We have never needed a strong, unified national professional association more than the present: One which continues to follow up on the federal inquiry and to focus on advocacy for our shrinking profession. One which builds cooperation and unity with state and territory associations and alliances with other educators and parents.
A strong, unified national body could and should take leadership in following up the recommendations of the Federal Government Inquiry. It should campaign for national guidelines, lobby for “School Library Month,” facilitate a national dialogue …It must have a dedicated advocacy committee.
A strong, unified national body would ensure that its magazine contains articles about its meetings with ministers of education, DEWEER and tertiary TL trainers and about the profession globally.
A strong, unified national body would provide professional learning opportunities for principals and teachers, as well as TLs.
A strong, unified national body would use frequently up-dated social networking tools and up-to-date wikis to keep all members informed.
A strong, unified national body could develop advocacy tools for individuals and for state association campaigns, such as videoclips and e-brochures. Short videos could be created through a sponsored student competition such as the US Why I Love My Library competition. Brochures for targeted audiences could be commissioned. Guidance for parents could go beyond a wiki checklist. Assistance to principals in developing strong library services could be published. A strong, unified national body should be able to commission all of these efforts.
A strong, unified national body would form a coalition with publishers, authors, and parents to publicize the unique and vital role of professional teacher librarians in schools.
A strong, unified national body would use National Year of Reading to promote the role of TLs in reading development.
It would encourage all TLs to work with their teachers unions, using the recent AEU statement on the value of teacher librarians.
It would have a strong, articulate spokesperson, trained, along with all Board members, in working with the media. It would have a media coordinator whose sole job is to ensure TL success stories get press and broadcast time, speaking out on the detrimental effects of school autonomy and other relevant issues.
It would have vision, focus and leadership, and, most importantly, will. And its agenda and decision-making would be transparent. Public dialogue would be encouraged about objectives and agendas, with no single voice dominating.
ASLA could provide these needs. It certainly proclaims such aims. So could the Schools group in ALIA. It has the larger professional body for support. In the US, the professional librarians’ association, the ALA, is campaigning strongly for school libraries. We could become a strong voice through ALIA. Or we could form a new association entirely. One thing we MUST do is discuss what we want to see of our professional associations (please leave comments here as this topic is seemingly blocked on OZTL) and then we must make it happen.