October 6

ETL501 Assessment Item 2: Part 2 – Critical Reflection

The twenty-first century teacher librarian (TL) is an information specialist. They provide a wide range of services as part of this role, including leadership in technology use, resource selection and recommendation, creation of displays, integration of higher order thinking into curriculum programs, and information literacy (IL) instruction (Purcell, 2010).

When I first identified five key aspects of providing an effective information service (Murphy, 2020, September 20), I ranked IL third. Fellow student, Yvette Stiles, built on my discussion, although she ranked IL and research at number one (2020, September 25). As I reflect on my learning in ETL501, I can see why she made that decision.

Being information literate gives us the skills and knowledge we need to engage effectively with information (Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals, 2018). Students cannot conduct research or engage with resources in the library collection if they do not have these skills. Therefore, I wonder if IL should be higher on my list too.

The goal for every media program should be to ensure that all their students are information literate.” – Purcell, 2010, p. 32

Harnessing the power of digital technology tools is an effective way for the TL to teach IL skills. I have learnt about the wide variety of tools available to us throughout this subject. For example, I reflected on social bookmarking as a tool to help students organise their information and ideas (Murphy, 2020, August 25), a core element in both ICT Capability, and Critical and Creative Thinking (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2010 to present). Likewise, blogging is a digital tool that can improve social skills and give quieter students a voice (Morris, 2018). I am planning to introduce a blogging platform to my reading group for these reasons (Murphy, 2020, August 23).

One of the most helpful resources a TL can create for their teachers and students is a research guide. These enable IL skills to be embedded in the context of curriculum content (Purcell, 2010). This is important, as teaching skills on their own is not enough to facilitate deep twenty-first century learning (Kutner & Armstrong, 2012).

When creating my research guide for Assessment Two, I drew on my growing body of essential competencies and knowledge as an information professional. Based on my learning in Module Two (Murphy, 2020, July 19), I used educational, reliability and technical criteria to assess potential web resources and, in my annotations, linked students to Schrock’s 5W’s of Website Evaluation (2009) so that they could do the same thing. I and three other students considered this model the most appropriate in a primary school context (Murphy, 2020, July 22).

Module Three informed my search engine selection. I included search strategies in my annotations, such as Boolean operators and the asterisk, and mentioned the importance of using the right key words. Design principles from Module Five informed the actual development of my Thinkspace website. I thoroughly enjoyed the construction process and look forward to re-using the template at school.

Of all of the tasks, attribution of images and using Creative Commons licensing were the most challenging. I also need practice using WordPress. However, I can improve my skills in these areas as I build my collection of research guides into the future.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2010 to present). General capabilities. In Australian curriculum: F-10 curriculum. https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/

Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals. (2018). Definitions & models – Information literacy website. https://infolit.org.uk/definitions-models/

Kutner, L., & Armstrong, A. (2012). Rethinking information literacy in a globalised world. Communications in Information Literacy, 6(1), 24-33. https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2012.6.1.115

Morris, K. (2018). Why teachers and students should blog: 18 benefits of educational blogging. Primary Techhttp://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2013/03/08/the-benefits-of-educational-blogging/

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33.

Schrock, K. (2009). The 5W’s of website evaluation. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. http://www.schrockguide.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/5ws.pdf

July 24

Choosing a Format

Write a short blog post on the key considerations you need to take into account when choosing which format/s when purchasing resources for your library.

… there are those who assert that it is not relevant whether the desired information is available online, or on CD-ROM or in print, it is the content that is important.” – Stewart, 2000, p. 95

One thread present throughout the reading was the importance of educational criteria. Does the content of the resource suit my purpose? Does it suit my audience? Can my audience read and understand the information provided by the resource? All of these considerations come first, ahead of reliability and technical criteria.

Educational criteria are by far the most important when evaluating Web sites.” – Herring, 2011, p. 22

Something else that captured my attention was the need to cater for different learning styles. When I hear ‘learning styles’, I think of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. But I’ve never considered the print versus digital argument through a learning style lens. No matter what eBook download or database subscription statistics get thrown around year by year, every learner will have a preference for print or digital, and may choose differently in certain situations. I think school libraries should be ready to provide access to both formats, to cater for everyone at any time.

