Policy comparison: The ASLA Document to My School LIbrary Document.
When considering the Standards for Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians (ASLA 2004) document it becomes clear that this is an all encompassing policy to set the highest standard for teacher librarians to aspire to in both their day-to-day activities and in the long term planning for ongoing library development. The policy is also designed so that there is a national standard and approach for all teacher librarians to act under.
The policy sets standards under the categories of Professional knowledge, Professional practice and Professional commitment. (ASLA 2004). Each standard has subcategories which brings to the fore clear direction and goals for the teacher librarian to incorporate into their role within the school community.
The policy which has been written for Bateman’s Bay High School was developed in 2002. It presents the policy statement as describing the role of the teacher librarian using quotations from the ‘Libraries in New South Wales Government Schools’ policy document of 1987.
As these quotes are brief I will present them as they are in the policy statement.
“The school library is a major educational resource for teachers and students of the school. It is primarily a learning and information centre which assists in the learning process by providing:
- materials and equipment
- an information system.
the library is an essential resource for the planning and the implementation of the teaching program of the school. It is also a recreational and reference centre for the students and the teachers. …..In the context of available resources, advances in technology should be assimilated into the library to maintain its relevance to its users within the wider social context.”
“The purpose of the library is to enhance teaching and students’ learning within the total program of the school…”
The goal for Bateman’s Bay High school is to provide resources, both human and material, to enhance the teaching and learning activities within the school.
The policy then outlines Collection development policy, Library staff/duties policy and SASS staff duties with a one page explanation of each.
In making a comparison between the two policies the ASLA document considers a greater depth and breadth of considerations for the teacher librarian. It not only focusses on the running of the library in the school community but has an evaluation process to consider for future development of facilities as well as professional development.
The Bateman’s Bay document, although developed from a previous state based policy, has elements of the ASLA policy but has less detail in comparison. The major focus of our school policy, although is states “to enhance teaching and students’ learning within the total program of the school”, deals with providing a more of a passive resource facility rather than a proactive teacher librarian developing a information centre in consultation with teachers to provide a diverse resource for all.
To ask which policy more suitable and appropriate I would suggest the ASLA policy is. To ask- is the Bateman’s Bay library policy adequate?- I would answer yes. However that “yes” would be followed by “with a understanding that future policy development should take on board all the aspects of the ASLA.
In conclusion, this has been a positive exercise in several ways. Firstly, to actually find the school policy statement which was buried deep in a filing cabinet, and then to make comparison between it and the ASLA document. This has brought to my attention the fact that there is room for development and improvement of the school policy in consideration of the ASLA policy statement.