I undertook my placement at the Bishop David L. Walker Library (BDLW Library) situated in Pennant Hills. The library is an information resource associated with the Diocese of Broken Bay, and the Broken Bay Institute. It provides accessible religious resources for adult faith formation and pastoral formation in the Catholic tradition.
In this part the role of the library, users, collections and access provided to collections will be discussed.
The Role of the Library
The library has been an entity, in various forms, for over 30 years. In order to understand the role of this library it is important to know some of its history.
In 2003, the library of the Educational Centre for Christianity (ECCS) was gifted to the Diocese of Broken Bay (DBB) to serve the needs of the Broken Bay Institute (BBI), the successor to the ECCS. In 2006 the library collection became known as the Bishop David L. Walker Library (as the initial collection was the Bishop’s own collection), and moved to its current location at Pennant Hills.
Originally the BBI was a member of the Sydney College Divinity (SCD), delivering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In 2009, BBI moved its accreditation to the University of Newcastle, delivering post graduate degrees only. The library works closely with the library staff at the University of Newcastle to ensure students and staff are able to easily access relevant resources.
The library mainly services the needs of the BBI as a distance provider of theological higher education. It now also serves the diocesan community in various forms, as a resource for ministers and laity in the region.
The Library Professional Memberships are:
ALIA-institutional membership, ANZTLA – Australian New Zealand Theological Library’s Association - National and NSW chapter, NCRCN-National Catholic Resource Centre Network.
· Staff and students of The Broken Bay Institute (these students are mainly online and distance education students)
- The Broken Bay Diocese Community i.e.: Priests, deacons, pastoral workers, catechists, teachers and parishioners
- Staff and students of the Sydney College of Divinity
- Staff and students of the University of Newcastle
- Members of the public (those living outside The Broken Bay Diocese or not belonging to a Broken Bay parish) upon production of identification and payment of an annual membership fee of $30.
- Non-members can also walk-in and use resources on the premises without borrowing.
The Library Collections
The library has an excellent academic collection relating to subjects such as Christian Theology and Ethics, Biblical Studies, Christian Spirituality, Philosophy, Church History, and Interfaith Dialogue, mostly between Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) 200and DDC 282.03. 14,000 books are kept on the shelves and 3,000 are kept in Stack. The collection also includes a range of books and audiovisual resources in the subject of Catholic faith and life to support individuals, catechists, pastoral workers and the wider Christian community.
The library actually encompasses five collections
· The Broken Bay Institute Collection
This collection contains approximately 85 percent of the whole library’s resources. The primary goal of this collection is to support The Broken Bay Institute’s academic programs, in both the teaching mission of the BBI and research needs of the faculty.
Responsibility for selecting material is shared between the library and faculty staff. Students are also invited to make recommendations on purchases with the final decision being made by the Dean of Studies and/or Selection Committee.
Upon purchase the resources are sent to the library for processing.
· The David Walker Collection
The bulk of this collection is composed of materials from Bishop David L Walker’s personal collection. Books are added to this collection from the Bishop David Walker Fund, the Diocesan fund and the BBI fund. Some items that were donated by the Bishop, but no longer relevant or in little demand, are kept in the Stack.
· The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CDD) Broken Bay Collection
The CCD supports Catechists in the Diocese with resources to assist them in the classroom, when delivering Religious Education to catholic students in State Government Schools. This collection is composed of children’s fiction and non-fiction, bibles, posters, music CDs, DVDs, big books, kits, teacher activity books, puppets and soft toys.
· The Broken Bay Diocesan Collection
The purpose of this collection is to address some needs of the wider Christian
Community in DBB. It includes resources, such as: books, CDs, DVDs, magazines,
posters: purchased from the library’s Diocesan budget as well as donations.
· Live Giving Love Collection
This is collection contains books and kits related to the ‘Theology of the Body’. The collection was only added within the last 5 years. At this stage there are between fifty and a hundred resources.
