Session 3 of the Adelaide Hearing on 12 July (Transcript now available)
Witnesses: Dr Josephine HANISCH, Program Director, Researcher, University of South Australia
Education Services Australia (former Curriculum Corporation and Education.au) – Stacey HATTENSEN, , Senior Manager, Publications and Library Services, and Prue MITCHELL, Senior Education Officer
Julie WELLS, President, Children’s Book Council of Australia, South Australia Branch
Following opening statements, SB asked ESA if their services can be used by non-TLs. The reply indicated that untrained staff relied greatly on the help desk. (83% of Australia’s schools subscribe to SCIS.) The discussion ensued generally exploring the value a teacher librarian brings to the school and to learners. Dr. Hanisch spoke of the need for a chair in teacher librarianship to lift the profile, for research to inform public debate.
SB asked about the possibilities of working with the education faculty as QUT was keen to do. Jo supported working with Uni of SA ed school to look at double degree or other scenarios. SB tried to focus on pre-service teacher ed “Part of the issue which has been raised with this in terms of demand driving positions is that if you have a teaching body in a school who do not know how to utilise the library or the teacher librarian—which is scarily more common than we might like to think—that then breeds the school executives who do not value the library and the teacher librarian and over time we have seen that decrease. When I did my teaching qualification I do not remember doing anything about the library and the teacher librarian. That was a long time ago. I thought it may have changed; apparently it has not.”(p. 30)
Jo stated it would be more difficult at Uni of SA where ed faculties and teacher librarianship were separate schools. Sharon suggested that it might be timely to get more integrated.
Tony asked the witnesses about the lack of understanding of the TL role in education depts as well as DETs. General agreement.
Friends of Libraries Australia, Dr Alan BUNDY, President;
Public Libraries South Australia: Judith CAMERON, Executive Committee Member, and Ms Bernie McSWAIN , Vice-President
Alan had only about 10 minutes as they were running behind. (He suspected, however, the chair has heard enough already to be able to identify the issues and at least some of the solutions.) He picked up on a previous comment from the Chair on the relationship between reading and gaming and offered to send a conference paper on the topic only recently raised in Australia. The Chair requested a copy.
Alan stated in his opening remarks that “At the moment—and this is the contention of FOLA—the states and the territories have not been held to account for a significant neglect of both the role of teacher librarians in school libraries and also the proper funding of the public library system, too much of which has been left to local government.” (p.35)
A discussion of a national consortium for bulk purchasing of data base subscriptions for schools, especially primary which don’t tend to be available in public libraries. One third of public library users are children and young adults and friends of libraries groups are good contacts for school libraries and P&Cs/P&Fs.
Alan commented on his recent trip to Spain where they had no TLs. He has recommended that they begin to develop the profession if they intend to have the joint use libraries they are looking at.
Sharon: “It is one of the ironies highlighted by many submissions that other countries are starting to look to our model and copy it and see its value at the same time that we might, sadly, be running it down. It is a timely message to end today’s session on, Alan.”