… medium preferences matter, since those who studied on their preferred medium showed both less overconfidence and got better test scores.” – Myrberg & Wiberg, 2015

Last of all, one of the readings touched on the dynamic nature of our information environment. Just twenty years ago, librarians were looking at CD-ROMs (Stewart, 2000). In 2020, the technology is very different. If it continues to evolve at the same rate, what will the information landscape look like in 2030?

In the same way we’re preparing for the future with flexible furnishings in our physical library spaces, we have to be ready for any kind of future in the digital space, not playing catch-up when something new comes along. This is not something we can really predict, but it’s worth thinking about when deciding which format to choose as we build our collections.


Herring, J. E. (2011). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Librarian, 27(8), 22-23. https://maureensresources.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/websiteevaluationlibrarian.pdf

Myrberg, C. & Wiberg, N. (2015). Screen vs. paper: What is the difference for reading and learning? Insights, 28(2). https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.236/

Stewart, L. A. (2000). Choosing between print and electronic resources. The Reference Librarian, 34(71), 79-97. https://doi.org/10.1300/J120v34n71_07

July 19

Website Evaluation Criteria

Create a table for website evaluation criteria. Go to the Cyberguide Ratings document and evaluate this tool as a guide to assessing the educational value of a site. Does the list cover all the criteria that you might apply? What criteria might you add? Is this too complex. Consider other resource selection criteria. Add in the educational criteria you consider the most important. Post your criteria on your Thinkspace and reflect on the process you have undertaken.

I started this process by creating my own blank website evaluation criteria table with three columns. For the Educational section, I initially chose five criteria, guided by the questions provided in the ETL501 module content.

The Cyberguide ratings document’s list of questions seemed relatively comprehensive, but it mixes Educational, Reliability and Technical criteria, without using those terms as headings, which made it a little confusing. For example, the questions in the third section were both Reliability and Technical related. Indeed, the questions in the fourth section were related to all three main types of criteria! By using those headings, the document could be somewhat simpler and easier to use.

Upon reflection, in the Educational section, I added a sixth criterion to my table – Audience. Although they seem somewhat similar, I felt as though there was a difference between an intended audience and a reading or cognitive level.

I also added a column to the right of the criteria. In a practical situation, this could be used to tick off each of the criteria, or add a comment on how the website addresses that particular element.

Educational Criteria

Reading Level
Cognitive Level

Reflect on what you have learnt so far. Create a list of questions that TLs might consider in relation to reliability criteria. What additional questions might TLs consider to judge whether a site is reliable for a particular range of students who are studying a particular topic? Add your reliability criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Does the author have credibility?

Is there evidence that the information has been approved by other credible people?

What do reviews say about the information?

Are there spelling or grammatical mistakes?

Does the author show bias?

Are there glaring omissions in the information?

Is the information possible or probable in the real world?

Are there any inconsistencies or contradictions in the information?

Are there any other sources of information that support the other source?

Is the information current? Has the information been updated recently?

Does everybody have access to the information?

My reliability criteria is a mixture of Schrock’s website evaluation ABCs (2002) and Harris’ CARS checklist (2018). For example, Schrock mentions citations, which can fit under Harris’ Support criterion. However, I thought some of Schrock’s criteria were better off on their own, like Bias.

Reliability Criteria


Credibility & Authority  
Quality Control  
Grammar & Spelling  
Dates & Timeliness  

Look at the technical criteria included in Schrock’s surveys and reflect on whether there might be other technical criteria which you might consider to be important when selecting websites for school staff or students. Add your technical criteria as a comment or edit on your Thinkspace post about the Website Evaluation Criteria table.

Schrock’s surveys are great! But … I think that it is important to consider how much text is on a webpage. If you have too much text it can be a real turn off. I’ve added this criterion to my own table.

This activity has prepared me for real world website evaluation. Clearly, there are so many different sets of criteria to refer to, it is important to modify them so that they work for you.

