ETL503 Final reflection: so many books… so little time


“It does not matter how many books you may have, but whether they are good or not.”
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 B.C.-65 A.D.), Epistolae Morale

Six months into a new position as a Teacher Librarian in a NSW DEC high school, writing a proposal for a Collection Development Policy has been an opportune and significant learning activity. While the second assignment required broad strokes utilising the topics covered in modules presented in the course, I found myself mentally applying the elements of the topics covered and the resulting proposal structure, to the specific circumstances and challenges of my new role. The narrow focus of the first assignment, resourcing for a specific topic, was a good introduction to the challenge involved in developing a collection to meet specific curriculum requirements (Hogg, 2015a). The second assignment widened the horizon to incorporate the Library Collection as a whole.

As the course has progressed, I have applied the learning to the collection I now manage, and find myself suitably impressed by the previous holder of my current position. She was known as a bit of a dragon… but her skills in Collection Development are revealed to me now in a way that can only be described as impressed. I inherit a solid collection that is meeting the current needs of the learning community of my school – my challenge is clear… the continuation of this legacy. The development of my own set of selection criteria, applicable to my school circumstance and its changing needs, has been well informed by the readings and discussions on the forums in this course. The process of selection and acquisition in a school with specific budget constraints has also led me to realise the benefits of a well established, local bookshop, and the long connection that the staff have with my library collection (Hogg, 2015b).


To weed…

The Australian Library and Information Association Schools considers that a Collection Development Policy is essential to a school library as it explains why the collection exists (ALIA Schools and VCTL, 2007). In considering the development of such a policy for my school, I have come to realise how important the four areas of analysis provided by the Collaborative Access Environment model are as posited by Hughes-Hassell in Collection management for youth : responding to the needs of learners (2005). In order to provide the service required by our Collection, as the Teacher Librarian I need to achieve a deep knowledge of my resources, a clear understanding of the learner characteristics of the students at my school, foster strong collaborative partnerships with other teaching staff, and gain access to and understanding of the teaching and learning programs being offered at my school. This is quite a challenge and forms only part of the role of the Teacher Librarian in a school library – but certainly provides clarity of purpose as I move forward and develop skills in this position.

Amongst the many other topics covered by the modules in this course, there are a number of challenging facets of the TL to be honed, one that particularly stands out for me is the process of weeding. Essentially, collection development means both adding to and subtracting from a library’s collection (Olin, 2012). Completing the CREW (Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding) (Larson, 2012) exercise was difficult – both in finding the time in a busy school timetable, and the torture of making decisions about the fate of individual books! Being a hoarder by nature is certainly not a useful attribute for a Teacher Librarian… and a focus for future personal growth in the role!

Lastly, planning a Collection is built on speculation (Anderson, 2011) and it is influenced by our inability to predict the impact of new technologies in education. Some aspects of our future in libraries seem predictable while others we will just have to wait and see.



ALIA Schools, and Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians, (2007). A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resource centres. 1st ed. [ebook] Melbourne: ALIA Schools and VCTL. Available at:

Anderson, R. (2011) Collections 2021: the future of the library collection is not a collection. in Serials, 24(3) Available at:

Hogg, D. (2015a) Annotated resource list. Available at:

Hogg, D. (2015b) Personal connections in the purchasing process.  Available at:

Hughes-Hassell, Sandra. & Mancall, Jacqueline C.  (2005).  Collection management for youth : responding to the needs of learners.  Chicago :  American Library Association

Larson, J. (2012). CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries. Austin, Texas: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Available at:

Olin, J. (2012). Letters to a young librarian: weeding is where it’s at: deacquisitioning in a small, academic library. Available at:

Copyright 4 Educators

Once again this year, the National Copyright Unit will be conducting the Copyright 4 Educators course via P2PU ( Having completed this online course last year – I highly recommended it for all educators… Beginning through to Highly Accomplished.

P2PUcourseThe course runs for seven weeks and covers a great deal of content regarding the complicated world of copyright, Creative Commons and Open Education Resources.

