodical is held by Radford College Library. If it 
is, the student accesses the periodical directly. 


If the periodical is not held by the College Library, but is listed in the ACT SCHSL 
Union List, the student fills out a standard form and gives it to a member of the 
Library staff who decides which holding library to contact. A conscious effort is 
made to spread requests among participating libraries. A phone call is made to 
the holding library which then faxes or mails a copy of the article. 

The ACT Secondary College and High School Libraries Union List has proved 
easy to use for students and has provided fast access to relevant periodical 
literature. The only problem encountered to date by Radford College has been 
the unavailability of some articles even when the periodical has been listed. 
This has been the case mainly for popular periodicals such as Rolling Stone, 
where issues have obviously been 'stolen' by students. It is important when 
listing a title to make sure, as far as is possible, that the complete holdings for the 
year listed are available. This is much easier to accomplish if the periodicals are 
security protected. However, rationalising a school's holdings and establishing 
archival deposits help overcome this problem. 

If the periodical required does not appear in the ACT SCHSL Union List, NUCOS 
on microfiche is consulted. If a holding is listed in the ACT, the student decides 
whether to go to that library to access the periodical. If the holding in the ACT is 
the National Library of Australia (NLA), the student can fill in a NLA Reading 
Room Request Form at school - supplies of these are kept - to facilitate the 
process. If no holding in the ACT is listed in NUCOS, but the periodical is 
available interstate, and if time permits (secondary school students' need for 
periodical literature is usually immediate!) the relevant article is obtained for the 
student using ALIA inter-library loan vouchers. 

The cross sectoral use of libraries e.g. school students using university libraries, 
university students using the libraries of other universities, has been under 
investigation for some time both at the state and the national level. 

The requirements of the VCE placed enormous demands on the State Library of 
Victoria and Melbourne's university libraries. The University of Melbourne 
responded to this situation by developing a policy which recognised that, while 
its library's primary clientele consisted of University of Melbourne students, 
school students would be their users of the future and would not be discouraged 
from using the library. However, the school students had to satisfy the following 
conditions: they must have used their school library first, they must have 
mapped out a clear search strategy and they must be able to use OP AC terminals 
i.e. they must be independent users who will place minimal demands on readers 
services staff. 

School students in the ACT are disadvantaged in that there is no state reference 
library in Canberra; they tend to use the National Library of Australia as a 
substitute. However, in its Collection Development Policy (1990, 11) the 
National Library stated that the majority of its future users will be engaged in 
research and study at a level beyond that of high school education; in any case, it 
does not have the human resources to provide an information service for school 
students. By using the procedures outlined previously, Radford College students 


are encouraged to use the National Library only after they have carried out an 
exhaustive search using the resources in their own library and are still in need of 
further information. By completing the National Library Reading Room request 
forms at school, the students need only clock in the date and time of the request 
on arrival at the Reading Room in order to obtain the required periodical, thus 
placing minimal demands on Reading Room staff. 

On 13 May 1993 SAPSS (South Australian Periodical Service for Schools) was 
launched. This is a University of South Australia initiative funded by the Senior 
Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia, the Education Department of 
South Australia, the Independent Schools Board and the Catholic Education 
Office. For a membership charge of $100 per year and at a cost of 20 cents per 
page, the University of South Australia Library will provide within 48 hours a 
faxed copy of any journal article requested by schools taking part (schools have 
access to a printed list of periodicals held by the university library). This is a most 
encouraging and exciting development with the university taking a broad rather 
than a myopic view of cooperation, particularly at a politically sensitive time 
when the University of South Australia Library is short of resources for its own 
students (Donaghy 1993). At the launch of SAPSS, Alan Bundy (1993), 
University of South Australia Librarian, stated 'the demand [for information] is 
resulting in even greater interaction between providers, because, put simply, 
students at all levels are increasingly intolerant of institutional barriers to 
resource access when they are aware that most of these institutions are 
ultimately funded by all Australians.' 

With greater emphasis being placed in educational curricula on independent 
resource-based learning and information literacy, union lists of periodicals 
together with cross-sectoral use of libraries are a powerful tool in facilitating 
document supply. 


Bundy, Alan. (1993). Launch of SAPSS - South Australian periodical service for 
schools: Introductory remarks. Adelaide. 13 May. Photocopy. 

Donaghy, Brian. (1993). SA schools to get access to UniSA library journals. 
Campus Review 20-26 May. 

National Library of Australia. (1990). Collection development policy. Canberra. 
Schools Commission (1980). Books and beyond. Canberra: AGPS. 








SOURCE is a cross-sectoral resource sharing group operation across the South Eastern suburbs of 

The membership of SOURCE consists of librarians from government and non-government 
Secondary Colleges and Public Libraries who are committed to cooperation and resource sharing 
between the sectors to provide access to the widest possible range of resources. 

Members of SOURCE provide their time, talents and skills on a voluntary basis, and, over the years, 
have become self funding. 


SOURCE, formerly the Western Port Region Resource Sharing Group, was set up in the mid-1970's 
by a group of librarians who realised the possibilities for resource sharing using the emerging 
computer technology. These forward thinking librarians included people such as Bev Kirby, Cynthia 
Bailey and Brenda Miller, and later Irene Meieuwissen and Shirley Richardson. 

Although the group has stayed small, its activities have grown as regional boundaries have changed. 
Western Port became part of the larger Southern Region (hence the change of name) and recently the 
Southern and Eastern Regions have been combined. SOURCE is looking to provide access to 
resources held across this wider area. 


