The Death of School Libraries?

20 04 2017

Join Jon Faine and Sally Warhaft interviewing long time school library champion and book lover and seller, Rick Susman. Wednesday, 26 April at 10 am on ABC Melbourne 774 Morning show.
One not to miss. If you aren’t in Victoria, stream ABC 774 live.





ALIA poster and handout support school libraries

6 04 2017

Download this new A3 poster and A4 handout produced by ALIA to inform your school communities how your library powers high performance schools. Keep up the campaign for professionally trained teacher librarians in every school.





Children prefer to read books on paper

15 03 2017

“…the myth” that children are all digital natives and prefer e-reading, “has already had an impact on book resourcing decisions at school and public libraries, both in Australia and in the US, with some libraries choosing to remove all paper books in response to a perceived greater preference for eBooks.

But by doing this, libraries are actually limiting young people’s access to their preferred reading mode, which in turn could have a detrimental impact on how often they choose to read.”

https://theconversation.com/children-prefer-to-read-books-on-paper-rather-than-screens-74171

“Data from the 997 children who participated in the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading were analysed to determine children’s level of access to devices with eReading capability, and their frequency of use of these devices in relation to their recreational book reading frequency. Respondents were found to generally underutilise devices for reading purposes, even when they were daily book readers. In addition, access to mobile phones was associated with reading infrequency. It was also found that reading frequency was less when children had access to a greater range of these devices.”

From abstract of “The influence of access to eReaders, computers and mobile phones on children’s book reading frequency” by Margaret Merga and Saiyidi Mat Roni

 





So where have all our teacher-librarians gone? 

6 01 2017

An excellent article in Kids Spot by Kylie Matthews. Parents unite! Our kids need to increase their declining literacy and it’s teacher librarians, other children’s book experts and parents who lead the way.

http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/primary/real-life/so-where-have-all-our-school-teacher-librarians-gone





Letter to SMH: School libraries vital to fostering the love of literacy

6 08 2016
5 August 2016

   Dr Robyn Cox (‘‘Results won’t improve overnight’’, August 4) and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli (‘‘War of words over worth of Gonski model’’, August 4) are certainly both correct in stating that literacy and numeracy results take time to improve.

However, Dr Cox needs to go further in her opinion that more focus is needed regarding teacher professional development in knowledge about language and teaching strategies about reading.  

Why do we continually believe that literacy, taught as a standalone program in the classroom is the answer to increasing literacy standards? What happens to a student after leaving school, who may have improved their literacy level according to a standardised test, but who never develops an actual reading behaviour, enabling them to actually develop that love of story, to read critically and to believe that reading is an essential, valued endeavour?   Literacy programs must revolve around quality of story and the engagement of the reader.

All schools have a library, but the quality of that library and its intrinsic value to a child’s engagement with reading is unfortunately in sharp decline.   The answer is staring Mr Birmingham et al in the face. Well resourced school libraries and a qualified teacher librarian working with classroom teachers (and even parents) in whole school reading (and writing) programs to develop a reading culture holds the key. Not only in improving the literacy results politicians are so focused on, but to set a child up with a lifelong behaviour of the joy and value of reading.  

Sharon McGuinness Thirroul





2015 Softlink Survey Results Published

13 04 2016

The sixth annual survey of Australian school libraries has expanded to include New Zealand Schools. The first survey was done to inform Softlink’s submission to the federal Inquiry into  School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian Schools. Survey results are an invaluable source of information on school library staffing and budgets, to inform advocacy.

Of the 9404 schools in Australia (ABS, 2015) and 2538 schools in New Zealand, 994 responded to the survey. While a low percentage of respondents, no other such statistics are collected by an Australian body. These statistics  provide a much needed snapshot over time, and reinforce findings of other studies internationally.

For example:

  • There was a positive correlation between annual Australian school library budgets and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.
  • There was a positive correlation between the number of school librarians employed in Australian school libraries and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.

Further findings, including information on mobile device uptake and e-books, can be found in the report available at http://www.softlinkint.com/2015-softlink-australian-and-new-zealand-school-library-survey-report

Congratulations, Softlink, for your on-going support for teacher-librarians.

 

 

 





Support the Great School Libraries campaign

26 03 2016

ALIA Schools Section and its partners have undertaken a promising new campaign to raise awareness with principals, politicians and parents of what an excellent school library looks like.  And it is no surprise that the number one criteria is having a professionally qualified teacher librarian.

Go to the FAIR Great School Libraries home page to see

To quote:

“FAIR’s sign off to its new report on the impact of school libraries and teacher librarians is a call for the Australian Government to endorse the goal of a teacher librarian for every school.

The report states, ‘Federal, State and Territory Governments’ acknowledgement of the vital role of school libraries in supporting reading, digital literacy, critical thinking and research skills, together with a strong recommendation from Education Ministers about the employment of teacher librarians and qualified library staff in schools within their jurisdiction, would be a significant step forward. Further, it would be of benefit to look for innovative ways of providing access to teacher librarians where there is not the critical mass to support a full-time appointment and to incentivise principals to employ teacher librarians where there is a large student body.’

FAIR and its library association partners will be pursuing this conversation with the Federal Government in the coming months.”

We commend ALIA Schools Section and its partners for this much needed effort and look forward to further steps in the campaign.