An information ecosystem is "a system of people, practices, values, and technologies in a particular local environment" — Nardi and O'Day: Information ecologies: Using technology with heart.
Your school library is an information ecosystem when it combines:
- people — students, teachers, library staff and the wider school community
- practices — collection, curation, access and use of digital content
- values — equitable access and intellectual freedom are promoted
- technologies — a digital collection, a library online presence, and any technologies in the library space.
It's important that "the spotlight is not on technology, but on human activities that are served by technology" — Nardi and O'Day.
Learning is the focus
Your library services need to focus on how digital information and technologies can support learning. So your school library services need to extend beyond just providing access to a collection of digital content. Aim to actively build digital literacy skills and capabilities in students, teachers and even the wider school community.
School library staff are well-positioned to lead this when they use and promote:
- information literacy skills to support learning
- knowledge of how to find, evaluate, use and create digital content
- content curation skills
- understanding of how to use digital technology to support teaching and learning
- ethical use of information and digital resources — copyright and citations.
In an information ecosystem, the focus is on "the process of learning rather than dissemination of information" — Information power: Building partnerships for learning, p. 1.
Things you can do to support learning
Services your school library staff can offer include:
- meeting learning needs by supplying digital content and explaining the information it provides
- working with teachers to develop policies and procedures to ensure students can access quality digital information that meets curriculum needs
- supporting, or leading the development of information literacy and digital literacy in the school
- teaching students and teachers to respect copyright and develop citation skills
- managing the library's digital collection — including selection, collection, curation and storage
- modelling digital literacy skills and practices in the library.
Digital content — finding, evaluating, using and creating it
Your library's digital collection