Source's major contribution to cross-sectoral cooperation has been the production of a Union List of 
periodicals held in libraries across the region, which is updated regularly. This year, with the growth 
of computer driven databases such as CD ROM, Disk and On-Line, we have found it necessary to 
include these resources in our union list. 

Contributors included government and non-government college libraries and public libraries. Mainly 
these contributors are willing to supply documents or a database search free of charge, but they are at 
liberty to charge if they wish. Personally I find the administrative functions involved in charging too 
time consuming to consider. 

The first Union List was produced by computer in the early 1980's and it has been computer 
technology which has allowed us to extend our services over wider boundaries. 


All input to the union list is carried out by SOURCE members. 

The implementation of VCE and Frameworks curriculums has increased the demand for current 
information, and cooperation between libraries has been a major factor in providing the information 

FAX machines have provided a quick and economical means of document delivery. Within a local 
area telephone charges are less than half the cost of a postage stamp. Depending on how busy the 
librarians in both libraries are, the patron can have the document in hand within minutes. 

While most of SOURCE'S time and efforts are taken up producing the union list, it has been the 
special projects which have brought SOURCE to the attention of library circles and established the 
group as a major contributor to cooperation. 

SOURCE organised a successful one-day seminar entitled "Networking the 90's". Guest speakers 
from universities and public libraries provided papers on existing networks and how they are 
accessed. Participants included principal librarians from Universities, TAPE Colleges, Regional 
Library Services and Secondary Colleges. 

To mark the centenary year, SOURCE produced "Australian Sources", an annotated bibliography 
which was launched by the General Manager of the Southern Region. 

We of course have had our notable failures. We attempted to run a Saturday seminar for VCE 
students with an array of guest speakers from VCAB, Regional consultants, verification chairpersons 
and all library sectors - and only 5 people wanted to come! 

In 1992 we were delighted to be recognised in Victorian Libraries Policy as a significant and 
successful cross-sectoral cooperative group. 


To create a successful network you have to create a successful team, and a successful team needs 
people to take on different roles, which of course can be interchanged depending on the team's needs. 

* A coordinator who can encourage group discussion and articulate decisions mad by the group. 

* A task manager who can unite ideas, objectives and practical considerations into a feasible project. 

* An ideas person who is the source of original ideas and proposals. 

* A team builder who can weld the team into a cohesive entity. 

* Team workers who can achieve an objective efficiently and systematically. 


Above all, a successful team cannot operate without people with a high level commitment. As I 
mentioned previously, SOURCE is a small group of around 12 members, all of who have a real 
commitment to resource sharing and cooperation — and that is the secret of its success. 


The dream of the founding members of SOURCE in the mid-970's was to provide the means through 
which libraries could be encouraged to make the most effective and economical use of resources 
through cooperative resource sharing. Computer technology was the dynamic force which could 
make that dream come true. 

I believe we still have a long way to go in school libraries. We need to be constantly updating our 
knowledge of changing technologies and have the vision to use them to further cooperation and 
resource sharing. 

Scanning devices can transfer images from one location to another — an alternative to FAX for 
document delivery perhaps? 

The technology already exists for remote access to library catalogues — why not use this as a means 
of locating resources, perhaps for bulk loans for books on a particular subject to supplement you 
library’s collection. 

No one library can provide all the resources required by every patron, but with networking and 
technology, every library can provide the access to them. 


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ROBYN WHITFIELD (biography) 

Robyn Whitfield was born in Sydney and educated at 
Presbyterian Ladies College, Croydon and then Sydney University 
where she graduated with a B.A. and Dip.Ed..She worked for the 
Department of Education teaching English and History , before 
retiring to have a family. Robyn kept in touch with private 
tutoring and part-time teaching of HSC English at Sydney 
Technical College. 

Robyn's interest in 1ibrarianship began while teaching. 
Once family commitments allowed, Robyn retrained as a teacher- 
librarian graduating from Kuringai CAE, Lindfield with a graduate 
diploma. While studying part-time, Robyn had worked part-time foi 
Kuringai Municipal library and as a relief teacher - librariar 
for the NSW Dept, of Education. 

After graduating, she was invited to apply for the 
position of teacher librarian at Sydney Church of England Grammai 
School (Shore), and was appointed in March 1985. She was 
appointed Head Librarian of both primary and senior school 
libraries eighteen months later, on the retirement of Mrs 
Georgina Hart. Robyn is still at Shore. 

Robyn is a member of ALIA with section membership tc 
School Libraries Section and Children and Youth Services Section. 
She is NSW committee secretary of CYSS. She is also a member oJ 
the Stanton Area Librarians' Group and the NSW AIS Librarians 
Group as well as participating in the Head Librarians' Group oJ 
UNILINC. All three of these groups operate resource sharinc 
networks as part of their activities. 


The senior school library of Sydney Church of Englan( 
Grammar School (Shore),North Sydney, belongs to three resourcf 
sharing networks, although the school is only formally contractei 
to one: UNILINC Limited. 

The other two networks are: The Stanton Area Librarians 
Group and the Associated Independent Schools'(AIS) Librarians 
Group. Both of these groups work on an informal, mostly local an' 
cooperative level. Among other objectives, both groups aim t- 
share their periodical resources. They operate on the goodwill o 
participating libraries rather than formalized contractua 
agreements as the UNILINC library network does. 

The Stanton Group began in 1975. Librarians from public an 
private, primary and secondary schools within the municipality o 
North Sydney, met with the Childrens' Librarian of Stanto 
Library with the aim to provide a more efficient service t 
students within the area and to share knowledge and expertise 
Short term objectives were resource sharing and inter-librar 
loan (ILL), while long term objectives were rationalization o 
holdings; union lists of holdings; exploring possibilities fo 
cooperative purchases of expensive non-book items. 

