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LILAC 2019: The Information Literacy Conference for librarians

Updated: May 3, 2019

Having just come home from 3 very intensive days of learning, collaborating, sharing and networking I am exhausted. However, I feel it is important to write this post whilst it is still fresh in my mind.

It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues who I don't get to see very often Darryl Toerien, Sarah Pavey @Sarahinthelib, Lucy Atherton @Welly_Library, and Jane Secker @jsecker. I also got to meet people who I have only ever 'known' online such as Rebecca Jones @thepanster, who I now know I work with on Teentech, and Senga White @motherofwinter who I have known on twitter for a while and connected via @il_spaces from New Zealand which was a real treat. I will enjoy connecting with them even more now I really know them.

I also got to say hello to Ruth Carlyle @RuthCarlyle, who was one of the Keynote speakers who talked about the need for information literacy in health. I have followed her on twitter for a while so it was lovely to finally meet her.

So without attending even one session I felt that the opportunity to network was incredibly useful. However spending a lot of money to get to LILAC I did however feel that I should attend some of the sessions :) Rather than talk about the whole conference I am going to touch on the keynotes and sessions that meant the most to me. Please feel free to skim to the bits that interest you the most.

Wednesday 24th April

Learning to Teach, teaching to learn

This was a session led by university librarians so I was not sure how useful it would be for me coming from a school library background but when one of them said that this session was about supporting 'teaching librarians were never taught how to teach' and this rang true with me. We know and understand that our role as school librarians in the UK will include a teaching element but we are never taught how to do this.

They explained how they run training sessions for teaching librarians and talked about the benefits of micro teaching and how this practical teaching and learning had great benefits especially the ability to assess how they are teaching and to get and give constructive criticism.

What I learnt from this session was that this is a very practical way to support the librarians that I work with. I run training sessions once a term where we all get together and sometimes this would be to share best practice. How much better this would be if we used those 20 mins to ask them to micro teach and to give each other feedback. Not only could we see how the teaching was done but also learn from their own reflection - what did they think went well and what would they do differently next time.

This would be very challenging for school librarians but very useful and when I discussed this idea with the person sitting next to me we talked about whether it would be of value to create badges that librarians could earn to show they had taken part. This led me to think about creating a list of objectives that we decide together on what we should be teaching and whether this could come from FOSIL (Framework of Skills for Inquiry Learning) I attended a session on FOSIL so more of that later. Could we as a group of school librarians use this for our own pedagogy.

More information about this talk can be found here. Walking the walk, talking the talk - McGill

Teacher as facilitator: how becoming a trained coach has impacted my teaching practice.

I attended this session because I am responsible for training and I had heard about coaching techniques whilst training to be a mentor myself and wanted to know more.

This session re- enforced what I had already learnt about coaching.

  • to ask none leading questions

  • one to one sessions

  • help learners learn rather than impart information, “a facilitated thinking space”

  • Mentee should do most of the talking (mental note to myself!)

This would work much better if you have no idea of that person’s job or life, which allows facilitating conversations but do feel that this is not always possible!

A slide that shows the skills of a coach

My biggest takeaway was a reminder of something that I need to do more of...the pedagogy of silence. Using silence as a pedagogical tool. How long do you leave it before you fill in the silence? I really am not very good at this. I ask a question and after a few seconds of silence I want to fill the space. I will try to remember to use this as a training tool!

Ultimately, coaching embodies learning how to learn and think.

Get yourself a coach…(note to self!)

I’m not calling you a liar, but don't lie to me: getting personal with source evaluation

This session was a great reminder that there are other tools to help students to evaluate resources. IF I APPLY is one such tool.

How do we get students to engage in evaluating sources? Do we remind students that even if they find a resource on one of our databases that it is is important to evaluate and not just accept that it is what you need. “Is it definitely reliable if found through a library database.” That means that we don’t think for ourselves… Where is the critical thinking? Learning must be active, including learning how to critically evaluating social media.

In todays world of Fake news and mis information, news can spread really quickly and become viral, sometimes this is intentional and unintentional manipulation and it is important for us as educators to talk about our own experiences. Admitting that even we have been caught out gives a perfect opportunity to talk about what to do if you have shared something you then realise was untrue.

