Learning to develop a responsive primary school collection

School librarian at Mt Cook School who attended a Services to Schools' online course

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Read how Services to Schools' Building a responsive collection online course helped the librarian at Mt Cook School ensure their library's collection met the needs of its school community.

Introducing Vickie

Vickie Humphries is the librarian at Mt Cook School in Wellington, a full primary school on the fringe of the city with around 260 students from many different cultures.

New to online learning, Vickie decided to enrol in the Building a responsive collection for your primary school library course. Vickie's story gives some insights into how online learning helped her see new aspects of her school community and collection, despite having been in her role for a decade.

Why did you register for this particular course?

I registered for the course for the challenge. I was interested in the topic and I wanted to increase my IT skills.

The course appealed to me because it was reasonably priced, gave me the opportunity to try online learning, and the topic was completely relevant to my role as a primary school librarian.

What aspects of the course did you particularly enjoy and find useful?

I enjoyed reading the forum postings and hearing what other librarians were doing in their schools. I also enjoyed a lot of the readings and the related articles provided.

I found both the forums and the readings useful for ideas and views on different aspects of a responsive collection.

How did you overcome any concerns or barriers?

My main concern was the technical side of things and whether I would be able to navigate online learning. I had 2 barriers. The first one was time — I found it difficult to find time to read the material and complete the tasks, and I got behind at the start (3 days off sick) so was rushing to catch up. My second barrier was learning how to navigate the reading material.

I overcame these barriers by:

  • firstly, finding some concentrated time to work on the course, and
  • secondly, through practice — 'there's no glory in practice but there's no glory without practice'!

Are you applying your learning from the course?

I am using my learning. I want to use it more, but I am definitely more in-tune with what a responsive collection should look like, and finding ways to improve things in our library.

There are loads more I want to do! It gave me a bit of a refresher and some inspiration in a role I've held for 10 years.

What impact will the course action plan you developed have on students in your school?

My action plan has already had an impact on the students.

  • I have culled our collection across the genres.
  • The sophisticated picture books are more easily accessed as the shelf isn't fit to burst!
  • I have recently changed the fiction back to face-out, and that seems to be working quite well.
  • I have even culled the section I am most passionate about — the picture books!!

How has your practice changed?

My practice has changed in that I am more aware now of the things I need to be doing to make our collection responsive and inclusive to the different users of our library. I have talked to staff more about it too.

Professional learning and support

Collections and resources