May 22

ETL503 Assessment Item 2: Part B – Reflective Practice

Beginning with a broad snapshot in Module One, then gradually working through the principles underlying selection, acquisition and evaluation of resources, ‘ETL503: Resourcing the Curriculum’ has given me a firm grasp of each element of the collection development process in school libraries.

Firstly, selection. This element begins with analysis of the learners, educational philosophy, curriculum, and strengths and weaknesses of the current collection (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, pp. 21 & 35-40). Next, using selection aids to identify appropriate resources (Johnson, 2018, p. 123). Then, applying selection criteria to the resources found and deciding whether the resources should be added to the collection (Johnson, 2018, p. 138).

Even in the early stages of the course material it became clear – collection development must be based on the needs and requirements of the learning community (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 33; Johnson, 2018, p. 26). This principle was a constant thread from Module One to Module Seven. For example, in my Module Two blog post, A Fiction v Non-fiction SmackdownI spoke about the tension between fiction and non-fiction texts used for reading assessments at a familiar school. My concluding statement proved that the library collection must have a balanced mixture of both to support the curriculum.  Then, again, as part of the module on acquisition and access, the link between collection development and the needs of the community provided a basis for my post in Discussion Forum 3.2, from 9 April, about acquiring engaging levelled readers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

After considering legal and ethical issues around collection development, the course moved on to collection evaluation – analysing the collection to see how effective it is in fulfilling its purpose (Johnson, 2018, p. 281). I added a post to Discussion Forum 5.1 on 1 May about my favoured methods of collection analysis and wrote about the practicalities of collection evaluation at one particular school in my blog post, Evaluating the Collection. This post included a community needs-centred list of benefits highlighted by the National Library of New Zealand (n.d., “Why assess your library collection). Once again, the needs of the learning community were at the heart of another aspect of collection development.

There are many facets to collection development, as demonstrated. To ensure that the needs and requirements of the learning community are, indeed, met, school libraries should prepare a collection development policy (CDP). On one level, an effective CDP outlines selection, acquisition and evaluation principles (Johnson, 2018, p. 82), and guides library staff to make strong collection decisions. However, it also acts as a strategic document in a number of ways.

Most importantly, the document can be used to demonstrate the relevance of the school library and its collection in today’s educational climate, an important task for school librarians (Harvey, 2016, p. 131). With clear statements in writing, the CDP demonstrates to stakeholders that the library does have purpose, and does align with school and education department priorities (Johnson, 2018, pp. 82 & 86). Furthermore, the CDP demonstrates how the collection serves the learning community in a way that improves students’ achievement, and provides a platform for funding requests and budget allocations based on that information (Johnson, 2018, p. 86). The CDP guides staff in their responses to challenges to library resources, and prevents censorship and bias during selection and deselection processes (Johnson, 2018, p. 87).

Without all of this information documented in a clear, well-written policy, nobody knows what the library is doing now, or how the library is preparing for the what comes next (Johnson, 2018, p. 83).

It is our role to keep an ever-watchful eye on what’s on the horizon and where we might be heading in the future.”

Mitchell, 2011, p. 13

The school library exists as part of an information society, where information processes are at the heart of our cultural, technological, occupational, spatial and economic existence (Webster, 2014, p. 10). Through the collection, and the statements in the CDP, it is up to the school library to provide organised access to that information (IFLA, 2015, p. 17) as schools prepare students for life in an information-driven constantly-evolving 21st-Century world.


Harvey, C.A. II. (2016). The 21st-century elementary school library program: Managing for results (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J.C. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). (2015). IFLA school library guidelines (2nd revised edition). Retrieved from

Johnson, P. (2018). Fundamentals of collection development and management (4th ed.). Chicago: ALA Editions.

Mitchell, P. (2011). Resourcing the 21st century online Australian Curriculum: The role of school libraries. The Journal for the School Information Professional, 15(2), 10-15. Retrieved from

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Assessing your school library collection. Retrieved from

Webster, F. (2014). Theories of the information society. 4th ed. London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

April 10

E-book Acquisitions

In ETL503’s module 3.3, ‘Licenses’, we were asked to read Chapter 6 of Polanka’s No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries.

Consider the issues raised in this comprehensive chapter concerning the selection and acquisition.

This certainly was a comprehensive chapter, with discussion around types of e-books, vendor and publisher business models, acquisition methods, library access, and workflows.

Understandably, vendors and publishers are apprehensive about providing library-based access to e-books because, like with print formats, it is difficult to generate revenue and content is subject to piracy (Morris & Sibert, 2010, p. 88). Different acquisition models have been developed to protect vendors and publishers, though each has pros and cons for libraries. I have put these into a table.

Business Model Advantages Disadvantages
Subscription Access to a large number of e-books for a set period of time.


Relatively low cost.

Generally, subscription packages only include older titles.

For newer content, prices are much higher.

Libraries have no control over the list of titles.

Content can change during the access period.

Perpetual Ownership Ongoing access to content.

Libraries can build collections with the future in mind.

Price is higher than that of a print book.

On top of the price for titles, libraries are often required to pay maintenance fees for the platform.

Pay per View Extremely cost-effective as libraries only pay for what is used.

Option to automatically purchase titles after a certain number of loans.

Libraries are required to pay ongoing fees.

Adapted from Morris & Sibert, 2010, pp. 88-90.

Subscription packages have the most disadvantages and the advantages don’t really match to the needs of the library’s users. They seem to be ‘just-in-case’ purchases, especially since libraries don’t have a great deal of control of title selection.

Perpetual ownership is quite expensive but the opportunity to build for the future can be useful if libraries know the direction their school library program is travelling.

The pay per view model is the most cost-effective and lends itself to patron-driven acquisition. Of the three models listed, this is perhaps the best for school libraries as students can choose titles according to their needs and the library will never waste money on titles that are never accessed (Kont, 2018).


Kont, K.R. (2018, April). What do demand-driven e-lending, e-acquisition and e-cataloguing activities really cost: A case study in Tallinn University of Technology Library. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences, Oslo, Norway. Retrieved from

Morris, C., & Sibert, L. (2010). Acquiring e-books. In Polanka, S. (Ed.), No shelf required: E-books in libraries (pp. 85-106). Chicago: American Library Association