Experience teaches librarian

Michelle Whiddon

For the first two weeks of Term 3, I had the opportunity to complete a professional placement at Federation library as a part of the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) program at Charles Sturt University.

As a proud public school teacher-librarian and former Fed Rep, this was a unique privilege to combine a number of my passions and, under the guidance of Mary and Graeme, I embraced the chance to learn more about a librarian role outside of a school setting.

Their expertise and mentorship ensured that I developed my skills in cataloguing, digitising and preserving resources, fulfilling information requests for Federation members and staff, and updating the library website and online catalogue to promote access to information, a concept held dear by librarians the world over.

I was given the opportunity to undertake the following tasks, which provided a greater understanding of library processes and how the library meets the needs of users, including:

  • working with the Library’s LGBTIQ resources, ordering new resources and updating Hot Topics guides, which can be found at
  • capturing images of Sam Lewis Peace and Environment Award winners from 2016 for archiving and display on the library catalogue
  • maintaining the aesthetics and accessibility of the newly renovated library, which includes several inviting spaces for members
  • assisting members attending Centre for Professional Learning courses and Trade Union Training to access library resources
  • posting resources to members who had reserved resources online.

I was struck by how working at Federation Library — even for a short time — would inspire me as an educator and an activist for public education.

The dedication the library puts into ensuring members have access to current, quality information about every facet of the profession is astounding.

While I will be taking back a wealth of knowledge that will benefit my school, I suspect what we will benefit from most, is a deeper understanding of the professional information services that are afforded members in our never-ending quest for quality teaching.