The School Library of the Future (Module 7)

Much has been speculated about the nature of libraries of the future, and of their collections.  Speculation is often viewed as quite ridiculous with the benefit of hindsight, however rather than attempt to predict what I think the library of the future will look like, I will attempt to cast a vision for the school library of the future.

In 2030, a school library will have a very different physical presence than a 2018 school library.  There will be shelves stocked with electronic books.  These are not to be confused with ebooks.  These electronic books will have turnable pages, but will have interactive features built in, such as videos, hyperlinked text and other features we cannot yet even dream of (Kowalczyk, 2018).

The library catalogue, and a good proportion of its resources will be accessible from any place, at any time, provided the user has an internet connected device (Wade, 2005).  Other resources, not available electronically, could be ordered for fast delivery, possibly by drones (Kowalczyk, 2018).  The collection would comprise of a static list of purchased resources, regularly updated resources such as encyclopaedias, and access on demand for resources that are less frequently required. A fair and equitable universal licensing system will be developed so that all resources are accessible on all devices, and rights regarding leasing or purchasing of resources are clearly established (Kimmel, 2014).

The collection contains a good mix of recreational reading material, and a vast range of curriculum linked resources, updated regularly.  It would also contain multimedia resources, such as music, video and virtual reality simulations.  A class set of VR headsets would be standard.  The curriculum linked resources would be regularly updated, to keep information current and to maintain its relevance as the curriculum changes (Mitchell, 2011).

The teacher-librarian would be a valued and supported member of the school community.  The role would be supported by ancillary library technicians, and every school would be funded to supply a full time teacher-librarian and a full time library technician as a minimum requirement.  Teacher-librarians would have ample time to collaborate with teachers, produce resource guides for their housed resources and teach information literacy skills (Abbott, 2017).

Schools would subscribe to a 24/7 Helpdesk staffed by information professionals, to assist with searches and resourcing.  Teachers would also be given access to a database of lesson plans and resources, that they would be paid to contribute to, so that they did not have to create lessons from scratch all the time (Mitchell, 2011).



Abbott, R. (2017). Teacher-librarians, teachers and the 21st century library: relationships matter. Synergy, 15(2). Retrieved from

Kimmel, S.C. (2014). Developing collections to empower learners. [American Library Association version]. Retrieved from

Kowalczyk, P. (2018, March 18) Library of the future: 8 technologies we would love to see. Retrieved from

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

Wade, C. (2005). The school library: phoenix or dodo bird? Educational Horizons, 8(5), 12-14.


My School Library Visit

Last week I was able to spend a day with a teacher I know who is working as a teacher-librarian/library manager (without any library qualifications) in a local school.  The school has invested heavily in a new library building, new furniture and book purchasing in 2017 with no budgetary limitations but I would argue that the school does not truly value their library.

The current library manager has had to campaign to get paid more than a teacher’s aide wage.  She has had to campaign for the support of a library technician (also untrained) to keep up with the shelving and processing while she teaches classes (that are used for RFF and she does not have the responsibility of teaching anything in the curriculum).  She’s Early Childhood trained, with experience from K-6, but this is a K-12 school without a high school librarian.  She is interested in completing teacher-librarianship qualifications but the school have told her that she can do that in her own time, to not expect the school to support that or to pay her as a teacher-librarian once she is qualified.

While the library has benefitted from the influx of up to date reading material, the books have been purchased on the basis of standing orders, recommendations by staff and students, and the library manager thinking “oh, that looks good”.  The fiction section has been enriched at the expense of the non-fiction section.  The library manager said the collection wasn’t weeded previously but that she had weeded the collection when it moved buildings, however I found a Childcraft Encyclopedia Set from 1976 on the shelves, alongside a World Book Encyclopedia set I estimate to be from the late 80s.  The school has no collection development policy, no weeding policy, in fact no policies whatsoever, and no evidence of a past collection development policy was found in the electronic data left behind by the previous librarian.  If any given resource, or the massive expenditure was to be challenged, the library manager would have no basis by which to justify the purchases.

It seems to me that the school values the resources a library contains (books – no computers, two iPads that are rarely used because they don’t have anything useful on them) and the prestige of a lovely library building, but does not value the information within those resources or the expertise of even a librarian (or a teacher, or a teacher-librarian) to manage the resources and open them up to the staff and students.

