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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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/