Tuesday 18th December 2018

Students Need School Libraries. 2018.109.

Students Need School Libraries. 2018.109.

I can’t think that anyone might disagree with the statement:

Students Need School Libraries.

When I mentioned this campaign to assist more of the community to know WHY there even needs to be a campaign, these followers commented on my instagram account:

I loved our library at primary school. Our librarian was rad.

In grade 6, my classroom was opposite the library, best spot in the school!

I was lucky enough to experience amazing school libraries as a kid; they were my havens from bullying and re-charge stations for us introverts.

My kids’ school library is unstaffed and they only go in there once a week.

Looking at high schools recently was an eye-opener too – one school had a traditional library, one a ‘decentralised’ library, one no library at all. They are so undervalued.

Yet, this is now a growing campaign Australia-wide, all areas of schooling, to ensure that schools retain not only libraries for their students but have trained teachers in charge AND…the biggest of all, value the centre, the Library as the entry point of learning and loving all books and reading.

In the late 1980s when NSW Public School K-6 teachers were allocated 2 hours release from face to face teaching…”the allowance of one hour” was to be taken by the teacher-librarian.

It may not have included any lessons about libraries nor having books read. Or borrowing.

I was a principal who had to similarly act in the early years of 2000s and I know that conflicted with my professional and personal views on the value of a school library to students.

The thing about education run by politicians and some bureaucrats is that they “look for how to save money” and…”oh, well, school libraries aren’t that important are they?”

YES. THEY. ARE.

So, my story.

I have always loved reading. See my post here. I also knew I wanted to be a K-6 teacher thanks to the encouragement of my year 5 teacher who went on to become the teacher-librarian. For a few of my teen years, I toyed with the idea of being a librarian instead of teaching, but glad I chose the role I did. Mind you, when I was post-principal years, I got to do some relief teacher-librarian work in a modern school and loved it. Especially reading to the kids. Of all ages!

My daughter’s story.

She began reading at around 3-4 years of age. We did not ‘teach’ her as such but she was immersed in language – written and spoken, along with books once she was born. A somewhat reluctant entry to teaching, she found her feet with classes in Primary School (3-6) and loved her involvement in sporting programs. Over the years, her teacher-life shifted gears when she was offered the chance to be a teacher-librarian for a couple of years at her then school and she relished it. I am not sure the weekends spent at school were always relished but thanks to that success, another opportunity came her way.

A big one. To start a new school’s library. She applied for this and was accepted. Into a brand new (then in 2015) school in Sydney’s north west. She got to buy the first books, set up the physical library and start all the ‘back end’ stuff that takes forever…accessioning, covering and more, whilst getting ready to welcome the new students to the new school. I visited her back then, and it was a joy to see her in her element and some of “my old resources and furniture” in a place where it belonged. I know the school library has changed significantly since then, but considering this only happened within 2 months of school opening (for the first intake of students!) I think it is awesome. No Mum bias.

But, to retain the position, this single mum of 4, had to comply with another requirement. THIS is the reason why it is so important to have properly trained and experienced teacher-librarians. She needed to have a Masters of Education (Teacher/Librarianship) within two years. That, my friends, is a big ask, with some leave from the role to guide her family through some of life’s transitions and some health hurdles to overcome, with an extension granted, she DID achieve this….and she is here, last December, at her graduation. (proud mum moment: she is wearing the same M.Ed cloak I wore for my graduation at Charles Sturt University some decades before!)

From the site: Students Need School Libraries.

Here is what the campaign outlines as its purpose via sample newsletters to parents which is why I am using it here.

 Students Need School Libraries

  • Did you know… that your school library supports your child to engage with a diverse range of books to extend their imagination and develop a lifelong love of reading?
  • Did you know… that school libraries are responsive and collaborative learning spaces that provide students with access to a wide range of resources that are relevant and appropriate to their learning needs?
  • Did you know… that school libraries support your child to reach their potential by teaching them how to become capable researchers and to navigate the world of online information and fake news?
  • Did you know… that teacher librarians hold specialised qualifications as both a teacher and a librarian? Quality library staff are trained to support keen and reluctant, successful and struggling learners.

Students need school libraries. If you are keen to ensure that EVERY child in Australia has access to a quality school library, check out the information available at https://studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au

 

 

Some familiar faces put their words in to the campaign.

