The TL role is different to that of other teachers as the TL has the advantage of the ‘bigger picture’ – seeing what all the classes are doing and meeting all the students and assessing their learning preferences and needs when they come to the library. Furthermore, they usually have an excellent working knowledge of the collection as well as information on how to go beyond the school collection and tap into other resources for information and support. They are in a unique position of being able to resource materials and information that can support staff and students and benefit from networking, professional lists, subscriptions etc that other staff are not privy to.
Collaborating with the school community can happen in many ways – from suggestion boxes, online surveys, formal and informal discussions with staff and students, sharing information about potential and relevant resources, noting gaps in the collection and keeping track of trends in student and staff requests….
In terms of who should have the final say…the TL needs to exercise judgment in terms of material that may not be in keeping with the school ethos. Beyond that, people need to negotiate what is included in the collection on the grounds of established criteria as well as consideration of the future needs of staff and students at the school.
Module 2.1b Forum response
Fischer, K. S, Wright, M., Clatanoff, K., Barton, H and Shreeves, E. (2012) Give ‘Em What They Want: A One-Year Study of Unmediated Patron-Driven Acquisition of e-Books. College and Research Libraries 73(5), 469-492.
This article looks at the study undertaken by the University of Iowa Libraries from the start of September 2009. They were considering the idea that a small part of the collection was responsible for a large proportion of the circulation and whether patron-selected resources would help to make the collection one that was more widely utilized. There were concerns about aspects of this program – would the selected titles be used more or less, would this lead to an unbalanced collection, would this prove to be overly expensive etc. A range of title information was loaded into library records but titles were only purchased when a student query triggered it. Students were not aware they were triggering a purchase and received the information download straightaway.
The study concluded that there were both challenges and opportunities in such a program but also that PDA could be a ‘useful and effective tool’ for collection development.
2.2a Forum response
There are positives and negatives to buying bundled sets and Standing Orders type sets:
Negative aspects include:
– They are often expensive (particularly if you are paying for things you would not have chosen)
– They limit your ability to choose what you feel is best
– They may not fit within your selection criteria (eg. Vampire teen novels in a conservative Christian school)
– They are a hassle if you need to keep some and return some, creating unnecessary hassle and paperwork
Positive aspects include:
– Often current within industry
– Effective timewise – not spending long hours searching
– Sometimes bulk nature makes them good value for money
– Convenient – delivered
Considering what to do about Online content that is not actually owned outright is also a grey area. The positives are that it is usually current, it is usually accessible anywhere students have computer and internet access, offers a wide range of resources and it is all done and presented online for you without any technical difficulties.
The negatives include potential copyright issues if the material is not actually owned, students without laptops and reliable internet are disadvantaged because of the online format, the items may not necessarily be constant – a year later the information may not be available anymore.
How the library is different to a shop, video store or home collection:
Reason for existence is not profit-driven. Student learning / welfare is the prime consideration and quality controls are in place with selection criteria so material should be suitable
Educational focus: Aiming for balance across collection, reading / viewing for leisure and learning
Free – available to all regardless of situation / financial circumstances
Supportive staff trying to help