Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Collection management vs collection development March 8, 2011

Examine and consider the definitions provided for the terms ‘selection’, ‘acquisition’, ‘deselection’ (for ‘weeding’) and ‘collection evaluation’ in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (pp.159-165).

Selection: understanding the curriculum and needs of the learners and teachers involved.

  • What resources do we already have?
  • What gaps are there in our collection – for learners, for teachers?
  • What makes resource A better than resource B?
  • Who is this new resource for?
  • How does this new resource best meet the needs of multiple stake holders?
  • Are we buying updated copies of resources already within our collection? If so, why?
  • How do we know we need to buy certain resources?

Acquisition: how we buy the resources we need.

  • What network have we created within which we can purchase our resources?
  • How does the value of the currency we are buying with impact our purchasing?
  • How do we know the publisher/supplier is reliable and honest?
  • Who is responsible for purchasing and/or supplying each resource?

Deselection: removal of resources no longer needed or deemed appropriate for the collection

  • Who decides which resources are no longer needed?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge a resource against?
  • Where do the deselected materials go once they have been taken off the catalogue – is there a place for them in another library somewhere else or must they be thrown in the rubbish?
  • What is the process each resource must go through when deselected?

Collection evaluation: deciding if the entire collection is meeting the needs and wants of the community it serves

  • How do we know the collection is meeting the needs and wants of our community?
  • What criteria have been put into place to judge our collection?
  • Who are the stakeholders in deciding a collection’s worth?
Examine and consider the definition provided for the term ‘collection development policy’ (for collection policy) in the glossary of terms provided in your Kennedy text (p. 160).

My school’s collection development policy is actually called a selection policy and is divided into the following components:

  • Philosophy
  • Selection Objectives
  • Responsibility for Selection
  • Selection Criteria
  • Gifts
  • Policies on Controversial Materials
  • Request for Consideration of Materials

Our development policy does not state numbers of resources in any one category nor does it state information pertaining to the management of the resources once they are selected. It is simply a guide provided to any interested parties on how our school decides if a resource is appropriate for our learning environment.

Find at least one other definition of collection management or collection development, preferably relating to school libraries, or a statement relating to resourcing the curriculum, and compare it with the definitions provided here. In particular see if you can find a definition used by your educational authority or an educational authority with which you are familiar. What are the key elements of that definition?

“Collection development is the process of developing and maintaining a range of resources that will meet the information needs of the library’s users. When it comes to the school library, the collection must reflect a balance between supporting the teaching and learning in the school and providing resources to meet individual needs and interests. Selection of materials however, should not be limited just to information needs, but should include resources that will challenge and inspire students and staff alike.” Tasmanian Education Department website (thank you and kudos go to Suzanne van der Veer, fellow 503 student for pointing me to this definition – I was thoroughly stuck for a suitable definition, even after searching EBSCO)

Firstly, I was surprised in my research by how often the term collection development was still being used by many professionals. I really liked Kennedy’s take on how development is subsumed and is part of the umbrella term of ‘management’. Having said that, I believe the Tas Ed Dept definition is the same at its core. I especially love the reference to challenge and inspire as that mirrors my schools mission statement: “connect, challenge, inspire: make a difference”.

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Responding to the Needs of Learners March 5, 2011

Which of the three models presented by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall do you feel best relates to the school library collection in your school, or a school with which you are familiar?

My school library is somewhere between the learner-centred and CAE models. I found the differences between the two models blurry, perhaps I need to read the article another couple of times.

Our TL makes a concerted effort to collaborate with all members of the school community in order to best serve the needs of the school. In particular, I think his ability to collaborate with the classroom teachers and curriculum coordinator is excellent. However, as the whole school librarian as well as the dedicated primary TL, he is a very busy person and not always able to meet with the students as much as he would like.

Our school would do well to employ another TL to help fill this void. Having more than one TL in a primary school our size (750+ kids), would mean the TL/TLs would have an even better working knowledge of learner characteristics and the teaching and learning context on a small scale. For example, our TL knows all the units of study each grade level are undertaking but unless he is able to get into the classroom while the unit is being studied, he cannot know all the tangents each unit is following (and needing to be resourced).

 

A library without books?

Filed under: ETL 503: topic 1 — becinthelibrary @ 4:22 am
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To what extent do you feel Lee is predicting the end of school libraries?

