Victorian PS Parent Speaks Out

29 04 2010

To Vic MLA, Helen Shardley

Re:  Library funding – X Primary School

I am writing to complain about the absence of library funding provided to our local school, X Primary, where I have chosen to send my children.  It is completely incongruous with the much publicised emphasis on improving literacy levels in schools, that we learn that with a school of less than 200 students, we are not entitled to any funding at all for a qualified teacher librarian – not even for 2 days per week!  The national standard recommended by the Australian School Library Association is one teacher-librarian per 318 primary students or per 221 secondary students.

Our library is funded and supported solely by Parents’ Club fundraising efforts and parent volunteers who recognise the importance of the library as the intellectual hub of the school and work tirelessly to support this for our children.  What is missing though, is the qualified teacher librarian – something that is compulsory in New South Wales!

Studies over the past two decades have consistently highlighted the direct correlation between student achievement and well-staffed school library programs.  Australian research has also confirmed that extensive use of the school library is associated with a significant difference in students’ literacy achievements.

If our governments are talking about improving literacy and information literacy, about authentic, resource-based learning and quality teaching, and if we are talking about equity, we must agree that ALL Australian students deserve professional school library services managed by professionally trained teacher librarians.

I am writing to ask what you can do now and in the future to address this within your electorate.

What can you do to support strong school library programs that are adequately funded and staffed with trained teacher-librarians, in order to achieve the national goals for literacy and information literacy?

What will you do to work towards equitable funding levels across all schools for resource purchase and teacher-librarian staffing?

I thank you in anticipation of your support.

Yours faithfully,

JF
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