ETL503 Part B: Reflective Practice

ETL503 Part B: Reflective practice

Through ETL503 I built on my prior knowledge, understanding and experience of resourcing the curriculum and the role the library collection plays in teaching and learning in schools. Some of my practices have been confirmed, and I have learnt or expanded my understanding of others. The readings and resources are useful, and I will note them for future reference and further reading.

Knowledge and Understanding of the Role and Nature of School Library Collections

My initial thoughts (2021, March 24) on what I hoped to get out of this topic indicated that I already had a strong idea about the role of school library collections; they are designed to support teaching and learning, and provide interest items for leisure reading. I would like to reflect on several areas which stood out to me during this subject.

Balanced Collection

The balanced collection is a concept I was aware of, but had not put a name to. The balanced collection will vary between sites, and is always context specific. My previous TL role had me considering if digital resources were the best way to support teaching and learning, as we had unreliable internet and shared-use devices. In defining my balanced collection, I identified an online encyclopedia for acquisition, and ways to support students in searching smarter. The balanced non-fiction collection here was mainly print, and supplemented by curated web resources. In a previous blog (2021, April 28) I supported the use of Graphic Novels and print non-fiction to assist reading and learning. The discussion by Crowley and Fleishhacker interest me to consider further what types of graphic novels could support curriculum offerings.

Selection Criteria

Looking through selection criteria examples from National Library of New Zealand and Tasmania School Libraries , and reviewing Collection Development Policies, I see the need for general and specific criteria on which to base resource selection. Exploring these highlighted the variety of different criteria which can emerge based on different resource formats. I have not previously recorded my selection criteria, but generally follow the ideas of recent publication, relevance to curriculum or student interests, connection to series, and accessibility. I understand how having clear criteria for fiction (and a genre collection map) would help me to fill gaps in the collection and provide a better balance. The resources provided on selection criteria will certainly help me to create some specific criteria for my next site.

Weeding/Deselection

The role of the library collection is to support teaching and learning, providing users with resources to meet their needs. I believe this can be fully achieved with appropriate processes in place to support ongoing weeding of the collection. Module 5’s introduction to collection evaluation and deselection brought the CREW method to my attention. My previous reflection (2021, May 10) indicates my positive opinion of this resource, I believe the level of detail provided, and the continuous nature of the process will be beneficial in maintaining a current collection. I have found the resources provided by the National Library of New Zealand to be valuable. I will use those resources and deeper reading into CREW to support my current weeding project.

Collection Development Policy: A Strategic Document

A strategic document is explains what is supposed to happen, and why. The CDP is designed to outline policies for the library (what) and ensure the reader understands the reasons for actions (why). In this way, I believe a correctly created CDP can be an effective strategic document.

Several areas come across as important in describing strategy for the CDP. The role the CDP plays in providing the basis for selection and deselection of resources is the first area. Johnson’s (2018) description of a CDP highlights its role in strategic planning through collection evaluation, ensuring that resources always meet user needs. Including criteria aligned to school values, library purpose and user need will help to fit library processes into the school setting and support coordination.

Currency and transparency are equally important in forming the CDP. Johnson (2018) discusses the need for a clear understanding of the library’s role for its users into the future, and creation of defined parameters to guide library initiatives. Transparency ensures readers are aware of why library staff do what they do, and how it relates back to site priorities. Currency in this document ensures content is always relevant and the priorities being met are accurate. For me, updating the CDP should be a task which is completed in line with strategic Site Improvement Goals. By maintaining the same timeline, the document will always be relevant to site goals and can be used to support teaching and learning in the most effective manner.

 Collection Development Policy: Future Proofing the Collection

The Collection Development Policy can help future-proof the library collection through maintaining accurate and current information about resource selection. The selection criteria identified in the CDP support future-proofing as they are updated to reflect the needs of the school and the users. Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2014) highlights managing digital resources effectively as a theme for future libraries. If the CDP refers to digital resources and includes details about selection, storage and access, then the document could be well placed to future support digital management into the future.