“The Copyright 4 Educators course is not taught; the course leaders facilitate it. The course is student participation focused. Students are divided into small groups in which they organise their online communications/discussions (via email, Google docs, Skype, tokbox etc) and jointly submit answers to each week’s task.” For communication in this course last year, my group and I set up a Google+ community so that we could share our learning and connect and collaborate about the materials and content involved in the course.

With this style of presentation, this course gives participants an opportunity to both learn the material and also apply new skills to achieve the learning, with a group of like minded educators. It is an excellent example of a 21st Century approach to skill acquisition in an important area of knowledge construction.

“Enrolments for the course will open on April 27 and will remain open for one week or until the course reaches 60 enrolments. In the last cycle of the course, enrolments filled in three days.”

For more information and to enrol in the course…

ETL503 Assignment 1 – Annotated resource list for curriculum topic

As a requirement of Part B of the first assignment in ETL503, the following is an annotated resource list for a Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) English unit of study called…

“What/how does dystopian fiction teach us about social responsibility?”

There is also a livebinder to provide a curated format for digital artefacts and information.


As a sub-genre of Science Fiction, resources in dystopian fiction come in a vast array of choices. This resource list provides examples of each of the different types of resources that should be made available to teaching staff and students in order to fulfill the requirements of the syllabus outcomes to be achieved in this unit of work.

Resourcing the curriculum for this unit of work and for this target audience combines the facets of the Teacher Librarian’s role of both building the library collection and collaborating with faculties to fulfill curriculum requirements. Having a guiding question provides a framework around which the appropriateness of resource selection can be measured. Resources need to be provided that will support teachers as they plan and prepare learning experiences, supply students with resources that fulfill the full range of text type requirements, provide students with sufficient choices of text to complete assessment task items and cater to their learner characteristics (Hughes-Hassell, 2005 p. 43), build the library collection in order to sustain the learning beyond the completion of the unit of work and entice these students to engage in further recreational reading in this genre. In this way, this unit of work becomes the catalyst as the Teacher Librarian establishes a resource foundation that can be built upon by utilising the budget in an ongoing way as new items are released in this genre by Young Adult authors and publishers, and multi-modal text choices become available in an expanding market in this area and these can be added to the Library Management System for ease of access.

Additional criteria relating to the copyright requirements of some of these resources may need to be explained by the Teacher Librarian e.g. censorship classifications on DVD, downloading of digital artefacts etc.

Selection criteria:

The Stage 5 English Curriculum (Board of Studies, 2012) has specific expectations regarding the variety of texts that should be met by students.

Text​ Requirements:​​

  • spoken texts
  • print texts
  • visual texts
  • media, multimedia and digital texts.​​​


  • texts which are widely regarded as quality literature
  • a wide range of literary texts from other countries and times, including prose fiction
  • texts written about intercultural experiences
  • a wide range of cultural, social and gender perspectives, popular and youth cultures
  • texts that include aspects of environmental and social sustainability
  • nonfiction, picture books, graphic novels
  • an appropriate range of digital texts, including film, media and multimedia.

General​ Capabilities and​ Cross​ Curriculum:​ ​

  • Ethical Understanding ​
  • Sustainability​
  • Literacy​
  • Critical and Creative Thinking​
  • Civics​ and​ Citizenship

Developing a set of selection criteria for choosing resources for this unit of work should also lie within the established school policy of Learning Resources Selection (, 2015;, 2015; Government of South Australia, 2004). In particular it should fulfill

  1. The resource is appropriate to the target audience – style, pace, point of view, etc.
  2. The resource is relevant to the curriculum and learning outcomes of this unit
  3. The resource meets the additional guided inquiry requirement of this unit and includes aspects of social responsibility that can be explored through class activities
  4. The resource is suitable to improve literacy outcomes for students – reading level, vocabulary, aspects of creative writing etc.

