This document has been developed by the TTA and BECTa in association with:

















ICT is more than just another tool.  Its potential for increasing the range, relevance and accessibility of information and communication used in schools is significant.  Equally, its potential is considerable for supporting school librarians in their everyday role and in their continuing training and professional development.


This document sets out the expected outcomes for school librarians participating in the NOF-funded ICT training initiative.  It covers the wide range of ICT now available, e.g. computers, the Internet, CD-ROM and other software, television and radio, video, cameras and other equipment, but places some emphasis on the newer technologies.  Every attempt has been made to “future-proof” the content of this document, but ICT is changing rapidly and it will be necessary to keep these outcomes under close review.   The use of jargon and technical language has been avoided, but correct terminology has been used where appropriate.


The expected outcomes do not attempt to cover everything that school librarians need to know if they are to use ICT effectively in their work.  Approved training providers may include other aspects of ICT, which are not specified.


The expected outcomes do not prescribe the way in which providers deliver the training, nor specify the materials or activities which should be used as part of the training.  However, training must meet the requirements set out in the specification for the approval of training providers.  Providers should devise training which is coherent, intellectually stimulating, professionally challenging and related to school librarians’ roles and responsibilities.


It is important to guard against over-interpretation of the content of this document which would set expectations which are beyond what is realistic or manageable, e.g. the content listed in paragraph 5 should be interpreted at a level appropriate for a general ICT user and not at a level which would be required by a network or system manager.  The content should therefore be interpreted at a level which supports effective use by any non-ICT specialist.


1. Using ICT to develop the role of the library within the school

The school librarian should:

a.         understand how to maximise the effectiveness of pupils’ and teachers’ work in the library through the use of ICT;

b.         assist in the development of pupils’ ICT skills by:

i)          using ICT terminology appropriately;

ii)         employing and expecting good practice in the use of ICT;

c.         understand the likely impact of new initiatives, such as the National Grid for Learning (NGfL), and take a proactive role to ensure awareness of ICT information sources and external resources;

d.         plan and develop the library resources as a contribution to the ICT development plans for the school.  Library resources must be reflected in whole school ICT planning and purchasing activities.

2.         Supporting teachers to ensure effective teaching

The school librarian should:

a.         enable and support teachers to review and access a range of electronic resources which can be used to support effective teaching across the curriculum;

b.         support teachers in achieving their objectives by developing the appropriate use of ICT in the library;

c.         advise teachers on relevant intellectual property issues, e.g. copyright and data protection.

3.         Ensuring the effective management of resources

The school librarian should:

a.         be able to review, evaluate, select appropriate electronic software resources;

b.         manage ICT resources, including library IT systems, CD-ROM, Internet and e-mail to maximise access for teachers and pupils;

c.         understand the implications of using multimedia in a library environment,
e.g. quality of sound recording for multimedia presentations, noise disturbance from accessing multimedia resources;

d.         organise library ICT resources with due regard to health and safety;

e.         have knowledge of, and organise, ICT resources to enable pupils with special educational needs to make good use of the library and its information sources.

4.         Supporting the development of pupils’ skills

The school librarian should:

a.         support the development of information handling skills with particular reference to electronic resources, such as CD-ROM and Internet, including:

i)          supporting pupils’ decisions about when it is, and when is not, appropriate to use electronic information sources;

ii)         developing pupils’ search skills to maximise access and success rates;

iii)        judging whether the demands of using ICT in the library are within the capabilities of the pupil;

iv)        judging when pupils’ use of ICT is appropriate and effective in relation to the objectives set and that their time is being used well;

b.         support the development of pupils’ skills with communications technologies,
e.g. e-mail and on-line conferencing, including:

i)          understand the appropriate use of different technologies;

ii)         understand the roles of synchronous and asynchronous (simultaneous and time-independent) interactions;

c.         support the development of pupils’ presentation skills, including:

i)          multimedia authoring;

ii)         the creation of web pages.

