Category Archives: Collection Development

Reflection Part C – ETL503

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 The existing Collection Development Policy is out of date (I plan to update it soon) and is rarely referred to.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.

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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


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CREW Weeding – Non Fiction 500’s

At my High School, I have recently completed the non-fiction collection weeding up to and including the 500’s.  I will focus on the 500’s (Natural Sciences).
Just Weed It!

Original image by @JenniferLaGarde

CREW recommends 5-10 years copyright date, 3 years since usage and then at least one of the MUSTIE categories for this Dewey classification.  I found the MUSTIE steps were effective in deciding whether to weed or not.  The copyright date helped, but wasn’t my sole decider.  I didn’t look at circulation statistics as I felt these would be low over the last two years with the introduction of BYOD.  I feel this situation will change as the ‘novelty’ of the internet decreases and books start to become popular again.  Also, with our high numbers of Learning Support students, the books provide easier access to information than websites.  Since the introduction of eBooks at our school, I have observed that students actually prefer reading print books over the electronic format.

Looking at my statistics for weeding this year, the 500 classification had a total of 81 books weeded. These were made up of out-dated science study guides, science textbooks, damaged animal and bird books, complex books on scientific topics and books with copyright dates of 10 years or more.  It is interesting to note that the 500’s had more books weeded compared to the previous dewey classification 000-400’s.  This was mainly due to the nature of science subjects dating quickly, out-dated student study guides and the introduction of the Australian Curriculum.

I resonated with the following statements from the CREW manual:

“It is better to lack enough information on a topic than to have erroneous information” (Larson, p. 34) and

“Children are less likely to grow up as library users and supporters if the collection holds little or nothing of interest to them or is perceived as being full of outdated stuff . (Larson, p.36)

Larson, J. (2012).  CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries, Texas State Library and Archives Commission:  Austin, TX.

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