This assignment and unit has been essential for me to understand the importance of managing, developing and refining the school collection, for my specific school community. The idea of a ‘learner-centred’ collection (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005) has been cemented, a concept which I had up till now not even considered. This lack of knowledge has definitely contributed to me struggling with collection development in my current role. As stated in the Professional Standards For Teacher Librarians (Australian Library and Information Association, 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. I have begun to hone my skills of analysis to enable me to achieve this.
The need for the collection to be consistently reviewed and evaluated to reflect the needs of the school community requires a plan and collaboration. In terms of a practical system, the CREW guidelines (Larson, 2012) are an invaluable new revelation to me and I plan to implement a program based on this in my library. Making collection development a shared process where stakeholders’ contributions are welcomed is imperative, and this includes de-selection decisions also (National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools, 2012) to be truly inclusive. During this unit I have informed my Principal of the library policy regarding de-selection and consulted with teaching staff more closely. This has resulted in an improved relationship with staff and a start to a more efficient and targeted weeding process.
The role of the teacher librarian and expertise necessary to be effective just keeps becoming more complex as I learn more in this course. Particularly in this unit I have been made aware of how important it is to be an expert in curriculum, learning styles, format preferences and reading levels, and be at the cutting edge of new technologies. Resourcing the curriculum for learning and developing information literacy skills is the key aspect of the teacher librarian role. As the curriculum changes and technology continues to influence preferences of information formats, learning styles and communication methods, the teacher librarian must adapt to serve those needs. This includes the need to balance collections with a proportion of digital resources, despite the associated implications of licencing, copyright and management concerns.
Assignment one confirmed to me the time consuming nature and complexity of the selection process. In my earlier blog post, I did note that many hours were taken to carefully select and evaluate resources based on my newly created Selection Criteria. As stated in the ALIA Statement On Free Access To Information (Australian Library and Information Association, 2015) and the School Library Bill of Rights (Australian School Library Association, 2014) the teacher librarian has a duty to provide balanced and free access to all forms of information. Adhering to selection criteria combats censorship issues, particularly self-censorship and preferences for particular formats and ensures resources are evaluated on their own merits and in the context of the collection as a whole (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005; Johnson, 2009; Kennedy, 2006).
The usefulness of the selection criteria to inform de-selection also can not be understated, and the literature surrounding the negative nature of keeping out-dated and irrelevant resources (Beilharz, 2007; Larson, 2012) has given me confidence to attack my shelves with more authority. The notions that the best items in the collection are the ones being used, and that a good library is not necessarily the largest one, are my two take away messages regarding weeding.
This course has immediately impacted my practice in a positive way. I am more confident that I will be able to implement procedures to improve the current collection and respond to the needs of my school.
Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/standards-professional-excellence-teacher-librarians
Australian Library and Information Association. (2015). Statement on free access to information. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines/statement-free-access-information
Australian School Library Association. (2014). Policy statement – School library bill of rights. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/bill-of-rights.aspx
Beilharz, R. (2007). Secret library business – part 2. Connections, (63), 10–12. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/conn_page.html
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, J. (2006). Collection management: a concise introduction (Rev. ed). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Larson, J. (2012). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Austen, TX: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved from https://www.tsl.texas.gov/sites/default/files/public/tslac/ld/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod12.pdf
National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. (2012). Weeding guide. Retrieved from http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/school-libraries/building-and-managing-collection/weeding-guide