Anecdotal Evidence on TL promotion opportunities

Promotions/Career paths

Promotions opportunities do exist for teacher librarians, though some paths lead out of the library to deputy principal or principal’s positions and some lead to independent sector schools or overseas international schools.

Otherwise, there have been:
Leading Teacher, Library Resource Management (Vic)
Head of Dept, Resources (Qld) – most changed now to Head of Dept IPT or Computing,
Head Teacher, Teaching and Learning (NSW),
Coordinator: Resources & Information Literacy (SA),
Head Teacher, Learning Support (NSW),

These positions do not seem to be permanent, however.

Here is some of my correspondence thru OZTLnet, the national TL listserv. Names and schools should be withheld from any publication, but can be provided to the Committee. Thank you. Georgia Phillips

Date: 2 May 2010 1:32:25 PM

One of the reasons myself, and many of my Aussie TL friends, are working overseas is the promotion available…overseas we are considered head of department and paid accordingly.

I was in the Dept (NSW) for 7 years before going overseas…I returned back to the Dept briefly last year, but the salary and conditions they offer aren’t good enough to bring me back permanently.

An international school TL

Date: 1 May 2010 5:33:14 PM
It appears that I am on a ordinary Librarian wage (Year 3) even though I received a Golden Key from UQ for my teaching degree (2003). To boot, I have all the worry of planning for my courses (Senior level) as well as trying to establish on-line resources for the library.

At least in a Public Library, one has a band of collaborative helpers. I am ‘IT’ with a valuable teacher aide who does all the cataloguing and ordering.

Here are my simple online efforts since I was granted “caretaker” status at the end of last term.  Prior to this [this school] did not involve itself with Poetry/Readers Cup Challenge or interactive sites.
[Blog address given]

Maybe I am a little too impatient for change…”

A Qld TL


My current Deputy Principal was a teacher-librarian (I replaced her when she moved on) which is fortunate, as she is the only one of the 5 Admin who has a clue about what it is that I do… and is prepared to go in to bat for an (almost adequate) extension to the library for instance, who understands that the library is open at lunch break for the kids to use the computers and to play games, and build stuff, and read and do homework, and that it should not be used for classes without a break, as was proposed by another of the DPs (who later conceded that he’d forgotten that the “outcasts” need a place to hide at lunchtime… his words exactly) (we have 30 in the lab and 40 in the one room at 2 lunch breaks- what a waste of good teaching time, he says… and she is the one who reminds admin that I am doing the job of 4 TLs and if I say I don’t have time to present a 13 week 2 hour a week course in Intel for another 30 staff (having already “done” 60) then that’s just too bad…

And another friend TL who was Head of Department Resources (and there are precious few of those positions left now) has been Principal of a Brisbane secondary school for some 20 years now.
It’s my firm belief that the work of a TL is wonderful preparation for an Admin role.

A Qld TL

Date: 2 May 2010 4:30:42 PM
My last position in a DECS school was a promotion position – Coordinator level 3 – one of only a handful available in SA govt secondary schools. When I was seconded to head office the position ‘disappeared’ and the library is now run by a teacher not a TL, so there are even fewer now 😦

South Australian TL

info from NSW:
Joy Pogson (retired) and Helen Wardega (Picnic Point PS) became primary principals
A TL became Admin head teacher, but was able to do little in the library after.
A TL became principal Corrimal HS; also another one before him.

Date: 2 May 2010 9:04:32 PM
I am a TL who is also a head teacher in a NSW school. I have been a Head Teacher for 10 years this year. The first 9 years I was HT Teaching and Learning and this year have been appointed through merit selection as Head Teacher Secondary Studies at a new school. Please feel free to ask me any questions on the subject. [NB: name and email can be supplied to the cttee]

At my previous school, a casual TL was employed one day a week to provide my HT release. At this school, I have a member of staff do five one hour release periods for me. Is it difficult? Yes. And more difficult than being a HT in charge of your own faculty, the reason being that a faculty HT’s work has a direct relationship to her work load/what she teaches ie if you are an English HT then what you do for your faculty has a direct relationship to you and your workload. In my case there is no direct relationship between my role as HT and my role as TL. There is also the difficulty that HTs are on say 33 periods a cycle while classroom teachers are on say 40; however as TL in reality I am on duty just about all periods except for those that I have a release teacher doing library. Interestingly, there was the perception amongst other HT at my previous school that I had it easy as a HT because I was also the teacher librarian!

Head Teacher Secondary Studies
Teacher Librarian

So can you include the new position of Head of Curriculum in Queensland, which handed over our curriculum planning role to newcomers?