In 1977 the Group applied for and received the first School 


Commission Innovations grant to develop an A/V collection. They 
purchased a colour porta-pak camera and a bank of video tapes to 
record ABC television educational broadcasts as a common resource 
all housed at the Stanton Library. However, copyright problems 
did not allow this collection to operate as a video library as 
planned and difficulties were experienced in sharing and 

maintaining the video camera. About ten years later, a sizable 
collection of videos was distributed between the members when the 
idea was abandoned. Over the years, other ideas to resource share 
were sought, such as bulk purchasing and centralized cataloguing 
in the subject area of History. The diversity of selection 

defeated these ideas. 

By 1986, changes to the curriculum meant that students used 
more periodical literature and this increased demand, coupled 
with rising subscription costs, pointed to an area where 
cooperation and willingness to share resources would be worth 

It was decided that each library would contribute details of 
its periodical holdings to Ms Dianne Simpson at Monte Sant Angelo 
who undertook to create the listing on computer and bind it in 

booklet form for the Group. The listing was alphabetical by 

periodical title with the schools' holdings following. 

To begin with, the document delivery method was loan of the 
whole periodical from one librarian to another. Now, reguests are 
phoned and availability checked immediately ,if possible, and 
supply is usually within 24 hours by fax or posted photocopy of 
an article. ILL reguests for books etc. are also phoned. If the 
material is not available for loan ,although available for use, 
staff and students may use the resources at the host library. No 
charges are made for fax, photocopying or postage. Reciprocation 
of reguests evens costs out and the number of reguests has never 
been burdensome on any one member. 

There has been no group move to rationalize subscriptions . 
There is note taken, however, of subscriptions already held 
within the Group when individual libraries consider reguests for 
new subscriptions or take the decision to end a subscription. 
Libraries without storage space offer back issues or discarded 
runs to libraries able to house them. 

Currently the Stanton Group is made up of the municipal 
library, two Tafe colleges, nine independent schools and four 
High schools who meet once a term. However the Group is 
struggling to survive as staff and financial constraints are 
affecting the public schools, while the independent schools all 
belong to the AIS Librarians' Group. 

The AIS Librarians' Group grew out of a dinner meeting of 
Independent School librarians at Canberra's ASLA conference and 
vjas the brainchild of Janet Flint of Trinity Grammar. The Group 
was formed under the umbrella of the AIS with Barbara Yates 
becoming the first president in 1990. The aims of the Group are 
to provide a forum for discussion of current resources 
professional knowledge and expertise, to provide professional 
development seminars and workshops and to make responses to such 
proposals as the English K-6 Curriculum. 

As a core of AIS librarians are Stanton Group members , the 


idea of preparing a union list of periodical holdings and 
engaging in resource sharing and ILL was soon raised. This 
project went forward in 1992 and AISLINK began operation in early 
1993. All contributing members received a copy of the AISLINK 
manual free. Production costs and postage was borne by AIS, 
although the hard work of co-ordinating the information to 
produce the manual was done at Barker College. Updates will be 
done each September with a subcommittee to proof read. 

The manual provides information on how to arrange ILL 
request forms and usage statistics forms. As yet no statistics 
are available , however, it appears that most traffic is from 
newer schools with collections still growing to meet their needs 
or isolated members outside Sydney. It is new technologies though 
which are driving the need to resource share in all our members’ 

The wide spread purchase and developing popularity of CD-ROM 
bibliographic products such as AUSTROM, AUSTLIT, AUSTGUIDE, SAGE 
etc. has meant that teachers and students are finding references 
to a wide variety of journals. The expectation is that when a 
reference is found, the information should be available 
immediately or as quickly as possible. To maintain image and 
credibility, it is imperative that librarians become involved in 
resource sharing ventures. No one school can afford to have 
subscriptions to such a wide range of periodicals as is met on 
these CD-ROMs. With the advent of photocopiers and fax machines , 
so long as one complies with copyright regulations, delivery of 
information to any library with like facilities, is easy and as 
quick as staffing allows. The advantages of sending a photocopy 
are that the requesting library can add it to their collection to 
meet future demand (fax fade) and the lending library keeps 
access to their material. 

Very different to the two cooperative groups already 
described is the network that Shore belongs to called UNILINC 
(formerly CLANN). UNILINC is a cooperative network of educational 
libraries, located mainly in NSW but also in the ACT, Victoria 
and Queensland. There is no restriction on distance or state 
boundaries in membership growth and benefits are shared equally. 
The membership comprises tertiary education, school , special, 
public and government department libraries. 

The main services offered by the network are: 

-shared online acquisitions, cataloguing and circulation control 
with supporting management information; 

-OPAC access to the home library collection and to the entire 
database of 1.9 mill. (Oct.’91) holdings; 

-CD-ROM access to this same database; 

-open borrowing between member institutions. This is known as the 
UNILINC Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme. The OPAC is the key to this 
scheme's success as it shows whether items are on loan or 
available ; 

-shared arrangements enabling access to national and 
international databases at significantly discounted rates; 

-bulk purchase of equipment , stationary, barcodes. 

UNILINC is financed by network activity with an annual 
subscription of $1,000 per member. Members participate in UNILINC 


schemes to the extent that they are able and each remains 
independent while agreeing to follow certain guidelines eg. 
standard international rules for cataloguing. Libraries pay for 
what they use and each online transaction is charged at a fixed 
rate agreed to in each yearly budget by the Board of Directors 
that governs UNILINC. The Board consists of representatives of 
the network members. 