The library screens movies one lunchtime a week, which is in breach of copyright laws (Smartcopying, n.d.), something the library manager showed a limited awareness of by saying “I think we need to give them a worksheet about it to make it ok”.   The library staff had no training and were having to fight to go to a conference (that included a session on copyright), and the lack of knowledge and a clear policy regarding copyright was evident.

Another thing I learned is what to look for in library furniture! The library had lovely semi-circular shelves, however, the shelves were so deep that books pushed to the back of the shelves (twice as deep as necessary) were not easily visible unless you practically had your head in the shelf.  So the books were pushed to the front, which lead to books becoming hidden behind the front row of books, and a general mess.


Smartcopying (n.d.)

Evaluation of Collections – Module 5 ETL503

In Forum 5.1, discuss which of these methods are suitable and practical in school libraries, and which ones you will use.

(Johnson, 2014, p. 302).

I believe the best analysis of a collection would incorporate all four domains of the above diagram, covering both quantitative and qualitative data of use/users and the collection. For the purposes of this discussion Quantitative, Use/User data is domain 1, Quantitative Collection based data is domain 2, Qualitative Use/User data is domain 3 and Qualitative collection data is domain 4.   Valenza (2015) suggests many methods of gathering evidence for evidence based practice, that could also be used for collection assessment, such as exit surveys (Domains 3 and 4), taking photos of library use at different times (Domain 1).  Gate counts, title counts and circulation counts can all provide quantitive data for domains 1 and 2 CLIR (n.d.).  Surveys with teachers prior to the start of the school year, about intended focus areas of study in the coming year, can provide a focus for more in depth analysis of the collection (National Library of New Zealand, n.d.) using a combination of list checking and direct collection checking. Finally, school library software can provide statistics on the age of the collection, how frequently certain areas of the collection are borrowed from and areas of potential weakness (Johnson, 2014).

As a side-note, I love the term “nonstrengths” (Johnson, 2014, p. 300) to describe areas that the library has intentionally decided to not collect.  It is not a weakness if a library does not have an extensive selection of books on the history of jazz music if the library has determined that its remit is one of a law library and so jazz music becomes a nonstrength rather than a weakness.



CLIR (n.d.) APPENDIX D Traditional Input, Output, and Outcome Measures. Retrieved from:

Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development and management [American Library Association version]. Retrieved from

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

Valenza, J. K. (2015). Evolving with evidence: LEVERAGING NEW TOOLS FOR EBP.Knowledge Quest, 43(3), 36-43. Retrieved from

Why Weed – Short Video


Collection Measurement

I previously wrote a post on collection measurement and was looking at other people’s forum responses when this infographic on the Impact of our National Cultural Institutions came to mind. It examines onsite, offsite and website “visits”, and gives a measure of satisfaction with visits. It also includes page views, increase in collection size (number of artefacts), relevant projects that were available locally and internationally, and a total number of volunteers who have supported these institutions.  These measures would be worth considering when evaluating the school library.

Copyright (Module 4.1, 4.2 activities)

Can we screen movies for students on rainy days or as a fun activity?

Screening movies in class for educational purposes is covered in the Copyright Act and is permissible.  Showing movies for entertainment purposes is not.  A Co-Curricular licence is available to allow screening of films for entertainment purposes but you must ensure that your school is covered by this before you screen movies for entertainment purposes.

See Smart Copying for more information.

Can I use pictures I find on the internet for my assignments?

You should not just use any images you find on the internet for your assignments.  Images are protected under copyright unless otherwise stated.  Even copyright free images, or those licensed under Creative Commons may specify that you must attribute the creator – that is, you must state that the image was created by the owner.

See All My Own Work and Smart Copying for more information.

Can I use pictures I find on the internet in class?

If the image is a portion of a published work (such as an illustration from a book) you can generally use it.  If the image is the copyrighted work, there are extra steps that must be taken and checks to be made to ensure its use is covered under copyright laws.  Even images that are designed for educational use (such as clip art) must be checked for reuse requirements such as attribution or limits on distribution.

See Smart Copying for more information.


Creative Commons

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies by Dr Doug Belshaw (2017) is licensed under a Creative Commons Zero licence, which means it can be reused by anyone, including me using it and claiming for it to be my own work.  It is used by Dr Belshaw (with variation as shown by the “spare slides”) for his talks and presentations. It can be found here:

The following image Bicycle-1902 was uploaded by Flickr user Parkus and is licensed under the Creative Commons BY SA licence – requiring attribution and any derivatives to be shared under the same licence. It was retrieved from Flickr.


