“It is in the DNA” – Assessment 2 – Part B

Whats on the shelves?

 

School libraries (SL) are more than books on shelves.  To a fledgling teacher librarian (TL), libraries often imagine warehouses, where books awaits death and then reincarnation at Lifeline.   The reality is different; collections are not inert. SL are dynamic; they constantly evolve to suit the needs of their community.  

Framework = DNA

What makes a SL so dynamic?  Well, like any organism, it’s all in the DNA, or for SL, it’s in the Collection Development and Management Policy (CDMP).  The CDMP is the DNA of a SL and contains strategic data for growth in today’s splurge and is flexibliity in tomorrow’s freeze.  If the DNA of a SL is without clear direction and missing data, then its ability to thrive, or even survive is in jeopardy. Consequently, TL need to be aware of the duality of a CDMP that prepares the collection for today’s needs, and tomorrow’s growth.

Not faint hearted

A school CMDP exists primarily to address the curriculum, the teaching and learning needs of its community as well as provide well-being (IFLA, 2015; ASLA & VCTL, 2018).  Therefore, the policy needs to clearly reflect those needs when framing the purpose, selection principles, acquisition and censorship procedures. Along with other maintenance endeavours such as deselection and collection evaluation; all whilst staying within budget, bolstering literacy and well-being.  It is not a small task and definitely not for the faint hearted. But then TL are not faint hearted (Templeton, 2019a).

The development and management of a collection involves many facets.

Print or Digital?

  1. Understanding the information evolution and its implications on education and wider society is crucial.  TL need to be aware that previous resource acquisition has evolved now into information facilitation paradigm (Kelly, 2015). With publishers rapidly changing their delivery from print to digital formats (Templeton, 2019b), the repercussions on formats and licencing are momentous.
  2. Online Subscriptions – Cheaper? or Not?

  3. Being able to select resources using criteria to ensure the collection is balanced and addresses the needs of the community. (Templeton, 2019a)
  4. Knowledge of how resources may be packaged for cost efficiency, and evaluating that against the value of each of those titles is a challenging task (Templeton, 2019c; Templeton, 2019d.  (Module 2 – Online Access) (Module 2 – Bundling together)  
  5. Being able to manage collections thriftily is necessary when SL budgets are constantly squeezed (Softlink, 2018; Templeton, 2019e). 

    Shrinking Budgets

     

  6. Information literacy is an essential aspect of future focused learners (MCEETYA, 2008). The CDMP policy needs to make provision for information literacy to ensure that students have the skills to access and utilise the collection.  The inclusion of literacy programs only further strengthens a SL position within a school (Templeton, 2019l; Templeton, 2019f).  .  
  7. Awareness of censorship and its role in SL (Templeton, 2019g).

    Challenging the censors

  8. Linking budget to student population is an effective manner to secure funds that suit the growth/decline of the school community (IFLA, 2015, p.6) versus being dependent on yearly fixed sums.

Besides building a collection, a CDMP contains procedures that maintains its value and  its ability to service the needs of their community.  

  1. Measuring outputs and outcomes are useful in analysing the effectiveness and efficacy of a collection (Templeton, 2019h).
    1. Being able to link the collection value to qualitative and quantitative data validates the collection and program (Templeton, 2019i). A recent study by Sutton et al., (2017) show that altmetrics are useful in the evaluation of collections. Power (2019) suggests that both qualitative and quantitative methods are used.
    2. Linking educational outcomes to collections as evidence for continuing financial support for resources, especially digital subscriptions, is judicial.  Journal subscriptions are very expensive and a TL would need to prove value if there is insufficient evidence to indicate positive outcomes (Jubb et al., 2017). Journal databases, like many other electronic resources, may be economical up front, but often require long term subscription.

 Technology is rapidly changing and consequently now, the same information is available in multiple formats.  TL need to be aware of this paradigm when committing to subscription resources as it is more than just a commitment for the current cohort of students (Anderson, 2008).  It is a financial commitment for future generations.