Membership of UNILINC has been a relatively painless way for 
Shore to automate its senior school library. A good percentage of 
our collection already had records in the database to which we 
added our holding statements. The benefits to students and 
teachers of the Reciprocal Borrowing Scheme and free ILL (except 
UTS from July '93) are undoubted. The OPAC delights Staff who are 
still doing university courses, as they can search their 
university library catalogue at Shore and do their research in 
spare moments. Our ILL traffic is neither one way nor heavy. We 
request about 120 items per year and lend about 100 -mostly to 
student teachers. However our students do make more use of other 
UNILINC libraries, eg. The Conservatorium of Music, than we are 
used by their students. Loans are at the discretion of each 
library , so there is no compulsion to lend items that might be 
in demand at Shore. The network uses AACOBS approved ILL request 
forms and document supply is by post. Books are sent by 
registered mail. Members with ILANET or AARNET use the ILL module 
for automated requests. Shore will give consideration to these 
communication systems in the future. 

Shore does not use UNILINC's online acquisition module nor 
have we yet sought to share in arrangements to access 
international databases. We do take advantage of bulk purchase of 
barcodes and discounts on CD-ROM subscriptions which are even 
better than the normal discounts offered to schools. 

Incidentally, Shore's preparatory school library is a SCIS 
(formerly ASCIS) online subscriber. The school takes full 
advantage of this centralized, cooperative cataloguing service. 

All the networks Shore has access to, assist in keeping the 
library services abreast of current trends and developments and 
the librarians knowledgeable of current professional development. 
Networking and resource sharing has been an effective way for 
Shore to meet change and the ever increasing demands for the most 
current information. It "drives your dollar further" (4) too. 

Despite all that has been said in praise of cooperative 
ventures , do not rush into one. Questions to be considered 
include: what type of cooperation do you want and what type are 
you prepared to offer; what are likely costs and can you afford 
them; who should be involved; how will decisions be made etc. 
There should be well organised and efficient systems of resource 
organisations within each school intending to cooperate. There 
must also be a commitment made by teaching and library staff in 
each school to the concept of information and resource sharing 
with outside agencies. Goodwill is an intangible, but essential, 
factor in any resource sharing , information sharing and joint 
activities network. 



1. Bennetto, L. "The challenge of the VCE; how have we 

responded?" School Library News v.23 n.4 
Nov. 1991 p.17-19. 

2. Bridgland, Angela 

& Thomas Allan "The teacher-librarian as information 

manager". in Promoting Learning: 
Challenges in teacher-1ibrarianship 

ed. M. Nimon & A. Hazell, Adelaide: 
Auslib Press 1990 p.76-84. 

"Networking : an effective response 
to change". in School libraries and 
technology: a sourcebook compiled by 
M Broadbent Sc D Schmidmaier, Lindfield 
NSW, KCAE. p.60-76. 

"Networking drives your dollar further" 
Scan V.8 n.6 Sc 7 Oct. 1989 p.24-25. 

"How to set up a library network from 
scratch". Scan v.8 n.8 Nov. 1989 

"The school library's place in the 
community’s information network" in 
School Librarianship ed. J. Cook , 
Rushcutters Bay NSW: Pergamon 1981 
p. 167-179. 

7. Gordon, Helen A. "Is there a fax in your future?" 

Online May 1988 p.20-25. 

8. Henri, James "Resource sharing" in The School 

Curriculum: A collaborative approach to 

learning Occasional Monographs No.7 
Centre for Library Studies, Riverina- 
Murray Institute of Higher Education 
1987 p.51-64. 

9. Jackson, Mary E. "Library to Library" Wilson Library 

Bulletin June, 1989 p.94-95,141. 

10. Murray, Janet Sc 

Williamson Kirsty "Building resource collections in 

schools" in Promoting Learning: 
Challenges in teacher-1ibrarianship 

ed. M. Nimon Sc A. Hazell, Adelaide: 
Auslib Press 1990 p.53-65. 

11. Parker, D. "Networking: an overview of networks 

and their applicability to school 
libraries", in " A wake for print? 

School 1ibrarianship to the year 2000": 
Papers of the eight biennial conference 
ASLA, Melbourne 9-14 Jan. 1983 ed. B. 
Colville, Brisbane: ASLA 1984 p.121-137. 

12. Whitmore, L. "Cooperative schemes at local and 

3. Broadbent, M. 

4. Bruce, H. Sc 
Pauli N. 

5. Buchanan, R. 

6. Cook, J. 


13. Williamson, K; 
Murray, J. 

regional levels". in "Challenge and 

response for school librarians' " a 
paper. Sydney : LAA School Libraries 
Section 1983 p. 69-85. 

"Resource Sharing: a survey of the use 
of the SOURCE periodicals union list" 
Access v5 n3 Aug. 1991 p.34-36. 

14. Wilson, Mark 

"How to set up a telefacsimile network 
-The Pennsylvania Libraries' 

Online May, 1988 p.15-20. 

15. Zillman, P. 

" The Brisbane North Periodicals Centre" 
Journal of the School Library 

Association of Queensland vl9 n2 

Aug. 1987 p.ll- 



Background Paper for the Technology Workshop: 
CD Roms - What's available for secondary schools 

Author - Heather Kelsall 


This Paper is provided as background reading for participants 
in the workshop 'CD-ROMs - What's available for secondary 
schools.' In discussing the latest trends in technology, I 
trust teachers will be encouraged to investigate the 
curriculum benefits these information sources provide and 
reasses their current technology. The Paper also highlights 
some of the major CD ROM's in use in secondary schools and 
the curriculum areas they support. 