What can you, my readers, do?

Support the campaign via your social media options.

https://www.facebook.com/StudentsNeedSchoolLibraries/

https://twitter.com/NeedSchoolLibs

https://www.instagram.com/studentsneedschoollibraries/

Use the hashtag: #studentsneedschoollibraries

Re-tweet (and re-tweet with comment when you see the hashtag on twitter

On Instagram, make your messages of  support too, because they will attract more people to learn of the campaign.

But above all, if you can, do all within your areas of influence to ensure that:

Students Have The Access to School Libraries along with Trained Teaching Personnel.

Thank you, from one very passionate educator, mother, grandmother…that’s me!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie here on Tuesday for I Blog On Tuesday and On Wednesday I link up here for Midlife Share The Love with Sue and Leanne.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. When my kids were little, the library was one of favourite hang outs. I have 4 kids under 6yrs and this was one place we could enjoy and feel like we were freshed when we left.

    • I think libraries are ace and I know they are great places for busy mums with kids as yours were. We used to take two of our grandkids to the local library too.

      The message of this post is to ensure NO schools ditch their libraries or library programs so I am hopeful as it also being published on the #studentsneedschoollibraries site, more will see this from a family perspective too.

      Thank you for your support,
      Denyse x

  2. I find it so bizarre that an educational institution of any kind thinks that a repository of knowledge isn’t needed. How can anyone end up thinking that?

    And getting anything done in two months in any type of bureaucratic system is a big win.

    Libraries and all these “extras” were really important in one of my primary schools – the teacher was only funded part of the time, not as a full time job. So the plan was for my class to be in sports, swimming, at the library, in music etc when the teacher wasn’t at work.

    • I can tell you who thinks it up….those who control funding. Well, it was like that in my day and I think some school principals may still think that way of making savings. I did not but my hand was often forced due to funding.

      For so many libraries at school are a safe and nurturing place too. Some homes do not have books at all as I found when I began as a DP in an outer Sydney region.

      We need to foster love of and for reading by all means possible.

      The library space was also used as you said for other lessons if there was no teacher-librarian at school then. We had banks of computers there as well.

      Denyse x

  3. My kids love the school library and I know it was a place of learning, calm and comfort to me when I was younger too. Definitely joining in with the campaign – thanks for sharing the issue and your personal ties to school libraries.

    • Thanks so much Kirsty. I know, I am not sure ‘how’ the campaign began but it resonated enough with me to want to contribute!

      Share away. Their site is really interesting and you may find something there to share via a post from your blog’s perspective..no pressure, truly!

      Denyse x

  4. Thanks for the support – both professionally and personally.
    This campaign is such an important one and not because I want to keep my job. The history of school libraries is an interesting one and this campaign has arisen due to the general downward trend occurring, once again, against them. In my opinion, there are a number of political and social reasons behind this. But that’s a whole other story.
    This campaign began with a small band of TL warriors who connected and collaborated on a journey to spread a consistent, national message. A message that is not only about school libraries receiving the recognition, funding and existence they deserve but also that the role of the TL – what it is, can be and should be, by casting off the stereotypes and focusing on what a qualified library staff can bring to a school and all of its stakeholders.
    For anyone who may be interested, here is the link to a recent webinar that Holly Godfree, the campaign manager, presented last term https://youtu.be/1e0p72Nl8KE. It’s really useful in helping explain the origins of the campaign and where it’s headed.
    #studentsneedschoollibraries

    • Thank you. I certainly know that over the years some schools’ bosses have determined the school library be less well-resourced (staff & materials) for maybe adding more ‘flexibility’ to their budget. It is a shame of course, and I will watch and keep my support on-going! Proud that this is the place where you are making a difference professionally too! Denyse aka Mum xx

  5. I meet a friend once a week at a local library to write. I love wandering through the long rows, taking in the titles and the distinctive smell of books. I love the ancient card catalogs and the librarians bent over stacks of books. It’s a quiet and friendly hotbed of activism.

    Congratulations to your daughter. How awesome that she will be carrying on this important work!

    • There is something very comforting in a library isn’t there?

      It’s at my local library where I am now teaching my mandala class and it is a welcoming space.

