ALIA/ASLA policy on guided inquiry and the curriculum

Joint policy of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA)


To adopt the guided inquiry approach to teaching and learning helps students to construct meaning, think creatively and solve problems.

ALIA objects addressed

  • To promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interest of all Australians and a thriving culture, economy and democracy.
  • To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.

ASLA objectives addressed

  • Establish, review and maintain national standards and guidelines for school library resource services.
  • Promote an understanding of the aims, needs and educational significance of school library resource services and teacher librarianship.
  • Promote research in the field of school library services and teacher librarianship nationwide.
  • Develop, write and publish materials which will promote the development of school library resource services and teacher librarianship.


Guided inquiry is an approach or methodology which allows students to seek and engage with a variety of ideas to increase their understanding in pursuit of knowledge and greater awareness. Guided inquiry is a planned, supervised and targeted intervention into developing information literacy and enhancing learning. This approach or methodology to learning provides a means by which teachers are able to tailor learning experiences and opportunities, resources and processes to the needs and abilities of each student according to intended curriculum learning outcomes.




Learning in the 21st century requires a team approach where the expertise of each member is combined with the rich resources of the school library and the wider community in a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

Guided inquiry fosters engagement and reflection in each stage of learning, building on what learners already know to make sense of the world and to interpret for deep understanding.

Guided inquiry involves planning, guiding and modelling collaboratively with learners.

Guided inquiry enables learners to develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process. Learners are able to use a variety of sources of information and different modes of learning to enhance their deeper understandings.

Guided inquiry builds a community of learners through social interaction and collaboration with others. This collaborative process is critical in developing the skills of lifelong learning.

The school library is an active learning environment where information literacy is taught through carefully planned, closely supervised and targeted intervention by an instructional team which includes the professional contribution of the teacher librarian.

Adopted 2009