Monday, 2 June 2014

Assessment Item 2 - Part C

Assessment Item 2 – Part C
I have visited the town library, the school library and the University library many times as a reader, a parent, and a teacher and as a student.  I took for granted the books on the shelves, never wondering what a time consuming task it would have been to gather the resources.   I did wonder however who was choosing the books that were on those shelves.

As I planned for a model collection, I was overwhelmed by the responsibilities the teacher librarian has.  It’s not just buying books.  Collection development is a strategic plan with all components relying on each other; concentrating on meeting the needs of the user. 

It is essential schools have a Collection Management Policy, which is written down, stating clear goals and purposes of the library and how those goals will be achieved. (Mitchell, 2014).  A collection management policy is more than a guide to collecting materials.  It compels library leaders and their staff to consider the aims and objectives of the library and all of the related components.  It’s not just about the resources.  The collection management policy not only assists with the development of the resource collection, but also budgeting, challenges, weeding and cancellation of digital and printed subscriptions. (IFLA, 2001).  The needs of library users are changing, therefore changing the needs of the library.

The continual evaluation of the library collection, including weeding, keeps the resources fresh and in circulation.  Information needs to be relevant, up to date and accurate as well as being presented in a user-friendly format; readers do judge a book by its cover. (LaGarde, 2013).  Chen (2010) wrote about the importance of giving users what they want, especially when it involves popular fiction books.  The best way to keep students coming in to use the library, and its resources, is to provide not only books they want to read, but also services they need for learning.  The IFLA trend report highlights the growing need for students to develop information literacy skills such as basic reading and competence with digital tools (IFLA, 2013).  These skills will open opportunities for students as the digital world becomes commonplace in the learning market.

I have previously blogged about the role of the teacher librarian, however, completing a proposal for a library collection further highlighted to me the value and importance of that role; promoting and providing literature and literacy learning for all students, maintaining a physical and virtual presence in the teaching and learning agenda of a school, advocating for students to become effective and ethical users of ideas and for the library program to be fully embedded in teaching. (Kowalski, 2014).

It is true, “A librarian’s ability to find quality texts, like all good magic acts, blends art and science to amaze the audience” (Harris, 2012).


·      Chen, K. (2010). Give Them What They Want. School Library Journal , 56
 (10), 29-32.
·      Harris, C. (2012). A Librarian's tricks for finding those complex texts cited
            in Common Core. School Library Journal , 12.
·      IFLA. (2001). Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy using the
Conspectus Model. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from International Federation of Library Associations:
·      IFLA. (2013, August). Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide: Navigating
the Evolving Information Environment. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from IFLA Trend Report:
·      Kowalski, S. (2014). Rethinking the Possiblities @ Your Library.
 Knowledge Quest , 42 (4).
·      LaGarde, J. (2013, October 1). Keeping Your Library Collection Smelling
Fresh. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from The Adventures of Library Girl:
·      Mitchell, P. (2014). Collection Management Policy [ETL503 Module 6
201430WD]. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY: http//

Who chooses the books? How do they know which ones to choose?

I have been to the library many times, in many different capacities.  I didn't ever wonder how the books got onto the shelves, but I did wonder who was choosing the books and how they chose them.  Did the librarian go to Dymocks?  Did they librarian have a massive Lucky Bookclub catalogue to peruse?

Selection Aids help teacher librarians to find out what resources are available for acquisition for the library.  Promotions from suppliers, recommendations from colleagues and users, bibliographic services and reviews are all selection aids.

In some libraries, a representative from a book supplier or book publisher will come to the library with books and catalogues for the teacher librarian to look through and then choose whether they would like to buy any of the books. One advantage of this is that the teacher librarian gets to handle the book and take a good look inside.  It can also be a disadvantage as the representative will be biased toward their own products regardless of their quality.  The same could be said for viewing a publishers catalogue, although you don't get to touch the books.

Recommendations can often be very effective selection aids.  If a resource is recommended, it is often done so with some authority, i.e someone who has used the book recommends it.  Recommendations can also be in the form of advertisements, reviews and personal bias.  Australian Standing Orders provides reliable, quality resources that meet requirements of the Australian Curriculum are used by many schools.  ASO provide a number of books to the school every month for a flat rate.  There are different packages of resources to choose from. My school uses ASO because of the quality of the books and their relevance to the learning curriculum.

Bibliographic services like SCiS can be relied upon for relevant resources and popularity.  There are over 1.5 million resources on SCiS.

Reviews in journals, online reviews and social media are also effective selection aids when it comes to resources.  If users don't rate a resource, they will let the public know.  Social networking and colleague recommendations through discussions groups are also highly effective.

In combination with the library selection policy, this is how the books and other resources are chosen for a library.

Confessions of a would be blogger......

My first confession is that I would like to be a better blogger, but I am not.

My second confession is that I am a little bit passé when it comes to some things in the library....the operative word being SOME things.
Shhhhh!! Don't tell anyone.

There are so many different forms of resources to be considered in a library.  Librarians are challenged by material costs as well as the vast number of publications.  Material costs have increased substantially.
Keeping up to date with the ever expanding media environment is integral to keeping the library alive and in circulation.  Failing to house resources from a wide variety of formats, ignores a wealth of information.
There should be current technology available in the library, not for everybody to use all at once, but enough for students to learn how to work it, learn how to use it to effect and then use those skills to participate, produce and contribute to the learning curriculum.

I love using the Kindle.  I love that it fits in my handbag without my arm breaking.  I love that the screen is backlit so that I can lie in bed with the light off and not disturb anyone.

Here is the part where I am a little bit old fashioned.....

I am a primary school teacher by trade and I think kids need books.  To have a favourite book, to recognise it by its cover, to dog ear the corner to bookmark where they are up to, to lend a book to a friend because they loved it.
I love that you can choose a book from the shelf, look through it, check out the text, the format, the size of the print.  I love that you can go past the books on the shelf and recognise what they are; there's Harry Potter, there's Geronimo Stilton, there's Trixie Belden....what!!!
You can tell if its popular by the condition it is in.  Kids need these skills just as much as they need information literacy skills.  These are precursory skills.  How do you choose a good book?  How do you know it will be any good to read?  How do you know if you will like the story? has blogged that we are not hoarders, we are librarians.  I wish we could be hoarders.  I would hoard all of my favourite stories from when I was a little girl right up to now as an adult.

It is important that any library collection is balanced with a variety of formats to meet the learning needs of users.  If these needs aren't being met, kids won't come to the library and classroom teachers won't collaborate with you because you haven't got the right resources.
A clear statement of goals and objectives of the school library will assist in developing a balanced collection of resources that will appeal to users and meet their learning needs.