P&C fight for a teacher librarian in their school - and win!!
How the voice of parents can make a difference
A small government primary school in the suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland didn’t have a teacher librarian in their school library. What the school did have, though, was concerned parents and an amazing P&C committee, who were passionate about the school, the students and the importance of a school library. They could see how a qualified and experience teacher librarian would improve the educational outcomes for students. They knew it was something worth fighting for.
“If our story can give hope to other schools, or support the important role of teacher librarians in schools in any other way, that would be fantastic.”
The first step undertaken was a letter from the concerned parents to the P&C, asking the P&C to make a case to the staff at the school for the employment of a teacher librarian. The letter clearly stated why the school needed a teacher librarian, citing research and evidence about the improved educational outcomes, extension opportunities, the importance of students learning to navigate a changing informational environment, the needed support for teachers in the curriculum, and the best use of the school’s resources. The letter then went on to outline what a teacher librarian’s role at the school would look like and the direct impacts to students, staff and community. From weekly library classes and explicit teaching of research skills, to book events, author visits and the creation of a maker space, it was a clear and exciting vision.
With the P&C community on board, a similar letter was written and sent from the P&C to the school staff. Fortunately, this letter was received by a principal who, while they never worked with a teacher librarian before, could see the larger vision. A teacher librarian was employed part-time, first for a term, then for the rest of the school year, and now very likely for the years to come. This was a big win for the P&C, but mostly for the students who would now benefit directly from the teacher librarian.
The school’s P&C won a P&C award due to their continued efforts in creating a reading culture in the school and advocating for the school. The P&C contributed $10,000 for resources for the teacher librarian to use as needed and the library has been transformed to an amazing place. Over the last two years parents have volunteered to run Book Buddies by reading stories with the children before school starts twice a week. The teacher librarian now works three days a week in the school’s library, enabling every student access to a weekly library class. Children are soaking up the new books and there is a whole new reading culture. The school has had several author visits, now has a maker space, bookclubs are happening and teachers are being supported with their curriculum resources.
This success story demonstrates the power the voice of parents and P&C groups have.
Working together to ensure student access to high quality school library services.
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