According to a recent survey of Australian school libraries, 35% of Australian public school libraries have no professional staffing. Tas, WA and Vic had the lowest number of teacher librarians (TLs) employed.
Yet, “a strong library program that is adequately staffed, resourced and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the adults in the community” (Lonsdale, ACER, 2003).
As it has done in the past, the federal government is in a position to influence state school library funding and staffing. To do this, they can: collect national data on school library staffing, funding, and scheduling; tie funding so that states can and must adequately staff and fund school library programs and services; require that literacy programs and other national curricula should explicitly recognize the central role school libraries have in student achievement, literacy attainment, and preparation for post-secondary success; develop national school library standards; increase teacher librarian training positions in university programs.
All Australian students deserve 21st century schools staffed by 21st century professionally qualified teacher librarians.