A library’s Collection Development Policy describes and details how the resource collection will be developed to meet the needs of its users, both staff and students. It should be closely aligned to the library’s Mission Statement and include information about
- the policy’s purpose and role
- its use
- its authority including responsibility for its development, ratification, implementation and review
- the purpose of the collection – why it exists so its scope and focus are clear ensuring that all development relating to acquisition of resources or location and access to them is relevant to and supports that purpose.
- those who will use the collection and their needs, interests and abilities including special or specific requirements
- access to the collection including a statement about password-protected resources
- the nature of the collection including its format; considerations imposed by the religious, ethical or cultural nature of the school; and any significant collections within it such as archival records
- the prioritised goals for the development of the collection during the life of the policy, and the milestone and indicators for the achievement of these
- the budget, its preparation; allocation based on identified priorities; disbursement; and who has responsibility for these tasks
- the use of selection aids
- selection criteria, both general and specific for all formats
- acquisition and purchasing policies including selection criteria for determining suppliers, preferred sources and dealing with donations
- collection evaluation and de-selection
- challenged materials
- policy review timetables
A Collection Policy not only offers guidance for the direction of the development of the collection but also ensures that one person or group’s agenda does not drive decisions, skewing the collection towards one bias or another. While Australia no longer has active, official censorship of books, Banned Books Week, organised by the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. is still a significant event in the US library calendar, and this story from September 2019 demonstrates the power one person can have if there is no policy.
Once ratified by the school’s executive body, it provides a solid defence for challenges to the resources held in the collection enabling the TL to demonstrate why there are resources from a variety of perspectives on controversial topics in the collection, why they are labelled and housed as they are, and why funds are being spent in a particular way. It is one of the most important policies in the library’s paperwork.
Include this because it is the platform for all decisions and actions.
The staff of the Catherine Palmer Resource Centre understand and undertake the responsibilities identified in the International Federation of Library Associations/UNESCO School Library Manifesto and the Australian School Library Association’s Bill of Rights so that our staff can deliver all that is required to enable our students to become confident and competent readers and independent, efficient and effective users of information.
We are dedicated to providing and promoting intellectual and physical access for all to an extensive range of print and electronic resources, tools and technologies which will meet the educational needs of all members of our staff and student body enrich and enhance our educational philosophy and curriculum stimulate interest and independence in literacy encourage our staff and students to create and manipulate ideas and information efficiently and effectively so that they become independent lifelong learners
Identifying the users of the collection ensure their needs are explicitly identified and acknowledged and ensures the policy relates to these.
The collection is being developed for a government primary school of 450 students, with an even spread of students in K-2, 3-4 and 5-6. There is a significant number of students for whom English is a second language and so there is an emphasis on providing resources which reflect and support the multicultural nature of the school, but on the whole, according to national and school-based data, most students are achieving at or above their year level. Resources will reflect both the diverse nature of students’ backgrounds as well as their needs, interests and abilities. Teaching staff are involved in the rollout of the new Australian National Curriculum and so collection appraisal and development will be driven by this during the life of the policy so that there are sufficient resources in a range of formats for them to be able to design and deliver what is required. The school has been at the forefront of embedding ICT into the curriculum and as well as having access to hardware and the Internet throughout the school, they are also encouraged to bring their own devices. All students have Internet access at home. This enables the development of a significant online collection where appropriate. However, as research continues to demonstrate the need for a broadening of the concept of text and a need and preference for students to have access to a variety of formats in order to develop the traditional literacy skills which underpin the “new” skills, texts in all formats will be acquired to meet these needs.
Establishing the purpose of the collection provides the foundation on which all decisions and actions are based.
The first tenet of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights states, ” “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.””
Therefore, this library’s collection is being developed to
- satisfy the teaching and learning needs of all the members of our staff and student body
- meet the recreational reading needs of our students from beginning readers through to those ready for young adult titles
- enable our students to read stories that are about children just like them so they can see that there are others who are facing the same issues and challenges and know that not only are they not alone, but there is hope and support to accept, live with, and/or overcome them.
- enable our students to read stories that confirm, challenge and perhaps change their beliefs, offer them comfort in difficult times and inspire them and encourage them to aspire to new heights
- provide resources in a range of formats to support, enrich and enhance the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied learning needs and styles, recreational and study interests and maturity levels of the students
- provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty, with a diversity of appeal and the presentation of different points of view including those that reflect the lives of students in relation to their culture, ethnicity, language, religion and beliefs, community and family structure, sexual orientation and any other consideration
- provide resources in a range of formats to assist in the design, development and delivery of the curriculum
- provide resources which will enable the acquisition of factual knowledge, support further inquiry and the development of literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards
- provide resources which offer a breadth and diversity of subjects so students can follow or expand their interests
- provide resources which offer a breadth and diversity of viewpoints on various issues so that students may develop their critical thinking skills and make informed judgments
- provide resources representative of our religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contribution to our school and Australia’s heritage
- provide resources that will encourage growth in knowledge and that will reflect the literary, cultural, and aesthetic diversity in the world today
- provide resources which authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences through both content and authorship from a wide array of people and cultures to reflect the principles of diversity, inclusion and equity.
