Placement location: Cranbrook Senior School Library
Placement period: Monday, 13~ Friday, 24, October, 2014.
I undertook my placement at Cranbrook Senior School Library. The school is an Anglican independent, day and boarding school for boys, Pre-school to Year 12, located in eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. The school aims to provide a well-rounded and well-grounded education that embraces all aspects of a young boy’s intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development. According to the School Annual report 2013, nearly 100% of students entered universities in Australia and overseas.
The Role of the Library
The library is specialised as an academic library and supports approximately 900 students from Y7 to Y12 and 110 staff members.
This library has two main roles.
- To provide academic materials for students.
- To support curriculum resources for teaching staff.
The library provides studying and reading spaces for students to borrow resources to meet their interests and needs; physically or virtually. The library encourages students to bring their own electronic devices to access eBooks through an app is called The Borrow Box. The library also provides free WIFI and printing facilities; therefore students can relax and enjoy reading a book, do their homework. This is especially practical for boarders. Furthermore the library promotes reading with collaboration with teachers.
Each Teacher Librarian (TL) is also expert as a subject teacher. TLs have responsibilities to support faculties in their professional area. The library is willing to discusses with teachers to support and to provide curriculum resources on various topics from nonfiction, fiction, teacher resources, to Audio Visual (AV) materials and websites at the beginning of each term and throughout the year when needs arise.
Reference book lists
Students are required to work on various tasks such as assignment and group or individual projects. In order to support students, TLs provide a variety of reference book lists to meet each task. The lists are made based on discussions with subject teachers. These reference book lists are on display racks at the entrance of the library. It catches students’ eyes and also is easy to access. In addition, TLs pick up some books from the list and leave them in the trolleys inside the library.
Tutorial service – Cranbrook College Courses
The library offers tutorial services for senior students. There are 4 tutorials, Using Cite Maker, Editing and proof reading, evaluating websites and their use as a source and effective subject note making. Each tutorial is organized by TL who has expertise in each area. Students generally have face to face tutorial with an expert. Students can have the tutorial services in their self-study time at college. The college is special study space where only Y12 students are allowed to use.
Library session for new Y12 students
The library provides a special session for new Y12 students at the end of Term3. Parents and carers are advised to attend this session. In this session, TLs conduct a presentation which is named “How the library can support them in the Higher School Certificate (HSC)”. The presentation includes;
- How and what TLs can do to develop their study skills.
- How effectively use the library portal.
- How access and use online data base, such as EBSCOH, Jstor and Cambridge Companions.
- Introduce specific subject support for students in English and History Extension.
- Introduce “Cranbrook College Courses”.
The collection at The Cranbrook Senior School Library consists of a range of fiction and nonfiction books and magazines for Young adults, both physical and online access. These include the latest best sellers from Australia and overseas. The collection also includes CD’s, DVD’s and audio books. However, AV materials have progressed to change over from physical to online access. Additionally this AV collection is chosen from a wide range field as it have to cover not only senior school but also junior and pre-school. There is a large English literature collection which can provides English classes as compulsory reading. There is also graphic novels collection for challenged students. All library users can access the online catalogue 24/7 inside and outside school thorough library portal.
The Cranbrook School Senior Library sets the order of priority to acquire new items as follows.
1. To Relate NSW cubiculum.
2. A preparation to begin International Baccalaurean (IB) in near future.
3. To support The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
4. Relevant items to Asian perspective.
5. Appropriate resources to Aboriginal education.
The collection targets for young boys therefore it may be biased as there is not enough storage space to keep other items. However the school is planning a big library renovation in 5 years and TLs will build a neutral collection then.
Staffing and management
The library is absolutely well-staffed. There are four TLs who are also expert and are teaching HSC subject such as English Extension and History. According to Head of TL, teaching general subjects as TLs is rare case. However it is very supportive for students as they need to develop their Information Literacy skills (IL) to complete these subjects.
There are three curriculum assistants, one in charge of the general collection and two in charge of AV collection. They work on general library practices such as cataloging, ordering and receiving new items and maintaining collections. They undertake those tasks; accordingly TLs concentrate on supporting students. Needless to say, the curriculum assistants have solid skills in their professional area. Therefore TLs trust them completely.
The library staff has meeting ones a week to collaborate on projects, initiatives and the direction of the library and making decisions. This meeting is set in very open atmosphere and all staff can freely discuss any agenda.
Over all the staffing and management at the library is doing well. All staff has maintained good relationships with others. Each staff work hard in their respective role with aspiration and passion as they aim to establish better school library to support users.
The library is school library therefore major user are students. Many students often need a help of library staff such as choosing books, using online catalogues and searching online resource. Especially these activities are hard task for junior students. Supporting them, a layout of the library is considered and very unique.
Some examples are cited as follows
- Head of TL is sitting at her desk which is separated from others in back room and is located close to the entrance. This position is very meaningful as she can observe the whole library and easily guess which students need a help.
- There is a big monitor on the centre of the library. It is used as a notice board with slide show format to introduce new collections and to promote events at the library. It is effective to catch students’ attention and also very informative for students who have difficulties to choose books.
- TLs choose appropriate resources through collaborations with teachers and leave them in small trolleys. This is very practical as students can fully access these resources as a first step to complete their assignments and projects.
- The staff room is absolutely glassed in; places behind the reference desk and usually leave the door open. As a result when students need TLs’ supports, they quickly find TLs, even if nobody is at the reference desk. In addition this shows what TLs do at the back. It can be informative.
