Placement Report Section 3: Reflection and References

The learning capacity of a library is dependent on the efficiency of the librarians to maintain the functionality of its spaces, collection robustness and program variety so that the needs of the community are met (Hughes, 2013).  This efficacy is essential in academic and school libraries as they are linked to improved student learning outcomes (ACT Education Directorate, 2019).

Workplace goal 1 – Development of a positive learning environment

Lewins Library has a well designed physical space that enables users to browse, read, use the wifi and opportunities to work individually or in small groups.  It also has a virtual environment that connects users to digital resources, course materials, referencing assistance, as well as information literacy sessions.  It is within this space that users get access to Primo, a federated search engine, which makes the library webpage the point of information access and retrieval in both the physical and virtual environments.

The extensive ACU library virtual environment is rarely mimicked in schools because online learning is not the desired format for many children and teenagers.  This reluctance was made clear during 2020’s remote learning as the pandemic highlighted the difficulties students faced, such as a lack of devices, poor internet access and an overall lack of digital literacy, with students from Indigenous, rural, remote and low socioeconomic areas were even more likely to be at risk of marginalisation.  This means that libraries need to be flexible in their delivery of resources, services and programs so that students can interact successfully with online learning (Templeton, 2020b).

Workplace goal 2 – Collection development that supports curriculum

ALs use LG to connect students to pertinent materials.  Reviewing the LGs identified that whilst they were all similar in structure and format, there were differences in volume of content and frequency of use.  However, there were significant differences in volume of content and frequency of use between the LG with the Health Sciences ones most frequently used.  Those elevated statistics could be due to high student numbers in Nursing, Midwifery or Paramedicine courses, or it could be because other LG were complex and caused information overload.

Upon reflection, it would have been more efficient if the statistics compared resource access between the LG, course pages and reading lists, because then the ALs could identify which pathway is most effective with students.  This would then mean that the ALs could target delivery of course materials and directly influence student learning through that mode (Hicks, White & Behary, 2021, p.2).  Additionally, it was interesting to see little uptake on the “How To” and “other” guides, which lead to the quandary if students are generally disinterested in using LG, or if there is a larger level of disinterest about information disseminating from the university about non-academic topics.

Paramedicine LibGuide environmental Scan (Project 1)

An environmental scan is an effective tool to identify relevant course resources (Hicks, White & Behary, 2021, p.3).  The Paramedicine LG environmental scan showed that ACU’s database list was comparable to other institutions, however had fewer books, no weblinks and lacked an Australian-centric resource such as Informit.  Unfortunately, as Informit currently directs all users to its landing page rather than the individual database, excluding this resource was a tactical decision to minimise student access issues.

Theology LibGuide analysis (Project 3).

Theology LG was analysed using usage statistics because ACU is the only institution to offer Theology from a Catholic perspective.  Digital texts from the collection were suggested to replace poorly used resources, but unlike other faculties, a ‘digital first’ policy is not essential because providing the right source is more important.  This is because accessing appropriate Australian-centric digital theology texts is very difficult.  Additionally, most students study on campus therefore the presence of print texts is possible.

I did review CSU’s Theology LGs to determine which resources both institutions valued and to seek additional resources for my school library.  As a Catholic high school, we need to hold theology texts and this task has made me realise that I am not the only one struggling to find Australian-centric resources.

Workplace goal 3 – Library Learning and Teaching (LLT) – Information Literacy Program

Librarians are responsible for developing the information literacy capabilities of their communities and remote learning has required them to expand their programs online (ACU Library Directorate, 2020; Dewey, 2017, p.26; Mallon, 2018, p. 115).  Although some argue that reducing physical presence makes outreach more difficult, ACU library statistics show that technology can be sufficiently harnessed to deliver an efficient virtual program because it allows all the ALs to assist in the learning, not just the ones at the local campus (ACU Library Directorate, 2020; Perini, 2016, p.65).  Analysis of the LLT program usage data determines which delivery modes resonates the most with the students and can also assist the ALs in guiding staffing and future practice so that the LLT continues to meet the needs of their community.

University and school based information literacy differs in that ACU students are required to self navigate through the program.  However, in schools information literacy is embedded into teaching and learning because students require repeated practice to develop competency.  This means that Teacher librarians need to make a more concerted effort to collaborate with their peers so that they can teach these essential skills across the curriculum within classroom practice.


ACU. (2020). ACU strategic plan 2020-2023. Office of Planning and Strategic Management.

ACU Library Directorate. (2020). ACU Library learning and teaching framework. Library Learning and Teaching Team.

