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EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 Information Literacy Education: School and Public Libraries Collaboration Maria José Vitorino (Portugal) RBE. BAD. THEKA. ENSIL email@example.comMaria José Vitorino is a teacher and also a librarian, and she works as Advisor (CoordenadoraIntermunicipal) in Portuguese School Libraries Network, supporting all kind school librariesdevelopment, including partnerships between Public and School Libraries.Being one of ENSIL‘s founders, she is member of ENSIL Board. A past member of the Board of BAD,Portuguese Librarians, Archivists and Documentalists Association (IFLA member), she keeps an activecollaboration in BAD’s SL Section. She is involved in teaching literacy education subjects, in Universityand schools, and through professionals training. Between 2004 and 2008, she coordenated, withAmalia Barrios and Ana Melo, the THEKA Teacher’s Training and School Libraries DevelopementGulbenkian Project.Maria José has written and translated numerous articles on libraries, literacy and education: her mostrecent publications are Portugal : school libraries 2011, in The world of teaching (MunicipalAssociation of School Libraries in Denmark, 2012), THEKA Formar professores desenvolver bibliotecasescolares, with A. Bárrios e A. Melo Santos (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2011) and A long walk tosignificant school libraries for all : Government Policies in Portugal, 1986-2010, in Global Perspectiveson School Libraries : Projects and Practices (De Gruyter Saur, IFLA, 2011). Since 2008, she runs apersonal blog on literacy, ALFINete – ALFIN is a spanish term for Information Literacy (AlfabetizaciónInformacional); alfinete, in portuguese, means… pin.
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012Text:Collaboration, cooperation, partnership: diverse trends, nevertheless the same road, if all kinds of LiteracyEducation, for everyone in every moment of his/her life, are meant to be truly a shared goal.Perhaps that is the first and more important issue: school and public libraries acknowledgment that they (1)share common goals, (2) need to work together to reach them, and to reach them on time, and (3) they reallyCAN do it. Recipes? Sorry, you must create your own.For the success of each co-work path depends on the perfect adjustment to citizens and students, of eachcommunity. Thats the “hidden” link School Libraries and Public Libraries carry inside their own “geneticcode”: people, that particular people, those concrete human beings living side by side, even if they justconnect by mobile or internet devices.Technology development show us every day the increasing of communication and learning issues, and notjust in schools life-season, schedule and spaces. People of all ages needs to learn, all life long, how to moveusing new and old technologies, in order to get knowledge of all kinds. Rob Davies said it quite clear,defining EMPATIC: “putting the needs of learners first in Information Literacy”.So, it seems that a first occasion to teamwork in SL and PL (and why not in both, together?) is to learn aboutthose learners, and their needs. And Information Literacy agenda is quite an opportunity, even when localinformation resources management is not quite a real shared philosophy by all agents involved, or availableto get involved.So, what do we have learned until now? And what do we wish we have already learned? 1. Sharing Visions and Mission statements We must agree in some issues, like the Public Library mission and the school libraries mission. Even when publicly they support IFLA/Unesco Statements, in real world every institution has its own vision on itself but also a representation on the others vision and mission, and they hardly are the same. A bit of talking on that is not a waste of time, and helps to avoid misunderstanding that coulde be hard to remove, later on. Writing an agreement, as short, simple and clarifying as possible, is quite a challenge, but it worth the effort, specially when it has to be carryed on by professionals with different background and training (librarians, teacher librarians, teachers, school principals, local authorities) and signed by those in charge, politically. Future budgets would depend on this stage, too. Research results are being rather important to consolidate the cooperation approach. Repositories as RCAAP or E-LIS provide access to more ad more studies on libraries themes, specially on school libraries, and many of them reinforce public and school libraries cooperation through local networks proceedings. 2. Is it real, or am I dreaming? It took time, and always takes time and persistence, like any good story. Once upon a time, in Portugal...