We all know that the likes of Google are using Algorithms to 'help' you search quicker. This means that you are not necessarily finding the best results just what Google thinks you want to find. Most students find their news online, again pushed through algorithms and we need to help students realise that they are living in a filter bubble and how important it is for them to think for themselves and not to be caught out by click bait.

I will go back and watch this presentation again when it comes out on the LILAC website but here is what is understood by it.

If I…. helps you to integrate yourself to the topic…personal steps, recognise your own bias and understand where are your assumptions come from and recognise that family and social media may be guiding your thoughts.

Apply… encourage proper evaluation and humanise evaluation. Think about questions and understand that not everything is valid to answer your question and there is a big difference between informative and persuasive articles.

I hope I have done this presentation justice but if not hopefully this slide will help you understand more.

Not required reading: leisure reading as an information literacy

I was not really sure what this session would be about as reading for pleasure is a big thing in primary and secondary schools. We know that if children read they do better at school, we also know that it is good for their mental health so how would this translate in a university setting?

What I had not thought about was where our university students get their leisure reading from. I suppose I thought that maybe they would use the public library but having 4 children go through university I realise that the only reading for pleasure they did was when I sent them a books for their birthday's. If students are not using the public library then it makes sense that they are supported this side of their education by providing fiction for them to read whilst they are there.

It interested me that the links we are making at primary and secondary level is now being talked about at university level.

  • Reading for pleasure – links to academic attainment

  • Empathy – Theory of mind, Interpersonal sensitivity

  • Creativity – SCAB – Scale of creative attributes and behaviour

  • Mental health problems…students who read are better able to understand their own feelings

Thursday 25th April

Keynote from Ruth Carlyle @RuthCarlyle

I have followed Ruth on twitter for a while so was very excited to hear her talk about health literacy: Information literacy for life. I felt as if she was talking to all the school librarians in the room. What she made me realise is that the children who leave school at 16 need information literacy even more than most. We are a keystone species and we play a crucial role in shaping the lives of these children. “Without core information literacy skills health literacy becomes even harder” (Carlyle, Ruth) As people live longer it is essential that they understand the information given regarding their health. We all have a role to play from school to FE and University.

School librarians are the people who create the foundations for children to become information literate. Our roles are all important but if children leave school without this basic understanding it will effect their ability to know and understand what they need for their own health. My big takeaway was about being able to verbalise your own understanding is a great skill that we should be embedding in our teaching in order to check for understanding.

Librarians as teachers: reframing our professional development

In this session I learnt about a new National professional development framework that supports teaching for academic librarians called L2L. I did however see a clear link from this document to what we do in schools. What I liked about this framework was the importance of you being central to your own teaching and empowers you to look at what you are doing and how you are doing it. Rather than teaching you what you need to know it helps you learn more about yourself. Strangely enough this linked to Ruth's keynote as once again they were talking about being able to verbalise what you do and why is important. Librarians as teachers need to be able to explain what we are doing in order to share our knowledge and skill set.

The understanding that your own learning is both Informal and formal learning and as part of this framework made a lot of sense to me. I could also see a clear link to the CILIP PKSB, anyone doing certification or chartership could use this if they are working in schools as there is a gap for anyone with a teaching role. I also felt that it could be used by professional and non-professional staff as everyone needs to be given the opportunity to develop. The weakness with this framework is that librarians do have other roles that deal with areas that are not teaching so for me the link to the PKSB is a good one. I could also see that it was a good tool to use as a dialogue for your annual appraisals.

We were challenged to find out own Teaching philosophy statement and in order to do this I need to think about building my vocabulary about what I do. We need to be able to talk confidently about our teaching and a statement is a good place to start. For more information about this take a look at their website.

Information literacy: Necessary but not sufficient for 21st Century learning

Darryl talked about FOSIL, Framework of Skills for Inquiry Learning and the role the school librarian plays in teaching and learning. He made some bold statements about the need for school libraries with librarians. “Any school that does not have a library is putting your students in an impoverished position!”. He highlighted the need for schools to understand what school librarians do beyond one teacher at a time as currently one change in teacher could mean you start all over again.

