7. Reflective Practice

Collection Development – Putting the puzzle together.

What I have learned about the role and nature of the school library collection.

Previously, I understood that the role of the school library collection was to support the informational needs of the users and that the nature of school library collections should be in a state of flux as needs of users change, especially in reference to digital information. What upset me, was that I knew my school library collection was poorly fulfilling these requirements and I was overwhelmed by how to remedy it.

Discussion Forums and blog entries forced me to articulate my comprehension of key issues concerned with collection development, which in turn I usually personalized to my own school context. These have seemed laborious at times, but I understand now that you get out what you put in. I strove to be authentic in my response and approach questions from a meaningful viewpoint rather than regurgitate selected quotes from the readings.

Examples of my emerging understanding are summarized as follows:

DF 1.2 – Realising the primary difference between the detailed “Collection Management Policies and Procedures” document and the concept of a “Collection Development Policy.”

Blog 1.2 “It is not a case of ‘build it and they will come’” and “…the true challenge is to foster relationships and processes that connect the users with resources.”

Blog 1.3 – Reminder of how resourcing the curriculum is best when the topic is fun (Vikings), the resource types varied and suited to the user.

DF 2.1 – Tinkering and refining searching methods for a patron-driven acquisition article.

DF 2.2 – My struggle to prioritize implementing digital resources.

Blog 2.1– My initial (in retrospect, flawed) planned process for ‘Deselection of the Non-Fiction Collection.’

DF 2.3 – Scootle exploration.

DF 2.4 – Discussion of Inside a Dog as a selection aid and OZNET_TL as a useful TL online community.

Blog 3 – Questions of equity for disadvantaged students with forecasts for increasing focus on digital information.

DF 3.1– “If resource usage to determine budget were applied to a poorly utilized collection, then it would continue to decline due to it being a poorly resourced collection.”

“Access effects use.” This has become one of my mantras. If staff don’t use the collection with their classes or students do not receive instruction on how to access the collection, then it will not be used and is not an indication of the usefulness of the collection. This also applies to a poorly weeded collection.

DF 3.2– Library suppliers from a rural perspective.

Blog 4– Completely distracted by fires, so catalogued the new apps and websites that had become so important to me.

DF 4.1– A really satisfying exploration of copyright questions (my own and other responses) which greatly increased my knowledge and confidence.

DF 4.2– Creative Commons exploration was also enlightening and I appreciated the honesty generated by Jasmine’s entry. A great example of TL knowledge required as a result of increasing digital information.

DF 5.1 and more thoroughly in Blog 5.1, I explored methods of evaluating collections, creating a useful table, but slipped into despair as I pondered on past curriculum mapping attempts.

Blog 5.2 ‘Weeding’ was very productive in curating useful weeding resources, but then I launched into another proposed process of weeding, revising how to involve staff.

DF 6.2 was empowering as I realize I now have the knowledge to deal with censorship issues.

Finally, I wrote two module 6 blogs to refine my understanding of collection development policy examples and qualities.

(Corrall, 2011, p. 5)

I have fundamentally changed my approach from focusing and despairing at the “how” to realize if I communicate the “why”, the “what” and “how” can more easily follow.

(Kimmel, 2014, p. 19)

Evaluation of the current collection has recently been undertaken at my workplace, I have new knowledge and confidence about the stages of the collection development cycle and now realize that the next step is to work towards drafting a collection development policy.

Collection Development Policy as a Strategic Document

A collection development policy should be a strategic document. “Systematic planning creates its own benefits by creating a vision of the library and engaging people to share that vision” (Johnson, 2014, p. 98). This is a vital step towards gaining support from the learning community, especially staff, giving them an opportunity to understand, contribute and care.

Aligning the CDP with national (ASLA, ALIA, ALIA-schools) and international benchmarks (IFLA, IASL, AASL, ALA) gives authority to the importance of the school library collections, explains what it is trying to achieve and the expectations of the Teacher Librarian role. Of particular value are the Australian School Library Association policies (ASLA, n.d.) and documents and International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions School Library Guideline recommendations (IFLA, 2015, pp. 10-11).

The first stated goals in both the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto (IFLA & UNESCO, 1999) and the ASLA School Bill of Rights (ASLA, 2018) focus on supporting the school’s vision, context and curriculum, which is why linking the CDP to these principles are strategic. Reference to the learning community, specific needs of the users, current collection and school-specific goals further align the mission of the library with the school.

Future-proofing the collection

(Quote as cited Baumbach & Miller, 2006, p. 4)

(LaGarde, 2013)

 

 

The statement on Teacher Librarians in Australia (ALIA & ASLA, 2016) states a TL is “future-focused with an appreciation of emerging trends in education, technology and librarianship”. There is emphasis on provisions for current and future learning needs which is both justifications to deselect and be timely in fulfilling emerging informational needs. By aligning a CDP with forward-thinking and ensuring it is revised on a regular basis it can assist in future-proofing the collection. Incremental adjustments to collections mean that they will not suddenly be redundant.

(IFLA, 2013, Still from sideshow.)

The TL can be informed in their practice through a variety of digital resources, from curriculum documents (ACARA and school-specific programs) through to discussion forums (DoE Yammer) and blogs (Jennifer LaGarde and Joyce Valenza). They understand that value can be found in various forms of digital media and that part of their role is providing access to quality digital resources and provide instruction and tools on how to curate and select digital sources to fulfill needs (i.e. Oddone, 2018).

The evolving nature of the information landscape means that a CDP should also be evolving to reflect the changing needs of users. When a CDP is explicit in its aims to provide for its users, is developed collaboratively and is supported by the learning community, it provides the springboard for meaningful collection development.

 

 

References

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (n.d.). https://www.acara.edu.au/

American Association of School Librarians [AASL]. (n.d.). http://www.ala.org/aasl/

American Library Association [ALA]. (n.d.). http://www.ala.org/

Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA]. (n.d.). http://www.alia.org.au/

Australian Library and Information Association. (n.d.). Schools. http://www.alia.org.au/groups/alia-schools

Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA] and Australian School Library Association [ASLA]. (2018). Bill of rights. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/Bill%20of%20Rights_2018.pdf

Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association. (2016). Statement on Teacher Librarians in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/policy_tls_in_australia.pdf

Australian School Library Association [ASLA]. (n.d.). https://www.asla.org.au/

Australian School Library Association. (n.d.). ASLA policies [webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.asla.org.au/asla-policies

Australian School Library Association. (2013). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from  https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Baumbach, D. J., & Miller, L. L. (2006). Less is more : A practical guide to weeding school library collections. p. 4. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=289145

Corrall, S. (2011). The concept of collection development in the digital world. In M. Fieldhouse & A. Marshall. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=1167428&ppg=23