Not sour grapes, I had only just arrived in a primary school when this position was created, and had no background in curriculum at that level… though I had 30 years of leadership in curriculum planning at secondary level. With the HOC, I had to fight fight fight to be allowed to “sit in” on planning meetings, and for some time it was announced to those meetings that I was there so I could be told what resourcing was needed!!!!!!! (the fact that I was teaching every kid in the school, every class, infoliteracy integrated with curriculum work seemed to have escaped this HOC) So by stealth, meetings at the photocopier, drop ins to year level meetings, I now collaborate with year levels on the fly… and of course we have the part-time HOCs who take over the running of the library…….

Qld TL

I am suffering in the same way – being marginalised and disenfranchised from what is my ‘core business’ – as a consequence of the actions of the acting HOC.  

I am not party to any of the decision making processes in the school.    There are either made by the principal – who once used to ask me for advice and even listen to me on occasion – and now since the creation of the HOC position and the appointment of a second deputy –  by the ‘admin team’.    Other ‘admin team’ members are the Business Services Manager and the Support Teacher.    While it is recognised that the Support Teacher has an extra qualification and expertise in learning needs and is at these meetings because of her role, there is no concurrent recognition that the same criteria apply to the school’s teacher-librarian..     There is also no recognition that I am probably the only person in the school with a tertiary qualification in information technology.    In spite of representations that I be invited to attend these meetings, I am told that this isn’t seen as being any part of the TL role.     The principal doesn’t want to engage with me in any kind of conversations about my role.    The only thing he seems to be interested in these days is how much explicit teaching to classes I am delivering.   When I reply that this is only one aspect of one part of my role, and refer him to the award statement, he moves the goalposts!
I remain one of the lucky ones.    At the moment I am still able to manage my own time.   Last year the HOC, supported by the principal, directed me to deliver ‘library lessons’ on whatever the class teachers wanted when I had had no participation at all in the planning processes.    (Something I found extremely rude as these meetings were actually being held in the library.)    I said no, making the point that this was not a reasonable directive so therefore I had no obligation to follow it.     The only reason I was able to get away with this was because of the protections in the award and because I was prepared to say no and stick to my guns.   The positive outcome was that it meant for the very first time I was invited to attend year level planning meetings run by the HOC, something which annoyed her immensely.   TL presence at these meetings now appears to have finally become ‘custom and practice’. 
The QTU is mounting a campaign under the slogan ‘assertive professionalism’.   … something out to the group earlier in the year reminding them of their entitlements.   What is in the guarantees is exactly that and not something that the powers that be in schools generously allow us to have providing we ask nicely.   
Bit of a rant I know, but I think you could lay pretty good odds on there being  in QLD a hidden agenda to phase out TLs in schools!
Qld TL

Date: 2 May 2010 7:51:10 PM
I am in a promotion position in a government secondary school, but we do not have even close to staffing levels.  I am constantly being told that I was appointed “Coordinator of Information Literacy & Resources” and NOT a teacher librarian. Cannot get TL recognised (and I made up my own Title).

Complex senior sec school of 300 students – DECS SA staffing level 1100 mins in Library. I have 500 mins plus 300 mins “Leadership time” plus 100 for distributed leadership for the New SACE. I get other tasks to do in leadership time.

Coordinator: Resources & Information Literacy


Date: 3 May 2010 9:29:48 PM

I am at a government high school where I was ‘only’ the Teacher Librarian. A few years ago I was appointed Head Teacher Learning Support at my school . This role involves overseeing the school library, the Careers Adviser, the English as a Second Language staff, the Support Teacher Learning and our school’s Learning Centre staff. This was a new HT position created due partly to rising numbers and partly to the amalgamation of other KLA HTs.



Date: 3 May 2010 9:50:07 PM

In Queensland there was previously a number of Head of Department Resources positions.  They were in larger schools and were usually always TLs.    Generally as TLs retired they had positions converted.
Over the past 10 – 15 years they have gradually been changed to HOD IPT or Computing.

I imagine that there are very few Resource HOD positions left in this state.

Could be one reason for the decline of TL numbers, HODs tend to focus on preserving/ expanding their  subject areas.
TLs were also generally cut out of the middle management decision making in schools as they were not HODs and did not have one directly representing their interests.


I know of some in WA that were T/Ls in some of our client (government) schools and have gone as far as Principals.
WA Commercial consultant to schools

Vic HS TL name withheld upon request

 I was appointed in 1997 as a Leading Teacher – Library Resource Management.  I am still in that role. However, my current 5 year tenure ends at the end of 2011 and I’d be surprised if the Principal wants to make it a Leader Teacher role again (she talks of changing priorities etc).  So, that leaves me with the dilemma of staying here doing the same job for less money and position, or move on elsewhere.  An interesting situation, to be sure.  This can (and has) happened to other teachers in other roles, and not just teacher librarians.  Schools have used leading teacher positions to attract talent to their school and then dump the position at the next opportunity.  It’s a failure with our career structure generally as teachers.  Not sure if this was what you were looking for.  Please feel free to delete if irrelevant to your need.  

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