- ensure a comprehensive, balanced collection of the highest quality resources appropriate for its users based on principle and professional practice not personal prejudice
This section should provide a snapshot of the current collection which contains enough detail to serve as both a benchmark for measurement when the policy is evaluated for success, as well as establishing the platform for development. This section should also include the rationale for goals and priorities, so that need and demand are identified and decisions and expenditure defensible
The collection is built on a collaborative access model which encourages input from both staff and students about the acquisition of resources that will best meet their needs although the final decision rests with the teacher librarian to ensure that resources
- are the best available to support the needs, interests and abilities of the collection’s users
- meet the selection criteria
- have a reasonably widespread appeal and potential for use
- avoid unwanted duplication
- are in a format that best represents the information and context that meet the needs of the users
The current collection contains
- fiction in a variety of formats including magazines, comics, picture books, graphic novels, audiobooks, ebooks, interactive stories and novels of all genres to cater for students from pre-school to young adult
- a collection of fiction in languages spoken in the school
- non-fiction in a variety of formats to support the curriculum and to extend students’ knowledge and interests
- a reference collection, including atlases and dictionaries, to provide continuous access to basic knowledge
- a teachers’ reference collection to support the curriculum and to enhance professional knowledge
- a collection of fiction and non fiction DVDs to support the curriculum
- selected software loaded on to the school’s intranet
- links to pre-selected sites from the school website for staff, students and parents which support literacy development, the curriculum, games and Web 2.0 and social networking tools
- subscriptions to appropriate information and learning services such as Enchanted Learning, Mathletics, and World Book Online for Kids
Whilst the bulk of the collection is in print format, audio, visual, electronic and digital resources are critical elements. Based on an analyses of staff and student preferences, and because the school is introducing a BYOD policy, priority will be given to complementing the current collection with resources available through new technologies.
However, in recognition of the research that demonstrates that the ability to read, interpret and use information onscreen is dependent on a solid foundation of traditional literacy skills developed using print, the print collection will continue to be built to support this. This will also support those users who have a preference for print or who do not have access to a suitable Internet-enabled device. This will include a robust non fiction collection spanning a wide area of interests because
- not everything is available on the internet
- what is available is not necessarily aimed at the curious minds of the very young and so is not accessible to them
- what is available may be unedited, biased and unsuitable and our young students do not yet have the maturity or skills to effectively assess and interpret what they are reading in terms of accuracy, authority, currency, objectivity and relevance although this will be an integral part of the teaching program
- online resources are often accompanied by advertisements that distract or include links that may take the student to unsuitable sites
- not all young readers have easy access to internet-enabled devices and don’t have the knowledge or skills to search for what they want
- young readers get as much from looking at the illustrations as they do from reading the text and so an attractive, graphic-laden layout is essential
- young readers like to look, think and return to the same topic or title over and over and the static nature of a print resource allows this
- that not everyone prefers to read from a screen, that print is the preferred medium of many, and there is research that shows that many prefer to print onscreen articles so they can absorb them better
- that research by people like Dr Barbara Combes shows that screen-reading and information -seeking on the internet requires a different set of skills and those most able are those with a strong foundation built on the traditional skills developed through print
- young readers need support to navigate texts so they offer contents pages, indices, glossaries and a host of other cues and clues that allow and encourage the development of information literacy skills, and again, the static nature of a book enables the young reader to flip between pages more easily
- that young children are innately curious and that exploring the answer to a question via a book with the child in charge is a unique bonding experience shared between parent and child that is not the same as looking at a webpage where the parent controls the mouse
- that children know what they’re interested in and a range of resources gives them a range of options all at the same time; that one question leads to another and the answer might be in another resources on the same topic but with a slightly different slant
- that children don’t know what they don’t know so browsing an interesting display of books with bright covers and intriguing titles can open gates to new pathways
All students will have access to all sections of the collection, with the exception of those designated Teacher Reference (TR) and Senior Fiction (SF).
Teacher Reference will comprise resources which will enable staff to design and deliver the curriculum so that it remains fresh and relevant for students. It will include teaching resources such as big books, video resources (fiction and non-fiction), maps, posters and so forth that support classroom programs.
Senior Fiction will comprise novels which are generally considered to be for young adults, acknowledging that some of our senior students seek ‘edgier’ titles particularly in the contemporary realistic fiction genre. Generally contemporary realistic fiction (often referred to as Young Adult or YA because of its intended audience) addresses issues that are of great importance to some teens and their families such as coming of age, dating, peer pressure, friendship, sexual activity and health, drugs, self-esteem, gender identity, mental health, school, relationships with friends, parents and siblings and other contemporary issues facing young people today.. There is a growing body of evidence that such literature plays an important part in the young teen’s development as they can vicariously live through the story’s characters while they read as they connect with them, relate to the situation and start to develop strategies that they might use in a similar situation.
However, while such fiction can be a powerful learning tool, stories may contain themes, language, actions and situations that are confronting to both the reader and the family values, so this collection will only be available to those in Years 5/6 with written parental consent.
Selection criteria for this collection are made explicit in the Specific Selection Criteria section of this document. (Appendix 1). Should students request certain titles or authors, these must meet those specific selection criteria, including external advice. Ultimately the decision is to be made by the teacher librarian using their professional knowledge and acting in loco parentis.
Organisation is based on the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
For easy location of fiction, this section will be assigned a notation based on the book’s format – P (picture book); N (novel); GN (graphic novel) or SS (stepping stone -those early chapter books formatted to support emerging readers) as well as the first three letters of the author’s name. Stories such as fairytales that have been retold by many will be assigned the first three letters of the story’s title (eg CIN= Cinderella or SNO Snow White) so that all versions of the same story are together for ease of location. Stickers indicating particular genres may also be attached to the spine.
The non fiction collection will be assigned the designated DDC number up to a maximum of three decimal points, unless in exceptional circumstances. For ease of location and issues unique to the school and its collection, the teacher librarian will have the final say of placement regardless of the DDC number assigned. For instance, all the books about trains will be together rather than being split between the 300s and 600s.
