How good is your child's school?


One way to find out is to look at the My Schools website, although not everyone agrees this is a good measure. Even here there’s a big omission. There are no facts and figures about the school library. And yet the library and the teacher librarian play a vital role in your child’s education.
School library programs and the teacher librarian help your child learn how to:

  • Find reliable information
  • Use the information effectively
  • Think critically
  • Make informed decisions
  • Work productively with others
  • Build knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Safely navigate the internet
  • Communicate and share their ideas
  • Find 'great reads' to meet personal interests and abilities

They encourage independence, reading for pleasure, lifelong learning skills, and they play a major part in young people’s academic achievement.

With nearly half of all Australians falling below the reading level required for everyday living (2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4228),literacy is a crucial issue for all of us. ASLA research shows that a strong library program that is adequately staffed, resourced and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the adults in the community
(http://www.asla.org.au/research/Australia-review.htm), and according to a Canadian study (2005 School Library Report http://www.peopleforeducation.com/schoollibraryreport2011.pdf), having trained library staff in schools means students perform better in reading tests, and have a more positive attitude towards reading.

So are Australian children and young people getting the best deal? Complete our 10-point checklist and see if your school is investing where it counts.

  • There is a qualified teacher librarian managing the library
  • The library is open whenever the school is open
  • Students learn information processing skills in the school library
  • Students can borrow the resources they need, when they need them
  • There aren’t long waiting lists for popular fiction
  • There’s more than enough space for a whole class to fit into the library
  • There is high speed access to the internet
  • Students are encouraged to use online electronic resources, not just Google
  • There are special activities eg for Book Week, the Premier’s Reading Challenge
  • Your child thinks the library is ‘awesome’

If you’ve put a tick against any of these points, there are three things you can do:

  1. Get in touch with the principal of your school or the board of management to find out why your school library doesn’t make the grade
  2. Check out more facts about school libraries on this wiki, including the report of the Federal Government Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians in Australian Schools, published 23 May 2011
  3. Read what other parents have to say and post your own comment here or on our Facebook page

Qualified teacher librarians and well-resourced, well-staffed libraries should be an essential feature of Australian schools. Help us get the message across to school leadership teams, management boards, principals and education policy makers.

Download the pdf