Without doubt CD-ROMS have had the greatest impact on 
information services in school libraries this decade. Since 
marketing began in Australia in 1986, this relatively new 
technology is changing how we conduct our reader services in 
school libraries, library management, collection development, 
information skills instruction and in fact the curriculum. 

Schools saw the first two full text CD ROM's in 1986: 

Groliers Electronic Encyclopedia and the McGraw Hill Science 
and Technical Reference set as exciting, non-book information 
sources. Since then the range of products has broadened with 
the CD ROM Directory reporting that 2908 titles were 
available in 1992, of which 2105 titles use IBM platform and 
601 titles use Apple. 


1991 saw a widespread acceptance of CD-ROMs in school 
libraries and the discussion moved from 'should we buy' to 
'which titles best support our needs.' Teacher librarians 
have realised that the storage and multmedia facilities of 
CD-ROM and the educational software available in the format 
is far superior to anything available on floppy disk. The 
major issues now confronting them involves assessment and 
selection based on collection development criteria, funding 
options for both software and hardware, management strategies 
and long-range planning to incorporate the ever-changing 


CD-ROM (compact disk - read only memory) is a medium for 
storing a mass of data. They have a similar appearance to a 
music CD, but store computer programs and information instead 
of songs. There are several different types of CD-ROMs 
including CDTV, CD-I, DVI, CD-ROM XA, and VIS. The datadrive 
(player) communicates with the computer (both IBM comp, and 
Apple) via a host adaptor card and software. 


There are two distinct standards when referring to CD 
technology: CD-ROM equipped PC's and Multimedia PC's (MPC). 
CD-ROM datadrives can run CD's through any ordinary Apple, 

IBM or compatible machine. MPC is a combination of hardware, 
software and a CD-ROM datadrive used as a mixing station to 
create multimedia presentations. With the most recent CD-ROM 
information discs now incorporating a wide range of 
integrated formats: text, visual images, video and animated 
sequences, voice, music and musical notation, - an MPC is 
required as hardware. 


To take advantage of this multimedia functionality Schools 
have the option of either upgrading their current hardware or 
purchasing an MPC with the necessary multimedia hardware 
already installed. The capabilities required are: 

* 386DX or higher PC, with 4Mb of RAM and a minimum 60Mb 
hard disk 

* VGA or SuperVGA+ display 

* Two-button mouse 

* 101-key keyboard 

* CD-ROM drive: CD-DA outputs, sustained 150Kb/second 
transfer rate 

* Audio board: 8-bit DAC, linear PC sampling, 22.05kHz and 
11.025kHz rate and microphone level input music synthesiser, 
and onboard analog audio mixing capabilities 

* Serial port 

* Parallel port 

* MIDI I/O port 

* Joystick port 

* Headphones or speakers 

* DVI board (for video clips - additional $3000) 

For a complete new system costs start from $3,000, and many 
companies provide a collection of CD-ROM's free as a starter 


With the variety of CD-ROM's now available, one CD-ROM 
datadrive installed on one PC and used in isolation does not 
fully utilise that information source. Mounting CD-ROMs on 
local area networks (LANs) allows many people to use 
information on the same CD-ROM simultaneously, at a variety 
of terminals within the library or anywhere around school. 
Where schools have purchased computers over a number of 


years, LANtastic peer-to-peer networking is one system which 
allows easy linking of stand-alone PC's when all are at a 
similar level. (IE; 386 with 2Mb of RAM, 40-60 Mb hard disk 
and EGA/VGA monitor.) While there are other networking 
options such as Novell, Novell Lite, Microsoft PC LAN and 
Telesystems, LANtastic has had positive reviews for ease of 
setup and realistic costs. 

Multi-CD datadrives have supplied the solution to Libraries 
with more CD's than available datadrives or computers. The 
teacher librarian no longer has to inter-change CD's as the 
clients information needs alter. Options vary from Jukeboxes 
where one CD can be used at one time, to CD towers which 
allows each CD to be accessed simultaneously. The jukeboxes 
range from the Pioneer 6 pack (from Uni Tron, app.$3800) to 
the recent prototype release by UMI that handles up to 240 
CD's. Both can be daisy chained to increase system capacity. 
Companies such as Aldis supply the tower options with a 
choice of 7 or 14 drive models costing $9,000 and $18,500 
respectively - still comparative to the cost of one internal 
CD-ROM datadrive at $1,000. Combining jukeboxes with 
networking allows maximum access to and use of these 
information sources. 


(A) INDEXING SERVICES - are essential reference tools for 
servicing information needs of senior students. They provide 
the source of the information, the full document/article then 
must be accessed. Libraries have the option to; 

. purchase their own periodicals; 


. belong to networks - EG: Periodical Centre (Qld.Dept.of 
Ed.) or local school groups; 

. use ILL and ALIA vouchers to purchase articles 
(approx.$6ea ). NUCOS, available on microfiche and on CD, 
lists periodicals held in libraries across Australia. 

The following CD-ROM's are widely used by secondary schools 


. Contains: Guidelines and Education Guidelines since 1986; 
Pinpointer from 1987 to 1992; and ABS Statistics. 

. Indexes a cross section of periodicals supporting most 
areas of the secondary curriculum. 

. Purchase: 1 accum. disk p.a. Cost: $220 
. Available from: INFORMIT. 03 6670284 

. Schools still need to subscribe to the print format of 
Guidlines to provide current (monthly) information sources. 