Apart from the Senior Fiction collection no resource in the general collection will be shelved, labelled or displayed in a way that discriminates or marginalises a user on the grounds of
- sexual orientation
- any other consideration
This policy is the blueprint for how the collection will be developed during its life so it needs to identify what is to be achieved during its life. Because these goals are then evaluated for achievements and success when the policy is reviewed, they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Priorities for the life of this policy are
- appraising current resources to ensure they support the requirements of the new Australian National Curriculum as it is released and implemented, and providing new, appropriate resources where necessary
- appraising and developing a collection which meets the requirements of the Australian National Curriculum in relation to the cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Asia, multicultural literature from beyond Asia, and sustainability
- appraising current resources to ensure they are appropriate for implementing the 25 Essential Learning Achievements of Every Chance to Learn
- establishing a partnership with the local library to provide access to ebooks
- identifying, selecting, acquiring and providing access to digital resources including ebooks which support students’ needs, interests and abilities
- evaluating the existing print collection for authority, accuracy, currency, objectivity and relevance and deselecting where appropriate
- maintaining and developing the print collection to support the development of traditional literacy skills in accordance with the research that demonstrates this is a necessity for the development of new-format literacy skills.
While selection may be collaborative, establishing who has the final authority for selection and the criteria that resources must meet is essential to ensure the collection remains current and relevant. Criteria should be as specific as possible and encompass general considerations that apply to all resources as well a specific considerations for particular formats.
The selection of quality educational resources that support, extend and enrich the education of students, while providing good value for money, is an important aspect of the collection development process of any library. Acting on authority delegated by the principal, the teacher-librarian has the responsibility for the professional co-ordination of the collection, as it is acknowledged that that person has the best knowledge of existing resources, the overall school curriculum and what is available from the publishers. Staff and students are invited to make suggestions for new purchases to assist in selection but suggested titles must meet selection objectives and criteria, as must any donated resources. Selection is based on
- users’ needs
- curriculum requirements
- recommendations from sources such as OZTL_NET; LM_NET and other professional networks
- lists of recognised children’s literary awards
- requirements of specific activities such as the Premier’s Reading Challenge
- personal appraisal
- teachers’ expertise in subject specialisation, student needs and current pedagogical practice
- student requests, ideas and comments
- reviews in reputable professional journals, publications and blogs such as
Classroom Resource Reviews (then go to Quick links menu and click CRR)
Where practical and possible, relevance and suitability of resources should be reviewed before purchase using a variety of authoritative sources.
These principles should guide the evaluation and selection of materials
- Is this the best format for this information or story in this situation?
- Will this resource be used by staff and/or students?
- Does it meet the requirements of system and school selection criteria?
- Is this the best possible choice for the money being spent?
- Is there a reputable review or other independent selection aid to support the decision?
- Is it possible to preview the resource before selection?
Regardless of format, resources will
match users’ needs, interests and abilities
foster growth in factual knowledge, literary, aesthetic and cultural appreciation; moral and ethical values and which will aid in daily and future decision-making
be at appropriate levels for resource-based and student-centred learning
be at appropriate levels to meet students’ personal and recreational reading needs
support new curriculum and interest areas and teachers’ professional learning
be legally acquired and meet copyright legislation, including digital rights management
be attractive and appealing, sturdy, durable, easily maintained and stored
provide optimum value in terms of curriculum relevance, accuracy, authority, reliability, currency and accessibility
be selected according to the principles of intellectual freedom and provide students with access to information that represents diverse points of view
encompass a variety of media and information formats to suit varied learning purposes and styles, including:
- print resources such as books (reference, fiction non-fiction), periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, ephemera.
- graphic resources such as charts, posters, pictures, maps
- models, realia, kits.
- audio-visual resources such as DVDs, CDs, videos and audio books
- electronic resources such as computer software
- digital resources such as Internet sites, databases, indexes, Web 2.0 technologies, interactive learning objects, ebooks and resources from digital repositories such as the National Digital Learning Resources Network
- appropriate equipment and technologies exist to access non-print resources
- assist staff in their teaching roles and enhance professional learning by
- modelling best practice.
- providing or suggesting a variety of teaching strategies and teaching aids.
- reflecting current trends in curriculum development
- consider students with particular needs, taking into account race, ethnic group, culture, gender, socioeconomic group, physical and intellectual capacity
Senior Fiction resources will be selected based on the suitability and merits of each resource. They will adhere to the general criteria but particular attention will be paid to
- the overall theme of the book and its suitability for a 11-13 year old reader regardless of their reading ability
- the age of the lead characters and their relationships
- the portrayal of sexual exploration and encounters
- the level of violence
- the use of language, particularly profanity
- the level of drug use
- the level of nudity
- the classification given by the Australian Classification Board to any movie that is associated with the book in association with departmental and school requirements. “PG-rated content is not recommended for viewing by people under the age of 15 without guidance from parents, teachers or guardians.” These ratings are based on the levels of those criteria stated above.
- the development of the series, the relationships and themes within it – not all episodes in a series, regardless of popularity will be appropriate or acquired and should students wish to read further, access to subsequent episodes will be a matter for parent and child
- recommendations for and against offered by other primary school teacher librarians based on their expertise and experience
Diversity and Inclusivity
“I used to hate having a disability. I hated it so much. I hated being different and, you know, I didn’t want to be here anymore. I really didn’t… Whenever I turned on the TV or the radio or the newspaper, I never saw anybody like me.” Dylan Alcott, Australian of the Year, 2022.
To ensure that the collection does, indeed, meet the “the interest, information, and enlightenment” of all those who use it, particular attention will be paid to ensure it contains “content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, experiences. [and beliefs, values, attitudes and circumstances].” Thus, the principles of developing a diverse collection as espoused by the American Library Association, will be followed including
- selecting content in multiple formats;
- considering resources from self-published, independent, small, and local producers;
- seeking content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups such as
- gender diversity
- non-traditional family structures
- cultural and racial heritage
- religious beliefs and values
- evaluating how diverse collection resources are cataloged, labeled, and displayed;
- including content in all of the languages used in the community that the library serves, when possible; and
- providing resources in formats that meet the needs of users with disabilities.1
The use of selection aids, particularly consulting teacher librarians with students of a similar age and demographic, will be required so that any challenge can be defended on a knowledgeable basis. All Senior Fiction print resources will be clearly labelled with a Senior Fiction sticker and digital resources will be subject to the appropriate filters. However, other resources will not be distinguished in any way that marginalises their users, although there may be specific topics assigned in the OPAC record. The teacher librarian will exercise his/her professional knowledge about the development and maturation of the students, their reading needs, interests and abilities, the curriculum the collection is required to support, the underlying ethos of the school and its community and collection development practices and apply these in relation to the duty of care invested in him/her.
