ALIA Schools National Online Forum – SLRC guidelines – Day 2

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Welcome to the second day of the ALIA Schools Online Forum – Unpacking the School Library Resource Centre guidelines for self reflection and evaluation.

The document is available for download HERE:

Today we ask participants to share their thoughts on the following points:

  • Why should schools take the time to complete this document?
  • Could this document be useful in conducting a review of your library?

We thank you for taking the time to participate in our online forum and look forward to reading your comments.



13 thoughts on “ALIA Schools National Online Forum – SLRC guidelines – Day 2

  1. We need to have an idea of where we want to be. Setting goals and benchmarking them against industry standards, our own performance and other similar services is important for us to help us to gather support from leadership teams to move forward and create change.

    Using a document like this one comes with a few advantages:
    • The branding of ALIA – a recognised peak body
    • It encourages the measurement of both quantitative and observational data
    • It provides a framework of how the results might be presented to administration

    Times change. Services change. Schools change. It is important that we constantly change, that we recognise how we want to change and that we measure the change we are making. This document provides a model to kick-start this process.

    I would certainly use the document and maybe revisit it in a couple of years so I can compare the results.

  2. A1) I think that school libraries should be continually reflecting on their services in order to know which direction to take – keep going straight ahead or make a turn in a different direction? This document is a useful tool to guide that reflective process as it has already laid out a logical structure and itemised things to consider during the review.
    I also think that the specifically Library-designed questions are more helpful than using a more general tool such as a SWOT analysis.

    A2) This kind of review document is definitely going to be helpful in conducting a review of my Library! I think that this online forum, combined with the immediate plans to refurbish our junior/middle school library, are a match made in heaven – now I don’t have to wonder where to start, I’ll just grab a section and get going.

  3. 1) Reflection is an essential part of planning and future proofing for any organisation (or individual). Our school already has in place Department Improvement Plans which are devised by departments (including the library) and reviewed by Admin annually. When first put into place this was considered by many to be an onerous and unnecessary chore, but has since been found to be a positive experience and a useful process. The tool provided is great as it includes library terminology and focuses on all the essentials.
    2) I’ll be using this information to continue the DIP process. As Kate mentioned you can’t do it all at once…it’s always a work in progress, and there will be speed bumps, but it helps maintain focus.

  4. I agree with Catherine that this document will be of great assistance in gathering support from leadership teams because it provides a structure for accountability. Preparation of the evidence and analysing the data will also greatly enhance our professional credibility. Sandra Ryan

  5. I believe that the two most important reasons for self reflection and evaluation in a school library are professional accountability and credibility. Increasingly, schools as organizations are expected to take part in an ongoing cycle of improvement, it is essential that school libraries are part of this process and not marginalized. The data compiled and analysed as part of the self reflection and evaluation provides evidence that affirms current practice as well as identifying areas for improvement. Professional credibility is enhanced by having access to this type of information and using it to advocate for school library services.

  6. This document is an excellent checklist to assist with reflection on what we have and what and how we can make changes to our library. I agree with Kate, reflection is something we should be continually doing. This document provides a template to assist with refurbishing and re-arranging our libraries, based on Industry standards.

    This is particularly helpful for a sole practitioner who does not have any other professionals to consult and share with.

  7. I agree with many of the comments above. It also helps to have a respected practitioner to act as a consultant to aid the discussions. A knowledgeable outsider can give insightful and sometimes alternative perspectives which can challenge our thinking further. This and focused research can make it an extremely rich experience.

  8. Annie – good point about “sole practitioners” – this kind of documentation is a lifesaver for someone who doesn’t have a team to share the work of designing and publishing this kind of report
    Sandra – I hadn’t really thought as far ahead as “professional credibility”, but I see your point and am now considering how to leverage that aspect to advantage in my school
    Catherine – your point about ALIA as a peak body providing added credibility is a good one, and certainly something that I will now think about emphasising in the introduction to my final report

  9. The reviews that I have experienced are structured to provide both affirmation and recommendations. In some circumstances the recommendations are challenges for the whole school community, including leadership. For instance if an increase in budget to build the collection is a recommendation, this involves all staff and sometimes parents.
    Sandra Ryan

  10. I agree with all of the above comments. Reflection on services and the ability to meet the needs of the school, the teachers and the students is a constant in the role of the leader of a library / resource centre. Change has become an ever present part of what libraries are on about today and it is great that there is a document that assists with the process. Accountability and credibility are ever present in conversations with leadership, and to have ALIA ‘s endorsement of the framework will definitely influence future discussions.

  11. We are constantly having to be accountable and to demonstrate credibility to justify our positions being retained! We are constantly having to demonstrate that the services we provide assist students achieving their desired learning outcomes .

  12. To remain relevant today we need to be doing all we can to ensure the library is the place to be and use. This document is one of the way we can ensure this happens.
    This document would be very useful in conducting a review of our library?

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