The impact that school library collections will have on students into the future cannot be underestimated. Whilst many schools are facing bleak outlooks in terms of keeping their libraries viable, this subject has made me realise how crucial school library collections will be in the future. The key to their survival will be how they respond to the rapid changes brought about through technology, decreasing physical resources, library spaces becoming more social and collaborative and an increased focus on satisfying individual user needs. Teacher Librarians can no longer be complacent with the idea that libraries will always exist in every school.
Modules 5-7 covered collection evaluation, weeding, policy, censorship and the future of school library collections. Working in a school library, I have to admit that much of the selection, evaluation and weeding is done spontaneously. The existing Collection Development Policy is out of date (I plan to update it soon) and is rarely referred to. The criterion for selection is based mainly on instinct and a confidence that I know my clientele extremely well after years of experience. Subconsciously, I am checking selection measures as I interact with my clientele daily, discuss their needs and reading interests, my knowledge of Curriculum content, Readers’ Club, suggestion box, user surveys and through my extensive professional reading. My criterion for evaluation and subsequent weeding is much the same. I use the CREW method (Larson, 2012) of weeding as outlined in my blog. The Collection Development Policy is written evidence of what I am doing, often collaboratively that supports the school’s mission and Curriculum requirements. In terms of using collection-centered measures (checking catalogues, collection mapping) and user-centered measures (circulation statistics, user surveys) (Bishop, 2007, p.141), they are considered, but not relied on solely. It is interesting to note that during my Public library placement, my task was to weed novels from a list of books that had not been borrowed for two years or more. If I was to apply this to my school library, there may not be many books left on the shelf.
Books may still be relevant as Curriculum changes. For example, Senior English ‘Discovery’ requires resources that have not been circulated for some time, but are now important as related texts. Another example is the Accelerated Reader program containing over two thousand titles. These books, whilst not borrowed regularly each year, still suit different readers as they progress through the program annually.
The Australian School Library Association’s statement on school library resource provision states that ‘every learner has access to a variety of quality, relevant, accurate and current information resources’ (ASLA, 2014). I believe that there is more emphasis on individual students than there was previously and that preparing our students for future society is more evident. Personalised, student-orientated, differentiated, inquiry-based and authentic learning pedagogy need to be our focus. We want students to ‘learn how to learn’ (Lonsdale, 2003, p.9). Globalisation and technological advances have changed the Curriculum and traditional schooling. Students need to develop attributes and skills necessary for a rapidly changing society and workplace (ASLA, 2013, p.7). ‘We imagine futures for our students, our school libraries, our programs, our schools and ourselves’ (Kimmel, 2014). An active engagement with the above processes, supported by effective resources and Teacher Librarians will ensure a positive future.
Australian School Library Association, (2013). Future learning and school libraries. Retrieved from
Australian School Library Association, (2014). Statement on school library resource provision. Retrieved from
Bishop, K. (2007). The Collection program in schools: concepts, practices and information sources (3rd ed.). Westport,
Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.
Kimmel, S. C. (2014). Developing Collections to Empower Learners. Chicago: American Library Association. Retrieved from
Larson, J. (2012). CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries. Retrieved from
Lonsdale, M. (2003). Impact of school libraries on student achievement: a review of the research. Retrieved