Regardless of format, all resources will demonstrate
- qualified and/or experienced author where appropriate to the subject
- honest and ethical use of information, storylines or other materials
- reference list or bibliography where appropriate
- reputable sources of information
- recognised publisher/producer although this does not exclude new publishers whose resources meet other criteria
- in the case of online resources, authority of the author or the site’s owner is apparent
- privacy and legal issues are clearly addressed and are in accordance with Australian legislation
- Physical Format
- the most suitable medium to present the subject matter
- access for as many students as practicable at one time
- consideration for availability, purchase price and maintenance of appropriate hardware
- sturdy construction which is durable, suitable for multiple usage and easily maintained
- packaged for easy use and storage under normal conditions
- Technical Quality
- in a format compatible with existing hardware or that intended for purchase
- attractive and appealing presentation
- well designed with the needs of the intended user in mind
- illustrations are suitable for both content and audience
- illustrations support the content and are consistent with the text
- illustrations are in an appropriate medium
- quality reproduction of graphics, sound, video as appropriate
- relevance to curriculum
- themes, topics and characters relevant to students
- enrichment of students’ personal growth and understanding
- sensitive treatment of controversial topics
- freedom from stereotyping
- author addresses audience without condescension
- a style readable by and suitable for the needs and abilities of students
- vocabulary and sentence structure suited to topic and audience
- it meets the stated or implied purpose
- it does not require students to divulge personal information to access it
- it does not harvest information about students nor seeks to own the intellectual property or copyright of their work
- Arrangement of Material
- content is easily accessible and navigable
- well designed with contents, index, glossary as appropriate
- clear chapter headings and pagination as appropriate
- clear, logical and sequential presentation of information
- diagrams and other graphics are appropriate and close to the related text
- references to supporting material is appropriate
- in the case of online resources, embedded links work and lead to relevant and appropriate information
- instructions and support materials are clear, comprehensive and effective.
- concepts, content, language, illustrations, and symbols are suitable for the intended user
- surrounding material, such as advertisements, is appropriate for the intended audience of the resource
- the harvesting and/or storage of information is in compliance with the current Australian Privacy Principles
- information is up-to-date and where possible and appropriate, is no more than ten years old, although for topics such as ICT, space exploration and some sciences, this should be reduced to three years. (See Deselection of Resources)
- in the case of online resources, date of creation and latest update are stated
- priority will be given to those which are updated regularly
- value for money.
- application across a number of curriculum areas and levels
- greatest access for least cost
- acquisition complies with copyright legislation
- acquisition does not require students to divulge personal information
- costs of contracts or subscriptions are fully understood and agreed to with no hidden extras that are essential to the effective use of the resource
- preference will be given to those resources available freely through the National Digital Learning Resources Network; Open Education Resources; a NEALS licence or an appropriate Creative Commons licence
- should a free commercial resource be considered, any elements of bias must be evaluated as well as the terms and conditions of use, the collection of private information, and the content of any accompanying advertising or embedded links
- currently, readily and legally available to schools
- unavailable resources (defined by copyright sources as ‘not available within 30 days at a reasonable cost) may be requested from other sources, provided that sources is lega
- format shifting of resources, such as from video tape to DVD, will only be done in compliance with the copyright licences covering schools and only if a legal copy is not available for purchase
- consideration for availability, purchase price and maintenance of appropriate services to provide access to content such as a digital distribution service like Overdrive to deliver ebooks
- consideration for availability, purchase price and maintenance of appropriate hardware such as tablets to access apps
- consideration for availability, purchase price and maintenance of appropriate software to provide access to content such as Adobe Digital editions
- consideration of the legal, ethical and logistical use of students’ own technology to access online resources
- Copyright Compliance
- all resources must comply with the copyright licences which cover Australian schools
- Education Licence A which covers radio, television. satellite and cable broadcasts
- Education Licence B which covers published works and digital works
- Education Licence C which covers performance
- Education Licence D which covers print music
- Education Licence E which covers sound recordings of music
- Electronic Use Scheme which covers copying of materials in electronic form
- the parameters of these licences are available at Smartcopying which is the official site for copyright in schools provided by the National Copyright Unit
- all resources must comply with the copyright licences which cover Australian schools
The Australian National Curriculum English strand identifies that the collection provides access to resources which support historical, social and cultural contexts, especially those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Asia, multicultural literature from beyond Asia, and sustainability. These focal points have specific selection criteria that must be considered, as identified by McDonald, L. (2013) A Literature Companion for Teachers. Sydney: Primary English Teachers Association Australia
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- Does the text have an endorsement from an appropriate group or name the country of the writer and illustrator?
- Who has authority and knowledge?
- Who can speak/act on problems in the text?
- Does this occur in ways appropriate to indigenous culture?
- Are indigenous social structures/family networks recognised?
- Is there an understanding and respect for the complexity of indigenous knowledge and belief systems?
- Is Standard English privileged? Is Aboriginal English of Language included? (pp122-123)
- Asia-Australia-European engagement
Representation of diversity
Is the history of the cultural group evident? Is the reader informed about the life of people in their home country?
What immigrant experiences are presented and what is valued here?
Achievements and contribution
Who holds powerful positions/solves problems?
What types of roles do the characters have?
