Write to a senator today

Some appropriate targets:

Senator Christine Milne,  Greens education spokesperson (from Tas.)  senator.milne@aph.gov.au

Bob Brown, Greens leader senator.bob.brown@aph.gov.au

Senator Steven Fielding, Family First    Senator.Fielding@aph.gov.au

Nick Xenophon,  Independent      contact form at http://www.aph.gov.au/SEnate/senators/homepages/contact.asp?id=8IV

Nick Minchin, Leader of the Liberals in the Senate      online contact form at http://www.aph.gov.au/SEnate/senators/homepages/senators.asp?id=JX4

A sample message:

Dear Senator:

The Australian School Libraries Research Project,  a joint initiative of ASLA, ALIA and Edith Cowan University, has shown that, of those schools that actually have libraries, most are older than 20 years and have less than the recommended space for student seating and ICTs.

In regards to staffing of those schools, 35% of Australian government school libraries have no teacher librarians.  50% of all schools have either no professional staff or less than one FTE working in their school library.   Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria have the lowest number of TLs employed. Instead there are high numbers of library technicians in Tasmania and Victoria and library officers in Western Australia.

If the greatest value is to be made of the governments BER infrastructure investment, then the Federal Government needs to ensure EVERY school library can be, and will be, staffed by a fully-qualified professional.  These appointments need to be over and above a state’s particular staffing formula to ensure that the education of our students is in the hands of expert, library-trained teachers not clerical assistants or library officers.

The federal government needs to implement measures to free up access to university courses for the training of more teacher librarians, as has been done for childhood teachers.  “The Government is … creating 1500 new places at Australian universities for early childhood teachers”.  Julia Gillard , June 20, 2008.

21st century school libraries are of limited value without 21st century teacher librarians. If the education of our young is the key to the future, then it is a fully qualified teacher librarian who has the power to turn that key.

We ask you what you will do now and in the future:

  • to assess the current quality of all school library staffing, funding, and scheduling?
  • to tie funding so that states can and must adequately staff and fund school library programs and services?
  • to ensure inclusion of the role of teacher librarians in all literacy, information literacy and quality teaching and learning policies and documents?
  • to develop national school library standards?
  • to increase teacher librarian training positions in university programs?
  • to include an understanding of the collaborative role of teacher librarians in preservice teacher training?

If we are talking about improving literacy and information literacy, if we are talking about authentic, resource-based learning and quality teaching, if we are talking about equity, we must agree that ALL Australian students deserve professional school library services managed by professionally trained teacher librarians.


5 responses

4 02 2009
21st Century School Libraries Need 21st Century TLs « The Hub

[…] Today might be a good day to ask a state senator (click for sample letter and suggested email addresses). […]

4 02 2009
Margaret Simkin

Wasn’t sure who was the best senator to write to so I sent the same letter to all of them. Thanks to the author of the sample letter for such a great base, I simply added an brief introduction saying why I was writing.

4 02 2009

Thanks, Margaret. I sent it to all of them also. GP

5 02 2009

Today, during a parliamentary session broadcast on A PAC, I saw Christine Milne ask whether the training of TLs was factored into the new Nation building and jobs plan so your letters may have had an impact . well done. Unfortunately the answer was negative.

5 02 2009

Excellent! We have begun to get it out there!! Keep those letters rolling everyone….until the answer is YES!!! gp

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