International Association of School Librarianship [IASL]. (n.d.). https://www.iasl-online.org/

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions [IFLA]. (2015). IFLA school library guidelines (2nd edition). Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/9512?og=52

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2013). Trend report [slideshow still]. Retrieved from https://trends.ifla.org/

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions & United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (1999). IFLA/UNESCO school library manifesto. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/ifla-unesco-school-library-manifesto-1999

Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management (Vol. 2nd ed). Chicago: ALA Editions. Retrieved from https://primo.csu.edu.au/permalink/61CSU_INST/c7du29/alma991001612460402357

Kimmel, S. C. (2014). Developing collections to empower learners. p. 19. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

LaGarde, J. (2013, 2nd Oct). Keeping your library collection smelling F.R.E.S.H. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.librarygirl.net/post/keeping-your-library-collection-smelling-f-r-e-s-h

LaGarde, J. (n.d.). The adventures of library girl. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.librarygirl.net/blog

Oddone, K. (2018 ) Supercharge students’ digital literacy skills with content curation. SCIS Connections, 105. Retrieved from:  https://www.scisdata.com/connections/issue-105/supercharge-students-digital-literacy-skills-with-content-curation/

New South Wales Department of Education. (n.d.). Yammer [online network]. Retrieved from https://www.yammer.com/det.nsw.edu.au/#/home

Valenza, J. (n.d.). The never-ending search. [Blog]. Retrieved http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2020/01/17/creative-commons-so-much-easier-to-access/

6. What makes a good Collection Development Policy?

At the heart of what makes a successful CDP is its readability and how well it informs. However, there is a fine line between being explicit and being concise. The difficulty is that if there is too much detail and the language is too specific to “librarian language” or “teacher talk”, you risk alienating readers who when they fail to understand the content, then fail to care.

Purpose- Inform

Audience-staff

Johnson states that “the library’s collection policy is usually designed for use by staff members. The better the policy is, the more frequently it is consulted” (2009, p. 76). This is a hard task to master. Staff have to be part of the decision making and consultative process and have a sense that the library collection policy is relevant to them as asserted by multiple sources:

  • Resources purchased or made available by the school should be carefully selected in consultation with school staff (ALIAS & VCTL, 2017, p. 11).
  • Developing a learner-centred collection requires a plan, one which the community to be served is involved is involved in making decisions (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 19).
  • We used to believe that selection was the sole responsibility of the school library media specialist. We now know that collection development must become a shared process (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 49).
  • A school librarian works with school administrators and teachers in order to develop a collection management policy (IFLA, 2015, p.33).
  • The policy should make clear that collection building is a collaborative endeavour and that teachers, as subject experts with valuable knowledge of the needs of their students, have an important role to play in helping to build the library collections (IFLA, 2015, p. 34).
  • ASLA’s ‘Statement on School Library Resource Provisions’ asserts “organisation of the collection is based on a collection management policy developed by the school community led by the teacher librarian and school leaders” including “responsibilities for collaborative decision making when selecting high quality resources that support curriculum delivery” (2016).

Chapter 3 “Policy as the Foundation for the Collection” (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 22-32) details an exhaustive (and exhausting) collaborative planning process which gives a step to step guide to how to involve stakeholders in development of the collection development policy. Whilst I will be referring to this later when I tackle our own school CDP, my primary question is, yes, but “how do you get the staff to care?”

This is another challenge in itself. How do you make the staff see the relevance to them about what they perceive to be your job as the teacher-librarian?

Personal context

Yet again I see that it will be necessary to define part of my role to staff in a public way. One of the frustrations of working as a teacher-librarian in a school where there is a history of perceiving the TL as an island unto themselves, is to change that perception and foster collaboration. This is by far the hardest part of my job. I was ready to start culling the Non-Fiction collection and start creating a website to organize digital resources, but I need to pause and take a step back. I need to declare my intentions and be explicit about what I am attempting to do and how I would like to involve staff. Who else has to make themselves so publicly accountable and vulnerable?  (Ok, maybe the principal). I find this prospect rather terrifying, but realise now it now has to constitute a regular part of my job. New Year’s Resolution as a TL: Regular, relevant consultation and informing staff of changes and proposed changes that affect them. As Johnson states “The process of systematic planning creates its own benefits by creating a vision of the library and engaging people to share that vision” (2009, p. 72). I need to be more public with my planning in order to begin the collaborative process. It is no use telling myself that staff don’t care, I have to give them an opportunity to care. As recommendation 16 of the IFLA School Library Guidelines states “The use and support of the services and programs of a school library should be enhanced by planned and systematic communication with the school library users–current and potential—and with the library’s stakeholders and decision-makers” (IFLA, 2015, p. 11).

Audience-School Community

  • Many libraries post their policies on the library’s website, where they can be consulted easily by both staff and other stakeholders (Johnson, 2009, p. 76).

Returning to discussion of the collection development policy, the availability of various collection development policies that can be found online is testament to this practice. When a CDP is made available in such a public manner it does change the way it is presented. As a document  representing the school, it will be open to greater scrutiny, yet require accessible language that does not alienate the reader with educational or TL specific language.

Consider the needs of a primary school parent who has poor literacy skills but is worried by the content of a school book their child has brought home, compared with a high school parent sending their child to a high achieving school with the expectation of exceptional library resources and services. How can a CDP be accessible and meaningful to both parties? It can’t. The reason why there is such variation in CDP’s is that they are all, to some extent modified to make them relevant and accessible to their audience.

Purpose- Protect

A CDP can sometimes appear to go into too much detail with certain sections, despite the directive that “procedures for developing and managing the school library collection should be clearly laid out, in a separate document or as an appendix to the collection management policy” (IFLA, 2015, p. 34). Even the deceptively brief one-page CDP guide in ‘A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres’ (ALIAS & VCTL, 2017, p. 8) can be expanded greatly in efforts to satisfy the requirements.

So, what stays in and what is left out will depend not only on your audience, but on the need to protect the library collection (and the teacher librarian) from external pressures to change the way the collection is developed. Areas of the CDP that may appear excessive for informing stakeholders are there to provide reference in anticipation of questions and challenges. Details can serve as fair warning or insurance if issues arise.

However, explicitly saying what you will do and how you will do it (in relation to collection development) does not guarantee that you will not encounter difficulties. As elaborated by Johnson’s example:

The presence of a carefully prepared and board-approved policy will not decrease the likelihood of a challenge to a specific controversial title, but it does increase the likelihood that challenged material will be fairly reviewed and retained. When the library is challenged, librarians are prepared to respond. They have, in effect, rehearsed their response by writing the policy”(2009, p. 75).

