ETL503

ETL503 Reflecting on the Subject and Assignment 2

So another subject is all wrapped up. Assignment 2 done and uploaded. Phew! But alas I didn’t blog for this subject at all. Over the Christmas and New Year time I found it hard to keep up with the work load let alone add blogging to it, but maybe I’ll be round to blogging on my notes from the subject… but I can post here the Reflection section for the 2nd assignment and hope this alone will jog my memory of all the wonder things I learnt in this subject.

In developing this collection policy, and throughout the course of this subject, I have discovered what I believe are the key aspects of developing and managing a successful school library collection and how executing these aspects proficiently and effectively can result in a library collection that best serves its users and the users of tomorrow.

Firstly, for a library to house a successful collection, selecting the most appropriate and effective resources is a vital key to serving its users. A teacher librarian must be able to access a variety of selection aids to be alerted to potential resources, and use a proven selection criteria to ensure any potential resource meets the specific needs of users. Selection criteria will also ensure high standards are maintained, and can be used as evidence for selection decisions. I felt Jennifer Ondrack’s (2004) article “Great Collection! But is it enough?” best addressed this aspect of teacher librarianship emphasising literature such as Asselin, Branch, and Oberg’s (2003) argument that if the collection doesn’t supply the required resources to meet learning and teaching needs of its users “then the library will not be deemed a central part of the teaching process” (para. 7), and Shantz-Keresztes’ (2002) argument that selection must occur with curriculum, school-specific courses, programs, and teacher recommendations in mind to be a successful and usable collection (para. 7).

Next, I have come to learn the importance of a well-weeded collection. The techniques and criteria learnt throughout this module demonstrate how well refined this aspect is in teacher librarianship, and my evaluation of an actual school collection for this second assignment showed me the detriment of avoiding it. A practical approach such as Lamb & Johnson’s (2005) 10/3/MUSTIE is a near-objective approach I would adopt in my future as a teacher librarian, revised in this assignment policy to 15/5/MUSTIE better suit a public school library environment. Along with the practical criteria of weeding, I also appreciated Beilharz’s (2007) take on avoiding the politics and potential stigma of weeding by taking it public within the school community; saying “we’re weeding. Isn’t that great!” (para. 16).

Lastly, the writing of this collection policy showed me the need to put the above two aspects, along with other important aspect of collection management, into a publically available document that promotes transparency between library collection practices and the people it serves (Kennedy, 2006, p.12) while also defining the purpose and goals of the collection in real terms. Along with the managerial planning role, I’ve come to appreciate the “communication role” (Kennedy, 2006, p.15) it plays being as important on several grounds. For example, in the event of a resource challenge, the collection policy can be used as a tool for defending collection decisions (Williams & Dillon, 1993, p.104); or as a consistency aid through the changing of library staff; or as a tool to avoiding personal bias and censorship.

In my own implementation of a collection policy, I hope to remember Kennedy’s summation caution that “a document enjoying the official approval of the local council or senior management… will carry more weight than something backed only by the professional standing of librarians” (Kennedy, 2006, p.27)  – my own future collection policy, no matter how well-written, needs to not only be publically available, but publically recognised and respected.

 

References

Asselin, M., Branch, J., & Oberg, D., (Eds.) (2003). Achieving information literacy: Standards for school library programs in Canada. Ottawa, ON: The Canadian School Library Association & The Association for Teacher-Librarianship in Canada.

Beilharz, R. (2007). Secret Library Business – part 2. Connections, 63. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013 from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_63/secret_library_business__part_2.htm

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection Management: A concise introduction (rev. ed.). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University

Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2005). Collection Maintenance and Weeding. Retrieved Jan 14, 2013 from http://eduscapes.com/sms/access/weeding.html

Ondrack, J. (2004). Great Collection! But is it enough?. School Libraries in Canada, 23(3).

Shantz-Keresztes, L. (2002). School library collections: Form here to eternity. School Libraries in Canada, 21(4), 9-11.

Williams, C. L. & Dillon, K. (1993). Preparing for the censor. In Brought to book : censorship and school libraries in Australia (pp. 95-112). Melbourne : ALIA/DW Thorpe.

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