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