(ii) AUSTROM (IBM) - 

. Contains 12 datadases: Australian Education Index (AEI), 
Attorney General's Information Service (AGIS), Australian 
Public Affairs Information Service (APAIS), Australian 
Architecture Database (ARCH), National Sports Information 
Centre (AUSPORT), Australian Criminology Database (CINCH), 
Curriculum Resource Abstracts (Curriculum Corp.), Victorian 
Ministry of Education and Training Library (EDLINE), 
Australian Family and Society Abstracts (FAMILY), Home 
Economics Index (HEI), Leisure and Tourism Index, Pinpointer, 
and JOURNALS lists those indexed on AUSTROM. 

Indexes journal articles, theses, research reports, 
newspaper articles, conference proceedings, etc. 


. Curriculum areas include - economics, politics, legal 
studies, history, sport, tourism, criminology, family 
matters, architecture, education, and current issues. 

. Purchase: 3 discs p.a. Cost: $745 

Single disc Cost: $295 
. Available from: INFORMIT. 03 6670284 

(iii) AUSTLIT (IBM) - 

. Indexes works by or about Australian creative authors. 

. Covers: poems, plays, novels, short stories; critical 
articles, reviews, awards and prizes, Australian literature 
publishers and works translated by Australians. 

. Curriculum area- all aspects of Australian literature. 

. Purchase: 3 disc p.a. Cost: $375 

Single disk Cost: $150 

. Available from: INFORMIT. 03 6670284 

(iv) SAGE (IBM) - 

. Indexes a wide range of scientific and geographic based 
periodicals, with an Australian emphasis. 

. Curriculum areas include all Science subjects, 
agriculture, anthropology, ecology, engineering, environment, 
geography, health, humanities, mathematics, natural 
resources, nutrition, philosophy, politics, psychology, 
sociology, and technology. 

. Purchase: 2 disks p.a. $100 

Networking POA 

. Available from: CSIRO. 03 4187333 


. Contains information on Australian agriculture. 

. Indexes current research projects and publications on 


Australian agriculture. 

. Curriculum areas: all aspects of Agriculture, Science 
topics, and many physical Geography topics. Invaluable for 
supporting research into projects in progress. 

. Purchase: 2 disks p.a. $195 

Network Lise. $525 
. Available from: CSIRO. 03 4187333 


. Contents lists feature films, videocassettes, min-series, 
short films, telemovies, educational & management titles, 
opera and ballet titles, music clips, children's programs, 
etc. Cumulative from 1985. 

. Assists with information on all aspects of film/video, 
most useful in locating curriculum support material, 
particularly Film study. 

. Purchase: 2 disks p.a. Cost: $225 

Single disk Cost: $125 
. Available: INFORMIX. 03 6670284 

(vii) THORPE ROM (IBM) - 

. Contains Australian and New Zealand books in print, 
forthcoming titles and OP titles. 

, Most useful reference tool for T/L's 
. Purchase: 4 disks p.a. Cost: $400 

. Available: D.W. Thorpe. 03 6451511 

. Contains 2,000 images of pages from The Australian, 
accessible from the index record. 1992 ed 

Suitable: Years 9 to 12, Computer studies. Science 



. Purchase: Single disk Cost: 
. Available: Quarrion Consultancy 


054 435785 


These contain the full text of information which can be 
printed off or integrated into an assignment, and refer to 
both reference works and CD's with archival storage. Most 
are produced in the USA and the Australian content is either 
limited or non-existant. The following list highlights those 
CD-ROM's widely used in secondary schools. 


. Curriculum area: Science related topics & technological 
developments. Language level dependent on information 
query. 1991 ed. 

. Suitable: Years 8 to 12. 

. Cost: $955; upgrade of V.l $450. 

. Available: McGraw-Hill Book Co. 02 4174288 

. General encyclopaedia. 1993 ed 

. Suitable: Years 6 to 10 
. Cost: $899; upgrade cost: $255 
. Available: World Book reps. 02 4393400 

(iii) ATLAS PACK - The Software Toolworks.(IBM) - 

. Contains both the World Atlas & U.S. Atlas. Visuals and 

. Suitable: Years 6 to 10. Geography, statistics & mapping. 


Cost: $199 

. Available: Knowledge Books and Software. 07 8690994 

. Contains approx. 10,000 selected articles from Time 
Magazine, 1923 to 1988. 1991 ed 

. Suitable Years 8 to 12; all curriculum areas, emphasis on 
current affairs. 

. Cost: $250 

. Available: Knowledge Books and Software. 07 8690994 

. Encyclopedia containing source documents, reports, maps, 
pictures etc on W.W.2. 1993 ed. 

. Suitable Years 9 to 12, History related topics. 

. Cost: $599 

. Available: Marshall Cavendish reps. 02 9754166 

. General encyclopedia. 1993 ed. (CD-ROM Product of the 
Year, 1991.) 

, Suitable Years 8 to 11 

. Cost: $575. Upgrades: $195 and $325. Special school price 
under deliberation. 

. Available: Grolier Education. 02 4274922 


. Contains extensive information on all elected members and 
their electorates. 

. Suitable Years 8 to 12 
. Cost: $85 

. Available: Parliamentary Education Office. 06 2773995 



. Contains; Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, American Heritage 
Dictionary, Roget's II Electronic Thesaurus, Bartlett's 
Familiar Quotations, Concise Columbia Dictionary of 
Quotations and Hammond Atlas. 1993 ed 
. Suitable Years 7 to 12 
. Cost: $169 

. Available; Ashtons Scolastic. 043 283556 


Interactive multimedia resources are designed for a specific 
purpose and this must be carefully evaluated against client 
and curriculum needs. 


. Contains Australia's involvement in overseas conflict over 
the past 100 years. 

. Suitable Years 7 to 10 studying Australian history 
. Cost: $190 (NSW Schools), $249 (others). 

