Teens, trends and technology.


congerdesign / Pixabay


There is no comprehensive data on the recreational reading preferences of Australian children and teenagers across print or digital formats, but a study conducted by Deakin University and Murdoch University point out that teens have a clear preference for print in comparison to reading on devices (Cull, 2011; Dickenson, 2014; Earp, 2017).    This is surprising considering over 90% of Australian children and teenagers have access to a computer or laptop, but more than 75% never used them to access digital literature (Earp, 2017).   This information seems contradictory when you consider that recent fieldwork into public libraries showed a significant shift from traditional to more digital and computer based resources to compensate for the shift in the reading paradigm  (Wyatt, McQuire & Butt, 2015, p. 6-8).   This is because libraries are anticipating the long term presence of digital literature, and are motivated to curate their collection to hold a range of physical and digital resources, as well as a repository of technology for their clientele’s personal, social or educational use (Cull, 2011; Wyatt, McQuire & Butt, 2015, p. 8).   

O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell (2015) point out that the advent of e-books and e-readers have been the biggest game changers for school libraries in the past few decades.  E-books, especially e-textbooks have become increasingly popular in schools across the country as they are able to integrate multimodal features such as interactive maps, videos and images and enhance teaching and learning practices (O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell, 2015).  E-books also meet ACARA’s mandate to include a variety of print, digital and hybrid resources as part of the ICT and Literacy components of the General Capabilities (ACARA, 2018). 

Whilst e-books address curriculum requirements and educational needs of the modern student, O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell (2015) do acquiesce that including digital literature may be cost prohibitive to many schools and students.  Many students, especially those in lower socio-economic areas lack the financial ability to purchase a personal device to access e-books, and many schools cannot afford to purchase additional e-readers or other personal devices for all their students.  The other pertinent issue is internet access.  E-library subscriptions such as Wheelers require internet access at all times to read the book which is problematic when on public transport or out of wifi, whereas Borrowbox titles can be downloaded and then used offline, which is far more beneficial.  But both e-book repositories permit only one borrower at a time to access a title.  For class texts , this can be extremely expensive for schools to purchase multiple subscriptions for the same title.  The other pecuniary issue is that many e-books are often just ‘leased’, and as they are not owned by the school, can suddenly become unavailable and or the lending parameters change without warning.  

Whilst the cost of e-books may be prohibitive, the on-going costs of maintaining digital literature subscriptions for online encyclopaedias and databases are often cheaper than  obtaining individual journal subscriptions (Cull, 2011).  Academic libraries in particular, often purchase databases with access to a variety of journal articles for a lower cost than individual subscriptions.  Smaller libraries may coalesce to purchase a subscription together.  For example, ACT local libraries offer Gale databases as part of their collection.  

When it comes to genres, recent publishing trends show an increase in young adult literature across Australia and the world (Manuel & Carter, 2015).  These trends indicate two possible reasons, the first being that young adults are reading increasingly, and the second, is that as teenagers age into adults, they are retaining their young adult reading preferences.  Manual & Carter (2015, p.122) point out that fiction is still the most popular choice for teens, followed by multimedia, non-fiction and magazines.  Genre wise,  fantasy and mystery are popular with both sexes, and romance disdained by everyone (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.123).  Graphic novels are making a comeback but this time in a digital space, girls seem to like detective stories, action and adventure, whereas boys like science fiction, informational texts and biographies AND EVERYONE HATES POETRY (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.123-124; Moorefield-Lang & Gavigan, 2011))!  

What is interesting about reading preferences with teenagers is that text selection and pedagogical practices in the classroom actually has an impact on students.  When inappropriate classroom texts are selected, and or the pedagogy associated with them is poor, students develop an antithesis for that particular title/genre or reading in general (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.125).  A perfect example would be Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I studied this text many moons ago and I only have ghastly memories of the text. 

I am an avid reader and I STILL GET THE HEEBIE JEEBIES when I think about that book.  

Whereas appropriate texts and good pedagogy can bolster a love of reading.  I studied Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre ain high school and I still love her to the point where I have seven copies of Jane Eyre!!!




*All imageswere obtained from the public domain.




