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Teaching Research Skills

By General, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Professional Development, Research Skills No Comments

Research Image by Gifer under Fair Use Guidelines

Recently, a fellow librarian from a local Indian school asked me – How can librarians teach and support students research skills? How can librarians engage and collaborate with teachers?

I believe the local curriculum in Indian schools have always encouraged project work, and I believe that librarians can seize this opportunity to teach students how to research explicitly. They can collaborate with the subject teachers to teach research skills to the students in a systematic manner, encouraging higher order thinking. The open-ended questions will help students to think and write rather than copy and pasting information from Wikimedia or other websites. The question often asked of me is – what research model can I as a librarian use and recommend? There are several research models, and they can be found on the internet. One of them is the Super 3 for lower elementary students and the Big 6 for older students.

I would recommend one to look at various models and select the one the one that best suits your students. You can always tweak/adapt a research model to meet your needs. Each of the research steps needs to be explicitly taught and practiced through mini-lessons.

Here are the research steps that you may want to consider:

  1. Framing open-ended questions
  2. Locating information and selecting appropriate print and digital resources
  3. Evaluate the sources using CRAAP or CARS
  4. Using information by reading, taking notes and paraphrasing
  5. Synthesizing the information
  6. Citing the sources used in the research
  7. Presenting and sharing
  8. Finally, reflecting on knowledge and presentation

It is during inquiry or project time when librarians can help students develop the 21st-century skills of collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking, research skills and communication while learning through the transdisciplinary approach.  Should you be looking for handholding sessions to help you demystify this process, please email me, and we can work together.

Basic Elements in a Library Policy?

By General, Librarian's Role No Comments

Policy by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images Under  CC BY-SA 3.0

“What are some of the components of a Library Policy,”  a friend from our library tribe asked me last week, this triggered me to write this blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the library is in an International School, a CBSE, ICSE or even an SSC school. A library policy defines who the patrons of the library are and describe the services the library provides.  When policies are in place, the credibility of requests for funds and services receive due notice and acceptance. And, there is scope for enhancing the services and place for growth.

Policies establish a standard for services that can be understood by users and providers. It ensures equitable treatment for all and provides a framework and standards for delivery of service. All policies are not set in stone and these are guidelines that will need to be revisited every two years and revised. Revisions allow libraries to grow and meet the changing needs of the patrons.

Components of a basic library policy:

  1. The mission statement of a library: This statement can be created by keeping the mission statement of the educational institute or the institute that the library is associated with.
  2. Description of the library: This includes the number of books and other resources including the online databases, magazine, and toys that may be available.
  3. Patrons of the library: Describes who the clients are and who does the library services, of course, not forgetting the community at large you serve.
  4. Services of the library: Includes the timings, the number of resources available to check out, photocopy services, computers available for research and the rules and norms that go with it (including fines and lost items fee).
  5. Collection Development: This may include how the librarian develops the collection, the different criteria used by the librarian to develop the resources.
  6. Online Databases available: This may include details for membership
  7. Weeding Procedure: Without weeding, the collection of the library can never be an alive and current and cannot serve the present community. Therefore, criteria for weeding should be specified too.
  8. Events hosted by the library: It could be author visits, storytelling sessions, readers theatre, puppet shows, drawing & art programs, maker engagements or simply poetry slams.

Should you need support to create your library policy, you may contact me at


Information and Media Literacy

By Media Literacy & Information Literacy No Comments

Learning together about Information and Media Literacy

This week I had an opportunity to meet with a group of librarians through MISA – Members of International Schools. We, Librarians, talked about the importance of Information and Media Literacy and how important it is for us to think analytically and critically about the information and media that we consume every day. Right from waking up in the morning, we are drawn to our mobiles for the WhatsApp messages, our Facebook or Instagram updates. Soon, after that, we turn our TV sets for our regular spiritual gyans, news or simply our private channels that we subscribe to. Our children are silent or active consumers of our morning routine. Each one of us, children and adults are then off to work or school and are continually bombarded with advertisements on buses, billboards, and trains, basically, our media-saturated world. Before we are misguided or misinformed, we must learn to understand, analyze, evaluate media and information, so that we are able to make informed choices. According to Center for Media Literacy, we need to be asking 5 questions: Who created the media?  What creative techniques have been used to create media?  How might different people view this message, differently from me? Why is this message sent?  What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in; or omitted in this message?

Asking these questions helps us navigate the busy media world in a safe way, Asking questions can help us make informed decisions about money, health, government, and work. We need to think about our beliefs, what is important to us and how we can make informed decisions that will help our family, friends, and humanity at large. Having diverse perspectives and multiple perspectives can help broaden our beliefs. What we must be careful of not being skewed in our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. This happens when we begin to only view, read, and move to a direction of what we want to learn or continue to believe it. When we do this, we must consciously try and seek different perspectives so that we have a better understanding of a topic. Take for example” Raj adopted a Vegan Diet and his life changed for him. He was suffering from a Migraine,  now, he has few headaches. He insists his family move toward a vegan diet for good health.  He shares his experiences, his knowledge, and correct information about a vegan diet to all. Should I adopt a vegan diet, should I not analyze my lifestyle, my belief, and knowledge of other diets to help me make an informed decision that suits my physical and mental state of the body. Thus, learning to get a variety of perspectives from information and media can help me make informed choices.