Wall of Support

What are authors, illustrators, and education leaders saying about the importance of school libraries?

I have so many fond memories of my school library – it was a refuge on the worst days and heaven on the best days. As teenagers, it was the place on school grounds where we were never spoken down to. We were treated as equals, inspired to discover, to create, and provided a certain teacher wasn’t on duty, to laugh loudly.

Touring schools in the decade since, I have seen my relationship with libraries duplicated across the countries. Under the bold leadership of teacher-librarians, they are spaces where stories are championed and imagination is prized, but more than that, they are spaces where students feel safe to be themselves. As somebody who came out as gay in his mid-twenties, stepping into inclusive library spaces where teenagers are given the freedom to express themselves wholly, without judgement, is like something out a dream. Schools’ attitudes towards their LGBTAQIA+ students have changed rapidly since I graduated, and time and again, I’m reminded that it is the school librarians who are driving this change.

Yes, stories are important (obviously I’m super-biased here), but the places where we keep those stories are equally important too. They remind us, young and old, that our stories are important too. We ought to tell them boldly.

Will Kostakis - author

The library freed me to discover Stuff.

I am a writer who admits only to Advanced Middle Age. Let's just say that I have been writing books for half a century. I got my start when I saw a picture, 61 years ago of a spider that looked like my Latin teacher. It was in a book in my school library, and I decided that spiders are fun.

That was about the time I decided I also wanted to  write about science, 
and since then, I have averaged about a book a year.  Education back 
then was droning rote learning: the library freed me to discover Stuff.

Peter Macinnis - Author

What's happening in your school?

Before becoming an author I was a teacher for twenty two years. I know first-hand the important role libraries and teacher librarians play within the school community. They are a guiding force behind effective learning programs and effective learning outcomes across all facets of the curriculum. They are an essential resource to engage children and provide quality pathways to literacy; offering invaluable expertise in supporting teachers, leaders, parents care-givers. The have our future in their hands; do not let them become a part of our past.

What's happening in your school?

Phil Cummings - Author.


Have you visited your school library recently?

As an author and illustrator of children’s books, I know what a difference a good school library makes. It’s the very heart of a school: a place where storytelling is championed, imaginations nurtured, and thinking and dreaming encouraged. And at its heart is the school librarian, a person trained in literacy, literature and language––to say nothing of helping to develop your children’s research skills. The librarian is a spokesperson for books and reading, and someone with their finger on the pulse of all the latest developments in children’s literature.  They know how to select the best books for the education of every child in their care.

School libraries and librarians are invaluable and irreplaceable resources. Remember, eBooks, iPads and classroom book collections are not enough! Your child deserves the very best resources to support their learning experiences, and only a well-stocked, well-resourced library with a trained school librarian can provide this. So, visit your school and make sure your children aren’t missing out!

Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder BA (Hons), Grad. Dip. ED, Grad. Dip. Lib., MEd, PhD

Having helped hundreds of schools across Australia reinvigorate their library, I don’t
believe, I know from direct experience that a contemporary library with qualified staff
plays a critical role in developing literacy skills. The notion that books and in turn, libraries
are losing relevance is ill-informed as a contemporary library offers a much broader
range services and resources.

Nonetheless, in tandem with new technologies, print usage is soaring in countless
schools I have worked with internationally.

Reducing staff, or closing libraries is not future-focused. It is short-sighted!

Kevin Hennah - International Library Public Speaker and Consultant

The school library is the hub of a school’s information and digital literacy skills, the teacher librarian is its heart.

As an author I visit many schools supporting their literacy programs. I have found that not only are the schools with a teacher librarian more likely to book an author to inspire their students but that the students in a school with a teacher librarian are more savvy about literature and research skills. They are also more passionate about reading, often reading more widely beyond classroom reading levels within their own interests. In schools with teacher librarians I have noticed the library is always busy and a hive of happy activity during lunch breaks. 

Teacher librarians have the qualifications and the lesson time to promote digital literacy and research skills while supporting classroom learning programs. Don’t wait until they are gone to realise their value. Support your school library and teacher librarian now.

Rosanne Hawke - Author

As a regular visitor to primary schools for over twenty years, I’ve seen that each school's library is like a special garden, tended to with great care and passion by a resident librarian or teacher/librarian. These are places of discovery, storehouses of ideas, sanctuaries for further reading, places for training in research, venues for events and, crucially, places with skilled staff to help and encourage all who enter with their learning.

Imagine a school without one. Or a school with one that has, through decreasing funding and support, become less active, less functional … less able to serve its students.

It has never been more important for young students to have well-resourced, well-staffed libraries. Learning how to find information is important. And learning how to process and analyse information is critical. Indeed, with the sheer volume of information young people are exposed to nowadays, acquiring these skills has never been more critical.

Those unable to master information – to find it, create it or understand it – risk being mastered by it. Every library in every school can offer a defence against this.

Tohby Riddle - Award-winning author and illustrator and former Editor of The School Magazine (NSW Department of Education and Training)

Some schools no longer have teacher-librarians and, the more I see of teacher-librarians, the less sense that makes to me. What’s next? No teachers? Kids turning up to the classroom each morning and inventing the day ahead? Maybe there’s a note on the door about what the curriculum has in mind, maybe there isn’t …

As an author who has made hundreds of school visits across all Australian states and territories (and several other countries), I’m often struck by the difference well-resourced teacher-librarians make.

Nick Earls - Author

Libraries are now much more than places to see, read BOOKS – they are the information founts of knowledge – and there are so many skills needed to sup from this fount – and teacher librarians are core to these proficiencies – although the power of libraries is to peruse, dabble, and enjoy books too.

Professor John Hattie - Laureate Professor, Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute

John Marsden - Author

Libraries are treasure troves of knowledge, wisdom, imagination, emotion.... 

John Marsden - Author

Rowena Helston - Author, Artist, Lawyer, Researcher

During the COVID-19 shutdown I've really missed the sensory experience of visiting libraries in person.
I'm also passionate about school libraries, which were sanctuaries during my childhood. The prospect of schools being constructed without full libraries and designated teacher-librarians is unthinkable and distressing. Digital hubs are not libraries!
As a student, I volunteered in my state high school library and learnt skills that assisted with structured thinking and researching. Today I work in legal research and do various creative activities, including writing and illustrations.
Rowena Helston - Author, Artist, Lawyer, Researcher

Want to share what you think about school libraries? We'd love to hear your story.

Email campaign@studentsneedschoollibraries.org.au with your photo, video or story or submit a blog post via our submissions page.

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