Australian state, territory and federal politicians and school library supporters

The 2010 federal House Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians has tabled its Report. This report needs to be responded to urgently.

In addition, national 21st century school library standards are needed, as is support for the placement of teachers in teacher librarian programs to meet the severe decline in numbers in almost all of our states and territories.

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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The Support a School Library Service Declaration petition to Australian state, territory and federal politicians and school library supporters was written by Georgia Phillips and is in the category Education at GoPetition.