Engagement with Australia
- Is the writer of the culture or outside the culture?
- What models of culture does the text reflect: assimilation, integration and/or inclusiveness?
- Are there changing perspectives between first/second/third generations?
Engagement with language
- Are characteristics in two groups: those who speak Standard English and those who do not?
- Does the actual language of the culture appear accurately?
- Are negative epithets used such as: lazy, inscrutable, primitive, backward? (pp129-130)
- Environmental systems, world views and futures
- What kind of ‘place’ is presented – marine, desert, rainforest, urban, cultivated, natural
- Are living things (human and non-human) shown as interdependent and contributing to the whole environment
- What is valued and believed about the place and/or the ecosystem presented
- Does the plot involve endangered or loss of species or an environmental catastrophe? How is this demonstrated? What values and attitudes are presented?
World views on sustainability
- How do the characters engage with the environment? Do they control the environment, live in sustainable harmony with it, or ignore it?
- Are there ethical dilemmas raised?
- Are non-Western or indigenous ways of engaging with the environment shown?
- What threats to the environment are shown – climate change, human greed or apathy, toxic waste, non-native species, pollution and development?
- Does the text advocate human responsibility for the environment? Do characteristics model sustainable practices as individuals, as a community?
- What models of advocacy are presented for readers to take up? (p135)
Each format has its own selection criteria and these are detailed in Appendix A
The collection must meet the needs, interests and abilities of its users including their preference for print or digital formats. For the collection to be inclusive it cannot be an either/or situation. The following issues need to be considered before a decision to acquire a resource or collection of resources is made…
- What is the best format for this information or title in the situation it is most likely to be used?
- Is the resource duplicating, complementing, supplementing, replacing, extending, or substituting for a currently-held resource in another format?
- Should selection be made on a device-specific, supplier-specific or content-learning basis?
- Will staff and student options be limited by restricting selection to one or the other?
- If there is a bulk purchase of a subscription by one supplier made by the education authority, does this limit the options to accessing resources from other suppliers where appropriate?
- If there is a bulk purchase, what input to collection development will the teacher librarian have?
- If selection is made on a content- learning basis, how will it contribute to implementing the SAMR model of teaching and learning?
- Who will own the device required to access the digital content?
- Will students be expected to provide their own device? If so, how will multiple platforms be managed?
- If students are unable to supply their own device (either short or long-term) how will their access to the resources be managed?
- Who will own the content? Is access to purchased content lost if a subscription to a supplier is discontinued? Will it remain accessible via a new supplier’s platform?
- How will adding new content/ updates to devices be managed on the school level? On an individual level?
- How will new content/subscription be paid for? Will it form part of disbursements from the library’s budget?
- In the case of required texts, will students be expected to purchase and upload these to their own devices privately and at their own expense?
- Who are the most relevant publishers for the various sections of the collection?
- Are bundling options economical? Are all the included resources relevant to the needs of these students? Are they freely available elsewhere?
- Can the resource be read offline?
- Will licences be 1:1 (one resource accessible to one user at a time) or 1:many (many can access the resource at the same time)?
- How will licences, registrations, logins and loan restrictions be managed?
- How will student privacy be protected in line with the Australian Privacy Principles?
- How will access to the resources be made available so clients can find it easily?
- What level of curation of digital resources, such as the development of Learning Paths via Scootle, will be implemented and who will be responsible for this?
- Are there any access issues (such as age of the user) imposed on the resource by the provider? How will access to resources be restricted if required?
- How will restrictions imposed by publishers (such as the number of times a resources can be circulated) be managed and who will manage them?
- How will the staff and students know that new resources are available without a physical product to view?
This section should identify the need for a budget and its scope; authority for purchasing; priorities; gifts and donations; and accountability measures.
In accordance with school policy the teacher librarian will submit a proposed budget based on identified priorities to Executive when required so those who make the allocation are properly informed of the library’s requirements This budget will include
- purchase of library-based resources in all formats
- subscriptions to online services and software licences
- funding for special events,
- the day-to-day running of the library.
- the evidence the budget proposals are based on so those providing approval and allocations are well-informed of needs and how priorities have been determined
It will not include the purchase or maintenance of hardware such as interactive whiteboards, laptops, computers, tablets and so forth. While the budget will be based on an evaluation of the collection and the input from other staff members, this does not mean that there will be an equal expenditure across all faculties, curriculum areas or resource formats. Expenditure will be based on priorities identified within this policy, within the library’s strategic plan and in consultation with specific stakeholders.
While the teacher librarian may delegate the spending of a portion of the budget to another person following consultation with that person, the teacher librarian will have the final authority for the disbursement of the budget. No person may disburse library monies without the approval of the teacher librarian, and if this approval is given a note will be made in the budget records.
Collection and disbursement of monies raised through events such as book fairs, book swaps and other special events will be in alignment with school and departmental policies and procedures. In accordance with school and departmental policies, the teacher librarian will submit a Statement of Expenditure each year when required to both the principal and the school board. Should a significant expenditure be made that would be of interest to the school community, then this will be shared through the school’s newsletter and other communication channels.
Gifts and donations will be accepted. However they must need the general and specific selection criteria before being included in the collection. Grants for specific items may be sought from the P. & C. but sponsorship, commercial or private, will be in line with school and departmental policies and procedures.
Reimbursement of the cost of resources will be sought if items are lost or damaged beyond reasonable repair. Cost recovery will be at the discretion of the teacher librarian and made after the investigation of the circumstances.