The BBI Collection is the only one that has a ‘Collection Development including Selection Policy’. When asked, the librarian was able to answer all questions related to each collection. A future aim is to either have one written ‘Collection Policy’ for the Bishop David L. Walker Library with possibly specific sections dedicated to each of the collections that make up the library. This could be a joint effort by the librarian and personnel that have an interest in each collection. The library is now working towards a true resource centre for the Diocese, outside of its higher education purpose.
Access to Collections
It is possible to search the library catalogue from any computer, for both members and non -members. Membership gives a user the right to borrow.
The Bishop David L. Walker Library catalogue displays resources that are housed only in the library. The University of Newcastle Library Catalogue (NewCat) displays resources that are housed in any of that university’s branches as well as those kept at the Bishop David L. Walker Library. The BDLWL librarian aims for resources, relevant to the BBI courses and located at the various university branches, to be accessed through the BDLWL catalogue as well.
BBI distance students and Broken Bay Diocese patrons can request books through telephone or e-mail. The BBI pays for the books to be sent. If the books are returned to any branch of the University of Newcastle library, then the university pays for the postage back to Pennant Hills. Otherwise, the book must be returned to the library at the borrowers own cost by the due date. The aim is to come to an arrangement, similar to that at Charles Sturt University (CSU), where the University of Newcastle or BBI, would cover postage both ways. This would then be equitable for all students.
Part B. Meeting the needs of the users
The library caters quite well for distance and online students and staff for print resources. Sierra is checked daily for off campus requests, as are email requests. As mentioned previously, books are sent out at the cost of the BBI but returned at the borrowers cost, unless returned to a branch of the UoN.
The librarian updates the various course reserve lists every semester to ensure they are up to date and uploaded to the e-reserve section of the University of Newcastle (UoN) library catalogue. She checks the copyright for every reading uploaded against all e-reserve at UoN so that it complies with the legal parameters of copyright. The librarian coordinates adding of items to BDLW library bibliographic data on Sierra Library Management System (Innovative Interfaces Inc.) at the UoN.
At this stage the BDLW library has limited online and electronic resources in its collection. It is hoped that in the future links to e-resources held at the UoN be available on the BDLW catalogue.
The BDLW library has limited space for those users that would like to spend time in the library to peruse resources or study. The public has access usually to 2 and sometimes 4 computers. There is a printer/photocopier/scanner, two large tables with chairs, a bench and some armchairs. There is a screen where you can preview DVDs before borrowing. It could be a good idea to have a CD players with headphones in order to listen to the various CDs with songs or educational materials. There is no Wi-Fi accessible to patrons. There is no area for anyone who would like to engage with the Catechist resources. This limited space is most evident when students come for seminars at the Caroline Chisolm Centre where the BBI and library are located.
The library is accessible between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30 pm when many people are working. The doors of the building are closed at 4:30pm. This is something that could be addressed in the future to allow for possibly longer access on some days.
Fortunately the library is affiliated with The University of Newcastle that has the following branches and information commons:
Auchmuty, AIC (Auchmuty Information Common), Huxley, Ourimbah, OIC (Ourimbah Information Common), City, CHIC (City Hub Information Common), Sydney Presence, Port Macquarie, Port Mac Learning Centre.
Most of the branches are open from 8:00am to 9:00 am and close around 4:00pm-5:00pm.The AIC, OIC and CHIC close around 10:00pm with 24/7 swipe card access during university semester time.
The information commons provide access to scholarly information and services in a relaxed individual or group workspace. Services include: wireless and laptop facilities, access to PCs and sometimes Macs, laptop borrowing, printing and photocopying. Rovers assist with basic IT support. There is usually a café and/or Snack and drink machines nearby.
BBI students, who live in the areas, can access/request/ receive/return BDLW library resources within a broader time frame. Students can also obtain and return resources at the Gosford Hospital and Wyong libraries at no cost to them.
Part C. Placement activitiesMy placement activities were well thought out and there was never a time when I was working on just one activity all day. I started with familiar activities and was exposed to one or two new activities each day. There was opportunity to reinforce and consolidate skills over the two weeks. There were times when I was working on 3-4 mini projects at one time.
Shelving – this involved sorting the books and resources, which had been checked in, and then returning them to the appropriate part of the library.