A strong CDMP ensures that a library collection addresses the needs of their community, and the rewards are high resource outputs and user outcomes.  What TLs all over the world do not want are libraries with numerous books that are not utilised or under utilised. Tsundoku is the affliction of purchasing resources that no one uses (Templeton, 2019j).    

An unused collection is an ineffective collection.  It is very hard to justify a collection that has failed to prove their value their community.  It is even harder to justify the presence of TL with a collection that is not relevant.

 

REFERENCES for BLOG

Anderson, R. (2008). Future proofing the library; Strategies for acquisitions, cataloguing and collection development. The Serials Librarian. 55 (4). doi:10.1080/03615260802399908

ASLA & VCTL (2018). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resources centres 2nd Edition.  ALIA. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/policies-procedures-manual_ed2.pdf

IFLA (2015). School library guidelines.  Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/school-libraries-resource-centers/publications/ifla-school-library-guidelines.pdf

Jantti, M., and Cox, B. (2013). Measuring the value of library resources and student academic performance through relational datasets. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. 8 (2), 163-171. {Conference Paper}

Jubb, M., Rowlands, I., and Nicholas, D. (2013). Values of libraries: Relationships between provisions, usage, and research outcomes.  Evidence Based Library and Informative Practice. 8(2), 139-152 {Conference Paper}

Kelly, M. (2015). Collection development policies in public libraries in Australia: A qualitative content analysis. Public Library Quarterly. 34, 44-62

MCEETYA (2008) Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Curriculum Corporation. Australia. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_educational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf

Power, K (2019) Forum 5.1 – Methods of Collection Analysis. ETL503 Discussion Forum. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42383_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78886_1&forum_id=_147540_1&message_id=_2304873_1

Softlink (2018) Australia and New Zealand school library survey. Retrieved from https://www.softlinkint.com/downloads/2018_Softlink_Australian_and_New_Zealand_School_Library_Survey_Report.pdf

Sutton, S., Miles, R., and Konkiel, S., (2017) Is what’s “Trending” whats worth purchasing? Insights from a national study of collection development librarians. The Serials Librarian. Vol 72 (1-4) pp.134-143. DOI 10.1080/0361526X.2017.1297593

Templeton, T. (2019a) Benign or Malignant. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/03/24/benign-or-malignant-how-do-you-diagnose/

Templeton, T. (2019b) Shatzins files – publishers to perish. Forum 1.1.  ETL 503 Discussion Forums. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42383_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78886_1&forum_id=_147529_1&message_id=_2152285_1

Templeton, T. (2019c) Online access. Forum 2.3.  ETL 503 Discussion Forums. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42383_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78886_1&forum_id=_147533_1&message_id=_2185290_1

Templeton, T. (2019d) Bundling resources. Forum 2.3.  ETL 503 Discussion Forums. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42383_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78886_1&forum_id=_147533_1&message_id=_2185169_1

Templeton, T. (2019e) Module 3 – Managing collections thriftily. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/04/20/managing-collections-thriftily/

Templeton, T. (2019f) Module 5.3a– Information literacy. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/05/21/module-5-3a-information-literacy/

Templeton, T. (2019g) Modules 2 & 6 0 13 reasons why – censorship and selection. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/03/12/13-reasons-why-censorship-and-selection/

Templeton, T. (2019h) Forum 3.1.  ETL 503 Discussion Forums. CSU. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_42383_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_78886_1&forum_id=_147536_1&message_id=_2249448_1

Templeton, T. (2019i) Module 5.1 – Evaluating the collection.- Keeping it real. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/04/29/evaluating-the-collection-keeping-it-real/

Templeton, T. (2019j) Module 1 – Library collections. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/03/11/library-collections/

Templeton, T. (2019k) Module 1 – Curriculum + information + access = Superhero. Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/03/13/curriculum-information-access-superhero/

Templeton, T. (2019l) Reluctant readers – would fact be better than fiction? Trish’s trek into bookspace. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/trish/2019/03/11/reluctant-readers-would-facts-be-better-than-fiction/

 

Curriculum + information + access = Superhero

My path to the role of teacher librarian is but a fortuitous accident.  A recent graduate, blissfully unaware of the actual requirements, I blithely applied for the role citing my repertoire of favourite novels, familiarity with Dewey and my flexible nature in the requested selection criteria. In hindsight, I flinch at my old self, but obviously the principal saw something within me that I had not envisaged.  Fast forward six months, and I have gained valuable insight into the role of a teacher librarian; progressed to full registration and now am a permanent member of staff as a teacher librarian.

