Part C – Reflection
Planning for a model collection has forced me to think about aspects I may not have considered before. As this is only my second year working as a Teacher Librarian, many aspects of the planning were new – but worthwhile. When you inherit a collection, you inherit the idiosyncracies that come with it. However starting from the absolute beginning means you cannot rely on someone else’s choices and just fix the gaps – you have to be conscious and deliberate in your decision making to ensure there are no major holes.
Mapping the curriculum is a new concept, one that forces you to analyse the learning needs of the students and deliberately pursue resources suited to them. Subjective collection development is something I have noticed and worried about after just completing a massive cull of the entire fiction section and throwing out many, many old Christian romance novels. They have barely been borrowed but have aged and faded, and they were taking up a lot of shelf space. These books were mentioned as weeded items in my blog on May 29 – “…we were weeding materials, some of which had not been borrowed since they were catalogued in 1998”. They have not been a good use of resources. Mapping the curriculum and surveying the interests of the students would have avoided this.
‘Evaluating the collection’ was another aspect of the role that I wasn’t familiar with. Since starting in the teacher librarian role, I have been working with an established collection. When teachers have a particular focus in their classes, we have observed the classes and their use of resources and sourced more if necessary. Evaluating the collection using collection centred, use-centred and simulated use methods would not only complete this process prior to student use, it would also potentially result in the acquisition of new and relevant resources before they were needed, rather than panic-buying as the collection ‘holes’ become obvious. The March 12 blog comments remind us of this: “They (the TL) 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.”
As the TL in a Christian school library, there are often decisions to be made about resources and whether they fit the ethos of the school. A small group of parents have very traditional views and come in concerned about resources their children have borrowed. This is a lot less stressful when there are procedures and policies in place for resource challenges. When there is a process to work through to have their grievances heard, the whole process is lifted to a more objective level. The May 18 blog comments on this: “People who object based on what they have ‘heard from others’ need to go through this process as it forces them to read the text and articulate their objections in a more objective way”.
Planning for a model collection has been a very worthwhile exercise for me as I cannot help but consider the aspects I am discussing and how they apply to the collection I am managing. Being organised and professional, and utilising the tools and systems that are available will inevitably lead to a collection that is of greater benefit to staff and students than a collection that occurs without planning.
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