Protective CDP inclusions -Where do they go?

Statements informed by the broader information context about freedom of information access, preparing students for the future and ASLA principles are important in laying the foundation for a successful CDP in the earlier sections.

Details regarding censorship, copyright, digital resource issues (licensing, management, co-operative resource provisions and access) and budgeting should be considered in constructing the selection section of the CDP.

Finally, challenge and deselection details are important when questioned about a resource being removed from the school library collection.

Linking the CDP and the school

Linking the school values and vision to the collection development policy at the beginning of the CDP ensures that they are fundamentally aligned. If details of the school strategic plan are relevant, they can be included also. (TL- I know what is important to my school).

Detailing the school context and the current collection shows that the starting point is understood for further planning and goal setting. (TL- I know the current state of play, who is the community that I will provide resources for and I know what resources we have).

Setting specific goals, both short term and long term that can be seen as serving the informational needs of staff, students and the school community are key. (TL- I have identified specific informational needs and am suggesting action to fulfill those needs.)

Selection criteria will be general and school context specific in selecting and acquiring resources. (TL- I will use criteria to select quality resources and cater specifically for our learners.)

Deselection criteria will also be general and school context specific in removing resources from the collection. (TL- I will remove resources that are no longer of value to our learners to keep the collection relevant and current).

Collection evaluation in reference to multiple methods of school community consultation ensures informational needs are being served. (TL- I will use formal and informal processes to collaborate with students and staff (and in some schools, the wider community) to respond to curriculum and reading for pleasure needs.)

The school’s collection development policy will be reviewed and staff (and possibly the wider school community) will be consulted to ensure the CDP reflects the needs of teachers and students. (TL- To ensure the CDP stays relevant to the changing needs of the school, it will be reviewed at a frequency that is practical for staff and the teacher-librarian.)

Critical Analysis of a Collection Development Policy

I have found this process difficult as it is removed from the context which it serves. Many suggestions can be made to create the ultimate CDP, much like Braxton’s example, but this exceeds the word count of the task. The best I can do is pretend that I am an interested stakeholder (most probably staff member) and ensure that the document is logical. I can prune information that is not related to collection development, move sections that would be better elsewhere, suggest information that should be an appendix, provide “fair warning” information concisely and link the CDP to the school context as best I can.

Development of my own CDP

I am much more confident about drafting our school CDP. I already had a plan about what I thought needed to be done from informal evaluation. Our recent Collection Management Policies and Procedures document is the formal document that can be used to provide evidence of areas that require attention. Because the CMPP was completed at the end of last year, the resulting CDP can be relatively brief. Rather than diving into deselecting the Non-Fiction section and creating potential Learn Paths in isolation but collaborating with others I am sharing the load a little. Of course, I still need to do most of the heavy lifting, but by involving the school community they can begin to understand that resourcing the curriculum is no small task and that I need their input to make sure it is successful.

Conclusion

Writing a collection development policy is much more involved than I originally realized. Collection development is a cyclical process, so collection evaluation is perhaps the best starting point for the teacher-librarian using a one of the various rubrics available. The one in ‘A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres’ (ALIAS & VCTL, 2017, Appendix C), is a good place to start. (Note: If printing, the document is actually pp. 51-58, but is numbered pp. 59-66.) This can be done without collaboration, but any other part of the CDP cycle involves consultation with staff.

Once an evaluation is done, results can be shared and explained to (most likely) the principal. It is important to start a conversation about the collection, its identified strengths and weaknesses, to begin making suggestions for development. The evaluation provides a springboard, or reference point for how a school library collection should be. Most staff have no real concept of what is possible and what is really involved in resourcing the curriculum. It is wrong to assume that the principal is any different.

Anyone can walk into a well-resourced library and go “Wow, what a cool library,” but the challenge for the TL is to the best they can with the budget they are provided. Being more open about the process of creating a collection development policy and resourcing the curriculum especially (because, let’s face it, most staff really don’t care about what books the students have to read), is the starting point to building a collection that better serves its users.

 

References

Australian Library and Information Association Schools & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2017). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres. pp. 8-9. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/policy-development-manual

Australian School Library Association. (2018). Bill of rights. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/Bill%20of%20Rights_2018.pdf

 

Australian School Library Association. (2013). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from  https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

 

Australian School Library Association. (2016). School library resource provisions. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Policies/policy_School_Library_Resource_Provision.pdf

 

Australian School Library Association. (n.d.). ASLA policies [webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.asla.org.au/asla-policies

 

Braxton, B. (2014). Sample collection policy [Website/blog]. Retrieved from http://500hats.edublogs.org/policies/sample-collection-policy

 

Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: responding to the needs of learners [ALA Editions version]. Retrieved from: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=289075

 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2015). Recommendation 1. In IFLA school library guidelines. (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/9512?og=52

 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (n.d.). IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto 1999. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/iflaunesco-school-library-manifesto-1999

Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of collection development and management [ALA Editions version]. (Vol. 2nd ed). Chicago: ALA Editions. Retrieved from https://primo.csu.edu.au/permalink/61CSU_INST/cbhpm/proquest57624070

6. Emerging Understanding – Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy and Collection Management Policies and Procedures

The collection development policy is the heart or core of the more expansive collection management policies and procedures document. It is usually located near the start of the CMPP. An introduction and staffing statement may precede the CDP. Policy and procedures are very different. Policy is a guiding principle or mini-mission statement whereas a procedure is a series of steps taken to achieve a result. Policy is the overview and procedure is the nitty-gritty, how-to.

It is important to note that a collection development policy lifted directly from a collection management policies and procedures document is not necessarily in an appropriate form to share with those who do not work in the library. The CMPP is like a handbook for those who work in the library and whilst the collection development policy and procedures are some of the more logical sections of a CMPP and possible for staff and community to understand, it can sometimes be unsuitable or more detailed than is necessary for general viewing.

Length and detail

A CDP that is too brief may be generic, general, lack specificity, meaning, and true direction. It reads like a CDP guide without reference to the school community and the existing collection. There may be no realistic measures to assess progress. Policies that are too brief are a missed opportunity to create a vision of the library and engage others in sharing that vision.

A CDP that is too long will put readers off from reading the whole document as they lose sight of the vision in procedural detail. This also is a missed opportunity to engage staff and the school community in understanding and caring about the CDP. The art appears in getting the balance right.

What detail stays in and what is left out (or added as an appendix) of a collection development policy is to a certain degree subjective.

