MPs to hear school library concerns

Anna Patty, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 2010

THE national supply of professional librarians in schools is diminishing and the concern will be raised in Sydney tomorrow at the first hearing of a national inquiry into how school libraries are staffed.

Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has directed the House of Representatives committee on education and training to report on “role, adequacy and resourcing” of school libraries and teacher librarians in public and private schools.  The inquiry follows the federal government’s $16.2 billion investment in providing schools with new libraries and other buildings.

Georgia Phillips, a teacher librarian and adjunct lecturer at Charles Sturt University, said the number of tertiary courses training teacher librarians had fallen in recent decades from 15 to three. The surviving courses were offered by Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Edith Cowan University in Perth and the Queensland Institute of Technology in Brisbane.

Ms Phillips, who also represents a lobby group campaigning against the further loss of school librarians, said Tasmania and the Northern Territory had lost about half their number of qualified teacher librarians.  She said Victoria had lost up to a third of its teacher librarians since the former Kennett government gave principals greater autonomy to hire staff.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/mps-to-hear-school-library-concerns-20100426-tnci.html

Find out more about the inquiry and public hearings: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/edt/schoollibraries/hearings.htm

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