Reform can fund school libraries

13 06 2013

Hello all,

Georgia here, back at the screenface.  In this lead up to the federal election and in face of the legislation for education reform currently being debated, I have been writing to those federal MPs who were on the House Inquiry committee. They are the ones who should be most aware of the value and decline of teacher librarian positions.  I thought they might be interested in events in the US where a group of senators ensured that the role of qualified school librarians is a part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  Considerations are currently being made for amendments and changes before it goes to the US Congress.

My question is which legislators will speak up for school libraries in the current Gonski and national education reform debate?

We have received a response from at least one parliamentarian, which shows continued support.  Further debate will take place in the Senate next week re the National Plan for School Improvement, The Australian Education Bill 2012.  This is an opportunity for you to remind your local federal senator  about the role of quality teacher librarians in school improvement.  And a chance to lobbying your state government, if they haven’t signed up to much needed public school funding (Gonski) needed for staffing and resourcing school libraries.

Dear Georgia,

RE: Action for Teacher Librarians?

Thank you for the information from the US.

I share your frustration that the debate is currently about quantity, not quality.

Much of the real debate as to why we need the National Plan for School Improvement has been lost amongst the squealing of State Premiers who do not want to sign up to a school funding system that forces them to account where the federal dollars have actually been spent.

Although the Australian Education Bill has now passed in the House the debate will be in the Senate next week where further speeches will no doubt, be made.

Yours Sincerely,

Mike Symon
Federal Labor Member for Deakin
Phone: (03) 9874 4544
Fax:     (03) 9874 4644

Canberra Phone: (02) 6277 4255
Canberra Fax      (02) 6277 8451

Mail: PO Box 232, Mitcham VIC 3132

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.

Signing off (but not out)

13 12 2012

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

3M one of life’s best lessons

10 01 2008

Where would libraries be without 3M? Does a day ever pass when a library operates without using a 3M product?

It turns out I made a mistake in my previous post. I have since fixed it, but I don’t mind admitting to it. Why? Because it is okay to make mistakes. It’s how we learn.   

Here’s a perfect illustration of how learning from one’s mistakes can lead to success. Click on the excerpt below to discover the fascinating and often bizarre evolution of 3M.

“The birth of 3M sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: A lawyer, a doctor, two railroad execs, and a meat market owner form a company in 1902 in Two Harbors, Minn., expecting to get rich….”  

So what does this have to do with The Hub?  Think of us as the 3M of library advocacy.  We’re here to try out different ideas,  ours and yours.  We’re not sure what exactly is needed to succeed, so we’ll be trying different strategies.  If you have any ideas, then you are welcome to join in.  In the words of 3M’s director of manufacturing, “Every idea should have a chance to prove its worth, and this is true for two reasons: (1) If it is good, we want it; (2) if it is not good, we will have purchased peace of mind when we have proved it impractical.”