Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Professional Collections in Library Media Centers

Magazine article Teacher Librarian

Professional Collections in Library Media Centers

Article excerpt

A second-grade language arts teacher needs an annotated bibliography of picture books by Jan Brett. The high school science teacher is searching for new ideas for chemistry experiments. An art teacher wants more information about Monet's life and works.

The seventh-grade history teacher seeks information about ordering traveling exhibits from museums. A fifth-grade math teacher needs a copy of the national math standards. If the teacher is fortunate, a professional collection for teachers is maintained and readily available in the school resource center or in the district-level professional library.


A professional collection can provide teachers, administrators, counselors and teacher-librarians with print and non-print resources that will support and enrich their professional growth. Professional trade books and journals that focus on the various content and specialized areas for elementary and secondary schools such as literature, science, math, English/language arts, social studies, and the arts are essential to any professional collection. Yet, it is also important to include various types of resources such as:

* documents related to national standards and guidelines

* idea books

* reference sources

* on-line access

* non-print materials

* community resources file

* information about professional organizations

* university catalogs

These materials may be located in the circulating collection or in the non-circulating collection.

The most popular professional materials should be readily available to teachers within their own school resource center. Such small on-site collections provide faculty with easy access to resources that can meet their immediate needs. The following comments by teacher-librarians in a recent survey indicate a wide range of benefits and uses derived from having a professional collection available on campus for elementary and secondary teachers:

* "The teachers usually use the collection to update their professional knowledge of specific content areas and teaching, strategies."

* "Teachers enjoy having professional materials readily available to help them prepare class lessons."

* "The teachers in my school use the resources, particularly journals, to provide them with creative ideas for activities in the classroom."

* "Our faculty sometimes use it to examine state and national standards and guidelines for specific content areas."

* "Those teachers who are taking graduate courses at our local university use the collection to help them prepare for their courses and support their research efforts."

* "Although our professional collection is small, I use the readily available resources in it to help me when I am preparing a presentation for a meeting, conference or workshop."

While a professional collection within the school offers ease of use, a professional library at the district level is also important. In the ideal situation a professional collection is centrally located in a special facility within the school district, and smaller collections of professional materials are located within each elementary and secondary school library. Teachers in school districts with centralized professional libraries enjoy a wide variety of resources and often have specialized services available such as graphic design and instructional materials production centers, online services, research services, and workshops related to professional growth. Sharing resources district-wide results in economical use of materials, as there is less duplication of resources. Control of resource acquisition and the ability of the district professional library to provide a larger and more varied collection of materials for all educators are a few advantages of the centralized collection. Sharing through a centralized professional library is particularly important for the use of expensive reference and online resources. …

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