Reflecting on what I have learnt during evaluation of the current collection and the research undertaken in preparing the collection policy, I am alarmed as to how limited my knowledge of collection development was and unfortunately how dire the current collection actually is!
I have extended my knowledge considerably so that I now feel confident to make decisions about types of resources, selection, acquisition, weeding and evaluation through establishing certain criteria. Previously, I had no idea that the process was so complex. Given that the collection process is so complex, I must now ensure that obstacles to weeding and evaluation, such as time and effort, are not used as an excuse to follow through (Bishop, 2007. p. 143).
I believe this assessment task has also extended my knowledge and understanding of the role and nature of the collection in that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ policy. That is, collection policies must reflect individual schools so contextual needs of students and the wider school community are vital (Debowski, 2001, p. 126). Previously, I had doubts as to whether a collection policy was even necessary. I now understand that a collection policy is indispensable: having a plan is imperative (Katz, 2012, p. 16).
I appreciate that a collection policy must continue to evolve to ensure its relevance and meet changing needs and priorities. For example, digital online resources need to be selected and acquired to meet 21st Century student needs (Gray, 2010, p. 22). This will be a priority in developing the current collection through access to quality ebooks and digital online resources. This is essential to meet 21st Century student learning needs and evaluating the collection has made this deficiency transparent.
Another example of what I have learnt is the importance of accountability. This is something I had not considered before. This includes accountability when making decisions regarding selection, acquisition, funding, weeding or evaluation. Beforehand, I had no idea how these decisions were made.
My views have also changed in relation to challenged resources. I had never considered challenged resources prior to this task. I believe that I am now adequately prepared to face any challenge that may arise and I feel more comfortable knowing there is a collection policy is place to support the process.
However, having established a solid foundation of understanding and knowledge in collection development, I am still overwhelmed by the mission ahead. To bring the entire collection up to date is overwhelming given its current neglectful state. I believe that I now have the theory (and ability) to develop the collection to meet the school’s 21st Century learning needs, however, converting this into practice and implementing change is another thing entirely.
Funding limitations and time restrictions means that collection development will be extremely gradual. As this is a constantly evolving process, I am concerned that the collection may never be current, relevant and meet the changing needs of students and the wider school community.
Nevertheless, I intend to be proactive and make changes one section at a time, having identified priority areas. Although terrified, I am also excited about my role in developing and maintaining the collection and hope that one day it will be a collection to be proud of. I only wish I had of inherited a more current one!
Bishop, K. (2007). Evaluation of the collection. In The collection program in schools : concepts, practices and information sources (4th ed.) pp. 141-159. Libraries Unlimited.
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.
Gray, M. (2010). i-tune, e-book, u-learn with laptops. Scan. 39(4).
Katz, L.S. (2012). Collection Development Policies: New Directions for Changing Collections. Retrieved from EBL CSU.