Selection Aids:

There are a wide variety of selection aids available for this unit of work. My preference is to include my Professional Learning Network (PLN) in this process and so I began by reaching out to connections who could provide unit plans and ideas as a framework to build a resource selection. This is an important resource for Teacher Librarians because we are not subject curriculum experts in all Key Learning Areas, so being able to ask experienced practitioners is an excellent means to value add to the Teacher Librarian role in our school. Gathering and maintaining a PLN and being able to tap into this expertise, is an important aspect of the resource selection process.

Other selection aids included publisher websites, genre blogs, library catalogues from a variety of school libraries, teacher owned and maintained websites, various LibGuides, GoodReads website, OCLC world catalogue.


Annotated Resource List:

  1. Introductory programming and short story writing support  

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 3.48.00 pmChase, J. (2015). Post-Apocalypse Writers’ Phrase Book: Essential Reference for All Authors of Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Prepper, and Zombie Fiction. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

This resource caters to the specific target audience – both staff and students. It is available in both paperback and eBook (through Kindle) and is a brand new edition. It specifically targets writing support for this genre and would be an excellent addition to teacher reference materials in the school library. Purchasing current, relevant resources for the library collection supports student learning, invigorates teacher planning and builds collaboration opportunities between faculty and library staff.


  1. Novel study – Fiction compilation to be added to library collection

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 3.49.40 pmAdams, J. (2012). Brave new worlds. San Francisco, Calif.: Night Shade Books.

The library collection should already include a wide range of books in the dystopian genre which are suitable for student use in this unit of work. Famous older titles like George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World will be mixed with more current best selling series like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Allie Condie’s Matched and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

This book, Brave New Worlds, is a collection of dystopian tales written by some of today’s most visionary writers, including Neil Gaiman, Paolo Bacigalupi, Orson Scott Card, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

It would make an excellent addition to the library collection both for student access to inform their creative writing, and for staff access as a lesson planning resource.

  1. Novel study – Fiction book to be added to library collection

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 8.27.59 pmAtwood, M. (1986). The handmaid’s tale. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

The dystopian fiction genre offers a plethora of novels to choose from. This particular choice from Margaret Atwood is one that I believe is a must to offer to a gifted and talented Stage 5 audience. Atwood’s story construction and theme coverage makes it approachable for the young adult reader while providing high quality narrative construction.

  1. Short story

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. “Harrison Bergeron.”  1961.

With central themes of the danger of total equality and the power of television, this short story introduces some themes that could be utilised by students in their assessment writing task.

The structure of the short story gives an opportunity to analyse this text type and help students to scaffold their own writing task.

This short story is also considered a classic in both form and content and therefore fulfills the syllabus requirement of “quality literature”. There are many online resources available to support student analysis of this text, including Spark Notes (, 2015)

  1. Journal Article

Ames, M. (2013) Engaging “apolitical” adolescents: analysing the popularity and educational potential of dystopian literature post 9/11 in The High School Journal, Volume 97, Number 1, Fall 2013, pp. 3-20 (Article)

The journal article is selected for both its content and format. It provides an example of professional journal writing for Stage 5 students who are developing their essay writing skills. It specifically addresses the guided inquiry focus. In PDF format and used for educational purpose, this article can introduce students to style, context, form. Selecting these types of resources – requiring additional search skills to access them and provide them to staff to use with their students, value adds to the relationship between Teacher Librarian and faculty teaching staff.

  1. Trailers, (2015). Intro to Dystopia – {a shift in perspective} Mr. Celini’s Class Site. [online] Available at:

Film trailers, made available through the LMS, can be an excellent resource for teachers to utilise in lesson planning. Providing easy access to trailer resources – by downloading onto the school’s digital library website or other non-streaming resource placement, can provide quick easy access to enhance lessons and engage students.

  1. Posters, (2015). BURNING BOOKS POSTERS. [online] Available at:

Posters provide an opportunity to target visual literacy and enhance the learning outcomes of this unit of study. The library can produce these resources on site (subject to copyright requirements) and provide a selection to staff members to be used during the unit study. In this way, the library can develop a collection of additional forms of resources that enhance the service being provided to teaching staff.

