Your comments say it all

27 11 2009

Our request for a national review of Australian school libraries has been sent to Julia Gillard.  It has been supported by our petition which at the time had 1600 signatures.  The petition remains open and your comments are particularly telling:

“The BER was intended to promote and enhance school libraries, but in Queensland, under misguided departmental management, books are being undervalued and discarded. Teacher librarians are forced to follow trends that they don’t believe in, making libraries “pretty” but not functional. Unqualified people are employed in school libraries at the expense of trained teacher librarians. It’s a very lamentable state of affairs. No wonder Q’ld scores poorly on literacy tests. Shame Education Q’ld shame!”

“After working as a T-L since 1975, it breaks my heart to see how library programs and the promotion of literature are being destroyed through not having or cutting the hours of trained T-Ls in school libraries. In an age of so much information, the teaching of Information Literacy is even more important. Students deserve better.”

“Spending $3.82 billion for school library construction and refurbishment is wonderful – but where is the ultimate value without a trained teacher librarian in each library to select the appropriate books, be familiar with them, and recommend them appropriately to enthuse and inform the students?”

“Yes Spot on. I know of a number of schools here [S.A.], albeit small schools, that are using SSOs (School Support Officers) and parent support to manage their resource centres. At our school with over 500 students there is a full-time librarian but only a part-time SSO. The result of this is that the trained teacher has to do many tasks that should be the SSO’s job so that that there is less tme for teaching and learning for which the teacher is actually being paid. In spite of so-called government formulas for teacher/student .”

“Please . for the sake of the children…. Help us help them to become life long learners.”

“TLs are integral in promoting literature and developing literacy including information literacy skills in students. They are not mere custodians of libraries but educators in their own right. Staffing of schools with trained TL’s should be outside the normal school staffing formulae. “[ACT]

“There are so many diverse skills that Teacher Librarians bring to the practice of teaching and learning across all school levels. They are flexible facilitators of the learning process, able to make connections between subject areas, access all types of media and teach how to embed life long learning skills to all students.”

“Since I began teaching in the 1970s, it had become natural for all schools to have a teacher librarian who worked with staff and children. Such teachers were able to assist in developing the high quality of reading and learning standards set in Australian schools during the 1980’s and 1990’s. THis was a ‘golden’ period in children’s literature in Australia where the library became the focal point for reading and researching in holistic and integrated learning approaches.”

“I have been Principal, Staff Trainer, Reading consultant and qualified Teacher Librarian. I believe this to be my most crucial role . My work in schools with Literacy promotion/ organisation of electronic information provides essential support. Resource management is the key to easier access for teachers and students. The removal of Teacher Librarians has been an educational disaster – new buildings, a revolution in education and no one to staff or manage the resources. SHAME!”

There is a worrying trend to think of librarians as superfluous in the age of the internet. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are the heart and soul of any decent school. Schools deserve trained teacher librarians who have the capacity to guide and assist students in their studies and lead them to the joys of reading for pleasure.”

“Some schools have not had books for their school libraries for many years because they have no idea about what they should purchase. There is no one in the school able to recommend books to students. Schools are begging for someone with knowledge about children’s literature. It is shameful.” [Vic]

These are just a few of the hundreds of comments which speak so clearly about the decline of school libraries. Write to your local federal member to urge Julia Gillard to request a national review of Australian school libraries now. Sample Letter


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