Posted by: eheino | June 19, 2013

ETL503 Reflection

As a casual teacher working for short time periods in multiple schools, my understanding of the teacher-librarian‟s role was at best cursory. The bulk of my knowledge was gained by observing teacher-librarians in those schools and from my own experience as a student. ETL503 is mostly concerned with the responsibilities undertaken by teacher-librarians „behind the scenes.‟ These are the functions most likely to go unnoticed by casuals such as myself. I have thus been learning new things every week.

What surprised me most was the complexity of the selection process. Previously I believed that resourcing the curriculum involved purchasing a range of resources in areas studied by the school‟s students. However, this assignment taught me that resources earmarked for the collection must meet strict selection criteria to ensure each will be a valuable addition to the collection (Bishop, 2007). The teacher-librarian must consider the specific needs of their students, as well as the quality, authority, appropriateness and currency (amongst other things) of the resource before adding it to the collection (ASLA/ALIA, 2002, p.29). The subject also made me aware of the range of professional tools available to assist with the selection process (Hughes-Hassall & Mancall, 2005). The use of professional selection criteria and tools gives the teacher-librarian the means to defend their decision to include particular resources in the collection (Williams & Dillon, 1993).

In writing my own collection policy it became increasingly clear that teacher-librarians need to be accountable for every decision made regarding the collection (Kennedy, 2006, p.11). The teacher-librarian must ensure the collection services the needs of their learning community (Hughes-Hassall & Mancall, 2005) by providing resources that both cover all aspects of the curriculum and also explicate both sides of controversial issues and represent the many different groups and identities that constitute the school community (ASLA, 2012). In doing this, they must show professionalism by having clear purposes and aims for the collection, willingness to collaborate, and a thorough understanding of the curriculum.

This subject has also given me an awareness of the changing nature of collection resourcing. I am beginning my career at an exciting time as e-resources become increasingly important to the curriculum, and there is a good chance that my first library will require updating to keep abreast of these changes. ETL503 has provided me with the knowledge and understanding to implement these changes. I am particularly fascinated by both the opportunity for, and compulsion to, collaboration presented by the changing technologies governing the school library. I find myself agreeing with Mitchell (2011), for example, who suggests that teacher-librarians may need to assist other staff members in the integration of these new technologies in their classrooms. This subject has led me to believe that technological innovation has created a new space which the teacher-librarian can occupy as a fully-fledged ICT specialist.

While the teaching function of the teacher-librarian role has been relatively simple for me to engage with, the librarian role illustrated in this subject has been entirely unfamiliar territory. The sheer volume of new information I have engaged with has sometimes been overwhelming; however, I have emerged equipped with the tools to successfully resource a curriculum. I now have a stronger understanding of the multi-faceted nature of curriculum resourcing and look forward to having the opportunity to apply my knowledge to a school environment.

Reference List
ASLA (2012). Policy Statement – School Library Bill of Rights. In Australian School Library Association. Retrieved 23rd April 2013 from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/bill-of-rights.aspx

Bishop, K. (2007). The collection program in schools: Concepts, practices and information sources (4th ed.). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

Hughes-Hassell, S. and Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection management: A concise introduction (rev. ed.) Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies Charles Sturt University

Mitchell, P. (2011). Resourcing 21st century online Australian Curriculum: The role of school libraries. FYI 15(2), 10-15.

Western Australia DET, (2013). CMIS Selection Policy. In Western Australian Department of Education. Retrieved 30th April, 2013 from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/library/selection/sel22.htm

Williams, C. & Dillon, K. (1993). Brought to book: Censorship and school libraries in Australia. Melbourne: ALIA/DW Thorpe.

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