“In 2014, Softlink conducted the fifth annual Australian School Library Survey. This report outlines the findings from the 2014 Australian School Library Survey into Australian school library budgets, qualified staffing levels and NAPLAN literacy results. Principal findings from the 2014 Softlink Australian School Library Survey include:
There was a positive correlation between annual school library budgets and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.
There was a positive correlation between the number of school librarians employed in school libraries and NAPLAN Reading Literacy results.
Overall, fewer schools reported a budget decrease in 2013/2014 compared to the significant percentage of schools that reported a budget decrease between 2012/2013.
Government Secondary and Government K – 12 schools had the highest percentage of budget decreases in the 2013/2014 comparison.
Overall, 52% of respondents indicated that they felt that their school library was adequately funded, 48% of respondents felt that the opposite was true. The majority of school libraries had no change to their staffing levels.
For school libraries that did change their staffing level, the more common trend was a decrease in staffing levels.
There was an increase in the take up of eBooks in schools.”
–from Executive Summary 2014 Survey Report
Softlink made a substantial contribution to the Inquiry into School Libraries
- Softlink International (PDF 1247KB)
- 255.1 Supplementary to submission 255:
Softlink International (PDF 349KB)
With 511 respondents, there appears to be a clear inconsistency between annual school library budgets across education providers. From the survey it appears:
• Government secondary schools receive annual budget funding equivalent to 80% of funding for all other types of schools.
• Government primary schools receive an average of 84% of funding of all other types of schools.
• There are funding inconsistencies between the states for comparable school libraries.
This same data also suggests that where student populations are similar in size, primary school libraries are generally funded one third less than secondary schools. Softlink argues that this funding inconsistency may put at risk the development of Australia’s primary school children.
PILOT STUDY: Teacher-librarian contributions to student literacy standards
In her preliminary pilot study for her Honour’s thesis, Ann Gillespie found correlations between the work of the teacher librarian and student achievement in literacy as measured on the NAPLAN tests.
This initial pilot study informed the questions for Ann’s current PhD research into teacher librarians and evidence based practice.
“It is possible to conclude from this small pilot study that the teacher-librarian can have a positive effect on the literacy of students when certain other conditions are in place.” (p. 79)
“The initial pilot study findings tend to confirm existing research that an actively involved teacher-librarian can have a positive effect on educational outcomes of students.” (p.79)
Gillespie, Ann M. (2006) Teacher-librarian contributions to student literacy standards. pp. 1-85. (Unpublished )