ACU. (2018). Organisational structure. Leadership and Governance.

Dewey, B. (2017). Chapter 2: College and University Governance. In Gilman, T. (Ed.). (2017). Academic librarianship today. ProQuest Ebook Central. CSU Library

Forbes, C. & Keeran, P. (2017). Chapter 6: Reference, instruction and outreach. In Gilman, T. (Ed.). (2017). Academic librarianship today. ProQuest Ebook Central. CSU Library

German, E. (2017). Information literacy and instruction: LibGuides for instruction: A service design point of view from an academic library. Reference & User Services Quarterly 56(3). pp162-167.

Gilman, T. (Ed.). (2017). Academic librarianship today. ProQuest Ebook Central. CSU Library.

Hicks, S., White, K., & Behary, R. (2021). The correlation of Libguides to print and electronic book usage: A method of assessing LibGuide usage.  Journal of Web Librarianship 15(1), pp1-13. DOI:  10.1080/19322909.2021.1884927

Higgins, S. (2016). Managing academic libraries: Principles and practice [ebook]. Amsterdam. Chandos Publishing. ISBN: 9781780633114

Hossain, M. J. (2016). Determining the key dimensions for evaluating service quality and satisfaction in academic libraries. The International Information & Library Review 48(3), p.176-189. CSU Library.

Logan, J. & Spence, M. (2021). Content strategy in LibGuides: An exploratory study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 47(1).

Mallon, M. (2018). The pivotal role of academic librarians in digital learning. ProQuest Ebook Central. CSU Library.

Perrin, J.M., Yang, L., Barba, S. and Winkler, H. (2017), “All that glitters isn’t gold: The complexities of use statistics as an assessment tool for digital libraries”, The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 185-197.

Perini, M. (2016). The academic librarian as blended professional: Reassessing and redefining the role [ebook]. Cambridge, MA. Chandos Publishing.

Schaub, G., McClure, H. A., & Bravender, P. (2015). Teaching information literacy threshold concepts: Lesson plans for librarians. Association of College and Research Libraries.

Showers, B. (Ed.). (2015). Chapter 3: Using data to demonstrate library impact and value. In Library analytics and metrics : Using data to drive decisions and services. ProQuest Ebook Central

Swiatek, C. (2019). European academic libraries Key Performance Indicators (KPI): How comparison helps decision making. Performance Measurement and Metrics 20(3),pp. 143-158.

Templeton, T. (26th April 2020a). The implications of using digital literature in secondary schools. Trish’s trek into bookspace.

Templeton, T. (29th July, 2020b). Digital divide or digital elite? What is the cause of the digital divide? Trish’s trek into bookspace.

Walters, W. H. (2016). Evaluating online resources for college and university libraries: Assessing value and cost based on academic needs. Serials Review 42(1). Pp10-17. DOI: 10.1080/00987913.2015.1131519


Placement Report Section 2: Theory into practice.

Section 2: Theory into practice

University structure and the Library’s position within academia.

Practice: The ACU Libraries directorate is under the guidance of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor as Figure 1 indicates.   However, it would make more sense for Libraries to be part of the teaching and learning team under the Provost because the Library is intrinsic to academic success. 

Theory: ETL504 highlighted the importance of embedding the library into teaching and learning in order to improve student learning outcomes.  If the library and the Teacher Librarian (TL) are considered separate from the learning process, it is then much harder to embed programs such as inquiry learning, school wide reading programs and information literacy into pedagogical practice.  However, at ACU the library is essential because reading lists must be submitted to the ALs to ensure sufficient access is available to the students and that copyright laws are adhered to.

Library Learning and Teaching: Framework, program implementation and evaluation.

Practice: The Library Learning and Teaching (LLT) Framework (2020) is aligned to the university’s mission statement and divides information literacy into two components; seeking and accessing relevant information, and the ethical use of information.  It uses ability rather than level of study as a differentiation tool because the framework supports self-navigation from foundation to advanced, through the relevant LLT Libguides, videos, instant chat, facilitated teaching sessions as well as online consultations and drop in help desks.  The ALs evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of these programs and sessions to guide future practice so that students can continue to get the assistance that they need in the format that they prefer.      

