Department of Education

School Library Support

School Library Support

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Selecting resources

Collection guidelines

Collection development guidelines written in collaboration with the whole school staff, provide a set of principles to ensure that the school library develops and maintains a 'balanced, relevant and dynamic collection' which satisfies the needs of its users. It should reflect the school philosophy and development plan.

Challenge guidelines should also be incorporated to provide guidelines on the rare occasion that a resource may be considered controversial or offensive to some members of the school community.

Selection process

A school library resource centre should provide access to a wide range of quality resources which support curriculum needs and trends, enhance the recreational interests of all students and are matched to appropriate levels.

Selection is a systematic process based on school priorities, the budget, recognised selection criteria and the school's Collection Development Guidelines. It is the responsibility of the teacher librarian or resource teacher in collaboration with teachers and other professional staff to select material for the resource centre. These professional staff should have knowledge of the curriculum, learning and teaching styles, child development, student achievement levels, collection development and resource selection criteria.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of alerts to newly published resources and other selection aids. With experience library staff will build up a range of tools suited to their school's needs. Be aware of the source, authority and possible bias of selection tools. Take advantage of Publishers' alerts, online selection guides, standing orders, Literary awards (see Supporting Learning) or recommended books from for example, the Australian Curriculum.



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A periodicals collection should be catalogued, clearly labelled, stored in order by date of publication with indexes, maintained in good physical condition and weeded regularly. It is useful to identify selection criteria for subscription purchase/renewal, which periodical subscriptions are current, of value and require renewal, preferred service provider/s and availability of the periodical in an alternate medium,such as online.

Challenged resources

Challenged resources are those that may be considered controversial or offensive to members of the school community. It is important that schools have guidelines and procedures in place to deal with any challenges that may arise.

Dealing with challenges should be a systematic process.

  • refer the challenger to the school's Collection Development Guidelines
  • challenger completes a Request for consideration of school resources
  • decide if the item should be removed from the shelf immediately or after it has been reviewed
  • review the resource by a committee comprising the principal, resource teacher, a P&C representative and the person making the challenge
  • the principal makes the final decision to remove or retain the challenged item.

Donated Resources

Resources donated to the school library should be added to the collection only if they are compatible with the Collection Development Guidelines, adhere to the selection criteria and fulfil a need or enhance the collection.

Page last updated 10 June 2014

Selecting resources

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