Example 1 –

Australian Library and Information Association Schools & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians

A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres (2017, ALIAS & VCTL) suggests the following sections:

  • Rationale
  • Policy statement (covering seven key points),
  • Audience
  • Authorship

This is then followed by:

  • Related documents (5 references with searchable hyperlinks)
  • Date of ratification
  • Date for review

This collection policy format alone (pp. 8-9) is probably not enough as a stand-alone informative document to share with the school community. Concessions have been made with links to important establishing documents. The collection development procedures (pp. 10-17) guidelines look like they may be an appropriate length to retain non-library staff attention, but upon closer inspection, once all the specific information suggested is inserted, this is likely to be a very lengthy document.

Our school uses the manual as the basis of our library collection management policies and procedures document (which at 68 pages, is more like a handbook). A template can be downloaded with headings to follow, whilst the manual (also only accessed through downloading) explains what information should be under the headings.

Example 2 – The Paideia School Elementary Library. Atlanta, Georgia

Bernstein, N. (2012). The Paideia school elementary library [collection development policy]. In Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development and management. Appendix C. pp. 495-498.

This example accessed in Fundamentals of collection development and management

About the Library:

  • Purpose of the library
  • Role of the Librarian
  • Community description
  • Collection development plan and responsibility for selection
  • Criteria for selection
  • Collection development goals

Intellectual Freedom/Access Statements

Challenge Policy

Confidentiality Statement

This American example is satisfyingly concise and readable. Criteria for selection is particularly to the point and the emphasis on intellectual freedom and access notable.

And my favourite:

These goals are for the year and are both specific and with consideration of balance. One is curriculum-driven (staff), another strives for diversity (reflective of the community) and one caters to a particular format that is in demand by students.

Example 3 – IFLA guidelines

Oberg, D., & Schultz-Jones, B. (eds.). (2015). 4.3.1 Collection management policies and procedures. In IFLA School Library Guidelines, (2nd ed.),  (pp. 33-34). Den Haag, Netherlands: IFLA.

• The mission of a school library, consistent with the IFLA/UNESCO School Library
Manifesto.
• Statements of intellectual freedom and freedom of information.
• The purpose of the collection management policy and its relation to the curriculum and the national, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and indigenous identities of its users.
• Long and short term objectives of the provision of resources.
• Responsibilities for collection management decisions.

Furthermore, it emphasizes:

  • the importance of collaboration with school staff in collection development
  • the inclusion of the method used for reconsideration of resources (consistent with the principles of intellectual freedom and of children’s right to know).
  • the responsibility of the librarian to resist efforts to censor materials.
  • procedures for developing and managing the school library collection should be clearly laid out, in a separate document or as an appendix to the collection management policy document.

As with example 2, there is an emphasis on intellectual freedom and freedom of information that is more explicit than most Australian examples. The last point is very clear that the policy should be a stand-alone document. The more examples I see, the more I realise that some core sections are required, but there is the option to refer to specific procedures or other policies either briefly (with directives for where further information can be found) or as appendices.

Example 4- 500 Hats Sample Collection Policy

Barbara Braxton’s Sample Collection Policy is part of her 500 Hats blog with multiple resources that can be of value to the learner Teacher-Librarian.

The above screen snip from the web page gives an overview of the many sections recommended in the policy.

Following this introduction are extremely detailed guidelines for a collection development policy that prompt thought and show the level of detail that could be explored. I believe that an entire policy written in this amount of detail would alienate the (non-library staff member) reader. This example should be viewed as an example rather than a prescription. I really like how the generic selection criteria and challenged materials policy are added as appendices.

Example 5- St. Patricks Primary, Griffith

Library collection policy for St. Patrick’s school Griffith. (2015).

Finally, I wanted specifically a Catholic Primary School example. I hoped there would be a reference to the Catholic ethos of the school and because it is a Primary school, that the policy would be on the simplified side. I was not disappointed:

  • Unesco School Library Manifesto link (to St. Patrick’s Primary)
  • Rationale
  • The nature of our learners
  • The role of our collection
  • The nature of the collection (with some hyperlinks)
  • The selection of the collection (with appendices to general (1) and specific (2) selection criteria)
  • Acquisition of the collection (with  many hyperlinked selection aids)
  • Funding of the collection
  • Copyright
  • Weeding (A Guide to replacement times for non-fiction materials referenced in Appendix 4)
  • Challenged Materials (Note: A formal procedure will
    be documented, the challenge will be submitted in writing -see Appendix 3)
  • Policy review

On the surface, this policy is sound, clear, brief and easy to follow. There are short, authoritative and relevant quotes at the beginning of some sections suggesting a satisfactory depth of knowledge.

However, the bibliography reveals some strange hyperlinks in an attempt to link the reader with the source material. In this instance, it may have been better to leave the links unviable. I’m not sure about this. It is an area I shall have to explore further.

The abundance of broken links suggests that a review is overdue. Interestingly, Example 4  (500 Hats) was referenced extensively in the appendices, showing that the detail I mentioned was valuable for this purpose.

Another item to explore another time was that this policy was discovered first, separate to its library webpage. When I create a collection development policy for my school I will need to work out how I can keep it primarily discoverable through the library webpage. Not sure how to do this, but I should find out.

Conclusion

Whilst this study has been a rather long-winded process, it has helped to clarify what I believe should and shouldn’t be in a collection development policy. I shall explore and consolidate sources that support my opinion in a later post.

  • The balance of readability and adequate detail is difficult to achieve considering the intended audience are staff and the wider school community.
  • There is no one right way to write a collection development policy.
  • The link to multiple appendices helps to make policy flow much better without getting caught up in detail that may not have had much meaning for most readers.
  • Reference to guiding principles regarding access to information should be included.
  • The clear, balanced and concise collection development goals in example 3 are a highlight that I shall revisit.
  • A shorter, more frequently revisited policy (1-3 years) is preferable. 5 years seems too long.
  • No example (except 500 hats) included details on how collections are evaluated, which makes me wonder whether these are necessary for a policy document. If the culture of the school requires greater detail an appendix would be preferable.
  • I looked at many more examples of collection development policy than were included here. It seems that the bigger, wealthier and better resourced the school library, the more expectation there is to provide details of various policies and procedures (ie: St. Andrew’s Cathedral School)
  • Websites make the linking of further information so much easier. If you were writing a collection development policy for web publication you could expand and reduce sections and hyperlink to various other documents.
  • Ratification or who approves the policy is an area that some examples give details on and others don’t. If the policy includes collaboration and consideration by the wider school community (ideal) then it may be included, but then again, I do not know how many were approved and the individual (i.e. Principal) or organisation (i.e. School Council or Executive) was not named as a matter of process.
  • Remember, the collection development policy’s purpose is to inform and protect. More on this later.