. Available: NSW Dept of Education. 02 9258178 


. Contains interactive information on musical instruments of 
the world 

. Suitable Years 5 to 9 
. Cost: $69 

. Available: Ashton Scholastic. 043 283555 


. Interactive encyclopedia: 29 volumes of Funk & Wagnells 
New Encyclopedia, 1992 ed., plus 1000 extra articles. 


Suitable Years 6 to 10 

. Cost: $359 

. Available: Ramware. 07 3525677 


. An interactive information source on everyday life in 
Colonial Australia. 

. Suitable: Years 4 to 8 
. Cost: $190 (N.S.W.), $249 (Other) 

. Available: Ashtons Scholastic 043 283555 


. Interactive Australian Geography information disk. 

Includes Lansat images, maps, photographs, videos, charts and 

. Suitable: Years 7 to 10, Geography 
Cost: $190 (N.S.W.), $249 (Other) 

. Available: Ashtons Scholastic 043 283555 

(vi) OZ I.D. (MFC: MAC) - 

. Interactive information of the Australian identity, 
people, events and issues from the 1800's to present. 

. Suitable: Years 7 to 10, Australian history 
. Cost: $190 (N.S.W.), $249 (Other) 

. Available: Ashtons Scholastic 043 283555 


While teacher librarians value Laurel Clydes regular articles 
in ACCESS, 'Computers in school libraries' as major 
information sources on current technology and software 
applications, as she stated (March 1992 ed.) all published 


sources of information about CD-ROM's emanates from outside 
Australia. We require more detailed and critical reviews of 
CD-ROM's, documenting not only the various qualities of 
information and technical details, but with discussion on 
curriculum intergartion across Australia and age 
appropriateness. Publishers need to recognise the potential 
market here and support our professional decisions. 


"The Basics of multimedia PC systems" in Your Computer 
September 1992, pp.26-33. 

CLYDE Laurel A. "CD-ROM update" in ACCESS March 1992, pp.33- 

FREE John. "Multimedia: CD's deliver audio,text and pictures" 
in Popular Science December 1991, pp.92-98 

KENNEDY Jake. "Multimedia takes off" in Your Computer 
November 1990, pp.26-37 

"Theatre of information" in Communique, July 1993, pp.10-14. 

RUSSELL Nigel & RUSSELL Ann. "Interactive multimedia in 
libraries" in ACCESS March 1993, pp.26-29 

UDELL Jon. "Start the presses" in Byte, February 1993, 


Computerising the Chinese International School Libraries 

Author - Marilyn McMahon 

The school. 

The Chinese International School is unique in Hong Kong. It aims to teach the students both 
English and Mandarin so that the students will be truly bilingual. There are approximately 1,000 
students from Reception to Year 13 (ages 4 to about 18). The students have a heavy programme 
of English and Chinese language learning throughout as well as the standard subjects taught in 
most Western countries. 

Mandarin is the official language of China, Taiwan and Singapore and since Hong Kong will be 
returned to China in 1997 there is a great deal of interest in the study of Mandarin. In fact, 
Cantonese is the most common Chinese language in Hong Kong since the province of Canton is 
right next door to Hong Kong and most Hong Kong Chinese come from Canton (or Guangzhou 
as it is now more commonly known). The local schools teach Cantonese and English. There are 
also a number of international schools that offer the U K. curriculum mostly to expat students 
who will be returning to U K. or Hong Kong students opting for a British education. It is also 
possible to have a Hong Kong version of an American education or even French or German. At 
all other schools in Hong Kong one language predominates. Students can opt to study other 
languages but this is not usually compulsory. At the Chinese International School all students 
must study English and Mandarin. Therefore to support this mission our libraries are also 
bilingual. We collect English language and Chinese language materials. 

The libraries. 

We have 3 divisions in the school - Infant (Reception - P2), Junior (P3 - P6) and Secondary (Year 
7 - Year 13). We have 3 libraries to serve these divisions of almost 1,000 m‘. There are 5 floors of 
Library. The Infant and Junior Libraries are 1 floor each in a block adjacent to the Infant and 
Junior Divisions and the Secondary Library consists of 3 floors likewise adjacent to the Secondary 
Division. The school is 10 years old. It has been growing year by year so that in September 1993 
we have our first Year 13. The libraries have been growing alongside. 

However it is only since we have moved into our new facilities 2 years ago that we have had 
full-time staff in the Junior and Secondary Libraries. We now have 5 staff members - 3 
professional librarians, 1 library assistant and 1 audio-visual technician. 

When we moved into the present facilities 2 years ago the collections in the Junior and Secondary 
Libraries were quite small. The Secondary Library had only about 1,000 items. It was felt to be a 
perfect time to computerise anticipating very rapid growth. In fact during the last 2 years we have 
added about 6,000 items to the Secondary Library alone. 

The system. 

When we went out shopping for a computer system for our libraries we needed to find one that 
would allow us to input both our Chinese-language and English-language materials together and 
display them together for our students and staff to support our bilingual curriculum. We found 
only two: Dynix and V-LIB. Since Dynix quoted us HK$1 million for software alone, this reduced 


the field to one. In fact after attending demonstrations of both, V-LIB was the one that appealed 
to us the most. 

V-LIB was developed by a Singaporean-based company and I'm told that the programme was 
written by a Librarian. I think that it shows after looking at other library systems written by 
people with almost no knowledge or understanding of libraries. V-LIB is a PC based library 
management system which uses a standard DOS environment. It consists of 6 different modules; 
Cataloguing and Enquiry, Serials, Acquisitions, Item Control, Loans and Circulation and MARC 
interface (see Screen 1). There are also 3 other options; OP AC (On-line Public Access 
Catalogue), ideographic capability that allows handling of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and 
Portuguese scripts and image interface. All modules are fully integrated so that a record input or 
modified in one module is immediately available in all others. 

