In 2007, COBURG SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, VIC. was a new school with dispersed book collections, virtually no non-fiction and lots of computers. (See article in Access, Nov 2007 by Jennifer Sargeant, Director of Information Resources). The principal had said there would eventually be a library “of sorts.” Is there now?
Also in 2007, MORDIALLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL, MELBOURNE, closed its library entirely, disposing of its existing collection “so that the space could be used for a VCE centre, with the remaining books split amongst each year level. No catalogue, no borrowing system.” Each year since, they had to buy duplicate copies of books for access. No TL then. What’s happening now?
BULLEEN HEIGHTS SCHOOL, an autistic school in Doncaster, Victoria, didn’t have a library. Children were using the public library. Are they still?
In 2008, the sole TL at a school of 1000 students was told that all of the non-fiction would be removed from the MACKAY HIGH SCHOOL, QLD library. The rationale was that students in the era of the Internet do not need books to research information. Some walls in the library were knocked down to form one large area to house a mass of computers.
In 2011 the library, however, is still functioning and a thriving hub, though the non-fiction collection is much smaller. A staff survey which opposed the removal of non-fiction may have stopped the change.
I am told that MACKAY NORTH HIGH SCHOOL, QLD was to divest itself of non-fiction [see update in comments, this has not happened.] as has CALEN SECONDARY COLLEGE, (P-12) QLD. What do students and staff and parents think?
In 2008, LUMEN CHRISTI COLLEGE, GOSNELLS, WA a consultant reviewing the library suggested the idea of getting rid of non-fiction and replacing the books with computers, because “students in the era of the Internet do not need books to research information.” Awaiting update. (I would love to know if this “consultant,” who doesn’t know the recreational benefits of non-fiction, is still employed.)
HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL, SA 2010
The Principal of Henley High in November 2010, announced through the Messenger Press that her school was going ‘Hi tech’, because “few books were borrowed from the library.” Within three years, she expected there to be no need for the use of that space as such. The photograph in the Messenger Press showed empty shelves behind the girl with her laptop near the fiction section that had been retained. Many books have gone to other libraries which appreciated them. There is now no TL or library assistant. The library is now called a Senior Study Centre.
The worst aspect of it all was the reaction of DECS and the fact that the unnamed spokeswoman for the Department of Education when asked about the loss of the library simply said that schools were moving to computers. She seemed to be unaware that the Federal government has just spent billions putting libraries in schools, public and private, throughout Australia!
Departments of education in NSW and other states are using the coming into play of the Local Empowerment Policy to wash their hands of responsibilities for decisions by principals in schools. It saves so much $$!
Theoretically, school councils might be used as governing councils, but they can be told whatever the principal wishes and their advice can be ignored.
The Local Empowerment Policy, already being abused in WA through the Independent Public Schools program being set up by the Liberal government there, will allow Principals to have free rein but what about funding? There do not appear to be any guarantees built in for principals to include as essential members of staff either school counsellors – that’s why the push to chaplains – or teacher librarians. And in SA the newly negotiated agreement with the AEU has now excluded teacher librarians and school counsellors from the essential members of staff.
So now under a state government “Expanding State High Schools” program, MARRYATVILLE HS, SA Resource Centre looks to be replaced by a General Learning area where a reading room is now, a science building with an “Area supporting Resource Based Learning”, an admin office….in short dismantled and dispersed as at Henley HS.
VARSITY COLLEGE SENIOR CAMPUS LIBRARY, Qld Nov 2011
The school has made the decision to remove all the non-fiction books from the catalogue, cull many and move the rest to the backs of middle school classrooms [sound familiar?]. Senior classes will be expected to rely solely on the internet or the online databases. Some fiction books will be kept in the library space which is being converted into a “digital break-out” space.
It’s all done with smoke and mirrors folks, and under the directorship of a regional director who has publicly stated that we don’t need libraries in schools any more. Many state schools on the Gold Coast now do not have a T/L (NB: Robina, Miami, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Nerang, Southport and others… and others with a teacher in charge who is taken off some classes and spends that time in the library [remember the "good old days"?]. As one deputy has stated, their teacher in charge “sets up displays and orders books”.
MT TAMBOURINE HIGH SCHOOL, Qld. was advertising for a TL for a library with NO books Awaiting update.
AQUINUS COLLEGE, Melbourne is reputedly going paperless next year. What do these schools know about the availability and licensing of Australia history, art, industrial arts, health, sexuality, poetry, culture, etc. books in e-format that we don’t know?
AND CLOSING DOWN A LIBRARY?
CAMBRIDGE HS, NZ, LIBRARY WAS CLOSED, NOW REOPENED 2011
The school library that was closed to be replaced by a cyber cafe was at Cambridge in the North Island of NZ. The principal thought it was a ‘museum”. She was eventually replaced when the decision was reversed because of the publicity and the Department of Education and government got involved.
Some US primary libraries are re-opening (though with no TLs, only volunteer parents many of whom are raising the funds themselves to re-open their libraries: one school district in California, one in Philidelphia, a school in Michigan. Clerks are being rehired in 2 Napa Valley schools to re-open their libraries. Belmont CA has rehired 3-4 TLs to reopen six primary school libraries
And in Windsor Canada Catholic Schools are bringing back libraries and books!! The Windsor Public Library and the region’s Catholic School system are working on a partnership to save the school board’s libraries from extinction. Last spring, the board made a controversial move to remove most of the books from its school libraries…..
Is there a message here?!
And the latest good news? The US Congress is set to approve $28.6 billion for school libraries. Thanks to the heroic work of school library champion, Senator Jack Reed. (Or should it be READ!:-) Now where is our OZ champion?