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Hi Everyone,
The West Australian School Library Asscoiation has put together the following 
resonse for submission to the federal inquiry into teacher librarians in Australian 
schools. The Inquiry is open to anyone - within and outside Australia. I urge 
anyone who works in a library or information agency to complete a submission - the 
more people submit and make their feelings known, the greater the chance of a 
successful otucome for this inquiry. Please feel free to use any of the information 
below. Our thanks in anticipation of a flood of support.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as the inquiry is directed specifically at 
school libraries. This is our opportunity to appraise Federal politicians of our 
role and the necessity for professional, paraprofessional and non-professional 
staff in school libraries.

Submission URL:

The WASLA Committee has developed the following framework to make this process easy 
and less time consuming. It focuses of the educational benefits Teacher Librarians 
(TLs) bring to the school community, current research and advantages. It also 
addresses the reference points highlighted by the Inquiry. You may take this and 
upload it or customise it to your school scenario.

Reference point 1: the impact of recent policies and investments on school 
libraries and their activities

Policies for the improvement of library infrastructure and buildings ignores the 
issues of professional staff:
*       to organise and maintain the library (physical and virtual spaces);
*       who provide access to a range of sufficient resources that cater for 
different reading levels, curriculum areas and learning styles;
*       who develop curriculum with teachers which integrates a range of resources 
such as online, print and audio; and
*       who can provide access to quality virtual resources for curriculum programs.

Reference point 2: the future potential of school libraries and librarians to 
contribute to improved educational and community outcomes, especially literacy

Note: professional staff in school libraries must be Teacher Librarians. Teacher 
Librarians have a teaching qualification plus experience in the classroom, as well 
as a postgraduate qualification that is an entry level into the profession of 
Information Science (Librarianship). As trained teachers TLs are able to:
*       communicate and design curriculum programs with teachers which incorporate 
a range of resourse formats; and
*       fulfil the duty of care requirements as stated in the Education Act.

As Information Specialists, TLs:
*       provide access quality digital resources which support curriculum and 
students learning outcomes;
*       design programs which train students in the effective, efficient and 
appropriate use of digital resources.

Research which irrefutably supports the value TLs bring to academic programs and 
student learning include the importance of school libraries - research 

Reference point 3: the factors influencing recruitment and development of school 

*       Currently there is a shortage of qualified Teacher Librarians in schools 
across Australia.
*       This is an aging population with grave issues associated with succession 
planning and sustainability.
*       This is a time when information and the globalisation of economies means 
that the average citizen must have graduated secondary level education with some 
information literacy skills, if they are going to be able to participate in the 
information economy.
*       Only three institutions currently prepare TLs in recognised Graduate 
Diploma and Masters Level courses - Charles Stuart University, Edith Cowan 
University and Queensland University of Technology.
*       Hence many schools have libraries which are run by library technicians, and 
library officers or parents who are not qualified to provide the educational 

More information: The Australian School Libraries Project 
Add here whether your school has a full time TL and any other staffing arrangements.

Reference point 4: the role of different levels of government and local communities 
and other institutions in partnering with and supporting school librarians

A contact person who works across the curriculum and has a detailed knowledge of 
information services and resources is required for the effective communication and 
establishment of links between various levels of government and other institutions 
when supporting school communities. Teacher Librarians:
*       operate within a highly pro-active professional community and respond to 
and create links with the public library sector (urban and rural), the Telecentre 
network (rural and remote), and provide information services for the school 
community, including teachers, administration and parents and citizens;
*       such links allow for the maximum use of public information utilities and 
equity of access for all students and their parents;
*       provide programs which assist students in the transition from primary to 
secondary school and secondary to tertiary studies; and
*       assist in the development of literacy programs for ESL students and their 

Reference point 5: the impact and potential of digital technologies to enhance and 
support the roles of school libraries and librarians

Digital technologies as evidenced by the Federal Government's computers for all 
students program, does not include training for teachers or students. In schools it 
is the Teacher Librarian who provides:
*       specialist knowledge, support and professional development training for 
staff in how to use and embed digital technologies into curriculum;
*       the management of technologies for equitable access;
*       the infrastructure and policy development required for acceptable and 
appropriate use of a wide range of digital resources and technologies, including 
cyberbullying, privacy, identity theft and security of information;
*       the educational rationale for the effective inclusion of digital 
technologies in the curriculum;
*       equal access to a range of digital resources and delivery formats which 
support the development of high quality literacy programs in schools.

Recommendations: All schools from primary school through to secondary (K-12) school 
should have a range of professional (teacher librarians), para professional 
(Library Technicians) and clerical staff in their school libraries. The library 
should be the focus of learning and curriculum development in the school.

Our thanks

President WA Operations, WASLA,
Vice President, Advocacy & Promotion, IASL:
The GiggleIT Project:

InfoScience Seminars:
Australian School Library Research Project:
Barbara Combes, Lecturer
School of Computer and Security Science Edith Cowan University, Perth Western 
Ph: (08) 9370 6072

"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an 
ignorant nation." Walter Cronkite

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