 

References

Australian Library and Information Association Schools & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2017). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres. pp. 8-9. Retrieved from https://asla.org.au/policy-development-manual

Australian School Library Association. (2013).  Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved 17/01/2020 from https://asla.org.au/resources/Documents/Website%20Documents/Resources/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Bernstein, N. (2012). The Paideia school elementary library [collection development policy]. In Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development and management. Appendix C. pp. 495-498. Retrieved from Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=1711419&ppg=510

Braxton, B. (2014). Sample Collection Policy  [Website/blog]. Retrieved from http://500hats.edublogs.org/policies/sample-collection-policy

Library collection policy for St. Patrick’s school Griffith. (2015). Retrieved from http://web.spgww.catholic.edu.au/documents/policies/LibraryCollectionPolicy.pdf

Newton, L. (May 5, 2018.) Selection criteria rubric for Christian school libraries [downloadable rubric]. Accessed 17/01/2020 from http://www.librarianlisa.com/selection-criteria-rubric-for-christian-school-libraries/

Oberg, D., & Schultz-Jones, B. (eds.). (2015). 4.3.1 Collection management policies and procedures. In IFLA School Library Guidelines, (2nd ed.),  (pp. 33-34). Den Haag, Netherlands: IFLA. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/school-libraries-resource-centers/publications/ifla-school-library-guidelines.pdf

St. Andrew’s Cathedral School Library (SACS). (n.d.). Policies covering the operation and management of St Andrew’s Cathedral School Library [Web page]. Retrieved from http://library.sacs.nsw.edu.au/policies/

St. Patrick’s Library [webpage]. Accessed 17/01/2020 from http://web.spgww.catholic.edu.au/documents/library.html

 

 

 

5. Weeding

Useful Hints and Resources

I am adding to my arsenal. I am adding to this site as I go along as a practical guide and a reminder of how to proceed. I know a massive weed of the Non-Fiction is necessary, so I am trying to formulate in my mind the best way to do it. In my previous post (2.1 Who is responsible for resource selection?) I came up with a plan for deselection of the Non-Fiction collection. I was ready to roll and force staff to be exposed to my weeding efforts. I realise now that I have to do a few more steps before implementing my plan.

Long term Non-Fiction goal

A more meaningful collection with bays/sections for each faculty plus Fun Facts, Biography, Hobbies/Special Interests, Seniors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Pre-Weeding

I need to get staff on-side first. Inspired by the video below I believe it may be best to involve faculties one by one and do some homework first.

Do my homework first

Do a faculty overview of subjects and topics taught and clarify this with faculty headteachers before any discussion of weeding resources. I need to improve my awareness of the curriculum and then show my awareness and willingness to resource the curriculum. I was ready to crack on and get rid of books a.s.a.p, but I need to be aware of resource needs and clarify and confirm this with faculties.

Colleague, Principal, Headteacher, Faculty, Whole staff.

Colleague. I can draft some specific Non-Fiction collection development goals and strategies for measurement as a starting point. I need to get my colleague on board to understand that I am not going to involve her in the onerous task of culling the Non-Fiction collection alone. I rely on her expertise to extract Oliver data as she was the one who implemented it in our school and knows it best. We can then use this data to begin a discussion with faculties. We need to work together to create a collection development policy suitable for our future library webpage.

Principal. I realise now why my Principal was so overwhelmed by the Collection Management Policies and Procedures document that my colleague presented to him at the end of term 4. Most of the document was only useful for our library staff. A Collection Development Policy and Procedures section sits within the document that is more understandable to general staff. Looking at it now I see that there are still sections that are missing and are excessive to be truly meaningful to staff and parents. Being explicit about my intentions and keeping my discussion with him relevant to the school’s strategic plan and school values will be important. I should avoid using him as a sounding board and keep my collection-related discussion as concise as possible (that will be difficult).

Headteachers. Approach headteachers separately to clarify my understanding of subjects, topics, and assessments. I have a curriculum map template in my head derived from the video below (at 3 minutes 13 seconds in) that is based on terms rather than months.

  • Have hard copies of subject and year level curriculum map overview documents to write on.
  • Present edited digital copies for confirmation (Google docs.)
  • Do my homework with what we have in our collection from Oliver that supports the curriculum. (Remember to check the Fiction collection for English to highlight what is available, rather than invite weeding advice.)
  • Print hard copies from Oliver of resource lists.
  • Negotiate faculty meeting time for staff consultation in the Resource Centre.
  • Label sections in the Resource Centre Non-Fiction collection that contain relevant resources.

Faculty staff. Staff are given the opportunity to decide what resources are useful and what are not. I will also have two lists for staff to make notes on; physical resource suggestions and digital resource suggestions. Relevant collection development suggestions need to be written down and later confirmed with the Headteacher. The first video had very practical advice about types of categories you could have for post-it notes to label piles:

  • Resources to promote to students (display potential- perhaps put a dot on these).
  • Resources to be replaced (hard copy or digital -use my lists).
  • Topics to be replaced.
  • Items for mending.
  • Items to transfer to teacher resources.
  • Items to reclassify to be more easily found (i.e. from Faculty to Senior Students sections).
  • Items for weeding.

(Return books to the shelf and put aside any that may be suitable as special interest books.)

Whole staff and students. Way down the track I can invite whole staff consultation of general resources in Non-Fiction that are not faculty based at the same time as I consult students.

Summary

  • Document my approach and intention.
  • Use Oliver to see which Non-Fiction resources have not been borrowed in the last 3-5 years.
  • Develop a current collection overview using charts and brief, easily understood information on how little the collection is being used and how the Resource Centre would like to do a better job of resourcing the curriculum.
  • Draft some specific Non-Fiction collection development goals and strategies for measurement in consultation with my colleague.
  • Explain the goals and NF collection overview to Principal and get his support.
  • Ask the Principal to explain to Headteachers and get their support before proceeding. I must have them onside first.
  • Let the whole staff know of my approach and intentions (no backing out now.)
  • Develop a subject and year level overview template.
  • Do my homework and have information available for resourcing the curriculum discussion with Headteachers.
  • Involve staff and students in decision making about weeding.
  • Expect everything to take so much longer than I want.

 

Other resources to remember:

LaGarde, J. (2013, October 1). Keeping your library collection smelling F.R.E.S.H! [blog post]. The adventures of Library Girl. Retrieved from http://www.librarygirl.net/2013/10/keeping-your-library-collection.html

 

 

 

References

NationalLibraryNZ. (2014, March 30). Weeding your School Library [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogUdxIfItqg&feature=youtu.be

ktatdominican. (2013). Collection mapping in a high school library [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/5lUECMzV3aI

5. Methods of Evaluating Collections

Activity Grigg (2012) identifies the following methods of evaluating collections.