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 1. We have a National SL Network, supported by Education as well as Culture Ministries, and committed, since 1996, to this line of work, truly engaged in local networking and partnership with public libraries and school libraries, open also to other kind of local partners: museums, documentation centers, etc 2. Specially since 2006, we have several National SL Network Advisers working daily with all possible partners, in local basis (municipality), selected and payed by our Education Ministery. They go to schools and connect with Public Libraries services, and promote regular working meetings with public librarians, teacher librarians and pother staff for training and collaboration issues. In order to get support to school libraries inside local public schools, each municipality signed an agreement on general cooperation (since 1998...) 3. At first, local catalogs and inter-libraries lending/sharing of collections was the main goal of local networking, but sooner than we thought Information Literacy agenda and Communication issues increase importance – Local Network Portals are showing us that, everyday, and financial difficulties improve the need to learn how to work together to benefit from each one expertise and (small, smaller, smallest..) budgets. Including each partner “to do” and “not to do” list, regular coordination group meeting, trust building trends. 4. National SL Network organized a special team for technical support during the “birth” of each Local Public and School Libraries Network web-tools (cataloging, portal, etc), and each community found its own trend. Sometimes technical issues are mainly developed by Public Library Service, sometime schools happen to have more expertise, sometimes other partnerships have available resources that are more adjusted... Web 2.0 emerging tools and user-needs and demands helped to networking advocacy, and specially in small communities, products are rising, and with increasing visibility. For instance: IL and marketing issues are now current training demands, from Public Librarians as well as from teacher librarians... thats a sign! 5. It is harder to grow such a networking in larger municipalities, and it depends a lot of Public Library precious network, including catalog search and lending rules. However, it is being done, step by step, supported by political decisions but mainly by the strength of Communities of Practice with all professionals involved, emerging from connections between professionals, sharing visions and compromising as they edit their own contents, regarding their collections but also, and increasingly, their users, those who already count on libraries, and those who could, and should count on them all life long, inside or outside school walls. 3. Some Frequently Asked Questions and Possible Answers Hybrid libraries, is it possible? Is it better? It is not easy to build: it takes quite a while, and lots of diplomatic work between local authorities (in charge of the public library program) and school authorities (responding for the school library program), so they found an agreement on practical issues, as: what kind of
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 facilities (for young students as well as for other users, adult or not); open the library for what (lending, presence reading, internet, reading promotion activities, classes, training...), when, and for what kind os users– e. g., during the week, school-timetable, just for school students and teachers, and week-end and/or nights, for public in general; who select, guide and pay staff for those different schedules – and how do you put all this people together, communicating; who pays for logistics (cleaning, computers, electricity, etc). And, of course, the big issue: who formally “owns” this library, and speaks to newspapers the first day of its “hybrid” life. A written (and short, but detailed enough in practical management issues) statement is highly recommended, with regular reviews of the basic agreement. Professionals from Education and Documentation/Information Fields – are they really interested in the same kind of library services? NO. They have different point-of-view, and different (even if similar) priorities. And different professional cultures and “tags”. So, someone must be aware of translation. Negotiation is needed. It helps when everyone has a public service vision, and enough knowledge of those communities both must serve – sharing data and opinion on the community, as professionals as well as “neighbors”, could be a good start. Perhaps thats why Local Networking could be easier in small municipalities, where teachers and librarians work AND live there, with their families and non-professional connections... however, that dimension must be balanced. Collections Management principles and rules All our successful stories of Public/School Libraries Networking includes plain and simples principles of Collection management, shared among all partners. Inter-libarary lending is a good service, but in order to have it functioning, it takes several previous steps to be done, and written rules. Online local catalogs search and document location on each collection, reserve and lending facilities, reader cards... Bu also and specially a common “technical center”, regular meetings, workshops, and sharing news on the same Portal, building confidence and common identity among schools, school libraries and public libraries. Connections Internet must be everywhere, to everyone. Thats simple but not easy to get done. In fact, many projects take a huge amount of time to solve all local problems of communication and broad-band access. It could happen different libraries use different Cataloging software1, and it was necessary to deal with it – the good news is that now we succeed to do it, and with versatile solutions, and they could be not very expensive. They must be always made by1 Information Management Software used in Portugal school and public libraries are diverse, always respecting standars and sharing formats: Bibliobase, Docbase, GID, Koha, Porbase/Prisma, Winlib, Horizon.
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 local partners agreement – quite a challenge! After some municipalities having succeeded to have their catalogs search-able in the web, these problems seem to be easier to solve... Moodle Platforms result a precious help, but people need to feel them as a good tool for something they need and enjoy: sharing. Then, they learn how to use each tool, through workshops, informal or formal training, peer-to-peer, mailing-lists. Sometimes, it is hard to promote connections with some more conservative information/communication policies adopted by some deciders (school principals, local mayor, others), but it is good to see librarians and teacher librarians are improving their image not just as free, innovative but also as responsible and reliable communicators. Politics – local and national level Change is always depending on paying attention on how our context is changing, and be proactive on that. Some municipalities have invested more than others in libraries and school libraries – and it makes a difference. The hard work is to show that difference to themselves, and to others, so all of them make a wish to do it, and to do it even better. Sometimes local media helps, sometimes internet and national tv spreads a good idea. Ideias com mérito is a national funding annual opportunity for school libraries projects started by our National Network in 2008 – and each year we have more candidates with ideas involving all local libraries, and even other local partnerships. Meanwhile, and besides its support to Portuguese National Reading Plan, Gulbenkian Foundation keeps a regular funding program specially for Public Libraries projects – and schools-public libraries collaboration are also more frequent, as well as Information Literacy topics. Who benefits? And when? Does it shows before election day? Evaluation is always a big issue. School Libraries and Public Libraries belong to separate worlds, in this matter. They are evaluated by different agents, with very different standards. However, cooperation is valued... at least it seems to be. We need to improve a common framework for evaluating this networking impacts, in citizens life, and in learning. And also for translating that in arguments politics can use before election day, and voters can remind them after that. At least, as a democracy, we hope for that and sure deserve it. Who pays? What for? A big issue. A realistic budget must be organized, shared and reviewed/evaluated. Funding sources are now getting shorter – however, sharing data on budget and defining each partner responsibilities is a good policy independently or the amount of resources available. As in other matters, diplomacy is helpful, transparency is essential. Who leads/decide? Which is the Principals role?