Not at all actually! I feel that Lee is simply advising us (TLs and schools as a whole) to be prepared to undertake radical change in what what is provided and how it is provided if the ‘school library’ and ‘teacher librarians’ are to survive. Even as a young teacher with an innate love and relish for the digital world, reading this article really bought home the need to move away from our traditional library set up and move to fully integrate our ICT and library departments.

Is it important to adopt new names such as ‘information services unit’ and ‘director of learning technology’ as part of this process of change?

My current school is working towards this end which is encouraging and exciting. What makes me feel slightly uncomfortable is the realisation that both our departments need to expand their perception of their roles and the consequential personal and professional learning we will all have to undertake. As Lee pointed out, “the perception is the reality” – do we really see the library as the ‘paper” learning arena and the ICT labs and one-to-one laptops programme as the ‘digital’ learning arena? Given that the library and the ICT department are housed in different parts of the school and have different budgets, I’d say the answer is yes.

Will merging the two departments and calling it the “information services unit” headed by a “director or learning technology” mean the wider school community have their eyes opened and their perceptions of our role widened? It may take some time but I believe the answer is, again,  a definite yes.

Writing this post has really challenged my own deeply held beliefs about the role of TLs and libraries in general. Coming into this course, I was clinging to my love of books, reading and education as a whole. What  I didn’t realise was how narrow my view of the TL role was. And we’re only in week 1! Imagine how I’ll be feeling at the endd of the semester, let alone the course.

 

Needs analysis: school library collection

Do you feel the areas of need stated are the appropriate ones school library collections should be developed to meet?

Absolutely. A library and it’s collection are only going to be valued and utilised to their greatest extent when they completely cater for the needs and desires of the community as a whole. Who wants to spend time in a place where nothing holds your interest?

I think the most pressing of these needs is that of mother tongue resources. As an international school, we educate children from all over the globe with many different mother tongues. As educators we know that children always think, analyse and synthesise mostly deeply in their mother tongue so it makes perfect sense to give those students resources that enables that learning. They can then move from internalising their knowledge to sharing and furthering it with others through the medium of English.

How thorough a knowledge do you have of the teaching and learning context and the teacher – learning characteristics present within your school or a school you are familiar with?

As a LT with a teaching background, I have the skills necessary to read and understand planners crafted by our teaching staff. I then transfer this knowledge by creating resources lists to match each planner which include differentiated resources. At all times in my job, I have access to, and knowledge of, our wider curriculum and the framework in which it sits. This allows me to both preempt and further the ways the library can help classroom and specialist teachers help each child develop to their highest potential.

How might data on these areas be effectively gathered?

I think the idea of student, teacher and parent surveys are a great idea. Our school is particularly collaborative and open to new ideas so I believe any requests we have for others to help us create a better and more tailored library would be welcomed.

Our TL already sits in with some planning meetings and is a great networker within the staff. He is very well liked and respected and has an open door policy that makes staff (and students and parents!) feel comfortable offering ideas and suggestions. However, as in most schools, we are all time-poor and making our needs survey a concrete task, perhaps undertaken at a staff meeting, would mean we are more likely to get the information we require in a timely manner.

Points to consider for my school

Even though we have a great (yet developing) teacher reference section, I don’t believe we have branched out to include specific personal teacher education (Masters etc) materials. The school gives individual grade levels professional development money and the autonomy to spend it on what works best for them. To the best of my knowledge, buying materials for personal higher education has never been high on the agenda. Can we perhaps step in and fill that void for teachers?

Our online database subscription library is growing rapidly but I don’t believe it is well utilised by the teachers or students, unless a particular area of a database is highly and personally recommended by myself or the TL. A future challenge for our library is to remedy that. Adding foreign language databases could also be another direction we could try, in order to ‘hit’ those kids whose first language is not English. Strong parental support would be vital here, as to assess the quality and quantity of these databases.

Living in a foreign country with strong censorship and importation tax laws, our school community suffers from a lack of English language text availability – we are a major source of resources for the whole community. (Add all the other languages in our community and the problem is compounded 100%). We have a growing parenting library for our community which is well utilised. Our lending allowances are also quite generous, allowing families to borrow up to 10 books at any given time. We have over 1000 books in language others than English (not including our host language section) which is a great support to many of our families. This is another area in which we can develop, especially

 

 
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