SLANSW Inc. has begun lobbying state members before arranging a delegation to the Minister of Education, Adrian Piccoli. See Advocacy News.
We call upon the state government to
- Commit to continued core staffing of teacher librarians
- Commit to dedicated, equitable funding to school libraries, especially in areas of social and economic disadvantage
We have also sent the following letter to every state MP:
The School Library Association of NSW is pleased to direct your attention to the recently tabled Report of the House of Representatives Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in 21st Century Australia. The committee examined a wide range of issues which have an impact on school library services and ultimately literacy and learning in our schools.
Chair of the committee, Ms Amanda Rishworth, stated, upon tabling the report, “The Committee was struck by the passion and enthusiasm that teacher librarians have for their profession. We hope that this report goes some way toward highlighting the issues faced by school libraries and teacher librarians, and showcases the valuable contributions that they make to educational outcomes in schools across Australia.”
NSW was an example to other states and territories in its support for training and for its staffing of government school teacher librarians along with the provision of school library and information literacy support services.
The report recommends the collection Australia wide of workforce data, extending programs for the training of teacher librarians, supporting Australian research similar to that overseas which has demonstrated the link between school library staffing, funding and scheduling with student achievement and literacy, lowering the cost of online databases for schools, and development of a national policy on information and digital literacy.
This report can be used by stakeholders in consideration of the role of teacher librarians in improving learning and literacy, including digital and information literacy, particularly relevant in light of 2012, The National Year of Reading and of issues of cyber safety.
It is the responsibility of federal and state and territory governments to maximise educational outcomes for all Australian students through quality school library services with qualified staff. To show your support, we ask you to sign and return the attached School Library Service Declaration.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to your reply so that we can share it with school communities and members of the School Library Association (NSW).
School Library Service Declaration
The school library is a function, not a place. It is not a book collection. It is not an e-library. It is a service, offering advice, professional development and knowledge of appropriate learning and teaching materials, digital and non-digital. The most important resource services are the human resources. Teacher librarians are qualified to enable all members of the school community to become critical thinkers, independent learners, enthusiastic readers and global citizens able to participate in a democratic, culturally diverse and just society. They contribute to quality teaching and authentic learning.
It has been demonstrated that, when teacher librarians and teachers work together, students improve their literacy and academic achievement, their problem-solving and information and communication technology skills.
Strong and consistent evidence exists that the role of excellent school library services with qualified teacher librarians can overcome the disadvantages of low socioeconomic backgrounds, low educational level of parents, and geographic remoteness. Children who have quality school libraries staffed by qualified teacher librarians in their early childhood and primary years are more likely to develop strong literacy and learning skills to carry them through their further schooling and employment.
For equitable learning opportunities, school library services run by qualified teacher librarians must be provided to all school ages and abilities, regardless of religion, race, gender, language, physical or mental impairment, geographic location or socio-economic standing.
School libraries with qualified staff are in a prime position to partner with parents, carers and the broader community to maximize student engagement and achievement.
Toward this end, I, the undersigned, support professionally staffed and well-funded Australian school libraries.
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