Priorities & Issues: Resourcing

This assignment has reinforced for me how integral the role of resourcing the curriculum is for the teacher librarian, and how methodical and meticulous one must be to do this job well. As stated in the ALIA professional standards (2004) an effective teacher librarian steers the learning community towards rich resources chosen for their specific requirements and ensures that they are implemented, managed and utilised with optimum results.

When selecting and acquiring materials the premise that the needs of teachers and students drive the decision making process is of utmost importance. This assignment has cemented for me the importance of catering for specific needs and when necessary altering selection criteria or other priorities to fulfill a ‘just in time, not just in case’ approach (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p. 43). Again, this task has highlighted the essential skill of collaboration, to effectively work with all stakeholders to assess, select and evaluate to ensure resources meet the needs of all.

Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005, p.36) argue that the teacher librarian must have a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum, the students and their specific needs and the status of current library resources in order to create a learner-centered collection. This assignment has resulted in me starting to reconsider the context for my own library, how well I know the existing collection, and how I might better gather this data from staff and students to accurately assess their learning needs.

The process of resourcing my chosen unit of work, made it very clear the importance of adhering to selection criteria to objectively assess the relevance and worth of resources, on their own merits and then in context of the whole collection (Johnson, 2009, p.112), to combat censorship and personal bias. This is applicable also for format selection in order to effectively respond to the need of a balanced collection to cater for varied learning styles.

As summarised in SCIS Connections (Kennedy, 2014), the School Library Collections Survey 2013 clearly showed one of the main concerns for school libraries is the collection being underused by both students and teachers. Promotion of available resources, both in print and digital format, needs to be relentless in order to penetrate the consciousness of the school community.

Taking advantage of the plethora of free websites available is a cost friendly way to add e-resources to the collection and ensures an engaging and contemporary collection. However, these resources also require a rigorous evaluation, curation, and promotion, in order for them to be appropriate and accessed easily. Thought must be given to how all formats will be stored, shelved, displayed and accessed in order to be beneficial. This has provoked me to ensure all e-resources have SCIS records and added to the catalogue in my own library for easier discovery, and a more rigorous approach to using our school LMS to promote the collection.

The selection and acquisition process must take into consideration the collection as a whole in terms of budget constraints, physical space and technology infrastructure limitations, and strive to maintain a balance of resources available. How best to acquire resources, through subscriptions, bundles, patron requests etc. and which suppliers are best in terms of efficiency and cost, needs consideration.

My understanding that it is the responsibility of the teacher librarian to demonstrate and provide accountability has increased. Money spent on the collection must be relevant and cost-effective. Debowski (2001) argues that a careful needs analysis of the collection and learners can aid budget management, and collection building, by pinpointing where money should be spent. This year in the interest of transparency I will endeavor to prepare an annual report, as advocated by McKenzie (2009) to maintain transparency of where money has been spent.

Finally, time management is an aspect to the resourcing process that has been a revelation to me while completing this assignment. The amount of time needed to accurately understand the curriculum, units of work, skills needed and teacher and students’ needs far exceeded my expectations. Further, a considerable amount of time was needed to consider possible resources, apply selection criteria and make note of them. I am aware that in the real world collaboration, the acquisition process and then finally promoting resources would require even more time! Making and managing time is a skill I need to keep working on.


Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection program funding management. In Dillon, K., Henri, J., & McGregor, J. (Eds.), Providing more with less: Collection management for school libraries (2nd ed., pp. 299–326). Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Johnson, P. (2009). Developing collections. In Fundamentals of collection development and management (2nd ed, pp. 103–108). Chicago: American Library Association.

Kennedy, C. (2014). School library collections survey 2013. SCIS Connections, (88). Retrieved from

Mckenzie, D. (2009, June 27). Library grits: Importance of creating an annual report [Blog]. Retrieved from


ETL501 Assignment 2 – Critical Reflection


My pathfinder was created to assist and guide students and teachers to locate quality resources for Year 9 History focusing on the area of World War 1 (ACARA, 2015b). The curriculum topic examines key historical events in the War, the Australian experience and the impact of war, particularly in Australia, and the significance of the ANZAC legend.


Learning outcomes for the pathfinder are based on the Literacy and ICT General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2015a). The descriptions in the pathfinder were synthesised from a range of Organising Elements; the following is a modified summary:

Literacy Capability

Students will interpret information that is spoken, written and visual and use strategies to access, understand and organise a range of sources of information.

This was based on Comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing.

 ICT Capability

Students will learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access information and ideas. 

