Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools

17 03 2010


1846 of you (now 2025! 27/3/10), so far, have signed the petition for a federal review of school libraries and the government has responded!

In this election year, the timeframe is all too short. One month!! Nevertheless this is our opportunity for the federal government to look at possible recommendations on school library funding and staffing, the first review since the 1970s.
Terms of Reference
To inquire into and report on the role, adequacy and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in Australia’s public and private schools. Specifically, the committee should focus on:
  • the impact of recent policies and investments on school libraries and their activities;
  • the future potential of school libraries and librarians to contribute to improved educational and community outcomes, especially literacy;
  • the factors influencing recruitment and development of school librarians;
  • the role of different levels of government and local communities and other institutions in partnering with and supporting school librarians; and
  • the impact and potential of digital technologies to enhance and support the roles of school libraries and librarians.
As a result of submissions, the committee can recommend those things stated in the petition that so many of you signed, that the government:
  • 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.
The brief is quite broad and can accommodate these issues and more, such as special grants for Improving Literacy through School Libraries, collection of information on TL training programs and numbers enrolled, make recommendations on inclusions in pre-service teacher training on IL and TL collaboration, development of a national IL curriculum, nominating a National School Library Day, and much more.
We hope that you will assist the associations you belong to to make considered submissions within this short timeframe. Here are general Guidelines for submissions.   Individual submissions will also help the House Education and Training Committee members understand our dreams and the reality.
Our thanks, especially to Sharon Bird, MP for Cunningham, NSW electorate and chair of the House Standing Committee on Education and Training for her efforts in getting this inquiry.
This is an valuable first step in improving school library funding and staffing in Australia for the 21st century.



4 responses

18 03 2010

We authors owe a huge gratitude to Australian school librarians – you are like the forward troops in any battle, the foot soldiers, and maybe the engineers.

You prepare the ground by encouraging and enthusing children to read. You invite children’s authors into your schools to talk to children. You use your depleting funds to buy books and you have the skills to integrate literature into every subject area.

I urge Australian authors and illustrators who write for the young to send their submissions to the Federal Government inquiry as soon as possible.

We salute you, teacher-librarians of Australia!


21 03 2010
waiting for library

Most of the problem in Queensland State Schools is that the libraries are full of teachers who have been withdrawn from the classroom for various reasons, some because they have burnt out and are no longer effective in a classroom. I know of several qualified personnel that are teaching in classrooms and waiting to be transferred into a library. This is why, despite my Masters degree in Teacher librarianship I have not attained a place within a school library. Last year I was told that there were no library positions available and have just found out that the school down the road appointed an unqualified classroom teacher to their library. Why was I, or any other qualified teacher librarian, not considered for the role?

21 03 2010

Dear waiting for library
May I quote your letter on the SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS blog, please? What you say is an important aspect of this current battle to save school libraries – I’m from Qld too and feel, if we have any chance of making an impact the voices of concern must come from every State in Australia, because we are all affected.
Sheryl Gwyther (on behalf of SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS)

22 04 2010
Judy Anastopoulos

Dear Colleagues,
I am surprised that we need an inquiry into a school library or in today’s terms an Information ResourceCentre.
Teacher librarians, who are trained in the management and teaching of information literacy are facilitators in an information revolution. A google society requires an information specialist to teach our young generation how to best access data bases so that the information that they retrieve from electronic sources are authorative and credible. Who will take responsibility for teaching students how to sift through the mass of information available at the tap of a fingertip? Who will take responsibility for creating an electronic literate society as well as preparing the future generation with a substantial knowledge and interest in reading the magical fantasy , adventure found in books .
Information specialist, who have studied information literacy at university are the teachers who work in our school libraries. Well, certainly in the Independent Sector of education. These specialists take the responsibilty for teaching students how to access, evaluate, interpret and organise information retrieved from electronic sources. Without these institutions and these incredible teacher specialist, who have spent many years studying at university , our students and their future in a world that is saturated by technology will be endangered!

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