Posted by: leish79 | March 24, 2013

Blog Task 1 – Comment on the role of the teacher librarian in practice with regard to implementing a guided inquiry approach

Guided inquiry is defined by Todd (2010, p. 11) as ”carefully planned, closely supervised, targeted intervention of an instructional team of teachers and teacher librarians to guide students through curriculum-based inquiry units that build deep knowledge and deep understanding of a curriculum topic, and gradually lead towards independent learning”. Guided inquiry is a process by which to work with students and is not an additional subject for them to learn. Guided inquiry prepares children for lifelong learning rather than preparing them for a specific test. It is thought that through a process of guided inquiry, students will develop independence in their learning and research, teachers will enhance the learning opportunities throughout the curriculum and teacher librarians will promote the library as an active learning environment (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007).

The role of teacher librarian within guided inquiry wordleTodd (2010, p. 7) suggests the role of the teacher librarian within the implementation of a guided inquiry approach is “that of an information learning specialist”. Kuhlthau et. al (2007, p. 57) suggest the teacher librarian “has three main roles in guided inquiry: resource specialist, information literacy teacher; and collaboration gatekeeper”. Both definitions identify that the teacher librarian should lead the teachers within the school in the implementation of guided inquiry both inside and outside of the library. Guided inquiry extends to the classroom where the skills of information literacy are integrated into all areas of the curriculum and supported by the teacher librarian inside the library. Given the teacher librarian is the expert in information literacy skills, it is therefore important for them to take ownership of the guided inquiry implementation throughout the curriculum to support and enhance the skills of the teachers.

The role of resource specialist suggested by Kuhlthau et. al (2007) highlights the important role the teacher librarian plays in being aware of changes to the curriculum and constantly updating and improving the collection within the library to support the teaching occurring within not just the library but also classrooms throughout the school. This highlights the additional responsibilities that teacher librarians have within the guided inquiry approach which is not just face-to-face teaching but also the organisation and availability of appropriate resources.

Perhaps one of the most important roles of the teacher librarian within the guided inquiry approach is the collaboration that needs to occur between the teacher librarian, the rest of the instructional team and the learners. “Guided inquiry builds a community of learners through social interaction and collaboration with others. This collaborative process is critical in developing the skills of lifelong learning” (Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association, 2009). It is through this collaboration that students learn the skills which are necessary for students to succeed within the 21st century and the ongoing advances in technologies made year to year.

It is clear that guided inquiry is led by the teacher librarian although it involves the participation of the entire teaching staff within the school. The ability of the teacher librarian to communicate effectively with their colleagues, keep on top of curriculum changes and resource the library collection with appropriate content and differing learning resources which invite participation from the learners is crucial in developing lifelong learning skills within the students.


Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association (2009). ALIA/ALSA Policy on Guided Inquiry and the Curriculum. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

Todd, R. J. (2010). Curriculum Integration. In Learning in a Changing World series. Camberwell: ACER Press.


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