At a time when TL numbers had been seriously depleted in Australia, when thousands of schools and students were, and still are, without the advantage of a qualified teacher librarian (as high as 50% in some states) and as reading standards continued to fall, The Hub was born. Five years ago, July 2007, saw the beginning of this advocacy group and web blog.
In the beginning our only agenda was to respond where appropriate in the media, contact politicians with the research on the value of trained teacher librarians, and to urge our professional bodies to act.
In October 2009, The Hub launched an online petition to the then Minister of Education, Julia Gillard, for a federal review. The petition with 1600 signatures (now 3169!) was presented through federal MP, Sharon Bird, Chair of the House Education Committee in November. To our astonishment, the response was the funding of a Federal Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians which lasted until a Report was tabled in May 2011.
The Report stands as a detailed investigation of the role and status of teacher librarians and school libraries, of their proven value in student learning, of the need to reverse the decline in tertiary training programs, and of the catastrophic effects of school based management on TL staffing.
The juggernaut of SBM, nevertheless, continues, now in NSW. The attack on government school funding continues. The TL advocacy movement must keep building in every state and territory, working with parents, teacher educators, principals, politicians, teacher unions and the media at every opportunity. Adequate government school funding will be the deal-breaker.
As for The Hub, it has tried to provide historical context, links to statistics and research, examples of advocacy and working with the media, letter templates, petitions, contacts, and news of related movements around the world.
It is now time for others to take the baton, and those already holding it, to carry on. 387 submissions and 13 hearing transcripts and the final Report provide evidence to support the struggle. We hope The Hub has inspired, supported and contributed to teacher librarian advocacy which will eventually turn the tide for our nation’s students.
Thank you to the small group of dedicated critical thinkers who have formed The Hub Think Tank. Your ideas and words and thoughts and efforts cast and shaped it. This site itself will stay up as long as it is seen to be useful. Thank you all for your support, efforts and contributions. It is a great profession to be working in and I am proud to have worked with you.
Long live the spirit of The Hub.
Georgia Phillips, co-founder