Reflecting on collection measurement, there is no “one size fits all” technique as all schools and collections are very different. Even collection measurement on size itself is rather flawed. I further maintain that there are no effective techniques that recognise e-resources and other resources outside of the library. This is a quandary. How do you measure resources that are not accessioned or kept outside of the library, such as online resources and licensing that may be a responsibility outside of the Library collection and budget? A “client-centred technique” of measurement would need to be adopted to provide a clearer overview of the collection (National Library of Australia) but this may not include all resources within the school.
Realistically budgets are extremely difficult to estimate at the best of times as so many presumptions are needed to be made at the beginning of a year to meet the needs and demands of the school throughout the coming year. However, as budget decisions are made at school level, the Library often has very limited funds with which to work. Priorities have to be made and original budget allowances are often relocated and funds need to stretch as far as possible.
Budgets based on output measures are more realistic than input measures, as they provide a clearer picture of the resource value. However, as technology and resources are developing constantly and rapidly, you cannot always base your budget requirements on the previous year. Budgets based on input measures are unrealistic as the size of your current collection has very little to do with current resources. Itemised budgets giving precise and accurate costings hold more weight than generalisations. Finally, in schools where funds are limited, planning to replace 10% of your current collection annually (Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resources Centres, 2007) is extremely unrealistic.
It is also noted that the majority of readings on collection measurement make assumptions that are many “members of the library staff” (Bishop, 2007, p. 155) to conduct collection mapping so the scenarios provided are not very realistic to a solitary TL working part-time in a small rural school.
A Manual for Developing Policies and Procedures in Australian School Library Resources Centres. (2007). ALIA Schools and Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians. Chp 3: Budgeting Policies and Procedures, pp. 12-17.
Bishop (2007) p. 155.
National Library of Australia, Australian Libraries Gateway. Outline of the Collection Assessment Process. http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/help/guide.html”>http://www.nla.gov.au/libraries/help/guide.html.