This post is lifted from Part C of my final assignment for ETL503: resourcing the curriculum.
My knowledge and understanding of the role and nature of the collection matured slowly but surely over the course of the semester rather than as an explosion in the process of writing this policy. This was almost exclusively due to the regular discussion of the issues involved with my TL.
He has spent hours with me, explaining in detail how the collection is managed and developed based on the module I was studying each week. His experience and knowledge was invaluable. He showed me the importance of delegation, collaboration and organisation as well as illuminating just how lucky he is to be in the position he is: TL nirvana, with a huge staff and almost unlimited budget and principal support.
As an interpersonal learner who struggles with the impersonal nature of distance learning, this weekly thrashing out of concerns, questions and issues with a real TL, face to face, has given me such a clear understanding of what the challenges of collection development. Most importantly, the incredibly important theory contained in the readings that was difficult for me to grasp was unpacked and given a tangible context.
My TL has given me unparalleled access to the collection, involving me in all aspects of it’s development. I was even given responsibility for selecting, acquiring and evaluating of aspects of the collection. These invaluable experiences have made real for me the issues I studied, allowing me to problem solve in actuality, not in theory. I could see how my weaknesses, strengths, knowledge and expertise as a learner, leader and manager impact on the collection firsthand.
Surprisingly, the process of writing this policy has still been challenging, exciting and far more involved than I ever thought possible, despite all the work I knew was involved. Having to clearly, succinctly and positively document the beliefs and practices that are currently in place or ones that should be in place was difficult. The task was made even harder by the blurry lines between policy and procedure – the need for both has been made remarkably clear.
I found the murky issues surrounding eReaders to be especially fascinating and frustrating. I look forward to being involved in the implementation of policy and procedure of this, even though the complexities of licensing is already making my head spin. I can see why the school has been slow to embrace this technology. I am relieved, however, that we are now moving forward as the importance of eReader inclusion is undeniable when catering for 21st century learners.
The rigmarole surrounding acquisition and copyright in China is endless and, at times, stupefying. This area of collection management fills me with trepidation, based on the hoops through which the current TL has had, and continues to have to jump.
Whilst the opportunity to write this policy has been timely and invaluable, having such open and frank dialogue with my TL, especially when I challenged him about the way in which certain areas of the collection are approached such as the collection policy itself has crystallized my understanding of this crucial, and perhaps most public, aspect of teacher librarianship.