He questioned the understanding of the university librarians about school libraries and explained that school libraries are the foundation of the skills needed for university. Instead of universities trying to fill the gap they should be supporting school librarians and empowering them by working alongside them when possible.

He questioned how many students have never set foot in a library, yet we expect them to know and understand how to research once they get to university. He questioned how it would look if 13 years of foundation was properly done in school with properly funded and staffed school libraries?

Leaving these questions out there he then explained how FOSIL worked and invited everyone to take a look at the website and to join in the conversation.

Making the invisible visible: Developing collaborative practice models through an academic transition lens

I enjoyed this session because it felt very familiar to what we are trying to achieve where I work. It was good to hear about programmes in action and the good feedback from teachers who were understanding the benefits of collaboration with librarians.

Senga also talked about the need for school libraries and the worrying fact that the learning skills of children is poor. She highlighted the importance of Information literacy being embedded and finding a place within the curriculum. Senga's tertiary program is having an impact in New Zealand and because of this she is now working with Information Literacy Spaces, a collaborative research project. Their website can be found here. This exciting project recognises the fact that librarians working across other sectors can impact student learning.

However as Senga says, if it is not mandate to have school libraries and it is only a nice to have rather than a need to have we are are doing our children a disservice. School libraries are not luxuries and are essential to our children's education and if the lack of school librarians continues the gap between secondary and tertiary will continue to grow. This is a problem that we all need to be addressing.

Friday 26th April

Digital competencies for digital citizenship of pre-teen children

There are more children using mobile phones than ever before. Digital citizenship – is it incorporated in schools? I do feel that many schools are beginning to try and tackle the problem but the issues are growing and there are so few resources at the right age level it is difficult to keep up.

The benefits and threats to our children in the online world need to be taken into consideration.

Threats:- safety, difficult for parents to manage, screen time,

Opportunities:- Connectedness – interact with others.

Places to look for help:

  • UK council for child internet safety

  • Plotagon education

Konstantina wanted to help tackle the situation so has created a selection of videos help children understanding how to deal with the issues that they may face online. Here is a link to the first one so you can understand the concept. These videos could be used in class or with individuals.

There is not one right answer about how to deal with problems online. Keeping the lines of communication open is really important. Maybe try a family agreement…

This is a really useful tool, especially for upper primary and lower secondary.

Wikiliteracy – using Wikipedia as a teaching tool

Another interesting session. The debate on usefulness of Wikipedia within academia is alive and well. Many think it has no use whatever but this is without considering how else it can be used. This session was about how they had used Wikipedia as a content creation tool.

The idea is that students are given the tools to edit and add quality content to Wikipedia articles was an interesting idea giving the opportunity to teach referencing and plagiarism, citation, photos and creative commons. Students were asked to edit an article of their choice.

Using the Wikipedia educational dashboard it was possible to track user activities so that it was possible to see what the students were doing. They were also asked to review each others article which was easy to do because every wikipedia article is anonymous. The peer review opportunity was also good way of teaching critical thinking. Wikipedia has their own training modules and students were also asked to learn using these too.

There were 2 assignment given to the students which were to substantially edit 1 article adding 1500 additional words or to create a portfolio of mixed edits.

The feedback from students was great as they liked the real audience and impact they were having and as yet there has been no negative feedback.

The opportunity to include these Wikipedia assignments to the Digital literacy programme has been good because it is familiar and does have an impact on information literacy and their digital skills. I really liked this idea and will be taking it back to share with my teachers.


I've really written this for myself to help me remember all the good stuff that I learnt. If any of it is useful to you that's a bonus. If however you have read something that you would like to know more about, just post a comment.

875 views2 comments


May 08, 2019

You are very welcome Catherine! It is always good to hear that someone is finding my blogs useful :)


Unknown member
May 08, 2019

Thank you for sharing so much of what you learned at the conference Elizabeth. For those of us far far away not able to attend, it is appreciated. :)

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