The system can be introduced gradually depending on budgetary constraints. In our case we 
began computerising with the Cataloguing and Enquiry module and introduced the Circulation 
and OP AC modules at a later stage. We have plans to add the Serials and Acquisitions modules 
in the future. 

Let me give a brief description of the modules that we are presently using; 

Cataloguing and Enquiry. 

• Catalogue records are in LCMARC format using standard MARC tags. During the set-up 
phase the library defines which it will use. This allows the possibility of importing MARC 
records at a later stage. 

• Different information types such as books, serials, videos, posters, etc. can be entered, (see 
Screen 2) 

• Multiple copies of an item can be attached to a single catalogue record, each identified and 
tracked by its unique barcode number. 

• Data is entered interactively so that it is immediately available for modification or enquiry. All 
indexes are updated on-line. 

• A stopword list is maintained to eliminate unnecessary indexing of common words such as "a" 
and "the", (see Screen 3) 

• Presearching by keyword-in-title, author, subject, series or call number are available to check 
for duplicates, (see Screen 4) 

• Reports available in this module include accession lists and catalogue lists sorted by any order 
nominated and the contents of the list can be defined by the Library, (see Screen 5) 

Loans and Circulation. 

• Borrower records are maintained and can be updated on-line including borrower status, 
reservations, loans, overdue items, fines and even messages, (see Screen 6) 

• Loan periods, fine rates according to borrower type and information type can be pre-defined 
for loans. 

• Due dates are generated by a pre-set calendar to allow for weekends, public and school 


• When returning, reservations and overdues are notified. Renewals can easily be done. Fines are 
also calculated and can be discharged at this point, (see Screen 7) 

• All the parameters are pre-set in the set-up phase but can easily be overridden. 

• A variety of reports are available including loan and circulation log reports, overdue notices, 
reservation notices, lists of items on loan and circulation statistics. 


• It is possible to limit a search according to information type, e g. only Chinese-language books 
or audio-visual material, (see Screen 8) 

• Searches can be made by author, subject or series or according to keywords in the title entry, 
(see Screen 9) 

• Boolean search to expand or limit the search is also available, (see Screen 9) 

• Users can find out if the item is on loan or on the shelf and reservations can be made at the 
OPAC workstations, (see Screens 10 & 11) 

• Users can check their library records, (see Screen 12) 

Special features of V-LIB. 


The system can be set up to suit the needs of the library. For example, catalogue records can be as 
detailed or as simple as required. 

User friendliness. 

All modules are menu or function-key driven with help screens for all functions. The use of colour 
in the OPAC workstations also increases the system's appeal to students. 


After horror stories of student hackers disabling the library system in another local school, we 
were very conscious of security. Various levels of security are available so that students can only 
have access to the OPAC module. Using ID and passwords, only the library staff can access the 
cataloguing and circulation modules. 

Local support. 

Vitechnology has an office in Hong Kong. They are available to help us at any time. They have 
been known to actually be with us within the hour! For example, on one occasion the system was 
shut down without switching off one of the workstations before the server which meant that we 
lost all of our records. Fortunately we had been doing our backup daily and with some help we 
were up and running again in a very short time. This did bring to mind other horror stories of 
records permanently lost by other libraries. 


Training was provided for each module as it was introduced. This was vital as there was very little 
previous experience with computers amongst the library staff. 



Any enhancements or developments to the programme are passed on to the other users 
automatically. The system is constantly being upgraded and improved. For example, "see" and 
"see also" references have just been introduced. 

CJK capability. 

Finally, the most exciting feature: Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters can be input and 
displayed in this system. This feature was vital for us since a large part of our collection is 
Chinese language material. 

Hardware requirements. 


• 80386DXor 80486DXPC. 

• Monochrome monitor. 

• 4MB RAM on board. 

• 200 MB hard disk. 

• 1.2 Mb 5.25" or 1.44 Mb 3.5" floppy diskette drive. 

• Display card. 

• 101 enhanced keyboard. 


• 80386SX with 500K available user memory. 

• Monochrome/CGA/EGA/VGA/super VGA monitor. 

• 1.2 Mb 5.25" or 1.44 Mb 3.5" floppy diskette drive. 


• Network operating system (e.g. Novell Netware V3.11). 

• DOS version 5.0. 

Hardware options. 

• Barcode reader/scanner. 

• Barcode labels. 

• Barcode label printing programme. 

• Hand-held data collector. 

• Tape drive for backup. 

• Printer. 


Computerising began in the Secondary Library and was completed in 3 phases. During Phase 1, 
all of the records were entered in the Cataloguing Module including both English-language and 
Chinese-language materials. This took about 6 months alongside the normal operation of the 
Library. The OP AC module was then introduced in Phase 2 and finally the Circulation module in 
Phase 3. The whole process took about 1 year. The Infant and Junior Libraries will follow this 


schedule. So far, they have entered all of their records in the Cataloguing Module and are about 
to introduce the OP AC modules. 

The future. 

We look forward to introducing the Acquisitions and Serials modules after a breathing space, 
possibly in a year's time. In the meantime, we are enjoying discovering all of the capabilities of our 
system. The software developer is very responsive to our suggestions and enhancements and in 
turn we are benefiting from developments passed on to us from the suggestions made by other 
libraries using this system. 

We are particularly pleased that we were able to introduce a computer system to our libraries 
when our collection was so small and the libraries very new. 

Marilyn McMahon 
Head Librarian^ 

Chinese International School. 






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