I have spent some time recently absorbed with assessing papers written by students in a MAppSci (MLS) library program. The topic this time was the development of a Collection Management Policy.
This is not the first time that I have been involved with this topic – but it is the first time that I recognised that the extent of inequities in schools will make it impossible to establish good Web 2.0 or Library 2.0 practices, and will guarantee the loss of good school libraries and good teacher librarians.
The papers and presentations from the conference in Washington DC tell one side of the story. The papers I have been marking tell the other side of the story. What I have seen from some of the schools is some of the following:
- teachers with no experience attempting to manage a quality school library
- Principals who expect a school library to be run on a minimal budget of AU$3,000 to AU$4,000 per year
- Poor collections, over 10 years old
- DOS based library systems using OASIS software
- qualified staff working for only a few days a week
- qualified staff being used for RFF (relief from face-to-face teaching i.e. managing someone elses class by providing a 'library lesson')
- lack of curriculum integration due to RFF
- lack of collaborative planning and teaching
Worst of all is the fact that the policy framework can include criteria for managing digital resources – great! NO! these resources are websites, CDrom, intranets maybe. Is there any mention of Web 2.0 concepts or social software? No way! Did anyone mention a Wiki, or blog or Flickr image collections? I wish!
So we see the constraints that some people have to work with. We also see a total lack of awarness of the current digital agenda.
Are these some of the reasons why school libraries are 'not the flavour of the month' with some digitally savvy administrators ?? Who is missing the point? Us or them???