Subjects: Scotch College, Western Australia

Library and Information Services

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Staffing philosophy

As it should be in education, the staff are the most vital part of the libraries at Scotch and this is where we make the greatest investment in time and money. We believe the teacher librarians and our highly-qualified ancillary staff have a critical role in ensuring that our community is always provided with the most up-to-date information possible to facilitate the education of our students and support to the wider Scotch community.

In all libraries across Scotch we have qualified teacher librarians ensuring that the academic resources teachers and students require are assessed, optimised and available. We continue to find that the specialist skills of the teacher librarian working in concert with the teacher will always yield the best results, so each teacher librarian's primary role is to establish and maintain relationships across the College. This way, we can ensure that the teachers always feel supported in every request.

The nature of that support has changed over recent years in concert with the changing nature of the education system and its forms of delivery. At Scotch, all teacher librarians are dedicated to expertise in the fields of information technology, rich media production and research support, to comprehensively meet the varied requests from our community. These requests are never met with a 'no', as the libraries strategic commitment is to act as a gateway service to all areas of the school seeking information.

Finally, we understand that the primary function of the libraries is to ensure our boys at Scotch have as much academic support as possible to achieve their full potential. This means that all energy put into library functions is tempered by a strict understanding that this must result in a direct benefit to 'the boy in the room'. The day-to-day reality means that we work hard to augment the teaching programs, and when purchasing resources, each staff member actively works to ensure those materials are promptly accessible to the boys at the levels appropriate to their study.

Head of Library, Information and Research Services

The Head of Library, Information and Research Services (HLIRS) oversees all library operations from 1- 12. This provides continuity between all libraries and allows for the effective streamlining of vision, staffing and services. The role of HLIRS has evolved to now encompass greater collaboration between the Information Learning Technology Integration Specialists (ILT IS) team and also the printing that occurs within the College.

With the new format of the role and additional responsibilities, the services of the College can be streamlined to maximise the effectiveness and coordination between various aspects of the ILT Director's strategic portfolio.

Teaching Staff - Information & Research Specialists

Breaking away from the traditional naming of 'teacher librarian', the library staff have evolved through necessity a greater skill set than the role once required. As a result, at Scotch we have evolved the traditional Teacher Librarian title into a term that better fits the role they now fill in our college.

The Information and Research Specialist's primary role is to support the teaching and learning that occurs in the room. That is, at Scotch the teaching staff in libraries spend less time administrating the traditional library service and more time working directly with teachers in support of the programs. This support takes two forms, either providing expert-level teaching resources such as libguides, or more directly, supporting presentations and promotion of information literacy and the love of reading.

Course Support

The Information and Research Specialist (IRS) is involved in the creation of support material in and around the topics the students are studying. Staff can request library assistance in relation to a course or an assignment and the IRS will meet with the teacher to design a libguide supporting the topic and framework. The classroom teacher then works in partnership with the IRS to ensure that all students have access to materials at a choice of levels, allowing them to achieve their best.

Course support can also take the form of attending meetings and advising on current trends in learning, and more importantly, the IRS has an overview across more than one subject area and therefore can link similar content and tasks. By being a part of these meetings the IRS plays a direct role in the teaching and learning program and therefore the library remains in close touch with the actual classroom work.

The final part of this is the importance of using library lessons to teach the specific information literacy skills to help students research, obtain and filter information from the many sources available to them. This process is detailed in a scope and sequence document that is the backbone of the IRS dedicated library lessons.

Love of literature and reading

Another key role is that of promoting and maintaining the library so that it fosters a love or literature and reading. This role means that the IRS' knowledge of the collection is critical and all IRS staff maintain a high level of reading to ensure they can actively promote to students books that match their interests.

Obviously, it is important to have highly qualified personnel for this role, but it is increasingly difficulty to locate staff who have the necessary aptitude for the expanding range of roles needed to the supported by the IRS. This means means that often the traditional skill sets of Teacher Librarians fall outside of our requirements and so at Scotch we have adapted to mix of teachers with library and/or complementary qualifications.

Support Ancillary Staff - Library Service Specialist/Assistant

The non-teaching staff perform the bulk of most traditional library tasks in day-to-day operations. At Scotch, we have redefined the traditional library titles of library technician and library officer, to that of Library Services Specialist (LSS)  and Library Services Assistant (LSA) respectively. The change of titles reflects the changing nature of the work our staff are achieving, while allowing for future growth.

The LSS at Scotch is a critical member of the team, degree-qualified and adept in library operations including cataloging processes and procedures. They are not hidden in a back room but are at the library front desk, both supporting the students directly through borrowing and advice, and supporting the teachers with meticulous identification and cataloguing of resources of differing media types. This role has also redefined the media skills needed for the position as they are responsible for the updating of library front-facing systems—such as the libguides pages—and creating displays.

Complementing this is the ability to work in a team with the LSA as they do not directly manage any staff (see structure).

The LSA will not necessarily be degree-qualified but has qualifications and skills in and around literature. This role provides support to all members of the community and forms a vital customer service link on the circulation desk. 

Specialty non-teaching - Digital Content Creator

With the increasing number of requests that the library contribute to modern curriculum materials, the new position of Digital Content Creator was established in support of the creation of internal curriculum resources.

This is a support role to the Head of Library, Information and Research Services, primarily with projects driven from a more strategic overview. Specifically the DCC works to ensure that any product sent from the library has a 'look and feel' to provide the community with final product of impressive quality. Specific examples of this role exist in the creation of iBooks for publishing to the iTunes store, the creation of templates for libguides, and other rich media projects employing the media of video and photography.

From what was originally a library officer role, the new demands and higher standards of the Scotch library prompted a title change and a redefined set of skills to furnish sufficient in-house expertise for future library projects.