The task of creating a collection development policy for my school library presented itself as a mammoth undertaking that, quite frankly, felt extremely daunting to begin with. Having only spent two terms as teacher librarian during 2012 and jumping into the position midway through the year due to unforeseen circumstances at the school, I had not been prepared for many of the responsibilities that were expected of me. To be given a document from which to guide and acquaint me with the policies, procedures and practices of a teacher librarian in a particular library, would have equipped me with a much more clear understanding of the scope and breadth of the collection and the role and responsibilities of the position (Kennedy, 2006, p. 13).
My perception of the school library has been transformed since first starting this subject. As a teacher I had always been aware of the valuable role the school library has toward the teaching and learning needs of the school. I was also cognisant of the all important function of providing good quality literature to encourage a love of reading in students. After reading Hughes-Hassell and Mancall’s Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners, I began to understand that an effective library collection responds to and is guided by curriculum and pedagogy. Having an approach to guide you, such as the ‘Learner-Centered-Model’ (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall, 2005) allows for selection decisions that are based on different access points and a variety of ability levels of students. Putting the learner at the centre and not the collection has been, perhaps, the revelation to my concept of collection management.
What appeared to be the most transformational aspect of resourcing the library and developing a collection policy was the inclusion of digital materials such as e-books. The issues surrounding the selection and acquisition of e-books have made it challenging for school libraries to include them in their collections. Finding the right approach to access, licensing, storage, cost, maintenance and preservation appears to be one of the main issues to overcome in a school library (Ifla, 2012, p. 7). As Polanka states, ‘A definitive best practice business model has yet to emerge for either libraries or publishers’ (2010, p. 99). Nevertheless, it is only the beginning of the e-book revolution and changes in technology and they way we do things with technology is far from static.
Collaboration between the teacher librarian and other teachers to support inquiry based learning and developing digital literacy skills was an aspect of resourcing the curriculum that interested me greatly. As Wall & Ryan (2010) identify in Resourcing for Curriculum Innovation, resource needs continue to evolve into the 21st Century and we need to find appropriate and authoritative content that will support our students in becoming digitally skilled and information literate. I look forward to being part of the change.
Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J.C., (2005), Collection Management for Youth : Responding to the Needs of Learners. Retrieved from ALA editions.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) (2012). Key Issues for E-resource Collection Development: A Guide for Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.ifla.org/news/ifla-electronic-resource-guide-now-available
Kennedy, J., (2006), Collection Management: A concise introduction (Rev. ed.). Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Polanka, Sue (2010). No Shelf Required : E-Books in Libraries. Retrieved from http://csuau.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=598919
Wall, J., & Ryan, S. (2010). Resourcing for curriculum innovation. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press.