There is no one definitive set of criteria that school librarians might apply, and school librarians can benefit from reviewing a number of criteria sets and selecting the parts that most suit their circumstances.” – Herring, 2011, p. 22

As I evaluate websites moving forward, it will be easy to adjust my table so that it is effective. Herring (2011, p. 22) notes that often, website evaluation criteria are too general. I wonder if my criteria are too general, but I don’t want to get too bogged down in the questions. A balance between not too general and not so specific that the evaluation becomes arduous, is probably the way to go.

Here are the Technical criteria that I chose for my table …

Technical Criteria


Fast Loading  
Easy to Navigate  
Not Too Much Text  
Not Too Many Graphics  
Working Links  


Harris, R. (2018). Evaluating Internet research sources. Virtual Salt. https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm

Herring, J. E. (2011). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Librarian, 27(8), 22-23. https://maureensresources.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/websiteevaluationlibrarian.pdf

Schrock, K. (2002). Teaching media literacy in the age of the Internet: The ABCs of website evaluation. http://www.kathyschrock.net/uploads/3/9/2/2/392267/weval_02.pdf

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 https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/school-libraries-resource-centers/publications/ifla-school-library-guidelines.pdf

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 https://slav.org.au/FYI

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Assessing your school library collection. Retrieved from https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/collections-and-resources/assessing-your-school-library-collection?search%5Bpath%5D=items&search%5Btext%5D=assessing+your+school+library+collection

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

May 3

Evaluating the Collection

What are the practicalities of undertaking a collection evaluation within a school in terms of time, staffing, and priorities, as well as appropriateness of methodology?

Without any experience working in a library, I believe that an effective collection evaluation can take place if it is part of a well-planned cycle, as suggested by Johnson (2014, p. 328). The librarian needn’t evaluate the entire collection at once. Rather, they can focus on each next resource category as part of a long-term plan (Johnson, 2014, p. 328). It is not practical, however, for school libraries with fewer staff to take on more complex evaluation methodologies, such as the Balanced Scorecard method (Grigg, 2012, p. 132), or Direct Collection Analysis (Johnson, 2014, p. 316), unless additional staff or time is granted for this specific purpose, or if a specific area is identified as requiring urgent evaluation. A more appropriate approach might be to implement a selection of simple methodologies, such as Circulation Studies (Johnson, 2014, p. 323), for each area of the library collection, throughout the evaluation cycle, and implement complex methodologies when practical. Then, at least, some relevant and consistent data will be available at any given time.

At the school with which I am most familiar, the librarian works alone and is not employed full-time in the library. The simple schedule mentioned above would be most appropriate in this case.

How does the need for, and possible benefits of an evaluation of the collection outweigh the difficulties of undertaking such an evaluation?

The National Library of New Zealand (n.d., “Why assess your library collection”) highlights the many benefits of a collection evaluation:

  • Ensuring that the collection meets students’ needs.
  • Ensuring that the collection supports the teachers and the curriculum.
  • Growing stronger partnerships between the library and other staff.
  • Ensuring the collection is balanced, inclusive and relevant.

Although it may be difficult to undertake complex evaluations, a school library is only as good as the degree to which it effectively services its community (Johnson, 2014, p. 297). If a librarian chooses a simpler method of evaluation, or no evaluation at all, simply because there will be difficulties along the way, then the library is not fulfilling its purpose.

Is it better to use a simple process with limited but useful outcomes, or to use the most appropriate methodology in terms of outcomes?

Despite being more complex, and often impractical, the methodology with the most useful outcomes should be used to ensure the school library collection stays up-to-date with the needs of its students and teachers. Of course, due to time and staffing limitations, it is not always possible to use the most appropriate methodology and the process with limited outcomes will be better than nothing, especially if the library needs data to explain selection or deselection decisions, or campaign for funding in certain areas.


Grigg, K.S. (2012). Assessment and evaluation of e-book collections. In Kaplan, R. (Ed), Building and managing e-book collections (pp. 127-137). Chicago: Neal-Schuman

Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development and management (3rd ed.). Chicago: ALA Editions

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Assessing your school library collection. Retrieved from https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/collections-and-resources/assessing-your-school-library-collection?search%5Bpath%5D=items&search%5Btext%5D=assessing+your+school+library+collection