Acquisition refers to what is owned as well as what is provided access to and how this will be managed. This section should include who has authority to purchase/acquire; criteria for selection of suppliers; preference for local/national/online suppliers; preference for free, paid or subscription-based services; and the outsourcing of the collection or its processing
Resources will be acquired in alignment with school and departmental financial guidelines and procedures, including those purchased online. While staff may make recommendations for purchases for the library’s collection, the teacher librarian will have ultimate responsibility for acquisitions so selection criteria were met and unnecessary duplication avoided. Suppliers will need to meet the criteria identified in the Procedures Manual including
- quality and reliability of service
- preview practices and returns policies
- value for money
- payment options,
- delivery costs
- speed of delivery
Where possible, local suppliers will be used but if others, including those online, provide better service they will be used. Suppliers’ service and terms and conditions relating to this will be reviewed regularly.
The merit of a particular resource based on its adherence to the selection criteria will outweigh a preference for free, paid or subscription-based costs. The selection criteria indicate these preferences. However, if purchased, the resource must provide value for money. If it is free, the selection criteria must be considered.
Out-sourcing of the development of the collection to suppliers such as Australian Standing Orders may be considered but is not the preferred option. Cost comparisons, previewing of titles for suitability and the ability to return unwanted items will be critical criteria to be considered.
Out-sourcing physical processing of resources will not be considered during the life of this policy.
While the cost of an item may be a determining factor, adherence to the selection criteria and the value of the resource in supporting teaching and learning will be considered when deciding whether a resource should be purchased or acquired for free. However, preference will be given to those resources available freely through the National Digital Learning Resources Network; Open Education Resources; a NEALS licence or an appropriate Creative Commons licence.
Should the teacher librarian be in a position to make an on-the-spot purchase of a resource which is known to be of value to the collection and in keeping with the selection criteria, this may be done but reimbursement of any expenditure will be in alignment with school and departmental policies. Staff cannot assume that any such purchases that they make will be automatically reimbursed from the library’s budget.
Resources are acquired so they are used to support, enrich and enhance teaching and learning. Therefore staff and students must know of their availability. Including promotion in the policy provides formal validation of the processes used.
Newly-acquired resources will be promoted for use through a variety of means.
- All resources will be added to the catalog so their existence and availability is discoverable through a number of likely search terms.
- Instructions for accessing online resources will be made available to staff and students bearing in mind the need for security and privacy,
- Appropriate social media will be used including (insert those used by the school including access details)
- Displays will be an important part of the library environment.
- Staff and students will be invited to participate in the promotion of resources
Collection evaluation must be ongoing but a timeframe is required to ensure the whole collection is evaluated within the life of the policy.
Collection evaluation must focus on the readers rather than the resources. In order to ensure that the collection remains appealing, effective and relevant to its users, it needs to be continually evaluated using criteria such as
- its correlation to educational policies, pedagogical practices and curriculum requirements
- its correlation to the needs, abilities and interests of the users
- its correlation to the beliefs and values of the school community
- its correlation to suggested lists of resources accompanying curriculum strands, Premier’s Reading Challenge and other school-specific requirements
- the need to provide current and authoritative resources in a variety of formats
- its adherence to current selection procedures and criteria
- the age and condition of resources
- the integration of digital technologies
- available space and budget
- the number of resources is sufficient to meet the demand of the users
- the range of formats supports teaching and learning and is in relation to users’ demands, requirements and expectations
- ensuring it provides a range of perspectives without bias towards one particular viewpoint
- collection development has been in alignment with the current Collection Policy and the library’s strategic plan
- informing future policy development
The methods used to evaluate the suitability of items in the collection will include
- comparison with the philosophy, objectives and nature of the school
- the interests and needs of the students
- collection mapping
- curriculum auditing
- analysis of usage patterns and user surveys
- comparison with current selection criteria
- comparison with published lists such as the Education Lending Rights survey or reading lists such as the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge, CBCA shortlists and notable books list
- other methods as appropriate
Curriculum mapping will be carried out to determine which areas of the curriculum need a greater emphasis to augment, renew or update existing resources. This will be done on a rotational basis so each curriculum area is evaluated regularly, at least once during the life of this Collection Policy. Should there be new curriculum initiatives introduced and implemented, curriculum mapping to meet new needs will become a priority.
Because this can be a contentious issue a statement about the purpose of deselection and the authority for undertaking it must be established as well as clear criteria.
De-selection of resources –the systematic and deliberate removal of unwanted items from the collection to ensure it remains current and relevant for its users—will be formally done during the mandatory annual stocktake, although it will also be an informal process undertaken throughout the year as needs arise. The final decision for de-selection remains with the teacher librarian based on her professional knowledge of the needs, interests and abilities of the collection’s users, both staff and students. This includes considering
- regardless of age, retaining resources that are known to appeal to particular age groups such as the collection about dinosaurs for Kindergarten so their perceptions about the value of the library are developed and their expectations met
- regardless of age, retaining fiction titles such as the Harry Potter series which have enduring appeal and use; works by authors whose appeal and popularity has been established and continues; and works which continue to support the curriculum such as historical fiction
- students’ access to ICT within and beyond the school so there is anytime, anywhere access to information if required
- students’ preferences for print resources over other formats, as well as the need, identified by current research, to develop literacy skills using traditional formats so that onscreen skills are enhanced
- the provision of resources that will enable users to have a range to cross-check information for authority, accuracy, currency, objectivity and relevance
De-selection will be considered for items which
- are dirty or damaged beyond reasonable repair
- are in a format no longer supported by available hardware
- have information which is inaccurate, out-of-date, biased, racist, sexist or misleading
- contain racial, sexual or cultural stereotyping
- are unappealing in appearance or format
- are inappropriate or irrelevant to the needs, abilities and interests of the library’s users
- have significantly declined in circulation and unlikely to be popular or required again
- have been superseded by newer editions that have greater aesthetic appeal
- are unused duplicate copies
Digital resources will be deselected if
- they meet any of the appropriate criteria above
- links are no longer live
- have altered terms and conditions of use which are unacceptable
- have accompanying advertisements or other material which is inappropriate
- have embedded links which led to inappropriate sites
- no longer comply with copyright
- they are no longer deemed suitable for the use of students
In order to ensure the collection is up-to-date the following should be used as a guide to replacement times.
