The media specialist must develop, maintain, and support an effective collection to support student learning.

woman with signWhen you think of the resources in a library media center, books and videos may come to mind. However, it's important to remember that resources are really about ideas and information.

From scary stories and romance novels to primary source documents and websites, ideas and information all originate with people. Without authors, artists, historians, scientists, and other creators, our library would be empty. Without Shakespeare there would be no Macbeth. Where would we be without scientists like Galileo, Mendel, and Einstein?

Regardless of whether their works are read on paper or browsed on a computer screen, it's the thoughts that are essential to a community of learners. While some are controversial, outrageous, or just plain silly, it's the job of the media specialist to be certain that students and teachers have access to materials that provide ideas, information, and varied perspectives at the reading, interest, and developmental level of all their learners. At the same time, teacher librarians must help students and teachers understand the value of ideas and information. Issues of intellectual freedom, copyright, and plagiarism must be an integral part of teaching and learning.

eye means readThis section of the course contains the following related topics you'll want to investigate (This week):
Policies and Procedures

Collection Development.

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What is the role of the teacher librarian in information access and delivery?

The school library media specialist must implement information literacy standards for student learning. In addition, he or she must work collaboratively with all members of the teaching staff to be certain that the resource needs of the curriculum are met.

eye means readRead Weisman, K. (Sept-Oct 2012). A New Look at Information Books. School Library Monthly; 29(1); 8-10.

Before jumping into curriculum and collection development, teacher librarians must reflect on their own values, attitudes, and bias. Do you like or dislike math or science? Are you a fan of poetry, graphic novels, or picture books? Do you prefer to read the news on paper, watch news on television, or browse online news sources? Do you rent or buy VHS videos or DVDs for personal viewing? Do you prefer abridged or unabridged audiobooks? What is your preferred learning style? What is your preferred teaching style.

Books like The Adventures of Captain Underpants, Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, or the Harry Potter series may or may not be titles you'd read yourself, but they are works by authors who have something to say that others have the right to read. Scientific American, National Geographic, and Smithsonian may or may not be magazines you would pick up off the rack, but they can be valuable learning tools for children. You may choose to read a print newspaper, but there are wonderful news sources available online also.

As you become more aware of your personal preferences, you can more easily make objective decisions related to both curriculum and collection development.

eye means readRead Stephens, C., & Franklin, P. (2006). Collection Development, Part II: What Do I Buy? Developing the Print CollectionSchool Library Monthly22(9), 45-46.

"The idea that books are outdated is based on a common misconception: the belief that new technologies automatically render existing ones obsolete, as the automobile did with the buggy whip. However, this isn't always the case. Old technologies often handily survive the introduction of new ones, and sometimes become useful in entirely new ways."
Excerpted from Do Libraries Need Books? (Feb 2010)

eye means readRead Chen, K. (Oct 2010). Give Them What They Want (Access Requires Login). School Library Journal; 56(10), 29-32.

Also read Keller, C. A. (2006). Collection Development: Electronic or Print Subscription Resources?. School Library Monthly, 22(9), 56-59.
Provides advice on deciding whether to purchase electronic or print subscription resources.

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Why is collaboration essential in collection development?

The key to collection and curriculum development is understanding the informational and learning needs of students and selecting resources and learning experiences that will impact their achievement.

Curriculum development and collection development must go hand-in-hand.

Since the creation of authentic learning environments for students is at the core of both these activities, it makes sense that the school library media specialist and classroom teachers work collaboratively.

eye means readRead Callison, Daniel (May 2003). Key Words in Instruction: Learning Resources, Part I (PDF doc; Access requires login). School Library Media Activities Monthly; 19(9), 33-38.
With the growing sources of reference materials, teachers and school librarians need to develop collection mapping techniques to help them facilitate learning resource plans and application to learning standards.

Also read Callison, D. (Jun 2003). Learning Resources, Part IISchool Library Monthly19(10), 31-35.

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Check Your Understanding

info power"Undoubtedly, the most difficult form of censorship to detect is that of our own and others' self-censorship, for it is absolutely invisible, and this silent censorship easily, and, I suspect, usually, occurs during the process of selection."
Excerpted from Jenkinson, David (2002). Selection & Censorship: It's Simple Arithmetic. School Libraries in Canada; 21(4), 22-23.

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Read More About It

Callison, Daniel (Fall 1990). A Review of the Research Related to School Library Media Collections: Part 1. School Library Media Quarterly; 19(1).

Callison, Daniel (Winter 1991). A Review of the Research Related to School Library Media Collections: Part II. School Library Media Quarterly\; 19:2, 117–21.

Doiron, R. (2002). An Administrator's Guide to Collection Development (Access Requires Login). School Libraries in Canada; 21(4), 18-21.
Presents a comprehensive summary for school library collection development.

Johnson, Doug (July 2010). Supported Collection Size. The Blue Skunk Blog. . . . collection-size.html
Is there a baseline size for a library collection?

Jones, Patrick (Mar 2003). To the Teen Core (Requires login). School Library Journal; 49(3), 48.
A librarian advocates building collections that serve YA readers.

Pappas, M. L. (2004). Selection PoliciesSchool Library Monthly21(2), 41-45.
Advice for school library media centers on developing selection policies is provided.

Print Resource
Hoffman, Frank W. and Wood, Richard J. (2007). Library Collection Development Policies: School Libraries and Learning Resource Centers. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810851814.
The authors examine issues involved in collection development by first providing an overview of the issue followed by sample policies. The issues include collection development policy, selection aids, weeding, collection evaluation and more. They also examine the ethical and legal issues arising from use of electronic resources.

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