The library offers tutorial services for senior students. The tutorials provide to develop various skills regarding academic writing. There are 4 tutorials, Using Cite Maker, Editing and proof reading, evaluating websites and their use as a source and effective subject note making.
This tutorial service is very supportive as acquiring these skills is significant as a preparation for HSC and the tertiary education. Students need to book as this tutorial is basically face to face session. This style seems to be very effective as TLs adapt their teaching to each student.
The users are not only students but also teachers. Nowadays, AV is indispensable for teaching. AV team at the library plays very important role to provide AV materials to teachers. Furthermore, although they basically work at the senior library, they cover all requirements of whole school community including junior school and pre-school.
Some examples are cited as follows
- Making assessment files including listening and viewing tasks.
- Extracting from original video and DVD and editing to meet National Curriculum and HSC syllabus.
- Digitizing documents and films regarding the school history and maintaining the archives.
Overall, the school library is successfully striving to meet the needs of the users through collaborations with teachers and listening and acting on what TLs hear from students. Users are the priority of the library and the library is willing to adapt to be able to meet the users’ needs as best as it can.
I had some opportunities to join lessons which TLs have the initiative. The lessons have clearly shown successful collaboration with teachers and I surely agree that allows students and faculty to benefit from the healthy exchange of ideas in a setting defined by mutual respect and a shared interest in a topic. It is fantastic experiences as I have learnt and expanded my knowledge and skills.
It is set once every two weeks as a part of English classes and target Y7 to Y10 students.
1. Students choose books more than one and read in the class throughout each term.
2. After reading, students write and present book reports.
I have had a placement at first two weeks in Term4.Students are given a theme twice a year; which relate to English curriculum in order to select books. However Term 4 is free reading term. Therefore students can choose their favorite books. In the class, TLs firstly asked students if they read any books in school holiday. I have been very impressed as many students shared their impressions of books with peers and TLs gave various comments to each student. Through this interaction between TLs and students, I found TLs have deep understanding and large knowledge of Young Adult Literature than I expect. This realization led me to read and study Young Adult books to enhance my understanding and knowledge even more than I do now.
A preparation for Australia-Japan relations essay contest 2014
All Y8, 9 and 10 Japanese learners at the school has participated this contest every years. TLs conduct first lesson for this contest and they teach students how to research and write an essay. TLs teach students, steps which are essential to write essays such as examine questions, locating information, taking notes and drafting and editing. It is only one period session however it is a substantial and informative lesson for students who have not had many experience to write essays. Students are given handout which meets their knowledge and writing skills. It is considered that students are likely to walk on the right rail without TLs’ support after this lesson.
Throughout the lessons with TLs, I have learnt effective and interactive methods of teaching IL skills and have also gained new class management skills. I believe those skills are absolutely becoming my strength as a TL.
During my practicum, many DVD arrived and were waiting for cataloguing. I joined AV team and I was engaged first step to catalogue these DVD.
1. Check all DVD work properly including subtitles.
2. Go to SCIS and Libraries Australia database to check records such as Dewey number, rating and its running time; and making record of each DVD.
It can be simple job; however AV cataloguer works based on this record to register in AV database at the school library. Therefore I have believed that it is an essential part of DVD cataloguing and have also recognized these small tasks are underpinnings to make solid and accurate catalogue.
Furthermore the AV cataloguer has excellent knowledge and skills. It is admirable and I will drive for acquiring the skills in both TLs and cataloguers.
Reflection and Conclusion
I have never worked as a library staff. This lack of experience often makes me irritating as I cannot draw practices of libraries with reality. Therefore as a prospective teacher librarian, I really enjoyed the opportunity this study practicum. It has given me to experience and to learn a wider variety of practice and knowledge. In addition it became a shred of evidences to support and convince my impracticable learning.
The Cranbrook library is unique in the role and targeted patrons; students and teachers. Most people would agree that this library is outstanding as the school community has strong understanding of importance of library. Furthermore collaborations with teachers have been smoothly performed.
Library staffs are very friendly and they have been making the library as a warm and comfortable place. This atmosphere and environment is very important for students as they seem to be relaxed and to ask any questions to TLs without a shade of hesitation. However; in order to produce such library, TLs also have to be reliable people who are based on their deeply knowledge and skills. I have found an importance of this and I assure myself that making this is vital as a school library.
I have had brilliant experience through this practicum as a prospective TL. I have learnt that how the school understand the importance of the library is strong key point in order to create effective library. Since the school library cannot be active without the understanding.
However, I have understood that this is common issue and many school TLs are struggling to resolve this.
The Cranbrook School Senior Library is blessed with a sufficient budget to employ specialists of different areas such as AV cataloguer, general resources cataloguer and IT expert. My placement allowed me to speak with and job shadow not only TLs but also various types of information professionals that make up the library who were highly specialised to their job area and were experts in their fields. This has been wonderful experience and I realised that they have reliable techniques and a rich knowledge. However I know that TLs must perform all of these tasks ourselves, often without any help and highlighted that no part of a school library can be neglected if it is to function successfully for the school and students.
I attended library staff meetings. These meeting played an important role to discuss library subjects such as budget and preparations of collaboration projects with teachers. Additionally it is used as briefing sessions to report attending the professional development. I am sure that it is essential to have common understanding and to lead successful library.
In conclusion, I have had brilliant experiences as a prospective TL through this practicum.
I have learnt various things; however the most excellent thing is all library staff are passionate to support users and to pursue for even better the library. Moreover; they are very keen to develop their skills without being satisfied with the present condition.
This practicum became a booster shot to my motivation and I can draw ideal TLs in my mind. I will brush up and develop my skills and knowledge to pursue my ideal TL.