So where have all our teacher-librarians gone? 

6 01 2017

An excellent article in Kids Spot by Kylie Matthews. Parents unite! Our kids need to increase their declining literacy and it’s teacher librarians, other children’s book experts and parents who lead the way.

Letter to SMH: School libraries vital to fostering the love of literacy

6 08 2016
5 August 2016

   Dr Robyn Cox (‘‘Results won’t improve overnight’’, August 4) and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli (‘‘War of words over worth of Gonski model’’, August 4) are certainly both correct in stating that literacy and numeracy results take time to improve.

However, Dr Cox needs to go further in her opinion that more focus is needed regarding teacher professional development in knowledge about language and teaching strategies about reading.  

Why do we continually believe that literacy, taught as a standalone program in the classroom is the answer to increasing literacy standards? What happens to a student after leaving school, who may have improved their literacy level according to a standardised test, but who never develops an actual reading behaviour, enabling them to actually develop that love of story, to read critically and to believe that reading is an essential, valued endeavour?   Literacy programs must revolve around quality of story and the engagement of the reader.

All schools have a library, but the quality of that library and its intrinsic value to a child’s engagement with reading is unfortunately in sharp decline.   The answer is staring Mr Birmingham et al in the face. Well resourced school libraries and a qualified teacher librarian working with classroom teachers (and even parents) in whole school reading (and writing) programs to develop a reading culture holds the key. Not only in improving the literacy results politicians are so focused on, but to set a child up with a lifelong behaviour of the joy and value of reading.  

Sharon McGuinness Thirroul

2015 Softlink Survey Results Published

13 04 2016

The sixth annual survey of Australian school libraries has expanded to include New Zealand Schools. The first survey was done to inform Softlink’s submission to the federal Inquiry into  School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian Schools. Survey results are an invaluable source of information on school library staffing and budgets, to inform advocacy.

Of the 9404 schools in Australia (ABS, 2015) and 2538 schools in New Zealand, 994 responded to the survey. While a low percentage of respondents, no other such statistics are collected by an Australian body. These statistics  provide a much needed snapshot over time, and reinforce findings of other studies internationally.

For example:

  • There was a positive correlation between annual Australian school library budgets and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.
  • There was a positive correlation between the number of school librarians employed in Australian school libraries and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.

Further findings, including information on mobile device uptake and e-books, can be found in the report available at

Congratulations, Softlink, for your on-going support for teacher-librarians.




Illawarra TLs speak out

20 06 2014

Illawarra Mercury article June 20 2014TLs defend role in digital age

No TLs, fewer kids learning to read?

16 02 2014

Schools are failing to teach children to read

Read what authors and educators are saying is behind lower reading results

National Cyber Security Awareness Week – Project 13 Launch

20 05 2013

This week is National Cyber Security Awareness Week and is a perfect opportunity for the launch of Project 13, an initiative of national and state school library associations, national library association, philanthropic and corporate partners to help keep kids and teens safe online.

Project 13 recognises the special role of school libraries as a place where students access and use information online, and the opportunity library staff have to promote effective digital citizenship behaviour and responsibility. The project complements other school initiatives to deal with cybersafety by positioning school library staff as having an important role in keeping students safe online.

The Project 13 website can be found at and will be launched today, Monday 20 May.

Through Project 13, school library teams will have access to web-based resources and information tip sheets led by eSmart, a cybersafety system from The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, to offer guidance to students and parents. Industry partner, Softlink will be conducting research into school libraries and cybersafety as part of its annual Australian School Library Survey.

Being involved in Project 13 assists you in your work towards the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Standard 4 – Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.

Fire Up for Florida

19 05 2013

TLs have a network like no other – we are the masters of using social media to gather the troops…

Here’s another US school district about to lose its qualified library staff in an attempt to meet the bottom line, but this time TLs all around the world can have a say by VOTING. Let’s show these people how much firepower we can muster… Read on…

Posted on LM_NET
From Lynn Mitchell, Citrus County, FLORIDA

They are trying to shave $2 million from our budget.
Getting rid of Elementary and Middle school media specialists will be a cost savings of $500,000. I am a high school media specialist and they are not touching us because of SACS accreditation. We went to the school board meeting and although we were not on the agenda to speak, we filled out citizen comment cards and spoke during those times we were allowed. I actually spoke twice; I gave all my research to the middle and elementary school media specialists who had a power point presentation and two others spoke. Some parents spoke and others who were there to speak on other issues spoke out in favor of keeping the media specialists before they talked about their subject. It was a very positive experience.

They tabled what was to be the decision to the 23rd of May and asked the Finance Director who is actually our second Assistant Superintendent to bring other cuts to that meeting to try to save media specialists positions.

Today there is an online opinion poll in our paper … one question. Please take a second out of your busy day to vote NO to
Do you like that schools’ budget plan that would eliminate media specialists? and We are still fighting 🙂

Thank you!!!!!