Prior to beginning my studies I had only a vague idea of either the nature or purpose of my library collection. I was also unaware of the ongoing decision making, expertise and collaboration necessary to provide just the right kind of collection. I found the ALIA/ASLA joint Statement on School Library Resource Provision (2009) very informative in this regard. I now understand it is my job to provide a collection of information resources that is relevant and responsive to the curriculum needs of the users. Adequately resourcing the recreational needs of students is also important.
The statement also highlights the need for a collaboratively developed collection policy to guide the ongoing processes of selection and evaluation. As I reflect on my first term as a new librarian I see how the existence of such a policy would have greatly assisted me in performing my role. Policy would have provided me with a foundation on which to base my decisions and practices. It would also have provided me with a level of protection and accountability and assisted me in making budget requests. (ALIA&ASLA, 2009; Department Of School Education (DSE), 1996).
Along with the library I inherited a stable of booksellers who inundated me with requests to send preview packs and standing orders. I spent a huge amount of time accommodating them because I thought that was the best way to keep abreast of new resources. With my new found knowledge about selection aids and criteria for choosing suppliers I am now able to deal with them in a more assertive and efficient manner backed by policy. (ALIA & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (VCTL), 2007; DSE, 1996; Johnson, 2009)
My first instinct as a new library manager was to weed ferociously! I didn’t know that it was called weeding but I could see that it was desperately needed to transform the collection into one that was relevant and user friendly. Now I have a policy that specifically addresses criteria for selection, de-selection and disposal so can do this job more effectively and without the worry of “getting caught”. (ALIA & VCTL, 2007; DSE, 1996; Larson, 2012)
The issue of copyright compliance was something I had embarrassingly never given much thought to in my past life as a classroom teacher. Becoming familiar with the Smartcopying website and particularly the Information Sheets for schools has given me knowledge and confidence in this complicated area. I know that both the collection itself and the way it is used must comply with copyright laws and that this must be mentioned in our policy to provide us with a degree of protection.
A highlight of completing this assignment was the discovery of all the digital and online resources already available for access to all NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) staff and students via the DEC Portal. My readings about e-resources have definitely sparked an interest and I have made it a priority to continue learning about this topic and to investigate trialling an e-library in the near future. (Foley, 2012; Johnson, 2010)
Overall I found the task of developing a collection policy a practical exercise that assisted me in becoming more familiar with my own collection and the principles regarding collection management in general.
Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association. (2009). Statement on school library resource provision. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/school-library-resource-provision.aspx
Australian Library and Information Association & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. (2007). A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/policies-procedures-manual.pdf
Department of School Education. (1996). Handbook for School Libraries (2nd ed). Ryde: NSW Department of School Education Curriculum Directorate.
Foley, C. (2012). Ebooks for leisure and learning. Scan, 31(4), 6-14.
Johnson, D. (2010). Libraries for a post-literate society. Connections: a quarterly newsletter from Curriculum Corporation, 72, page 1. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/connections_72.pdf
Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. American Library Association.
Larson, J. (2012). CREWing children’s materials in CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries, Texas State Library and Archives Commission: Austin, TX.