  1. Usage data
  2. Overlap analysis
  3. Survey instruments
  4. Benchmarking
  5. Focus groups
  6. Balanced scorecard method

Consider models and methods for collection evaluation which may effectively relate to the learning and teaching context, the needs of users and the school library collection within your school, or in a school with which you are familiar.

I got really bogged down in how to answer this as what I do and what I plan to do as well as the approach to Fiction and Non-Fiction are variables. I had many false starts and decided a table may work best. It is based on Johnson’s, (2014) figure 7.1 (p. 302) and definitions (p. 302-304).

What are the practicalities of undertaking a collection evaluation within a school in terms of time, staffing, and priorities, as well as appropriateness of methodology.

 Most collection evaluation undertaken to date has had minimal impact on staff other than library staff. My planned collection evaluation, however, and foray into digital resources shall be very time consuming and will require collaboration from staff.

Accelerated Reader was implemented for year 8 students from term 4 2018. It involved considerable collection evaluation. I had to learn the process of comparing our collection to books that were part of the program. It was then a massive undertaking to label the books before the end of 2018, ready for action in 2019. There was also the periodical checking to see if any new quizzes had been created for resources we already had and the checking of newly purchased resources at the point of processing. There was a lot to learn and the main Library SASS staff member and myself got quite good at it. Sadly, there were issues providing adequate space in the curriculum to read, so ultimately it was unsuccessful.

What was a bonus from the experience was how well I got to know our collection (Fiction especially) and how popularity information for AR resources helped to shape and ultimately improve it. We received extra funding for the initiative, so

What is a priority to me is not a priority for other staff. I want to do my job well by providing resources that support the curriculum and encourage reading for pleasure. However, I do have a difficult task ahead of me (as I noted in 2.1 where), all teachers believe that their subject is the most important and are not particularly interested in collaborating with the teacher-librarian.

 How does the need for, and possible benefits of an evaluation of the collection outweigh the difficulties of undertaking such an evaluation?

 If you are passionate about improvement in servicing your school community, then you do what is required. Evaluation of the collection is a necessary component of the TL role as well as a way of showing that we are doing our job.

Furthermore, sometimes, you just can’t ignore a problem anymore and have to do something about it. I realise there needs to be a complete overhaul of our Non-Fiction collection and it requires input from staff. In essence, I am asking staff to take ownership of the issue of students ‘Googling’ rather than using the books for research and assignments. It is a school-wide problem and if we are interested in teaching students how to be discerning users of information then it needs a united approach.

More than anything I need to foster relationships and processes that connect the users with resources (DF 1.2). I will have an informal log for this to remind myself that this is my overarching goal for 2020.

Is it better to use a simple process with limited but useful outcomes, or to use the most appropriate methodology in terms of outcomes?

 This depends very much on time limitations, who is driving the evaluation priority and what exactly you want to know. Simple is always preferable, but only if it fulfills your aim. 

What are the current priority areas for evaluation in your school library collection?

Collection development priority: Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction! Weed it then provide quality digital resources on the LMS.

Therefore, I have to extract circulation statistics for the Non-Fiction collection to show the lack of use and use select data from the recent Collection Management Policies and Procedures for my school as a starting point.

Then I must make it very clear that the way forward (in order of simplicity and) is to:

  • Inform staff of my intention to do a better job of resourcing the curriculum and invite collaboration.
  • Establish specific Non-Fiction collection goals and strategies for measurement (where possible) that my colleague and Principal support.
  • Trial Weblinks with a focus group and receive feedback
  • Create a LearnPath draft (probably an HSIE pathfinder initially)
  • Reconfigure and extensively weed the Non-Fiction collection
  • Work out how I can evaluate access to the digital collection
  • Ensure I don’t try to do too much as collection management is only part of my role!

Collection Mapping and an Overview of Curriculum

I love the idea of having an overview of topics and assignments across the school so that collection mapping can occur. Problem is, I have been here before, and it didn’t go so well.

There was a significant focus at my school to work collaboratively, especially across faculties, to deliver the curriculum. When I first started in the library, I floundered through our school intranet trying to find subject scope and sequences, assessment tasks and topics. I was amazed that there was no clear and consistent record of what was being taught that was readily accessible to staff. How on earth were we supposed to collaborate across faculties if we were insular and did not make known what we were doing?

I was optimistic, I came up with a plan to fix this issue. So, one of the first things I did when I started in the library was create a Google docs template for each faculty and negotiate a whole staff meeting time to explain my aim and provide time to fill out the Google docs. I thought that if I provided time for staff to collaborate in faculties to divide and conquer it would not be such a difficult task.

What I didn’t expect was the general apathy most staff had for the task. There was a bit of an attitude “we know what we are doing, thank you very much.” They understood the aim, but did not see the value of the exercise (what was in it for them?) History and English had a crack, but even my Faculty Head was not particularly supportive. There seemed to be resentment about that extra work being created when they didn’t really care what everyone else was doing. Afterward, the Deputy Principal admitted that they had tried and failed several times before to do what I was attempting.

But, I am older, wiser, the rose-coloured glasses are off about staff caring about “the big picture” and I am more realistic about what I can achieve.

 

References

Grigg, K. (2012). ‘Assessment and evaluation of e-book collections’ in R. Kaplan (Ed.), Building and managing e-book collections (p. 128).

Johnson, P. (2014). Fundamentals of collection development and management [American Library Association version]. (pp. 302-304).

4. Unintentional collections

Fire, smoke wind and weather tracking

In an attempt to exorcise my obsession and try to get on with my life I am adding examples of some of the information sources that I have recently learnt about (and obsessed over) in my attempts to predict what will happen and reassure myself that loved ones are safe. The recent fires have had a significant impact on my community and even more so on my brothers and parents. I feared for their lives not once, but twice within a week. One brother lost his livelihood on New Year’s Eve and another his house on the 4th January. My parents lost haysheds, fences and infrastructure. They all still have no power. They now have to deal with burnt cattle and not enough to feed them. They are showing signs of trauma and shock and the fires between us mean I am not able to go to them.

So when there was no phone contact I feared the worst and found various ways to get information that was new to me.

Fires near me NSW

My most frequently check apps on my phone. Also available online.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me

Screen save from 5th January.

Spread from Corryong and Tumut across to the coast.

 

Narrow missing of Batlow, Adelong and Talbingo townships closer to home.

Vic Emergency

https://www.emergency.vic.gov.au

My family has homesteads and property in the burnt areas west of Corryong and in Towong. Property in Walwa and Tintaldra also burnt.

Sentinel Hotspots

Geoscience Australia. (n.d.). Sentinel Hotspots. [Screenshot with added highlights]. Retrieved 5th January 2020 from https://sentinel.ga.gov.au/#/ CC-BY 3.0.