Figure 1 – Trombetta (2017)

 

The role of a teacher librarian has changed dramatically from memories of high school, which had T/L as the “the literature expert at the school” (Braxton 2008).  These bastions of knowledge, could with great skill, able to place the right books into correct hands using age, developmental ability, curriculum and abilities as criteria.  But these days, the teacher librarian themselves have grown into a powerful resource due to the dynamic way information is now sourced.

The advent of the portable devices and the ubiquitous use of the internet has permanently changed how we learn.   Instead of numerous shelves holding reference books, journals and encyclopaedias, most school libraries are equipped with databases, online newspapers and encyclopaedias with a significantly smaller physical collection.  But with such transition comes with a transformation in practice and this has been described by  ALIA (2004) – Teacher Librarian in their standards.

The first role of a TL is a curriculum leader.  Whilst wearing this hat, T/Ls work with heads of departments and the executive to ensure that information literacy skills are embedded across the curriculum and school.  They work with classroom teachers to “plan, teach and evaluate…to ensure the effective integration of information resources and technologies into student learning” ASLA & ALIA (2014).  This role extends to ensuring access for students with diverse learning needs, cultural backgrounds and for students where social justice may lead to inequity. (Braxton 2008)

An information specialist is another aspect of the role.  Being able to obtain, interpret, provide access and assist students as well as staff in utilising the information management system available.  ASLA & ALIA (2014) clearly state the importance of providing “specialist assistance to students using technology and information resources in and beyond the school and for independent research”.  This is further substantiated by the General Capabilities curriculum which promotes the need of students to become independent learners with a life long learning capacity (ACARA 2014).  

Figure 2 – Trombetta (2017)

The last countenance that ASLA & ALIA (2014) deems to be part of a TL role is as an information services manager. It seems redundant to point out that teacher librarians are also responsible for maintaining the resource collection whether it be physical or electronic.  A TL must also be able to select resources that fulfil the needs of the curriculum as well as meet the needs of the students within the policies, budget and moral frameworks of the school.

So basically, a T/L is a multifaceted superhero fighting a battle against illiteracy and promoting critical thinking… without wings.

 

Figure 3 – Superhero Teacher Librarian (Jones, G., 2011)

 

ACARA (2014) General Capabilities Curriculum Overview. https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/ accessed 6/3/19

ALIA (2004) ALIA/ASLA standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/standards-professional-excellence-teacher-librarians accessed 6/3/19

ASLA & ALIA (2014) Learning for the future: developing information services in schools, 2nd Ed. Cited in https://asla.org.au/what-is-a-teacher-librarian (accessed 6/3/19)

Braxton B., (2008) Teacher Librarian as literacy leader. Teacher Librarian 35 (3)

Costello, C., (2016) The role of TLs. https://www.virtuallibrary.info/tl-musings/the-role-of-tls accessed 6/3/19

Jones, G., (2011) Daring librarian. http://daringlibrarian.com/portfolio/public_html/About_Me.html accessed 6/3/19

Trombetta, S., (2017) 17 quotes that prove librarians are the best. Bookbub. https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2017/01/19/quotes-about-how-much-we-love-librarians accessed 6/3/19

 

Week 1

Week 1.

I am definitely a bit of a stationary fan.  Somehow, the mechanics of my little brain have figured out, that if I have lots of pretty matching books and pens, my writing will also be pretty and flow easily with carefully crafted words.

Only time will tell.