This was based on:

Applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT –

  • recognise intellectual property
  • apply digital information security practices
  • apply personal security protocols

Investigating with ICT

  • define and plan information searches
  • locate, generate and access data and information
  • select and evaluate data and information.


I started my initial search for resources in my school library using the catalogue, keyword searches and simply by browsing the shelves and checking the teacher reference print resources. As these resources have already been selected using library criteria I focused on the needs of the unit set by the teacher and the students in class. My aim was to select firstly relevant texts for the assignments and cater to a range of reading levels.

I selected an encyclopedia on our shelves as a go-to general reference. The main purpose of this choice was to reinforce a culture shift towards seeking reliable sources to gain initial knowledge about topics, and avoiding Wikipedia, to experiment with keywords, and to reinforce the use of print materials in our reference section of the library. Also included are some online general reference sites to ensure that students have access to reference material at home and while working outside of the library on campus.

I found it very difficult to choose a search engine that produced results suitable for reading level and complexity. I rehearsed with a range of keywords how the students would search using Bing, Duck Duck Go and a range of other engines. The results were mixed and I did experience a feeling of frustration, overwhelmed by too much information, a very good reminder how my students must feel without assistance.

My search strategy for online resources was enhanced by my new knowledge of different search engines and advanced search options. After collecting a range of possibilities I applied the selection criteria I created in Assignment 1 to evaluate the sites against educational, informational and technical criteria. As prescribed by Herring (2011) I made sure to focus especially on choosing sites that firstly matched the learning intentions of the teacher and the needs of the target group. Once a site was selected I evaluated it for reading level using the online Readability Test Tool (Simpson, 2014). Effort was made also to ensure that the site fulfilled the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAC) version 2.0. This was very difficult, time consuming and often not possible.


The findings of Valenza (2004) and Combes (2009) that although young people do appear confident of their Internet skills, in reality they do not posses good search strategies and lack critical web evaluation skills are apparent daily in our library. They rely on Google and often do just pick the first result without thought, and without regard to copyright in most cases. In using this pathfinder time will be saved searching for resources and poor information literacy habits and impulsiveness as described by Kuiper, Volman & Terwell (2008) will decrease. With the inclusion of model referencing, students will be mindful of citing all sources of information, and the legal and ethical ramifications of plagiarism and copyright will be highlighted.


Creation of the pathfinder did make me reflect and refine my search strategies and make clear the importance of the website evaluation criteria to ensure the selection of quality resources that are relevant to the curriculum, reading level and needs of teachers and students. My understanding of the importance of scaffolding the information search process while affording some independence to learners (Valenza, 2007) has also developed.

I did struggle with how much help is appropriate so that the pathfinder did not inadvertently inhibit self-discovery but was guided by Kuntz (2003) who states that a pathfinder should be specific enough to guide the student to the data, but the student must do the work.

Pathfinders provide authentic opportunities for the Teacher Librarian to collaborate with teachers, embed information literacy into the curriculum and support students in Guided Inquiry. They can be used as an advocacy tool for the library and library staff to reinforce relevance and importance of the library to facilitate 21st century skills. As Hansen (2012, p.109) states the first step to gaining support for the library is to provide relevant resources to support the curriculum.


Creating this pathfinder has been very worthwhile and I am now planning to create more. Overall this subject has been very useful and relevant. Importantly is has highlighted to me skills I want to improve, such as: learning the best way to directly teach students website evaluation skills, how to integrate more ICT into the curriculum through more dynamic pathfinders and how to help students with developing search strategies.

Reference list

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015a). General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015b). History – Year 9. Retrieved from

Combes, B. (2009). Generation Y: Are they really digital natives or more like digital refugees. Synergy, 7(1), 31–40.

Hansen, M. A. (2012). Reference knowledge and skills for the school library media specialist: An emphasis on advocacy. The Reference Librarian, 53(1), 104–112. doi: 10.1080/02763877.2011.596076

Herring, J. (2011a). Evaluating Websites. In Improving students’ web use and information literacy a guide for teachers and teacher librarians (pp. 35–45). London: Facet.

Herring, J. (2011b). Web site evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Library Monthly, 27(8), 22–23.

Kuiper, E., Volman, M., & Terwel, J. (2008). Students’ use of web literacy skills and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating Web information. Information Research, 13(3). Retrieved from

Kuntz. (2003). Pathfinders: Helping students find paths to information. Multimedia Schools, 10(3). Retrieved from

Simpson, D. (2014). The Readability Test Tool. Retrieved from

Valenza, J. (2004). Substantive searching: thinking and behaving info-fluently. Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(3), 38–43.

Valenza, J. (2007). Ten reasons why your next pathfinder should be a wiki. Retrieved from