Theory : ETL 401 pointed out that information literacy is an intrinsic aspect of educational librarianship because it is essential for critical thinking, research success, and academic integrity (Mallon, 2018, p.1). Information literate students are also more adept at using the collection and have increased knowledge of how to ethically use that information.  However, the delivery of information literacy differs as information literacy sessions occur sporadically within universities and additional support is student initiated.  Whereas, ETL401 clearly elucidated the importance of embedded information literacy in classroom practice and that inquiry learning is the most efficient instructional method because the guided inquiry design can be adapted to suit any age or unit of work.  However, it was ETL504 that highlighted the importance of leadership so that these programs can be effectively facilitated into pedagogy practices across the curriculum.

Library guides – Resourcing the Curriculum

Practice: The key role of an academic library is to actively participate in the education of students and LibGuides (LG) are commonly used to connect users to services and other relevant academic materials for specific units of work, classes or course (Walters, 2016; German, 2017, p.163; Hicks, White & Behary, 2021).  The quality of sources is more important than the amount, therefore it is essential that these LGs only link to the most relevant resources to minimise information overload (Logan & Spence, 2021).  Additionally, ALs are required to regularly verify LG links to ensure that they function and retain their user friendliness (Logan & Spence, 2021; Walters, 2016; German, 2017, p.165).  

Theory: The fundamental principle of ETL503 is that a library’s collection and services’ primary purpose is to meet the needs of its community.  Therefore any LG created needs to match the learning outcomes of the course, the numbers of students and their relevant learning needs and comply with copyright.  It is also important that resources are prioritised from the collection before acquiring new materials.  However, whilst ACU has a distinct ‘digital first’ motto with their resources, this is not a viable plan for schools due to the lower lower digital literacy competency of children and teenagers.  ETL402 and INF533 both explained the increased cognitive load that digital literature places on low literacy students.  Therefore, whilst digital resources are ideal in a digital society, there needs to be consideration for students with diverse learning needs.

Evaluating the Collection – Analytics of LibGuide usage (Project 2).

Practice: LibGuides from 2019-2021 were analysed to examine their usage statistics.  The Law LG was the most complex with multiple subsections and had the largest number of resources with minimum ‘clicks’.  Whereas Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine LGs were concise and their resources were accessed more frequently by students. 

Theory:  The collection can be successfully evaluated for its value to the curriculum and students by running analytics to determine LG usage.  This process highlights which LG and corresponding resources are valued and which are not.  ETL503 pointed out the importance of regular collection evaluation to ensure that it still holds its value.  However, analytics often do not discriminate between faculty and student visitors, nor do they always identify accidental and meaningful interactions (Perrin et al., 2017).  This means that high results should be viewed with caution, however low data can be correctly inferred to be low use.



Placement Report Section 1: Lewins Library

Lewins Library as an information organisation:

Lewins Library is the main information repository for the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Signonou campus and supports its community’s search for knowledge through academic inquiry and intellectual discovery.   As part of the wider Catholic society, the library facilities and resources are also used by the constituents of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, for their theological, educational and academic pursuits.

ACU has multiple campuses and it is imperative that the libraries directorate embrace technology to deliver services and programs across all the locations.  Some of these strategies include, a ‘digital first’ policy on collection maintenance and development, a framework for information literacy with a multimodal delivery, as well as providing support for academics and researchers in their practice and ensuring copyright compliance (ACU, 2020). However, whilst members of ACU have unfettered access to both the physical and digital collections, the general public is limited to the physical collection due to licencing requirements.   Unfortunately, access to the physical collection has been limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home edicts.

 Lewins Library as an academic library:

The core purpose of academic libraries is to support independent inquiry, develop critical thinking and actively assist in the pursuit of knowledge construction (Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).  Nevertheless, the capacity of an academic library to provide information access is proportional to the value the educational institution sees in them (Gilman, 2017, p.7; Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).  Therefore it is important that the library continues to illustrate its capacity and efficacy to maintain that value.   This means that as part of its evaluation process, the library’s collection and services need to be examined regularly.  This is because a rarely used resource, albeit a book or a service, holds no value to the user and ends up just being a liability.  However, whilst analytics can determine the number of times a resource is accessed or a service is used, it cannot determine the productivity of that interaction, nor can it determine if that interaction translates to increased learning outcomes (Walters, 2016).  Nevertheless, it can be inferred that low usage means low use and thus that resource or service needs to be re-examined for its value to the community.

 Lewin’s Library and its Academic Librarians.

