The Library as a Space of Learning: Supporting Inquiry & Information Literacy

Staff Presentation Overview:

Big Idea Information Literacy


Definition of Information Literacy (as cited in Canadian Library Association, 2014, p. 26) “The ability to access, evaluate, use and share information effectively and ethically for a range of educational, career and personal purposes” (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2008, p.47).


Driving Questions How can the library team support inquiry projects and promote information literacy at MSS? How do students avoid plagiarism?


What Pro-D presentation to staff of ways in which the library team can support inquiry projects at MSS to promote information literacy. We would like to collaborate with you!


Where Library Learning Commons (LLC)


When/How Let`s collaborate today! Our LLC is fully staffed from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Send your librarian an email, drop in, or call to book ahead., Desk Phone: 1141. See MSS LLC Collaboration Research Planning Guide for more details.


Learning Tools addressed in presentation How to Use EasyBib, How to Search in EBSCO, Supporting Inquiry with Web 2.0 tools
Target Audience All staff at Merritt Secondary School


LLC Suggested Information Literacy Skills by Grade Junior Grades:

– Finding information in books: using the table of contents, index, and non-fiction text features to find information

-note taking from research material

-using Google effectively to find websites (Web Search in Plain English You Tube Video)

-basic website evaluation

-basic bibliography for books and websites using EasyBib

-example Works Cite Rubric SS9

-WorldBook Online


Senior Grades:

full website evaluation (check for secondary sources, etc)

-full bibliography (websites, books, newspaper articles, magazines, PDFs, images, journal articles, etc)

-parenthetical citations (in text citations)

-Interactive online plagiarism tutorial (10 min)

-advanced searching using online research databases

-see example unit plan for Chem 11 and collaboration planning guide

-see example Works Cited rubric Chem 12


  1. Rationale

The library team is in the process of transitioning our traditional school library to a Library Learning Commons (LLC), as described by Hayes (2014) as, “the hub of the school, where teachers and students collaborate, inquiry-based learning is promoted, and teacher-librarians provide instructional support to every teacher in the school while fostering a thriving reading culture” (p.1). One of our essential questions driving this transition is: How can a school Library Learning Commons foster literacies to empower life-long learners? Today, we will be presenting to staff at MSS ways in which the library team can help support your classes with inquiry and promote information literacy skills. We would like to co-teach and collaborate with you for your next inquiry project.


In the book Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere, Will Richardson (2012) discusses how learning and literacy in the 21st century is changing rapidly. The BC new curriculum is trying to reflect many of these changes for our students by including inquiry, technology, and information literacy skills (Province of British Columbia, 2015). Richardson reminds us that “what’s needed for reading and writing literacy is evolving far beyond traditional definitions…In large measure, the professional and, to some extent, personal lives of our kids will be lived online in transparent, public ways that are vastly different from the much more private spaces most of us grew up in…This changes just about everything when it comes to being ‘educated’” (Richardson, 2012, “The challenge”, para. 1).

The MSS Library Learning Commons team believes that one of the most important 21st century literacies, identified by the National Council of Teachers of English (NTCE ), that students need to learn at school with the guidance of an educator and librarian is how to “create, critique, analyze and evaluate multimedia texts” (as cited in Richardson, 2012, “Our kids are illiterate”). In our experience, many of our students do not ask themselves who is writing this information, can I trust this information, is this fact or opinion, is this person an expert, what is their purpose/audience, when was it published?, etc. Learning how to effectively search and evaluate the information we find on the web has never been more important as an increasing number of people are becoming proficient with technology, posting their opinions, connecting with others, reading, and sharing information online. Information literacy applies to all of our diverse learners as a life-long skill that crosses over into so many other literacies, including traditional, critical, digital,and media literacy. In the article Reading Mulitmodal Texts in the 21st Century, Serafini reminds us that the “ disconnect between the text students encounter in school and the texts they encounter in their lives outside of school must be broached to prepare students to be successful in the new millennium” (p.32).   We think this is an exciting time for librarians to collaborate with classroom teachers to guide students as they connect, share, access, read, write, evaluate, and create online.      