Digital devices have been often touted as the panacea for improving reading rates, literacy and learning for three main reasons.  Introducing digital literature into classroom practice allows teachers to bridge the digital disconnect between a teenager’s personal life in the digital world and the school’s analogue world.  By making these valuable connections, teachers are able to lure students to tasks they may normally disdain, such as reading class texts or researching online.  Combined with the fact that most teenagers are permanently glued to their personal devices means that they are very receptive to the idea of using (their phones and) digital literature for personal and educational purposes.



Cull, B. W. (2011). Reading revolutions: online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday, 16(6). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3340/2985

Dickenson, D. (2014). Children and reading: Literature review. Australia Council 2014. Retrieved from https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/research/children-and-reading-literatur-5432557e418db.pdf.

Earp, J. (2017). Infographic – Teen reading habits. Teacher Magazine. Australian Council for Educational Research.  Retrieved from https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/infographic-teen-reading-habits

Houston, C. (2011). Digital Books for Digital Natives. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 9(3), 39–42. EBSCO 

Manuel, J., & Carter, D. (2015). Current and historical perspectives on Australian teenager’reading practices and preferences. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 38(2), p.115-128. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/documents/item/1175

Moorefield-Lang, H., & Gavigan, K. (2012). These aren’t your father’s: the new world of digital graphic novels. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 30-35. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=b349502e-3dd2-48d3-9d9a-6beed7db31cc%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=82563984&db=lih

O’Connell, J., Bales, J., & Mitchell, P. (2015). Literature in digital environments: Changes and emerging trends in Australian school libraries. In L. Das, S. Brand-Gruwel, K. Kok, & J. Walhout (Eds.), IASL 2015 Conference Proceedings: The School Library Rocks: Living it, Learning it, Loving it (pp. 356-369). International Association of School Librarianship. http://www.meles.nl/_clientfiles/SMD/IASL2015_Proceedings_Vol2_2ndEd_ResearchPapers.pdf

Teen Reading In a Digital Era. (2017). Report at a glance – Teen Reading in a digital era. Murdoch University & Deakin University.  Retrieved from https://teenreadingdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/teen-reading-folio-report_email.pdf

Wyatt, D., McQuire, S., & Butt, D. (2015). Public libraries in a digital culture.  University of Melbourne & State Library of QLD. University of Melbourne Press. Melbourne Victoria. Retrieved from https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1867865/PublicLibrariesinaDigitalCulture.pdf

“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.



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/


Module 3.1 – Outcomes vs Outputs


Budgetary concerns plague most libraries.  Nearly two thirds of school libraries are funded inadequately and teacher librarians are often forced to decide between resources as to their value to the collection and the community (Softlink, 2017).  With monies being so tightly constrained, resources, especially expensive digital resources need to prove their value to school in order to retain their subscriptions. Teacher librarians can use a variety of indicators to illustrate the value of their collection and output measures are frequently used to determine the value of a resource and service.  

Matthews (2015) defines output measures as the “degree to which a library’s resources and services are being utilised… the more the resources and services are being used the better” (p.211).  Borrowing rates, subscription rates, database statistics are all measurements of how often a resource and service is borrowed and or utilised. An under-used resource is not achieving its highest potential and thus other services should be prioritised instead of it.  Whilst easily quantifiable, these statistics point out how frequently a resource and service is accessed. It does not highlight though if the information in the resource was used and converted into knowledge. It also does not highlight if the resource had a positive affect. A great example of resources that have low rates but high affect would be print magazines.  At my school library we have a print subscription to a few magazines that we send to the teachers lounge, once they are no longer required in the library. These magazines, according to the data, are never loaned before they are moved on, but the positive affect they have in the staff lounge is immense. We rarely find those magazines in their entirety. Quite often there will be recipes and or idea pages snipped out of them.  They then migrate to the art room where they end up as collage material for students. The output data would say that these magazines have little value to the school community but the truth is very different.

Matthews (2015) points out that outcome measures are more significant and should have a higher value as they indicate how the user’s life was changed as a result of the resource and or service.  The value lies in that the focus is the user/customer and not the resource itself. Outcomes include attitudes, values, inspiration, knowledge, understanding as well as enjoyment and creativity. Some long term outcomes are difficult to measure and categorise as they often happen years after the student has graduated.  An example of short term outcome measurement are assessments that evaluate a user’s knowledge and skills. Whereas a long term outcome measurement could be a person’s social status, lifestyle and income. Both examples show how the measurements are transient from learning to a social and economic change. In other words, outcomes are placed on a continuum and whilst harder to measure, have a greater value in their result.  