Lewins Library academic librarians (AL) are passionate about the vital role they play in the academic success of their community.  Their role includes research development, information literacy development, faculty assistance, and client interaction which requires regular interaction with multiple stakeholders (Forbes & Keeran, 2017; Perini, 2016, p.65). However, ACU is a multicampus university and this means that the ALs are challenged to meet the dual needs of their own library and the needs of multiple campuses through the introduction of consortia collection building, digital reference services and campus wide information literacy skill development (Higgins, 2017, Ch.1).   However, in order to complete these range of services effectively, regular evaluation of programs, collection and services must be undertaken to ensure that the ALs and the library continues to meet the dynamic needs of their institution (Perini, 2016, p.65; Hossain, 2016).

Virtual Study Visit – Reflection

ETL 507 – Reflection of Virtual Study Visit

The virtual study visits were a fascinating way for an emerging teacher librarian to gain insight into the daily operations of various information agencies, understand how they dealt with the COVID 19 lockdowns and identify the strategies they used to promote literacy development.  All the educational institutions had similar goals of promoting learning and providing access to reliable and accurate information.  These goals were evident through the presence of specifically curated collections, provision of various forms of learning technology and the furnishing of various spaces to meet the needs of teaching and learning.   

mohamed_hassan / Pixabay


A central theme from these sessions was how institutions adapted their library services to remote learning.  Victoria University, University of Newcastle and William Angliss TAFE used innovative technologies to transform the processes in which their libraries provided information to their students offsite.  The creation of online videos, LibChats and virtual help desks gave students the synchronous assistance they needed to navigate the digital resources in lieu of on site help.  These services obviously met a great patron need and their uptake showed that it WAS the provision of assistance that is important, rather than the method in which it is delivered.  But whilst digital technologies proved useful in developing student information literacy, especially in a digitally centric collection, my experience as a teacher librarian has shown me that there is definitely scope for more  explicit instruction so that students have the skills to seek, find, access and use information in a digital context! 

This instruction is essential especially with University of Newcastle’s strategic goal to have a digital focus to their collection.  Whilst this correlates to the cognitive needs of tertiary students, it did not meet the developmental and behavioural needs of high school students.  Strong digital literacy requires a base of strong print literacy, yet it was astounding to see that none of the educational institutions had a robust fiction collection.  From a literacy perspective, this lack of fiction and promotion of recreational reading is contrary in communities that promote literacy and lifelong learning.    


The role of technology in delivering library services during a pandemic. 

The role of technology in delivering library services during a pandemic. 

geralt / Pixabay


Libraries, information centres and learning commons are all places associated with information seeking, access and usage (IFLA, 2015).  However, the COVID-10 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have changed how libraries meet the needs of their patrons, resulting in new and different ways information agencies are using to meet the needs of their users in a rapidly evolving environment.  This is important as it is the efficacy of these connections that strengthen the relationship libraries have with their patrons now and into the future (Cordova et al., 2021, p.82-83).  Therefore, educational institutions such as TAFEs and universities embraced technology to meet these needs by addressing how patrons seek, access and create information, as well as developing the information literacy skills of their community (Landgraf, 2021, p.32). 

TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay – Lockdowns mean remote learning.


Technology assisting information seeking:

The use of technology is ubiquitous in information seeking as digital learning management systems are commonly used to catalogue and organise information.  However, since the pandemic, some educational institutions have discerned the difficulty that remote users have with information seeking programs and therefore have embedded technologies to offer synchronous assistance in their strategic plans.  The University of Newcastle’s (UoN) strategic plan acknowledges the importance of virtual library spaces mirroring the physical using innovative technologies to support students seeking resources both on and off site (Turbitt, 2021).  This was replicated in Victoria University’s (VU) decision to use Zoom and LibChat to mimic that personal interaction via a virtual service desk because Zoom’s screen share function enabled staff members to assist students more effectively (Muir & Anele, 2021).  Additionally, Victoria University (2021) strategic plan aims to ensure content and learning resources are integrated on the same webpage meeting the modern student need for both usability and utility from their information retrieval (Landgraf, 2021, p.30).  These institutions strove to use technology in innovative methods to ensure that their students could successfully seek information whilst remote learning (Kloppenborg, 2021; Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021). 

Technology assisting information access:

Whilst technology has been within the realms of information seeking for some time, its role in information access has significantly increased with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.  The shift to remote learning has emphasised the need for libraries to use technology as a conduit to physical and digital collections. The past year has seen William Angliss (WA), VU, and UoN all report statistical increases in digital content access, especially with online databases (Kloppenborg, 2021; Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021).  This increase was significant enough to warrant UoN to develop a ‘digital first policy’ in their collection development and management plan to ensure continued access to digitally curated content in a post pandemic world (Turbitt, 2021; Howes et al., 2021, p44).  WA endeavoured to further support remote student learning by developing their patron driven ebook collection and digitising their special collection (Kloppenborg, 2021).  This meant that that library was able to meet the needs of their students more effectively within the parameters of local government restrictions.  