Presentation (Prezi):

My Link:

Infographic for Presentation:

My Link:

Presentation content:

  1. Access good information: SEARCHING


Possible library services:

  • Tutorials: Using Destiny to find books (online catalogue search), How to use a table of contents and index to find information in books (non-fiction text features usually taught in conjunction with note taking)
  • Library booking with pre-selected books laid out on tables by topic with signs
  • Librarian can select and pick up books from the public library for your class project
  • Librarian can work with students one on one to help find books
  • Librarian can pre-select research books for your class by topic and bring to your classroom

Online websites

Possible library services:

  • Librarian can preselect websites for class and post links on library website for easy access
  • Tutorial: How to use Google to find good websites (keyword searching), follow up tutorial- evaluating websites (see #2 below), using creative commons licensed images, Brainstorming Keywords
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Web Search In Plain English (embedded in Prezi or see link: ), Keywords Organizer handout

Research Databases Online

Possible library services:

  • Librarian can create links to or print specific articles from research databases for specific topics
  • Librarian can create Learn Now BC accounts for your students to access to school district subscriptions to research databases from anywhere
  • Tutorials: How to access school district research databases (Learn Now BC Portal or individual site logins), How to search and find articles using World Book, How to do an advanced search in EBSCO or Gale (Boolean keyword searching, narrowing your search, finding journal articles, newspaper and magazine articles, primary sources, peer reviewed articles, reference articles, etc)
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Learn Now BC Research Databases handout, How to Search in EBSCO handout, subscriptions to EBSCO, Worldbook, Gale, etc
  1. Evaluate the information you find: CRITICAL THINKING
    • Website Evaluation Checklist from the library
    • EasyBib account

Possible library services:

  • Tutorials: Evaluating websites using your critical thinking skills and EasyBib
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Website Evaluation Checklist handout, How to use EasyBib handout, school subscription to EasyBib (online citation maker)
  1. Cite the information you use: NOTE TAKING & BIBLIOGRAPHY
    1. Research note taking sheets from the library
    2. EasyBib account to create your bibliography

Possible library services:

  • Tutorials: How to take research notes, How to create a bibliography using EasyBib, How to paraphrase and directly quote information
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Research Note taking sheets, How to Use EasyBib handout, EasyBib citation guides, Interactive Plagiarism Tutorial from Acadia University (see link: , school subscription to EasyBib (online citation maker)
  1. Create the final product: CREATING, WRITING, & using PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS
    • Creative ideas for final product- differentiation
    • Parenthetical Citations – in-text citations

Possible library services:

  • Librarian can help students with public speaking
  • Librarian can help differentiate final product by helping students with Web 2.0 tools- Glogster, Prezi, blog, Powtoon cartoon, Padlet, Voice Thread, iMovie on library iPad minis, World Book Timeline, etc
  • Librarian can help students to access technology: computer lab, printer, laptops, iPad minis, subscriptions, etc
  • Tutorials: How to use Parenthetical citations
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Parenthetical citation PowerPoint, Parenthetical practice worksheet, EasyBib Parenthetical citation guide, Interactive Plagiarism Tutorial from Acadia University, Supporting Inquiry with Web 2.0 tools handout
    • Ask your librarian for help, don’t plagiarize!
    • Proofread and edit before you submit
    • Reflect on the research process. What would you do differently next time?

