ETL 503 – Resourcing the Curriculum Reflection on Module 1 – definitions of “Collection management”

Well, it is time to get back on the wagon for my studies to be a Teacher Librarian after a semester-long hiatus.

After completing the previous unit ETL401 ‘Teacher Librarianship’ I developed a sense of the scope of the TL role. In particular, I began my journey of ‘thinking like a librarian’, something which does not come naturally to me. Despite my immersion in literacy practices as a High School English teacher, I have not had a lot of exposure to the kinds of policy-driven and taxonomic types of learning that Librarianship entails. The focus in the TL course on Information Literacy, however, is intriguing, and gives me a lot to ponder as I move on in my studies…I expect a lot of puzzling on my part over definitions and usage as I move through this next unit of study. I also expect quite a bit of exploration and wrangling with new digital technologies for collecting, managing, communicating and synthesising information. So many platforms, so little time …

So – into ETL503 “Resourcing the Curriculum” which is the unit I am doing over the summer semester.

Some consideration of definitions:

‘Collection development’ in Kennedy’s glossary definition (Kennedy 2006) does seem to imply a growth-orientated approach that the term carries from its early use from academic libraries in the United States during the post-war rapid expansion of Higher Education and the boom in resource funding for higher learning that went with it.

“Collection development: term used to encompass interrelated activities concerned with building and maintaining library collections of resources to serve the wants and needs of clients. …” (Kennedy, 2006).

‘Collection management’, on the other hand, seems to be more encompassing of all the activities involved in resourcing the curriculum – not just selecting and acquiring the resources. In Kennedy, ‘Collection development’ does seem to have a degree of overlap with ‘Collection management’. However, there does seem to be slightly more emphasis on what happens to the resources after they have been acquired.

“Collection management: …set of interrelated activities involved in building and maintaining a collection of library resources to serve the wants and needs of clients. These activities include matters relating to selection, evaluation, deselection and preservation of materials. Acquisition is frequently also considered as aspect of collection management, though sometimes regarded as distinct, particularly in North America” (Kennedy, 2006).

The implication in Kennedy’s glossary definition also seems to be that any management of the resources of the library has to be done with a view to the learning needs of the school community and the budget constraints that are a more pressing reality for schools now than in the era of expansion in the 1960s.

In other discussions of resourcing the curriculum, it is clear that the activities of selection, acquisition, evaluation, preservation and deselection need to have a distinct rationale that ties the school library’s work to the learning and teaching needs of the school community.

ALIA’s submission to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on the resourcing needs for implementing the Australian Curriculum makes this clear. Kennedy’s definition of collection management underscores the needs and wants of “clients”. In a school community that is defined by the demands of the curriculum, assessment and reporting structures in place. The professional development needs of school staff would be included in this, as would, to a certain extent, the free independent reading of the student population. In broader terms, ALIA also notes that the library’s role in resourcing the curriculum is part of a core rationale for a liberal education to effectively prepare young people to participate and contribute to an open, pluralistic society:

“The primary function of a school library is to underpin the school’s mission statement by providing services, resources and programmes that foster opportunities for lifelong learning, literacy, reading and the love of literature. The school library also offers all members of its community the opportunity to develop as informed and responsible citizens and to contribute to the Australian democracy, culture, society and economy” (ALIA, 2010).

This gives collection management in schools a fairly broad remit, which can be hard to meet in the context of competing priorities and limited budgets.

The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) has also made a statement about curriculum resourcing that implies a client and needs-focussed approach to collection management in its “Statement on school library resource provision”:

“Resourcing the curriculum is an ongoing process of selection and evaluation guided by policy and budget planning. Effective resourcing of the curriculum requires a collaboratively developed and agreed policy on collection development prepared as part of the school’s ongoing planning and review process.

Effective resourcing of a curriculum ensures:

  • every learner has equitable access to a variety of quality, relevant, accurate and current information resources;
  • adequate resources at appropriate levels for all curricula and to meet personal and recreational needs are provided;
  • new ways of teaching and learning are reflected in Information and Communication Technologies and resources;
  • teachers’ effectiveness is enhanced by access to recent curricular and professional development material” (ASLA, 2009).

It seems to me that collection management in the context of the school library is a balancing act between the various needs of the school community and the realities of budgetary constraints. There may be issues with competing agendas, too, especially in schools working within a religious charter where the object of a free flow of information may be at odds with the school community’s definition of acceptable material. A teacher librarian would be making decisions about collection management within an implied or fully-worked-out matrix of factors to consider when selecting, acquiring, evaluating and weeding resources.


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2010). Submission from the Australian Library and Information Association  to the ACARA consultation on the draft K-10 Australian Curriculum: English, mathematics, science and history.

Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2009) Statement on school library resource provision.

Kennedy, John. (2006). Collection management: a concise introduction. Centre for Information Studies. Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.


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