Digital and information literacies and the school library

A case study


  • Yvonne L Barrett Bilkent Laboratory & International School, Ankara, Turkey



You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it. (Seymour Papert)

 For school librarians, this is certainly part of a core responsibility, to provide students with digital literacy skills and strategies that will enable them to find and access information at point of need, in order to create knowledge (Farkas, 2011). While students are growing up in this digital age, research reveals they are not necessarily skilled in reading to locate and use online information effectively (Leu, Zawilinski, Forzani, & Timbrell, 2014b; Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014). This is significant when “students overestimate their ability to engage with information in a critical and literate manner” (Kirkwood in Beetham & Oliver, 2010, p.162).  Yet, students are required to be ethical and critical thinkers, and engage as collaborators and creators in participatory digital environments (Coiro, 2003; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), 2015).

This exploratory case study seeks to investigate Year 5 students’ (ages 10-12) learning experiences within a school library program. It endeavoured to explore the pedagogical background, motivation and steps in implementing digital and information literacies. Did these sessions provide students with the emergent skills and strategies to support independent research and collaborative inquiry as they began their International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) Exhibition?