Qld: “Get rid of teacher librarians”

10 07 2010

Media Release 11 July 2010

It is possible that teacher librarians will be gone in Queensland by 2013.

Following Tuesday’s hearing in Brisbane, 10th out of 12 in the House Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians, it was revealed that several Queensland regional executive directors of education have endorsed the decision of their principals to “get rid of teacher librarians.” One reason may be lack of funds for Curriculum leadership positions necessitated by the National Curriculum and the National Partnership Agreements.

Education Queensland abandoned a central school library service in the 1980s. The curriculm support service it evolved into ended in 1991.The last position of Education Officer-Curriculum Resources who had liaised, monitored and contributed to policy in all resource service matters in schools is gone.

Education Queensland ended scholarships for the training of teacher librarians in 1992, while Cath Ed have sponsored the training of more than 55 TLs between early 1990s and 2010 with more planned for 2011.

Education Queensland has increasingly allowed teacher librarians to be taken from the library and put into classrooms. Retiring teacher librarians are not being replaced. Now, with support from the centre, seven high schools on the Gold Coast have no teacher librarians.

Under school based management, state school library budgets, for the most part, have remained static or decreased in real terms.

This is in total disregard for the plentiful international research linking teacher librarians with increased literacy and academic outcomes. Research which the Qld DET director of Workforce Futures, Gary Francis, couldn’t say he has heard of.

Dr. Dennis Jensen, deputy chair of the inquiry, stated, “There almost seems to be a systemic and deliberate policy of running down the teacher librarian profession. It is staggering that of the places we have been, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are the two that are the most rundown.” Later, Dr. Jensen reiterated, “The interesting thing is that some of the anecdotal evidence that we have been getting, particularly in some states, is that this is a profession that is being allowed to die. Whether it is passive or active is another question.” (See Brisbane Hearing transcript)

Georgia Phillips, co-founder of The Hub, Campaign for Quality School Libraries in Australia, and one initiator of the federal inquiry, says, “You must wonder if state education is really about improving student learning. Or is it strictly about money?”

“Private Anglican schools for example, often have two teacher librarians, along with numbers of other support staff, and at least twice the budgets of state schools. Where is the equity?” says Mrs. Phillips.

The hope is that the report from this inquiry will provide some answers.

Further Hearings are scheduled for Adelaide on Monday and Perth on Tuesday.

Transcripts and Hearing programs available at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/edt/schoollibraries/index.htm

Contact Georgia Phillips




7 responses

10 07 2010
Sheryl Gwyther

It’s these antiquated, economic rationalists attitudes of certain school principals and regional directors that stir those who love children’s and YA books into a rage. they are the same reasons the Saving Aussie Books campaign came into being to fight Parallel Importation of Books.
Stir up your school communities to actively promote and protect school libraries – parents and grandparents will be the ones the government listens to in the end … i.e. VOTES.

10 07 2010

You’re right there, Sheryl! If there is anyone you can send my media release/blog entry to, I’d be more than appreciative. Have any journos contact me – or add your own name also, if you wish.
Thanks again for all your support. Georgia

10 07 2010
Catching up on holiday news « Reading Power

[…] school library news from the Inquiry regarding Ed QLD, but good news about Catholic sector support https://hubinfo.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/qld-get-rid-of-teacher-librarians/ and https://hubinfo.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/do-we-need-federal-standards-do-we-ever/ and more […]

11 07 2010
Annette Williams

… and Queensland calls itself the Smart State?

13 07 2010
Vicki Stanton

I truly do despair. Sometimes I wonder if Australia’s educators and politicians are just giving books, reading and literacy lip service. And it is so true that the independent school sector is better resourced in regard to teacher-librarians.

14 07 2010
Bob shaw

The removal of the TL position should not occur unless it has been through an exhaustive consultation process and that a majority of staff agree. However principals are picking off the TLs using the time honoured method of divide and conquer. They can then sell the idea to the staff through the idea of using the resource elsewhere. I am not surprised that EQ claims not to know about it as it suits their purposes to do it and then claim no knowledge. Directors know the process but allow it to be flouted.
I would urge staff to contact their Union on this matter.

11 06 2011
Victoria Turnbull

Interestingly our TL is based at the school full time 5 days . The school size has seriously declined over the past 8 yrs and we now have only 12 classes. As per library policy he can not be redeployed to meet the needs of a school that now has no deputy. The TL has not embraced the media literacies or Oneschool leadership. The library has been closed since October 2010 and is still waiting to open due to new building. In that time teachers have realised how little they really need the TL. Upper teachers mostly use the internet. That is 12x 30 minute lessons. Borrowing can be done by teachers. That’s a lot of spare time in the timetable while the classroom teachers are at the coalface everyday and after school. The TL policy needs changing. Why can’t the TL be sent to another school for part of the week?

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