May 25

Assessment 2 Part B Reflection

School library collections provide a high quality and diverse collection of both physical and digital resources, in a variety of formats, that support and meet the needs of the learning community (IFLA, 2015). A school library collection is guided by a clearly structured policy framework that acknowledges the learning community by identifying its users, the formal and informal curriculum, a clear and defined role of teacher librarian (TL) and a clear mission and vision statement of why the collection exists (ALIA & VCTL, 2017). By having documents like these in place, they allow the school to fulfil its duty to its learners, reflect on the ethos, mission, aims and objectives of the school library collection, and ultimately be used as an advocacy tool for library needs and the status of the TL in the school (IFLA, 2015). The role and nature of the school library collection, the incredible importance of developing a collection development policy as a strategic document, and how this enables TLs to future proof their collection, are key areas of how my understanding and knowledge has grown since commencing this subject.

When understanding the role and nature of school library collections, there is a great deal to consider. The collection needs to be aligned to the curriculum and the TL needs to have a solid understanding of the nature of the users and their needs both academically and recreationally (Oberg and Schultz-Jones, 2015). This was clearly explained in our module 5 readings, when we looked at curriculum mapping. Curriculum mapping allows the TL to collaborate closely with classroom and subject specialists to evaluate the collection (Newsum, 2016). In my reflections on my blog in module 5, I acknowledged that whilst this would be a time-consuming task, especially because the very nature of teaching is a busy one, it is so important for the TL to collaborate and develop solid and positive working relationships with teaching staff. This curriculum mapping, which also serves as a collection evaluation tool, informs curriculum collection and provides the TL with a visual snapshot of curriculum topics that embody the curriculum and allows the TL to fulfil their mission statement, allocate funds appropriately, purchase materials and write collection development and selection policies, and even weed the collection of resources no longer relevant (Loertscher, 2005). It is this information gained by the TL that helps identify whether the collection is indeed meeting its objectives and if it is adequately serving its users (Johnson, 2014). It is this role of connecting classrooms to the resources needed for learning, whereby collegial input is valued, that allows TLs to be responsive to curriculum resource needs (Newsum, 2016) and advocates for our incredibly important role. We need to find the time to do this, and I have already started the ball rolling in my school to have dedicated sessions on student free days to start this process.

The idea of evaluating a collection does feel incredibly daunting, but I gained a better understanding of how to do this when we looked at the readings in module 5. I really enjoyed Johnson’s (2014) excellent model of methods that could potentially assist me when analysing our collection. At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative methods, but after careful consideration, I was able to identify the ones that I felt would be most suitable for me in my blog in module 5, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

I learned so much about censorship and the importance of this in a collection development policy (CDP). Hoffman & Wood (2007) concur the CDP should be produced in a collaborative manner and then authorized by the administration body, particularly the principal. TLs need to engage in ongoing dialogue with administration that not only discusses the purpose of library and its collection, but the freedom to read and the role the TL and the principal play in selection (Dawkins, 2018). As stated in Leech’s discussion forum post (Leech, 2020), this is so important when working in a religious school. Having clearly stipulated selection criteria and the support of a principal who has been involved in the ratification of this, supports us as TLs and reaffirms our position within the school (Dawkins, 2018). By asserting the Library Bill of Rights, this sets the tone for the acquisition of resources that may be challenged (Hoffman & Wood, 2007).

I understand now how important a CDP is, and realise it serves two purposes. It provides the TL with a blueprint of the vision and mission of the school library (Braxton, 2018), ensuring that the learning community’s needs are met, and it is also a working document for not only the TL, but other key stakeholders that provide insight into the invaluable role the TL plays in a school. The CDP certainly assists in future proofing the collection, because with triennial evaluation as Braxton suggests (Braxton, 2018) it allows the TL to improve the collection, identifying its strengths and weaknesses in alignment with the curriculum, and a future vision would naturally evolve out of such a process.

In terms of my own practice, I really want to be part of the curriculum committee, but my principal doesn’t perceive it as necessary. I am going to provide a written proposal to him, citing the values of curriculum mapping and planning, and how it will inform the process of selecting and deselecting resources, improve collegiality and promote the important and vital role a TL plays when having a clear understanding and bird’s eye view of curriculum (AASL, 2009).