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, https://doi.org/10.1108/ PMM-10-2015-0034 Permanent link to this

Softlink. (2017). 2017 Australian and New Zealand school library survey. Retrieved from https://www.softlinkint.com/downloads/2017_Softlink_Australian_and_New_Zealand_School_Library_Survey_Report.pdf

Module 3 – Managing collections thriftily

Gellinger / Pixabay

Our school library has nearly 100 000 print texts on its shelves.  Unfortunately, even though our library is well stocked, it is underused by our school community.  Resources were acquired based upon the presumption that was what the students and teachers wanted.  Instead the books, databases and audiobooks have languished on shelves and data servers, completely under-utilised.   I have previously mentioned this phenomenon of Tsunkudo. So whilst I am not going to rehash the other post, I will focus this blog post on budget aspect of managing a collection.  SMLS (n.d.) lists three roles a TL must consider when they are managing a budget for resourcing; a collaborator, a steward and a thinker. This blog post will elaborate further on these roles and how it relates to collection development.  

When a teacher librarian is being a collaborator with resourcing, they start with the community they are resourcing for.  Our school is currently suffering from Tsundoku so in an effort to change this we are collaborating with the staff and students to access and source resources that will ‘spark joy’.  The first section we addressed was the Religious Education collection. As a Catholic high school in the MSC tradition, Religious Education is mandatory till year 10 and then most senior students continue to study the subject till year 12 in varied formats.  Therefore it is an essential part of the collection. Unfortunately most of the current range of print books are outdated and unappealing for the student body. In an attempt to alleviate this lethargy for library services, we organised several brochures and sample book packs delivered to the school.  One of our team members organised the RE departmental meeting to view these samples so that orders could be made.  The HOD of RE and the Library managed to thrash out an agreement where the funds would be shared between both departments but the books would reside in the library to ensure equity of access.  As our school is affiliated with the MSC order, we managed to secure some funding from them to access newer editions of Jules Chevalier biographies and other MSC materials.  This additional funding was ample enough to cover the purchase of a two print biographies as well as one in an audiobook for our differentiated learners. Ideally, one print copy would stay as teacher resource for new staff that may need an understanding of the MSC ethos and the other would be in the general collection. This collaboration has allowed us to purchase a greater range of resources and fulfill the needs of our community.

A teacher librarian in a stewardship role is responsible for the management of the library (Cambridge dictionary, n.d.).  As such, they are responsible in ensuring the value of the collection is maintained whilst responding to the needs of their community.  In this role, a TL uses a variety of methods in which to select resources for the collection. They can range from book lists such as Magpies, teacher recommendations, popular best seller lists as well as SCIS, Scootle and other educational blogs.  Acquisitions of resources are naturally dependent on the parameters of the selection policy. An astute TL will be able to identify resources using the policy and add them to the collection.  

Lastly, the teacher librarian needs to adopt the role of a thinker in managing the collection.  Some schools allow for dialogue between the principal and TL about the budget allocation for the year.  Other principals just delegate funds and leave its dispensation to the discretion of the TL. Either way, the TL has to manage the collection in whatever funds are available.  A clever TL is aware of the curriculum and is aware of the teaching practices across the school. This knowledge of curriculum and student learning, when combined with an ability to engage with multiple staff members, maximises the scope of funds available.  In our school, the Dance teacher and the Food Technology teacher were both doing units of work on multicultural practices in Year 8. So my HOD organised sample book packs to be delivered for both teachers to peruse.  The result was that both teachers have combined their funds to obtain a series of books about nations and their cultural practices. This combination of departmental monies has enabled us to address the needs of two departments, increased value to our collection, and all without us having to spend our budget allocation.  My HOD was rather pleased with herself at this point.


Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) Defintion: Steward. Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/steward

Piemmons, A., (2010) Student Voice, Student Choice: Students as part of the budgeting process.  Georgia Library Media Association. Retrieved from https://glma.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/student-voice-student-choice-students-as-part-of-the-budgeting-process/

School Library Media Specialist (n.d.) Program Administrator: Budget management. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sms/administration/budget.html