True literacy bubbles and froths with joy

4 02 2008


Accolades to our very own “feral word herder” and Hubber, Peter Macinnis, who has extolled the role of libraries and especially teacher librarians as a part of his latest Ockham’s Razor contribution. He ends his talk, “Is the book as we know it dead,” with the following:



The vapid politicians who carry on about Australian history, meaning dead-white-male history, are also the ones who most commonly bleat about “literacy”, which means simplistic reading and writing skills that can be tested.  These enemies of education with their foolish lists are yesterday’s men.  True literacy bubbles and froths with joy, even when a dead political hand is placed on it, and the new literacy will, teachers willing, sweep their foolishness away.


But who will teach this new sort of literacy?  Not the teachers of English, computing or science: they lack the skills and the time.  Among the professionals of education, only one group can do it.  Oddly enough, they are the very people most at threat from those who say the Book is Dead.


Some call them school librarians, but they’re really teacher-librarians, people trained both as teachers and as librarians.  Rather than getting rid of them and their libraries, we need to fund them better, far better.  We need more, not fewer, libraries, more, not fewer, teacher-librarians.


I care about remembering and transmitting Australia’s story.  The explorers weren’t the sort of people who learned lists of dates, they were people who questioned things and chased a brighter future.  If Australia is to have a future worthy of the explorers, we must educate our young.


Testing doesn’t improve literacy, teaching does, and our teacher-librarians sit at the heart of inspirational teaching. Politicians who don’t understand that are selling us all short.


Click Here to hear the entire program or read the transcript. 


Click Here for more on Peter’s exciting book on the truth of Australian explorers,

 Book cover

Australia’s Pioneers, Heroes and Fools (Pier 9, 2007).






3 responses

5 02 2008
Karen Hitchen

A work college told me about this broadcast after the event and said that she thought at the time ‘that’s what Karen goes on about’. She sent me the details on how to listen to the podcast which I have just done and am delighted on two fronts.
1. There is an author advocating for TL’s , yay!
2. That some of my ‘preachings’ has been listened to by an non TL and integrated into their thinking, we need more of this.

7 02 2008

Hi Karen,
Here at The Hub we are finding that TLs have many supporters outside the profession, and we are working to give a focus to this support. Stay tuned…..

7 02 2008

From Wendy Chapman in Goulburn (3 Feb 2008):

Dear Carol (TL in Vic who alerted TLs to the broadcast) and Peter,

Many thanks Peter for your robust and resounding advocacy on behalf of T-Ls and school libraries this morning on Ockham’s Razor. I see Carol has taken the words right out of my mouth (I too and an avid Radio National listener)

I’m sure there are many T-Ls out there who could contribute mightily to the ‘new literacy’ you speak of Peter. Let’s hope the Powers that Be were listening and can/will respond appropriately to your ‘spike’ for school libraries and teacher-librarians. Thanks for getting the ball into play, and hopefully more than rolling!


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