Note: “Himawari-8 Mosaic” at bottom of screen indicates the Japanese Satellite informed this map. Also indicates hotspot.dea.ga.gov.au will become new site. Tumut and Towong area fires are also more extensive than shown.

Windy.com

https://www.windy.com/-NO2-no2?cams,no2,-36.660,147.925,8

Shows visual of air quality over Victoria.

Airvisual.com

Air quality at Canberra

AirVisual. Florey – Canberra air quality index. Retrieved 5th January 2020 https://www.airvisual.com/australia/act/canberra/florey

 

Air quality ranking https://www.airvisual.com/world-air-quality-ranking

Social Media

Daughter used Snapchat to see where her friends were (and if they were safe) and map hotspots, were she could view public videos and images. This was useful to see what was really happening in nearby towns that were under threat of fire.

Daughter also shared Instagram posts by niece showed oncoming fire near Walwa on New Year’s Eve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Able to learn: A new perspective

Awaiting News

This is not a “Happy New Year”. I can not get in contact with my parents and brothers (and their families) due to fire. I am worried and completely distracted. We also have a fire nearby (between here and my family). I get a glimpse of how awful it has been for so many Australians affected by bushfires lately.

In the school where I work, staff have had professional development about the effect of trauma on students. Essentially, students who have experienced trauma or who continue to feel unsafe or unloved may behave in ways that are not desirable as they are not in the headspace to learn. Understanding or recognising undesirable behaviour as trauma-informed changes how you react to it. As a mother, I have marveled at how some high school student actions can be so ridiculous (like toddlers having a tantrum), where any attention, even bad attention is better than being ignored. With particular students, I pause and take even more care than normal with my actions and reactions.

Able to learn- emotionally

So, as I await news of my family I find myself completely distracted. We are surrounded by smoke, my kids are pretty freaked out, my husband (who was supposed to be on leave) is in at work due to fires and I think I can begin to understand how students may feel with a difficult background. Who cares about algebra when you’re hungry or essay constructions when you feel scared or scarred.

This is a reminder that you have to be in the right place to begin to learn and part of our job as Teacher-Librarians is to nurture students, give them a safe space between classes, be a sounding board (who doesn’t routinely teach them) and a trusted adult they can practice talking to and who likes them for who they are and not how well they learn.

Able to learn- digital access

Before current events, my biggest drama was trying to get Assessment task 1 completed by the due date and cope with all the end of school activities (right up until Friday 20th December). Two weekends out from the AT1 due date there was a sad event that saw a man set the local Telstra sub-station alight, which took out mobile and Wifi coverage in my area for 48 hours (3 pm Fri-3 pm Sun).

Oh, how we take our digital access for granted!

  • On Saturday morning, a mother of a year 8 student reported that her son was at a loss at what to do with himself, declaring “What did you guys do before you had phones?”
  • As for me, the panic and fear of failure that I felt were quite frightening as I had relied on the weekend to be productive for study. I drove until I got mobile coverage, rang parents, checked the opening time for the Wagga Regional Library (75 minutes away) and prepared plan B.
  • Bless Public Libraries and their free WiFi. I spent five very productive hours at the Wagga Regional Library, eating from their vending machine and avoiding distractions that would have occurred at home. Yes, I had to drive for two and a half hours, but it was worth it.

In our age of smartphones and BYOD, there are students who do not have access to a printer, a home computer or a mobile phone. The divide is real between those who do have access and those who do not.

no-wifi-icon | Paille | flickr.com

I am reminded of my post from 4th May 2019 in relation to my school (extract below):

4 Stages of Information Literacy- a digital literacy focus

We are struggling to get students to the third stage with definite gaps in understanding. A register of ICT activities (not a continuum yet) across faculties would be the first step to addressing some of these gaps.

1) Functional Computer and ICT literacy
2) Research: Purposeful information seeking, acquistion & management Being able to find what students are looking for successfully. Store and retrieve information.
3) Ethical & criticial repurposing of information Referencing, not plagarising. Repurposing or using information in a moral, culturally sensitive & critical way.
4) Global Citizenship Publishing & interacting as a citizen of the world (wider audience.)

A New Perspective- summarised

  • When you are worried about those you love and you have to come up with your own fire plan, it makes you realise what is really important.
  • Some students have difficulty learning because emotionally they are not in the headspace to learn. How as a TL can we support these students?
  • We take access to digital information for granted. Remember there are those who do not have ready access. How as a TL can we support these students?
  • With plans to increase the availability of digital resources, how do I ensure I do not further alienate disadvantaged students?

https://miro.medium.com/max/4983/1*JGFbsd9l6gpijJd23KTDrg.png

2.1 Who is responsible for resource selection?

Discuss how the teacher librarian’s expertise and role is different from that required by all teachers.

The Teacher Librarian has a whole school perspective that sets them apart from other teachers. I find that in my high school, all teachers believe that their subject is the most important and it is this tunnel vision that makes collaboration with other faculties for the Teacher Librarian difficult. Unfortunately, the Teacher Librarian has trouble doing their job and resourcing the curriculum without collaboration.

The result is demonstrated in the chart from a 2013 SCIS survey of school library collections,  with a disconnect between available resources and how much they are used. (I am not alone!)

Deselection of the Non-Fiction collection

As mentioned in my previous post, I plan to reimagine the Non-Fiction collection and I just worked out how I could involve staff and students.

Essentially, I think that deselection will be the important first step to start a conversation with staff about what resources are needed in the Resource Centre collection.

  • Organise to have a section of the collection laid out for consideration prior to our fortnightly whole staff meeting.
  • Have two coloured post-its on the books (one for students and one for staff). Staff and students add their names to resources they think are valuable and should be kept.
  • Staff place resources in faculty boxes that are identified by staff as keepers.
  • There would also be a rejection box.
  • Students get a chance to cast their votes also.
  • The TL could loosely group books in faculty areas to make the task easier.
  • The TL can advise faculties prior to the meeting whether there may be multiple resources available for consideration. Staff can take their shortlisted box back to their faculty for discussion at their Faculty Meeting the following week (if I think the box and resources will be returned).
  • The following fortnight, a new selection is laid out for consideration.
  • I can make the most of whole staff meetings taking place in the Resource Centre to regularly break down what potentially could be an overwhelming task and involve staff and students. Win! Win!
  • Then let the conversation between users and the TL about what resources are needed in the Resource Centre begin…

jambulboy / Pixabay

Share ideas on how teacher librarians might effectively collaborate with the school community in the selection of resources in a school with which you are familiar.

