I began this unit feeling very anxious about my lack of experience working in a library and my current lack of access to a school library. I learn best by seeing and then doing, so this practical unit, crucial to the role of teacher librarian did at times present me with challenges.
The case studies from Henley High School (Mitchell, 2014b) were a confronting introduction to the unit. It challenged my feelings about the role of the school library and my initial blog post for Module 1 (Ferdinand, 28th February), was an opportunity for me to explore what I believed to be important aspects of school library collections. I believe that a challenge for teacher librarians is balancing the print and digital collection, ensuring a professionally managed and well-resourced library that provides ‘sophisticated 21st century learning environments, offering equal opportunities for achievement to all students (NCLIS, 2008, p. 1).
Completing the model collection proposal reinforced that print and digital resources are complimentary not exclusionary, and it is essential in the primary school setting to have a collection that reflects the learning needs of the community. Students still require access to both print and digital resources, as both formats have an important place in the primary school library where they are used for different purposes, together creating rich learning experiences (Johnson, 2009). Planning for a model collection was a challenging and thought-provoking task. One of the initial challenges was, not working in a school at the moment, having an actual school context with which to work. This highlighted to me, just how important it is to know your community and in order to develop a collection that is responsive to its needs.
In my post ‘Thoughts on the purpose and role of the library’ (Ferdinand, 3rd March) I explored the challenges facing libraries in a digital age when many people still hold pre-information age understandings of the role of the library. Learnings from Module 5 (Mitchell, 2014a) demonstrated the necessity for the teacher librarian to provide as much information as possible to the school leadership team and the school community at large about the role of the library in meeting the teaching and learning needs of the school in the 21st century. Ongoing evaluation of the collection, and the sharing of the results of that evaluation, creating an annual report on the goals, objectives and achievements of the library where not functions of the library that I was familiar with, yet have come to see as a vital function of ensuring the library not only has sufficient funding, but an established and respected role within the school community.
My success with the first assignment, demonstrated to me, that my 20 years of searching for resources as a classroom teacher has given me a strong background for resource collection and I thoroughly enjoyed accessing unfamiliar selection aids and exploring their potential for finding resources.
I enjoyed taking the time in Module 6.2 (Mitchell, 2014c) to analyse two collection policies against Braxton’s Sample collection policy (Braxton, 2014). The blog post of my analysis (Ferdinand, 17th May) demonstrates how this process helped me to understand the importance of documenting the collection management process, to ensure the collection is well managed in its selection and growth (Debowski, 2001, p. 127).
It has been beneficial to see where I currently have strengths in regards to collection development as this has helped me to frame where my weaknesses lie. Along with the administration procedures of managing resources, I see the priorities for my own practice being directed towards developing collection evaluation skills and exploring the variety of evaluation strategies discussed throughout the unit.
At the conclusion of this unit, I have accumulated a wealth of information about the development and management of libraries collections and learnt so much that I am very keen to put into practice. My regret is that I will not have an opportunity to do so for at least another 12 months!
Braxton, B. (2014). Sample Collection Policy. In 500 hats: the teacher librarian in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://500hats.edublogs.org/policies/sample-collection-policy/
Debowski, S. (2001). Collection management policies. In K. Dillon, J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds.), Providing more with less : collection management for school libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 126-136). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Ferdinand, J. (28th February, 2014). Libraries and their collections – initial thoughts from the introduction. In The tales of a travelling librarian. Retrieved from http://thetalesofatravellinglibrarian.blogspot.ca/2014/02/libraries-and-their-collections-initial.html
Ferdinand, J. (3rd March, 2014). Thoughts on the purpose and role of the library. In The tales of a travelling librarian. Retrieved from http://thetalesofatravellinglibrarian.blogspot.ca/2014/03/is-collection-of-resources-fundamental.html
Ferdinand, J. (17th May, 2014). Analysing collection management policies. In The tales of a travelling librarian. Retrieved from http://thetalesofatravellinglibrarian.blogspot.ca/2014/05/analysing-collection-management-policies.html
Johnson, D. (2009) Budgeting for mean lean times part 2. In The blue skunk blog. Retrieved from http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2009/12/19/budgeting-for-mean-lean-times-part-2.html
Mitchell, P. (2014a). Evaluating Collections [Module 5] Retrieved May 31, 2014, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL503_201430_W_D/page/107347c1-3a72-453a-8091-13f98fefcf2c
Mitchell, P. (2014b). The school library collection in the context of teaching and learning and the digital environment [Module 1.1] Retrieved May 31, 2014, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL503_201430_W_D/page/107347c1-3a72-453a-8091-13f98fefcf2c
Mitchell, P. (2014c). What should a collection policy contain [Module 6.2] Retrieved May 31, 2014, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL503_201430_W_D/page/107347c1-3a72-453a-8091-13f98fefcf2c
NCLIS (U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science). (2008). School libraries work! Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/s/slw3_2008.pdf