Your own personal librarian

If you have a question about something related to your teaching, where you go to get the answer? Or, if one of your students, your head teacher, or a fellow teacher asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, what do you do about it?

Chances are, you head to a search engine, type in the question, and are then forced to slog through a list of links, visiting multiple web sites until you may - or may not - find what you are looking for. (Or if it's your student who has asked you, you just tell them to search for the answer themselves...)

Wouldn't it be great if there was a person you could go to for these kinds of questions? (And by person, I mean an actual, real, live person, trained in research and whose job is to help you.) Even better, what if that person was a librarian?

Don't believe that such a thing is possible? Well, believe it! As part of our partnership with the TDA for the past three years of our Partners in Learning initiative, we've jointly developed a free web service called E-Librarian. The service exists as part of the TDA's Teacher Training Resource Bank site, located HERE.


The E-Librarian service is staffed by librarians sitting at the Institute of Education's Library in London. All questions asked receive an individual response and are published back onto the site so that they can be accessed by other users.

Using this service couldn't be easier. Simply go to the site (complete a quick registration if you're a first-time user) and either search topics of previous responses, or ask your own question. (The E-Librarians recommend that you search previous responses before asking an original question of your own. Chances are, they've answered your question already!)

Take a look at a question someone asked recently about enquiry-based learning:

sample question

And just part of the answer:


Just imagine how intelligent you'll look to all of your friends/colleagues when you come back to them with an answer like this! (Don't worry - your secret is safe with us.)

Comments (2)

  1. jenkinsp says:

    Headteachers may also want to look at ‘The Key’ which publishes expert information and guidance in direct response to school leaders’ questions.

    This is a joint initiative between the TDA & NCSL and has information which will complement that provided by the E-librarian service at

  2. jenkinsp says:

    Should have said – you an find ‘The Key’ at

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