Posted by: leish79 | October 8, 2013

Four principles of an open world … how can these be applied to teacher librarians?


Collaboration has been a resounding theme throughout both this subject and previous subjects within the Masters of Education (Teacher Librarian) course. ALIA & ASLA (2009) identify that collaboration between the teacher librarian (TL) and classroom teachers is necessary to instil lifelong learning skills within students. But what underpins effective collaboration between the TL and other staff within a school?

Quality collaboration between the teacher librarian and other staff needs to be underpinned by the ability to form relationships, effective communication skills and knowledge of the curriculum.  Without these background skills, collaboration is unlikely to be effective and the role of the TL is likely to be minimised within the school. The introduction of the Australian Curriculum which is based on an inquiry approach to learning provides opportunities for collaboration between the TL and classroom teachers to become the norm within schools. The TL has a responsibility to engage in effective working relationships with the teaching staff within the school. The amount of time the TL has to directly instruct students is minimal. Without the integration of information literacy skills being taught by the TL across the curriculum, student outcomes will be adversely impacted.


Tapscott (2012) identifies transparency as communicating “pertinent information to stakeholders”. The stakeholders of the school library are staff, students and parents. Therefore the TL needs to ensure they are effectively communicating information about the library collection to the stakeholders to ensure the collection is adequately relevant and useful. Transparency can be achieved through a number of ways.

  • Dissemination of appropriate instructional material about how to effectively use the technology contained within the library.
  •  Improved signage within the library to assist the users in navigating the collection.
  • In-service training to teaching staff to educate them on the use of library services or technology within their classrooms.


Tapscott (2012) identified sharing as “giving up assets or intellectual property”. Sharing within the bounds of your own school is important to ensure consistency. Townsend (2011) also suggests that effective leader’s share their knowledge not only within their own school but also with leaders within other schools within their region, state, country and globally. The TL as a leader of information literacy should therefore share information and resources not only with the teachers within their own school, but also with other TLs. This assists the TL to move from an isolated role within the school to a networked community of TLs.


Tapscott (2012) identified empowerment as the “distribution of knowledge”. Empowerment is an important aspect of leadership as it enables not only the leader, but also those being led, to draw upon their strengths and knowledge and combine together to meet a common goal. The TL can draw upon their own empowerment to assist in motivating and inspiring classroom teachers to integrate information literacy skills into their teaching as well as integrating digital technologies into their classroom practices.


The four principles identified by Tapscott (2012) are highly relevant to the role of the TL. Although the role is generally isolated within the school, there is support for the notion that the TL is an expert in their field and the introduction of the Australian Curriculum, which is based on an inquiry approach to learning, provides the perfect opportunity for the TL to step up and lead from within.



Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association. (2009). ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum. Retrieved from:

Tapscott, D. (2012). Four principles for the open world [Video file].  Retrieved from

Townsend, T. (2011). School leadership in the twenty-first century: Difference approaches to common problems? School Leadership & Management, 31(2), 93-103


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