|Dewey Classification||Timeframe||Type of Resource||Timeframe|
|100||5 -10 years||Fiction||individual basis|
|200||5-10 years||Encyclopaedias||3 -5 years|
|300||2-10 years||Reference||individual basis|
|400||10 years||Periodicals||3 -5 years|
|500||2-10 years||Almanacs||3 years|
|600||2-10 years||Ebooks||Based on licence and hardware availability|
|700||5-20 years||Audiobooks||Based on licence and hardware availability|
|800||flexible||Digital resources||Based on licence, hardware availability and software compatibility|
|900||5-10 years||Teacher Resources||Based on curriculum currency and compatibility|
|Maps, charts,posters, ephemera||Individual basis|
These criteria are to be used as a guide rather than a rigid set of rules. Consideration will also be given to keeping
- classics, award winners, and titles likely to be in demand again such as the Harry Potter series
- local history resources
- school publications for archival purposes
- titles on current reading lists
- out of print titles that are still useful
- biographical resources relating to prominent local, national and international figures
- resources which might be of historical interest or for comparison at a later time
Culled resources will be written off in accordance with approved procedures, including amending the record in the library’s management system. They will then be disposed of appropriately according to their reason for culling. Most materials unsuitable for the school library are likely to be unsuitable for other libraries so careful consideration needs to be given to their final destination.
Resources will be marked in such a way that it is clear they are no longer required, including defacing barcodes.
The sale of unwanted titles will to be within the guidelines of the educational authority’s financial procedures.
For more information on the deselection of resources, see The Gardener’s Hat.
A policy relating to Challenged Materials – both print and digital – is an essential element of the Collection Policy. Having it as an appendix makes it more manageable.
Challenged materials will be dealt with in accordance with the Challenged Materials Policy. See Appendix B
Policies should only have a life of about three years so there is time to introduce, implement and evaluate its goals and then look to the next phase of development.
This policy will be reviewed and revised every three years to ensure it continues to support the ethos and objectives of both the library and the school.
specific selection criteria
Specific selection criteria for non fiction including encyclopedias, yearbooks, almanacs, dictionaries, thesauri, anthologies, atlases, handbooks, pamphlets, periodicals, journals and information books includes consideration of
- fulfil the purpose of the item (quick reference, browsing or extensive research).
- support and enrich the curriculum
- text and print size appropriate to the intended reader.
- style of writing appropriate to the purpose or intention of the author.
- text is smooth to read, clear and concise, interesting and non-repetitive.
- language used reflects the intended use of the item.
- reading level of the item matches the user’s experience and capability
- matches the readability of the text and the interest levels of students.
- information is accurate and up-to-date.
- vital facts are not omitted or over-simplified
- topic covered adequately -in-depth, detailed account or a general overview, as appropriate.
- approach/development of concepts suited to intended users.
- supports school, state and national curricula
Organisation of Information
- clear and functional.
- contains index, table of contents, glossary, bibliography, as appropriate.
- clearly defined chapters/sections.
- headings/sub-headings clearly defined.
- text well spaced and organised into paragraphs.
- background colour/borders/illustrations do not interfere with the readability of the text.
- adequate use of white space.
- avoids stereotypes in text or illustrations.
- avoids biased opinions/value judgements.
- reflects gender equity principles of social justice (includes race, sex, physical and intellectual disability, cultural grouping).
- relevant to Australian conditions, as appropriate.
- support or extend the information base of the text.
- may include diagrams, maps, graphs, photographs, drawings, paintings, tables.
- positioned relevant to the text.
- clear, attractive and/or interesting.
- labelled/captioned effectively/accurately.
Specific selection criteria for fiction including picture books, beginning readers, early chapter books, graphic novels and novels includes consideration of Purpose
- provides entertainment and enjoyment
- stimulates the imagination
- develops language
- extends the student’s experiences
- helps the student become an independent, critical reader
- supports the curriculum
- encourages reading as a life-long leisure activity
- may be used to support non-fiction curriculum areas
- text and print size are appropriate to the intended reader
- text is smooth to read, clear and concise
- reading level of the item matches the user’s experience and capability
- appropriate to the plot, theme and characters
- imaginative and interesting with natural dialogue and vivid descriptions
- concepts developed by the plot are appropriate for the age/ maturity of the intended reader
- style of writing is appropriate to the genre
- provides the opportunity for students to practise / develop/ extend literacy skills
- stimulates the reader’s imagination
- encourages an awareness of issues
- is interesting and entertaining
- sequence of events is logical and credible
- factual elements are accurate
- avoids biased opinions / value judgements unless these are an integral part of the story
- reflects gender equity principles of social justice including race, sex, physical and intellectual disability and cultural grouping unless these are an integral part of the story
- relevant to Australian issues where appropriate
- easily identified
- resolution of conflict within acceptable moral codes and behavioural modes
- appropriate to the age group without gratuitous sex or violence or swearing
- avoids moralising or didacticism unless this is the intent of the author
- convincing and credible
- characters use natural and suitable dialogue
- characters develop and grow
- avoids stereotyping by gender, race, disability or culture
- content well spaced and logically organised
- supports left-to-right directionality
- background colour / borders/ illustrations do not interfere with readability of the text
- appropriately placed and positioned
- clear, attractive, and interesting
- enhance and enrich elements of the story
- enhance readability of the text
- appropriate to the reading interest / maturity level of the reader
- avoid stereotypes
- awareness that language may be unacceptable to some members of the school community
- awareness that issues such as sex, violence, drugs, AIDS, death, religion and the supernatural may be unacceptable to some members of the school community
Senior Fiction Consideration must be given to the following questions…
- Who is the author’s intended audience?