I also need to dedicate more time promoting our digital resources, which are heavily underutilised. I acknowledged my frustration of this in my blog for module 6, in that whilst we invest a great deal of funding towards these resources, they clearly aren’t ‘visible’ enough. This visibility isn’t just about showing our learning community what we have available, but teaching them how to locate, use and evaluate these emerging technologies (AASL, 2013). Newsum (2016) maintains that to use digital resources, students (and staff!) require demonstration, orientation and that these need to be made visible through promotion. One thing that I have found, is that promotion needs to be an ongoing process. If our CDP further acknowledges these digital resources and indeed includes measures that allow for promotion of these invaluable resources, it could very well be a springboard into cross-curricular teaching which would ensure greater use and exposure of resources and increase both functionality and reusability (Newsum, 2016) (Bourne, 2020). This ultimately justifies the allocation of funds and continues to advocate the vital role that TLs play in schools.


ALIA & VCTL (2017). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres.

American Library Association. (2017). Selection & reconsideration policy toolkit for public, school, & academic libraries.

Braxton, B. (n.d.). 500 Hats: The teacher librarian in the 21st century.

Bourne, H. (2020). Forum 5.1. Methods of Collection Analysis [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Bourne, H. (2020) Forum 6.1. New areas needing coverage in your CDP [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Dawkins, A.M. (2018). The decision by school librarians to self-censor: The impact of perceived administrative discomfort. Teacher Librarian, 45(3),8-12

Hoffman, F. W., & Wood, R. J. (2007).Intellectual freedom. In Library collection development policies : school libraries and learning resource centers, (pp. 63-80). Lanham, Maryland : Scarecrow Press. (e-reserve)

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (2015). IFLA school library guidelines.

Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of collection development and management. American Library Association.

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

Leech, K. (2020, May 10). Forum 6.2. Key take away from your reading on censorship [Online discussion comment]. Interact 2.

Loertscher, D. (2005). The power of professional learning communities and other professional resources. Teacher Librarian, 32 (5).

Newsum, J.M. (2016). School collection development and resource management in digitally rich environments: An initial literature review. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(1), pp97-109.

Oberg, D., & Schultz-Jones, B. (eds). (2015). IFLA School Library Guidelines, (2nd ed.). IFLA

May 18

Questioning our own Collection Development Policy

What is fascinating is that with the ever-changing digital landscape, the role of the Teacher Librarian evolves with it. It has been this exponential growth of technological innovations and information that has redefined the role of a TL to now be one that is an expert in assisting patrons locate, use and critically evaluate emerging technologies and digital resources (Newsum, 2016). Not only are TLs responsible in assisting their patrons, but they are also responsible for collecting resources in a variety of media types and formats (AASL, 2013). This has given rise to school libraries’ modernisation that now encompasses computer development, internet and digital innovation and network access (Newsum, 2016) and a collection development process that has expanded to now include digital resources (Reitz, 2010).

When investigating the Collection Development Policy (CDP) at my workplace, it is one that appears to be quite comprehensive and acknowledges the importance of collegial collaboration and a wide variety of formats, including an impressive range of digital resources. The digital resources include access to excellent databases through EBSCOhost, Brittanica and World Book. We also have Clickview and Clickview Exchange, subscribe to Wheelers ebooks and audio books and the library itself is home to more than twenty desktop and twenty laptop computers.

What is interesting is the use of some of these electronic resources, which are categorically underutilised. Newsum maintains that it is the TL’s responsibility to ensure these resources are known to the library users and access is easy (Newsum, 2016). Interestingly, the promotion of these resources doesn’t just require providing an awareness of what is available, but they also need orientation and demonstration through various learning units and visible promotion (Newsum, 2016). It will be these skills that students engage with when accessing these resources, as well as physical ones, that will ultimately meet the needs of the users and set them up as lifelong learners (Oberg & Shultz-Jones, 2015). I think that our CDP needs to further acknowledge these digital resources and include measures that allow for the promotion of these highly useful (and expensive!) resources. The CDP does acknowledge the collaboration of interdisciplinary teams (our curriculum committee), so this may be a springboard for us to incorporate cross-curricular teaching when accessing digital learning materials to see further use of these resources and greater exposure to what is readily available, increasing functionality and reusability (Newsum, 2016) and ultimately, justification for allocation of funds towards these resources.

Newsum, J.M. (2016). School collection development and resource management in digitally rich environments: An initial literature review. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(1), 97-109.

Oberg, D., & Schult-Jones, B. (Eds.). (2015). 4.3.1 Collection management policies and procedures. In IFLA School Library Guidelines (2nd ed., pp. 33-34).

May 12

Collection Analysis…the ones I think I will use!

Johnson (2014) provides an excellent model of methods that may assist librarians or media specialists, and in particular, a teacher librarian (TL) when considering collection analysis. Whilst some of these methods may not be possible in a school setting (time constraints, budget limitations for example), there are certainly some that could assist a TL evaluating a collection. Johnson offers both a qualitative and quantitative approach for both use and user and collection based. Ideally, a TL needs to choose the methods relevant to their context and also be selective in the methods they choose, taking into account the time constraints TLs are often faced with.

