The learning capacity of a library is dependent on the efficiency of the librarians to maintain the functionality of its spaces, collection robustness and program variety so that the needs of the community are met (Hughes, 2013). This efficacy is essential in academic and school libraries as they are linked to improved student learning outcomes (ACT Education Directorate, 2019).
Workplace goal 1 – Development of a positive learning environment
Lewins Library has a well designed physical space that enables users to browse, read, use the wifi and opportunities to work individually or in small groups. It also has a virtual environment that connects users to digital resources, course materials, referencing assistance, as well as information literacy sessions. It is within this space that users get access to Primo, a federated search engine, which makes the library webpage the point of information access and retrieval in both the physical and virtual environments.
The extensive ACU library virtual environment is rarely mimicked in schools because online learning is not the desired format for many children and teenagers. This reluctance was made clear during 2020’s remote learning as the pandemic highlighted the difficulties students faced, such as a lack of devices, poor internet access and an overall lack of digital literacy, with students from Indigenous, rural, remote and low socioeconomic areas were even more likely to be at risk of marginalisation. This means that libraries need to be flexible in their delivery of resources, services and programs so that students can interact successfully with online learning (Templeton, 2020b).
Workplace goal 2 – Collection development that supports curriculum
ALs use LG to connect students to pertinent materials. Reviewing the LGs identified that whilst they were all similar in structure and format, there were differences in volume of content and frequency of use. However, there were significant differences in volume of content and frequency of use between the LG with the Health Sciences ones most frequently used. Those elevated statistics could be due to high student numbers in Nursing, Midwifery or Paramedicine courses, or it could be because other LG were complex and caused information overload.
Upon reflection, it would have been more efficient if the statistics compared resource access between the LG, course pages and reading lists, because then the ALs could identify which pathway is most effective with students. This would then mean that the ALs could target delivery of course materials and directly influence student learning through that mode (Hicks, White & Behary, 2021, p.2). Additionally, it was interesting to see little uptake on the “How To” and “other” guides, which lead to the quandary if students are generally disinterested in using LG, or if there is a larger level of disinterest about information disseminating from the university about non-academic topics.
Paramedicine LibGuide environmental Scan (Project 1)
An environmental scan is an effective tool to identify relevant course resources (Hicks, White & Behary, 2021, p.3). The Paramedicine LG environmental scan showed that ACU’s database list was comparable to other institutions, however had fewer books, no weblinks and lacked an Australian-centric resource such as Informit. Unfortunately, as Informit currently directs all users to its landing page rather than the individual database, excluding this resource was a tactical decision to minimise student access issues.
Theology LibGuide analysis (Project 3).
Theology LG was analysed using usage statistics because ACU is the only institution to offer Theology from a Catholic perspective. Digital texts from the collection were suggested to replace poorly used resources, but unlike other faculties, a ‘digital first’ policy is not essential because providing the right source is more important. This is because accessing appropriate Australian-centric digital theology texts is very difficult. Additionally, most students study on campus therefore the presence of print texts is possible.
I did review CSU’s Theology LGs to determine which resources both institutions valued and to seek additional resources for my school library. As a Catholic high school, we need to hold theology texts and this task has made me realise that I am not the only one struggling to find Australian-centric resources.
Workplace goal 3 – Library Learning and Teaching (LLT) – Information Literacy Program
Librarians are responsible for developing the information literacy capabilities of their communities and remote learning has required them to expand their programs online (ACU Library Directorate, 2020; Dewey, 2017, p.26; Mallon, 2018, p. 115). Although some argue that reducing physical presence makes outreach more difficult, ACU library statistics show that technology can be sufficiently harnessed to deliver an efficient virtual program because it allows all the ALs to assist in the learning, not just the ones at the local campus (ACU Library Directorate, 2020; Perini, 2016, p.65). Analysis of the LLT program usage data determines which delivery modes resonates the most with the students and can also assist the ALs in guiding staffing and future practice so that the LLT continues to meet the needs of their community.
University and school based information literacy differs in that ACU students are required to self navigate through the program. However, in schools information literacy is embedded into teaching and learning because students require repeated practice to develop competency. This means that Teacher librarians need to make a more concerted effort to collaborate with their peers so that they can teach these essential skills across the curriculum within classroom practice.
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