5.         School librarians’ knowledge and understanding of, and competence with, ICT

Section 5 sets out the knowledge and understanding of and competence with ICT necessary to carry out the responsibilities of a school librarian.  Training providers will decide how best to incorporate the content of this section.  While some of the content may require direct training, most should be integrated with aspects of sections 1-4.


5.1       School librarians should be competent in those areas of ICT which support their work, including that they:


a.         can employ common ICT tools for their own benefit, e.g. word processing, e-mail, presentation software, data handling and can use a range of ICT resources, at the level of general users (rather than as network or system managers), including:


i.          the common user interfaces, using menus, selecting and swapping between applications, cutting, pasting and copying files, and cutting copying and pasting data within and between applications;


ii.          successfully connecting and setting up ICT equipment, including input devices, e.g. a mouse, touch screen, overlay keyboard, microphone and output devices, e.g. printers, screens and loudspeakers;


iii.         loading and running software, e.g. CD-ROM;


iv.         file management, e.g. copying, deleting, naming and renaming files;


v.         seeking and using operating information, including from on-line help facilities and user guides;


vi.         coping with everyday problems and undertaking simple, routine maintenance, with due consideration to health and safety;


vii.        understanding the importance of passwords and the general security of equipment and access to it, e.g. including checking the power is on; checking for loose connections; managing and replacing consumables; good practice in avoiding viruses;


b.         know and understand the characteristics of information, including:


i.          that information must be evaluated in terms of its accuracy, validity, reliability, plausibility, bias, e.g. drawing information from a CD-ROM (encyclopaedia or newspaper collection);


ii.          that information takes up memory (storage space) and that there are implications when saving and compressing files, e.g. a colour image contains more information than its black and white equivalent and can be saved in different ways to increase the amount of available memory;


iii.         that information has to be stored somewhere, e.g. in memory, on disc, on a local server, on the Internet;


iv.         that ICT systems can present static information or changing information, static information, e.g. a picture on the screen or a page of text; changing information, e.g. simulations, control programmes;


v.         that information can be directly and dynamically linked between applications,
e.g. changes to numbers in a spreadsheet can link directly to changes in a word processed report; a video clip can be linked to a button on a multimedia application; a picture or text may be linked to on-line information on a network or the Internet;


vi.         that applications and information can be shared with other people at remote locations, e.g. for a collaborative project between pupils or teachers in the same or different locations.

5.2       School librarians should in relation to the age and ability of pupils in the school:


a.         know how to use ICT to find things out, including:


i.          identifying sources of information and discriminating between them,
e.g. disk, CD-ROM, Internet; up-to-date information from a weather station; low status sources on the Internet with no editorial scrutiny; CD-ROM information which has been through some editorial scrutiny but may be out of date;


ii.          planning and putting together a search strategy, including framing useful questions, widening and narrowing down searches, e.g. translating enquiries expressed in ordinary language into forms required by the system;


iii.         how to search for information, including using key words and strings and logical operators such as AND, OR and NOT, indexes and directories, e.g. in searching a database or employing an Internet search engine;


iv.         collecting and structuring data and storing it for later retrieval, interpretation and correction;


v.         interpreting what is retrieved;


vi.         considering validity, reliability and reasonableness of outcomes, e.g. knowing the   probable outcome of a calculation rather than just relying on the calculator.


b.         know how to use ICT to communicate and exchange ideas as appropriate to                                the age of pupils:

i.          presenting ideas, including: identification of audience and purpose; deciding the best means with which to communicate, e.g. text, numbers, images, sounds or a combination; selecting the appropriate technology to produce the material; adapting the material to ensure that it achieves what it set out to do;

ii.          exchanging ideas, including identifying the most appropriate medium, and information, e.g. fax, e-mail or a conferencing system, taking into account the number of people involved, urgency and cost-effectiveness.