Technology and information literacy:

Educational libraries such as VU, WA and UoN all used digital programs and technology to assist students in developing their information literacy skills (Kloppenborg, 2021; Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021).  These institutions offered synchronous on site information literacy programs through physical workshops with liaison or teacher librarians.  Unfortunately, the commencement of remote learning identified a lack of synchronous digital information literacy programs to assist students in learning off site (Kloppenborg, 2021; Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021; Cordova et al., 2021, p.83).   In order to address this skill deficit, information literacy frameworks were addressed within both UoN’s and VU’s current strategic plans (Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021). UoN advocates for the implementation of a digital capabilities framework for students, whilst VU’s vision is to offer information literacy training to staff and students in order to develop their digital capacity now and into the future (Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021). Their belief is that there is a greater impact upon student learning if the teaching staff are also digitally literate.    

Technology and knowledge creation:

Technology is often used to create an environment that encourages the acquisition of new skills, information creation and knowledge construction, through the use of adaptive technology, varied learning spaces, availability of out of hours access and presence of  makerspaces.  WA offers adaptive services within disability services as part of its equitable access to resources, and their ‘learning pods’ allow students to access AV and other technologies individually or in small groups (Kloppenborg, 2021). Whereas VU’s online digital space known as VU Collaborate was heavily used during the recent lockdown and its success ensures that this virtual space will be continued even when onsite learning resumes, clearly indicating that off-site collaborative learning has proven beneficial (Muir & Anele, 2021; Murphy & Newport, 2021, p.39).  This virtual space allowed students to connect at any time, from varied locations and met the strategic goal of using innovative technologies to develop a robust digital capacity (Victoria University, 2021; Howes et al., 2021, p46).  This off-site virtual library was complemented by out of hours library access available at VU, WA and UoN, as it is a direct attempt to minimise the effect of the digital divide, as well as ensure students with diverse learning needs are given more opportunities to engage with the library, its resources and programs (Kloppenborg, 2021; Muir & Anele, 2021; Turbitt, 2021; Murphy & Newport, 2021, p.39; DIIS, 2016).  The use of makerspaces in educational libraries allows students to actively develop their creativity and engage with a variety of technology for personal or academic purposes (Cordova et al., 2021, p.86).  The UoN makerspace contains a variety of resources including, ‘high tech’ equipment such as 3D printers, ‘low tech’ materials such as lego, as well the presence of online digital videos the students can use to troubleshoot any technical issues (Turbitt, 2021).  


Libraries are physical and virtual spaces where knowledge is sought, accessed, used and created.  The information society requires technology integration into practices that extend the learning experience and facilitate meaningful relationships between information agencies and their patrons.  Fostering relationships is essential for a library’s success as COVID-10 changed how libraries connect with their patrons when physical access is limited.  This change in physical access has affected how educational libraries are able to meet the needs of their patrons at the point of need.  William Angliss TAFE, Victoria University and University of Newcastle all use various formats of technology to facilitate relationships that are centred around the needs and purpose of their community.   Their use of technology has enhanced their patrons ability to access the collection and as such, ensure the purpose of the library is met. 


Cordova, L., Jasmin, H., Nelson, T., Strahan, K., & Wu, L. (2021). Rapidly remote: Providing seamless library support during a pandemic. Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 21(1), 82-92. CSU Library. 

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. (2016). Australia’s digital economy update.

Howes, L., Ferrell, L., Pettys, G., & Roloff, A. (2021). Adapting to remote library service during COVID-19. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 40(1), 35-47. CSU Library.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2015). International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions School library guidelines 2nd Edition. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Kloppenborg, P. (2021, April 13). William Angliss Institute: Learning and information services [Recorded presentation]. ETL507, Interact 2.

Landgraf, G. (2021). How friendly is your website? American Libraries.

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Murphy, J., & Newport, J. (2021). Reflecting on pandemics and technology in libraries. Serials Review 47(1), 37-42. CSU Library 

Turbitt, S. (2021, April 21). University of Newcastle: Ourimbah Campus [Recorded Presentation]. ETL507, Interact 2.–LkcIzpQSFSjKdEsMp8KBNrfciJMfI.B6pBPZnv-YnKIGlg

Victoria University. (2021, April 14). Virtual study visit to Victoria University [PowerPoint]. ETL507, Interact 2. PowerPoint Presentation (