Big News: ACER Report reveals data about staffing in SA School Libraries

The 2011 Parliamentary Inquiry into School libraries and teacher librarians in 21st century Australia recommended national research into the links between library programs and student achievement as well as data on Teacher Librarian numbers in Australian schools.

The School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA) commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research to survey school libraries across all South Australian schools. The census collected data on school library staffing, facilities, funding, and support. The results reveal that schools with a qualified teacher librarian are more likely to have improved student literacy outcomes.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) research shows the situation of school libraries in South Australia and their impact. We hope that this South Australian research will be replicated on a national level.  All states and territories need to know exactly what their school library staffing is.

Only 23% of South Australian schools have a qualified Teacher Librarian in their schools.

For these lucky students, having a Teacher Librarian results in up to 2 months learning gain in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation skills regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Furthermore, classroom teachers at the remaining 77% of schools are shouldering the entire weight of teaching vital 21st century skills such as digital literacy and avoiding plagiarism without the ongoing support of a qualified information expert.

With Australia's falling PISA scores, we need a solution for all our students. Strong school library services run by qualified staff play a key role in reversing these trends. Teacher Librarians help ensure equitable access to quality information, expose students to exciting new literature and teach critical research skills. Skills such as:
research skills - media literacy, digital and information literacy, basic, foundational literacy avoiding plagiarism by knowing about copyright and referencing.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Start a conversation with the leadership at your school.
The more school leadership values the library, the better the library services are! Investment in school library resources (including staffing) is what brings the results the community wants and needs.
We know what is happening in SA schools, but need to know the picture Australia-wide.

The Students Need School Libraries campaign is raising awareness about the importance of school library staffing because many parents incorrectly assume that all is well with their child’s library.

The campaign is seeking centralised funding by governments to ensure that all students have the strong school library services they need.

Help achieve this goal by:
Sharing this report widely - tag in politicians and parent groups and education unions and principals' associations, your local school, local parent groups
Signing the WA petition (more petitions to come soon)
Continuing to follow our campaign for more ways to help.

Read the full School libraries in South Australia 2019 Census report.

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