Accessibility of resources outside of the library is another trend to consider (ALIA, 2014), and is support by the 2017 Horizon Report comments on the need to expand access and convenience. A CDP which includes details about off-site resource access will be more beneficial into the future than one which does not. I consider off-site user access to be integral in the library maintaining relevance. As such, it is important for users to be taught how to use the resources efficiently and effectively, otherwise they will revert back to ‘Google bashing’ (ALIA, 2014, p.9).

A CDP supports future-proofing the library collection when selection criteria are actively maintained to relate to the current user base, and when content reflects the current digital offerings. Details about weeding schedules and methods being used are key to supporting ongoing collection maintenance.

Conclusion

ETL503 has helped to solidify my knowledge and understanding of collection management within a school library. There have been several areas which I would like to explore further in my next TL position. This will start with the development of an up-to-date Collection Development Policy which will support any selection and deselection projects. I believe the Collection Development Policy is the most important document within the school library, and if compiled accurately it provides a connection to school priorities and ensures the collection maintains its relevance into the future.

 

References

Australian Library and Information Association. (2014). Future of the Library and Information Science Profession: School Libraries. ALIA Futures. https://www.alia.org.au/futureoftheprofession

Crowley, J. (2015). Graphic novels in the school library: using graphic novels to encourage reluctant readers and improve literacy. The School Librarian, 63(3). 140-142.

Fleishhacker, J. (2017). Collection Development. Knowledge Quest, 45(4), 24-31.

New Media Consortium. (2017). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 Edition. https://library.educause.edu/resources/2017/2/2017-horizon-report

Johnson, P. (2018). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. American Library Association.

Larson, J. (2012). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew

Libraries Tasmania. (n.d.). Selection and ordering. https://www.libraries.tas.gov.au/school-library/Pages/collections-selection.aspx

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Selecting and purchasing resources. National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/collections-and-resources/selecting-resources-for-your-collection/selecting-and-purchasing-resources

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Weeding your school library collection. National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/collections-and-resources/weeding-your-school-library-collection

 

Module 6 Reflection: Collection Development Policy

Module 6 had the focus on policies and procedures, and censorship. Policies and procedures looked specifically at Collection Development Policies (CDP) and potential inclusions into them. Censorship looked at further potential sources of censorship and how it can be catered for within policies.

The distinction between policy and procedures (as outlined in 6.1) is an important one, and should be remembered when creating library documentation. This distinction highlights policies as broad, public documents, which should include goals and principles and what will happen. Procedures identify how things happen, are very specific, and generally for use of library staff only. Procedures are used to fulfil the goals and principles outlines in policies. I found when creating my own CDP that it was difficult to know exactly how much detail to go into. Based on my understanding of this module, criteria for selection and weeding may be outlined in a CDP and allow for transparency into library operations; however specific processes should be kept for procedural documentation. The only specific process outlined in the CDP would be the challenges process – to allow for transparency into the process.

The different types of censorship mentioned in 6.2 add on to those discussed in 2.6. Module 6.2 brings a focus on legislated censorship, restricting access, and internet filtering, it also brings to light specifics around responding to challenges. I found the details for responding to challenges useful, I have not had any resources challenged, so this is not an area I am familiar with.

This module has highlighted necessary inclusions for a CDP and challenge policy. Through reviewing the example policies available I will be able to create my own CDP which supports selection, deselection, challenges and development of a library collection. Creating a suitable CDP will be one of my first tasks when I take on a new TL role.

Module 3 Reflection: Accession & Acquisition

Module 3 had a focus on the areas of accession and acquisition in school libraries. Specifically looking at funding, workflows and licensing arrangements.

3.1 discussed funding in school libraries and how effective budget management is key to maintaining a balanced collection and ensuring resources can be obtained. The module initially refers to the ASLA Policy Development Manual and the steps to developing a budget policy. I have found this document invaluable in the creation of my own collection development policy.

