Report back: Information Literacy Seminar 2015 at SMU, Jan. 29

Thursday, Jan 29 — from 2:00 to 5:30pm — Singapore Management University (SMU) hosted a seminar on information literacy entitled, We are teaching but are they learning?

ISLN was well represented, with Foo Soo Chin from the Singapore School of the Arts discussing “The art of thinking – in the brave new world of information literacy,” followed by the Tanglin librarian team speaking about “Changing a culture: Academic honesty (acknowledging sources) in a 3-18 international school”.

Four UWCSEA East & Dover librarians were in the audience to cheer them on, as well as Graham Grant from ISS and Yvonne Krishnan from SJI International.

The photo on the right shows the Tanglin (TTS) librarians receiving a thank-you gift from Gulchin Cribb, SMU head librarian.  On the left is Suzanne Parfitt.

It was quite unusual for the audience, mainly post-secondary Singapore librarians, to consider the implications of information literacy pushed down to such young levels as at TTS — and they were charmed by the videos of Infant and Junior School students talking so confidently about referencing authors and titles.  The issue of the lack of librarians in Singapore schools was raised.

Several presenters opted for the rigorous Pecha Kucha presentation style, which forces you into speaking to 20 slides automatically timed to be displayed for just 20 seconds each.  I take my hat off to them — they coped marvelously; I think I would still prefer to be in charge of the “next click.”

Judith Peacock, the Learning and Study Support (LSS) Coordinator at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Library, Brisbane, Australia, was a guest presenter — and she finished off the afternoon of information literacy stories with these challenges for us:

  • Think more LEARNING, less teaching;
  • Think more CURRICULUM, less classes;
  • Think more OUTCOMES, less inputs;
  • Think more THEM (what do they the students need to know), not us (the teachers);
  • Think more US (the university and school), less we (the library);
  • Think more PROOF, less belief;
  • Think more SUPPORT LEARNING, less information literacy;
  • Think more STRATEGIC, less operational;
  • Think more DISRUPTIVE, less comfortable;
  • Think more POLITE BOLSHIE, less  yes-man;
  • Think more RULES, and THEN how to break them;


  • perceptions, attitudes, practices, roles, thinking, etc. 

After the seminar, there were tours for all interested.  I took a few photos…. 

UPDATE:  Here’s a Storify of the event by one of the SMU librarians (@rockbrarian).

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