I think for use and user based (Quantitative), circulation statistics are an excellent means of gaining how popular, useful and valued some resources are. Our school library uses Oliver and it provides us with excellent options in terms of identifying resource circulation. I think a qualitative approach by means of user opinion surveys (Johnson, 2014) is also an effective way of gaging the collection’s relevance and purpose. Johnson (2018) maintains that a collection analysis must have a clear purpose, and ultimately, ensuring that a collection meets the needs of the end-user, is the basis for evaluating a current collection. It is paramount that the users are surveyed to indicate first hand their experiences with, and opinion of, the collection. By way of web-based surveys (one that we use often in our school), this provides the TL with an understanding of whether the collection supports the learning and curriculum needs of both students and staff.

A qualitative approach suggested by Johnson (2018) also suggests collection mapping. This is an excellent collection evaluation tool which allows the TL to create a visual representation of the collection and enables the TL to identify its strengths and weaknesses. It informs purchase decisions, weeding decisions, and allows the collection to meet the needs of the users. Curriculum mapping also allows the TL to implement a plan that allows ongoing evaluation of the collection. Whilst this can be an arduous and time-consuming task, it allows the TL to develop great collaboration with teaching staff, and advocates for the TL as a leader in the school, developing strong connections with staff, students and curriculum. A curriculum map ultimately allows the collection to be effectively aligned to the curriculum.

List checking would also be a useful and practical tool, allowing libraries to perform an analysis of their collection against a specially prepared list (Johnson, 2014). The beauty of this method is that lists are updated frequently, providing up to date and relevant suggestions, and also increases the knowledge of the collection and the TL’s knowledge of subject literature, further assisting future purchases for titles that may be missing (Johnson, 2014). With the new schooling system in Queensland as of 2019, the prescribed text list for Senior English, for example, is one list that we have consulted with to ensure our library provides both our staff and students with access to these texts.


Johnson, P. (2018). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. 4th Edition. ALA Editions.

Johnson, P. (2014). Chapter 7: Collection analysis: Evaluation and assessment in Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. American Library Association, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central.


May 12

Copyright – the facts our students and staff may not know

Copying activities include:

  • Scanning
  • Downloading
  • Printing
  • Saving to another device – usb, hard drive, mobile, tablet
  • Photocopying
  • Taking a digital photo, scanning
  • Plus performance activities such as Playing films and music
  • Singing songs
  • Playing instruments
  • Acting out a play
  • Reading a book or reciting a poem to class

And communicating, such as:

  • Communicating means making a copyright material available online or electronically transmitting copyright material.
  • Making material available online – includes uploading material to a digital space for student access and via password protected access such as:
  • A share drive/intranet (eg Microsoft 365 etc)
  • Learning management systems (Moodle etc)
  • To a closed class area on an educational platform (Google classroom etc)
  • Electronic transmission – including emails, streaming or using an electronic system to share material


May 12

Outcomes vs Outputs

Unfortunately, a budget allocated to a library can vary depending on the size of the school, the nature of the school and even the demographic the school is situated in! For school libraries, it is (sadly) highly probable that budget allocation is inadequate. When funds are tight, teacher librarians (TLs) are often challenged to make difficult decisions based on which resources best fit the needs of their individual school collection and the community (Softlink, 2017). E-resources, particularly digital resources, such as databases, are expensive and users need to have competent knowledge of how to access and navigate these, if they are to prove their worth. Our school subscribes to EBSCOhost, Brittanica and World Book and these subscriptions alone consume nearly half of our allocated budget. Whilst these resources are indeed excellent, frequent and authentic use of these resources must be validated to warrant the costs involved in maintaining these subscriptions.

Output measures, according to Matthews (2015) states that output measures determine the degree to which a library’s resources and services are utilised, and ultimately, the more these resources and services are being utilised, the costs involved are therefore justified. We are able to set up monthly usage report that indicates (in EBSCOhost) which databases have been accessed (reference centres). At the beginning of last year, we conducted a review of these reports and saw that usage statistics were quite low. I was able to conduct surveys investigating the poor usage of these resources and was able to draw on this data to improve student and teacher interaction with these services. Ultimately, a lack of awareness of what was available and a laborious number of access points to arrive at these databases, allowed us to both streamline the access points (landing page) and provide greater education of how to utilise these services. After a rather intensive promotional campaign, we saw usage statistics increase by 800%! Whilst this was a promising and positive result, what we couldn’t gauge was how this information provided in these resources was used, helpful or even provided students with the outcome they were hoping for. Whilst output measures are quantitative, they don’t allow us to fully gauge how effective and indeed valuable, e-resources are. We just assume.

