Time for some long awaited details from our informal and completely unscientific survey of Australian teacher librarians.
As already pointed out, putting your child into a school is a lottery with respect to the library service. By service, I mean not only how many staff it has, but what their job description is (many have other roles in the school), and the budget they have to work with.
Let’s start with Government primary schools of approximately 500 students. I have already mentioned one Victorian library, no TL, part time technician, unknown budget, and apparently not worth showing to prospective parents on official open days.
South Australia – one full time TL, 0.6 teacher, 0.6 SSO and a budget of $16,000.
Queensland – 0.6 TL and a $3,000 budget.
NSW -full time TL, 0.2 clerical, budget of $12,000
Of course, different states receive different funding, so let’s look at the figures for just one state. Compare the above Queensland school with that of another Government primary school (500 students).
School #1 0.6 TL, $3,000 budget.
School #2 1.0 TL, $10,000 budget
That’s $6.00 per student invested into the library as opposed to $20.00.
The awards for best and worst library funding for a Government school (as far as we know) go to…
Best Primary – $69.41 per student (SA, 461 students)
Best Secondary – $58.67 per student (SA, 600 students)
Worst Primary – $5.56 per student (NSW, 450 students)
Worst Secondary – $7.83 per student (Qld, 1150 students)
The inaugural Boo! Hiss! award goes to the principal who needs to approve each item before it is purchased. Way to treat your TL as a qualified professional. I wonder if classroom teachers have to have each lesson plan approved each morning?
The Champion award goes to the principal of a Catholic primary school, who is only permitted a 0.4 teacher librarian by the Catholic Education Office, but who secretly tweaks things a bit to get it up to 0.5. Hey, every bit helps.