Sources of funding were also reviewed. This is not an area I have considered much past provision of budget from my site. I am aware that grant proposals are quite common in the USA for library funding, however, have not explored any of these options in Australia. I think it would be worth developing my understanding in these areas in case I need to seek extra funding in the future.

Using a budget to maintain a balanced collection means that funds are allocated towards areas of need. The balance of funds may likely vary from year to year; however, the long-term observations should be in the development of resource sections. The balancing of funds should relate back to proposed library projects and sections for renewal. The module also relates this to developing an annual report. Budget allocation, progress on projects, and teaching and learning opportunities can all be shared in the annual reports. I created an annual report one year. This is a project which I should start planning for at the beginning of the year, so I can ensure relevant data is available for the report. I find the resources provided by the National Library of New Zealand to be very detailed and a good starting point for a wide range of library activities. I will need to remember to view their resources for annual reports when I next complete this task.

3.2 focussed on the acquisition workflow and how this differs from print books to eBooks. I consider acquisition to be an area I am pretty confident with, so I found the content here to be confirming processes I have done in the past. Previously I have focussed more on print resources than eBooks (as my sites have not had resources to support this). Key areas in the workflow included selecting resources, evaluating suppliers, obtaining MARC data, labelling wish-list items, and potential outsourcing (to standing orders/packages).

3.3 expanded on acquisition of digital and eBook items through the discussion of licensing arrangements. It is important to consider pros and cons to the use of free and paid digital resources, and of course, the context of the school site as to if it can cope with digital resource hosting and usage. Licenses play a large part in digital resource selection and usage. The discussion by Morris and Sibert surrounding eBooks was very detailed and informative. When I was reading, I was thinking about how it would be good to have a mixture of a range of business models and acquisitions methods, because they each had different pros and cons. I guess this is where knowing your audience and context helps to make an informed decision. They follow on from 3.2 with an outline of workflow for eBooks. This has many similar elements to a print workflow, but with further issues regarding access and licensing. I think re-reading this chapter or exploring some concepts further with a particular site in mind would be beneficial.

Ultimately Module 3 covered some topics which I was already familiar with. But I found a few areas here which would be useful to explore further in my next TL role. This includes models around eBook purchasing and licenses, and ideas for annual reports.

 

References

Australian School Library Association & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2017). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres. (2nd ed.). Policy Development Manual. https://asla.org.au/policy-development-manual

Morris, C. & Sibert, L. (2009). Acquiring e-books. In S. Polanka (Ed.), No shelf required: e-books in libraries (p.85-107). American Library Association.

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.).  Annual report. National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/leading-and-managing/managing-your-school-library/annual-report

Module 2 Reflection: Developing Collections

Module 2 covered a large amount of content directly related to developing library collections. This was a long module, which frankly, I struggled to get through. Topics included ‘selection and the school context’, ‘the balanced collection’, ‘eResources’, ‘selection aids’, ‘selection criteria’, and ‘censorship. Most of these topics held direct relevance to my first assessment task, and the readings suggested here we useful in that way.

2.1 focused on resource selection with reference to school context, and introduced the term ‘patron-driven acquisition’. This has different meanings depending on context. For example, I would have taken the term to mean patrons are assisting with acquisition through purchase suggestions. Whereas, in reference to digital resources it could refer to eBook acquisition through patrons initiating a purchase by viewing an item.

2.2 looked at the balanced collection and the need for up-to-date policies which are in line with the school’s mission, and which support collection development. A number of areas were discussed for consideration of a balanced collection – content vs container, ownership vs subscription, single title vs bundled sets, physical vs digital, fiction vs non-fiction, and quality vs popular. The decision for each of these areas is dependent on the school context and what is right for the resource users. Several readings discussed the use of graphic novels or non-fiction texts to support student learning. I agree with Crowley that graphic novels could be considered a ‘gateway book’ towards more traditional novels. But also that they hold value as texts which support inferencing and using pictures to understand the text. The wide range of types of graphic novels also support wide interests and curriculum links. McEwan’s comments on the usefulness of print nonfiction also hold true with me. I think a balanced collection definitely holds selected nonfiction – perhaps at easy readability and curriculum aligned. In some cases, the right nonfiction text can provide quicker and easier answers than a web search.

