The Five Phases Program


Have  you asked  yourself that question:    Am I the reference or the service??   

In order to answer the question,  you must know that, you the TL, manage and evaluate our reference services in a library.      Ya, you say, how do I do this?    

Let me explain this in Five Phases.


Phase I: use others 

(pre-requisite: know your collection)

Services require some thinking…  what about using others to think with you? After all, there is more in two heads than in one!!!

 Where do we start then?   Do you have a lot a valuable resource in your printed and digital reference collection?  Do they touch all aspects of the program of studies?  Are they varied? Are they multi levels?   Who did you ask?   (ask your best TL buddy)

 So, here comes a friendly teacher with whom I can plan something for his students. (HINT:   always interview a teacher first. This way, you will weed out unnecessary ideas, false planning), teaching inquiry resources-based. (Not everyone agrees on who to interview first. (See Riedling Chapiter 9)

With your new collaborator, you are going through this serious process, scrupulously because your new on the job and you follow what you learned in your 467 course:

The stages in the Collaborative Planning process that Haycock identifies are:

  • Objectives and outcomes
  • Content
  • Sequence
  • Methodology and information skills
  • Activities
  • Evaluation


So, now that your friendly co-planner had explained the nature,  quantity,  level of information and the best format. The core of the unit is now co-planned. And, at this point, It still feels a bit hazy and it looks like… a space ship: vast and somewhat formless.

. . .  but it’s taking shape. It is now time for referencing (is it a verb?  If it was not, it is now…I’ll add it to Wikipedia! )

PHASE II:  bring the resources

This stage is to go to the net and the shelves and find all about the topic you discussed with your co-teacher. (Hint: you'll do the same with the students)


You can start on digging out meaningful information.  Watch the first video for yourself, the second one you can use for the students on How to search:


Put everything on the table and sort.

Because you have to teach this inquiry stuff to the kids:   (To know more about  Inquiry place follow this link.  )

Inquiry is part of CRITICAL THINKING via resources-based learning (more here). SO, you better have some good, leveled, interesting, multi-intelligences based (for a quick review), audio, video, REFERENCES MATERIAL FOR THOSE KIDS !!!!  or you won’t be able to do a great job. 


Ok, you have chosen more than you really need for resources; just for good measure. Now your lesson plan is ready, reference material as well. Now it is time for...    




PHASE III:    Bring the little monsters here!                                                                    

                                                                                                                               (they all look so nice and charming!!)

 Now you have to “efficiently and productively (Riedling chapter 9 and sharpen your saw here interview the students one by one so you understand what they NEED. 

 (but don’t be confrontational please!  Your teacher does not always understand your lingo!)           

Students have to understand that doing research is like going into a maze, looking for at least one answer to the pre-asked (with the teacher) question. So, there is a start and an end, but multitude of information to sort out to get a clear answer presented in a non-confusing format; that looks a-mazing!                                                                



PHASE IV: assess your work

Of course, the students had tremendous success, thanks Einstein for your great teaching skills!   

But what about the resources?   Were they at students level? Too easy? To the point?

And, if you were to ask the students how they feel about your “services”?

(how you welcomed them, how you answered their questions with clarity or not, if they feel understood,…) how would they rate you?      


Well, you know what: take a few minutes with your colleague and ask him to assess you. And do the same about yourself. (HiNT: Don’t share it with the principal yet; she does not need to know everything ;) )  


PHASE V: operate the library

You planned with a colleague, got all the resources, welcomed and taught students and teachers you worked with. You evaluated your services with your colleague and with the students and you think: what else …………..? 


Hey buddy, you still have to operate the library (LLC): meaning who will manage the space, order the tables, chairs, computers and fix them. Order the reference resources, the collections and weed them out?  YOU


The last phase will lead you to evaluate your collection, weed out broken, useless resources from the shelves and the digital center; evaluate and purchase new ones (for help follow these steps.)

That takes a lot of time. You take it after the students are gone. After the teachers had come for their request. After you phone the next library author. So at the end of the day, before the principal comes and in between meetings; that is when you weed, search and purchase!!  The conclusion: you are a busy guy and you just rocked it!

... oh! one more little thing: remember to evaluate your reference services.  To do so simply circle the criteria found on pages 26 and 27.  Then you will know where you stand.

At the end of the day, you are  the one in charge; you are A Teacher Librarian!!!!! 

  If you follow these  FIVE easy PHASES  and the LLC is yours forever because you will totally deliver!!  Because you became the reference and the services!!  

Do you get it now?    To register for the FIVE PHASES PROGRAM, follow the best  reference service here.


  • Ken Haycock. "Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning" School Libraries Worldwide 13.1 (2007): 25-35
  • Riedling, Ann; Shake, Loretta ; Reference Skills for the School Librarian: Tools and Tips, 3rd Edition ,; Houston, Cynthia.. ABC-CLIO. Kindle Edition.
  • Russell, Shayne ;Teachers and Librarians: Collaborative Relationships. , ERIC Digest