- Are there main characters who are close to the age of the students?
- In the case of contemporary realistic fiction, is this a theme that reflects the life of the students?
- Is it a theme that is appropriate for this age group?
- Are they likely to understand and appreciate the underlying concepts, relationships, humour and nuances?
- Would they get more from it if they read it when they were more mature?
- Why are students requesting this? Is that a valid reason to consider/purchase it?
- How will this novel enrich my students’ lives in a way that others do not?
- If this were a movie would it receive a G or PG rating?
- Is the language appropriate for this age group?
- If my 10-14 year old brought this home, would I be happy with their choice?
- Is this the best investment for this money?
Specific selection criteria for non-book resources including CDs and MP3 formats, charts, computer software/CD-ROMs, games, realia/models, slides, DVDs and apps for tablets include consideration of all the above criteria as well as criteria specific to their format. Audio formats
- sound clarity.
- clear pronunciation and enunciation.
- reading is well paced.
- background music/sound effects appropriate and don’t interfere with main reading.
- abridged or full-text version as appropriate.
- story reading or dramatised version.
- length appropriate for intended user.
- accompanying teachers’ notes – appropriate, useful and relevant.
Charts – including maps, diagrams, pictures, posters, friezes, study prints.
- clear and logical layout.
- information and graphics are uncluttered.
- overall size and print size appropriate for intended use.
- attractively presented to generate interest.
- simplify information and summarise key concepts.
- support a specific educational purpose.
- support an educational purpose.
- safety aspects eg. size of pieces, sharp edges.
- packaging/storage to facilitate long-term use.
- durability of game pieces.
- accompanying instructions clear and appropriate for the intended user.
- attractive, interesting, stimulating and fun.
- support an educational purpose.
- durable construction.
- size/weight appropriate for intended use.
- attractive and interesting.
- easy to use.
- clarity of sound and images.
- visually appealing.
- voice production
- clear and suited for intended purpose and user.
- accuracy and currency of visual information.
- content appropriate for intended user.
- variety in presentation.
- production well paced.
- length appropriate for the intended user.
- G or PG rating only and permission for the latter is gained under departmental guidelines
Online and Electronic Resources
- copyright compliant
- acceptable terms and conditions of use
- appropriate to the age of the user and comply with G or PG guidelines
- comply with age restrictions for membership (awareness of requirement for 13+)
- comply with education authority guidelines and are legally accessed
- accompanying advertisements or links are appropriate with preference given to those that are designed for students use through an education plan even if these are subscription-based
- provide learner control through flexible pacing, variable difficulty, and optimal branching and linking
- information is accurate, and reliably and regularly maintained
- organisation, searching capabilities and navigation tools enhance information retrieval
- provide record keeping and management options if applicable
- provide readable text, attractive graphics and an appealing layout
- easy-to-understand, comprehensive documentation
- has top quality technical production including clear and well-crafted audio and visual
- user friendly
- compatibility with school’s computer network
- site license costs are not prohibitive
In accordance with our Mission Statement and the Australian School Library Association’s Bill of Rights, we have a responsibility to provide opportunities and resources which reflect a wide variety of perspectives which will encourage critical thinking and help our students make informed decisions. Therefore, at times, students may be exposed to materials which present information, ideas or attitudes which some members of the school community may consider to be controversial, inappropriate or offensive. Objections to these resources are an important part of the democratic process and should be treated as legitimate avenues of communication in education. However, challenges must be considered on the understanding that no parents or carers have the right to determine the suitability of learning or recreational matter for students other than their own.
To facilitate the hearing of potential objections and to guide appropriate action, there is a Challenged Materials policy and procedure which enables different points of view to be clearly and openly expressed while preserving the principles of intellectual freedom and the professional responsibility and integrity of the school. This procedure is based on the recommendations of the ACT School Library Services and includes
- providing the complainant with a letter outlining the procedure, requesting their completion of the formal Request for Reconsideration of Resources form which should be attached and explaining that, in general, they can only question the suitability of materials in relation to their own child, although the Review Committee will have the ability to consider the breadth of application of their final decision.
- formal documentation of the request for reconsideration
- establishment of a Review Committee which comprises the teacher-librarian, two staff members including a representative of the relevant curriculum committee and two parent representatives, including a member of the School Board.
- independent review of the challenged resource by the Review Committee in line with our Collection Development Policy and selection criteria
- a meeting of the Review Committee to which the complainant may be invited to decide the appropriate course of action
- notification of the result of the review to the complainant
- supply of our Collection Development Policy and selection criteria if the complainant is not satisfied
- the right of the complainant to refer the matter to the School Board for further consideration
Should a parent or community member approach a staff member with concerns about a print resource, the complainant should be referred to the teacher-librarian who will explain the procedure and offer them a form to complete which deals with the re-consideration of materials. A promise to remove or restrict the resource should not be made —that decision will be made by the Review Committee which the staff member will be invited to join if applicable.
Should an issue with an online resource be brought to the attention of any staff member, the teacher librarian needs to be contacted immediately and made aware of the objection. This need not be in writing in the first instance, but written advice of the source and the issue is required using the appropriate form as soon as is practicable. If, in the opinion of the teacher librarian, the issue is apparent (such as inappropriate advertising, embedded links or the potential to harvest students’ private information) and thus requires immediate action, all steps will be taken to have the offending website removed from the collection as soon as possible.
If, however, the complaint is of a more general nature, then the appropriate process will be followed.
request for reconsideration of library resources
All requests must be accompanied by this form.
You might also like to consult this document – A MANUAL FOR DEVELOPING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL LIBRARY RESOURCE CENTRES
ALA has also developed a resource Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries
M.Ed (TL); M.App.Sci (TL); M.I.S. (Children’s Services)
Cooma NSW 2630
Last Update: May 19, 2023