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Is school librarianship in crisis and should we be talking about it? From Hey Jude

 

After a long absence I am back into this blog. The purpose of this blog is to talk about school libraries and to celebrate all the great things that happen in them.  It is a gloomy way to start but things are changing rapidly in NSW schools and I do wonder if this special position of Teacher Librarian will weather the storms of change.  Hey Jude has presented this fabulous and thought provoking article.  I will quote a part here but do click on the link to read the full entry and access links to a longer report.

Perhaps one of the most disheartening conversations that have emerged in recent times has been in relation to the leadership and staffing of a school library. Many have noted the shift that can take place in a school where teacher librarianship is sufficiently undervalued, so that teaching staff are appointed to “run‟ a school library, with little or no qualifications in the field appropriate to the nature of the services that a school and its students deserves. Conversely, staff may be appointed who may have a library qualification, but who are not teachers.

6.7 The profession has unfortunately been subject to the many competing priorities that school principals find themselves contending with in an environment in which education budgets are ever stretched.
School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in 21st Century Australia

 

I think it is vital that we do not become disheartened.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the task ahead.  Keeping a high profile with school administrators, staff and parents will be my priority   I am determined not to loose my enthusiasm for this job and to keep the students as my highest priority. 

I am passionate about literature and about information.  These are the cornerstones of the library in my opinion. Circumstances may become difficult but I do not intend to give up the fight for the right of every child to have access to a library and a trained teacher-librarian.  Sadly this is now very much the exception and not the rule for so many children in every country of the world.  At the recent IBBY Congress in London I was shocked to discover how few teacher librarians were participants and also shocked at how many countries reported there were no longer teacher librarians or even in some cases libraries in their schools. I visited a wonderful bookshop in Halifax in Canada and discovered the very last teacher librarian at a local high school was about to retire and with her departure no school in Nova Scotia will have a teacher librarian.  In NSW we need to stay visible, strong and remain at the forefront of technology so others see us as indispensable.  We also need to keep assisting students and teachers with literature. No class teacher can keep up to date with the myriad of new books but we can.  I see this as an equally important part of our role especially in this new world of funding pressure and cuts.

I hope this post is a motivation for you, if you are a teacher librarian, to keep doing the very best job you can do knowing you are not alone.  Stay strong!

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