The process of evaluating and developing a model collection has been hugely beneficial as I have not worked in a school library before. I was unaware of many aspects about collection development and management; in fact I didn’t even realise these terms differed but Kennedy (2006) helped me understand the processes involved in developing and managing an effective school library collection. If I had to take over running a school library tomorrow I could use the models suggested by Hart (2003), Hughes-Hassell & Mancall (2005), and Kennedy (2006), to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the collection and to make informed decisions about the direction the library should go.
One seemingly obviously lesson I have learned was that every school’s collection must be shaped by a clear understanding of the school community it serves and the needs of this community (Waldron-Lamotte, M 2014a). One cannot simply copy another library’s collection and hope for success; it needs to be developed with the context of the school and the teaching and learning needs taken into consideration (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005).
Another important lesson I have learned is how quickly a collection can become irrelevant to its users. By reading Hart (2003) and conducting a collection evaluation of a sample collection, I realised that if this process is not conducted regularly and systematically, the collection cannot possibly meet the needs of its users. This brings me to the process of weeding. I now understand a large collection does not necessarily mean an effective collection, and as Baumbach & Miller (2006, p6) wrote, “Out of date information is never better than no information”. Regular weeding of the collection, closely related to the collection’s purposes and goals, is vital to ensure its relevance and efficient use (ALIA & ASLA, 2009; Waldron-Lamotte, M, 2015).
I have also reflected on the growing implications a digital collection has for a school library. However challenging licensing and copyright issues may be, it is of vital importance that online and digital resources are included in a collection policy (Johnson, 2012; Waldron-Lamotte, M, 2014b). Other challenges digital resources present include tailoring the digital collection to meet specific needs of the school community, and providing access to information 24/7 by developing links between home and school (e-resources, 2010). A highlight of completing this assignment was discovering all the digital and online resources already available for access to all NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC).
The issue of copyright compliance was something I had never given much thought as a class teacher. The Information Sheets for schools on the Smartcopying website have been useful in helping me understand this complicated area. I know that both the collection itself and the way it is used must comply with copyright laws and this must be mentioned in a collection policy to provide a level of protection (National Copyright Unit, nd). Prior to the evaluation and development of a collection model, I did not fully understand the role and responsibilities of a teacher librarian, especially around evaluating a collection, copyright, weeding and managing digital resources. Overall I have found this collection model assignment a hugely beneficial, practical exercise that will assist me in my future role as a teacher librarian.
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) & Australian School Libraries Association (ASLA). (2009).
Statement on school library resource provision. Retrieved from: http://www.asla.org.au/policy/school-library-resource-provision.aspx
Baumbach, D. & Miller, L. (2006). Less is more: A practical guide to weeding school library collections. Chicago: American Library Association.
E-resources : a taster of possibilities. (2010). Scan, 29(4), 30-43. Retrieved from: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL503_201330_W_D/page/cc27bbe6-e6e0-4c57-0010-f556b9fde7d2
Hart, A. (2003). Collection analysis: powerful ways to collect, analyze, and present your data. In C. Andronik (Ed.), School Library Management (5th ed.) (pp. 88-91). Worthington, Ohio : Linworth.
Hughes-Hassell, S & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: responding to the learners needs. Chicago: American Library Association.
Johnson, S. (2012). Key issues for e-resource collection development: A guide for libraries. IFLA Acquisition and Collection Development Committee. Retrieved from: http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/acquisition-collection-development/publications.pdf
Kennedy, J. (2006) Collection management: A concise introduction. Wagga Wagga, New South Wales: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
National Copyright Unit (nd). Copyright – A general overview. Retrieved from: http://www.smartcopying.edu.au/scw/go/pid/649
NSW Department of Education and Training. (1996). Handbook for school libraries. Retrieved from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf
Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2014a). ETL 503 Module 2 Developing collections to support teaching and learning [Online blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/melissawaldronlamotte/2014/12/20/etl-503-module-2-developing-collections-to-support-teaching-and-learning/
Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2014b). ETL 503 Module 1 The school library collection in the context of teaching and learning and the digital environment [Online blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/melissawaldronlamotte/2014/11/28/etl-503-module-1-the-school-library-collection-in-the-context-of-teaching-and-learning-and-the-digital-environment/
Waldron-Lamotte, M. (2015). ETL 503 Module 5 Evaluating Collections [Online blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/melissawaldronlamotte/2015/01/31/etl-503-module-5-evaluating-collections/