Patricia Erwin-Ploog
Information Science
Material Type:
College / Upper Division
  • Collaboration
  • Data
  • Infographic
  • PD Librarianship
  • STEM
  • School Librarian
  • School Librarian Preparation
  • pd-librarianship
  • school-librarian-preparation
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Audio, eBook, Graphics/Photos, Interactive, Video, Other

    School Librarians Collaborating with STEM Classroom Teachers : Developing a Visual Model


    This module is part of the Foundations of School Librarianship on using web resources to enhance collaboration between STEM classroom teachers and school librarians, with special emphasis on STEM subjects. The module is built around the understanding and use of data to support classroom projects. The module describes a process by which the school librarian and teacher will collaborate on a high school-level project to explore how to find, evaluate, and use data to produce an infographic. Infographics are increasingly important as a vehicle for explaining complex subjects. They are a wonderful blend of data and information to create meaning and new knowledge. This module is intended as a 'stretching' exercise for school librarians who often have scant background in STEM. The skills learned by school librarian students revolve around identifying data sources, developing evaluative skills, translating data into an infographic, and working with classroom teachers in STEM subject to match resources with teacher identified learning goals.



    An instructor teaching this module should have prepared in the following ways:

    1. Have a solid understanding of the differences between data, information, and knowledge/skill as it relates to a school librarian's ability to collaborate with STEM classroom teachers
    2. Understand the challenges school librarians face in working with STEM teachers
    3. Have a solid understanding of STEM teaching standards
    4. Know the best sources for data, including government sites
    5. Be aware of what is happening in the world of data and the US government, particularly at NIH and NSF
    6. Have an excellent understanding of the value of and skills needed to build quality infographics as a means of explaining complex data-rich ideas

    School Librarians Collaborating With STEM Classroom Teachers

    In this first section we look at how school librarians can collaborate with STEM classroom teachers to create richer learning expereinces for students. There are several obstacles that must first be overcome. School librarians are often not seen as collaborators with STEM teachers. Students will examine why this is, and begin to develop a professional development plan that will increase their understanding of STEM resources, the STEM literacy standards, and how them might better prepare for collaboration in the sciences.

    School librarians are in a unique position to influence and guide students' learning. Through providing resources, instruction, and a careful listening, school librarians often have a different relationship with students than their classroom colleagues. Yet, in the area of STEM school librarians often do not have the educational background or interest to form strong collaborations with classroom teachers, and thus gain credibility with both teachers and students. A first step is to look at some of the reasons why this collaboration is so hard, then to begin to develop a personal plan for addressing this shortfall.

    As a first step to understanding the obstacles that prevent collaboration between school librarians and STEM classroom teachers read the articles attached to this task. Particularly, the Bader article presents an excellent overview of why school librarians and STEM classroom teachers find collaboration hard. A first task is to assess your own knowledge of STEM subjects, the begin to develop a professional growth plan.

    Here is a quick quiz related to STEM. Look over the infographic and decide  where you need to become better informed about STEM resources, or address other issues - this can become part of your STEM development plan.

    Adventures of Library Girl : What's STEM Got to Do With IT?

    FROM: What's STEM Got To Do With It? School Librarians as STEM Super Stars!:  Used by permission of the author.


    STEM Standards

    The instructor will provide access to STEM standards* used in classroom teaching. The learning objectives for this task are:

    • Provide an overview of STEM standards as the relate to classroom teaching
    • Help LMS students become comfortable with the standards
    • Explore ideas on how familiarity with the standards can invite between collaborate and library services with classroom teachers

    For this task you will be exploring STEM literacy standards in conjunction with AASL information literacy standards. The purpose of this task is to create a crosswalk that identifies the school librarian's standards with STEM literacy standards. This will help you understand the focus of STEM classroom teachers, and how they can be woven into library information literacy standards.

    This is the assignment for Task 2. Students should be encouraged to read through the standards and resources, then develop a crosswalk between the AASL Information Literacy Standards and STEM standards as a way of thinking about how a successful collaboration might evolve.

    Assignment: Create an Action Plan for Addressing an AASL Information Literacy Standard with a STEM Literacy Standard

    Collaboration Strategy: This assignment would work best as a collaboration between a STEM classroom teacher and a school librarian. Consider asking a STEM teacher to collaborate with you.


    1. Identify one AASL Information Literacy Standard, and one benchmark that represents your user group (age, grade,etc.)
    2. Select 1 set of STEM standards in a broad discipline, such engineering
    3. Identify one learning objective AASL standard that is in common with the STEM standard
    4. Collaborate on an activity that addresses both standards
    5. Develop a quick assessment on the collaboration – what worked, what needs some refinement?


    An Excel spreadsheet is a great tool to use in presenting your crosswalk

    Becoming a STEM-focused School Librarian

    The purpose of this task is to help LMS students develop competencies in anticipating and deveoping resources and services that meet the needs of their STEM teaching faculty. To do this well, a certain level of familiarity with the terms, resources, and current trends in STEM research is needed.

