I was a TL a long time ago (1979-1985) and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember learning anything about needs assessment or the role of the school library in my training and there was very little about selection and acquisition – my training (from memory) was mostly about cataloguing and classifying. So, I guess I would have to say that reading the modules and the readings established my knowledge and understanding of needs assessment, selection, acquisition and the role of school library collections – and doing the task extended my knowledge and understanding of these.
Re needs assessment: – I will still need to practice this: I only began my new role as part-time TL (0.4) on 23 March 2010 but had a meeting with the Head TL 11 March 2010 and asked for her opinion. She had no hesitation is naming mother tongue for the IB. I had very little knowledge of this area but as I was going to Vietnam (14 – 21 March 2010) to complete a final task for my former employer, St James Ethics Centre, I thought, “Bingo – Vietnamese mother tongue!” So, for the future – my plan is to get to know the library collection asap and get into circulation data – though first, I will need to learn about AMLIB! Next step would be to revise or create a questionnaire(s) suitable for teaching and support staff as well as students regarding their thoughts and ideas for the library. Given that anything could come in – I can now see the importance of having a collection policy. I will need to check if we have one and if it needs revising.
Re selection: – LOTS of information out there, so I was fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of great contacts whilst in Vietnam, among them: the Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism; a Professor of History, Centre for Asian Societies and Histories at the Australian National University; and a former Australian Ambassador to Vietnam 1998-2002 – these were people I had worked with for over fourteen years in my former role. Thankfully, there was an opportunity just prior to the Easter break to meet with the IB teachers and the Director of Studies to discuss check my understanding of their needs against what I had come up with. For the future, I will continue to tap into my external network of contacts as appropriate alongside those suggested in the notes, the reading materials and listservs.
Re acquisition: – in future, I know I will need to pay more attention to this – particularly when it comes to acquiring the mother tongue resources for the other fourteen languages and where policy-type questions will surely arise such as: if a resource is available in Australia and also the country of origin, which do we choose? This will make for some good ethical discussions! As an aside, I intend to learn how to use Endnotes.
Re role of the school library? A no-brainer, it is there to support the learning of the school community.