Key considerations raised in 2.3 about eResources were about access and promotion. With a variety of eBook vendors and platforms available it is important that the TL makes an informed decision based on ease of use and what the school can support. I learnt that some platforms can be integrated into the school Library Management System. I think this would make searching for resources more efficient, as all items can be searched in one place. Promotion of eResources can be more difficult than print, as you do not have a physical item you can put on display. Displaying eResources on the school library webpage/LMS home page would make them more visible to users. In addition digital scrolling displays could be used as screen savers or on a projection screen. I think promotion of digital resources is highly important. If users do not know you have resources, then they will not use them.

2.5 covers selection criteria. Selection criteria is how the TL ensures that resources are useful to the user and meet teaching and learning content, and library goals. Through this topic I learnt that selection criteria have layers, from very general to very specific, and they can vary depending on the format of the item or fiction vs non-fiction. I found the National Library of New Zealand information on selection criteria very helpful in exploring examples.

Censorship (2.6) relates directly to selection criteria. I think that if I had a purchase challenged that I would be wary with purchasing in the future, particularly if the challenge was by leadership. I think identifying the merits of the text and how it fits the selection policy before purchasing would provide a good background for possible challenges.

A primary school library I worked in had a ‘Year 6/7’ section which contained longer books and those with more mature themes, I suppose this could be censorship by labelling (Moody). These items needed notes from parents if you were in Year 4 or 5 to read them, and if students were younger they were not allowed to borrow them. From a school library perspective, if a student really wanted access to a book ‘out of their age range’ then it could be accessed with parents at a public library.

While I found this module difficult to get through a few points did stand out to me. The idea of a balanced collection is clearly very important to ensure adequate resourcing for teaching and learning, and also equitable access through format variety. I would also like to explore the National Library of New Zealand further to support future policies and criteria I will create.

 

References

Crowley, J. (2015). Graphic novels in the school library: using graphic novels to encourage reluctant readers and improve literacy. The School Librarian, 63(3). 140-142.

McEwan, I. (2018). Trending now. Teacher Librarian, 45(3). 50-52.

Moody, K. (2005). Covert censorship in libraries: a discussion paper. Australian Library Journal, 54(2). 138-147. https://doi.org/10.1080/00049670.2005.10721741

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). Selecting and purchasing resources. National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/school-libraries/collections-and-resources/selecting-resources-for-your-collection/selecting-and-purchasing-resources

Module 1 Reflection : The School Library Collection & Back to Study

Deedee86 / Pixabay

After deciding to come back to my Masters degree this year, I thought a few of the subjects at least would be more of a refresher for me than new learning, so I came into ETL503 this session thinking I would be recapping my prior librarianship learning and experiences. In the few weeks since the session has started, I have realised it’s not ‘easy’, and have wondered several times ‘why am I doing this?’. I need to switch back into organised study mode and plan my time and workload – at least I am only doing one subject this time. I have learnt that I still need to be in the moment and paying as much attention as I would if this was a topic I was new to.

I agree with much of the discussion provided in Module 1.1 that the digital climate is impacting how Teacher Librarians maintain school collections and provide resource access to students. I believe that technology can be embraced by school libraries and used to enhance the collection and engagement of students, and that the library is a space used by all types of people.

From my previous Teacher Librarian roles, I already understand Collection Development activities. I have always considered Collection Development and Collection Management as mostly interchangeable terms. I can see how Collection Management can refer to the big picture of access (digital and physical), and Collection Development focusing on ensuring identification and acquisition meet the needs of the user and context of the school.

I am finding the discussions around Collection Development vs Collection Management interesting, and I am looking forward to exploring the specifics of Collection Development in schools and related Policies.