    One of the behaviors that holds school librarians back from collaborating with STEM classroom teachers in their preceived lack of knowledge about stem resources. You already know how important collaboration is to your success as a school librarian, and appreciate that STEM classroom teachers develop lessons that address STEM literacy standards. Your next task is to develop facility with the best STEM resources and consider how to provide access to these resources in your school library. This section has 5 parts:

    1. Science Terms used in searching for resources
    2. Quality Data sites
    3. Evaluating science sites
    4. Providing access to quality STEM resources
    5. New approaches to data access

    As part of a collaboration with a STEM Classroom teacher, teh school librarian could develop a LibGuide or pathfinder to the resources most valuable for a unit of study developed by the STEM teacher. The assignment for this task is to have LMS students define a topic and develop a pathfinder (if LibGuides are available, that is preferred) for the unit, then reflect on their challenges.

    This task has 2 parts:

    Part I. Develop a pathfinder or LibGuide

    • Think of a STEM-related topic- you might even as a STEM classroom teacher for ideas
    • Develop a pathfinder or LibGuide around the topic that highlights: vocabulary, best websites, OERs, citation formats used in the discipline, and if you have access to a school library, the best in-house resources on the topic

    Part Ii. Reflection

    What challenegs did you face in developing the guide? Were the challenegs related to your own lack of knowledge of the topic? If so, how might you crreate a propfessional development plan for addressing this? A major challenge with any pathfinder or LibGuide is maintenance. Particularly in the areas covered by STEM information and resources are always changing. How do you intend to keep your work current?

    STEM Citations Expertise

    An area where librarians shine is in knowing citation formats. This task is most likely a refresher for most students- how to correctly cite resources in the sciences. At the same time knowing and teaching citation formats provide a valuable service to teachers and students.

    A task that many students stumble over is how to cite resources. Particularly when using online resources, such as data sets and videos, they become confused and begin to improvise. Valuable activities that you, as the school librarians can provide, are resources and guidance on correctly citing science materials. Some resources are provided for this task, as well as a quick exercise.

    The STEM citation assignment

    1. Find a STEM related article
    2. Decide what citation format you are using and note
    3. Develop the full citation for the artcle
    4. Create a short paragraph about the article and provide either an in-text citation or a footnote (this will depend on the citation format you are using)
    5. Create 5 slides that you could use for teaching a STEM citation format to high school students, encorporate your work into the slides as an example

    Displaying Your STEM Competencies

    Storytelling is one of the oldest ways human convey information. As a teaching tool we can use storytelling to convey complex ideas, lessons in ethics, and help others develop their own insights into a problem.

    If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough- Einstein

    Storytelling is one of the oldest ways human convey information. As a teaching tool we can use storytelling to convey complex ideas, lessons in ethics, and help others develop their own insights into a problem. Increasingly, infographics are being used as the vehicle by which we transform data and information into a meaningful story.

    Over the course of this module you have been exposed to a variety of ideas and resources aimed at helping you to be more comfortable collaborating with STEM classroom teachers. It is now your turn to show what you know.

    In this exercise LMS students will create their own infographic on some aspect of learning from the module.

    Create a final project consisting of an infographic and reflection paper. The requirements for the assignment include:

    • Title that describes the infographic
    • Identify the audience for your infographic
    • Should reflect some aspect of learning taken from this module
    • Must have 10-15 graphics (photos, backgrounds, drawings, illustrations, etc.) that help to promote the main idea for the infographic
    • Use of relevant statistics is encouraged
    • Text used must promote an understanding of the topic
    • All resources used must be attributed using APA citations
    • The final infographic must be evaluated by 5 people from your intended audience

    Your final refection paper should include the following:

    • A reflection that outlines why you selected the topic, and your process in creating the infographic - what's the story and why is an infographic a good tool to use in telling it?
    • What others understood from your infographic – the assessment
    • A reflection on what you would do differently to improve your infographic

    The Museum of Clear Ideas*

    This is a last individual activity of this module. It is intended as a collaborate on-line demonstartion of learning. Students are encouraged to participate in the activity.

    * The title of this task comes from a book of poems by Donald Hall, former poet laurate of New Hampshire.


    This culminating exercise is aimed at pulling the various parts of the module into visually displays what and how the school library can support STEM classroom teachers by providing students with resources and guidance as they complete STEM-related assignments. It is intended to move the LMS student from student-centered activities into a broader arena of teaching and resources fro STEM-focused librarian activities.

    Class Directions

    • Decide what online museum tool you will use as a class
    • To participate in the Museum of Clear Ideas each inforgraphic submitted should be in its final iteration
    • Each student who submits an infographic should prepare a brief author's statement outlining their idea for the infographic and how it might be used to further the work of school librarians in their collaboration with STEM classroom teachers