Reflection on evaluating a school library collection policy ETL503

The most critical aspects that will be discussed in this personal reflection are about community and information needs, selection or censorship and the library budget (Crotty, 2012). Effective collection development at a high school is based on knowledge about the uses that includes parents, teachers and students (Bishop, 2007, pp. 19-24).

Reflecting on my previous employment experiences in a systems and software engineering role predominantly was to satisfy the needs of customers by providing solutions to enable them to manage their particular operational objectives. In comparison the teacher librarian community analysis has some similarities with my previous employment responsibilities in the area of trying to understand customer’s requirements. The teacher librarian’s tasks are more complex as they deal with current users and non users and have a wider span of individual tastes, interests and cultural perspectives to satisfy within the constraints of a set budget (Loerscher & Wimberley, 2009, p. 13). Whereas my previous employment as a systems/software engineer clear definitions of solution objectives were of utmost importance to complete various problem solving tasks.

An information needs analysis facilitates the teacher librarian’s job by narrowing down the scope of providing the extent of library materials after a community analysis is completed, because the library has not got the luxury to collect everything (Loerscher & Wimberley, 2009, p. 18). Anticipating needs is a special forte that a teacher librarian has to somehow predict the future trends and this comes with experience in evaluating community and information needs of users (Loerscher & Wimberley, 2009, p. 18). After analysing information needs, selecting materials for the collection is the next step. This characteristic of anticipating and predicting the required information resources for a school library to meet curriculum requirements and learning needs of assignments given to students, can sometimes lead to personally influencing the collection (Loerscher & Wimberley, 2009, p. 18).

One of the most critical professional tasks that a teacher librarian needs to do is to balance wants and needs and to be certain not to influence a library collection to appear biased (Clayton & Gorman, 2001, pp. 73-74). Juxtaposing the following arguments that a librarian ‘does not have the right to impose personal views about what is best for uses’ and ‘the library has a positive obligation to educate uses by imposing their constructive influence on selecting material’ can equally get convincing pro and against support (Clayton & Gorman, 2001, pp. 74-75). Even though the teacher librarian has the final decision what is included or not in the school library collection they must eliminate their personal biases by collaborating as much as possible with faculty teachers and in accordance with curriculum needs (O’Sullivan & O’Sullivan, 2007, pp. 205-206).

Managing the library budget is another important professional task that a librarian is always accountable (Debowski, 2001, pp, 300-302). The problem with most libraries today is the lack of funds (Kennedy, 2006. p. 77). In my previous technical roles maintaining the allocated budget in my work was never a problem. If more funds were required and where justified in the business operational objectives they were allocated.

Bishop, K. (2007). The collection program in Schools: Concepts, practices, and information resources.4th ed. Libraries Unlimited: Westport United States of America

Clayton, P., & Gorman, G. E. (2001). Managing information resources in libraries. Library Association Publishing: London.
Crotty, R. (2012). Learning modules ETL503. Retrieved from 43fe-8077-c2aba4ca2897

Debowski, S. (2001). Collection management policies. In K. Dillon , J. Henri & J. McGregor (Eds). Providing more with less: collection management for School libraries (2nd ed.) (pp. 126-136) Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection management: a concise introduction. Rev ed. Wagga Wagga: Centre of Information Studies Charles Sturt University

Loerscher, D. V., & Wimberley, L. H. (2009). Collection Development Using the Collection Mapping Technique: A guide for Librarians. Salt Lake City: Hi Willow Research and Publishing.

O’Sullivan, K., & O’Sullivan, J.C. (2007). Selection or censorship: libraries and the intelligent design debate. Library Review: 56.3, pp. 200-207. Retrieved from d=1602374&show=abstract


One thought on “Reflection on evaluating a school library collection policy ETL503

  1. Pingback: ETL507 – Final Reflective portfolio | Dimitri Alexandratos

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