Our Wheelers platform of audio and eBooks do provide us with more concrete statistics of loans and circulation, and the number of patron requests we receive do highlight their popularity and use. Unfortunately, purchasing titles for this platform is costly and one that we do restrict, however this is one way that we can measure the output more accurately, based on the statistics and feedback we receive from this service.


Matthews, J., (2015) Assessing outcomes and value: it’s all a matter of perspective.  Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 16 Issue: 3, pp.211-233, PMM-10-2015-0034

Softlink. (2017). 2017 Australian and New Zealand school library survey. Retrieved from

May 12

Selection Aids

I am a big believer in receiving book recommendations, and I know I am also guilty of this – when I read a fabulous book – I want to share it with everyone! But I have to remember that not everyone is going to receive a book in the same way that I have. As a Senior English teacher, and with our curriculum now operating in a new system in Queensland (ATAR as at 2019), we now have a prescribed text list. As English teachers, we no longer get to teach what we ‘want’ to teach, but rather are guided by the text list. Having said that, this allows us in the middle school to choose novels that we believe students will enjoy. One of the selection aids we consult is a monthly publication we subscribe to called The Book Curator. It reviews over 40 titles of books every single month. It provides more than one review for each book. One is from a publisher’s perspective, but there are also reviews provided by other Teacher Librarians. The reviews include a list of words used within the text that may be deemed as inappropriate (for eg. the word ‘shit’ is used 4 times throughout the novel), a reading age recommendation, an overview of the concepts (themes) and interviews with the authors. The Book Curator also includes information that Teacher Librarians may find interesting. It is a really useful selection aid!

May 12

Pros and Cons of Bundled Sets

Bundling allows the purchasing of resources where school libraries are provided with a packaged range of resources, for a set fee, that adds to the library collection on a regular basis. The package can be presented as a more cost-effective means of obtaining resources, as the costs are often presented with a ‘value’ margin or ‘deal’. This ‘deal’ is then charged on a regular basis, with the resources also delivered on a regular basis. There are clear benefits of obtaining resources through bundled sets, but also disadvantages.

As a school that subscribes to online databases, they fulfil the research needs of our students and provide access to a range of quality databases. Within this subscription we also subscribe to journals that we receive as packages. Whilst this provides students with excellent access to subject specific collections, my concern is that should we ever cancel this digital subscription, we would no longer have access to these journals, or past editions of this collection.

With bundle sets for physical collections, ie standing orders, there can also be some disadvantages. Resources are selected on behalf of the customer, and sent to the school for their approval. Our school used to subscribe to Lamont books, but to be honest, the book bundles would arrive, and then it would be a time consuming exercise to peruse the books and then select/deselect desired texts. There would often be a range of books not suitable to our readers, or would simply not meet the interest needs of our readers. We no longer subscribe to this service. Whilst resource development and acquisition is a timely process regardless, and teacher librarians (TL) are often time poor, reading through preselected books and then ‘bundling’ them up (excuse the pun!) to return to the supplier, is time consuming. Having greater autonomy over resource selection allows TLs to purchase the resources they deem meet the criteria of their learners.  I understand that some libraries may prefer to have these choices made for them because it adds to the collection with regular additions being made, can reduce costs and with resources constantly being updated/relevant, it can provide the TL with resources that may not have been previously considered and perhaps can be deemed as a time saver. I think that as TL however, having more say over the resources they desire, and being able to purchase resources that will be used, as opposed to some resources just sitting on the shelf collecting dust, means that the TL can purchase resources that are relevant to the school, its learners and curriculum.

Schools have an obligation to meet ALIA’s view that library collections meet our students and our staff (ALIA, 2016). TLs should have the power to evaluate and purchase preferred products, across a range of categories and not be locked into a bundle (Breeding, 2019). As TLs, we have an obligation to resource a curriculum based on the desires and needs of our learning community. Bundling may well work for some school libraries, but I think that TLs need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of committing their budget to a bundles, or at the very least, have a balanced approach to resourcing their libraries.


ALIA (2016) Guidelines, standards and outcome measures for Australian public libraries. Retrieved from

Breeding, M., (2019). Discovery Services. American Libraries. Jan/Feb2019, 50 (1/2), p71. Retrieved from


May 12

Collection management and collection development

Collection development includes the planning, selecting, and building of collections in all formats needed by the community. Collection evaluation is the continuous process of analyzing use, age, condition, timeliness, and coverage of library materials.