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and Information Literacy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC Section Midterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 As much as Local authorities, School principals vision, culture and participation are very important in our public and school libraries networking success and specially in providing growing conditions. They must have someone who can ear them, talk to them, and find a way to get to conclusions, specially providing evidence on learning impact in all school levels. And regular evaluation of whats going on (the good, the not so good and the lousy...) for improvement, shared with each Principal and with Local Authorities, as well as with Education Ministry, through reports and forum. All over the country, specially since 2006, after we got IASL Annual Conference done in Lisbon, many Local Conferences (Energias, 2011) get regularly organized, and they usually are a good opportunity for reports and some kind of a follow-up. Back in 1996, many of or School Principals were not regular library users, but many others have already experienced the benefits of library cooperation, in universities or public libraries services, national or internationally. New technologies could be our allies, depending in our assumption (and skills) as media information managers as well as as readers promoters and educators of generations. Including the future Principals generation, as well future Mayors generation. Lets do it!4. Let´s see more on a few examples, exploring Local Networks Portals: Lousada, Esposende, Braga, Pombal, Lousã, Mafra, S. Brás de Alportel5. General meaning for all our efforts and cooperation Why are we feeling this is a decisive trend not just for Portuguese libraries, bur also for all Portuguese futures? A recent study by an independent organization, on economic impact of literacy in Portugal, presents a conclusion that answers this question. According to them, it is not a choice, but a mandatory option, if we want to survive in all fields. Economy, too. Quoting: The inescapable conclusion is that Portugal needs to pay much more attention to literacy. The analyzes of the impact of literacy on Portugal’s economic performance over the past 50 years leaves little doubt that the nation has paid a significant price for failing to increase the supply of literacy skill available to the economy. The estimate of GDP per capita forgone represents a huge reduction in the standard of living available to the vast majority of Portuguese citizens. Correcting this situation will require a concerted and coordinated effort, one that links educational, social and economic policies in a way that increases the supply of literacy skill leaving the school system; reduces the number of low skilled adults through the provision of remedial instruction; increases the knowledge and skill intensity of employment and the demand for literacy use at work; improves the efficiency of the markets that allocate literacy skill; and increases the social and economic demand for literacy skill acquisition and use. A failure to undertake such concerted and coordinated action will inevitably lead to below-potential
EMMILE in libraries (and beyond). European Meeting on Media and InformationLiteracy Education, incorporating “IASL Regional Meeting – Europe”, “IFLA SLRC SectionMidterm Meeting”, “IASL-IFLA Joint Steering Committee Meeting”, Milan, February 27-29, 2012 rates of economic growth and standards of living. DATAANGEL, 2009, p.106For this challenge, well need libraries, connected and motivated on a Media and Information Literacyfocused strategy, cooperating to increase resources and adjust programs to the ultimate source of meaning,futures citizens and their development skills. “EMMILE in libraries” proposals could not be more actual,from our point of view, and we wish Milan 2012 to be one more step in the right direction. Thanks you allfor sharing this step, proving libraries are always able to partnership. Shall we dance?SourcesDATAANGEL POLICY RESEARCH INCORPORATED (2009) The economic dimensions of literacy in Portugal : areview. Lisboa: National Reading Plan Coordination., 2009, from http://www.dataangel.ca/en/LiteracyPortugal%202009_English_version.pdfDUQUE, Helena (2009). Redes locais de bibliotecas : construção de parcerias, in RBE Newsletter, N.º 5, 2009, fromhttp://www.rbe.min-edu.pt/newsletter/np4/527.htmlEnergias e sinergias por e com bibliotecas escolares (2009) in Blogue RBE, post 20.04.2011 from http://blogue.rbe.min-edu.pt/2011/04/energias-e-sinergias-por-e-com.htmlPORTUGAL: Ministério da Cultura. Portal RCBP : Rede de Conhecimento das Bibliotecas Públicas (2012). Lisboa :DGLB, 2012, from http://rcbp.dglb.pt/pt/Paginas/default.aspxPORTUGAL. Ministério da Educação e Ciência. Gabinete da Rede Bibliotecas Escolares. (2011) Portal RBE: Acordode cooperação. Lisboa: RBE, 2011, from http://www.rbe.min-edu.pt/np4/93.htmlPORTUGAL. Ministério da Educação e Ciência. Gabinete da Rede Bibliotecas Escolares (2011). Portal RBE: Rede deBibliotecas Escolares = School Libraries Network. Lisboa: RBE, 2011, from http://www.rbe.min-edu.pt/np4/111-htmlPORTUGAL. Ministério da Educação e Ciência. Gabinete da Rede Bibliotecas Escolares (2011). Portal RBE: Programapara a criação de catálogos coletivos. Lisboa: RBE, 2011, from http://www.rbe.min-edu.pt/np4/88.html