According to a recent survey of Australian school libraries, 35% of Australian public school libraries have no professional staffing. Tas, WA, Vic and the NT had the lowest number of teacher librarians (TLs) employed.
Yet, “a strong library program that is adequately staffed, resourced and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the adults in the community” (Lonsdale, ACER, 2003).
We, at the Hub, call on the federal government to ensure that all Australian primary and secondary students have access to a school library and a qualified teacher librarian.
As it has done in the past, the federal government is in a position to influence state school library funding and staffing. To do this, they can: collect national data on school library staffing, funding, and scheduling; tie funding so that states can and must adequately staff and fund school library programs and services; require that literacy programs and other national curricula should explicitly recognize the central role school libraries have in student achievement, literacy attainment, and preparation for post-secondary success; develop national school library standards; increase teacher librarian training positions in university programs.
All Australian students deserve 21st century schools staffed by 21st century professionally qualified teacher librarians.
Join us in our petition to the federal government. (Write your own state petition!)
This petition will be presented through MP, Sharon Bird, to the Minister of Education, Julia Gillard and her counterparts, Christopher Pyne and other parties’ education spokespeople, to the House Standing Committee on Education and Training. Ms Bird is chair of this committee.
Signatories are urged to add their own comments for stronger impact. Please spread the word to teachers, parents, principals, authors, librarians, booksellers, and all those who support strong, well-staffed school libraries.