      My daughter works hard to ensure the best for the kids’ at her school and their access to the library, but alas she has to do ‘what her boss and then the next boss up’ says…and that is what the campaign is about, to ensure the continuation (not the devaluation) of school libraries.

      Thanks for your lovely words.

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse I can’t believe we need a campaign about this. As a book lover I have happy memories of our school library and also the school libraries of our children. Your daughter had a wonderful opportunity to set up that library which would have been a huge task #MLSTL Shared on SM

    • I agree with your sentiments Jennifer and hope that by you sharing it too, more people will be made aware of the prospect of ‘losing’ school libraries for students.

      Thanks kindly for your comment and I hope that others see this and add to the conversation.

      Denyse x

  7. My daughter has read to Ethan and now Elliot from the time they were born. Ethan loves books and has just joined the local library. Not being involved with schools these days I’m not sure if they still have libraries but they certainly should. I’ll back your campaign! Thanks for highlighting and sharing with us at #MLSTL. Have a great week. xx

    • That’s good to know about your grandsons learning to love reading books! Our family has done this too. Yes, schools where you are indeed have libraries but I am not sure about the education policies changing in state schools as is the concern here. It is to raise awareness that I have blogged about it and as in all good things social media – spreading the word here means more know about it.

      Denyse x

  8. Yes, we so do. I remember I loved detention in fifth and sixth grades because it was in the library and we could read. In high school, I always went to the school library at least once a day. It opens up new worlds.

    Thanks for this.

    • I had a smile when I read that. Fancy ‘enjoying’ detention but I can see why! The school library needs to be open and be the ‘heart of learning in the school. Glad you found it that way for you too.

      Denyse

  9. I have a lot of fond memories of my school libraries Denyse. They were always such a haven for me and a source of learning, entertainment and somewhere to escape the hurly burly of the school day. I was even a library monitor in my last year of Primary School – ahh the memories!
    MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

    • They are special places for many kids and as someone who was also a Library prefect I got to be a helper to the teacher-librarian and he had been my teacher the year before and that was where my inspiration to teach came from.

      I am glad you have great memories and I am sure by sharing this here and now you reading it, the awareness is spread more widely.

      Denyse x

  10. Why is ist that nothing surprises me these days? Am I becoming old and cynical? The government and those who should know better often do not!! When I worked in the gaol system the library was a place of learning and pride to inmates who valued the selection and variety. Of course libraries are important!! I’ll be looking at your suggestions on how to support this Denyse. Thansk for sharing #mlstl

    • No you are not and this is why I can share and write with no fear.

      I am no longer governed by our code of conduct.

      It is as I said, in some cases, a cost-cutting measure and as my daughter wrote in her comment (first one in all my years of blogging!) there seems to be a thread wanting to weaken to status of the teacher-librarian which is c for crazy knowing what they are expected to do. And no-one does a Masters of Education for no reason.

      Thanks for sharing more, we of the old NSW Public Service need to spread the word based on what the purpose of this awareness campaign is about.

      Denyse x

  11. I am also a retired school principal, so this post is definitely singing to the choir for me.
    Like other commenters, I am saddened that there needs to be a campaign for this. School libraries should be the central hub of every school (full stop). Thank you for this important post, Denyse. I have shared it on my Social Media.

    • Thanks Donna and for letting me know both of your former career and your support.

      It truly beggars belief that any system or person could envisage reducing school libraries and the work of trained teacher-librarians.

      Denyse

  12. As a TL myself? I love this! Very much!

  13. As a keen bookworm I’m sure you know that I am totally on board with this. Both my girls love their school library, in fact Zee got to have her first visit and chance to borrow a book at the school library when we were at Kindy Connect on Friday, so was so bloody excited! I think that’s one of the things she’s looking forward to about starting school, getting to visit & borrow a book from the library every week. I know it’s Punky’s favourite day of the week!

    • Oh yes, I do. Thanks for your enthusiasm too. The library, when I was at RPS was a couple of classrooms upstairs in the main building. I have wondered if it was moved. I am glad Miss Zee will have the library as something to look forward to. You won’t know yourself with 2 at school. If you ever see Mrs McGrath (I saw her name on a newsletter when I looked at the website a while back) please say “G’day” from me as she was an original staff member who I connected with very well and she was (back then) 100% supporter of what had to happen. You know the rest… Denyse x

Denyse values & reads every comment written, thank you. There is always a reply.

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