July 15

Applying Theory to Practice

Choose a site from a previous study visit schedule AND either a subject you are doing in this session, or one you have done in a previous session. Think about how the content of the subject might be reflected in the site you’ve chosen. Have you learnt about theories, models or other evidence based practices that you might see in action at this site?

I chose to continue using the Adelaide Study Visit schedule from 2015. Students visited the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide on Wednesday 29th June from 1:30 to 3:00pm.

Adelaide Study Visit Schedule 2015 Day Two

This session, I am also studying ETL501 The Dynamic Information Environment. The subject content for this topic includes:

  • Dynamic library spaces
  • Print versus electronic information resources
  • Searching for information
  • Information services
  • Learning resources
  • Information services for students
  • Reflective practice

Even for a University library, creating dynamic spaces is important, but in my experience, I don’t think university libraries are as engaging and exciting as school or public libraries. I remember when I was an undergraduate studying for my Bachelor of Education at Flinders University. The library felt very academic. There were three floors with a few wings branching off from a central hub. Often, it was hard to find a space to study during peak hours, and there were only cold, white, individual desks to sit at. I wonder if, now, things might be different … more dynamic. Maybe the library at the University of Adelaide is different to Flinders altogether.

Certainly, the Barr Smith library would be looking at the balance between print and electronic resources, and strategies for searching for information would be important with such a large collection. Though they work with older students, academic libraries would offer comparable information services to those found in schools, and they would also have to design engaging and accessible learning resources.

March 19

Tension in the Library

Think of an occasion when you have witnessed tension between what a teacher or student is looking for and what a library collection holds.

One of the English topics I studied at Flinders University was called ‘Fiction for Young Readers’. A wide range of children’s books were listed as essential reading. Titles included the artistic Window and Where the Forest Meets the Sea, by Jeannie Baker; the wonderfully illustrated John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat, by Jenny Wagner; the well-known classics, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, and Possum Magic, by Mem Fox; and longer texts, such as Two Weeks with the Queen, by Morris Gleitzman, and Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo, by Tim Winton.

Jeannie Baker's artistic picture books

Jeannie Baker’s Window and Where the Forest Meets the Sea (Source: Author)

All of the books were available at the university bookshop. With only the meagre wages of a part-time Hungry Jacks employee in my wallet, I decided to purchase books on the list that I thought I might use in the classroom one day, or those with sentimental value. I loved Jeannie Baker’s books as a child and Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo remains one of my favourites to this day. Of course, I was able to borrow John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat from my mother, so I didn’t have to buy that one.

Two Weeks with the Queen and Lockie Leonard

Two Weeks with the Queen and Lockie Leonard (Source: Author)

For those who couldn’t afford the books on the list, or for those who wanted to save money, the books were made available at the university library. It was here that I witnessed tension between what students were looking for and what the library collection held.

With so many students enrolled in the topic, it was almost impossible to borrow them, even with a two hour loan-limit placed on them. To borrow the longer texts, you had to arrive on campus really early, or leave quite late so that the chances of a text being unavailable were reduced. And even then, other students had the same idea.

This story highlights the benefit of a multiple user model, where any number of users can access a electronic text at any given time (Kimmel, 2014, p. 57). Had the books been available to every student, all the time, there would have been no tension at all. I think that by now, almost ten years later, the system would have improved.


Kimmel, S.C. (2014). Developing Collections to Empower Learners [American Library Association]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=1687658