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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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3 Physical and digital resources

Having identified your stakeholders and their needs, it is important that the resources you provide – whether to support research, reading for pleasure, or teaching and learning – are relevant, current and accessible. Modern libraries offer a mix of book and non-book media in both physical and digital formats, including CDs and DVDs. Watch the video below in which Nick discusses the print versus digital debate and why both play an important role.

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Video 3
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It is essential that all resources offered through the library are accessible and, if possible, available in alternative formats. This is one of the major benefits of digital and online resources, which allow the use of a screen reader if needed. Making sure you have screen reader technology, as well as other assistive technologies, such as voice recognition software, available for students to use is an important consideration when looking at how to make your resources both accessible and inclusive. Some online and digital resources will be more accessible and user-friendly than others, so it is important to check before investing in them.

Digital resources are also beneficial because they provide 24/7 access and the ability to search for key words or phrases. Both of these elements make digital resources very convenient. However, many of them may not be affordable to all; as with all resources, the extent of your investment will be determined by your budget. Since you may not be able to purchase every resource on your wish list, it is important to think strategically about which resources offer the best value and provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. You may also wish to use open-source resources to supplement your offering. These can be found freely available online and, when combined with podcasts and audio-visual materials, can help you create a wealth of digital resources, whatever your budget. For example, free e-books and audiobooks can be obtained from public libraries or websites such as Librivox and Project Gutenberg. Links to these resources can be embedded into your LMS or the school’s VLE. If you require help you should seek assistance from your school’s network manager.

It is usual for your library’s digital resources, whether for remote learning or reading for pleasure, to be accessed through your Library Management System (LMS) or your school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You will explore the subject of LMSs in greater detail in Session 3.

Activity 3

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

In the table below, note down examples of the various types of physical and digital resources your library provides, as well as a wish list of resources you don’t currently have but would like to offer.

Table 3 Your library resources
Physical resources Digital resources Wish list
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Comment

When you are creating your library development plan, having a wish list similar to this can help you determine any changes you may wish to make to your collection management in the future. It helps when considering these matters to identify which stakeholders your new resources might benefit, what cost implications could be involved, and which changes need to be prioritised.