Shelf checking and shelf tidying – this was an ongoing activity. A chart needed to be filled in recording the starting Call number and the last call number completed during each session.
Front desk duties – Mondays and Tuesdays (the library assistant works from the circulation desk from Wednesday through Friday, as these are her working days)
· answering basic enquiries in person and by phone
· basic circulation duties- checking resources in and out, renewing resources
· processing applications of new patrons – receiving application, issuing a laminated membership card, adding details to the patron database. reactivating the membership of users that had not borrowed for over a year
· deactivating members – all patrons from 2011, 2012, and 2013 were deactivated unless they had borrowed in the meantime. Updating patron status
· Checking for interlibrary loans
At the library, priority is given to student requests and users accessibility to resources.
During the two weeks I worked on activities related to the processing of books:
· checking for duplicates on the Destiny Library Management System (Follett)
· if book had duplicates: the call number, year of publication and number of copies was written on a post-it note and placed on the book
· other books were placed in a separate pile
The librarian then made the decisions, based on the library’s Book Donation Policy, which books to add to the collection.Donated and new books to the library were then processed further:
· Copy cataloguing directly from the Australian National Library Database to locate and record call number [through ISBN search or Title search]
· Saving records, downloading saved records, check MARC Unicode
· End processing – labelling and covering books. Paperback books were covered in contact and hardcover books in plastic. (Not all books are covered. It is up to the discretion of the librarian based on rarity, number of books and potential usage.)Other activities
· Organising a display based on resources about Australia and Religion
- locate resources on Destiny Library Management System and on shelves
- make a poster using Publisher (new experience)
- display resources in a meaningful way.
· Describing and adding posters to catalogue using correct protocols. (This made ETL505 more realistic)
· Adding item records, from Destiny Library Management System (BDLWL) to the Sierra Management System (UoN)
· Checking resources that were once linked to see if the website is still active
· Writing short blurbs for 12 new resources that would be promoted through BBI ebulletins
Part D Reflection
My experience at the Bishop David L. Walker was an invaluable experience as it gave me the opportunity to understand and to an extent consolidate my learnings during my Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) course. As this was quite a small library in terms of physical space and library personnel, one librarian and one library assistant, it was quite easy to observe how the various aspects that I have learnt are linked together. Even though the librarian had less face to face contact than a teacher librarian (TL) at a school, she still had various tasks needed to run the library effectively. No part of this library could be neglected in order for it to function successfully for its wide range of users.Just like a school library’s responsibility is to support curriculum, one of this library’s role is to support the Broken Bay Institute’s academic programs, in both the teaching mission of the BBI and research needs of the faculty.
As a TL needs to communicate with the teachers, students and the principal in order to support the users’ needs, the librarian communicates with users on various levels. She liaised with faculty to ensure the print collection represented the subjects being taught. The librarian worked with various staff from the University of Newcastle library. In particular, The Faculty library for resource purchases and recommendations, the Digital Services Library and the lending Services. She liaised with staff from the different Diocesan agencies in order to support the various collections within the library that catered to different users.
Just as a TL uses SCIS in order obtain call numbers for its resources, this library uses the Australian National Library Database for the same purposeThe experience of being exposed to a myriad of activities reinforced the need to ensure that little detail be spared when completing all the tasks. It is as important that the correct call number is located, the right spine label matched to the book as it is to shelve the resource correctly. While shelf checking there were some instances where resources were in the wrong location and one instance where two copies of the same book had different Dewey numbers. Attention to detail is imperative in order for users to have optimal access to resources.
The leadership role of the librarian was emphasized through her various roles. She has seen the library grow and change over the years and the range of users increased. The librarian has a long term vision and is persistent in her efforts to ensure that all users have equitable access to all resources. At this stage the BDLW library catalogue displays resources located at the site at Pennant Hills. It is hoped that in time all resources relevant to users, and kept in the various UoN branches, be also have links from this library’s catalogue.
The placement reinforced the concept that the major focus of all librarians is their role as facilitator of access of information, resources and services. Effective leadership and vision is important for them to continually strive for them to continually adapt the library to the needs of its users.