Collection Measurement and School Library Suppliers Checklist

Collection Measurement

There are many ways to measure a collection – input and output are the most common measures used.  I would argue that a combination of these, and a few other measurements, are worthwhile when evaluating the collection. The use of many values would strengthen any budget application more than bare facts.

An input value could be the number of resources in the collection or their monetary value (Tenopir, 2011). For example, my local library, Penrith City Library, has 200,000 resources in its collection(, n.d.).

An output value would be how many items were borrowed or how many times resources were borrowed or (in the case of electronic resources) accessed (Tenopir, 2011). Again, as an example, Penrith City Library has 735,164 individual ‘transactions’ per year (, n.d.).  Another worthwhile output value is a ‘gate count’ – counting how many people come through the door each day (CLIR, n.d.).  In a school library that could be counting the number of students in the library at lunchtime (and perhaps comparing previous counts to current ones), the number of classes that have booked additional time in the library and the number of student and teacher reference questions answered.

Another method of evaluating library collection and value is by user satisfaction (CLIR, n.d.).  Surveys could be taken, or feedback given by students and staff using the library (Valenza, 2015).

Increase in standardised test scores can be used as evidence, however, it is not possible to prove that an increase in library resources in a single year was responsible for an increase in test scores.  If the library has been invested in over several years and those years and subsequent ones have seen an increase in test scores, it would be worth highlighting, along with research studies on a wider scale that back that up (Johnson, 2006-07).

Anecdotal evidence can also be powerful to illustrate the benefits the library has brought to the students and teachers (Valenza, 2015).

Edited to add: I have posted an update to my thoughts on collection development.


CLIR (n.d.) APPENDIX D Traditional Input, Output, and Outcome Measures. Retrieved from:

Johnson, D. (2006-07) Demonstrating Our Impact: Putting Numbers in Context Part 1
Media Matters column, Leading and Learning, 2006-07, #2 Retrieved from: (n.d.) Penrith city library Retrieved from:

Tenopir, C. (2011) Beyond usage: Measuring library outcomes and value. Retrieved from:

Valenza, J. K. (2015). Evolving with evidence: LEVERAGING NEW TOOLS FOR EBP.Knowledge Quest, 43(3), 36-43. Retrieved from

School Library Supplier Checklist

School Library Supplier Checklist
School Library Supplier Checklist

Selection Aids

Reading Time

Reading Time is the children’s book review blog of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.  It provides good quality reviews of children’s books, categorised by age and type.

A Mighty Girl

A Mighty Girl is a website specialising in books, toys and movie reviews for girls, although these media would be just as good for boys.  It is easy to search for books on a particular topic, such as women in science or Environmental issues, however some topics provide more information than others, it would be a good starting point to become more aware of books on a particular topic.  Bear in mind, the website probably gets payment (or at least free copies for review) from the publisher and probably a small commission on the books sold after clicking on the purchasing links on the site.

New York Times

The New York Times has a book review section, with a subcategory for children’s book reviews. It provides essays and book reviews on children’s books but it is unclear on whether the authors are paid for the review by the publisher.

Libraries Using Digital Curation

I chose to look at Pinterest as a curation tool and chose to look at two libraries, the US Library of Congress and the State Library of Western Australia to view.

Both libraries had a vast quantity of archived photographs, organised into relevant folders.  The State Library of WA focused more on local sources, while the Library of Congress had (naturally) a broader scope and included some collections on special interest topics such as Women’s History Month and Thanksgiving, and also included a folder of Primary Sources with historical notes and suggestions for classroom use.

Pinterest can be a useful curation tool, however it comes with some pitfalls.  Unless a specific board is made private (to the user only) all boards and pins are viewable by the public, whether they have a Pinterest account or not (Educause, 2012).  Pinterest has also been criticised for removing images from their context and correct attribution, leading to breaches of copyright (Educause, 2012, Bacon, 2016).

Pinterest would be a good tool to use to get public domain resources out for public access, and curate them into relevant folders, however caution should be used regarding classroom use, especially since Pinterest requires users to be thirteen or older (Pinterest, 2016).

Bacon, C. (2016, April 30) Pinterest and copyright: How to use Pinterest legally. Turbo Future. Retrieved from:

Educause (2012) 7 Things you should know about social content curation. Retrieved from: (requires CSU Log in)

Pinterest (2016) Terms of Service. Retrieved from:

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