Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

TL Placement Guidelines

ETL507 Placement Guidelines

Information provided on this webpage should be used as a guide only, students should refer to the ETL507 Subject Outline for further information on the organisation, conduct and assessment of the placement.

Placement Organisation

The placement you will undertake as a teacher librarianship student will comprise ten days of observing/participating in professional level duties, normally undertaken in a two-week block, in an approved library or information agency.

If you are not currently working, or have not recently worked, as a teacher librarian then you can choose your placement site from the full range of types of libraries and information agencies including schools libraries. If you are currently working or have recently worked, as a full time or part time teacher librarian you are not eligible to undertake your placement in a school library. Working in a different type of library or information agency enables you to see and experience roles with which you are familiar applied in a different context and frequently in differing ways and on a different scale.

Doing your placement in a library or information agency other than a school library also gives you the opportunity to undertake your placement during school holidays.

For all students the challenge of the placement is for you to investigate and understand a library/information agency service in its community and organisational context, and to perceive more widely your own role as a professional librarian. It is anticipated that the placement practice will provide a genuine taste of professional work with the sponsoring library/information agency gaining an extra, motivated and productive member of staff, albeit temporarily.

Finding a Placement Host

Finding a placement host takes time, and students are advised to submit their InPlace registration as soon as possible, but no less than six weeks before the date at which they hope to commence their placement. This allows for the possibility that in some circumstances a need for further negotiation with the host library concerning the placement project is required, and the fact that some libraries require a process of character screening before they can accept a student on placement.

Students are directed to the Australian Libraries Gateway or the Directory of Archives in Australia to assist in their selection of a preferred placement host. The School of Information Studies also keeps a record of organisations who have taken professional placement students in the past and you may contact the Workplace Learning Officer for assistance with finding a placement host.

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Host selection

The School of Information Studies will need to approve a student's choice of placement library. Libraries nominated for placements will need to satisfy the following minimum criteria:

  • the library is managed by a professionally qualified librarian;
  • the library is operational for a minimum of 30 hours per week;
  • the library provides services which reflect the size and nature of the administrative unit to which the library reports.

Placements are normally completed within one library, or within one library system comprising a number of branches.

If you choose to undertake your placement in a school library it needs to also meet the following conditions. The school library selected must be a large dynamic library preferably with a range of professional and support staff, in order to make the placement as diverse and beneficial as possible. The teacher librarian, or head teacher librarian, should have a full professional qualification that makes them eligible for full professional membership of ALIA.

Contact procedures

While students take responsibility for making contact and tentative arrangements with their preferred host, students should be aware that for quality assurance and insurance reasons any arrangements they make must be acknowledged and confirmed by the Workplace Learning Officer prior to the commencement of the placement.

A form letter (Intro Letter) has been developed to assist you to make initial contact, should you require it. You may like to use some of the text from this letter in an email.

The InPlace registration informs the Workplace Learning Officer of student preferences and initiates contact with proposed organisations, establishing their willingness to participate and consider applications, confirming initial arrangements made by the student.

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The professional placement may begin at the time most convenient to the student and the host but must encompass the minimum requirement of 10 days full-time duration. Students are expected to work the same allocated hours as full-time staff members while on placement. In order to maximise a student's learning experience, it is highly recommended that students complete their placement in one block of time. This will give students an opportunity to be fully engaged in their experience of professional library practice.

It is not the School's intention to be rigid and if necessary each student can discuss options with their Subject Coordinator to find the optimum learning experience, given their individual needs, and the needs of their preferred placement library. When the placement is completed on an equivalent part-time basis it should at best take no longer than twice the usual time to complete.

Character screening

Some libraries, notably but not exclusively in the government sector, require students seeking to be placed with them to consent to a screening process appropriate to the legal and moral obligations of the organisation towards its clients. For example, it should be noted that students intending to complete a placement at a TAFE institution must submit their placement proposal forms to the Professional Experience Officer at least 10 weeks prior to the anticipated commencement of the placement, to facilitate the screening process.

Contingencies - Needing to change placement arrangements

Although every effort is made to ensure a successful experience, unforeseen difficulties sometimes arise. The student may be unable to adjust to and perform satisfactorily in a particular setting, or the host organisation may unexpectedly find its ability to provide an appropriate placement experience altered. Should such a situation arise, the decision to change the professional placement setting will be made in consultation with the student, the host supervisor, the Subject Coordinator and the Workplace Learning Officer.

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Student Placement Responsibilities

The student

  • identifies the organisation where they want to do their placement following the guidelines given above;
  • contacts the potential organisation/supervisor to negotiate the possibility of a placement or asks the School of Information Studies to do this;
  • submits placement proposal via InPlace at least 6 weeks before the placement at the latest and awaits confirmation;
  • arranges their own travel and accommodation throughout the duration of the professional placement;
  • contacts/visits the placement site prior to the first day of placement to confirm arrangements and organise a starting time;
  • is aware that the placement site is taking on an extra commitment in a usually busy work schedule;
  • is aware that they will be under the day-to-day direction of the placement organisation for the duration of normal staff hours;
  • will show a willingness to take on tasks provided as development opportunities. Be prepared to adjust your expectations. Don't expect your host site to give you responsibility for providing service before it has a chance to know you. You may start your placement in an observing role and move on to function as part of a team. Treat your placement like a job. Demonstrate responsibility, be active and seek ways that you can involve yourself in a variety of activities;
  • will maintain a level of objectivity towards 'politics' of the workplace and current professional issues;
  • is aware that some information may be confidential;
  • will not comment on individuals or individual performance;
  • will contact the Workplace Learning Officer immediately if arrangements need to be altered because of sickness, etc;
  • will contact the Workplace Learning Officer as soon as possible if they have an accident in the workplace while on placement;
  • will communicate with the Workplace Learning Officer if there are concerns about the placement workplace. Your safety and well being are a priority. If a change in placement is required the first placement must be appropriately terminated by the School of Information Studies before any negotiations begin for an alternative placement.
  • will fulfil all organisational and assessment components of the professional placement;
  • completes and submits their placement report within a month of completing the placement.

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ETL507 Placement Assessment Task

Upon the completion of your ten day placement block, you are required to complete the ETL507 Placement Assessment Task. This report is due 4 weeks after the final date of your placement and can be submitted via EASTS.

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