  1. Animation

YouTube, (2015). Sci-Fi City – Future Dystopia 3D Animation. [online] Available at:

Short animation (1 minute), which can be made available through the LMS or via edmodo.

This type of resource adds an innovative element to resourcing this unit of work. It adds another form of literacy development and as an aid to creative writing through visualisation of dystopian society. Students may even have the skill set to create an animation as a means to explore this genre further.

  1. DVD

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 8.25.44 pmDeVito, D., et al (1998). Gattaca. [DVD] Columbia TriStar Home Video (Firm)

There are many movies available in this genre, which would be suitable to study in this unit. Many of them include themes of social responsibility, which would enhance the guided inquiry and inform the assessment task for this part of the unit. Purchasing DVDs provides multi-use resources in the library collection. Film studies are a required component of Stage 5 English.

Starring Ethan Hawke, this sci-fi thriller about a man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke’s role is as Vincent, an InValid, who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his personal goals. This storyline would be particularly advantageous for the themes of this unit of study and the guided inquiry focus.

  1. Graphic novels

Talbot, M. et al (2014) IDP: 2043: A Graphic Novel Freight Books

“In this recent graphic novel, the cream of British and European writers and artists have collaborated to explore life in Scotland thirty years into the future, with each paired writer and artist being given one chapter.” (Low, 2015)

This graphic novel explores what the UN calls Internal Displaced Persons – refugees who are still in their country of origin – after the currently predicted rise in sea level. The issues raised in this work would again reinforce the guided inquiry aims of this unit of study. This resource focuses on developing visual literacy for this unit of study and also makes an attractive addition to the library’s graphic novel collection.


Additional resources:

Curation of resources available in digital formats, can be provided to faculty staff using lots of different webtools available for this purpose. The following livebinder is an example of how this can be achieved and includes the resources displayed above in a format that is easily accessible to faculty members interested in utilising these resources.

ETL503 reflection: Personal Connections in the Purchasing Process

As we cover ground in the ETL503 (Resourcing the Curriculum) modules on such topics as the importance of applying for budget funding (Debowski, 2001) through to issues of collection management (Kenny, 2006), I find myself reflecting on some of the realities of systems that have developed over many years, and that I have inherited in my new school library.

Brays books pic

Bray’s Books, Balmain

The issue of relationship with book suppliers is very important to me and how I manage the collection development role in my school’s library. Our school has a relationship of long-standing with a local, family-owned and run, bookshop… and I have come to realise the enormous benefits of having this type of connection to experts in the field of Young Adult book supply.

My initial questions, about whether to maintain this relationship, were to do with whether this arrangement would be cost effective – but those fears have certainly been allayed as I have done the research and verified that their prices are certainly competitive to other supply options. Once those concerns were put aside, the many benefits of having this connection have been revealed.

Firstly, the length of the relationship means that the staff of this bookshop know a great deal about the library collection of my school. They know the mix of genres that have been favoured over the years, and have a good understanding of the patterns of readers that have gone through the school. They know which series we are following and can be an invaluable source of information for notification of new additions to popular Young Adult fiction series, and new genre choices. They can help with the challenges of matching book to reader.

However, the outstanding benefit of this arrangement – the one that I wasn’t really prepared for and am most fortunate to be able to step into – is the community connection made available through using this supplier, and the immediate sense of relationship over a common interest and focus… that together we are building the School library collection in order to focus on the needs of the students at my school. This realisation harks back to another time – it even brings to mind one of my favourite books, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – when expertise in managing bookstores was respected and supporting local businesses was seen as important for all the right reasons.

So I will be counting myself as fortunate and looking forward to developing this connection between our library and our bookshop… for as long as is possible. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy this dimension to the challenge of Collection Development and Management at our school.

Deb Hogg

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.

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