Behind every great man….

25 05 2008

Australia’s first lady, Therese Rein, get’s two thumbs up from the Hubbers for her recent patronage of the Indigenous Literacy Project. (Click here to read report)

“Sharing stories is such an important part of creating a shared culture,” she said.”It is easy to take access to the written word for granted.

“Not everyone has access to a library.”



Spot on, Ms Rein.  Well said.   Literacy is a great social equaliser.

This project is a crucial step in improving literacy rates in our indigenous communities, but it’s important to note that libraries are not just for achieving literacy levels, but to be a constant source of reading and information throughout one’s education.  

Last week I had a visit from an old friend. Her oldest son, Jack, in year 5 and a constant reader, heard us talking about libraries and told me that his school used to have a “library teacher”, but when she left, she wasn’t replaced.  The library is now used as a regular classroom, and he only has 30 minutes a week to select new books and check them out, a task which is done by a teacher who is,”okay, but isn’t a real library teacher, you can tell”.  When I asked him how he selects his next  book, he told me he looked for books from the authors he liked.  When I asked what happened when he ran out of books by these authors, he didn’t know what he would do.

A few days later this was followed up by a conversation with a fellow TAFE student whose ten year old nephew is struggling at school. He’s not a particularly sporty kid, but loves to read. He would like to go to the library during lunchtime, but other than his brief weekly class visit, the door is always locked.   It’s not about a boy who is antisocial, and doesn’t play with other kids,  he just loves reading.  An open library could bring all the readers together in this school and provide a great social experience for them.  Remember that earlier quotation?

“Not everyone has access to a library.”

I would like to send a message to Therese Rein that even though Australian schools have libraries,  it doesn’t mean our students have library access.   Please Therese, help us unlock our libraries! 






One response

27 05 2008
David Linke

Is there public awareness regarding the portion of time a school library is open vs the hours it is closed? Does the community know how literacy levels are impacted at schools where libraries are closed? Is there a link between Teacher-Librarians at a school and student performance on national benchmark testing?

These are vitally important questions.

I wonder if any of the eight Minsters for Education we have in this country can answer these questions.

I doubt it!

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