From Collection Management — State Library of Iowa

The IFLA School Library Guidelines 2nd edition (2015) state that a school library should be managed within a clearly structured policy framework that recognises the library as a core resource and centre for reading and inquiry. A school library policy should be devised bearing in mind the overarching policies and needs of the school and should reflect the ethos, mission, aims, and objectives, as well as the reality of the school (pp. 22-23).

In terms of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL, 2011) teachers working in the library have specific responsibility in terms of “policies and strategies to ensure the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching” (Standard 4.5) and to “lead colleagues in selecting, creating, and evaluating resources” (Standard 3.4).

May 12

Bookstore or Bust?

For somebody whose favourite outing as a child was to visit QBD and choose a book to read, it is heartbreaking to read that our bookstores are losing popularity in favour of their online counterparts. We have watched Angus and Robertson dive into receivership, only to be saved by a silent partner and then re-established once again in our shopping centres as the ‘go to’ for quality books and fare.

Shatzkin’s observations of the ‘Four Horseman’ – Amazon and its powerful relationship with Google, Apple and Facebook have shaped how we think about acquiring our beloved reading material. Shatzkin maintains that people of today rely far more heavily on social media and search engines to enable their shopping choices when searching for goods, rather than historically when reviewers, byers and those developing collections were the primary access point to the public that promoted books and authors (Shatzkin, 2016).

What is also fascinating is the introduction (and popularity!) of ebooks and audio books, especially when I have yet to convert to this new way of reading. I am like the students that Schaub cited in his article, the Slovakian ones who noted they liked the smell of books (Schaub, 2016). I too, am also easily distracted and much prefer the satisfaction I get from reading my favourite book – and plunging my nose into its belly to inhale its delicious musty, paper scent! But to think that with the advent of this ‘words-to-be-heard’ phenomena is actually reducing the sales of their physical counterparts in bookstores (Shatzkin, 2016) is taking us to a new territory, especially when now authors can self-promote and even self-publish their own titles through online platforms (Shatzkin, 2013). Shatzkin also shared the New York Times findings that stated many readers are switching to audio, and some authors are seeing their books sell four times more than their print versions (Shatzkin, 2018), it is time for us to sit up and take notice. If profit margins from ebooks and audio books are going to outrank their print editions, it will have a significant impact on not only how we choose to read, but on how authors choose to publish.

But it may not be a death sentence for our local school libraries. There may be fewer print copies, but not all students prefer to read digitally, and as Schaub tells us, teens do prefer print books! (Schaub, 2016). We may see an increase in audio and ebook collections, but ultimately, libraries will accommodate their students and meet their needs, by catering to their requests and reading habits. What teacher librarians will need to ensure, is that students have digital literacy skills that enable them to access the reading materials available to them, and that their collections reflect the changing nature of reading in the 21st century.


Schaub, M. (2016). 92% of college students prefer print books to e-books, study finds. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

Shatzkin, M. (2016).  Book publishing lives in an environment shaped by larger forces and always has. The Shatzkin Files. Retrieved from

Shatzkin, M. (2018) Words-to-be-read are losing ground to words-to-be-heard.  The Shatzkin Files. Retrieved from

March 24

Start at the very beginning

If I was to choose a teaching and curriculum area, I would choose English – English as an Additional Language. Before I would begin resourcing the topic, I would meet with the Head of English and the classroom teacher to discuss the unit of work, the scope of learning, the intending learning experiences and the outcomes of the unit.

The curriculum topic ties into Unit 1: Language, text and culture and students will be studying the film Mabo by Australian director Rachel Perkins and also looking at a non-literary text, Eddie Mabo Changes History, which appeared in Time magazine. Students will be studying the representation of Australia prior to Native Title, and the concepts of disempowerment, persistence and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.

I think I would need to provide a range of teaching resources, including resources to help contextualise the film and background into Eddie Mabo’s life. Students are from Hong Kong and would have no previous knowledge or understanding of who Eddie Mabo was and the significant contribution he made when the High Court announced its historic decision, overturning legal doctrine of terra nullius and implementing Native Title.

The resources I would provide would include:

  • The documentary ‘First Australians’ and its companion, a beautiful hard back book
  • Clickview (documentary) and library for physical resource
  • The film ‘Mabo’ (made available on Clickview – link can be made available on LMS Moodle)
  • A list of different articles for students to locate and access on online database, such as EBSCO host Australia and New Zealand Reference Centre.
  • A collection of books from the physical collection on Native Title, Early settlement in Australia and Local Indigenous figures.