Identify & examine range of models for collection evaluation – that effectively relate to:
The learning and teaching context, the needs of the users and school library collection.
A combination of methods is needed; no one method would meet the needs of a school library, as all the methods have their benefits and limitations (Bishop, 2007). Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005) discuss the benefits of qualitative methods and how they can help the TL to assess how well the collection is supporting the needs of the learners in combination with how well it is supporting the teaching-learning context (p.40). Qualitative methods will need to be combined with quantitative methods to create a clearer picture of the whole collection.
Bishop (2007) suggests collection mapping is a useful method to assist in giving quantitative information on the number of items in a whole collection or specific subject areas of a collection. Collection mapping could also be used for providing information on the age of the collection or subject area. Automated systems for collecting statistics can be utilised for collection mapping (pp. 155-156). Collection mapping also gives a clear visual presentation that would be easy for administrators to understand and interpret. The method of directly examining the physical condition of items is an effective way to evaluate if items need to be removed and then considering the value of the that item in supporting learners needs, then deciding if it needs to be replaced.
Circulation statistics are also useful in combination with the other quantitative methods mentioned, as they can identify strengths and weaknesses in the collection. As suggested by Bishop (2007) circulation statistics can be used to identify areas of the collection that are weak in supporting the curriculum. Once these holes in the collection have been identified, TLs can collaborate with teachers to ascertain what materials are needed to close these holes (p. 151).
Consider the practicalities of undertaking a collection evaluation within a school in terms of time, staffing, priorities, etc, as well as appropriateness of methodology.
Careful planning to develop a collection evaluation method is needed to make sure that it is achievable and that there is adequate library staff available to carry out the evaluation.
The purpose of a collection evaluation is to assess if the collection is meeting the learners’ needs and supporting the curriculum requirements. It also needs to be used for planning acquisitions, assist in gaining funding, and assist in weeding. As suggested by Bishop (2007) the following criteria needs to be taken into consideration when judging the evaluation and if it suits the particular school library context. Is the information collected necessary for providing details that will influence decisions that need to be made about acquisitions and acquiring funding. Can the techniques be used again. Are the methods used time effective, is the information needed being delivered in time for important decisions to be made by administrators? Will the administrators see the information collected as credible and trustworthy (p.143) ?
Does the need for and possible benefits of an evaluation of the collection outweigh the difficulties of undertaking such an evaluation?
The need for and possible benefits of an evaluation of the collection do outweigh any difficulties of undertaking an evaluation. If meeting the needs of our learners is the most important goal of the school library program, then having a library collection that does this or is working towards this goal is of great benefit to the whole school community. It can also assist the library to run more efficiently and effectively, which would benefit the whole school community. The Arizona State Library (2013) suggests the information gathered from an evaluation of the collection is very useful to help the TL and administrators plan long term goals for the library and also identify the priorities for funding (para. 1)
Could it perhaps be preferable to evaluate a section of the collection at a time, giving priority to the examination of sections where there is a clear need for change?
Evaluating a section of the collection at a time, giving priority to the examination of sections where there is clear need sounds like an effective option. Although a TL that is a new to the role will probably need to have a whole collection picture to start off with to see which areas of the collection need most attention. Bishop (2007) suggests that a TL can not address all the areas of need at once, this would be impossible but breaking it down into smaller achievable pieces could be of benefit and more effective (p. 142).
Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. (2013). Collection Assessment and Mapping. Retrieved from http://www.azlibrary.gov/cdt/collass.aspx
Bishop, K. (2007). Evaluation of the collection. In The collection program in schools: concepts, practices and information sources. (4th ed.) (pp. 141-159). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited
Hughes-Hassell, S. and Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: responding to the needs of learners. Retrieved from Ebook library