Possible library services:

  • Librarian can mark the bibliography and in-text citations for your class inquiry project
  • Peer tutors in Homework Club in the LLC can help proofread student work
  • Resources: sample citation evaluation rubric (Chem 12 and SS9)
  1. Share your final product: PRESENT & PUBLISH
    • Post work online (class blog, library website, etc)
    • Practice for oral presentations (see your librarian for help!)
    • Put work up in the classroom or library

Possible library services:

  • Librarian can help post student work onto a classroom blog or library website or display work in the library
  • Librarian can book out the library for oral presentations, performances, gallery walk, etc
  • Resources/Learning Tools: Student and staff Word Press blogs can be hosted on district servers to publish student work safely

Further Questions for Staff at MSS:

  • Do we need a school wide plagiarism policy?
  • What are the consequences of plagiarism in our school culture?
  • Do we need a school wide information literacy plan, for example, by grade X students will be able to…?


Looking ahead to BC’s new curriculum by the Province of British Columbia (2015), we have highlighted below a few subject areas below where the new curriculum documents for grade 8 and 9 directly identify competencies related to information literacy. Unfortunately, the senior grade documents have not been finalize in as much detail; however, the Province has identified “Communication” as a “Core Competency” that “encompasses the set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media” (Province of British Columbia, 2015, “Core Competencies”). Inquiry and questioning seems to be a theme that runs through most of the new material across a wide range of subjects, and grades. These skills can be used with all of our diverse learners as life-long skills that cross over into traditional, critical, media, and digital literacy as students read, write, make connections to their lives, community, and the world, encounter advertising online, and use technology as digital citizens (Canadian Library Association, 2014).

Here are a few excerpts from BC’s New Curriculum (Province of British Columbia, 2015):

English Language Arts 8 & 9

Comprehend and connect

Access information and ideas for diverse purposes and from a variety of sources and evaluate their relevance, accuracy, and reliability.

-Apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, and visual texts, guide inquiry, and extend thinking

-Recognize and appreciate how different forms, structures, and features of texts reflect different purposes, audiences, and messages

Create and communicate

-Use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences

Social Studies 8 & 9

-Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to: ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions

-Assess the credibility of multiple sources and the adequacy of evidence used to justify conclusions

Science 8 & 9

Questioning and predicting

-Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest

Evaluating (grade 9)

-Critically analyze the validity of information in secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems

Applying and Innovating (grade 9)

-Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry


-Communicate scientific ideas, information, and perhaps a suggested course of action for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations

 Example Planning Unit & Co-Teaching/Collaboration:

Chemistry 11 Careers- Research Unit Plan from April 2015 with Dave Andersen

  1. Website Evaluation
  • Fake Websites Activity
  • Brainstorm/discussion- How do we know if a website is good or bad?
  • Website Evaluation worksheet (handout)
  • Time to find website for project

2. EasyBib

  • EasyBib Log In, create project folder
  • Demo adding a
  • You Tube Video- Web Search in Plain English
  • good site and bad site
  • Time to add own website to EasyBib

3. Work Period & Local Sites

  • Librarian showcases preselected Canadian and BC websites
  • Work Period to collect websites
  • Go over rubric for sources and bibliography (handout)

4. Plagiarism & Parenthetical

  • Discussion about Plagiarism- What is Plagiarism? How do you avoid it?
  • Plagiarism Online Tutorial (Acadia University)- 10 minutes
  • PowerPoint on Parenthetical Citations Basics (just author, date, page # at grade 11 level)
  • Practice worksheet (handout)
  • Work Period


Acadia University. (2008). You quote It, you note it! Retrieved November 19, 2015, from

APA formatting and style guide [PPT]. (2013). Online Writing Lab Purdue University.

Canadian Library Association. (2014). Leading learning: Standards of practice for school library learning commons in Canada. Ottawa:ON. Retrieved from

EBSCO advanced search. (2015). Retrieved November 19, 2015, from

Hayes, T. (2014). Library to Learning Commons. Retrieved from

Imagine Easy Solutions. (2015). APA citations series. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from

Province of British Columbia. (2015). Building student success – BC’s new curriculum. Retrieved November 19, 2015, from

Serafini, F. (2012). Reading multimodal texts in the 21st century. Research in Schools. 19(1), 26-32.

Web search strategies in plain English [Video file]. (2008). Retrieved November 19, 2015, from



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