In my high school library where there is a considerable disconnect between the TL and staff for resourcing the curriculum:

  • Allocate to faculties a (token) amount, i.e. $200 for resources to go in the Resource Centre for students. Staff are asked to identify topics or resources. If they don’t select or give me any suggestions or requests, the RC keeps the money.
  • Prioritise resources for the cross-curricula priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, as this is especially relevant to our school.
  • Offer to curate a Libguide for a topic ( once I have my planned ‘new beaut’ website up and running).

This is all well down the track for me though. The first step is the Non-Fiction cull. The more I reflect and write down my ideas, the more possible they become. I suppose that is the point of this reflection. Hmmmm……

 

References

Schools Catalogue Information Services. (2013). School library collections survey 2013Connections, 88. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_88_2014/articles/school_library_collections_survey_2013.html

1.3 Resourcing A Topic – Initial Ideas

Task: Choose a level of teaching and a curriculum topic and explore that area.  Consider how you might go about resourcing that topic.

  • What types of resources would you provide?
  • How/where would you find them?

Vikings- Year 8 History

In ETL 401 I developed a unit plan “Why should Thor have all the Thunder?” The topic was to suggest a personality or character and their quest to feature in a Viking computer game. Part of the introduction requires snippets of Viking portrayals from current popular culture. The aim of the introduction is to start the topic with a bang, so in an ideal world, I would piece together visuals and clips, rather than tediously click through multiple sources. Thor, Vikings SBS series (edited, sanitized),  Video game stills. How I would do this I am yet to work out. Care would be taken to avoid gore and violence.

Visuals, visuals, visuals.

Garyuk31 / Pixabay

Stage 4 NSW DOE students can not access videos, so access to short, useful videos could be good. There are lots of longer Viking videos on Clickview, but one by SBS for 15 minutes is a good overview. Horrible Histories for 28 minutes could be worthwhile also.

Scootle and ABC Education

A quick look identified 12 Scootle resources linked to the Australian Curriculum. How to smell like a Norman Knight by ABC Education. (2011). 2 mins. 8 sec. video a possibility.

Books

To supplement textbook information,  good quality information books with sections especially relevant to the study can be copied and displayed for the duration of the study. My sons own these books, but they are great examples of highly engaging information books that could be used:

Front Cover

What happened when in the world by DK books pp. 54-55 has an awesome Vikings double-paged map with information that gives a great visual overview.

Front Cover

The Norse World from pp. 75-80 in the Myth Atlas is another fabulous resource.

Summary

In short, I would provide visually rich resources with information that is different to but complement the textbooks they would be referring to earlier in the unit. Exciting, engaging and useful are key. The other important factor is how I use the resources. The Teacher-Librarian can distinguish themselves by structuring how they deliver the information. Using the Library space to create student groupings, presentations, displays, and even games can be an advantage.

 

References

The Vikings in What happened when in the world: History as you’ve never seen it before! (2015). (pp. 54-55). Dorling Kindersley: London.

Moraes, T. (2018). The norse world in World myth atlas: Maps and monsters, heroes and gods from twelve mythological worlds. (pp. 75-80). Alison Green Books: London.

1.2 Definitions of Collection Management and Collection Development

A definition

Management implies a set of decisions and actions that are essentially more involved than development. For example, the role of a football team manager is much more expansive than a football team development (officer). Essentially the manager should identify what development is required. Similarly, library collection management is a set of decisions and actions that are undertaken by the librarian to keep the library functioning. However, collection development should ideally be informed by the school community. This is the area that I find most interesting and problematic.

Reading for pleasure

This is the easy one because it involves asking the students. This can take the form of formal surveys through to informal student requests. I make a point of giving a student my full attention if they want to discuss a book they have read. I ask if they enjoyed a book upon return and never make them feel bad if they haven’t. Instead, I try to find out why it wasn’t right for them so that I can file that information away and be available to help them find something more suitable next time.

I have approached my principal to increase funding to specifically cater to student requests on a regular basis. I am also lucky because my children are readers and significantly inform my general knowledge of books that are popular and what they are about. I am always comparing book catalogues and suppliers for recommendations and the best price.

Fiction 

I have made significant inroads into updating our fiction collection to include popular “middle school” novels and series that are accessible and familiar to stage 4 students. Increasing the number of graphic novels, picture books and books including drawings (i.e. Diary of a Wimpy kid, Tom Gates, etc) have been a collection development focus. Series and books with lots of illustrations (cartoons, picture books, and graphic novels) are in away from the rest of the collection, which has been a very popular move. The seeds have been sown for genrefiction, but more about this another time with my reflection of ETL 505 Describing Educational Resources.

Pexels / Pixabay

Non-Fiction

The non-fiction collection is somewhat more problematic as new books get lost in the sea of old books once they leave the new books display. Whilst the bulk of our student interest books are fiction, students have specifically identified biographies, fun factbooks (i.e. Guinness World Book of Records) and special interest books (i.e. bull-riding, hunting) as favourites.

The disconnect between Faculties and the High School Library

More often than not, staff order faculty-specific resources and store them in their staff rooms rather than in the “Resource Centre”. We have a stagnating non-fiction collection where most books are rarely accessed by students for research tasks and assignments because they are old and daggy and because they prefer to Google everything. Most staff book a computer room for research. HSIE staff are most likely to ask students to use books. It was interesting to watch a new teacher instruct his students to find books on a topic without checking the availability and quality of the resources available first. Suffice to say, he was disappointed. But how is a Teacher Librarian to know how to resource the curriculum if staff are not in the habit of requesting resources or accessing them even when they are in the collection?

Analysis of the Collection Management Policies and Procedures prepared by my colleague this month, confirms the sad state of affairs with limited or ad hoc consultation with staff, the average age of the collection exceeding 10 years and an aim of 1% turnover of Non-Fiction collection annually (10% recommended) which is likely to be hampered by funding restrictions.

 

Gellinger / Pixabay

Renewing the dialogue between staff and the teacher-librarian.

Eventually, I plan to hand the responsibility of the Non-Fiction books back to faculties. I want them to decide what they want to be in their bay(s). I anticipate Maths will be minimal and most of the other faculties will massively cull what they think is important. History resources are likely to be my largest collection. I will then have a Fun Facts, Biography, Hobbies/Special Interests, Seniors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sections. It will be difficult but worth it to reinvigorate the collection and make the forest visible through the trees.

Final thoughts

Library collection management is easy if you operate in a bubble, you can develop your collection as you see fit. However, this should not be the aim of a Teacher Librarian. It is not a case of ‘build it and they will come’. There is little point having an amazing collection if it is not used and you are unlikely to develop an amazing collection if you are not in tune with the needs of staff and students. The theory is always easier than practice and the true challenge is to foster relationships and processes that connect the users with resources.

 

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