5.3       School librarians should know those features of ICT which can be used, separately        or together, to support their work, including:


a.         capacity and range - the function of ICT, as appropriate to the age of pupils, to access and to handle large amounts of information; change timescales, or remove barriers of distance; give teachers and pupils access to and control over situations which would normally be outside their everyday experience, including:

i.          the range of forms in which ICT can present information, e.g. voice, text, images, sounds or video;

ii.          the range of possible appropriate ICT sources, including local sources such as CD-ROM, and remote databases such as the Internet and the National Grid for Learning;

iii.         how to judge the accuracy of the information and the credibility of its source, e.g. discussing the fact that anyone can set up a web site and there is no quality control over its content;


iv.         how ICT can be used to gain access to expertise outside the classroom, the school and the local community through communications with experts;


b.         provisionality - the function of ICT which allows changes to be made easily and enables alternatives to be explored readily, and as appropriate to the age of pupils:

i.          how to make best use of the ability to make rapid changes, including how to create text, designs and models which may be explored and improved in the light of evaluation, e.g. word-processing, computer aided design and manufacture, spreadsheet models, animations, sound or video presentations;


ii.          how to judge when and when not to encourage exploration and change using ICT, e.g. whether the clarity and accuracy of writing might be improved through drafting and redrafting;


iii.         how saving work at different stages enables a record to be kept of the development of ideas;


c.         interactivity - the function of ICT which enables rapid and dynamic feedback and response, as appropriate to the age of pupils, including how to determine the most appropriate media to use, e.g. the changing values in a spreadsheet or the feedback provided from a simulation; the responses to queries of an Internet search engine.


5.4       School librarians should understand the potential of ICT to enable them to prepare and present information more effectively, taking account of:


a.         the intended audience, the subject matter and objectives, pupils’ prior attainment, reading ability or special educational needs; recognising the efficiency with which such adaptations can be made using ICT;


b.         the most appropriate forms of presentation to meet identified objectives, e.g. illustrating or explaining using: text; sound; still or moving pictures; live video links; illustrations, graphics or animations; numbers, graphs or charts, separately or in combination.


5.5       School librarians should:


a.         be aware that the statutory curriculum for pupils at each phase and in each subject                     contains ICT requirements.


5.6       School librarians should know about each of the following:

a.         generic procedures and tools, including:

i.          understanding the key features and functions used, e.g. word-processors, graphics and desk-top publishing packages, spreadsheets, databases, multimedia and web page authoring tools;


ii.          using ICT to prepare material for pupil or teacher use, e.g. the use of a word-processing package to create templates;

b.         reference resources, including;

i.          how to search reference resources. e.g. reference CD-ROMs and World Wide Web sites on the Internet;

c.         sources of information available on the major teaching programmes or “courseware” available, e.g. multimedia distance learning activities; a series of educational television programmes.

5.7       School librarians should be aware of:

a.         the current health and safety legislation relating to the use of computers, and can identify potential hazards and minimise risks;

b.         legal considerations including those related to:

i.          keeping personal information on computers, as set out in the Data Protection Act;

ii.          copyright legislation relating to text, images and sounds and that relating to copying software;

iii.         material which is illegal in this country;


c.         ethical issues including:

i.          access to illegal and/or unsuitable material through the Internet;

ii.          acknowledging sources;

iii.         data confidentiality;

iv.         the ways in which users of information sources can be (and are) monitored;

v.         material which may be socially or morally unacceptable.


5.8       School librarians should know how to use ICT to improve their own professional efficiency and to reduce administrative and bureaucratic burdens, including:


            a.         using ICT to aid administration, record-keeping, and transfer of information;

b.         knowing about current relevant research and inspection evidence about the application of ICT to the work of school librarians;


c.         knowing how to use ICT to join in professional discussions and to locate and access material and other sources of help and support, including through the National Grid for Learning;


d.         knowing how ICT can support them in their continuing professional development.